September 5 was Labor Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- The State Department has announced the official US Delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, which will take place September 19-20.
- Access to affordable lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most—in parts of the developing world—if the U.S.insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, says Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
- Sarah Boseley shares the great news that Kenya has officially made female genital mutilation illegal.
- A federal appeals court in Virginia has dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
- United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon singled out sustainable development as the top issue facing the planet with the world’s seven billionth person expected to be born next month. Key to this was climate change, and he said time was running out with the population set to explode this century.
- Thousands of proposed cuts in the US Congress could lead to significant cuts to USAID.
- The Philippines reproductive health bill is still making its way through the senate. Meanwhile, 7 villages in Bataan, the Philippines have banned “artificial contraception” amid national debate over the bill.
- A report co-authored by an Australian academic highlights the need for healthy ecosystems as the basis for sustainable water resources and stable food security for people around the world.
- Sometime this fall, the world’s population will reach 7 billion people. Experts now forecast that by 2050, the population could be 10 billion. Some say those numbers should force policy makers to focus more intently on making family planning much more widely available in the developing world.
- The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has put together a one day conference bringing together innovators and health workers to share ideas about ways to more easily deliver interventions.
- It has been commonly held that insecticide treated bed nets reduce the rate of malaria for people who use them. Now there is hard evidence to back up that assumption.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATIONS
- A new study shows that less than three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer can effectively protect women in the developing world where 80% of global deaths due to cervical cancer take place.
- Only three African countries are on track to achieve MGD 5, according to an African Institute for Development Policy study.
- Most efforts in the Western world seeking to find solutions for developing world problems tend to think of inventing new technologies or, at least, using the tools we typically use to fix things — modern drugs for diseases, improved seeds for crops, a better mousetrap. Sometimes, all you need is a newly geared donkey.
- Scientists may have developed a new TB vaccine after tests showed the elimination of TB from infected tissue in mice.
- A socially active lifestyle can dramatically speed up weight loss through the burning of fat in mice, a study shows. Researchers at Ohio State University in the US identified a link between the amount of social interaction in a mouse’s environment and its weight.
- An easy-to-use diagnostic chip for HIV could “give results in minutes” and be a game changer in the field of cheap diagnostics for remote regions, claim the researchers who developed it.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Having to contend with U.S.army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world.
- Three-quarters of a million people are facing death by starvation in Somalia according the United Nations, who declared Monday that famine had spread to a sixth southern region of the beleaguered Horn of Africa state. Meanwhile, an investigation has revealed that masses of food meant for famine victims in Somalia are being stolen. There have also been reports of rioting and killings during food distribution at camps for famine victims.
- A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck 100km southwest of the city of Medan, Sumatra and 110km beneath the earth’s crust.
- A New York Times editorial castigates the international community’s response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti.
- The CEO of insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk says the WHO should buy low cost diabetes drugs in bulk for the developing world.
- Messages of good health and positive self-esteem for girls aren’t hard to come by in kid lit, so what’s the deal with all the attention for a not-yet-published rhyming picture book about an obese, unhappy 14-year-old named Maggie?
INFOGRAPHICS AND OTHER MEDIA
Posted in News
Tagged Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Climate change, Somalia, Haiti, Earthquake, Diabetes, malaria, Ban Ki-moon, FGC, Pakistan, Save the Children, cholera, USAID, UN, MSF, obesity, Philippines, reproductive health, Kenya, Sarah Boseley, contraception, famine, Horn of Africa, United Nations, Labor Day, UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, TPP, Médecins sans Frontières, Doctors without Borders, FGM, female genital mutilation, female genital cutting, female circumcision, Virginia, US health care reform, sustainable development, healthy ecosystems, food security, 7 billion, seven billion, world population, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, bed nets, ITNs, cervical cancer vaccine, cervical cancer, TB vaccine, tuberculosis vaccine, rapid diagnostics, Sumatra, Medan, Novo Nordisk, Maggie goes on a Diet, Contagion
Attention IH section members! We are still in need of moderators for the scientific sessions at this year’s annual meeting. According to our program committee, the following sessions are still available:
Monday, October 31
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: International Health Programs & Policy 1
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Act Global, Think Local: Domestic applications of international health lessons; Child Survival & Child Health 1
Tuesday, November 1
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Builidng Partnerships and Coalitions for better International Programs; Emerging, Re-emerging & Neglected Tropical Diseases
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: International Health Communication/ Behavior Change Communication
12:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m.: HIV/AIDS 2
Wednesday, November 2
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: HIV/AIDS 3; Innovations in International Health 2
Please contact Omar Khan (email@example.com) for more information, or to volunteer!
