Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS

The 2011 IH Section award winners have been announced!

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Henry Mosley
  • Mid-Career Award: Neil Arya
  • Service to Section Award: Donna Barry
  • Gordon Wyon Award: John Bryant

Congratulations to this year’s awardees!  They will be honored at the section social on Monday night of this year’s Annual Meeting, so don’t miss it!


July 11 was World Population Day.  In honor of WPD this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a greater focus on providing improved health to mothers and children.

POLITICS AND POLICY

  • Last week, a United States federal appeals court overturned  a George W. Bush-era “anti-prostitution pledge” that required all organizations that receive US funds to fight HIV and AIDS to adopt a formal position condemning prostitution and trafficking.
  • Uganda’s legislative body has passed a bill that will criminalize  the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • An in-depth report by Gregg  Carlstrom for Al Jazeera examines the state of the new Republic  of South Sudan’s health systems. Future plans appear to be in the right direction, but the present health situation is dire for the newly established
    country.
  • U.S. officials are defending  the CIA’s use of a vaccination program in the hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden amid concerns from international aid groups that the operation  could compromise future public health efforts in Pakistan. The CIA orchestrated a hepatitis vaccination program in the city of Abbottabad in a bid to collect DNA evidence to help identify the location of bin Laden family members.
  • A growing reluctance from donor countries to provide funds to help ever-wealthier China battle HIV/AIDS will adversely affect efforts against the disease’s spread, says Michel Sidibe, head of UNAIDS.

PROGRAMS

  • The Medicines Patent Pool, established by UNITAID to share drug patents, has just received its first contribution from Gilead Sciences. This will allow Indian generics companies to make cheap copies of some of the best HIV/AIDS drugs.

RESEARCH

  • A new study has shown that ARVs taken by women with HIV/AIDS may have an effect on fertility.
  • The United Nations praised a study showing that the use of ARVs by people with HIV can reduce chance of infection between partners by 73%.
  • Mosquitoes are growing increasingly resistant to pyrethroids, the only insecticides approved by the WHO for use on bednets.
  • HIV/AIDS drugs can be used to provide additional protection against infection as well as for treatment of those already affect by the disease, according to results of two studies conducted in Africa.
  • Researchers in Tanzania are developing a device that uses the scent of malodorous human socks to attract mosquitoes in the wild, then poisons them. Donations of $775,000 announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada are intended to reduce the global infection rate of malaria by producing an affordable outdoor trap ranging in cost from between $4 and $27.
  • A new study says that an inexpensive de-worming pill can help people become deadly to malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but for the pill to work, nearly everyone in a community would have to take the pill at the same time — and repeat monthly. The drug reduces insect lifespan, helping against malaria because only the older mosquitoes can transmit it.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • The World Health Organization says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic. The centerpiece of the plan is to strengthen the capacity of manufacturers to provide enough vaccines to immunize the world’s population against influenza.
  • The WHO has certified that Uganda has successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.
  • According to a report published in March 2011 by the United Nations Environment Programme, only two in every five people in the Southern Africa have access to safe water for drinking and household use. Three quarters of those lacking access, live in rural areas and the majority of these are women and children.
  • The CDC has expressed concern over the recently discovered strain of gonorrhea in Japan that is resistant to all present antibiotic treatments.
  • Drug manufacturers, government representatives and pharmacists from six countries in East Africa have estimated that as much as 30 percent of all drugs on the market are either of very poor quality or counterfeit medicines.
  • A lack of financial support and political will are contributing to the upsurge of measles in 33 countries. In an video interview, Andrea Gay at Measles Initiative, explains the different reasons for measles outbreaks in the developing and developed countries.
  • The number of children facing death by starvation in Somalia has almost doubled since March and the country’s child malnutrition rate is now the highest in the world, the International Committee of the Red Cross warns. Aid agencies have struggled to reach Somalis affected by drought due to security concerns across the conflict-ravaged country.

Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS

The IH Section hosted its third topic-focused conference call, on Current Developments in MCNH, took place on Monday, June 27, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 EST. We had several members of the IH section offer their commentary and expertise on current issues concerning maternal and child health.  Speakers included Laura Altobelli, Elvira Beracochea, Carol Dabbs, Miriam Labbock, and Mary Anne Mercer.  Read the summary here.

IH Section Communications Chair Jessica Keralis attended APHA’s Mid-Year Meeting on healthcare reform.  There were several interesting sessions on technology implications of reform, the public health workforce, advocacy, and others.  Read all about it on the IH Blog.


POLITICS AND POLICY

  • In the first part of a two-part series called “The great billion dollar drug scam,” investigative journalist Khadija Sharife questions the accuracy of figures given by the pharmaceutical industry to justify the high cost of drugs.
  •  The American Chronicle reports how Brazil has been implementing numerous programs to reduce the rate of HIV infection within the country.

PROGRAMS

RESEARCH

  • At the 7th annual meeting of the World Conference of Science Journalists, several speakers said clinical research trials done in the developing world lack adequate patient protections as well as an ethical and legal framework.
  •  Arizona State University Scientists have developed recombinant attenuated salmonella vaccines which they believe will make vaccines more effective.
  •  A test for dengue through saliva has been developed by researchers from Singapore.
  • Researchers believe that they have discovered the precise mechanism by which drugs attack and beat malaria. In doing so, they believe that they can gain a more precise understanding of how resistances are forming and develop better malaria medicines.
  • A recently published report on research and development by the Malaria Research Initiative examines the current state of malaria research and offers six recommendations in going forward to improve R&D.
  • A dramatic increase in support for malaria R&D since the mid-1990s puts the world well on the way to achieving global malaria control, treatment and elimination goals in the next five to six years.
  • A study has found that AIDS patients who take nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors experience premature aging.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • The WHO has put together a series of graphs based on 2008 global health data to illustrate the 10 leading causes of death by broad income group. Heart disease, stroke and other cerebrovascular disease represent the top two killers in middle and high-income nations while they sit as number three and five respectively for low-income countries.
  •  A report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the CDC, has determined that UN peacekeepers from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti, which led to an outbreak last fall.
  • More than 350,000 women die in childbirth every year and 8 million children will die of preventable diseases before their fifth birthday. A new report concludes that more trained midwives could help save prevent millions of such deaths.
  • In a recently released report, UNICEF says as many as 70% of the world’s children are exposed to violence amounting to 1.5 billion children each year.
  • The drug misoprostol is saving women’s lives around the world by preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth, the leading cause of maternal death in the developing world; it is also causing controversy, as the drug can also be used to induce abortion.
  • Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise and hard to cure. Médecins Sans Frontières wants people with the disease to blog about it, to find out what they really need.
  • A new study in The Lancet shows that over the past thirty years the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has doubled to 350 million.
  • Ghana’s Food and Drugs Board (FDB) issued a statement to warn the public against the sale of counterfeit Artesunate tablets on the market, which it claims are from China; laboratory analysis had confirmed that contained no active anti-malaria ingredient.

Many thanks, as usual, to the Toms – Tom Murphy and Tom Paulson.

Global Health News Last Week

POLITICS AND POLICY

  • Attacks on aid workers are on the increase and one writer believes this largely due to the current “integrated mission” focus of the UN and other donors.
  • If the Global Fund is to avoid further adverse media coverage and further consequent donor nervousness, it must urgently implement a more effective and fine-tuned approach to the issues of corruption and transparency.
  • The families of two women who died in childbirth are starting a legal action against the government of Uganda, alleging that the inadequate care and facilities provided for pregnant women caused the deaths and violates their country’s constitution and women’s rights to life and health.
  • The results of a recent bombshell study revealing the impact of taking ARVs and the spread of HIV has the Obama administration doing some serious pondering over the impact of a policy change.
  • The elimination of mother-to-child transmission has become the focus of Rwanda’s ministry of health for reducing the rate of HIV.
  • The states in India have been directed by the central government to provide free healthcare to pregnant women and sick neonatal children effective June 1.
  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has frozen payments on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of disease-fighting grants to China, one of the charity’s biggest recipients, in a dispute over China’s management of the grants and its hostility toward involving grass-roots organizations in public health issues.
  • Government think-tanks in China and India have recommended a jointly funded initiative to strengthen traditional medicine innovations in both countries.

