Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • Supreme Court upholds President Obama’s health-care law.
  • South Africa adopts 2.5 micron meter (PM 2.5) ambient air quality standards to maintain public health.
  • Indian government proposes new health mission with a focus on the health challenges of people in towns and cities.
  • For uninsured in Texas, Supreme Court ruling adds to uncertainty.
  • Some GOP-led states plan to resist health care law, as ruling reins in Medicaid expansion.
  • Ottawa earmarks $238M for health data research.


  • The Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project sold a total of 87400 apples and raised N$1.3 million for the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN).
  • Swim across America raises $400K for cancer research.
  • The Prem Rawat (TPRF) Foundation has awarded US$20,000 to cover the costs of a garden-installation program in challenged Niger. These gardens provide fresh produce for the school children lunch.
  • The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), with financial support of the government of Canada begins 5-year $2million healthcare program that will focus on preventing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis among pregnant women in the Ngqushwa district of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
  • The International Youth Fellowship (IYF) has launched 2012 World Youth Camp in Accra. The aim behind it is make the youth stay away from acts that might lead to violence and conflicts during the coming elections. It will include free medical screening and lectures.
  • A polio campaign from June 29 to July 1 in Lunda Norte Province (Angola) is estimated to vaccinate about 250,000 children from ages 0 to 5.
  • Looking at the health and safety problems of the children, Nestle, Africa vows action on coca child labor in Ivory Coast.
  • Equatorial Guinea offers food aid to Somali famine victims.
  • Workshop on malaria control under way in Ethiopia. This year’s National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) Best Practice Sharing Workshop will acknowledge the progress made in managing malaria (particularly at community level).
  • Global action for healthy communities without illicit drugs theme marked the celebrations of International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Gambia.
  • ‘Love the Gambia foundation’ donated medical equipment’s worth £150,000 to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Gambia.
  • A team of IBM experts presented a plan to the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the United States Embassy in Kenya to encourage more women to request screening for cervical cancer.
  • Ghana to give USD1m to tackle neglected endemic tropical diseases in order to protect the gains made by the country in Guinea Worm eradication and the elimination of trachoma.
  • Uganda Red Cross Society seeks Sh4.5 Billion for Budada district to provide the people with sanitation kits, hygiene kits, latrine slabs, and safe clean water and sanitize them to prevent any disease outbreaks like diarrhea and dysentery.
  • “Neighbors’ eye” program in Rwanda to help eradicating drug abuse.
  • Hong Kong’s first anti-cancer drug (for liver cancer) granted with US FDA IND.
  • Nepal gets $8 million from UN peace building fund. This funding will used for the activities such as mobile health camps, health services inside the cantonments.
  • Cordillera (Philippines) administrative region children to receive free rotavirus vaccination.
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Children with Intestinal and Liver Disorders (CH.I.L.D) create Canadian Children Inflammatory Bowel Disease Network.


  • A study published in Lancet describes a treatment option for the people living with HIV/AIDS. The quad pill includes an integrase inhibitor, which is meant to stop the virus from replicating.
  • A study published in the Journal of AIDS confirms that the Shang Ring is safe to use and demonstrates that men should exceed the recommended timing for removing the device. This requires only one visit for the procedure and it stays in place for 7 days after the procedure.
  • According to a recent study the pregnant women in Lilongwe and Malawi need to be informed of their increased risk for HIV and the importance of using condoms throughout pregnancy and the postpartum.
  • A study conducted by the New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has found that children’s intake of iodine has significantly improved since the mandatory bread fortification policy.
  • A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Biological Sciences and Mechanobiology Institute have discovered how a drug – Lead compound- can deprive cancer cells of energy and stop them from growing tumor. This drug-lead compound is named BPTES.
  • According to a study, expectant mothers who dealt with the strain of a hurricane or major tropical storm passing nearby during their pregnancy had children who were at elevated risk of abnormal health conditions at birth.

