MNCH Innovations: Video Review

This new video from UNICEF starts with the story of an Indian woman who safely delivered a healthy baby in a clinic, under medical supervision, thanks to a partnership between UNICEF and her local government. Prior to their intervention, the majority of women in her district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh were delivering babies at home because health facilities were few and far away, and there was no transportation available.

Over five years, UNICEF worked with the Madhya Pradesh government to make major changes, including:

  • Upgrading health centers
  • Providing new equipment
  • Hiring new nurses
  • Improving hospitals with a newborn care units
  • Funding an ambulance service
  • Creating a call center to coordinate ambulance trips

Now, five years after UNICEF began their work, the woman’s district reports the lowest maternal mortality rate in the entire state. Every year, half a million women use the ambulance service to ensure safer deliveries, and 50,000 newborns are saved in the newborn care units. UNICEF’s work has been so successful that the Madhya Pradesh government is scaling up and replicating it elsewhere in the state and other Indian states are also interested in implementing the programs.

One of the newborns in the video had a lung problem and was also underweight because his mother had not been eating properly. The narrator mentioned that many babies in the unit were underweight. While the video focused on the help the new care unit was able to provide to these newborns, my thoughts went elsewhere. UNICEF’s work has made a big difference, but the small fact about the prevalence of underweight newborns reinforced the fact that there are many larger underlying factors and social determinants at play that will continue to challenge progress and positive changes in developing countries. UNICEF’s innovative programs were definitely successful in tackling the delivery and newborn care issues in the region, but the video also (unintentionally) illustrated the general complexity of global health and development challenges.

“Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.”
– Bill Gates

Guinea-Worm Disease & Eradication: WHO Video Review

Guinea-worm disease, or dracunculiasis, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) with no vaccine or medication for treatment. The disease is caused by a parasitic worm known as the Guinea-worm and is transmitted through contaminated drinking water. Guinea-worm disease is the first parasitic disease set for eradication and this short World Health Organization (WHO) video shows the progress of eradication efforts to date.

When someone drinks water from a source contaminated with water fleas that carry the Guinea-worm larvae, the larvae are released in the stomach and pass into the body cavity. Over the course of 10-14 months, the larvae mature and turn into worms. At this point, a painful blister forms on the outside of the body (usually on the lower legs and feet) as the female worms try to exit the body. The blister causes an intense burning sensation which often leads people to submerge their legs/feet in water for relief. While the blister is submerged, the female worm comes out and releases thousands of larvae into the water, thus contaminating the water and completing the cycle of infection. 

I find it amazing that Guinea-worm disease is on the verge of eradication because in this case, eradication has nearly been achieved through preventive measures alone. From health education and increased detection to water filtration and water treatment, the prevention efforts put forth have decreased the number of reported cases from 1,797 in 2010 to just 90 between January and June 2013.

This is a great accomplishment for the global health community. Congratulations to the WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Carter Center, UNICEF and all others supporting the eradication of Guinea-worm disease!

IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

  • First UN International Day of fistula marked in Ghana to ensure that victims were treated and re-integrated into society in Ghana.

Politics and Policies:

  • The government of Mauritius is preparing to enforce new laws for more graphic warnings on cigarette packs.
  • Voters in Portland have defeated measures to add fluoride to water supply.
  • The Texas House passed a measure that would prevent the state from expanding its Medicaid program.
  • Abortion Law (procedure at the 12th week of pregnancy) in Arkansas is temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

Programs:

  • The World Bank has announced $1 billion in a proposed new funding to help countries in the Africa’s Great Lakes Region to provide better health and education services besides targeting energy, roads, agriculture, cross-border trade and jobs.
  • United Nations Family Planning Innovation to launch two new initiatives that will increase access to family planning and improve maternal health in the world’s most marginalized areas.
  • The Business of a Better World (BSR) has launched an online platform to create culturally accurate training materials on women’s health in developing countries.
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced its contribution of $750,000 to the One Million Community Health Workers Campaign in sub-Sahara Africa.
  • Power to childcare centers ban unvaccinated children in Queensland.
  • An independent organization, Save the Children has received a contribution of $500,000 to support its ongoing flood relief efforts in Mozambique.
  • An emergency preparedness ad response center is being launched by the experts from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Fukushima, Japan.
  • United Nations refugee agency is working to help to contain cholera epidemic in Niger by implementing emergency sanitation and prevention measures.
  • UNICEF is working to prevent further spread of measles in the Central African Republic.
  • Mass vaccination campaign contained the spread of meningitis in South Sudan. The meningitis outbreak was declared by the ministry of health on April 30.

