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
Global Fund round 11 is now open for proposals.
GREAT LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
A seven-part webinar series, called the “Outstanding Presentations Workshop,” began this Wednesday and is available for free to all who register. Each one-hour seminar will be streamed live over the next few weeks on Wednesday and will be recorded for later viewing. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to improve your presentations and spare your audiences death by PowerPoint. More information is available here, and the schedule can be accessed here.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- In Uganda, the landmark legal case of Jennifer Anguko, a mother who died while she was in labor for 12 hours in a government hospital, will begin in early September.
- Critics of the World Health Organization say it needs to redefine and reposition itself within the increasingly complex and convoluted field of global health. These experts suggest that the world will not suffer if the WHO cuts certain programs while narrowing its focus.
- In the United States, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are promoting the use of IUDs as the “most effective form of reversible contraception available and safe for most women.”
- The Global Fund may cut its contributions to China by half.
- USAID Admin Dr. Raj Shah announced that $23 million in new aid will be directed towards the Horn of Africa crisis.
- Anonymity is no longer a right of people seeking HIV/AIDS tests in China, and the change has lead to a significant drop in the number of tests being performed.
- The Asian Development Bank has called for Asia-Pacific countries to collaborate on combating HIV/AIDS at the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.
- Tension between the United States and Pakistan will not prevent USAID from continuing to support health, energy and education systems says the USAID Pakistan Chief.
- The epidemics of diabetes, heart disease and cancers that have stricken the populaces of wealthy countries are spreading to the developing world, yet the United Nations lacks an agreement, let alone an overall goal, on how to limit the preventable illnesses and deaths arising from these so-called non-communicable diseases. The British Medical Journal reports many developed countries, including the U.S. and Canada, are resisting specific targets for reduction in fats, sugars and salt in processed foods.
- Overall, more newborn children are surviving, but slower progress in cutting death rates among babies in the first weeks of life is putting the global goal of reducing child deaths by two-thirds in jeopardy.
- One expert says as the question of aid effectiveness has moved to the centre of development debates. If donors want to make their aid more effective, then they need to engage strategically with the private sector.
- In the Washington Post, Michael Gerson makes the “pro-life” case for increased support for contraception and family planning worldwide.
- UNICEF and international NGOs are working to raise awareness and encourage West African communities to invest in the construction of more pit latrines. Pit latrines, say advocates, can drastically reduce the spread of diarrhea, cholera and worms.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- A study published in Nature says that the last three waves of cholera can all be traced back to the Bay of Bengal.
- Despite a massive humanitarian effort after the 2010 earthquake, females in Haiti remain neglected, rights activists say, lacking access to care as they give birth to babies in squalid conditions, often as a result of sex in trade for food or other necessities.
- UN FAO warns that the bird flu is on the rise in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
- Reports from the Libyan capital Tripoli say a humanitarian crisis appears to be emerging following the ouster of long-time ruler Muammar Qaddafi. There is a shortage of medicine, fuel, food, water, and power supplies, and growing piles of uncollected garbage.
- Polio has been reported in China and Kenya.
Thanks to Tom Murphy and Mark Leon Goldberg, Tom Paulson, Isobel Hoskins, and UN Wire.
Attention IH section members! We are still in need of moderators for the scientific sessions at this year’s annual meeting. According to our program committee, the following sessions are still available:
Monday, October 31
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: International Health Programs & Policy 1
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Act Global, Think Local: Domestic applications of international health lessons; Child Survival & Child Health 1
Tuesday, November 1
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Builidng Partnerships and Coalitions for better International Programs; Emerging, Re-emerging & Neglected Tropical Diseases
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: International Health Communication/ Behavior Change Communication
12:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m.: HIV/AIDS 2
Wednesday, November 2
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: HIV/AIDS 3; Innovations in International Health 2
Please contact Omar Khan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, or to volunteer!
USAID celebrated its 50-year anniversary this week.
