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.

Programs:

  • 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.

Research:

  • 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.

Global Health News Last Week

POLICY

  • Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced the Water for the World Act of 2011, a bill in the Senate which will make providing safe and clean drinking water around the world a priority for US foreign aid.
  • More than 60 world nutrition experts met at WHO headquarters last week to revise guidelines and to identify solutions to tackle the growing problems of both malnutrition and obesity around the world.
  • Ministers of health and other high-level health officials from throughout the Americas called for a series of actions to reduce the toll of chronic noncommunicable diseases, in a declaration issued last week in Mexico City.
  • The Global Fund announced that former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt have agreed to lead a high-level panel of experts that will conduct an independent and thorough review of the Global Fund’s financial safeguards.
  • UN agencies are concerned that reduced donor funding due to the recession, combined with free trade agreements, will reduce the availability of low-cost HIV medications in developing countries.
  • The United Nations General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting in September this year to discuss the financial burden caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) on countries.

RESEARCH

  • A study done is Malawi by the World Bank attracted attention (and criticism) from Businessweek. Young women were given to stay in school and deter them from accepting money and gifts from “sugar daddies” in exchange for sex. The study found that HIV infection rates were 60% among schoolgirls who received cash compared to those who received nothing.
  • A recent review of malaria treatment clinical trial results, published in the Chochrane Library, shows that artesunate was more effective that quinine at treating severe malaria.
  • A personalized text messaging reminder service significantly boosted antiretroviral (ARV) adherence over a six-week period compared with a standard beeper reminder system, according to a study published in the March issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
  • About 600 people gathered at the Global Health Metrics and Evaluation conference in Seattle to discuss issues surrounding the evaluation of effectiveness of health programs.

PROGRAMS

  • Global health blogger Alanna Shaikh discusses how micro-credit and the Green Revolution, two of international development’s biggest successes, are being re-evaluated.
  • The Nepalese government is planning launch a large vaccination campaign against elephantiasis in 40 high-risk districts.
  • Dubai’s Ministry of Health introduced Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine PCV13, a vaccine that protects young children from the worst effects of illnesses including pneumonia, blood infections and meningitis.
  • The National Influenza Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, making China the first developing country to house such an institution.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • Europe is concerned by the growing incidence of drug-resistant TB, particularly in children.
  • The world continues to follow the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, including the unfolding situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The WHO has assured that there is no danger to individuals being exposed to radiation in nearby nations (e.g. China).
  • As if Haiti needed any more bad news, a study published in the Lancet says that the UN estimate of 400,000 cholera cases in Haiti this year is nearly half of what the real projection should be for the recovering nation. Meanwhile, health officials in Lagos have called on residents to observe high standards of personal and environmental hygiene and have designated emergency numbers to call in case of suspected cases; the Ghana Health Service has set up cholera centers in Accra to deal with the outbreak there; and the interim federal government of Somalia on Tuesday denied reports of an outbreak of cholera in the country, responding to an Associated Press story over the weekend that Somali doctors had reported that more than 20 people had died from the disease.
  • In the February 2011 issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease Journal, contributing editor Serap Aksoy discussed the triumphs behind the control of human African trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness.
  • Although women get diagnosed for tuberculosis (TB) later than men, treatment outcomes among women are better than men with higher TB treatment success rate and lower default (drop-out) rate in the female patients. The finding was announced at a meeting on TB and women in New Delhi, India.
  • While the total number of newly reported HIV positive people and AIDS patients are still low in Japan compared with other countries, the number of newly HIV-infected people in Japan has doubled in the past decade due to public complacency and lower awareness.