May 18 was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- Hundreds of Kenyan AIDS activists held a protest on 18 May in the capital, Nairobi to demand that the government meet its commitment to increase annual health and HIV funding.
- In response to the mutual expulsion of diplomats, the UK’s DFID announced that it has frozen new aid to Malawi.
- DDT has made a controversial re-appearance in Uganda.
- The World Health Organization has just launched a new web-based information resource tool that should be of interest to many in global health and development community, the Global Health Observatory.
- According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2008.
- New research has found that a variant in one gene can lead to a 30 percent lower risk of developing cerebral malaria.
- A new study from Bangladesh concludes that most of the world’s pregnant women don’t need vitamin A supplements.
- American scientists have tested a treatment regimen for tuberculosis which will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the full treatment as compared to current plans.
- A new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that that 7 in 10 women in Sub Saharan Africa, south central Asia and south east Asia who want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern methods give reasons for non-use which suggest available methods do not fulfill their needs.
- Average life expectancy across much of the world — except Iraq and South Africa — is steadily climbing and infant deaths dropped across the world during the first decade of the 21st century, according to figures released by the World Health Organization.
- The Clinton Health Access Initiative and Gates Foundation have teamed up to support research into developing a cheaper version of the drug Tenofovir.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- China has reduced its AIDS mortality by two-thirds since it began distributing free antiretroviral drugs in 2002; however, the improvements were seen largely in patients who acquired HIV through blood transfusion, rather than through sex or drug use. On a darker note, Chinese authorities ordered an AIDS activists’ web site shut down after it had published an open letter from a retired senior official concerning news restrictions placed on a 20th-century public health scandal.
- Dr. Orin Levine looks at a disturbing global trend: Infectious killers that had been beaten back by aggressive immunization efforts are making a comeback in places long thought to be safe havens.
WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
- The assembly voted to postpone the decision to destroy official stockpiles of the the smallpox virus for another three years.
- The WHO announced extensive reforms to “reinvent itself” as a health knowledge hub. Also, it apparently angered Taiwan by referring to it as a province of China.
- Sixteen countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
- OneWorldUK’s Chelsea Ricker asks, Where are the women in women’s and children’s health?
- A number of civil society and non-profit organizations voiced their opinions during the Assembly, claiming that the World Health Organization is overly influenced by commercial and corporate interests.
- WaterAid urged leaders at the Assembly to support the countries affected by dracunculiasis, caused by guinea worm, to improve access to safe drinking water and reach their most vulnerable populations to ensure the disease is eradicated.
- Bill Gates addressed World Health Assembly where he called for global leaders to increase support for vaccinations.
- The world is not ready to deal with a lengthy public health emergency, according to a panel of international experts, which based its conclusions on the 2009 H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak.
The IH Blog was featured in the “Buzzing in the Blogs” section of the Healthy Dose this week! Thanks to Tom Murphy for reading and tweeting us!
May 12 was International Nurses Day.
USAID’s Frontlines magazine is running an exclusive interview with Dr.
Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, in which she discusses current global health priorities and systems strengthening.
Peoples-uni, an open-access education initiative, offers open-access resource and online learning materials for capacity-building in low- and middle-income countries.
- Excessive bleeding following childbirth is the leading cause of maternal deaths in the developing world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has now approved the use of misoprostol, a drug that considerably reduces this risk.
- Shanghai’s health authority and local hospitals are seeking to reduce the rate of births by cesarean section this year after a recent report showed that far more Shanghai women are undergoing the procedure than is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- For the fifth time, at next week’s WHO General Assembly, countries will debate whether or not to destroy the last two known stockpiles of smallpox.
- The Director General of Nigeria’s drug and food regulator, Dr. Paul Orhii, was in London last week where he lodged a strong case before members states of the World Health Assembly to institute a legal platform to combat the spread of counterfeit drugs.
- Humanosphere’s Tom Paulson writes that funding for childhood vaccinations is not keeping up with the need and is struggling to compete with more high-profile priorities.
- The phenomenon of “poverty tourism” – in which charities and aid organizations take donors on trips to “experience poverty” and meet their beneficiary – is coming under increased scrutiny and generating controversy.
- John Donnelly, writing in GlobalPost, characterizes the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative as off to “a slow, stumbling start” in a short series called “Healing the World.”
- Last Wednesday, the WHO launched a campaign to reduce the huge but largely unrecognized burden of traffic deaths and injuries over the next decade.
- An HIV-positive person who takes anti-retroviral drugs after diagnosis, rather than when their health declines, can cut the risk of spreading the virus to uninfected partners by 96%, according to a study.
- New research has revealed that a bacteria present in the gut of mosquitos may be another tool to fight the spread of malaria.
- An experimental drug helped monkeys with a form of the Aids virus control the infection for more than a year, suggesting it may lead to a vaccine for people, or even a cure.
- A study by US scientists, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that 400,000 females aged 15-49 were raped over a 12-month period in the DRC 2006 and 2007. That comes out to an average of 48 women and girls being raped every hour.
- A new report by MSF argues that switching from using quinine to artesunate to treat malaria could save up to 200,000 lives a year.
- A US study has suggested that homosexual men are more likely to have had cancer than heterosexual men.
- According to the findings of the last Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, getting pregnant soon after childbearing, miscarriage or abortion places mothers and newborns at a higher risk of health complications or even death.
