IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • Burundi is introducing the second dose of measles vaccine in its vaccination campaign in order to strengthen its efforts to fight preventable diseases.
  • China has stated that it will assist Cameroon in its fight against malaria as well as to strengthen health policies.
  • Angola parliament approves main lines of 2013 budget bill. A third of it will be spent on education, health, social welfare and housing.
  • African government’s will implement a health scorecard to reduce child deaths. This monitoring system publicly collects and reports health data.
  • Ghana is planning to establish its Health Insurance Learning Center to provide expertise and training on health insurance to many countries and institutions across the world.
  • China plans emergency measures to control Beijing air pollution. The rules will formalize previous ad-hoc measures including shutting down factories, cutting back on burning coal and taking certain vehicle classes off the roads on days when pollution hits unacceptable levels.
  • Negotiations on the Minamata Convention on Mercury (in Switzerland) among the delegates of 140 United Nations member states state that mercury added products like batteries, switches, thermometers etc. may not be manufactured, imported or exported no later than 2020. Mercury-added dental amalgams are also to be phased out. But certain mercury-added products are to be exempted from ban- like products for military and civil protection, products used in religious practices and some vaccines (with thimerosal) etc.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new type of flu vaccine which is made with a process that does not require the virus to be grown in chicken eggs. This will make it available weeks earlier in the event of a pandemic.


  • In order to prevent, strengthen, and mobilize the society on HIV/AIDS risks, a project “Proactive” was presented in Angola by the Population Services International (PSI). It will target prostitutes, lorry drivers and gays.
  • In collaboration with UNAIDS, Tango organized a two-day workshop on combating stigma and discrimination in HIV/AIDS for Civil Society Organizations.
  • To provide treatment to the needy heart patients mainly children and elderly, the Emirates Heart Group has launched humanitarian missions in Sudan, Egypt and Bosnia.
  • Guinea worm eradication program is coming to its completion. The reports show that the cases of the parasitic disease were reduced by nearly half in 2012.
  • For increasing awareness on road traffic safety the Riders for Health-the Gambia (RFH) and the British High Commission have established a Training-cum Resource Center in Gambia.


  • According to a study done by the researchers of UK, US and Germany, eating with seven servings a day is linked to peak mental well-being.
  • A study states that the HIV infection rate has declined among the pregnant females in the Republic of Congo from 3.4 percent in 2009 to 2.8 percent in 2012.
  • According to the World Health Organization, the cases of measles have fallen by 75 percent since 2000 but the rate of vaccination is still quite low to progress towards its complete eradication.
  • A study states that the HIV infection rate has declined among the pregnant females in the Republic of Congo from 3.4 percent in 2009 to 2.8 percent in 2012.
  • A report states that the Somali women living in Minnesota for 20 years or more have their cultural traditions about pregnancy and birth. They continue to resist cesarean sections, prenatal care and family planning.
  • A study published in PloS One states that South Africa pays a high cost to treat both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive tuberculosis. It states that drug resistant tuberculosis in South Africa consumed about 32% of the total estimated 2011 national TB budget of $218 million.
  • A simple radiographic scoring system has been suggested as it is found to reliably rule out active pulmonary tuberculosis in smear negative HIV – uninfected patients. It will potentially reduce the need for further testing in high burden settings.
  • A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine states that a 48-week course of antiretroviral medication taken in early stages of HIV infection slows the damage to immune system and delays the need for long term treatment.
  • According to a study bats are reservoirs for Ebola virus in Bangladesh.
  • Studies have shown that the cactus fruit could treat diabetes, help to lower cholesterol and have high levels of vitamin C.
  • A study published in Plos One states that majority of the high risk population in a setting in rural China have been diagnosed with a Cardiovascular Disease related disease. Majority of them did not take any cardiovascular disease drugs and very few of them took some drugs to prevent the diseases.
  • A study done in University of Gothenburg, Sweden, states that amputations among people with diabetes can be reduced by 50%. They stated that simple interventions like shoe inserts, podiatry, regular check-ups and other simple interventions can help to reduce it.
  • A new infection caused by ticks similar to Lyme disease has been found in 18 people in southern New England and upstate New York. According to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, this sickness could be infecting more than 4,300 Americans a year with flu-like symptoms and relapsing fevers.
  • According to a study vitamin D3 supplements are as effective as influenza vaccine. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that those school children who took vitamin D3 supplements were 64 % less likely to contract seasonal influenza A viral infection.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • A recently introduced five-in-one vaccine against diphtheria, pneumonia, tetanus, hepatitis B and Hib meningitis have raised health concerns among the doctors in India.
  • The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) of the Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health Hong Kong, has confirmed a case of New Delhi metallo-β – lacatamase-1 (NDM-1) Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in a 26 year old female.
  • The Department of Health (Hong Kong) has released a warning on a oral product named ‘Chashoot’. They say that it may contain undeclared Western drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies

  • Health officials from 194 countries endorsed a immunization strategy – the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – at the 65th World Health Assembly- to prevent millions of deaths by 2020.
  • The New Jersey Assembly has passed a bill that provides legal protection for people who summon medical help when they witness a drug overdose.