USAID celebrated its 50-year anniversary this week.
The benefits of breastfeeding are being showcased around the world
for Breast Feeding Week.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- US organizations will find it easier to deliver aid to parts of Somalia controlled by a pro-Al Qaeda group – the threat of prosecution if it ends up in the wrong hands has been reduced after an announcement by the State Department.
- Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez was sworn in as the new Assistant Administrator for the Global Health Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Although Congress resolved the debt ceiling debate, the way the budget package is being shaped — particularly by combining International Affairs with defense in a single “security” category, global poverty spending is getting severely handicapped.
- Blood tests for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis may be putting patients’ lives at risk through providing misleading results, and should not be used, according to a WHO policy statement.
- The inaugural charter of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders was signed at Temple University yesterday.
- Tom Paulson of Humanosphere breaks down the 2010 Gates Foundation annual report, with some interesting commentary.
- Jaclyn Schiff of UN Dispatch says we can look for more global health leadership coming from the city of Houston (my hometown!), as Dr. Peter Hotez, whom Schiff calls “an international health force of nature,” and an arm of the Sabin Vaccine Institute move there.
- The Measles Initiative today announced it has helped vaccinate one billion children in more than 60 developing countries since 2001, making significant gains in the global effort to stop measles.
- India’s health minister announced Tuesday a new initiative underway to boost the country’s rate of immunizing newborns by collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies’ vaccinations.
- A multi-resistant strain of Salmonella Kentucky could be spreading globally, suggests a study by Institut Pasteur. Case numbers have risen in Europe and the US, and infections have also been acquired in various parts of Africa and the Middle East. The strain has also been found in food animals in Africa.
- Pharmaceutical manufacturer iBio, Inc announced the successful animal testing of a malaria vaccine candidate in trials sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- A new study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene shows a relationship between a kind of river flow and cholera outbreaks.
- A new study in the Lancet shows that text messaging can be an effective tool in malaria treatment and prevention.
- PLoS Medicine published a new study on HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa. Among its key findings was the startling fact that sex between men (MSM) accounts for nearly one quarter of all new HIV infections across the region.
- According to a new study, children of depressed mothers in developing countries are 40 percent more likely to be underweight or stunted than those with mothers in good mental health.
- A cheap and portable blood test could provide a breakthrough for diagnosing infections in remote areas of the world, a scientific study says.
- Using WHO data, researchers found that children who experience abuse and develop mental health disorders are at increased risk for chronic physical problems later in life.
- A new study in the journal Nature Medicine finds that a credit card shaped device used for testing HIV, known as “Lab-on-a-Chip,” has had a successful trial run in Rwanda.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Mass treatment of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis with ivermectin has been hampered by severe reactions if the patient also has Loa loa. A new map developed by WHO’s African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control will help communities identify low risk areas for Loa loa and distribute ivermectin for lymphatic filariasis control safely.
- The CDC reports that the annual number of HIV infections in the USA is holding steady at about 50,000, and that African American MSM are at particular risk.
- AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality, argues Michel Sidibe in the LA Times. In the world’s wealthier nations, where access to medicine is widespread, AIDS is becoming a chronic disease rather than a death sentence. But in the eveloping world, 1.8 million people die of AIDS each year.
- Global cholera incidence has increased since 2000, with Haiti’s large outbreak tipping the largest burden away from Africa for the first time since 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday.
- Tens of thousands of Somalis have died and more than half-a-million children are on the brink of starvation. Western aid isn’t flowing to where the worst of the famine is — partly due to the “war on terror.”
- The head of World Food Program in Ethiopia says the country’s emergency food stocks are almost gone, the latest trouble caused by the drought in the Horn of Africa.
TOTALLY UNRELATED TO ANYTHING – Apparently Hollywood has discovered its next Greg Mortenson: Sam Childers, the “Machine Gun Preacher,” is the subject of much hubbub and an upcoming movie starring Gerard Butler. This man claims to have been a gangbanger and drug dealer who found Jesus and then took up arms to rescue child soldiers from the LRA. Global health blogger Brett Keller offers some commentary into Childers’ outlandish (and, frankly, dubious) story, while anonymous aid blogger “J” at Tales from the Hood has a few choice words.
