IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • Somalia signs its new Healthcare Plan. It has moved away from the emergency-level health provision towards more mainstream national health systems.
  • Kenya’s President elect promises much needed free primary healthcare for the citizens and raising the financing from 6-15%
  • Five memorandums of understandings has been signed by Egypt with South Sudan in the healthcare, livestock and agriculture sectors.
  • Tanzania and Japan sign Sh802 million project grant. It will help Tanzania in various sectors including health, education and water supply.
  • Kansas, United States, doctors may be required to tell patients that abortion causes breast cancer.

Programs:

  • The World Bank will help Cameroon to build safety net system aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerability. Households will get training to improve their health.
  • Solar power in Africa helps people to grow nutritional vegetables and improve their basic needs including health.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) calls for more reproductive health resources.
  • UNAIDS and other health organizations support new TB and HIV initiative in Africa.  It will include a package worth more than US$120 million to be used to expedite this process.
  • South Sudan through its community health workers detect and treat tuberculosis. This strategy is helping to fight tuberculosis draws communities themselves to detect and treat cases of tuberculosis.
  • UC San Francisco receives $2 million from billionaire Li K-shing for transforming its medical care by integrating data from the human genome and disease research with information from patient’s records and environmental data.

 Research:

  • According to a study about 570 United Kingdom children start smoking every day. This has made the UK government to consider whether to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products.
  • According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine physiotherapy results are as good as knee surgery.
  • According to a study, as part of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV virus, antiretroviral therapy has to be initiated before the last trimester of pregnancy to achieve an undetectable RNA plasma viral load before delivery.
  • A report of United Nation states that about four and a half billion people have access to toilet (as compared to six billion people who have access to mobile phones) of the world’s seven billion people.
  • Researchers are working to tackle obstacles to medical aid.
  • According to the World Health Organization and Global Fund Africa and Europe has not yet reached the millennium tuberculosis goal. They say that strains of tuberculosis with resistance to multiple drugs could spread widely.
  • According to a report by the UNICEF, about 66 million Nigerians are without portable water.  It is the leading cause of diseases and deaths especially among under five aged children.
  • Doctors have discovered a women’s mysterious bone condition due to drinking a pitcher of tea every day for past 17 years.
  • Reports indicate that only 28% of Ugandans have access to hand-washing facilities. Statistics from the Uganda Demographic and Household Survey show that 190,000 Ugandan children die every year due to diarrhea.
  • A report publish by the World Health organization (WHO), among South-East Asia Region, Indonesia has achieved an amazing 90% success rate for TB treatment.
  • Scientists from the John Hopkins University have developed a new innovative method known as Predicting Infectious Disease Scalable Model (PRISM) extracts relationships between clinical, meteorological, climatic and socio-political data in Peru and the Philippines.
  • According to a study flu sufferers can spread the virus by sneezing, while talking, breathing by at least 6 feet.
  • A new method to treat blinding cornea diseases in children is now available in Singapore.
  • According to a study breast cancer radiation therapy increases a women’s risk of suffering a heart attack or other heart problems.
  • A study indicates an increase in the number of parents who won’t vaccinate daughters against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
  • A study shows that parents seem to be increasingly worried about the vaccine’s safety.
  • Low-GI protein blends have been designed to be eaten about 30 minutes before meals to reduce satiety is being marketed by a Swedish form Indevex. It increases release of incretin hormone which can provoke insulin release before blood glucose levels due to meal consumption.
  • A research done by Lund University in Sweden shows that we can modify the function of genes through epigenetic changes that can take place over the course of time.
  • United States tuberculosis rates reach all-time low but resistance of bacteria is a continuous threat.
  • Researchers have indicated that menstrual blood cells can be used to treat heart failure patients.
  • Researchers say that females with ovarian cancer too often get insufficient treatment.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • Chinese Public call for tackling water pollution.
  • Reports indicate that about 40 patients have lost their lives in drug trials in Maharashtra, India.
  • According to a report released by the CDC, from early December, 2012 to mid-February 2013, the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to ground beef had sickened a total of 22 people.
  • Natives of United States call for increased HIV testing per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

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.

 

 

 

Maternal Health Taskforce Open Forum

This announcement may be of particular interest to those of you interested in reproductive and/or maternal health.

Women Deliver has been running a series of blog posts addressing the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. A number of experts have offered thoughts on a global framework for health after the MDGs. Now is your chance to add to the discussion as Women Deliver is hosting an online discussion starting next week to address reproductive and maternal health:

With the deadlines for the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action fast approaching, Women Deliver is calling on the entire reproductive and maternal health community—from policymakers to health workers to advocates—to participate in an online discussion to shape the future of our field. Join this critical global conversation at www.knowledge-gateway.org/womendeliver and weigh in on where we are, where we need to be, and how we need to get there.
 
This means taking stock of lessons learned, challenges ahead, and tackling the critical question: What will—and what must—happen to the MDGs and ICPD after 2015? Through a series of weekly, e-mail-based discussions, you will have the chance to share your thoughts, experience, and views on specific questions, like the effectiveness of global versus regional MDG targets, the role of civil society in shaping development goals, and the appropriate maternal and reproductive health indicator of tomorrow.

The forum will be open from November 7th to November 23rd, so be sure to make your voice heard!

Global Health News Last Week

September 5 was Labor Day.