  • The United States government has urged baby boomers (any one born between the year 1945 to the year 1965) to get tested for the Hepatitis C virus. It is estimated that they are at a greater risk of contracting this virus through drug use or receiving blood transfusion before widespread screening for virus became available in 1992.
  • Rwanda introduces new vaccine for Rotavirus disease. This virus accounts for 8.8% of all under five deaths in this country. This vaccine has been incorporated in the country’s routine immunization program.
  • The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to implement policies to improve Africa’s health. It is working with Tanzania, Senegal and Mozambique as well as sub-regional blocs to improve their health systems.
  • The United Nations (UN) has mobilized 7 million U.S. dollars to support the response plan of the Senegalese government in its fight against food shortage.
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awards $69M in stem cell research grants targeting ‘bubble boy’ syndrome, other diseases.


  • A study says that individual health policies are failing to meet the standards of coverage set by federal health care law.
  • A study has found that the over the counter drugs can help to reduce the risk of heart attack. The researchers found that the combination of selenium yeast and the vitamin- like compound coenzyme Q10 significantly reduced the risk of heart attacks in elderly.
  • According to a study conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) about 39 percent of 12 major cancers can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • RNA breakthrough transforms the idea of gene control. The researchers have discovered that messenger RNA, the mirror image copy of DNA from which all proteins is manufactured, can be methylated also.
  • The researchers at the Duke University Medical Center looked into certain immune cells in the breast milk of HIV-infected mothers in the African nation of Malawi and found that the B-cells generate antibodies that can neutralize the HIV virus. They say though the transmission of HIV from the infected mothers can occur through the infected breast milk but only happen to one in ten nursing mothers infected by HIV.
  • Researchers at the Institute of the Cancer Research (ICR) and the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have discovered that a fault on one of the sex chromosomes is involved in the development of bowel cancer in men more than women. They have identified a faulty region on the X- chromosome that is linked to lower levels of a gene called SHROOM2.  They say that the men have only one copy of X chromosome, so they do not have a normal copy of the gene.
  • The researchers of Genomic Institute of Singapore (GIS) have unraveled the mechanism that causes liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma/ HCC.
  • A study shows that the people who eat faster are at 2.5 times the risk of having type – 2 diabetes.
  • In a study it was seen that the lung functions improved in the emphysema patients with metal wire implanted in it. This wire called lung reduction coil (LVRC) is designated to gather and compress diseased lung tissue, may offer relief to patients.
  • A research done by Danish scientists say that breast tumor risk increased at 40% rate among the night workers. Though the risk is not yet established, the study is expected to be completed by 2015.
  • Men who have psychiatric problems are more likely to die after the diagnosis of cancer according to the researchers at University College London. The study suggests that the men with mental illness face diagnostic delays that may affect their chances of surviving cancer.
  • Researchers have created glasses that indicate obstacles to patients with visual handicaps. This system could be of great use to people with visual loss in the central field of vision- those who suffer from age-related macular degeneration.
  • According to a UK study, cannabis fails to slow progress of multiple sclerosis.  Multiple sclerosis patients were assessed in the trial known as CUPID (cannabinoid use in progressive inflammatory brain disease) on both a disability scale administered by neurologists and another based on their own reporting.
  • According to a study, Latinos are less likely to take skin cancer precautions.  It says that a lack of health insurance and poorer access to healthcare contribute to not getting the checkups.

Diseases and Disasters

  • The leak at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan last week released cesium isotopes in to the Pacific, which the scientists believe might be tucked into tuna fish. They believe tuna might be carrying Fukushima radiation to California.
  • Gardeners have been warned to wash their hands using compost as rare strain of Legionnaire’s disease infects six people in Scotland.
  • Superbug spread to 40 countries and creates problem for medical tourism in India. These bugs are multiplying successfully because of a gene dubbed NDM-1. This gene is carried on mobile loops of DNA called plasmids that transfer easily among and across many types of bacteria. NDM-1 is changing common bugs that drugs easily defeated into untreatable killers.
  • May 27- June 2 declared Florida Hurricane Preparedness Week.