World AIDS Day was observed on December 1st by the CDC and its partners from around the globe. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/worldaidsday/?s_cid=fb1285) According to the report by the World Health Organization (WHO) there has been 15% reduction of new infections and a 22% decline in death due to this deadly virus. (Source: http://www.who.int/en/)
The Guardian has put out a global map showing the level of corruption country-by-country based on data from Transparency International. (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/dec/01/world-corruption-index-transparency-international-map)
Politics and Policies:
- On the occasion of World AIDS Day, President Barack Obama has set up a new target (6 million) of treating patients from all around the world (from 4 million). (Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/233227-obama-raises-u-s-goal-on-fighting-aids.html)
- Australia will set the standard for Asia’s health data compliance laws, predicts market analyst IDC Health Insights. (Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/clear-e-health-compliance-laws-a-must-idc/story-e6frgakx-1226211890667)
- The minister of health of Jamaica, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, disclosed that amendments were being made to the Public Health Order to remove the discriminatory provisions relating to people suffering from HIV/ AIDS in their country. (Source: http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-106/29388)
- Dr. Donald M. Berwick, official in charge of US Medicare and Medicaid described these policies as “extremely high level of waste”. He said that both involved activities that don’t have any value which if eliminated could save $150- $250 billion a year. (Source: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20111204/WIRE/111209831?p=2&tc=pg)
- Chinais planning to enter the vaccine market. (Source: http://www.montereyherald.com/living/ci_19467994)
- Seven local health agencies have been funded by the Minnesota Department of Health to develop and implement programs that address health hazards at home. (Source: http://www.echopress.com/event/article/id/90040/group/News/)
- Initiatives for public health and safety have been sponsored by the health officials across east Tennessee which is aimed at encouraging flu vaccinations and winter weather preparedness. (Source: http://www.starhq.com/2011/12/04/health-officials-encourage-winter-weather-preparedness/)
- Zambia was announced as the first Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner country which will be expanding its availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast cancer education to those in need. This announcement was made by President George W. Bush, who, with Mrs. Laura Bush and First Lady of Zambia Dr. Christine Kaseba and United States Ambassador Mark Storella, visited the George Urban Health Center in Lusaka, Zambia. (Source: http://news.gnom.es/pr/president-george-w-bush-and-the-first-lady-of-zambia-dr-christine-kaseba-announce-zambia-as-first-country-to-implement-pink-ribbon-red-ribbon)
- A potential effective treatment for the peripheral arterial disease has been brought into light by a group of researchers at Universityof Minnesota. According to them exercise may be more effective than peripheral stunts for pain. (Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2016916385_exercise05.html)
- A recent report indicated increasing number of HIV infected children resistant to AIDS drugs. Most of the children on the drug therapy have been seen to have low bone density. Scientists believe that the reason behind the signs of osteoporosis might be due to toxic effects of some AIDS drugs like tenofovir. (Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/259419/20111201/hiv-positive-children-asia-grow-resistance-aids.htm)
- A research study indicates the possibility of zinc oxide, a chemical found in food products, can cause cancer. (Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-30/health/30458208_1_consumer-products-dna-damage-cells)
- In a study released by Boston University’s School of Public Health, the people living in Cape Cod towns, who are exposed early in life to drinking water contaminated by solvents, have a higher probability of eventually using illicit drugs (Source: http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111202/NEWS/112020328/-1/NEWSMAP ).
- The scientists at the University of Edinburgh and Ludwing Maximilians University in Munich have discovered that the people with variant of ABCC9 gene need more sleep than others (Source: http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/to_sleep_to_gene_dna_could_be_key_to_why_some_people_need_more_rest_1_1991223 ).