Posted in APHA IH Section, News
Tagged African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, Al-Shabaab, Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, APHA Annual Meeting, Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Breastfeeding, breastfeeding week, Brett Keller, CDC, childhood vaccinations, cholera, debt ceiling, depression, Ethiopia, famine, foreign aid, foreign assistance, Gates Foundation, Haiti, HIV/AIDS, Houston, Humanosphere, iBio Inc, India, Institut Pasteur, international aid, ivermectin, Jaclyn Schiff, lab-on-a-chip, lymphatic filariasis, Machine Gun Preacher, malaria, measles, Measles Initiative, mental health, mhealth, Michel Sidibe, Middle East, moderators, MSM, North Africa, Peter Hotez, river blindness, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Salmonella, Sam Childers, Somalia, starvation, Tales from the Hood, TB, TB blood tests, Tom Paulson, Tuberculosis, UN Dispatch, USAID, WHO, World Food Programme, World Health Organization
POLITICS AND POLICY
Human Rights Watch has urged the Bahraini authorities to halt what it said was a “systematic campaign” to intimidate doctors and other medical staff suspected of sympathising with recent anti-government protests.
The GlobalPost has been doing an excellent series of stories
examining President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) is focusing on in Guatemala. Slow in its implementation and hampered by little new money, GHI was supposed to be an example of Obama’s new, innovative commitment to global health.
A child in Khartoum, Sudan is the first to receive a rotavirus vaccine
, kicking off a campaign to vaccinate children in 40 low and middle-income countries.
A campaign to encourage African men to get circumcised to prevent infection by HIV gained a powerful boost on Wednesday by three new studies unveiled
at an international AIDS forum in Rome.
At the International AIDS Society, one of the big stories is a CDC study showing the drug Truvada prevented HIV transmissions in more than 60 percent of heterosexuals. The study’s author Dr. Michael Thigpen discusses
how much Truvada costs, why HIV is so pervasive among women in Botswana, and how much people must take the drug for it to be effective.
An antiviral drug to combat HIV/AIDS synthesised by genetically modified plants is being tested on a small number of women in the UK to establish its safety, reports
Researchers presenting at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogens, Treatment, and Prevention in Rome, say that they have inched closer to a vaccine
by leveraging a genetically altered version of SIV.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
Famine in parts of southern Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly children, the UN said Wednesday
in an official declaration of what aid officials describe as the worst humanitarian crisis in the troubled country in two decades.
A new study warns
that Pakistan “risks becoming the last global outpost of [polio], this vicious disease.” The disease has also resurfaced in four other countries.
Even in developing countries where child mortality is falling, the poorest under-fives are at high risk of dying from entirely preventable diseases because they do not receive basic immunization
and have no treatment for diarrhea.
Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, says new studies indicate a parasitic infection, schistosomiasis, may be one of the most important
— and least recognized — co-infections increasing the risk of HIV transmission.
An All Africa
editorial examines how the price of drugs leads to deaths that could be otherwise averted.
Posted in News
Tagged All Africa, Bahrain, chloroquine, Contraceptives, famine, Global Health Initiative, Global Health News, Guatemala, HIV/AIDS, hospital safety, International AIDS Society Conference, malaria, male circumcision, Michael Thigpen, nosocomial infections, Pakistan, Peter Hotez, Philippines, polio, pregnancy, rabies, Rotavirus, Sabin Vaccine Institute, schistosomiasis, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Truvada, UNAIDS, WHO
- Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced the Water for the World Act of 2011, a bill in the Senate which will make providing safe and clean drinking water around the world a priority for US foreign aid.
- More than 60 world nutrition experts met at WHO headquarters last week to revise guidelines and to identify solutions to tackle the growing problems of both malnutrition and obesity around the world.
- Ministers of health and other high-level health officials from throughout the Americas called for a series of actions to reduce the toll of chronic noncommunicable diseases, in a declaration issued last week in Mexico City.
- The Global Fund announced that former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt have agreed to lead a high-level panel of experts that will conduct an independent and thorough review of the Global Fund’s financial safeguards.
- UN agencies are concerned that reduced donor funding due to the recession, combined with free trade agreements, will reduce the availability of low-cost HIV medications in developing countries.
- The United Nations General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting in September this year to discuss the financial burden caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) on countries.
- A study done is Malawi by the World Bank attracted attention (and criticism) from Businessweek. Young women were given to stay in school and deter them from accepting money and gifts from “sugar daddies” in exchange for sex. The study found that HIV infection rates were 60% among schoolgirls who received cash compared to those who received nothing.
- A recent review of malaria treatment clinical trial results, published in the Chochrane Library, shows that artesunate was more effective that quinine at treating severe malaria.
- A personalized text messaging reminder service significantly boosted antiretroviral (ARV) adherence over a six-week period compared with a standard beeper reminder system, according to a study published in the March issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
- About 600 people gathered at the Global Health Metrics and Evaluation conference in Seattle to discuss issues surrounding the evaluation of effectiveness of health programs.
