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New trials: new hope for MDR-TB drugs

24 April 2014

The TB Alliance has announced that a trial for a new combination of drugs for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis will take place within a year if funds are secured. The new drugs would mean that the time taken to complete a course of treatment would be shortened- from 18 months to six months- increasing the likelihood of the courses being completed and reducing the chance of antibiotic resistance and the spread of XDR-TB or extensively drug resistant tuberculosis. The new combination of drugs needs to be shown to be effective in a phase III trial before they can be granted a license. Current funders of the TB Alliance include the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Unicef warns of malnutrition crisis in South Sudan

23 April 2014

A recent upsurge in violence in South Sudan will exacerbate an already precarious nutrition situation for hundreds of thousands of children. It has also been reported that children have been killed in recent direct attacks. Fierce fighting continues in many areas of the country and there are about 75,000 people who are living at bases created by the UN Mission in South Sudan with the aim of protecting civilians targeted in the conflict. There are concerns about inadequate water supply at the camps and Unicef has warned that 2500,000 children could suffer with acute malnutrition and 50,000 of them would die from it if by the end of the year if no action is taken. The UN is asking for additional funds to meet the nutritional demand in the country.

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World Immunization Week 2014

22 April 2014

Beginning this Thursday, World Immunization Week commemorates one of the most effective health interventions in global health. This year's theme is "Are you up-to-date?" which aims to educate people about vaccines, including which ones are available and to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated. Tackling this "knowledge gap" is one way to ensure that the 1 in 5 children who miss out on routine immunization receive the vaccines they need. It is estimated that vaccination prevents around 2-3 million deaths a year in people of all ages including childhood deaths from pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhoea, deaths from cervical cancer in young adults and deaths from influenza in the older population.

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Drug production on the increase in Myanmar

17 April 2014

Data collected by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) suggests that poppy cultivation has increased sharply in Myanmar in the last year. Historically, Myanmar produced a significant proportion of the world's opium poppies. After a nadir in 2006, opium production once again began to rise, with a 13% increase between 2012 and 2013 and a doubling since 2006. There are concerns that a free trade agreement between Burma's neighbours - the Association of South-Eastern Nations (ASEAN)- will exacerbate the problems associated with drug addiction in the region.

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UN condemns use of torture in Syria

15 April 2014

The Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights have released a document containing the testimonies of victims of torture by both government and opposition forces in Syria. The use of torture violates international law and, according to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, constitutes both a war crime and a crime against humanity when used in a systematic manner. The testimonies are from those who have experienced torture in detention and is said to have included activists, medical and humanitarian workers and children. An immediate halt to all ill treatment has been called for by the OHCHR.

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Climate change mitigation: global society needs to act now

14 April 2014

The latest report from the IPCC entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change released yesterday, outlines for policy makers ways to prevent a further rise in global temperature, which it says will be cheaper than dealing with its consequences in the long run. The IPCC is the international body charged with assessing climate change science. The report states that global society should aim for a carbon neutral world in the next fifty years and that we should not rely on future technologies to "save the day". The report follows on from the Working group II report released two weeks ago, which stated the impact climate change was already having on systems such as food security and also the future impact on health.

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WHO issues first hepatitis C guidance

11 April 2014

As more and better drugs are becoming available for the treatment of hepatitis C infection, the WHO has released guidance for the screening and treatment of patients who have the infection. It is estimated that approximately 150 million people are affected and up to 500,000 people die as a result being infected with hepatitis C each year. The WHO will also help countries to integrate the guidance into their national programmes, with the aim of improving the care of patients with hepatitis C and reducing the number of deaths from cancer and cirrhosis. The guidance includes nine key recommendations such as screening of those deemed at risk and mitigating liver damage of those who are infected by helping them to reduce their alcohol intake. The WHO will then turn its attention to improving access to these treatments and making it affordable for all who need it.

