The Advocacy/Policy Committee would like to invite you to participate in our first Advocacy Day, led in partnership with the Global Health Council. The day, scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd, 2011, immediately following the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., will be an opportunity for us to voice support for a continued focus on international health to our elected officials. With the intense Congressional pressure to cut the budget, our voices can make a real difference. As a participant during this exciting day, you will be provided with training materials on effective advocacy techniques to ensure your message is clearly heard. Even if you do not have advocacy experience, you need not hesitate to sign up because you will be teamed with others. Please consider joining your fellow International Health Section members on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 on Capitol Hill to advocate for a healthy globe. Interested parties should register here. Please note that registration will close on October 14th. Any questions should be directed to Peter Freeman, Advocacy/Policy Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.318.4842.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- Sanitation and hygiene are sensitive and unpopular subjects, but funding them is essential to fighting disease, ensuring basic rights and meeting millennium development goals.
- The Gates Foundation’s European director Joe Cerrell comes to the defense of the beleaguered Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, arguing to improve on its “impressive record and ensure that millions more lives are saved and the progress against global disease is secured for generations to come.”
- Almost four months into the Horn of Africa crisis, aid agencies are involved in much soul-searching as to whether they could have responded more quickly to the drought and famine.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
- A Japanese company, the Sumitomo Chemical Company, unveiled a new kind of insecticide treated bed net at a product launch in Kenya.
- Pregnant women who load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains have a reduced risk of having babies with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida or cleft lip, according to one of the first studies to look at the connection between diet and birth defects.
- A study by Stanford researchers has determined that infant health can be improved when a mother has a low-fat high fiber diet up to a year prior to getting pregnant.
- A study published in the British Medical Journal says that if current smoking trends continue until 2050, TB related deaths will jump by 40 million.
- Though young, there is a lot of potential in what mHealth can offer in developing countries. Amanda Glassman shares some ways that it can be improved.
- Researchers at the University of Washington have reported some highly problematic findings regarding a common method of birth control in eastern and southern Africa. They are problematic in that they indicate a popular injectable hormone, Depo-Provera, used by perhaps 140 million women worldwide (and often in poor settings) signficantly raises a woman’s risk of HIV infection.
- Test subjects in a Spanish HIV vaccine trial have shown a 90 percent immune response.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- A cohort of American and British researchers say that by investing in AIDS treatments, money can be saved in the long term.
- What should be the top priorities in global health? Infectious diseases? Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)? Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? A research scientist wonders at the confusion amid this sea of bad acronyms.
- Former US President Carter is leading the fight against guinea worm making a request that WHO members provide $93 million in funding to wipe out the disease. DfID has committed to support the push against guinea worm by announcing it will allocating £20 million to the effort.
- The business news channel CNBC has published an extensive report on the lucrative and growing Dangerous World of Counterfeit Prescription Drugs.
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.
- 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.
May 12 was International Nurses Day.
USAID’s Frontlines magazine is running an exclusive interview with Dr.
Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, in which she discusses current global health priorities and systems strengthening.
Peoples-uni, an open-access education initiative, offers open-access resource and online learning materials for capacity-building in low- and middle-income countries.
- Excessive bleeding following childbirth is the leading cause of maternal deaths in the developing world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has now approved the use of misoprostol, a drug that considerably reduces this risk.
- Shanghai’s health authority and local hospitals are seeking to reduce the rate of births by cesarean section this year after a recent report showed that far more Shanghai women are undergoing the procedure than is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- For the fifth time, at next week’s WHO General Assembly, countries will debate whether or not to destroy the last two known stockpiles of smallpox.
- The Director General of Nigeria’s drug and food regulator, Dr. Paul Orhii, was in London last week where he lodged a strong case before members states of the World Health Assembly to institute a legal platform to combat the spread of counterfeit drugs.
- Humanosphere’s Tom Paulson writes that funding for childhood vaccinations is not keeping up with the need and is struggling to compete with more high-profile priorities.
- The phenomenon of “poverty tourism” – in which charities and aid organizations take donors on trips to “experience poverty” and meet their beneficiary – is coming under increased scrutiny and generating controversy.
- John Donnelly, writing in GlobalPost, characterizes the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative as off to “a slow, stumbling start” in a short series called “Healing the World.”
- Last Wednesday, the WHO launched a campaign to reduce the huge but largely unrecognized burden of traffic deaths and injuries over the next decade.
- An HIV-positive person who takes anti-retroviral drugs after diagnosis, rather than when their health declines, can cut the risk of spreading the virus to uninfected partners by 96%, according to a study.
- New research has revealed that a bacteria present in the gut of mosquitos may be another tool to fight the spread of malaria.
- An experimental drug helped monkeys with a form of the Aids virus control the infection for more than a year, suggesting it may lead to a vaccine for people, or even a cure.
- A study by US scientists, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that 400,000 females aged 15-49 were raped over a 12-month period in the DRC 2006 and 2007. That comes out to an average of 48 women and girls being raped every hour.
- A new report by MSF argues that switching from using quinine to artesunate to treat malaria could save up to 200,000 lives a year.
- A US study has suggested that homosexual men are more likely to have had cancer than heterosexual men.
- According to the findings of the last Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, getting pregnant soon after childbearing, miscarriage or abortion places mothers and newborns at a higher risk of health complications or even death.
- Results announced today by the United States National Institutes of Health show that if an HIV-positive person adheres to an effective antiretroviral therapy regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96%.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- According to statistics released by the National Coordinator of the Nigeria’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), Dr. Babajide Coker, Nigeria contributes a quarter of the malaria burden in Africa, and a staggering 90 per cent of its citizens are at risk for contracting the disease.
- Johnson & Johnson’s recalled at least 11,700 bottles of HIV/AIDS drug Prezista in several countries, after discovering trace amounts of a chemical emitting offensive odors in five batches of products sold in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Canada.
- In China, around 1.5 million people require organ transplants, but just 10,000 receive them each year, as few Chinese agree to donate their organs upon death. Illegal organ traffickers have stepped in to fill that gap.
TOTALLY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING ELSE: Princess Beatrice’s atrocious weird attention-grabbing hat, worn to the royal wedding, is now being auctioned on eBay for UNICEF and Children in Crisis. Um, yay?