- Results announced today by the United States National Institutes of Health show that if an HIV-positive person adheres to an effective antiretroviral therapy regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96%.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- According to statistics released by the National Coordinator of the Nigeria’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), Dr. Babajide Coker, Nigeria contributes a quarter of the malaria burden in Africa, and a staggering 90 per cent of its citizens are at risk for contracting the disease.
- Johnson & Johnson’s recalled at least 11,700 bottles of HIV/AIDS drug Prezista in several countries, after discovering trace amounts of a chemical emitting offensive odors in five batches of products sold in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Canada.
- In China, around 1.5 million people require organ transplants, but just 10,000 receive them each year, as few Chinese agree to donate their organs upon death. Illegal organ traffickers have stepped in to fill that gap.
TOTALLY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING ELSE: Princess Beatrice’s atrocious weird attention-grabbing hat, worn to the royal wedding, is now being auctioned on eBay for UNICEF and Children in Crisis. Um, yay?
APHA’s 2011 Section elections are coming up soon! Online voting will open on May 16 and ends on June 20. Section members should receive an e-mail on May 16 (next Monday) which will include:
- Your online election validation number
- Your APHA membership ID number
- Voting instructions
- A direct link to your voting Web site
All you have to do is click on the direct link and VOTE!
APHA’s Trade and Health Forum has released its first newsletter! The Forum has established a quarterly APHA Trade & Health Forum Newsletter that includes brief reports from forum members regarding recent work and analyses of issues related to trade and health, as well as announcements for trade and health advocacy opportunities and events. The first spring issue can be viewed here (PDF).
David Sencer, the longest-serving director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and one of the leaders of the U.S. contribution to the smallpox campaign, passed away at age 86 on May 2.
May 5 was International Day of the Midwife.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces to assist Asia Pacific countries in identifying priority actions for dengue prevention and control.
- On May 11, dozens of countries around the world will kick off the first global Decade of Action for Road Safety, from 2011-2020.
- Starting last week, China’s Ministry of Health is strengthening its tobacco rules to require 28 types of businesses, including bars, coffee shops, hotels and stadiums to become 100 percent smoke-free.
- After a sensationalistic (and rather silly) report from the AP on corruption and graft, the Global Fund has assembled a high-level panel of independent experts to assess the risk of fraud in the current portfolio. The review should be concluded by mid-September
- Sri Lanka commemorated 100 years of its National Malaria Control Program, which has brought the death toll from malaria from 80,000 per year to 0, on May 5. In 2010, only 684 cases of malaria were reported in the country.
- Health officials in India have taken up a pilot project at taluka places to identify areas with less number of institutional deliveries to bring down maternal deaths.
- UNICEF has found that boreholes drilled in response to the Zimbabwe cholera outbreak in 2008 have not been adequately supported by the government in Harare.
- USAID announced that it will be launching a $10 million mobile health program which will deliver information and tips to mothers via SMS.
- Protease inhibitors used to treat patients with HIV looks to provide an effective treatment to malaria as well and are being hailed as ‘superdrugs.’
- Headaches are the most common health disorders across the world, yet they remain neglected and under-treated, according to a UN study.
- Researchers warn that East African plants that could cure malaria could disappear before scientists have a chance to study them.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
Thanks, as usual, to the Healthy Dose and Humanosphere.
Note: I apologize for the hiatus in the news round-up; I went to a major conference for work in April and was very busy with preparations and then wrap-up afterwards.
April 25 was World Malaria Day. According to the WHO, world malaria deaths have fallen 20% from 2000 to 2009.
The Global Health Hub has developed a really nifty global health timeline. It is interactive and open – meaning it can be edited by anyone.
- Scientists have isolated the tuberculosis enzyme that destroys lung tissue, MMP-1. The discovery could speed up the search for treatments, as current regimens do not prevent the lung damage caused by TB infection.
- Results from a recent study indicate that advances in antiretroviral therapy over the last 15 years have considerably improved outcomes for children with HIV who are entering adolescence and young adulthood.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Aging populations on Japan’s northeast coast are struggling to recover from last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, and health officials are concerned about increased incidence of pneumonia, influenza, respiratory illenss, and blood clots in the legs of older individuals.
- The first WHO Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases found that these diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.
After the Lancet retracted the controversial Wakefield study last February, which suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, BMJ has declared the study to be fraudulent after further investigation revealed that the author stood to make millions of dollars through lawsuits and diagnostic kits related to autism.
Kofi Annan urges the WHO executive board to set a date for measles eradication during their meeting, which will last until January 25.
Engineers Without Borders, Canada, is trying to change the way aid organizations represent their projects (and their failures) by launching Admittingfailure.com, a website where organizations can post their favorite failure. They hope to encourage groups to admit to, and learn from, their failures.
The Center for Global Development has posted an MDG progress index, which allows the user to see how different nations are progressing toward the MDG targets.
A research paper debunked claims made by UN environmental organizations that insecticide-free methods used in a malaria control project were effective at reducing transmission, thus making the case to stop the use of DDT.
End the Neglect posted a reading list on Thursday.
Developing nations continue to pressure the US and Russia to destroy their stocks of smallpox, though the WHO supports retention for research purposes.
Unlike many other countries, which are making progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Russia’s HIV epidemic is getting worse due to pervasive drug addiction. Meanwhile, religious leaders in Chechnya have declared the couples must obtain proof that they are HIV-negative in order to receive permission to marry.