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Global Health Aid at highest ever level

9 April 2014

New 2013 figures for International Development Assistance for Health (DAH) were published yesterday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. A significant proportion of funding is coming from large foundations, notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but also bilateral agencies in the UK. The biggest chunk of health aid was given for HIV/AIDS. The link between disease burden in a country and the amount of DAH given was also explored. It was found that whilst in general more assistance was given to countries with higher disease burdens, there were some countries who received significantly less than their expected amount of DAH and some countries which received significantly more.

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World Health Day 2014 - 'small bite, big threat'

7 April 2014

This year to commemorate World Health Day the WHO is drawing attention to vector borne illnesses - diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks and flies such as dengue fever and malaria. More than half of the world's population is at risk of these illnesses- which is in part due to increased travel and migration. The illnesses are preventable and measures such as sleeping under a bed net can reduce the risk of contracting them. Climate change means these diseases have spread to different parts of the world and are affecting more people - yet the world's poorest remain disproportionately affected.

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World Health Summit Regional Meeting in Brazil- what will be achieved?

4 April 2014

The World Health Summit will hold its second regional meeting in São Paolo, Brazil this weekend. Regional meetings such as these are important because they encourage local health problems and solutions to be identified, after which other regions can learn from any successes. Whilst the discussion will centre around health in Latin America, the key debates such as the precise link between health and social development, how we can increase health life expectancy and the problems of 'megacities' will also resonate globally.

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How anthropologists aid the Ebola outbreak team

3 April 2014

The recent outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, where at least 80 people have died, has required a concerted effort from doctors and scientists in order to limit further transmission of the disease. However, it is important to know what people understand by the disease and to ensure that any outside intervention including preventing transmission and treating patients is acceptable to the people they are trying to help. Previous outbreaks have required anthropologists to help allay fears of international health teams. Anthropologists can help elucidate health beliefs and explain why certain interventions may be deemed culturally inappropriate or unacceptable.

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World Autism Day 2014

2 April 2014

In previous years to raise awareness of autism, iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building in New York City have been lit up blue. This year, it is hoped to build upon that increased awareness with events taking place around the world. "World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. I urge all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world" said Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations.

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Economic growth found to have no impact on malnutrition for poorest children

1 April 2014

A study which looked at the growth rates of 36 low and middle income countries between 1990 and 2011 found that an increase in GDP per capita had little to no effect on their rates of child malnutrition. For those children living in the poorest fifth of households - no association was found at all. It was concluded that although economic growth is considered sufficient for improving health, it is clear that targeted health interventions are also required to prevent early stunting and wasting.

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UN IPCC report warns of health impacts of climate change

31 March 2014

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has outlined the key impacts of climate change we face as a planet. It states that the effects of climate change will "leave nobody untouched" but that the poor will be worst affected. The food supply has already been affected, with increasing food insecurity being a risk factor for future world conflicts. Increased migration, conflict and trauma will likely have a devastating impact on mental health. The epidemiology of infectious diseases is also likely to change dramatically. Countries will need to both mitigate the risks posed by climate change and adapt to a changing climate.

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New multi-million dollar fund for family planning services announced

27 March 2014

The philanthropic organisation set up by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has partnered with the UN Foundation and launched a $50 million dollar scheme to fund family planning projects in countries where there is the greatest unmet need. Local organisations will be able to access the funds in the four countries targeted by the scheme, which include Burkina Faso and Nicaragua. It is currently estimated that 200 million women and girls do not have access to family planning services.

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7 million deaths linked to air pollution globally

26 March 2014

The figures for the numbers of people killed by air pollution were released yesterday by the WHO - an estimated 7million people or 1 in 8 global deaths- making it the biggest environmental threat to health worldwide. The data suggest that the link between both indoor and outdoor pollution and cardiovascular diseases is stronger than previously thought. Over half of the deaths are linked to the burning of coal, wood and biomass on stoves indoors. The WHO will release guidelines on indoor air quality later this year.

