Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • House rejects bill to ban sex-selective abortions. It was a measure that sought to impose fines and prison terms on doctors who perform abortions on women who are trying to select the gender of their offspring.
  • The Agriculture department (US) has announced that it would expand testing for E.coli in raw beef trimmings.
  • California announces intent to award four medi-cal contracts to health net of California subsidiary.
  • Wolk’s flu bill passes Senate moves to assembly. This bill would require hospitals and clinics to reach a 90% vaccination rate among their health-care workers by 2015 or adopt masking requirement for those who decline flu shots.
  • Federal disability law does not cover medical marijuana patients. A panel of the appeals court threw out the patient’s lawsuit, which had charged that some California cities were violating the ADA by shuttering medical marijuana dispensaries.
  • Medical marijuana is legal in Connecticut. A law has been signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy approving its use, a measure that includes strict regulations in an attempt to any avoid problems. Qualifying patients and their primary caregivers would be able to possess a combined one-month supply of marijuana.
  • A ban that would impose a 16 ounce limit on any sugary bottled or fountain drinks that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces in New city restaurants, delis and movie theaters was proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Programs:

  • World Health Organization (WHO) award for reproductive health was given out at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva.  It was awarded to four countries- Rwanda, Nepal, Malawi, Ethiopia and Yemen.
  • Norway will provide up to NOK 500 million over a five year period for health in developing countries, which will be used to help women and babies through childbirth and the critical first 24 hours after delivery.
  • The first pilot waste water treatment plant with integrated wood production opened in Mongolia. It is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): Model region Mongolia (MoMo) project.

 Research

  • According to a recent study, people suffering from pneumonia with high blood sugar level are at a greater risk of death. The team found that those with diabetes had highest risk (14%) followed by those with hyperglycemia not diabetes (10%) and those without diabetes and normal glucose levels had lowest rates (3%).
  • In a recent study, researchers found that taking common painkillers might reduce chances of getting skin cancer.
  • Consumption of oil rich Mediterranean foods such as fish and sea food helps to improve physical and mental well-being.
  • Global research team yields new health insights into different types of trans fats. The findings strengthen the evidence that unlike industrial Trans fats, natural trans fats produced by ruminant animals are not harmful and have an health enhancing potential.
  • Soon a breath test will help to detect deadly tuberculosis bacteria in 6 minutes. However the doctors say that it cannot replace the sputum test which will remain the gold standard.
  • Researchers from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute said that reducing the prevalence of the disease among the drug users could also lead to a drop in infections across the wider populations.
  • Breakthrough drug may extend life of women suffering from deadly breast cancer. According to the daily mail newspaper it could be available in Britain within a year if it passes regulatory checks.
  • According to a research released last week, a drug already approved for prostate cancer has been shown to slow the spread of advance forms of this disease. In the patients treated with drug, the cancer did not worsen for 16 months as compared to 8.3 months in the group that did not receive this drug.
  • Premature babies are 4.5 times more likely to suffer from severe mental health problems. The study reveals that those born after just seven months in the womb or earlier are at highest risk compared with full-term babies.
  • According to a recent study a link between poor asthma control and eczema was seen among Brazilian urban children.
  • A study indicates that allergies (specifically allergies to plants, grass and trees) are linked to higher cancer risk. The researchers say that these allergies cause inflammation which may lead to an overactive immune system- and that over activity can in turn lead to blood cancer.

Diseases & Disasters

  • 6.6 magnitude earthquake strikes Panama’s pacific coast. There are no reports of injuries or deaths and no tsunami is expected.
  • A strong earth tremor of 5.1 magnitude hit northern Italy on Sunday. This area was struck by the deadly quakes in the last two weeks.
  • Measles outbreak in west Cork concerns Irish health officials. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is advising patients to vaccinate their children against viral disease.
  • Tuberculosis infected beef sold in Edo (Benin). On inspection it was seen that it has nodular lesions which enveloped on the surface of the various organs of the slaughtered cow.
  • A new strain of flu is likely to spread through Australia. It is likely to replace swine flu that emerged in 2009. Flu shots are available for people aged 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic disease as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Bird flu found in 21 poultry farms out of 85 in Bangladesh this year.
  • Hong Kong officials have confirmed H5N1 strain of avian influenza. They have confirmed it being the first human case of bird flu since November 2010 in Hong Kong.
  • Greek crisis spurs epidemic of suicides and mental illness.
  • New Mexico man is the first human plague case in the U.S. this year. The department of health press release has confirmed that the man is infected with Yersinia pestis.

 

 

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-up

Politics and Policies

Programs

Research

Diseases and Disasters

These headlines were compiled by Vani Nanda, MPH Candidate at West Chester University PA.

Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS
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 (ih.apha@gmail.com) 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.

PROGRAMS

  • 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.

RESEARCH

  • 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.

Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS

APHA’s 2011 Section elections are coming up soon! Online voting will open on May 16 and ends on June 20. Section members should receive an e-mail on May 16 (next Monday) which will include:

  • Your online election validation number
  • Your APHA membership ID number
  • Voting instructions
  • A direct link to your voting Web site

All you have to do is click on the direct link and VOTE!

APHA’s Trade and Health Forum has released its first newsletter! The Forum has established a quarterly APHA Trade & Health Forum Newsletter that includes brief reports from forum members regarding recent work and analyses of issues related to trade and health, as well as announcements for trade and health advocacy opportunities and events. The first spring issue can be viewed here (PDF).


David Sencer, the longest-serving director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and one of the leaders of the U.S. contribution to the smallpox campaign, passed away at age 86 on May 2.

May 5 was International Day of the Midwife.

POLICY

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces to assist Asia Pacific countries in identifying priority actions for dengue prevention and control.
  • On May 11, dozens of countries around the world will kick off the first global Decade of Action for Road Safety, from 2011-2020.
  • Starting last week, China’s Ministry of Health is strengthening its tobacco rules to require 28 types of businesses, including bars, coffee shops, hotels and stadiums to become 100 percent smoke-free.

PROGRAMS

  • After a sensationalistic (and rather silly) report from the AP on corruption and graft, the Global Fund has assembled a high-level panel of independent experts to assess the risk of fraud in the current portfolio. The review should be concluded by mid-September
  • Sri Lanka commemorated 100 years of its National Malaria Control Program, which has brought the death toll from malaria from 80,000 per year to 0, on May 5. In 2010, only 684 cases of malaria were reported in the country.
  • Health officials in India have taken up a pilot project at taluka places to identify areas with less number of institutional deliveries to bring down maternal deaths.
  • UNICEF has found that boreholes drilled in response to the Zimbabwe cholera outbreak in 2008 have not been adequately supported by the government in Harare.
  • USAID announced that it will be launching a $10 million mobile health program which will deliver information and tips to mothers via SMS.

RESEARCH

  • Protease inhibitors used to treat patients with HIV looks to provide an effective treatment to malaria as well and are being hailed as ‘superdrugs.’
  • Headaches are the most common health disorders across the world, yet they remain neglected and under-treated, according to a UN study.
  • Researchers warn that East African plants that could cure malaria could disappear before scientists have a chance to study them.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

Thanks, as usual, to the Healthy Dose and Humanosphere.