IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • The government of Australia is preparing to soon offer a 20-minute HIV test in Melbourne. It has yet to decide which clinics will offer the test.
  • The National Population Commission has announced that China has planned to improve county-level family planning services.
  • Regulations have been issued by the government of Indonesia to bear graphic photographic warnings on the cigarette packets.
  • The United Nations has allowed Bolivia to return to the United Nations main anti-narcotics treaty and has given its approval on chewing the coca leaf.
  • Twelve nations have signed a new United Nations treaty which aims to counter the illegal tobacco trade.
  • New York City (U.S.) hospitals will adopt new guidelines that will forbid emergency room doctors to give out more than three days’ worth opioid painkillers to the patients.


  • Pfizer Inc. has included its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to expand its pediatric immunization program in Tanzania.
  • UNICEF calls for cessation of child recruitment in the Central African Republic. More than 300,000 children have been affected by the violence which has led to their limited access to education and health facilities.
  • US$176 million announced by IMF and World Bank for debt relief for the Union of the Comoros. It will help the country to fight poverty and improve health and education facilities.
  • European Union gives EUR 16million support to Ghana. This money will support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Accelerated Framework and Country Action Plan developed to combat maternal mortality.
  • $25 million has been awarded by Abt Associates for a three-year malaria prevention project in Kenya.
  • The FCC has launched $400 million heath care development fund with an aim to create and expand telemedicine networks.


  • According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry there is a relationship between mental health and spirituality.
  • According to the Journal of Infectious Diseases, nosocomial transmission responsible for XDR-TB outbreak in South Africa.
  • A study identifies the chances of infection (co-infection) with another disease when a person is infected with a disease.
  • A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, climate can be the reason for a neurological condition, hydrocephalus in children in Uganda.
  • Number of new annual cases of HIV/AIDS cases in India has dropped by 57 percent in the last decade.
  • A study published in J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry links loneliness with higher chances of dementia or memory loss.
  • Researchers have identified role in obesity and diabetes. They have found that blocking the expression of gene TRIP-B2r  in mice protects them against obesity and insulin resistance.
  • A report published by Natural News states that children who are vaccinated according to the CDC recommended schedule are five times more likely to develop diseases as compared those who are not.
  • According to the findings of a report, among all rich countries, people of U.S.  live unhealthy and shorter lives.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • The Flu has surpassed an ‘epidemic’ threshold in the United States. It is widespread in all except the three states of US.
  • According to The New Times survey, there is a severe drug shortage in Kigali hospitals (in Rwanda).
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) yellow fever has killed about 171 people in Darfur (Sudan).
  • Top U.N. Aid officials warn food crisis in two isolated southern states of Sudan. People of South Kordofan and Blue Nile have been feared dying of malnutrition and disease.
  • According to the officials, about 80 people have died in Bangladesh due to cold-related diseases like respiratory problems, pneumonia and cough.
  • People in Beijing have been warned of extremely hazardous air quality. The density of PM2.5 particulates has reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of city.
  • Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has warned the public of possible outbreak of Leptospirosis (rat fever) in flood affected areas.
  • According to the health authorities, Barbados has recorded an increase in dengue cases since the last year.
  • Paraguay has confirmed reports of outbreaks of dengue in the north and east of the country. It has declared a national epidemics alert.

Global Health Weekly News Round-up

Politics and Policies:

  • United Nations has urged Philippines to pass reproductive health bill. It will help to achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).
  • States (U.S.) sets standards for insurance exchanges.
  • The Costs for senior’s Medicare Part D premiums will remain stable.
  • Massachusetts Governor signs health care cost containment bill.
  • Medicaid official outlines state flexibility in health law’s Medicaid expansion.
  • Dementia has been added to the list of national health priority areas in Australia, following a meeting of federal and state health ministers in Sydney.
  • Uganda’s government sued over maternal healthcare.
  • Spain will modify the controversial plan to deny public healthcare to undocumented immigrants.  They would now be treated under same system used for temporary foreign visitors to Spain.


  • A grant of 690,000 from the African Water Facility (AWF) will support Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) to build resilience to droughts through rain water harvesting management (IRHM).
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say that the HIV pill is also for people at risk of getting this deadly infection- woman, heterosexual men.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lucentis for treatment of diabetic macular edema- a life threatening eye disease that occurs in people with diabetes.
  • Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) working with the University of Colorado has embraced PartoPen and Partgraph technology to reduce maternal mortality and life threatening complications.