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Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea

25 March 2014

The first cases of haemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus were recognised last month in Guinea. Since then, more than 60 people have died and the virus has spread from the south to the capital Conakry - hundreds of kilometres away. There are concerns the outbreak may spread to neighbouring countries including Liberia. Contracting the virus is fatal in 90% of patients. There is currently no vaccine against the virus, or a cure for those infected, however supportive equipment and drugs are being flown over from France and Belgium as part of a humanitarian response by the medical charity Médecins sans Frontières.

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World TB Day 2014

24 March 2014

This year the Stop TB Partnership is drawing attention to the 3 million people who are ‘missed’ by the health system. 9 million people fall ill with TB each year- which means a third of people are not being diagnosed and getting access to treatment in a timely manner. Those three million largely live in the poorest areas of the world and form part of the most disadvantaged communities. The partnership is calling for an ‘aggressive scale-up’ of TB programmes around the world.

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New quick TB test rolled out in Moldova

21 March 2014

A new programme funded by UNITAID and TB REACH in Canada uses new technology to rapidly diagnose multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The test, called the Xpert MTB/RIF assay, can diagnose TB infection and rifampicin resistance within 2 hours. The test has been used in the Republic of Moldova which is one of 27 countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB. It is hoped that speeding up the time it takes to reach a diagnosis will enable patients and especially those in at risk populations to receive treatment faster.

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Food crisis demands renewed efforts in Central African Republic

20 March 2014

As a consequence of the conflict which began in 2012, it is estimated that half the population of the Central African Republic are in need of humanitarian aid. This year, the World Food Programme has been able to provide food to 250,000 people a month. However, the UN is calling for ‘deeper engagement’ and increased funding from the international community. The upcoming rainy season will increase the risk of diarrhoeal illnesses for displaced people living in camps and exacerbate the food crisis. “We must not wait until pictures of skeletal, severely underweight children document our failure and neglect,” said Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

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Prevalence of tuberculosis in China halved since 1990

19 March 2014

Since implementing the Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS Strategy), the prevalence of TB in China has concurrently fallen by 50% between 1990 and 2010. Over this twenty year period, the DOTS programme was scaled up from involving half the population to the whole population. In addition to geographical expansion, the number of people eligible for free treatment was also increased. The reduction of TB prevalence is one of the key targets set by the Stop TB Partnership and was achieved five years in advance of the 2015 deadline.

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Towards Universal Health Coverage in Ghana

18 March 2014

Scaling up the system of ‘capitation’ as a system of payment for healthcare is hoped to improve access to healthcare and improve financial protection of patients. The system works by insurers allowing a fixed cost for healthcare per person. If this is exceeded the healthcare provider pays the difference, unlike the fee for service model where the patient pays for the services received which encourages over-treatment. To prevent capitation from under-providing services, a strong regulatory framework is required. It is hoped this will build a health system which is incentivised as a whole rather and that evidence based medicine will become more entrenched in clinical practice.

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World Bank and its vision for post-2015 development goals

17 March 2014

The World Bank has set out what it sees as its contribution to the sustainable health agenda after the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals. The World Bank sees its role as working with other multilateral development banks and agencies such as the United Nations. It aims to help build a framework for financing the new sustainable goals, utilising ‘big data’ and mobilising resources to help implement the policies which will achieve the new goals.

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UK aid to Kenya urged to focus on quality of healthcare

14 March 2014

The UK is the third largest aid donor to healthcare in Kenya and a new report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai) has concluded that the Department for International Development (DfID) should focus on improving the quality of services and reducing regional disparities. It reported the physical and emotional abuse of patients by healthcare staff and called for the views of and health priorities of the local communities to be taken into account, rather than the targets of the department.

