Global Health News Last Week

SECTION NEWS

The IH Section hosted its third topic-focused conference call, on Current Developments in MCNH, took place on Monday, June 27, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 EST. We had several members of the IH section offer their commentary and expertise on current issues concerning maternal and child health.  Speakers included Laura Altobelli, Elvira Beracochea, Carol Dabbs, Miriam Labbock, and Mary Anne Mercer.  Read the summary here.

IH Section Communications Chair Jessica Keralis attended APHA’s Mid-Year Meeting on healthcare reform.  There were several interesting sessions on technology implications of reform, the public health workforce, advocacy, and others.  Read all about it on the IH Blog.


POLITICS AND POLICY

  • In the first part of a two-part series called “The great billion dollar drug scam,” investigative journalist Khadija Sharife questions the accuracy of figures given by the pharmaceutical industry to justify the high cost of drugs.
  •  The American Chronicle reports how Brazil has been implementing numerous programs to reduce the rate of HIV infection within the country.

PROGRAMS

RESEARCH

  • At the 7th annual meeting of the World Conference of Science Journalists, several speakers said clinical research trials done in the developing world lack adequate patient protections as well as an ethical and legal framework.
  •  Arizona State University Scientists have developed recombinant attenuated salmonella vaccines which they believe will make vaccines more effective.
  •  A test for dengue through saliva has been developed by researchers from Singapore.
  • Researchers believe that they have discovered the precise mechanism by which drugs attack and beat malaria. In doing so, they believe that they can gain a more precise understanding of how resistances are forming and develop better malaria medicines.
  • A recently published report on research and development by the Malaria Research Initiative examines the current state of malaria research and offers six recommendations in going forward to improve R&D.
  • A dramatic increase in support for malaria R&D since the mid-1990s puts the world well on the way to achieving global malaria control, treatment and elimination goals in the next five to six years.
  • A study has found that AIDS patients who take nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors experience premature aging.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • The WHO has put together a series of graphs based on 2008 global health data to illustrate the 10 leading causes of death by broad income group. Heart disease, stroke and other cerebrovascular disease represent the top two killers in middle and high-income nations while they sit as number three and five respectively for low-income countries.
  •  A report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the CDC, has determined that UN peacekeepers from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti, which led to an outbreak last fall.
  • More than 350,000 women die in childbirth every year and 8 million children will die of preventable diseases before their fifth birthday. A new report concludes that more trained midwives could help save prevent millions of such deaths.
  • In a recently released report, UNICEF says as many as 70% of the world’s children are exposed to violence amounting to 1.5 billion children each year.
  • The drug misoprostol is saving women’s lives around the world by preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth, the leading cause of maternal death in the developing world; it is also causing controversy, as the drug can also be used to induce abortion.
  • Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise and hard to cure. Médecins Sans Frontières wants people with the disease to blog about it, to find out what they really need.
  • A new study in The Lancet shows that over the past thirty years the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has doubled to 350 million.
  • Ghana’s Food and Drugs Board (FDB) issued a statement to warn the public against the sale of counterfeit Artesunate tablets on the market, which it claims are from China; laboratory analysis had confirmed that contained no active anti-malaria ingredient.

Many thanks, as usual, to the Toms – Tom Murphy and Tom Paulson.

Global Health News Last Week

POLICY

RESEARCH

  • A paper published in Science by a research group at the University of Maryland demonstrates that a fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae, can be used to combat the malarial parasite inside the mosquito. Another promising study suggests that a compound produced by a seaweed in Fiji could be used to combat malaria.
  • A new study has shown that that Internet kiosks providing information on prenatal and postnatal care have helped reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality rates in rural India.
  • A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health last year found that the poorest third of the world’s population account for only 4% of surgeries worldwide, and that over two million people in low-income countries have no access to life-saving surgery.
  • The first phase trials of the HIV vaccine developed in India were completed with no side effects reported. Meanwhile, a three-year research trial on a vaginal anti-HIV gel has been launched in Rwanda.
  • The Trachoma Atlas, an open-access resource on the geographical distribution of trachoma, was launched by a team of collaborators from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the International Trachoma Initiative at The Task Force for Global Health, and the Carter Center. It is funded by a generous donation from (you guessed it!) the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • The European Solutions Enterprise for Neglected Diseases (euSEND), a new initiative, based in the Netherlands, was launched to aid in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. The organization’s goal is to “take the role of matchmaker” to facilitate partnerships in research for NTD treatments and vaccines.

PROGRAMS

  • Swaziland has a large-scale circumcision drive in an attempt to lower HIV rates.
  • Cash-transfer programs as a means of assisting the poor are beginning to gain attention and popularity from development and economic professionals. Mexico’s and Brazil’s have captured particular attention and are credited with poverty reduction and GDP growth.
  • The first methadone maintenance program in sub-Saharan Africa recently opened in a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Heroin use is a growing problem in port cities, where the drug passes through en route from Afghanistan to Europe.

DISEASES