  • The researchers say that changing diets, urbanization and increasing sedentary lives has resulted in steep rise in obesity among many the African nations (Sub-Saharan Africa). They called it ‘thrifty gene hypotheses’.
  • According to a new study the way red meat is cooked can affect cancer risk.  It was found that men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked by any high temperature method (broiling or grilling etc.) were 40% more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than men who rarely did so.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there is a slight drop in high school students who smoke cigarettes but sharp increase in percentage of black students who smoked cigars.
  • A recent study indicates that babies born to mothers who are overweight or obese in sub-Saharan Africa who are obese more likely die in the first two days after their birth.
  • Researchers at Duke University Health System have found a promising stem cell therapy for preventing osteoarthritis after a joint injury, using a type of stem cell, called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
  • According to a study conducted by University of Minnesota researchers investigating in quality of care for diabetic patients reduces their costs.
  • A recent research found that the breast cancer survivors with higher body fat had higher mean concentration of Serum amyloid A protein and C-reactive protein than women with lower body fat. Both of them are related to worse survival rates.
  • According to a research article planning and management instruments in healthcare area are limited in Brazil.
  • A study reconfirmed the usefulness of bendiocarb on anopheles populations (this mosquito causes malaria) resistant to pyrethroids.
  • A research study shows that percentage of exercise repetitions (by Parkinson’s disease patients) completed of those agreed with a physiotherapist in a six week personalized exercise program reduced with patient’s age but better compliance with medication was seen with age.
  • A study found that Asian females have very low prevalence of postpartum hemorrhage and compared to those of Europe.
  • Study found that the ionizing radiations might triggers mechanisms that might favor the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • According to Australian researchers persistent heavy marijuana use damages the brains memory and learning capacity.
  • In a study involving twins it was found that fainting could be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • In a study done in Australia it was found that overqualified immigrants who are not able to find a job of their qualification after three years are likely to suffer from depression.
  • A research showed that men who did weight lifting reduced their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • A West Nile virus epidemic has prompted a public health emergency in Dallas County in Texas. Nine people are reported to be killed by infection with this virus.
  • A 6.2 magnitude earthquake killed at least 87 people and injured 400 in northwestern Iran on Saturday (Aug, 11).
  • Typhoon Haikui struck China on Wednesday.  It has caused flooding and stranded hundreds of people.
  • Sliced apples packages distributed to fast-food and grocery chains being recalled due possible listeria contamination.
  • Queensland health authorities have rejected swine flu reports.
  • Queensland doctors are concerned with an outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease, syphilis, in states northwest.
  • Mexico kills 8 million birds infected with bird flu.
  • The CDC says 145 cases of the influenza A (H3N2) variant have been found in four United States states since mid-July. This new strain in humans continues to spread.
  • According to the CDC just one drug is left to fight against resistant Gonorrhea.


Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • U.S. task force has issued blood pressure guidelines.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives less-expensive option, approves first generation versions of Plavix (blood thinners).
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered forbidding the state dental board to restrict non-dentists from the teeth whitening services in Richmond, Va. According to AMA this decision might change medical practice regulation.
  • U.S. says Medicaid overpaid $ 700 M to New York State.
  • Missouri legislators have agreed to compromise on the debate over insurance coverage of contraception, abortion and sterilization.
  • The FDA advisory committees have endorsed two new HIV drugs and an arthritis drug.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services has announced a two-year pay boost for the primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients.
  • According to the guidelines released on Wednesday, states should submit  details to the Federal government by November 16th on how they will run online insurance market places.
  • The ESC guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in collaboration with the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC was launched at the Heart Failure Congress 2012, 19-22 May, in Belgrade, Serbia. These are published in the European Heart Journal.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) is warning the public not to consume the Gills Onion brand Fresh Diced Red Onions because the product might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
  • As a part of e-health initiatives to improve primary health services in rural and underdeveloped areas, the union health ministry of India has given Rs 18.878 crore to states to facilitate establishment of Telemedicine network.


  • The Parsons Foundation gives $5million to fight HIV/AIDS in Arizona.
  • UAE school children to learn the benefits of milk in a month-long nationwide campaign. It will target first-grade students.
  • The CMS innovation center awarded 26 grants to a variety of healthcare organizations. The purpose is to improve the healthcare delivery.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) disclosed that its Philippines office has raised $28.5 M funds in the year till date. This money will be used to promote reproductive and maternal health- one of the country’s Millennium Development Goals.