- Global health blogger Alanna Shaikh discusses how micro-credit and the Green Revolution, two of international development’s biggest successes, are being re-evaluated.
- The Nepalese government is planning launch a large vaccination campaign against elephantiasis in 40 high-risk districts.
- Dubai’s Ministry of Health introduced Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine PCV13, a vaccine that protects young children from the worst effects of illnesses including pneumonia, blood infections and meningitis.
- The National Influenza Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, making China the first developing country to house such an institution.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Europe is concerned by the growing incidence of drug-resistant TB, particularly in children.
- The world continues to follow the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, including the unfolding situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The WHO has assured that there is no danger to individuals being exposed to radiation in nearby nations (e.g. China).
- As if Haiti needed any more bad news, a study published in the Lancet says that the UN estimate of 400,000 cholera cases in Haiti this year is nearly half of what the real projection should be for the recovering nation. Meanwhile, health officials in Lagos have called on residents to observe high standards of personal and environmental hygiene and have designated emergency numbers to call in case of suspected cases; the Ghana Health Service has set up cholera centers in Accra to deal with the outbreak there; and the interim federal government of Somalia on Tuesday denied reports of an outbreak of cholera in the country, responding to an Associated Press story over the weekend that Somali doctors had reported that more than 20 people had died from the disease.
- In the February 2011 issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease Journal, contributing editor Serap Aksoy discussed the triumphs behind the control of human African trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness.
- Although women get diagnosed for tuberculosis (TB) later than men, treatment outcomes among women are better than men with higher TB treatment success rate and lower default (drop-out) rate in the female patients. The finding was announced at a meeting on TB and women in New Delhi, India.
- While the total number of newly reported HIV positive people and AIDS patients are still low in Japan compared with other countries, the number of newly HIV-infected people in Japan has doubled in the past decade due to public complacency and lower awareness.
Posted in News
Tagged Accra, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, Alanna Shaikh, artesunate, ARV, Bob Corker, China, cholera, chronic disease, Cochrane Library, Dubai, Earthquake, elephantiasis, Festus Mogae, free trade, Fukushima, generic drugs, Ghana, Global Fund, Global Health Metrics and Evaluation Conference, Global Health News, green revolution, Haiti, HIV/AIDS, Japan, Lagos, Lancet, malaria, Malawi, Malnutrition, meningitis, Michael O. Leavitt, micro-credit, Nepal, obesity, PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease Journal, pneumonia, quinine, radiation, Richard Durbin, sleeping sickness, Somalia, sugar daddies, TB, trypanosomiasis, tsunami, UN, Water for the World Act of 2011, WHO, World Bank
Blog contributor: Jessica M. Keralis
On December 3, 22 people were killed while at a graduation ceremony for medical, engineering, and computer science students at Banadir University in Somalia. The ceremony was the target of a suicide bomber. Among the dead were were medical students, doctors, and three government ministers, including Dr. Qamar Aden Ali, Somalia’s Minister of Health. The WHO has described Dr. Ali as a “tireless, energetic and influential advocate for health in Somalia who was determined to improve health standards and care for her fellow Somalis” and who worked closely with the World Health Organization to improve her country’s health system.
The attack is a devastating blow to both the small Somali medical community and the UN-supported government, which cannot even guarantee safety within the few square miles of Mogadishu it controls – less than three months ago, people were killed in an attack against the African Union mission (AMISOM) in the capitol. These events serve as a painful reminder that the violence and political instability in Somalia oppress its people and deprive them of their basic needs for food, hygiene, and health. The Afgooye Corridor, a 20-km strip west of Mogadishu, saw a population of 520,000 refugees uproot and move earlier this year. The displaced are at risk for cholera from poor hygiene and sanitation. Vaccination campaigns are extremely difficult, and staff face constant dangers. Medical equipment is not maintained. Both the WHO and the African Union have re-affirmed their commitment to helping the citizens of Somalia, but it is not just the government itself that is being attacked: both the Minister of Education, Ahmed Abdulahi Waayeel, and the Minister of Higher Education, Ibrahim Hassan Addow, were also killed. The bombing on Thursday was a calculated attack against the Somali education community. How effectively can humanitarian aid be administered in a country that has had no effective government for almost 20 years?
Despite valiant efforts, aid missions to Somalia are hindered by limited availability of funds and, more importantly, the political crisis. Until stability and peace can be brought to this country torn by civil war and violence, its people will continue to suffer.