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Global Mental Health – the challenges of community based interventions

13 March 2014

The effectiveness of a community-based intervention for people with schizophrenia and their carers in India has been examined in a randomised controlled trial published in The Lancet this month. The interventions have been criticised for not taking the culture of the settings in which they are rolled out seriously enough, risking confusing patients and their carers. It has been concluded that the local communities need to be engaged and provided with education in order that local ownership of the interventions can occur and mental health services in low and middle income countries can improve.

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Preventing neonatal infection in Nepal

12 March 2014

Applying the antiseptic chlorhexidine to the umbilical cords of newborns has reduced neonatal sepsis by 23%, according to trials conducted since the measure was introduced in 2011. A Nepali pharmaceutical company manufactures the chlorhexidine in gel form, which reduces the costs of this USAID funded programme. Two thirds of babies born in Nepal do not have a skilled attendant present and this amongst other factors has led to a high neonatal mortality rate in the country.

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Number of children affected by Syrian civil war doubled since last year

11 March 2014

A new report from Unicef has found that after three years of conflict, the number of children affected continues to increase, with 5.5 million children having been affected. It has also been estimated that more than a million children are living in areas which are hard to reach by humanitarian efforts. Sustained access to these besieged areas has been called for by the World Food Programme, to provide adequate nutrition to 1.5 million people. The conflict is now entering its fourth year.

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Tuberculosis persists in Western European cities

10 March 2014

A new study has found that rates of tuberculosis are becoming increasingly concentrated in Europe’s big cities-with numbers reported being twice the national average. In the UK, 40% of the national reported cases were in London with similar patterns being found in cities such as Brussels and Barcelona. The authors of the study said TB control in these cities would require efforts concentrated on the most vulnerable and marginalized members of the population. However, the study also found that overall incidence is falling in most European countries.

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International Women’s Day: Reproductive rights and health

7 March 2014

Ahead of International Women’s Day, on Saturday 8 March, the WHO has issued new guidance on contraception, stressing its importance as one of many ways to uphold women’s rights and promote better heath. Complications of pregnancy and labour still carry a high mortality for young women. “Ensuring availability and accessibility to the information and services they need is crucial, not only to protect their rights, but also their health,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, and Children’s Health.

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WHO to publish new guideline on dietary sugars

6 March 2014

It is hoped a new draft guideline recommending halving the amount of sugar in our diets will help tackle the growing global health problem of obesity, and also help to reduce dental caries. The current 2002 guideline, states that no more than 10% of daily energy intake should come from sugars. However, with rising obesity levels, it is thought that 10% is too high. The new guidance states we should aim for 5%, which is equivalent to six teaspoons. In the UK, the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, stated a “sugar tax” may be needed in the future if obesity levels continue to rise.

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Gender impact of aid - new UK law

5 March 2014

A bill requiring the UK government to consider whether any aid money it gives reduces gender inequality is set to become law. It is hoped that other countries will make reducing gender inequality a criteria for aid as well as for those acting in the voluntary sector. Tanya Barron, of Plan UK, an NGO that helped draft the bill said, “In ensuring that the gender impact of aid and development spend is legally considered, we now know that this can remain the case for years to come. This bill sends a clear message that the UK is determined to ensure that women and girls are not left behind in the drive to economic empowerment, universal education, and social and political progress."

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Free flow of doctors allowed in new South Eastern Nations Agreement

4 March 2014

A new common market which will allow the free flow of doctors and other healthcare professionals in ten South Eastern countries including Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia, will be implemented in 2015. Despite a law from 2004 allowing foreign doctors working in Indonesia, there had been much resistance, due to fears of brain drain in countries which already have a shortage of doctors. There is much debate whether foreign doctors will benefit their healthcare system and there could be a delay in implementation.

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Cancer burden growing in low and middle income countries

3 March 2014

Whilst it is being increasingly recognised that the cancer burden is being shifted towards low and middle income countries, this is not being matched with resources in those countries. It is estimated that cancer kills more people in poor countries than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Only a small proportion of health aid is earmarked for cancer and it is not mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals. Rwandan healthcare, developed for HIV/AIDS, and now being adapted for treating and preventing cancer, could be a model for other countries.

