IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

  • May 31 was observed as World anti-tobacco day by the World Health Organization.
  • The Fitness Industry Council Canada has announced June 1 as National Health and Fitness Day.

Politics and Policies:

  • The Republic of Congo has passed a law that prohibits the purchase, consumption and possession of tobacco for minors, pregnant women and mentally ill. The advising and any kind of promotion of tobacco are also prohibited in the country. Smoking is prohibited in public places.
  • According to the World Health Organization On June 10th Ethiopia is launching an emergency mass-vaccination campaign against yellow fever.
  • According to the Ghana’s Minister of Health, the country is committed to ban all forms of tobacco advertisements and promotions.
  • Smoking in presence of children equaled to physical violence in Latvia.
  • Russia’s smoking ban came into effect on Saturday. It involves no smoking in public places and curbing cigarette advertising and sales.

Programs:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) in Gambia is launching polio campaign to vaccinate 400,000 children under five years.
  • The Ministry of Finance of Lesotho has signed two agreements totaling $17 million with the Global Fund to fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
  • Professionals for Humanity International (PROFOH) have announced its third free medical screening in this year in Nigeria.
  • After the discovery of polio this week, United Nations emergency team rushes to vaccinate 424,000 people living in a refugee camp in Kenya.
  • Zimbabwe is going to conduct its first national tuberculosis prevalence survey with an objective to determine the national prevalence of bacteriologically-confirmed pulmonary TB among people aged 15 and over.
  • Rotary India extends its help to Pakistan in its polio vaccination drive.
  • The World Health Organization is calling on the countries to ban advertising about the tobacco products.

 Research:

  • Improvement of maternal health and reduction in child mortality in some countries was highlighted in a recently released report ‘Accountability for Maternal, newborn and Child Survival ‘.
  • According to the director of the National Institute of Combat of HIV (INLS), the prevalence of HIV in Angola has not changed since 1997.
  • According to the researchers patients who have developed oral cancer due to HPV can have sex with their spouses or long term partners.
  • According to a study done by the researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, rates of diabetes have jumped 15 fold within a decade for the Chinese Canadians.
  • A systemic review confirms that the licensed medicines for smoking cessation are successful in assisting people to quit smoking.
  • Scientists are using new optics-based single virus detecting methods for determining the exact viral load of a sample by counting individual virus sample.
  • New malaria vaccine developed by the team Japanese researchers has cut the infection rates by 72%.
  • A study conducted in over 13 hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam shows that doubling Tamiflu vaccine dose does not help in severe flu.
  • Results of a study warn development of resistance to drug used in treatment of H7N9 virus.
  • A group of scientists discover how a single gene mutation helps brain cancer cells to survive and drive tumor growth.
  • According to the United Nations scientists, Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant has very low radiation doses and there is no increased risk of cancer on local residents.
  • According to the experts nearly one-sixth of young adults in Sri Lanka are overweight. Lack of nutrition education and food culture of the country are reasons for this problem.
  • A study states that particular combination of bacteria in the human digestive system can identify patients who have or are likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • A study shows that the Coenzyme Q10 cuts the mortality rate by half in heart failure patients.
  • Report released by EU says that several new health risks are emerging from new chemicals, products and changing lifestyle patterns. It is important to address these issues all together.
  • According to a study fizzy drinks do harm to the teeth as drugs.
  • New vaccine for lung cancer has been developed by the scientists of Argentina and Cuba. It activates the body’s immune system to promote its destruction.

Diseases & Disasters:

  • Tornadoes hit Oklahoma again on 1st June. Death toll rises to 9.
  • A report issued by the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources state that the ground water of China is poisoned. It did not address the severity and scope of this problem.
  • Death toll from bird flu has risen to 38 in China.
  • According to the reports of the United Nations, there is a suspected outbreak of Ebola fever in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • According to the reports by Ghana Health Service, cholera outbreak hits greater Accra region.
  • The World Health Organization is concerned about the new strain of Coronavirus which has killed 55 of the confirmed cases.
  • A Starbucks in Hong Kong used water from the public restroom to brew coffee.
  • Pakistan is facing a severe measles epidemic. Since the start of 2013 about 239 deaths have been reported.
  • According to the Ministry of Health, Philippines, new cases of HIV infections recorded in the month of April were 388. It was 67 percent higher than those recorded in April 2012.
  • According to the reports Singapore is facing Dengue epidemic. More than 7,700 people are reported to be infected as of May 25.
  • Frozen berry and pomegranate mix has been reported to be linked to hepatitis A outbreak in five states in U.S.

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • The Obama administration has given conditional approval to health insurance market places being set up by six states led by Democratic governors.
  • New Jersey Assembly panel passes a bill allowing driver’s licenses to include diabetic condition.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) has set a standard in the middle of the range of 11- 13 micrograms per cubic meter for the soot particles in the air.
  • Michigan works to ban synthetic drug phenethylamine.