 Research:

  • According to the reports the World Health Organization has applauded Eritrea on its accomplishments in combating malaria.
  • Most EU beaches get clean bill of health, by the European Environment Agency. It says vast majority are clean and safe.
  • According to a new study relaxation of marijuana laws in Colorado has caused significant spike in number of young children treated for accidentally eating marijuana-laced cookies, candies, brownies and beverages.
  • A report by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says that one in ten parents did not talk to their teen children about dangers of consuming drugs, alcohol etc.
  • In the 66th World Health Assembly, the WHO has praised Thailand for the world’s best governance for medicine.
  • According to the United Nations Report, the number of people in Africa receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased from less than 1 million to 7.1 million over the seven years.
  • According to a report released by the United Nations Japan must continue efforts to deactivate Fukushima nuclear plant.
  • In a report released by the United Nations greater efforts and more resources are needed to improve health of Palestinian refugees.
  • A study shows that potatoes and beans provide most nutrients per penny.
  • According to a study conducted by Dr. Bassiouny at Kornberg School of Dentistry, diet soda might be as bad for teeth health as taking methamphetamines or crack cocaine.
  • According to a study published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, two compounds found in cinnamon can play a role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A research presented at the Heart Failure Congress 2013, heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS).
  • The scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an injectable nanogel that can monitor blood-sugar levels and secrete insulin when treated.
  • A study revealed that the people who were interviewed while eating at fast food restaurants typically underestimate the calorie count of the meal in front of them by a large margin.

Diseases & Disasters:

  • A category EF-5 storm killed 24 people, injured many and damaged and estimated 12,000 homes in Moore, Oklahoma on May 20.
  • A parliamentary committee has revealed that since last year in Zimbabwe, more than 45,000 people have died due to HIV-related ailments and around 1.2 million people are living with this virus.
  • Disease kills children, causes miscarriages in camps near Nyala, South Darfur.
  • According to Tunisia Ministry of Health, SARS- like virus is being reported spreading among the people of country.

IH News Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

  • The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (Gambia) in collaboration with WHO UNICEF, Rotary International and other partners  observe  the week of May 2013 (from 24- 27) as National Immunization (NIDs) days against poliomyelitis.
  • May is skin Cancer Awareness Month.
  • May 19 was observed as National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Politics and Policies:

  • Kenya is the first country to protect girls against cervical cancer with GAVI- supported human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.
  • The government of Canada has announced its support in the fight against tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS.
  • India’s health ministry is tying itself in knots over the ban of drugs that are banned in some countries and some cases for some population segments.
  • The Illinois Senate has voted to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Programs:

  • Zambia- Zimbabwe Cross Border Malaria Initiative, a joint co-ordination launched by Zambia and Zimbabwe to control malaria and accelerate reduction of its transmission among the border communities.
  • Merck and Glaxo cut price of Human Papilloma Virus drug in the poorest countries. This cut is more than 95%.
  • Nigeria seeks support on guinea worm eradication.
  • Ghana Health Service has launched the country’s first online based health service which allows patients to engage with doctors online over minor ailments.
  • The Gambia and the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a Comprehensive Tobacco Control formulation in Bakau.
  • India develops cheap vaccine (against Rotavirus) against major cause of diarrhea deaths in children.
  • The Child Division at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is working to introduce pneumococcal vaccine against pneumonia– major cause of death among children less than five years of age in the country.

 Research:

  • According to Cervical Cancer Crisis card that used data from official reports by the World Health Organization, Africa has the highest cervical cancer deaths.
  • According to the 2011 National HIV Indicator Survey, prevalence rates among the Ugandans between ages of 15 to 19 are rising.
  • The Annual State of the World’s Mothers report states that every year three million babies die within the first month of life.
  • A study published shows that HIV prevalence and late diagnosis of HIV infection is high among young women with sexual risk behavior in Beira, Mozambique.
  • According to a Global Mother’s Wellbeings ranking report, Ghana ranks 146th out of 176 countries.
  • According to the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative partners, landmark has reached in fight against tetanus. It has been eliminated in over half of 59 priority countries.
  • According to a study, number of Australian parents with mental illness has increased by 3% every year from 1990 to 2005.
  • The findings of a study published in the World Allergy Organization Journal, children dwelling in commercial areas of New Delhi, India are most susceptible as compared to those living in other parts of the capital, to the respiratory ailments followed by industrial and residential areas.
  • A study shows that the paradoxical TB-IRIS frequently complicates HIV-TB therapy in India.
  • A paper published in The Lancet Oncology, say that if current trends in cancer among the people of Latin America and Caribbean continue, the region will see cancer cases soaring by third each year to reach 16.8 million in total by 2020.
  • According to a study health of the immigrants suffer as they live longer in the U.S.
  • According to a study, newer whooping cough vaccine is as protective as was thought to be.

Diseases & Disasters:

  • According to the reports Zambia is facing shortage of HIV medicines.
  • Heavy rains have caused flooding of both Nyamamba and Nyamugasani rivers in Uganda. It has caused heavy flooding which has displaced thousands of people.
  • Two cases of wild polio virus have been recorded in Tafa Local government area of Niger and Fagge in Kano respectively in Nigeria.
  • Reports have indicated that African mineworkers are at significant risk of becoming resistant to tuberculosis treatment.
  • Body of a man who died in an unnamed hospital as having suffered from Creutzfeld –Jakob disease has been identified by the L. Greenberg Forensic Institute at Abu Kabir.  According to the Health Ministry danger of being infected under normal conditions are negligible.
  • A travel alert has been issued for dengue fever in Thailand. About 33 deaths have been reported since April of this year, particularly in northeastern part of the country.
  • According to the reports more than 1200 new cases of measles have been reported this year. Health officials are scrambling to catch up and stop a growing this growing epidemic.

 

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • A partnership between the Government of Benin and the U.S. government was launched to help Benin achieve its objective of eliminating neglected tropical diseases by 2020.
  • U.S. Supreme Court weighs dispute over AIDS funding.
  • HHS announces new digital and mobile health application to help people to stay healthy.

Programs:

  • Nigeria may soon relax the criteria for placing people living with HIV on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in order to increase number of people being treated.
  • Imbuto project has announced its plans to set up a model facility in Bugesera district, Eastern project. It will integrate elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS services through its family package project.
  • The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Gambia have signed an agreement on maternal health improvement program.
  • The Word Bank has approved a $7 million line of credit to improve the delivery of healthcare services in Djibouti.
  • Smile Train and Operation Smile in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda have announced the launch of Rwanda Smiles to create the first-ever country in Africa.
  • A national strategic plan for HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections has been adopted during South African National AIDS Council meeting in Secunda, Mpumalanga.
  • A two year maternal health project aimed at promoting community involvement in the assessment of the performance of selected health facilities and providers in the delivery of maternal health services was launched in Koforidua.
  • The UN refugee agency has appealed for millions of dollars to help to meet the needs of Malian refugees including healthcare, water and sanitation.
  • Canada funds IOM humanitarian projects involving emergency health, water and sanitation projects in Zimbabwe.
  • A partnership between Samaritan’s Purse Canada, University of Calgary, Canadian International Development Agency is running a healthcare project that is helping people of South Sudan.
  • To save upto 2 million children every year from deaths caused by pneumonia and diarrhea, the World Health Organization and UNICEF has launched a new Global Action Plan.
  • Cuba’s second round of anti-polio vaccination campaign starts on Friday through April 25 to keep this island free of this debilitating disease.

Research:

  • According to the reports from the municipal public health supervisor over 20 HIV/AIDS positive cases have been reported during the first quarter of this year.
  • According to the reports Kogli (Nigeria) has cases of HIV/AIDS rising since last 2 years. This rise has been attributed to lack of availability of funds for the state action committee on HIV/AIDS.
  • Global fund has increased funding (additional $25 million to 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory) for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
  • According to the Kwara State Ministry of Health Coordinator (Nigeria) for HIV/AIDS about 1.8 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS related death in Nigeria.
  • A study states that breast feeding for more than four months lowers mother-to-infant HIV risk through their milk.
  • According to a qualitative research marriages in Malawi are a risk factor for HIV infection in females.
  • Results of a study involving people of Uganda states that food access and diet quality are associated with health-related quality of life.
  • Scientists from the University of Kansas made a discovery that aspirin directly and indirectly suppressed the proliferation of two different breast cancer strains.
  • Statistics from Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that China now has nearly 120,000 new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • According to the scientists DPP-4 inhibitors have cardio-protective effects on type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • A study finds a relation between endometrial cancer at young age and risk for endometrial cancer.
  • A study reports that highly active retroviral therapy (HAART) may help to protect hearts of young patients.
  • Scientists from Indiana School of Medicine links beer with increased levels of dopamine in the brain.
  • The new U-M National Poll on Children’s health about 40% parents give young children cough/cold medicine that they shouldn’t.
  • According to a research letter published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, some visible signs of Lyme disease are easily missed or mistaken.
  • A study indicates that high salt diet and ulcer bacteria together combine to increase the risk of cancer.
  • According to a study lung cancer mortality rates linked to primary care provider density.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • Plaque draws scientist’s attention as potential terrorism weapon.
  • Death count due to bird flu reaches 20 in China.
  • An earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck China on Saturday. It is discouraging volunteers in the earthquake zone.
  • Vietnam has announced that special measures have been adopted to prevent the H7N9 avian flu from entering the city.
  • The Department of Health of Minnesota has alerted the doctors to a new strain of influenza  for the patients who have travelled to Asian nation and have flu-like symptoms.
  • According to the scientists, new strain of bird flu virus that has killed 17 people in China has acquired a significant genetic diversity.
  • Honduras reports two deaths from hemorrhagic dengue fever. In addition about 3,000 cases of classic dengue cases have been registered this year.
  • Reports have indicated a presence of a bird flu virus in Norfolk, UK.