PROGRAMS

  • In Ghana, the Oxytocin Initiative Project has begun testing whether community health workers can safely and effectively prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
  • ‘Tupange’ is the name of a new outreach program in Kenya that hopes to increase and sustain contraceptive use among urban women.

RESEARCH

  • Researchers discuss the new developments in vaccines for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB in the scientific journal Nature.
  • Vuvuzelas – the horns used by football fans celebrating last year’s World Cup – not only cause noise pollution but may also spread diseases, say experts. In crowded venues one person blowing a vuvuzela could infect many others with airborne illness like the flu or TB. Mercifully, organisers are considering whether to ban them at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Published by the Institute for Economics & Peace, the Global Peace Index tries to measure peace. This year has seen the world become less peaceful for the third year in a row – and highlights what it says is a continuing threat of terrorism.
  • It may be against the law, but wealthier, better-educated families in India are choosing more and more often to abort pregnancies if the child is female, researchers in Canada and India report in the Lancet.
  • Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston find that diabetics have a higher risk of contracting TB.
  • Lancet once called it “potentially the most important medical advance of the 20th century.” But today, oral rehydration therapy (ORT) — a simple treatment often consisting of a home solution of sugar, salt and water — is under-used, causing untold deaths of children.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

TOTALLY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING ELSE: Apparently, to Nigerians, Bill and Melinda Gates do not look like rich people.

Global Health News Last Week

May 18 was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

POLITICS AND POLICY

  • Hundreds of Kenyan AIDS activists held a protest on 18 May in the capital, Nairobi to demand that the government meet its commitment to increase annual health and HIV funding.
  • In response to the mutual expulsion of diplomats, the UK’s DFID announced that it has frozen new aid to Malawi.
  • DDT has made a controversial re-appearance in Uganda.

PROGRAMS

RESEARCH

  • The World Health Organization has just launched a new web-based information resource tool that should be of interest to many in global health and development community, the Global Health Observatory.
  • According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2008.
  • New research has found that a variant in one gene can lead to a 30 percent lower risk of developing cerebral malaria.
  • A new study from Bangladesh concludes that most of the world’s pregnant women don’t need vitamin A supplements.
  • American scientists have tested a treatment regimen for tuberculosis which will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the full treatment as compared to current plans.
  • A new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that that 7 in 10 women in Sub Saharan Africa, south central Asia and south east Asia who want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern methods give reasons for non-use which suggest available methods do not fulfill their needs.
  • Average life expectancy across much of the world — except Iraq and South Africa — is steadily climbing and infant deaths dropped across the world during the first decade of the 21st century, according to figures released by the World Health Organization.
  • The Clinton Health Access Initiative and Gates Foundation have teamed up to support research into developing a cheaper version of the drug Tenofovir.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • China has reduced its AIDS mortality by two-thirds since it began distributing free antiretroviral drugs in 2002; however, the improvements were seen largely in patients who acquired HIV through blood transfusion, rather than through sex or drug use. On a darker note, Chinese authorities ordered an AIDS activists’ web site shut down after it had published an open letter from a retired senior official concerning news restrictions placed on a 20th-century public health scandal.
  • Dr. Orin Levine looks at a disturbing global trend: Infectious killers that had been beaten back by aggressive immunization efforts are making a comeback in places long thought to be safe havens.

WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY

The IH Blog was featured in the “Buzzing in the Blogs” section of the Healthy Dose this week! Thanks to Tom Murphy for reading and tweeting us!

PATH Graduate-level Internship, Woman’s Condom Communications Intern

Special note: Applications for this internship will be accepted until May 30, 2011. We encourage students who are interested in this opportunity to submit an application as soon as possible. This internship will be for three months and will offer a monthly stipend of USD 1,250/month. The start date of the internship is anticipated to be in June or July. Additionally, please note internships with PATH are contingent upon the Intern providing documented proof of identity and eligibility to participate in a paid or unpaid practical training program in the United States, in accordance with federal immigration law. Please include a cover letter with your application.  The original posting can be found here.