Diseases & Disasters

  • Strong earthquake (of magnitude 6.6) rocks China’s far-western frontier. About 34 people are reported to be injured.
  • Earthquake of 3.4 magnitude strikes Morgan Hill about 12 miles from San Martin and 15 miles from San Jose City Hall.
  • Household air pollution in Laos fuels pneumonia. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) noted that 1,200 of the 1,777 deaths could be directly attributed to solid fuel use.
  • Floods by the water of river Brahmaputra in the state of Assam (India) has caused death of 35 people. 11 lakh people are left stranded.
  • 350,000 marooned in flooding of river Brahmaputra in Bangladesh.
  • The Ministry of Health (Singapore) said microspordial spores are common in Singapore soil.




Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • 9/11 health fund given clearance to cover cancer.
  • Arizona tries to keep reins tight as it starts regulating medical marijuana.
  • Hospitals will now be ranked by letter grade for how well they perform on safety measures.


  • The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded US$26million in grants to 85 community organizations during the first quarter- $9.7 million for water stewardship, $3.6million for fitness and nutrition, $7.4 million for education and $4.9 million for community recycling and other local priorities such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, youth development and civic initiatives.
  • UK announces extra £10m drought aid for West Africa. It will fund nutritional treatment, water and sanitation for a further 31,000 children and food for a further 170,000 people for six months.
  • Starwood Hotels and Resorts launches associate fundraising campaign- ‘Road to Awareness’ to support UNICEF education project- Early Childhood Care and Education program-  in Ethiopia.
  • National strategy launched in Zimbabwe to prevent pediatric HIV/ AIDS.
  • New Give2Asia Fiscal sponsorship partners deliver critical services to children in Bangladesh and Cambodia.
  • The Ministry of Health and Population (Nepal) has established community health units at 22 VDCs of 22 districts to facilitate easy access to health services. They have named the program ‘Village Clinic Program’.
  • A nationwide anti-drugs campaign has been launched by the Nepal police in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, NARCONON, to fight against illegal use of drugs to grassroots level across country.
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine creator Prof. Frazer honored.


  • A recent study by the health protection surveillance center showed that about 30% Irish population with HIV do not know that they are suffering from this deadly disease. According to the patient campaigners people are still involved in risk taking behaviors because they do not know that these can lead them to get the HIV infection.
  • The researchers that found that the cancer cells have significantly low rate of mutation. Their study shows that increased cancer is the result of a decrease in reactive oxygen species-mediated mtDNA damage.
  • A study indicates a need to develop a rapid point –of-care test to diagnose acute HIV infection.
  • A study gives an insight on how small number of patients (known as elite controllers or long-term non-progressors) infected with HIV virus are able to prevent it from multiply.
  • New diabetes treatment in late testing stage shows promise. Studies show Degludec reduced low blood sugar during the night when it’s most dangerous, by 36% and also reduced severe hypoglycemia significantly. Since this drug is active in body for more than 24 hours for long-acting insulin, patients can maintain good sugar control even if they don’t take it at the same time every day.
  • A latest research shows that Victoza (liraglutide injection) provided greater reductions in HbA1c compared to exenatide and DPP-4 inhibitors, weight loss and cost-effectiveness, when used in routine primary care.
  • Researchers identify unusual ‘altruistic’ stem cell behavior with possible link to cancer. Their study has shown that certain human embryonic stem cells, in times of stress, produce molecules that not only benefit themselves, but also help nearby cells to survive.
  • A study hints that the children and even the grandchildren of old people may get a health benefit because of their old age. The research is based on telomeres- tips of the ends of the chromosomes. It also confirmed the idea that the older your dad was when you were born, the longer telomeres tend to be.
  • Researchers have found specific groups of cells that HPV targets. It has shown that if those cells are removed from the cervix they did not appear to regenerate. These cells also have a particular gene expression that is the same as found in aggressive cervical tumors that allow the doctors to differentiate benign lesions from dangerous pre-cancers.
  • A team of investigators from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSDM) researchers in corporation with Pavlov State University investigated nondisclosure of HIV infection in a cohort of 700 people living with HIV in St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine has published efficacy results of Otsuka’s (Pharmaceutical Company) Delamanid for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • A University of Alberta team has made an important breakthrough in the race to find a viable replacement for the supply of technetium-99m, an important isotope for imaging.
  • According to a population based study, Q fever and pneumonia are associated with areas of high livestock density.
  • CT scans warning after study claims too many could lead to brain tumor. Research says children under 15 could face tumors or leukemia’s in later life if they have three or more scans.
  • Studies find no increase in cancer risk from insulin Glargine.
  • Study debunks belief insulin puts people with diabetes at risk of heart disease. strokes and cancer.
  • A study showed that dieting craze in Sweden is linked to cholesterol increase putting the people at increased risk heart disease.
  • New skin patch kills most common form of skin cancer. The treatment called a phosphorus-32 skin patch, a radiation spot-treatment in the form of patch that can safely and easily kill skin tumors with a few easy outpatients’ appointments.
  • Scientists find a new genetic path to deadly diarrheal disease (caused by bacterium Shigella).
  • Study reveals that patients with type-2 diabetes lose weight, decrease insulin in meal replacement therapy.
  • CDC study finds Alabama teens top the teen obesity list.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • An earthquake measuring a magnitude 5.4 struck the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan on Monday morning followed by a 5.7 quake. Scores of people feared dead in this earthquake.
  • Critical situation’ as untreatable gonorrhea accounted for almost 10% of cases in Europe. The ‘Superbug’ strains which are becoming untreatable accounted for almost one in 10 cases of the sexually transmitted disease in Europe in 2010, more than double the rate of the year before.
  • Deadly African sleeping sickness (Trypansoniasis) blamed on witchcraft and demonic possession. Most affected country has been Democratic Republic of Congo, which declared 500 new cases in 2010.
  • Rural Zambia’s drinking supply fraught with danger and disease.
  • In last five months a total of 56 people have died due to dengue in Sri Lanka. According to the ministry the cases have tripled in the first quarter of this year as compared to 2011.
  • In China, one in ten tuberculosis cases are drug-resistant.