Programs:

  • The United Nations (UN) has asked for $8.5 billion to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to 51 million people in crisis-stricken countries around the world in 2013.
  • The U N has launched an initiative to help to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • Emergency vaccinations campaign has been organized in Sudan by its Federal Ministry of Health against mosquito- borne yellow fever.
  • Third phase of measles and rubella (MR) vaccination campaign has been started in Nepal.
  • The UN has warned that nearly 55 million tons of radioactive waste from old Soviet-era uranium mines in unsecured sites in northern Tajikistan.
  • The state of Iowa is planning to spend $3.2 million on tobacco prevention and cessation.
  • MidMichigan Health receives grant to fight childhood obesity.

Research:

  • A Sudanese neurologist has succeeded in giving the first clinical and psychological description of spastic paraplegia.
  • Researchers at the University of California and the University of Oxford have found a link between type-2 diabetes and corn syrup consumption.
  • A study published in Lancet states that air pollution tops the list of major health risk among the developing countries.
  • A study finds years living with disease and injury increasing globally.
  • In a study done by the researchers in United Kingdom, they found a link between the foliate consumption and risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia Chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • According to a study about 10% of the 6- 8 year old children of Finland have sleep – disordered breathing.
  • Experts say “plethora” of diseases caused by low vitamin D.
  • A study links work place bullying to developing risk for anxiety/ depression/ psychological problems.
  • A study done by the U.S. researcher’s show that Blacks have higher risk of heart disease.  They have a double risk of dying of coronary disease.
  • A study links drinking coffee with reduction in risk of throat and mouth cancer. It states that drinking more than four cups of coffee can cause significant rate of risk reduction.
  • Researchers at University of Copenhagen have found a very important function of BRCA2 gene. This knowledge could be used for the treatment of breast cancer.
  • A 2010 study states that the television in bedrooms may boost heart disease and diabetes among the children.
  • A study links innate immunity and inflammation pathway with advanced prostate cancer risk.

 Diseases and Disasters:

  • Outbreak of diarrhea killed seven people from lower Shabelle region in Southern Somalia.
  • A report released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Alaska ranks number one in United States for Chlamydia.
  • Seventh death due to fungal meningitis has been  reported in Indiana (U.S.).
  • A report released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Louisiana leads the nation in rates of gonorrhea and syphilis cases.
  • Drug resistant infection cluster has been reported in South Dakota. People who are healthy are not at risk as compared to those on ventilators, urinary or intravenous catheters or long courses of certain antibiotics.

 

 

 

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies

  • The Department of Health and Human Services bolsters health care and public health disaster. It has awarded more than $971 million to continue improving preparedness and health outcomes for a wide range of public health threats within every state, eight U.S. territories, and four of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
  • India is completing a proposal to provide essential drugs free to patients in government-run hospitals and clinics at a cost of $5 billion over five years.
  • Rapid H.I.V. Home test wins federal approval.
  • Republican governor of Florida says state won’t expand Medicaid.

Programs

  • George W. Bush launches cancer project in Botswana. This $3 million initiative has been started to fight against cervical cancer. This project is funded by the Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and is supported by the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership.
  • A drug created at the University of Nebraska Medical Center has been deployed to fight malaria in India.
  • U.S. $124,276,000 assistance package is expected for Liberia. A new development agenda “An agenda for transformation” will focus on critical areas like education, economy, health etc.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing support to the treatment center in village of Wabaria, situated in Northern Mali after identification of the new cases of cholera in the village
  • La Madre de los Pobres charity reaches needy in nearly 20-plus countries.
  • New child health card and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is introduced in Zimbabwe to ensure good records of all preventive interventions like exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, calendar of immunizations and prevention of mother to child transmission.
  • International donors offer Afghanistan $16B.
  • Traditional Indian sweetener jaggery (gur) will be launched as complete health food for all age groups soon in India.