Diseases and Disasters:
- The experts at AfriHealth Conference (30 November- 1 December) in Kenya said “most African health needs can be solved by the age-old basics of water and sanitation, nutrition and hygiene; if we concentrate on these we will make big strides in the lives of our people.” The experts said that a focus on high-tech healthcare solutions could come at the expense of basic prevention. E-health and telemedicine strategies are lacking in Africa, together with the laws that guide their practice. (Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/new-technologies/icts/news/african-e-health-moving-in-wrong-direction-.html)
- Out of 26,000 reported measles cases from January to October 2011, more than 80% of them have occurred in Western Europe. World Health Organization (WHO)- Europe has issued a warning to European nations. (Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/238590.php)
- Uranium mines in India pose a severe health hazard. According to the environmental health specialists, the mine waste dumped in the groundwater is radioactive. (Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i1G4YWJkajit3t0xD2ddl4UXwN7g?docId=CNG.5b3137d37ca033f82d1946db0c21911c.951)
These headlines were compiled by Vani Nanda, MPH Candidate at West Chester University PA.
Attention IH Section Members: Dr. Kaja Abbas, MPH student at the University of Rochester, is gauging interest in forming a working group focused on using system science to improve global health, similar to the intitiaves being promoted by NIH. Her interests are in conducting system science research on global health policy by modeling population and disease dynamics and economic evaluation of public health interventions and systems, with a focus on HIV and TB. Dr. Malcolm Bryant, our section chair, has encouraged the expansion of our section’s activities in areas of technical expertise, and Dr. Abbas is enthusiastic about a working group within the section that promotes system science methodologies for global health solutions. She welcomes your thoughts and suggestions at kaja [dot] abbas [at] gmail [dot] com.
Global Health Delivery online’s HIV prevention community is hosting a “virtual expert panel” March 7-11 to continue the dialogue around PrEP as a novel approach to prevention. Panelists from Uganda, South Africa and the United States will lead the online discussion, highlighting various barriers and opportunities to implementing PrEP in clinical settings; how to encourage long-term adherence; and what additional research questions need to be answered. Panelists include (1) Douglas Krakower, MD, a fellow in Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, (2)Andrew Mujugira, MBChB, MSc, the East Africa regional medical director for the Partners PrEP study, and (3) Vivek Naranbhai, PhD, who was involved in CAPRISA microbicide gel study. All GHDonline members can participate in this online discussion. You can sign up here if you are not currently a member.
- Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people in the Eastern Province of Zambia has urged his subjects to get circumcised in order to reduce the chances of spreading HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in his land.
- Britain is threatening to pull out of the Food and Agriculture Organization due to “patchy” performance.
- Due to uncertainty in past estimates, the Indian government has formed a 16-member expert group to determine the annual death rate caused by malaria in the country each year.
- The breakdown of the air conditioning in the plenary hall of the Philippines’ House of Representatives stalled the heated debate of a controversial reproductive health bill. The bill is vehemently opposed by the Catholic Church and pro-life groups and has caused a stir in the largely Catholic country.
- A massive demonstration rally was held in New Delhi to protest a free trade agreement between India and Europe, which many fear may threaten the production of low-cost generic drugs, particularly HIV medicines.
- US researchers believe that half of men in the general population may be infected with human papillomavirus or HPV, the human wart virus that causes cervical and other cancers, strengthening the case for vaccinating boys against HPV.
- A recent study published in the WHO bulletin argues for the need to implement gender-specific tobacco control activites to curb the growing tobacco epidemic.
- The World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, announced the launch of the Global Health Data Charter, a project designed to improve global health by leveraging the collection and management of data.
- A new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that the poorest in Thailand have significantly more difficulty accessing diabetes care than the general population.
- A research trial found that a microbicide gel with the ARV tenofovir, initially designed for vaginal use, may also be effective in stopping HIV transmission during anal sex.
- A report released by UNICEF, “The State of the World’s Children 2011,” highlighted India’s poor child and maternal health conditions.
- Dr. Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative, discusses why it is so difficult to eradicate polio. Meanwhile, former US President Jimmy Carter is leading his own campaign to make guinea worm the second disease (after smallpox) to be eradicated.
- Amanda Glassman writes about Bangladesh’s success story in drastically lowering its maternal mortality rate.
- The International HIV/AIDS Alliance is expanding its project (which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development) to reduce HIV-related maternal mortality in South Sudan.
- Prompted by Burma’s (Myanmar’s) transition to “civilian rule” after last November’s elections, the Global Fund has returned and is providing grants for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB programs.
- The WHO has declared Nepal polio-free after no infections were reported during a six-month period, while a new outbreak is spiking in the DRC.
