Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • A partnership between the Government of Benin and the U.S. government was launched to help Benin achieve its objective of eliminating neglected tropical diseases by 2020.
  • U.S. Supreme Court weighs dispute over AIDS funding.
  • HHS announces new digital and mobile health application to help people to stay healthy.


  • Nigeria may soon relax the criteria for placing people living with HIV on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in order to increase number of people being treated.
  • Imbuto project has announced its plans to set up a model facility in Bugesera district, Eastern project. It will integrate elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS services through its family package project.
  • The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Gambia have signed an agreement on maternal health improvement program.
  • The Word Bank has approved a $7 million line of credit to improve the delivery of healthcare services in Djibouti.
  • Smile Train and Operation Smile in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda have announced the launch of Rwanda Smiles to create the first-ever country in Africa.
  • A national strategic plan for HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections has been adopted during South African National AIDS Council meeting in Secunda, Mpumalanga.
  • A two year maternal health project aimed at promoting community involvement in the assessment of the performance of selected health facilities and providers in the delivery of maternal health services was launched in Koforidua.
  • The UN refugee agency has appealed for millions of dollars to help to meet the needs of Malian refugees including healthcare, water and sanitation.
  • Canada funds IOM humanitarian projects involving emergency health, water and sanitation projects in Zimbabwe.
  • A partnership between Samaritan’s Purse Canada, University of Calgary, Canadian International Development Agency is running a healthcare project that is helping people of South Sudan.
  • To save upto 2 million children every year from deaths caused by pneumonia and diarrhea, the World Health Organization and UNICEF has launched a new Global Action Plan.
  • Cuba’s second round of anti-polio vaccination campaign starts on Friday through April 25 to keep this island free of this debilitating disease.


  • According to the reports from the municipal public health supervisor over 20 HIV/AIDS positive cases have been reported during the first quarter of this year.
  • According to the reports Kogli (Nigeria) has cases of HIV/AIDS rising since last 2 years. This rise has been attributed to lack of availability of funds for the state action committee on HIV/AIDS.
  • Global fund has increased funding (additional $25 million to 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory) for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
  • According to the Kwara State Ministry of Health Coordinator (Nigeria) for HIV/AIDS about 1.8 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS related death in Nigeria.
  • A study states that breast feeding for more than four months lowers mother-to-infant HIV risk through their milk.
  • According to a qualitative research marriages in Malawi are a risk factor for HIV infection in females.
  • Results of a study involving people of Uganda states that food access and diet quality are associated with health-related quality of life.
  • Scientists from the University of Kansas made a discovery that aspirin directly and indirectly suppressed the proliferation of two different breast cancer strains.
  • Statistics from Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that China now has nearly 120,000 new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • According to the scientists DPP-4 inhibitors have cardio-protective effects on type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • A study finds a relation between endometrial cancer at young age and risk for endometrial cancer.
  • A study reports that highly active retroviral therapy (HAART) may help to protect hearts of young patients.
  • Scientists from Indiana School of Medicine links beer with increased levels of dopamine in the brain.
  • The new U-M National Poll on Children’s health about 40% parents give young children cough/cold medicine that they shouldn’t.
  • According to a research letter published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, some visible signs of Lyme disease are easily missed or mistaken.
  • A study indicates that high salt diet and ulcer bacteria together combine to increase the risk of cancer.
  • According to a study lung cancer mortality rates linked to primary care provider density.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • Plaque draws scientist’s attention as potential terrorism weapon.
  • Death count due to bird flu reaches 20 in China.
  • An earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck China on Saturday. It is discouraging volunteers in the earthquake zone.
  • Vietnam has announced that special measures have been adopted to prevent the H7N9 avian flu from entering the city.
  • The Department of Health of Minnesota has alerted the doctors to a new strain of influenza  for the patients who have travelled to Asian nation and have flu-like symptoms.
  • According to the scientists, new strain of bird flu virus that has killed 17 people in China has acquired a significant genetic diversity.
  • Honduras reports two deaths from hemorrhagic dengue fever. In addition about 3,000 cases of classic dengue cases have been registered this year.
  • Reports have indicated a presence of a bird flu virus in Norfolk, UK.

IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • A new healthcare-for-all program in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta is under scrutiny. National officials are monitoring the city’s response and experience ahead of the rollout of a government scheme to provide universal healthcare by 2019.
  • The ministry of Health and Population of Nepal has decided to upgrade all sub-health posts to health posts by 2015.
  • The Pediatric Society of New Zealand has called for funding for infant vaccinations against the disease as an urgent priority.
  • Bill in North Dakota bans abortion after heartbeat is found.


  • Solar-powered mobile health center equipped with remarkable range of facilities (- eye clinic, blood clinic and dental surgery) unveiled in Cape Town, South Africa.  Besides proving screening for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure it will also emphasize on health education.
  • The United States will provide Burundi an additional $3.5 million in aid towards its fight against HIV/AIDS and mother-to-child transmission of disease.
  • The Association of Heath Journalists with a support from the UNAIDS will be trained on tuberculosis, HIV and co-infection.
  • Japan gives N443 million for childhood disease to Nigeria. This grant will partly support facilitation and monitoring of health sector performance in Nigeria.
  • Somaliland to vaccinate 600,000 young children against polio.
  • Scotia bank has announced pledge of $1 million to support the Carribbean –SickKids Paediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Project. These funds will be used to support the projects telemedicine programs in Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas.
  • United Healthcare Awards $5.2 million in grants to California nonprofits-$2.2 million to three Los Angeles-area health organizations.