Research

  • New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks like tuberculosis and Rift Valley fever.
  • Single dose radiation at the time of surgery helps women with early stage breast cancer forego 6-7 week radiation regimen.
  • Australian researchers from the Skin and Cancer Foundation have found a link between psoriasis and other diseases.
  • Research from Fourth Military Medical University yields new findings on Parkinson’s disease.
  • Researchers at the University of Minnesota School Of Public Health have found new evidence that fast food intake increases risk of diabetes and heart disease in people.
  • Zebra fish provides insights into causes and treatment of human diseases. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh are using it to study the biological mechanisms underlying human disorders and identifying potential treatment approaches for an impressive array of organ and systematic diseases.
  • Caffeine may help to lower the risk of skin cancer. The results of the study conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption.
  • Amniotic fluid yields alternatives to embryonic stem cells. The scientists from Imperial College London and the UCL Institute of Child Health have succeeded in reprogramming amniotic fluid cells without having to introduce extra genes.
  • Organic tomatoes contain higher levels of antioxidants than conventional tomatoes. The researchers have shown that these tomatoes do not use not use nitrogenous fertilizers and thus they activate their own defense mechanisms resulting in increased production of all antioxidants.
  • A study conducted by a researcher at the University of Maryland has shown that the women infected with Toxoplasma gondii parasite which is spread through contact with cat feces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables, are at increased risk of attempting suicide.
  • A recent research has shown that deleting single gene results in autism-like behavior and immunosuppressant drug prevents autism symptoms. This gene is associated with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), a rare genetic condition.
  • Using a mouse model of autism, researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have successfully treated an autism spectrum disorder characterized by severe cognitive impairment.
  • A team of researchers at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen are closer to understanding the biology behind GHB, a transmitter substance in the brain, best known in its synthetic form as the illegal drug fantasy.

Diseases and Disasters

  • Monsoon rains cause havoc in Bangladesh.
  • The Philippines Department of Health has instructed the Bureau of Quarantine to be on alert, following an outbreak of a fatal respiratory disease in Cambodia.
  • According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, South Sudan faces worst health crisis.
  • According to a recent report released, Fukushima disaster was man-made.

Global Health Weekly News Round-up

Politics and Policies

Programs

Research

Diseases and Disasters

These headlines were compiled by Vani Nanda, MPH Candidate at West Chester University PA.

Peace, Love, and Fair Trade

There is an ongoing debate within my circle of friends about whether Austin is a truly “hippie” town, or if it is merely “hipster,” and the [aggravation caused by an influx of people and traffic for the] South by Southwest music festival intensified the argument last week. The live music capital of the world prides itself on offering vegetarian and vegan options at every restaurant (e.g. tofu tacos at Mexican restaurants), boasts avid cycling and recycling communities, and even has green and eco-friendly furniture shops and dry cleaning establishments. As a coffee lover, though, what stands out most to me is that every independent coffee shop carries as much fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate as it can cram into its menu (though it should be noted that this is a trend among coffee shops in general, no matter where they are). Whether genuine or for show, Austin is as eco-hip as they come.

While I appreciate the emphasis on sustainability, I wonder if it overshadows fair trade’s emphasis on improving the lives and livelihoods of the farmers and artisans it serves. While many are aware of its emphasis on sustainable agriculture and organic farming methods, perhaps less known is the fact that it can help improve infrastructure, provide education, empower farmers, and improve health care for fair trade producers and their communities.

TransFairUSA's "Fair Trade Certified" label
TransFairUSA's "Fair Trade Certified" label

Fair trade producers typically work (and may even live) in organized co-operatives that may or may not be linked to a particular company or organization. Products with a “fair trade” label have been certified by that organization to have been produced ethically (i.e. guaranteeing basic human rights, without child and slave labor, in a manner that protects the environment, allowing workers to unionize, etc.) and to have been purchased at a price that covers the cost of production. (TransFair USA’s criteria can be found here.) In addition to ensuring wage and practice requirements, fair trade organizations collect a small amount of the profits generated from product sales into a “social premium,” or a fund for community development. Producers meet regularly to decide how to invest these funds. Many fair trade communities choose to build a clinic to provide basic health services to residents, or schools to better educate their children (or sometimes both). One wine co-op from Chile, with 1,400 families, established a fund to assist with medical needs, including hospitalization, medicine, house calls for those who cannot travel, and maternal, psychiatric, and dental care for residents. A cocoa-growing community in Côte d’Ivoire used their earnings to build a small health clinic with four providers and an ambulance. Before the clinic was built, the nearest health facility was ten kilometers away, and 30 farmers died each year of treatable diseases; now, the clinic performs approximately 36 life-saving operations in the community each year.

Impact studies have found that fair trade participants have been able to increase gross household income, which allows them to better feed and educate their children, and can even provide an economic boost the surrounding community as a result. Their economic vulnerability to commodity prices is also reduced, and some studies have noted drops in child mortality. One of the most important fruits of these fair trade co-ops, however, is empowerment: farmers gain the ability to diversify their production and improve the quality of their products, they have a say in the development of their communities, and they can even gain political influence in their communities.

A cappuccino in a brown mug with the design of a leaf made by the milk.
Flickr, niallkennedy

While the economic implications of fair trade are still the subject of intense debate, participation in fair-trade co-ops gives farmers the control over their businesses and livelihoods of which they are too often robbed under typical trade structures. It encourages more environmentally sustainable farming practices, and it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling when we buy coffee, tea, or chocolate (or even clothes and accessories). Who wouldn’t want to feel like they were helping the poor and the planet while sipping their cappuccino?