Global Health News Last Week

May 18 was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


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!

Global Health News Last Week

After the Lancet retracted the controversial Wakefield study last February, which suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, BMJ has declared the study to be fraudulent after further investigation revealed that the author stood to make millions of dollars through lawsuits and diagnostic kits related to autism.

Kofi Annan urges the WHO executive board to set a date for measles eradication during their meeting, which will last until January 25.

Engineers Without Borders, Canada, is trying to change the way aid organizations represent their projects (and their failures) by launching, a website where organizations can post their favorite failure. They hope to encourage groups to admit to, and learn from, their failures.

The Center for Global Development has posted an MDG progress index, which allows the user to see how different nations are progressing toward the MDG targets.

A research paper debunked claims made by UN environmental organizations that insecticide-free methods used in a malaria control project were effective at reducing transmission, thus making the case to stop the use of DDT.

End the Neglect posted a reading list on Thursday.

Developing nations continue to pressure the US and Russia to destroy their stocks of smallpox, though the WHO supports retention for research purposes.

Unlike many other countries, which are making progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Russia’s HIV epidemic is getting worse due to pervasive drug addiction. Meanwhile, religious leaders in Chechnya have declared the couples must obtain proof that they are HIV-negative in order to receive permission to marry.