Global Health Weekly News Round-Up


Politics and Policies:

  • Judge strikes down age restrictions for ‘Morning after’ pill. Now it will be available to girls less than 17 years of age.
  • Health ministry of Liberia has adopted guidelines for mother to baby care with an aim to fight maternal mortality.
  • Health ministry of Rwanda has taken over a 11 year project which cost $ 2,718,000 with a goal of increasing access to and use of Fertility Awareness- based Methods.
  • The World Health Organization has called on the public to remain calm as human infections of new bird flu strain H7N9 are isolated.
  • New food health labeling standard is signed by the Food Safety Minister of New Zealand.


  • An NGO of Australia is supporting Ethiopian government to enhance food security and improve maternal and child health in Ethiopia.
  • Targeting the improvement of health sector in Ethiopia, the World Bank and the Ethioian Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED) signed a 120 million dollar loan and grant agreement.
  • A book on Health promotion in Ghana launched. It evaluated the challenges of health promotion in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • According to the Vatican’s diplomatic mission, Pope Francis has donated $50,000 to help victims of the deadly floods .
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has shut down seven HIV/AIDS clinics in Kenya.
  • A Danish firm aims to improve health, environment in Mozambique.
  • Australian and local NGOs are working together in Zambia to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in Western Province.
  • Hong Kong has launched fast bird flu tests for H5 and H7 viruses. The government will raise the response from ‘alert’ to ‘serious’ if virus is detected in poultry or people in Hon Kong.


  • According to a study brisk walking does the same benefit as running in heart disease patient. It reduces the chances of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Lack of dental services a factor in grades, attendance in state schools. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, ‘dental disease is at “epidemic” levels among California children’.
  • A study states that balding men are at a higher risk for heart disease. They also found that there was no significant correlation with Chronic Heart Disease.
  • A study published in editorial annals of Internal Medicine found a link between hormone therapy like Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) boosts heart disease risk.
  • Studies suggest that happy loving relationships are prescription to a healthy long life.
  • A study published in The Journal of the North America Menopause Society, a Chinese herbal supplement can help to reduce hot flushes of menopause.
  • According to a study, health problems and low income, not xenophobia creates a lack of well- being.
  • According to a study, higher  mercury levels is linked to higher diabetes risk. The team examined the toe nail mercury levels to diabetes risk.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • More than 600 children have been reported to have contracted measles in an outbreak in South Wales.
  • After one of its longtime members nearly died of a lung infection caused by fungi growing inside his bag, a prominent Scottish bagpiping school has warned pipers around the world.
  • The Kenya Red Cross society has warned that the floods in Kisumu may be a health risk due to water borne diseases.
  • According to the reports the death toll in Argentina due to floods rises to 57.
  • China has fast-tracked the approval of a new drug in an attempt to contain an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu known as H7N9.
  • Moderate earth quake measuring 5.8 on Richters scale hits Kashmir valley on Aril 4th. No damage to life or property has been reported.
  • Massive earthquake measuring 7.2 magnitude rocks Indonesia on 6th April. No tsunami warning has been issued.
  • According to the reports from the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude -6 undersea earthquake had hit eastern Japan on April 2nd.
  • Mild earthquake measuring 4.5 was felt in Kutch in Gujarat. No reports of casualties or property damage.

Stories from the Field: Blowing whistles for change.

According to the UN, 2.6 billion people around the world do not have access to what we take for granted, a clean and safe latrine. The UN General Assembly declared the year 2008 the International Year of Sanitation, the goal is to raise awareness and to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to reduce by half the proportion of the 2.6 billion people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.

According to the WHO, about 2 million people die every year due to diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene; most of them are children less than 5 years of age.To help combat this, Plan is pioneering new approach in Asia and East and Southern Africa – Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), which educates communities about the importance of sanitation and helps them to construct and maintain their own latrines. Dr. Selina Amin brought to our attention the work of the Jaldhaka Program Unit of Plan Bangladesh.

The Jaldhaka Program Unit is situated at the northern part of Bangladesh. Their target population included 100,000 children and adults in rural communities where lack of appropriate facilities led to open defecation. CLTS was introduced, and a creative approach was added – active involvement of children. They call it the Child-to-Child (CtC) approach, where children became active participants in changing community behaviors. Armed with knowledge, flags and a whistle, children were empowered to participate by alerting the community with whistles when someone was caught not using a latrine. Continue reading “Stories from the Field: Blowing whistles for change.”