Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • The White House has ruled that young immigrants who will be allowed to stay in the United States as a part of a new federal policy will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under President Obama’s health care overhaul.
  • Japan is preparing for an increase in tobacco prices to seventy five percent more than the present.
  • China is planning to cut the prices of 95 cancer, immunology and blood related drugs by about 17 percent to reduce the growing number of chronic, age-related diseases in the country and make health care affordable.


  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces 2013 Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Premium rates.
  • The Red Cross calls for funds to halt cholera epidemic in Sierra Leone.
  • Cuba launches its first nanopharmacetical drug- a tweaked variety of cyclosporine to help to prevent transplant rejection.


  • According to the Australian researchers more pregnant women are being diagnosed with some form of cancer. They said that this could either me due to increased mother’s age which increased the possibility of cancer or due to increased interaction with health services during the pregnancy.
  • A study has warned that the U.S. obesity rates will be soared by the year 2030. This will increase the burden of illness and also their health care cost and decrease the productivity.
  • According to a study there is a link between obese pregnant women with sleep apnea and chances of their neonates having this problem.
  • A paper published in the journal Genetics says that compiling large amount of data into useful information for the patients and doctors will help to make them better decisions by knowing the possibility or likelihood of developing / passing along a hereditary  disease. It will make a better sense of genome data using informatics approach.
  • According to the scientist the females who undergo radiation therapy for the cure of cancer have their DNA‘s damaged. This causes two proteins PUMA and NOXA, to trigger the death of cells causing early menopause. Blocking the action of these two proteins will help to prevent infertility in the females undergoing chemotherapy.
  • The scientists at the Harvard School of public health say that the people who consume two or more sugary drink per day have increased chances of developing obesity.
  • According to a study published in the journal Science, newly formed memories can be erased from the human brain.
  • According to the recommendations by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants should be given to the sexually active adolescents as a reliable method of birth control.
  • According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, females who are on high antioxidant diet like fruits and vegetables have reduced risk of developing a heart attack.
  • The scientists at UCLA AIDS institute have discovered that variation in progression of speed of HIV in people vary due to the killer T-immune response that occur early on during this infection. It targets an epitope called IW9 on HIV protein.
  • A study done by the Mayo Clinic Arizona has showed that the spilt-dose preparation technique for colonoscopy has improved the polyp detection rates, precancerous rates, overall quality of preparation and colonoscopy completion rates.
  • A recent study has shown that the efficacy of drugs for treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s and obesity can be boosted by the nanoparticles to target the mitochondria- the power house of the cell.
  • According to a study published in the journal Lancet, the child mortality rates in Niger (one of the world’s poorest countries) have declined nearly fifty percent over the last decade.
  • DNA barcoding will help to authenticate the natural products. It allows the scientists to use short standardized regions of genetic material to identify the species and compare them to reference genetic sequences.
  • According to a report published in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, the increasing demand to move personalized medicine research forward is fueling the growth of biobanking market.
  • In Botswana vinegar swab is being used to prevent cervical cancer. Pap smear method to diagnose the disease is not possible at times due to lack of laboratories and other facilities.
  • According to a study done by a group of British and Australian researchers the toxic venom of snake can be modified to provide benefit to an organism. The scientists are trying to explore if this discovery can help to find cure for cancer and diabetes.
  • A microscopically thin film made up of hydroxyapatite can prevent caries and will make the teeth look brighter.
  • A study done by the researchers show that the patients and their relative abuse doctors.
  • According to a consumer group, children should avoid consuming too much of canned tuna fish to avoid mercury poisoning.
  • According to a study children exposed to high levels of mercury increase their chances of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • According to Spanish study kid’s score higher in developmental tests if their mothers get enough vitamin D during pregnancy.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • According to the Consumer Reports, the FDA, and the attorney General for the state of Illinois, arsenic levels are reported high in rice.
  • Hundreds of children in North India have been infected with Japanese Encephalitis.
  • Flood situation has deteriorated in North Eastern India.
  • Flood in Cameroon have killed 30 people and affected at least 26,000.
  • Kane County Health Department (Illinois) is conducting a food-borne illness investigation into six cases of Salmonella that are linked to Aliano’s Ristorante in downtown Batavia.
  • Singapore sees more haze, air quality reduced.
  • Kroger (US) has recalled spinach in 15 states to avoid the selling of Listeria-tainted product.
  • A public health alert have been issued by Department of agriculture’s Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS) for boneless beef trim products imported from Canada that might be contaminated with E.coli O157:H7.

Global Health Weekly News Round-up

Politics and Policies

  • Australia’s cigarette plain packaging law upheld by the government. The World Health Organization hails this decision. This ruling might be followed by other countries too.
  • New policy launched by South Africa government to restructure the current national health insurance policy faces criticisms by the citizens.
  • A new national body to lead the network of Medicare Locals has been launched in Australia.
  • The federal government of Australia has revealed its plans to remove all the asbestos from its government and federal buildings by 2030.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) baby boomers must be tested for hepatitis C.


  • Johnson & Johnson plans to remove potentially cancer-causing and other dangerous chemicals from nearly all its adult toiletries and cosmetic products within three and half years.
  • Zachary Kimotho raises Sh73 million for paraplegic center in Kenya.
  • Kenya National Hospital goes hi-tech to improve efficiency.
  • The Treatment Action Campaign in Gauteng says it will take health Department to the court to force them to deliver quality health care to citizens.
  • Drug major Cipla launched HIV/AIDS treatment kit in India at Rs 158. It consists of two tablets in one strip which represents a single day’s treatment.