  • According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, people who have bachelor’s degree or higher live about nine years longer than those who don’t graduate from the high school.
  • Besides urinary tract health benefits, a new study confirmed Cranberry’s benefits in boosting body’s immunity. The study also showed that consuming its juice significantly increased the levels of an important antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD).
  • A study indicates that the artificial sweeteners might cause inflammatory bowel disease.  They contain saccharin and sucralose which decrease the gut bacteria and weaken and destroy the gut barrier.
  • A research study found genes which connect football, military and Alzheimer’s disease together.
  • Chilean berry (maqui berry) extract might help to fight type-2 diabetes. The study shows that the anthocyanin’s- delphinidin 3-sambobioside-5-glucoside (D3S5G)-demonstrated insulin-like effects in muscles and liver cells in mice.
  • A study demonstrates the long-term effectiveness of a classroom-based prevention program targeting teen drug use. This study tracked teens that participated in the Bolvin Life Skills Training (LST) program as 7th graders and found that their participation in this program produced long lasting reduction in drug use 12 years later.
  • A study reveals that the healthcare law would save consumers nearly $300 per year. The research says that the saving will be even greater for the people between ages of 55 and 64.
  • According to a new governmental analysis, the foods which come under category of non-healthy food are more costly than the healthy food.
  • According to an 18-month long study conducted by the Rand Corp, about 96% of restaurant entrees exceed United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat.
  • Healthy dieting in pregnancy may be helpful. Study reveals that up to 40% of women gain more than the recommended weight during pregnancy. This excess weight is associated with a number of problems.
  • According to a study, mental distraction can help in relieving pain. The findings show that this isn’t just a mental process, but also physical mechanism that reduces the amount of pain signals travelling from the spinal cord to the brain.
  • An analysis done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveal the rate of current cigarette use among the U.S. teens decreased from nearly 12 percent in 2004 to about 8 percent in 2010.
  • A study indicates a possible risk between certain sunscreens use and chances of development of endometriosis. The chemicals known as benzophenone-type UV filters not only protect the skin from UV rays but they are easily absorbed into the blood stream and mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen.
  • A study examining the sleeping behaviors of the parents whose children suffer from epilepsy say that they often lose sleep over child’s epilepsy.
  • A new U.S. study finds that government workplace safety inspections reduce on-the-job injuries and related costs without hurting company profits.
  • A study done on mice show that though it’s important what we eat but also when we eat. The scientists suggest eating too many hours a day may also contribute to obesity.
  • Harvard university researchers say that the bad fat may affect brain memory.


Diseases & Disasters

  • A moderate earthquake rattled an area in east Texas on May 17th. It had a magnitude of 4.3.
  • A maginitude-6.2 earthquake shook down walls and knocked out electricity in parts of far-northern Chile on Monday, May 14th, 2012.
  • Cluster of Influenza A cases in Castle Peak Hospital in Hong Kong.
  • Kenya is facing BCG vaccine shortage.
  • The water supply to tens of thousands of households near Tokyo was cut off on Saturday after local checks found it was contaminated with cancer causing chemical- Formaldehyde. A contamination of 0.2000 milligrams of formaldehyde per liter – more than two times the 0.80 milligram national limit- was detected.


How effective is our work towards reaching the MDGs?

By Elvira Beracochea, MIDEGO

Are we really making a difference? Should we account for our work and present transparent results, good and bad to our peers, host country partners and funding agencies?

This year the IH section hosted the second panel on “Aid Effectiveness and Accountability.” This panel is a follow on to the one we had last year. I am happy that the topic of Aid Effectiveness is raising more attention. I want to thank two guest presenters: Michael Hammer, Executive Director of the One World Trust, who came from the UK for this panel and Elisabeth Sandor of the OECD, who came from Paris for this panel.

One World Trus (www.oneworldtrust.org) is a fifty-year old non-profit organization in the UK evaluating and holding accountable organizations such as DfID, Aga Khan Foundation, etc. Their accountability report is a must for those working in IH. Last year the OECD decided to include health as its tracer sector and is monitoring progress towards the MDGs and the commitments made in Paris Declaration.   Continue reading “How effective is our work towards reaching the MDGs?”

Sun, Sea and Sanitation – APHA 2008 in San Diego

By Isobel Hoskins

A visiting UK editor’s impressions of the APHA conference….

I didn’t attend that many scientific sessions at APHA this year, being preoccupied with meetings about Global Health database and visiting exhibitors in the vast exhibition but those I did go to seemed to keep bringing up sanitation and hygiene as the key to so much disease prevention. Its really part of next years’ theme, Water and Health.

First, the speech by the US Assistant Secretary for Health Joxel Garcia reminded us that the major impacts on public health last century in the developed world were achieved by vaccines and sanitation. I was thinking- is enough effort now being applied to doing this for the developing world? Or are more glamorous projects getting the money. The Millenium Development Goal for sanitation is apparently behind where it should be. Continue reading “Sun, Sea and Sanitation – APHA 2008 in San Diego”