The world faces a huge challenge in providing food security for all in the face of growing populations, increasing demand for resource-intensive foods, and climate change. Leaders from G8 and G20 governments are pursuing a range of policy responses and it is crucial that they recognize the key role of technological innovation to ensure crop yields keep up with demand and available food meets nutritional requirements. But new inventions will do no one any good if they simply sit on the shelf.
September 5 was Labor Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- The State Department has announced the official US Delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, which will take place September 19-20.
- Access to affordable lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most—in parts of the developing world—if the U.S.insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, says Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
- Sarah Boseley shares the great news that Kenya has officially made female genital mutilation illegal.
- A federal appeals court in Virginia has dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
- United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon singled out sustainable development as the top issue facing the planet with the world’s seven billionth person expected to be born next month. Key to this was climate change, and he said time was running out with the population set to explode this century.
- Thousands of proposed cuts in the US Congress could lead to significant cuts to USAID.
- The Philippines reproductive health bill is still making its way through the senate. Meanwhile, 7 villages in Bataan, the Philippines have banned “artificial contraception” amid national debate over the bill.
- A report co-authored by an Australian academic highlights the need for healthy ecosystems as the basis for sustainable water resources and stable food security for people around the world.
- Sometime this fall, the world’s population will reach 7 billion people. Experts now forecast that by 2050, the population could be 10 billion. Some say those numbers should force policy makers to focus more intently on making family planning much more widely available in the developing world.
- The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has put together a one day conference bringing together innovators and health workers to share ideas about ways to more easily deliver interventions.
- It has been commonly held that insecticide treated bed nets reduce the rate of malaria for people who use them. Now there is hard evidence to back up that assumption.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATIONS
- A new study shows that less than three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer can effectively protect women in the developing world where 80% of global deaths due to cervical cancer take place.
- Only three African countries are on track to achieve MGD 5, according to an African Institute for Development Policy study.
- Most efforts in the Western world seeking to find solutions for developing world problems tend to think of inventing new technologies or, at least, using the tools we typically use to fix things — modern drugs for diseases, improved seeds for crops, a better mousetrap. Sometimes, all you need is a newly geared donkey.
- Scientists may have developed a new TB vaccine after tests showed the elimination of TB from infected tissue in mice.
- A socially active lifestyle can dramatically speed up weight loss through the burning of fat in mice, a study shows. Researchers at Ohio State University in the US identified a link between the amount of social interaction in a mouse’s environment and its weight.
- An easy-to-use diagnostic chip for HIV could “give results in minutes” and be a game changer in the field of cheap diagnostics for remote regions, claim the researchers who developed it.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Having to contend with U.S.army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world.
- Three-quarters of a million people are facing death by starvation in Somalia according the United Nations, who declared Monday that famine had spread to a sixth southern region of the beleaguered Horn of Africa state. Meanwhile, an investigation has revealed that masses of food meant for famine victims in Somalia are being stolen. There have also been reports of rioting and killings during food distribution at camps for famine victims.
- A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck 100km southwest of the city of Medan, Sumatra and 110km beneath the earth’s crust.
- A New York Times editorial castigates the international community’s response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti.
- The CEO of insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk says the WHO should buy low cost diabetes drugs in bulk for the developing world.
- Messages of good health and positive self-esteem for girls aren’t hard to come by in kid lit, so what’s the deal with all the attention for a not-yet-published rhyming picture book about an obese, unhappy 14-year-old named Maggie?
INFOGRAPHICS AND OTHER MEDIA
- Interaction has published an online “Horn of Africa Aid Map” showing 98 aid and development projects working on immediate famine relief as well as long-term development in East Africa.
- There may not be any zombies, vampires or mutant monsters wreaking bloody havoc on innocent people, but the fact that “Contagion” has a premise that experts say is all too plausible may make it the scariest movie of the season.
- A new index from Save the Children establishes the safest – and most dangerous – places in the world for a child to fall sick, which correlate closely with their chances of getting to see a health worker.