Another Disease in the Crowd? Pneumonia back in the spotlight on World Pneumonia Day

Nearly every disease, cause, and social issue claims a calendar date for itself to raise awareness, from well-known causes such as HIV/AIDS and cancer to somewhat more obscure issues, such as parental alienation.  World Pneumonia Day, which was yesterday, is no exception.  It, like many others, came amid general fanfare, advocacy, and, well, awareness, but it will undoubtedly step back into the crowd of causes competing for attention and funding.

But should it?

In this climate of fiscal austerity, foundations and organizations competing for an ever narrowing stream of donor funding.  Times are tight, so each disease has to make its case, so to speak.  Without a doubt, all of them are worth funding, but none of them will get the funding they need.  The question, then, becomes one of priority: how do donors decide how to make their dollars count?

Pneumonia can make a compelling case for being at the front of the line.  It is simultaneously the world’s number one killer of children under five and one of the world’s most preventable diseases.  We have effective vaccines and proven interventions, including reducing indoor air pollution (which will also make the clean cookstoves people happy) and increasing breastfeeding during the first six months (which will make the breastfeeding advocates and MCNH people happy).

Unfortunately, the impact of pneumonia and the ease of treating it do not diminish the importance of other diseases.  Many NTDs, for example, are extremely debilitating and only cost of a few cents to treat.  Tuberculosis is re-emerging with a vengeance and frightening antibiotic resistance. And recent shortfalls in contributions to the Global Fund endanger the gains we have made against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.

So what is a cause to do? Own its awareness day and get the word out, which is precisely what the major players, like the GAVI Alliance and IVAC at Johns Hopkins, have done.  Dr. Orin Levine is making his usual rounds.  IVAC
has published a report card on the progress made by the 15 countries with the highest rates of childhood pneumonia, which examines their vaccination, treatment, and breastfeeding rates, in addition to progress in reducing pneumonia-related mortality.  Extra points for getting their recent
vaccine drive in Nicaragua on PBS
, too.

I am no judge of which global health causes should be prioritized when it comes to funding – but then again, who among us is?  All advocates can do is make their own individual cases.  Let us hope that pneumonia can get the respect it deserves among the other worthy global health causes and not just go back to being another disease in the crowd after World Pneumonia Day.