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Zero discrimination day 2014

28 February 2014

Speaking in Beijing to mark zero discrimination day on the 1 March, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS remarked, “everyone has the right to live a full and productive life with dignity. No one should experience discrimination because of who they are." The day will be celebrated around the world... The AIDS response itself has taught the world tremendous lessons in tolerance and compassion. We know that both the right to health and the right to dignity belong to everyone”.

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Should aid to Uganda be cut?

27 February 2014

A new anti-homosexuality law passed in Uganda this week has been considered by the international community as a violation of human rights and a threat to the progress of HIV/AIDS campaigns in the country. It has been suggested that a way of protesting this new law is to stop giving aid to Uganda. However, since much of this aid is set aside for health projects, this too could have negative health consequences.

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Afghanistan - persistent healthcare challenges

26 February 2014

People are still struggling to access basic healthcare in Afghanistan, in spite of years of humanitarian aid being poured into the country. Christopher Stokes, general director of the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, says that international interest in the country has ‘waned’ despite continuing conflict in the country and continuing humanitarian need. The problems identified by MSF include having to travel miles to access any sort of care and the care itself is also lacking medicines and staff, according to patient testimonies.

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Growing African wealth: is it being shared equally?

25 February 2014

In many countries across the continent, economic growth has been accelerated over the past ten years. A new report, entitled ‘Africa Rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation’ investigates income inequality in eight sub-Saharan countries and points to an unfair tax system in these countries as a contributing factor to the unequal distribution of wealth. The Africa policy and advocacy manager at the charity Christian Aid, which co-authored the report said, "African governments at present are finalising their position on the framework that should succeed the Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015. They and other governments globally must prioritise the building of fair taxation systems to address inequality at its core."

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Security Council agrees humanitarian aid resolution for Syria

24 February 2014

The resolution, which compels both Syrian opposition and government forces to allow humanitarian aid into Syria had previously been vetoed by China and Russia. Russia agreed to the resolution after references to sanctions were no longer part of it, however the resolution does mention ‘further steps’ that will be taken if there is non-compliance by either side. "If this resolution is implemented quickly and in good faith, at least some of the suffering can be eased," said Ban Ki-Moon, the UN General Secretary.

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Human rights deprivations of Nepalese women reported by Amnesty International

21 February 2014

The human rights charity Amnesty International has reported that 1 in 10 women in Nepal suffer a debilitating uterine prolapse after giving birth. The charity is campaigning for the problem to be seen as an urgent human rights issue. The condition, which many women in Nepal develop in their 20s, leaves many women in pain and unable to carry out their normal day to day activities. “Nepal has gone through a protracted political crisis but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. The new government under Sushil Koirala now has an opportunity to give uterine prolapse the attention it requires.

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Meningitis vaccine delivered without need for cold chain

20 February 2014

A meningitis vaccination campaign has been carried out in the Benin without the need for ice packs to maintain the ‘cold chain’. The vaccines were delivered in containers similar to picnic boxes without ice packs and were not damaged by heat which reached up to 40 degrees Celsius. It is now recognised that each vaccine has its own level of thermostability. In countries where the cold chain is difficult or expensive to maintain these new findings published in the journal Vaccine raise hopes that many more children will be able to be vaccinated more cheaply.

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Allaying public fears about vaccines

19 February 2014

Developing new effective vaccines will not be a useful health intervention unless they can be accepted by patients. A vaccine which may be deemed acceptable in one part of the world may be viewed with suspicion in another, as has been the case in Nigeria with the polio vaccine. Whilst it is extremely important to effectively communicate the benefits and risks of a vaccine, this is not sufficient; the reasons why people refuse vaccines need to be understood. The research of medical anthropologists can help understand these differences and can help to find ways of increasing public confidence in vaccines and assuaging any fears.