- The massive flow of refugees fleeing violence in Libya has created a humanitarian crisis, as organizations struggle to provide for the basic needs of nearly 175,000 people who have crossed the border into Tunisia, Egypt, and Niger.
- After losing 4,500 lives to the cholera epidemic that raged through Haiti after the January 2009 earthquake, doctors in Port-au-Prince say they are bringing the disease under control. Unfortunately, health experts fear that the rainy season will cause a fresh outbreak in Nigeria.
This opportunity was originally posted on the Maternal Mortality Daily blog. Please contact the referenced individuals for details about the program.
The Safe Motherhood Program at UCSF is accepting applications for an upcoming internship opportunity in the Copper-belt of Zambia. The intern will spend the majority of their time in the labor and gynecology wards at a district hospital and several peri-urban clinics, gaining an understanding of front-line maternal health service delivery and research.
This internship is based in the Copperbelt Region of Zambia. The intern will work on a study that aims to reduce maternal mortality and morbidities in Zambia and Zimbabwe caused by obstetric hemorrhage. This is a cluster randomized control study that compares outcomes based on evidence from intervention and control clinics. The intervention clinics in this study are the clinics that are using the NASG (Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment) as a first aid device for patients suffering from hypovolemic shock caused by bleeding during pregnancy.
Some of the duties of the intern include:
-Providing logistic support for the local Zambian team – distributing supplies, copies, etc.
-Reviewing data collection forms
-Encouraging protocol adherence
-Conducting trainings with local hospital and clinic staff
-Visiting the study clinics
-Following up on cases
-Liaising with the San Francisco office and the in-country staff
Desired qualifications: Experience in international settings, interest in maternal health, research experience, familiarity with clinical environments. Must be highly detail-oriented, be well organized and have excellent follow-through skills.
Time requirements: Must be able to commit a minimum of 2 months in the Copperbelt, although 3 months is preferred.
Compensation/Funding: Interns must secure their own funding for travel and lodging. There is no funding for these positions but it is valuable experience for someone who wants to make a huge difference in women’s lives.
To learn more about the NASG (Life Wrap), visit: www.lifewrap.org.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has not distributed its grants to Zambia’s Ministry of Health since last August.1 The decision was made after Sweden and the Netherlands suspended aid when evidence of fraud was discovered in the Ministry of Health: senior officials have been charged with stealing US$5 million.2 The Fund demanded that the Ministry of Health return US$8 million in unspent funds and that the government take action against corruption within their ranks. US$17 million in aid have been distributed through other channels, and the United Nations Development Programme will take over the management of the Ministry’s grants.1
Though the Fund expects full grant activities to resume within the next two months,1 Zambians in rural areas are feeling the impact of the suspension. Outreach programs for persons living with HIV, such as mobile counseling and testing and ART services, have stopped.3 Rural residents living with HIV have been traveling to urban health centers to get drugs, when health workers previously brought the drugs to them. Obert Mubyana, district HIV and TB programmes officer for the Mpulungu district, said,
“The past three or four months, the situation has been very bad. We are not able to travel … [and] have a lot of patients that we need to monitor. …[we have] to carry out mobile VCT, mobile ART, we need fuel, we need allowances, so we have had to suspend a lot of programmes.”
Donor funds make up over half of Zambia’s health budget toward programs for malaria, TB, and HIV and training medical staff, so this suspension has raised concerns of a health crisis in the country.4 Many Zambians feel they are being punished.3 While it is certainly a donor’s right to withdraw help if it is being abused, it still begs the question: are citizens of countries that receive international aid unfairly punished for the crimes of their politicians when that aid is withdrawn? Is it short-sighted to target direct services with aid money, rather than trying to use it to build a country’s capacity to administer such services on its own? Can such a capacity even be built with donor funds? And how much sense does it make to suspend aid over allegations of corruption, when a certain baseline level of graft and embezzlement is already expected?
Though there are no easy answers to these questions, Zambia still needs them. The national average of HIV prevalence is officially estimated at 14 percent, but unofficial statistics from local health facilities suggest that the actual number may be around 50 percent.3 The Global Fund’s grants provide HIV treatment to over 200,000 Zambians, so a disruption of such aid would be devastating.