  • A team of scientists from the United States have claimed to have treated a child of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
  • Mozambique is on its way to utilize tests for tuberculosis by the GeneXpert machine which would speed up its diagnosis from two to three months to two hours.
  • A three day campaign launched by the Chaadian government with support of the United Nations agencies to eradicate polio, boost vitamin A and de-warm four million children under the age of five years.
  • According to a study providing life-long antiretroviral treatment to HIV-infected pregnant women not only prevents HIV infections in infants, but also improves the 10 years survival rate in mothers.
  • Mozambique’s first HIV vaccine trial heralds new era in local research.
  • Rwanda Ministry of Health deploys technology to report potential disease outbreaks and help health workers contain the spread of disease.
  • Government of Rwanda is introducing its first combined Rubella-Measles vaccine. A nationwide campaign against these two diseases has been launched in the country.
  • The scientists from University of Toronto and SickKids Research Institute have mapped genome that causes Dutch elm disease.
  • Studies uncover risks and threats to Arctic inhabitant’s health that might be due to contaminants brought by warmer air and sea water currents resulting from climate change.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • Nearly fifteen people have died in Libya after consumption of home-made alcohol and more than 300 people are suffering from alcohol poisoning.
  • Since November 2012 about 389 people have been infected and nearly 10 people are killed because of cholera outbreak in Congo’s second largest city, Pointe-Noire.
  • Measles kills 17 in Niger state.
  • The report of United Nations has raised air safety concerns in India.
  • According to the officials,  hospitals in South Sudan.
  • According to a data posted on the health ministry website in China, from 1971 to 2010, a total of 328.9million abortions were carried out in the country.
  • Cluster of Vancomycin resistant enterococci cases has been reported in United Christian Hospital in Hong Kong.
  • According to a report by WHO, road safety is worst in India.
  • Undocumented children in Indonesia have no access to education and basic healthcare.
  • The swine flu virus isolated from the throat swab samples of six H1N1-infected patients at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has shown small genetic mutation.
  • According to the reports of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MOH)’s Preventive Health Department, hand-foot-mouth (HFM) disease has affected over 10,000 Vietnamese people.
  • Health officials investigate norovirus outbreak at Andina in Porland.
  • Mexico fireworks blast death toll rises to 14.


Exitus Acta Probat: Negotiating humanitarian access

As I write a commentary about how the CIA’s attempt to locate Osama bin Laden under the cover of a hepatitis vaccination drive endangered the polio eradication effort (and vacciation efforts everywhere), I realize that I am beating a dead horse (so to speak). The collective global health and development community has complained about how ill-advised and irresponsible the plot was until it was blue in the face. We all understand the ramifications; we all shake our heads in unison when reports of health workers being attacked roll in. I saw no point in hashing it out again.

That is, until I shared my views with my non-professional network on Facebook.

Those of you who are more avid Facebookers know that in addition to it being a place to share pictures of new babies, social antics, culinary ventures, and personal details that no one really wants to know, it is a space for people to air out their political and religious beliefs, and to comment (and flame) others’ similar beliefs. Election season can be particularly miserable. While I refrain from doing this most of the time, I will occasionally share stories on things that I find interesting or (in this case) frustrating. In response to this article on the consequences of the CIA’s scheme, I got the following comment:

I fail to see what the CIA has to do with polio. It’s the Taliban that is attacking workers and keeping the vaccine from getting to people.

On the surface, my friend’s comment is true: it is the Taliban, not the CIA, that is attacking health workers and reversing out progress toward polio eradication. But the fact of the matter is that public health and humanitarian workers will always have to work around unsavory characters to reach those most in need. That is why the medical workers are negotiating with the Assad’s government to gain access to the wounded in Syria; it is why health providers worked with al-Shabaab and local warlords in Somalia; it is why midwives work through armed rebel groups to educate ethnic minority communities in Burma. Though affected by all of it, people’s health goes beyond foreign policy, diplomatic relations, and political stalemates. Whether an area is controlled by government forces, extremist groups, or local warlords, its people – and in the case of polio, most critically, its children – will get sick if they can’t access disease prevention. More importantly still, if health workers lose access to these vulnerable populations, progress made in containing disease will be lost – and they can spread even further. Letting up the pressure of polio vaccinations in Pakistan has allowed the virus to rear its ugly head in China and, more recently, Egypt.

After some discussion, he conceded that I had a point. Now I just wish that Obama would do the same and ban the CIA from implementing this kinds of bad ideas to gather intelligence. Bad guys come and go, but negotiating with them to obtain humanitarian access is a reality that will never go away.

WHO Video: Dr Bruce Aylward interview regarding attacks on health workers in Pakistan

During the week of 18 December 2012, at least six people working on a polio vaccination campaign have been reported shot dead in several locations in Pakistan – Gadap, Landi, Baldia and Orangi towns of Karachi city, Sindh Province and Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Those killed were among thousands who work selflessly across Pakistan to eradicate polio.

The Government of Pakistan and the affected provinces temporarily suspended the vaccination campaign due to concerns over safety of health workers.

Such attacks deprive Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations — especially children — of basic life-saving health interventions. of the children of Pakistan.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that can cause permanent paralysis in a matter of hours. Safe and effective vaccines protect children from the disease. Currently the disease remains endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

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.