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Financing Global Health: A Central Global Fund?

18 February 2014

International affairs Think Tank, Chatham House, has published a report in which it examines whether to finance global health through a central international pool of Development Assistance for Health (DAH) -a ‘global fund’ for health. The report compared this with the current situation in which most DAH is given bilaterally and via a few infectious disease global funds. The report concludes that a central pool of funds would be better suited for donor countries; however recipient countries may be less keen on this type of arrangement, perhaps preferring to maintain more control over the funds they receive.

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Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths

17 February 2014

Although much progress has been made in reducing maternal and child mortality, the rate of decline in neonatal mortality has not been as significant. A draft global action plan called Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths (ENAP) led by Unicef and the WHO has been formulated and an online public consultation closes on 28 February. The action plan includes the target of reducing the neonatal death rate in each country to 10 in 1000 live births by 2035.

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Unicef calls for action to end violence against children in Central African Republic

14 February 2014

In past few weeks there has been an unprecedented level of violence against children in the Central African Republic due to escalating conflict in the country. UN children’s agency believe at least 133 children have been killed or maimed. “Children are increasingly targeted because of their religion, or because of their community”. The nature of the conflict has meant targeted groups of people have been forced to evacuate their homes resulting in many children becoming separated from their families.

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Commission on Global Governance for Health

13 February 2014

The Lancet, in conjunction with the University of Oslo, yesterday launched the commission on global governance for health. The key messages from the commission are that many global health problems require political solutions from outside the field of health; as the goals of the health sector often conflict with those of powerful actors from other sectors and that unacceptable health inequalities remain despite the great gains made in global health. The commission describes a ‘systemic global governance dysfunction’ that needs correction and asserts that a ‘sustainable and healthy development for all requires a global economic and political system that serves a global community of healthy people on a healthy planet’.

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Calls for gender equality to be enshrined in post 2015 goals

12 February 2014

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking on the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, has stated, “we believe there should be a stand-alone goal or goals on equality and non-discrimination that addresses all kinds of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex.” The Convention is the universal treaty on the comprehensive protection of women’s rights came into force in 1981. The convention ensures that women have equal access to and equal opportunities in the political sphere, as well as in health, education and employment.

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Chronic Kidney Disease in sub-Saharan Africa: estimated prevalence

11 February 2014

A new meta-analysis of the epidemiology of chronic kidney disease puts the estimate the prevalence of the disease at almost 14%. However, there were very few studies with data of high enough quality to be included in the meta-analysis as few people are being diagnosed due to unavailability of diagnostic equipment. The true burden of disease is likely to be high, as chronic kidney disease can be commonly caused by non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. More data needs to be made available, and more people made aware of the complications of the disease, so that increased access to nephrology services in the region can be advocated.

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Sochi Winter Olympic Games smoke-free

10 February 2014

The level of tobacco consumption in Russia is one of the highest in the world. With the support of the WHO, the Russian government aims to platform an anti-smoking message during the Winter Olympic Games. Smoking has been forbidden at all of the games venues and tobacco products will not be sold. A complete ban on sponsorship of tobacco products and of smoking in the workplace is due to come into force in 2014.

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25x25 strategy on non-communicable diseases: over simplistic?

7 February 2014

The strategy, including the target of a 25% relative reduction in mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2025, was set by the World Health Assembly in 2012. Lancet Global Health article now calls for a more ‘comprehensive’ approach in which primary care is strengthened in low and middle income countries and in which the ‘causes of the causes’ are addressed. The authors suggest that simplifying the problem of NCDs into a neat target risks failing to recognise the complexity of the problem of NCDs and that more should be done to include health in all policies.

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South Sudan: major nutrition crisis looming

6 February 2014

The food security situation in South Sudan is now much worse than it was estimated even just three weeks ago according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). An estimated 3.7 million people are facing an emergency level of food insecurity. Fighting has led many people to flee the country at a time when preparations for harvest would have been underway. “Markets have collapsed, infrastructure is damaged, foreign traders have fled, commodity supply corridors have been disrupted by violence” UN FAO representative Sue Lautze.

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Health tourism in the UK and abroad: risks and benefits

5 February 2014

A new study has found an increase of both inward and outward medical tourism over the past ten years. The study highlighted the risk to UK travellers who seek care abroad as the industry is largely unregulated and there is no single source of reputable information. It was also estimated that more people left the UK for medical treatment than came into the UK for care. The authors conclude that much more information needs to be made available to enable those seeking care abroad to make informed decisions. GPs may also need more training in this area to enable them to give advice, often regarding particular procedures such as bariatric surgery and fertility treatment.

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World Cancer Day today

4 February 2014

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the WHO, has released its World Cancer Report 2014. There were 14 million new cases of cancer in 2012, with numbers increasing rapidly due to growing and ageing populations. The report calls for urgent action to step up preventative measures, such as legislation to reduce exposure to potential carcinogens and risk behaviours. Approximately 8.2 million people die each year of cancer worldwide.

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First National Health Research Agenda for Papua New Guinea

3 February 2014

Prior to 2013, there was no national research agenda to guide funding priorities and promote ownership of donated funds. Lancet Global Health now describes the development of the national health research agenda for Papua New Guinea. After a consultation process it was noted by the authors that many of the research priorities listed were regarding health systems and epidemiological research and were not biomedical questions as such. The authors hail the country’s National Health and HIV Research Agenda (NHHRA) for 2013—18 as ‘an important step’ in developing the country’s health research system.

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Unicef: 1 in 5 young girls affected by Female Genital Mutilation

31 January 2014

New Unicef report, 'Every child counts: revealing disparities, advancing children's rights' highlights the threat to children's rights that exists in some of the world's most conflict-stricken and low-income countries. Unicef have estimated that one in five young girls in sub-Saharan Africa have been affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and 140 million girls are living with its consequences. 1 in 10 young girls are married before the age of 15, diminishing their ability to exercise their rights to health and education.

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Climate based solutions to diarrhoeal illness in children

30 January 2014

Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in young children, killing 1.5 million of them every year. A recent comment in the Lancet Global Health calls for the integration of engineering and public efforts to improve access to clean water and sanitation. It is hoped an early warning system based on climate surveillance data will enable intervention before outbreaks. This, coupled with already existing treatments, will help to reduce the burden of diarrhoeal illness in children.

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Huge unmet need for global palliative care

29 January 2014

90% of people who need palliative care are not receiving it according to a new report jointly published by the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and the WHO. Almost all of the global palliative care is delivered in high income countries despite the greatest need existing in low and middle income countries and only 20 countries have palliative care fully integrated into their health systems.

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WHO launches road safety video library

28 January 2014

A selection compiled by the WHO of powerful and effective road safety mass media campaigns is now available to inspire those developing new campaigns. More than 1.2 million people die as a result of a road traffic accident each year, and 50 million more are injured according to the WHO’s figures. It is hoped such campaigns will raise awareness of the consequences of not abiding by road safety regulations and promote safe road behaviours.

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World Leprosy Day 2014

27 January 2014

Yesterday was World leprosy day and campaigners highlighted how the building of isolated colonies of people with leprosy in Brazil impeded awareness of the disease. Many people who had leprosy were also denied treatment and the improved outcomes that an early diagnosis would offer because of a reluctance to diagnose leprosy in order to detract attention from the problem. Campaigners would like to see more government funds allocated to tackling the disease.

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Persisting polio in Nigeria - factors which sustain transmission

24 January 2014

A new paper in the Lancet Global Health has considered some of the barriers to polio eradication in Nigeria, where an unexpected surge of cases occurred in 2012 and in one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. The factors analysed included the effectiveness of the different types of polio vaccine and the refusal rates. It was concluded that although refusal rates remained high, overall population immunity improved due to the new type of vaccine as well as improved delivery of vaccines.

