Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS
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 pffreeman@gmail.com or 773.318.4842.


POLITICS AND POLICY

  • GOP Presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann has been slammed by scientists, doctors and others for claiming that the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine can cause mental retardation. An ethicist has now put up money behind his challenge to her claim.
  • A commitment by G20 nations to strengthen agricultural research in developing countries will help reduce food insecurity as long as it focuses on small farmers and their needs, officials and experts said at a G20-backed conference this week.

PROGRAMS

  • The Gates Foundation has presented the Harvard School of Public Health with a $12 million grant to support its maternal health task force.
  • USAID is teaming up with former President George Bush to reduce cervical cancer deaths by 25% in five years for target developing countries.
  • The magic number may be $6 billion to make a real dent in ending the spread of AIDS.
  • A collaboration between UK and US funding agencies has announced more than £3.5M new funding for research aimed at controlling the transmission of diseases amongst humans, animals and the environment.

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

  • The number of African countries with national policies on traditional medicine increased almost fivefold between 2001 and 2010, according to a report on a decade of traditional medicine on the continent.
  • The recently published results from two malaria vaccine trials appear to show that scientists are getting closer to developing a vaccine against the mosquito-borne illness.
  • Effective nursing is the backbone of a high quality health care delivery system. GHDonline’s nursing community will discuss how ongoing mentoring and training programs can enhance nursing in an expert panel discussion September 19-23.
  • The number of young women with breast cancer has more than doubled worldwide since 1980, say researchers at Seattle’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
  • After 2 years of analyzing the results of the largest AIDS vaccine clinical trial ever held, the so-called Thai prime-boost trial, and the only one so far to show some protection against HIV, researchers say they have discovered insights that could lead to an effective vaccine.
  • IUDs can prevent cervical cancer, finds a study published in the Lancet.
  • Reducing the incidence of malaria could also drastically reduce the number of deaths from bacterial infections among children in Africa, a study has found.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • Authorities worry that tropical mosquitoes found in San Gabriel Valley could spread disease if they gained a foothold in Southern California.
  • A human rights investigator for the United Nations says up to a quarter of the world’s trash from hospitals, clinics, labs, blood banks and mortuaries is hazardous and much more needs to be done to regulate it.
  • A report from UNICEF and the WHO shows the decrease in the rate of deaths for children under the age of five.
  • The WHO warns that thousands may die if multi-drug resistant and forms of tuberculosis continue to spread throughoutEurope.
  • One of the scientific advisers to the new blockbuster movie “Contagion” says the “risks are very real — and are increasing drastically… Our vulnerability to such diseases has been heightened by the growth in international travel and the globalization of food production.”

FOCUS – NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

  • Cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness and diabetes account for 63 percent of all global deaths, yet up to half could be prevented, according to a new report, Noncommunicable Diseases Country Profiles 2011, released Wednesday by the  World Health Organization.
  • The WHO released a 207 page “global score card” on the prevention of chronic illness, one week ahead of the NCD summit at the UN.
  • Eli Lilly and Company has committed $30 million to the Global Health Initiative. The Lilly NCD Partnership will work to identify comprehensive, sustainable approaches to patient care. Initially it will concentrate on diabetes.

Thanks to Tom Murphy and Mark Leon Goldberg, Tom Paulson, Isobel Hoskins, and Public Health Newswire.

Global Health News, Week of August 28-September 3

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.

PROGRAMS

  • 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.

RESEARCH

  • A study published in Lancet finds that the workers who took part in the efforts to rescue people from the World Trade Center on 9/11 are at a high risk of suffering physical and mental illness.
  • A study by the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation in Uganda and Zambia found high rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection among pregnant women, but showed that “integrating rapid syphilis screening and HIV testing for pregnant women was feasible, cost-effective, and helped to prevent transmission of syphilis and HIV from mother-to-child.”
  • A genetically engineered virus may be the key to combating cancer, says a group of scientists.
  • Believed to only help children under four, researchers have determined that the rotavirus vaccine also reduces deaths in children between the age of five and fourteen.
  • Researchers who have tracked Haitian cell phone SIM cards relative to the cholera outbreak are optimistic that their findings will lead to future use of the same technology for other outbreaks.
  • Scientists may have found a critical weakness in Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. Researchers say the discovery provides a promising target for new malaria therapies.
  • Engineers at Michigan State University are developing a low-cost mobile phone application that can detect certain types of cancer.
  • Danish scientists say mosquito populations are dropping in many parts of Africa, even in parts where there are no human efforts such as insecticide spraying or bed net distributions underway.
  • A study published in the British Medical Journal reports a 24% reduction in deaths in children who received vitamin A.
  • A new approach to malaria vaccines grows the parasite inside mosquitoes and extracts vaccine components from the salivary gland.

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.