  • A new ranking released by Bloomberg, Singapore has the healthiest population in the world.
  • According to the researchers eating walnuts help to improve sperm count. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins as folic acid and minerals like zinc and selenium which are important for the development of sperm.
  • A team of researchers from Italy say that coca contain flavanols which might reduce the level of dementia and help to improve cognitive functions in elderly.
  • According to a latest research chemotherapy during pregnancy is safe for the baby though baby might have low birth weight.
  • According to report male contraceptive pill might be available very soon in the near future.
  • The Australian researchers have brought before 3-D images to reveal secret life of Legionella bacteria. They have shown how this bacterium does not require a host to survive.
  • A group of U.S. researchers have used different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to scan the brain of people to understand the changes in brain with age. This research can be useful for studying the changes in brain related to autism and ADHD.
  • According to a study treatment involving exposure to traumatic memories help people with post-traumatic stress-disorder and substance abuse issues.
  • A study shows that the Americans living in the south of the United States are fatter than those living in the north of the country. The fired southern U.S. cuisine might be responsible for this.
  • A study done by a group of Australian researchers might bring forward treatment of heroin and morphine addiction.  They have shown that by blocking the immune receptor called TLR4 opioid carving stop.
  • Researchers from Queensland are working on the spider venom as a treatment of breast cancer.
  • A group of researchers from Melbourne and Finland’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute say that those children who eat vegetables during their children don’t have adult diseases like diabetes and increased cholesterol levels when they grow up.
  • According to the American Cancer Society researchers aspirin helps to prevent the risk of cancer.
  • According to a study vitamin C might help to reduce harmful the effect of air pollution for the people suffering from chronic lung disease.
  • According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health, older American though having a longer life span might not be enjoying better quality of life. They study should that the older people are obese and are facing higher housing costs.
  • A study reveals that children with more self-control might help them to remain thin. It might reduce their chances to gain weight later in life.
  • According to a study the workers at or nearby the Japanese nuclear plant are suffering from high rates of stress and depression.
  • According to a recent study about 206 million Indians use smokeless tobacco.

Diseases and Disasters

  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. About ten suspected cases and six deaths have been reported so far.
  • Pickles contaminated with E.coli kills six people in Japan. At least 100 people have been reported getting sick after consumption of this contaminated product.
  • Emergency has been declared with the worst seasonal outbreak of West Nile virus in Dallas, Texas has been reported by the officials.
  • Warning has been issued by the state and federal officials after an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning in southwestern Indiana.
  • An emergency has been declared in Sierra Leone after the outbreak of cholera in the capital. Eight out of twelve districts have been affected by this disease.
  • A report released by ‘The Times of India’ newspaper reveal that about 121 people have died during clinical trials in India in past six months.

Global Health News Last Week

The 13th Triennial World Congress on Public Health, to be hosted by the Ethiopian Public Health Association and held from April 21-29, 2012 in Addis Ababa, will bring together leaders in health from across the globe. The conference, “Towards Global Health Equity: Opportunities and Threats,” is currently accepting abstracts; the deadline is Friday, October 21, at 12 a.m. PT (3 a.m. ET). More information can be found here.

International Women’s Day was March 8.

On March 11, a 9.0 earthquake rocked Japan’s Chiba prefecture, followed by a colossal tsunami that washed entire villages away.

The world, of course, stands ready to help, but it is unlikely that most of the assistance will be needed, as Japan is one of the most disaster-ready countries in the world. Unfortunately, the explosions in several of the country’s nuclear plants means that the threat of radiation poisoning looms heavily.


  • A panel of independent experts has released a report harshly criticizing the World Health Organization’s handling of the 2009 epidemic of H1N1 swine flu.
  • UN officials expressed concern that rising food and energy prices could compromise or even reverse progress toward the MDGs in developing nations.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has instructed senior managers to cut 3%, or US$5.4 billion, from budgets.
  • The Kenyan government has moved to strip HIV/AIDS of its special status and begin treating it as a chronic medical condition. It has begun implementing a disease integration model that will do away with emergency response measures and dismantle parallel administrative structures set up to manage the disease.


  • HealthMap, a project that aggregates health and surveillance data from sounces such as the WHO, Google News, and Eurosurveillance, was launched recently to “[bring] together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health.”
  • According to a study done by Tuberculosis Research Centre in India, alarming numbers of women with TB become homeless after they are diagnosed. Approximately 100,000 women are abandoned by their husbands due to TB every year in India.
  • A group of researchers from EPFL’s Global Health Institute and Inserm (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, the French government agency for biomedical research) has discovered that a class of chemotherapy drugs also kills the parasite that causes malaria.


  • Oxfam recently released a report criticizing the World Bank for its praise of Ghana’s healthcare system. Amanda Glassman of CGDev disagrees, arguing that Oxfam ignored surveys indicating the system’s success in improving health indicators and beneficiaries’ satisfaction with the quality of service.
  • On March 9, Saving Lives At Birth, a global partnership between USAID, the Government of Norway, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank, was launched. The partnership “will seek innovative solutions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in developing countries.”


  • Rwanda is on track to completely eliminate malaria, the first country in its region.