The benefits of breastfeeding are being showcased around the world
for Breast Feeding Week.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- US organizations will find it easier to deliver aid to parts of Somalia controlled by a pro-Al Qaeda group – the threat of prosecution if it ends up in the wrong hands has been reduced after an announcement by the State Department.
- Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez was sworn in as the new Assistant Administrator for the Global Health Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Although Congress resolved the debt ceiling debate, the way the budget package is being shaped — particularly by combining International Affairs with defense in a single “security” category, global poverty spending is getting severely handicapped.
- Blood tests for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis may be putting patients’ lives at risk through providing misleading results, and should not be used, according to a WHO policy statement.
- The inaugural charter of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders was signed at Temple University yesterday.
- Tom Paulson of Humanosphere breaks down the 2010 Gates Foundation annual report, with some interesting commentary.
- Jaclyn Schiff of UN Dispatch says we can look for more global health leadership coming from the city of Houston (my hometown!), as Dr. Peter Hotez, whom Schiff calls “an international health force of nature,” and an arm of the Sabin Vaccine Institute move there.
- The Measles Initiative today announced it has helped vaccinate one billion children in more than 60 developing countries since 2001, making significant gains in the global effort to stop measles.
- India’s health minister announced Tuesday a new initiative underway to boost the country’s rate of immunizing newborns by collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies’ vaccinations.
- A multi-resistant strain of Salmonella Kentucky could be spreading globally, suggests a study by Institut Pasteur. Case numbers have risen in Europe and the US, and infections have also been acquired in various parts of Africa and the Middle East. The strain has also been found in food animals in Africa.
- Pharmaceutical manufacturer iBio, Inc announced the successful animal testing of a malaria vaccine candidate in trials sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- A new study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene shows a relationship between a kind of river flow and cholera outbreaks.
- A new study in the Lancet shows that text messaging can be an effective tool in malaria treatment and prevention.
- PLoS Medicine published a new study on HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa. Among its key findings was the startling fact that sex between men (MSM) accounts for nearly one quarter of all new HIV infections across the region.
- According to a new study, children of depressed mothers in developing countries are 40 percent more likely to be underweight or stunted than those with mothers in good mental health.
- A cheap and portable blood test could provide a breakthrough for diagnosing infections in remote areas of the world, a scientific study says.
- Using WHO data, researchers found that children who experience abuse and develop mental health disorders are at increased risk for chronic physical problems later in life.
- A new study in the journal Nature Medicine finds that a credit card shaped device used for testing HIV, known as “Lab-on-a-Chip,” has had a successful trial run in Rwanda.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Mass treatment of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis with ivermectin has been hampered by severe reactions if the patient also has Loa loa. A new map developed by WHO’s African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control will help communities identify low risk areas for Loa loa and distribute ivermectin for lymphatic filariasis control safely.
- The CDC reports that the annual number of HIV infections in the USA is holding steady at about 50,000, and that African American MSM are at particular risk.
- AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality, argues Michel Sidibe in the LA Times. In the world’s wealthier nations, where access to medicine is widespread, AIDS is becoming a chronic disease rather than a death sentence. But in the eveloping world, 1.8 million people die of AIDS each year.
- Global cholera incidence has increased since 2000, with Haiti’s large outbreak tipping the largest burden away from Africa for the first time since 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday.
- Tens of thousands of Somalis have died and more than half-a-million children are on the brink of starvation. Western aid isn’t flowing to where the worst of the famine is — partly due to the “war on terror.”
- The head of World Food Program in Ethiopia says the country’s emergency food stocks are almost gone, the latest trouble caused by the drought in the Horn of Africa.
TOTALLY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING – Apparently Hollywood has discovered its next Greg Mortenson: Sam Childers, the “Machine Gun Preacher,” is the subject of much hubbub and an upcoming movie starring Gerard Butler. This man claims to have been a gangbanger and drug dealer who found Jesus and then took up arms to rescue child soldiers from the LRA. Global health blogger Brett Keller offers some commentary into Childers’ outlandish (and, frankly, dubious) story, while anonymous aid blogger “J” at Tales from the Hood has a few choice words.
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.