POLITICS AND POLICY

  • The State Department has announced the official US Delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, which will take place September 19-20.
  • Access to affordable lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most—in parts of the developing world—if the U.S.insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, says Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
  • Sarah Boseley shares the great news that Kenya has officially made female genital mutilation illegal.
  • A federal appeals court in Virginia has dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
  • United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon singled out sustainable development as the top issue facing the planet with the world’s seven billionth person expected to be born next month. Key to this was climate change, and he said time was running out with the population set to explode this century.
  • Thousands of proposed cuts in the US Congress could lead to significant cuts to USAID.
  • The Philippines reproductive health bill is still making its way through the senate.  Meanwhile, 7 villages in Bataan, the Philippines have banned “artificial contraception” amid national debate over the bill.
  • A report co-authored by an Australian academic highlights the need for healthy ecosystems as the basis for sustainable water resources and stable food security for people around the world.

PROGRAMS

  • Sometime this fall, the world’s population will reach 7 billion people. Experts now forecast that by 2050, the population could be 10 billion. Some say those numbers should force policy makers to focus more intently on making family planning much more widely available in the developing world.
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has put together a one day conference bringing together innovators and health workers to share ideas about ways to more easily deliver interventions.
  • It has been commonly held that insecticide treated bed nets reduce the rate of malaria for people who use them. Now there is hard evidence to back up that assumption.

RESEARCH AND INNOVATIONS

  • A new study shows that less than three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer can effectively protect women in the developing world where 80% of global deaths due to cervical cancer take place.
  • Only three African countries are on track to achieve MGD 5, according to an African Institute for Development Policy study.
  • Most efforts in the Western world seeking to find solutions for developing world problems tend to think of inventing new technologies or, at least, using the tools we typically use to fix things — modern drugs for diseases, improved seeds for crops, a better mousetrap. Sometimes, all you need is a newly geared donkey
  • Scientists may have developed a new TB vaccine after tests showed the elimination of TB from infected tissue in mice.
  • A socially active lifestyle can dramatically speed up weight loss through the burning of fat in mice, a study shows. Researchers at Ohio State University in the US identified a link between the amount of social interaction in a mouse’s environment and its weight.
  • An easy-to-use diagnostic chip for HIV could “give results in minutes” and be a game changer in the field of cheap diagnostics for remote regions, claim the researchers who developed it.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • Having to contend with U.S.army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world.
  • Three-quarters of a million people are facing death by starvation in Somalia according the United Nations, who declared Monday that famine had spread to a sixth southern region of the beleaguered Horn of Africa state.  Meanwhile, an investigation has revealed that masses of food meant for famine victims in Somalia are being stolen. There have also been reports of rioting and killings during food distribution at camps for famine victims.
  • A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck 100km southwest of the city of Medan, Sumatra and 110km beneath the earth’s crust.
  • A New York Times editorial castigates the international community’s response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti.
  • The CEO of insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk says the WHO should buy low cost diabetes drugs in bulk for the developing world.
  • Messages of good health and positive self-esteem for girls aren’t hard to come by in kid lit, so what’s the deal with all the attention for a not-yet-published rhyming picture book about an obese, unhappy 14-year-old named Maggie?

INFOGRAPHICS AND OTHER MEDIA

Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS

The following announcement is from Peter Freeman, chair of the section’s Advocacy and Policy Committee, regarding their first Advocacy Day to take place in conjunction with this year’s Annual Meeting in Washington,DC.

To all International Health Section Members:

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, 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 contact Peter Freeman, Advocacy/Policy Committee Chair, at pffreeman@gmail.com or 773.318.4842 with their name, phone number and e-mail address. A registration link for the Advocacy Day will be sent out to the section by mid-September; please be on the lookout for it.


August 20 was World Mosquito Day.

On August 22, the Gates Foundation celebrated its 12-year anniversary (well, sort of).

POLITICS AND POLICY

PROGRAMS

  • Donor funding for AIDS has decreased by 10 percent during the recent economic recession. The overall decrease in global AIDS funding marks a stark reversal in trends for previous years.

RESEARCH

  • Proposals for Round 8 of the Grand Challenge Exploration, a $100 million grant initiative to encourage innovation in global health and development research, are now being accepted.  Proposals can be submitted until November 17, 2011 at 11:30 am Pacific Daylight Time.
  • Researchers from Michigan State Universityare working on bringing a low-cost, hand-held device to nations with limited resources to help physicians detect and diagnose cancer. The Gene-Z device is operated using an iPod Touch or Android-based tablet and performs genetic analysis on microRNAs and other genetic markers.
  • The problem of obesity is spreading around the world and poses serious health threats.  The finding is part of a new special report on obesity, and how to combat it in the medical journal the Lancet.
  • A team of Australian researchers have discovered a breakthrough in the reduction of dengue. By injecting mosquitoes with a bacteria, they were able to block them from transmitting the virus that kills 20,000 people a year.
  • Nanotechnology, the science of manipulating tiny particles, has is rapidly finding wide application. Developing countries that embrace nanotechnology should not overlook possible risks and must regulate products that contain nanoparticles.
  • A study has found that nasal spray vaccines for influenza delivered to children between the age of six months and three years old are more effective than other vaccines.
  • In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto’s GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • The current famine in the Horn of Africa has again brought to our attention the interaction between climate change, food prices and extreme weather conditions on the African continent.
  • Most of the world’s population growth today is in urban areas creating what some are dubbing unstable, unsustainable “mega-cities.” A new report by the World Wildlife Fund says that by 2050, about 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas creating “horrendous” problems.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a combination of inaccurate testing and patients quick to seek treatment has lead to a worrisome trend: treating patients for malaria when they do not have the disease.
  • HIV epidemics are emerging among men who have sex with men in the Middle East and North Africa, researchers say. It’s a region where HIV/AIDS isn’t well understood, or studied.  More than 5 percent of men who have sex with men are infected by HIV in countries including Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, according to a recent study in PLoS Medicine. In one group of men in Pakistan, the rate of infection was about 28 percent.

INFOGRAPHICS AND OTHER INTERESTING VISUALS

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