Global Health News Last Week


The following announcement, from Eric Williams, calls for any IH section members interested in assisting efforts to address federal global health and HIV/AIDS funding.  Please see the text of the announcement below.  Eric can be contacted by e-mail at

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to request assistance in a “grasstops” effort to address federal global health and HIV/AIDS funding. As you are likely well aware, there have been serious threats and concerns regarding global health funding over the last several years. There is a real need to mobilize influential members of our community in an effort to ensure that Congress does not backtrack on our global health commitments.

I am doing some consulting work with amfar and they want to identify experts, donors, high-profile individuals and/or organizations in select states who can reach out to key Senate leadership. We need these individuals/organizations to show and voice their support for continued and sustained commitments for global health.

States of focus include Nevada (Sen. Harry Reid), Iowa (Sen. Tom Harkin), and Washington (Sen. Patty Murray). We believe these senators are in key positions to influence appropriations decisions and sure up support for global health.

The aim of this effort is to:

  1. identify grasstop individuals/organizations and
  2. plan, coordinate, and carry out outreach efforts to Senate leadership in a variety of ways, including state-level meetings, Hill visits, op-eds, sign-on letters, and so forth.

If you are interested or able to provide assistance in helping to identify and/or reach out to the above stakeholders, I would be very interested in speaking. If there is strong support for this I would be happy to facilitate a conference call to discuss in full.

August 19 was World Humanitarian Day.


  • The CDC has made updates to its flu vaccination recommendations aimed at children and people with egg allergies.
  • The United Nations has released a list of 248 organizations from 48 nations that are accredited to attend the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) during September 19-20, 2011.  Meanwhile, as has been widely reported (including here and here), negotiations have stalled over an “outcomes document” that is to be approved at the meeting.
  • The World Health Organization is calling for a ban on a common blood test for TB, saying the test is unreliable.
  • Twenty-two children in Kancheepuram, Indiawho were not allowed to go to school because they are HIV positive have been ordered to return to school after a court ruled in favor of the students.
  • International funding for HIV fell by 10 percent in 2010 from the previous year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS; activists worry that a continued reduction will undermine progress in global HIV prevention and treatment efforts.




  • The WHO Says Libya is facing a medical supply crisis.
  • The United Nations food agency called on Thursday for long-term aid for farmers in the Horn of Africa, saying constant crises in the region should shame the world.
  • A report by the National Institute of Malaria research in Delhi has found that climate change will enable malaria to move to new areas.
  • New research finds that radiation from the nuclear plant accident in Japanin March reached Californiawithin days, showing how quickly air pollution can travel, but scientists say the radiation will not hurt people.
  • According to an article published in Science, 19 August, cases of Chagas disease are rising outside Latin America, because large numbers of people who are already infected are migrating fromLatin America.
  • Len Rubenstein comments on the attacks on healthcare personnel inBahrain and the recent progress made to protect healthcare workers in conflict zones.


Thanks to Tom Murphy and Mark Leon Goldberg, Larry Johnson (filling in for Tom Paulson), Isobel Hoskins, and Jeff Meer.

Announcement: World Pneumonia Day 2011 Grants

Below is an announcement calling for submissions for a grant from the 2011 Small Grants for World Pneumonia Day Advocacy program:

World Pneumonia Day 2011 is coming on November 12th and applications are being accepted for the 2011 Small Grants for World Pneumonia Day Advocacy program. Starting August 5, 2011, ideas are being sought for World Pneumonia Day events that tackle pneumonia where it has the biggest impact. Winning submissions will be eligible for grants of up to US$10,000 of funding. We are looking for well-thought out, innovative and impactful ideas that will put a spotlight on pneumonia as a problem that can be solved. Ideas will be evaluated on not only how well they promote change but also how well they incorporate this year’s World Pneumonia Day theme: “I am the face of pneumonia.” This theme strives to connect the personal, human stories that illustrate pneumonia’s direct impact. Find out more about the 2011 Small Grants Program and submit your application before the August 18th deadline!  Additional questions can be sent to
Full article and application at: