Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

  •  April 25, 2013 was World Malaria Day.
  • The International Labor Organization celebrates the World day for Safety and Health at Work on the 28th of April, 2013.

Politics and Policies:

  • The State House of Representatives voted to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions.
  • Health officials in Australia have recommended a heavy government subsidy for the abortifacient drug RU-486.

Programs:

  • First online mapping tool was launched in Kenya to tackle the burden of malaria by tracking insecticide resistance in malaria causing mosquitoes.
  • Healthcare workers expanding their vaccination programs in Somalia. The country is among the first few African Nations to receive new vaccines against five deadly diseases- diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and influenza.
  • Peace Corps volunteers on the occasion of World Malaria day participated in malaria eradication activities worldwide.
  • In their sixth ordinary session at the African Union the African Union Commission has called for more domestic investment in health to fight the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and tropical diseases.
  • The Ministry of Heath of Ghana receives mobile clinic facilitates to boost health delivery and improving health care access to people.
  • Health groups at the United Nations –backed Global Vaccine Summit announced that they will get rid of polio by 2018 with $5.5 billion vaccination and monitoring plan to stop this disease.
  • The U.S Food and Drug Administration has announced the development of a new hand held device called C-3 capable of detecting substandard or counterfeit anti-malaria medicines.
  • World athletics governing body IAAF will open a blood test center (BTC) in Kenya’s rift Valley town of Eldoret for Kenyan and Ethiopian runners.
  • A donation of US $2.3 million has been announced by the Government of Japan to the United Nations World Food Program to assist people of Lesotho to help to boost food security.
  • Japan donates US$1.5 million to Nambia for its rapid reduction of child mortality, malaria related deaths and mother-to-child HIV transmission rates.
  • The Federal government of Canada will allocate $250 million between 2013 and 2018 to support eradication of polio in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
  • European Union has pledged more than 14.5 million euros to support Sudan health-related programs.

 Research:

  • The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung disease has issued guidelines for multidrug resistant tuberculosis bacteria management – appropriate treatment.
  • According to an analysis of previous studies published in the British Medical Journal, smokers with HIV were at double risk of contracting bacteria pneumonia compared to HIV-positive non-smokers.
  • According to the data obtained from a recently published study, childhood malaria admission rates in three out of four hospital chosen for the purpose of study in Malawi has increased between 2000- 2010. An increase from 41 to 100% was noted.
  • According to a survey more men die due to HIV related deaths as compared to women. It was due their living in denial and failed access to treatment.
  • A study published in American College of Nutrition suggests that intake of minerals zinc and chromium or taking zinc and or chromium supplements helps people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
  • According to a survey in done in the U.K., parents risk children’s future health by failing to understand sun protection.
  • In a study done by the Chinese scientists there is no evidence that new bid flu passes between people.
  • Haiti launches its vaccination campaign against fatal childhood diseases.

Diseases & Disasters:

  • The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning to the people who are planning to travel to Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a nationwide shortage of products used in Tuberculosis skin testing.
  • The reports state that the outbreak of meningitis has killed at least 40 people in Guinea since the beginning of 2013. About 379 cases of this disease have been reported.
  • According to the reports communities in Northern Mali – Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal- are affected by food crises.
  • The bird flu H7N9 cases are rising in China. A total of 120 cases have been reported till now of which 23 deaths have been confirmed.
  • Air pollution rising in China. The level of air pollutants has risen to more than 40 times the recommended exposure limits.
  • According to the press release, two more human cases of avian influenza virus A – H7N9 has been verified by the Centre for Health protection (CHP) of the Department of Health of Hong Kong.
  • Reports have confirmed H7N9 bird flu in Taiwan.
  • According to the CDC, salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers grown in Mexico.

Global Health News Last Week

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.

POLICY

RESEARCH

  • 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.

Plasmodium goes viral as the global health community observes World Malaria Day

If you think you’re too small to accomplish something big, picture yourself locked in a room with a mosquito. –African proverb  

An African woman lies under a light-blue bed net.
Mali 2010 @ Barbara Sigge/MSF

Yesterday, World Malaria Day was observed by organizations and communities all over the world with all the resolve appropriate for one of the world’s deadliest diseases.  According to the WHO, approximately half of the world is at risk for the disease.  Though most of the cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, malaria was present in 108 countries and territories in 2008, causing approximately 247 million cases and nearly one million deaths.1  Most deaths are in children under 5.  The international day of observation was recognized by high-profile celebrities, NGOs, and small communities in a variety of ways.  But the newest – and potentially the most effective – way to raise both money and awareness is by going viral with the protozoan parasite.  

Malaria first went viral when Ashton Kutcher celebrated his beating CNN to one million followers on Twitter by donating $100,000 to Malaria No More to purchase 10,000 mosquito nets.2  Through his donation, 89,724 insecticide-treated bed nets were sent to villages in Senegal.  By using the RT2Give Twitpay service, any Twitter user can retweet a message from their malaria-related non-profit of choice and donate $10 to Malaria No More.  Internet Explorer and Firefox users can also download and use the Nothing But Nets browser toolbar, which raises money every time it’s used to search and shop online.  

The battle against malaria continues to rage on many fronts, and much progress has been made.  A variety of rapid diagnostic tests are available to facilitate accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment, requiring only a drop of blood and giving results in 15 minutes.  Artemisinin-based combination therapy acts quickly with few side effects and has proven extremely effective at treating malaria cases.3  Malaria vaccine candidates, though they only confer partial protection, have shown great promise and are currently in Phase III testing.4  However, there is still much work to be done: insecticide-treated bed nets must be made more widely available, reliable testing and treatment need to be implemented on a much wider scale, and care and treatment must be made more affordable and accessible.   

When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the first World Malaria Day in 2008, he made the bold proposal of ending malaria deaths by the end of 2010 by ensuring universal coverage in Africa.  In an op-ed piece in the Guardian, he cautioned that while we may not be able to wipe out malaria right away, we can combat it effectively if we act together.  “We have the resources and the know-how. But we have less than 1,000 days before the end of 2010. So let’s get to work.”5 

~~~traduction française~~~ Continue reading “Plasmodium goes viral as the global health community observes World Malaria Day”