Project background and aims

The Woman’s Condom is a female condom that is designed to protect against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Our project goal is to launch the Woman’s Condom in China and one or more countries in Africa successfully and sustainably. Our effort will employ a total market approach, combining the skills and capacities of the public and private sectors, social marketing groups, and nongovernmental organizations to promote, distribute, and program the Woman’s Condom and increase levels of use among target groups. In preparation for the Woman’s Condom launch in China, the intern will assist in the execution of a variety of communication activities.

This internship aligns very well with PATH’s mission to advance appropriate technologies such as the Woman’s Condom that fill a specific need related to improving the health of people around the world. On an individual level, the intern will have an opportunity to directly impact the introduction of a consumer goods healthcare product, thereby improving the health of women and their partners. Additionally, the intern will gain valuable experience and network with key stakeholders that may lead to an international career in the non-profit, non-governmental and/or industry sectors. Informal meetings with Communication Officers and field staff members at PATH should accelerate learning and provide value to the Woman’s Condom project team.

Goals and learning objectives for the intern:

The programmatic goal for the internship is for the intern to build on the brand and packaging designed for the product by creating additional branding and marketing elements to generate awareness and demand among the target market segments in China.

The individual learning objectives for the intern are to: 1) develop/enhance skills related to an international product launch with an increased understanding of strategic communication including product positioning and messaging, 2) increase understanding of market environment in Shanghai, and 3) enhance cultural sensitivity and collaboration skills by working on a multicultural team.

Skills to be developed and/or expanded during the internship:

The selected applicant will work in Shanghai for the majority of the internship and work closely with our manufacturing partner, Shanghai Dahua Medical Apparatus Company (Dahua). Expected outcomes include creating messages that appeal to the target market segments in China, conceptualizing a brand identity and creating design elements that convey this identity, and helping Dahua design a website for the Woman’s Condom. At the end of the internship, the intern will deliver a written report and presentation to the team.

Proposed activities:

1)      Build on the brand name and packaging design of the product by conceptualizing a brand identity for the brand and create design elements that portray this identity that would be prominent on the Dahua product website and in advertising materials.

2)      Study effective brands in the condom and personal products market in China for ideas of how to best create design elements that will attract the Woman’s Condom target market segments.

Learning outcomes:

We will evaluate the intern using a team-based performance feedback approach. All Woman’s Condom team members will be asked to provide input about the following aspects of the intern’s performance at the end of the 12 week internship:

  • Ability to communicate clearly with team members
  • Ability to communicate clearly with external audiences
  • Understanding of the basic principles of collaboration and demonstration of at least one instance of successful collaboration with in-country partners
  • Ability to demonstrate the fundamentals of listening, meeting participation, giving and receiving feedback, team decision-making, and conflict resolution
  • Ability to apply technical knowledge skill set to specific project tasks in China setting
  • Level of demonstrated interest and engagement in project activities

Additionally, the intern will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the Woman’s Condom team. The team leader will conduct an exit interview with the intern to collect qualitative data regarding the internship experience from the intern’s perspective. The team leader will then assist the intern to structure the presentation of feedback to the Woman’s Condom team. Feedback will be presented in an informal team setting.

Finally, we will strive to make the internship a memorable and enjoyable experience as much as possible that they carry with them throughout their career.

Brief description of required skills and experience:

  • Mandarin Chinese written and verbal language skills with fluency to conduct business required.
  • Enrolled in a communications or business graduate program required.
  • Marketing/brand development concentration in education and/or career.
  • Consumer product experience strongly preferred.
  • Advertising/marketing agency experience strongly preferred.
  • International experience preferred.
  • Strong interest in PATH’s mission.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively.
  • Effective written and oral communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work both as part of a team and independently.
  • Self-starter.
Job Location: Shanghai, CHINA