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Gates Foundation annual letter 2014

23 January 2014

This week the Bill and Melina Gates foundation released it's annual letter which comments on the foundation's work over the past year. This year the letter focused on three aid myths: that aid doesn't work, that aid is wasted and that aid leads to overpopulation. In a recent interview, Bill Gates argued that capitalism on its own will not solve the world's global health problems. He also argued that aid does not contribute to the problem of overpopulation but in fact as people become healthier and more educated they have fewer children. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation remains one of the biggest global health donors and advocates and now supports the RSM's Global Film Initiative.

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Lancet makes the case for ‘grand conversion’ as a future health goal

21 January 2014

Defining ‘grand convergence’ as a reduction in preventable infectious, maternal, and child deaths to universally low levels, the Lancet makes the case for those setting the health agenda post-2015 to aim for an under-5 mortality rate of 16 per 1000 live births, an annual AIDS death rate of 8 per 100 000 population, and an annual death rate from tuberculosis of 4 per 100 000 population. It is argued that the simplicity of the goal will invigorate both policy makers and the public and that it provides ‘the opportunity for unity’ for those in the global health community; who compete to ensure their diseases receive adequate attention. It is also argued that this ‘grand convergence’ cannot be achieved without universal health coverage.

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UN reports on child soldiers in Central African Republic

20 January 2014

Today the UN Human Rights Council will hold a session on the Central African Republic (CAR). The UN has estimated that 6000 child soldiers have been recruited in the ongoing conflict in which half the population are estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid. It is thought the numbers have risen due to the recent escalation of violence in the country. The World Food Programme has also stated that by March, they will no longer be able to operate in CAR and more help is required to continue food provision.

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Former US president announces imminent eradication of guinea worm

17 January 2014

Former US president Jimmy Carter, who has campaigned for the eradication of guinea worm since 1982, has told that he expects the disease to be eradicated within his lifetime. Cases of the disease have reduced from 3.5 million in 1986 to just 148 cases in 2013, representing a decrease of over 99%.

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Enabling evidence based policy in low income countries

16 January 2014

The ministry of health in Sudan has celebrated 10 years membership of HINARI- the access to research in health programme. It enables those in low and middle income countries to have low cost online access to a large collection of international health research on which to base their policies. The initiative was introduced at the UN MIllennium summit in 2000 and since then the number of journals and full text resources has grown significantly. Speaking to the the WHO, the Director General of Sudan's Central Medical Supplies talks about how having access to HINARI has made a difference to his role organising medical supplies in Sudan.

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Children to have same access to key human rights bodies

15 January 2014

A new legal instrument will allow children who have exhausted all other channels to apply to the Committee on the Human Rights of the Child to file complaints about child human rights violations. It is one of the three optional protocols of the Convention on the Human Rights of the Child which sets out universal obligations to protect children, who will thus have the same access to key human rights bodies as adults. Costa Rica became the tenth country to ratify this third protocol.

Abuse of child workers will also be the topic of the next RSM evening Global Health Alert on 4 February. Register here:

To find out more about the UN instrument

Polio set to be declared eradicated from India

14 January 2014

Yesterday marked three years since the last case of polio in India, allowing the WHO to declare India polio free. Polio virus continues to be endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan however the WHO considers this latest news a significant step towards global eradication. It was once considered that India was the most difficult country in which to eradicate polio. It is hoped this latest good news will invigorate the global eradication campaign.

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Haitian people still displaced four years on from earthquake

13 January 2014

Four years ago an earthquake measuring 7.0 in magnitude killed 200,000 people in Haiti and left many others displaced. Today, 150,000 people are still living in temporary housing and without water and electricity. Yesterday was decreed a day of remembrance in Haiti whilst the United Nations urged the international community to increase aid the country” Let us renew today our pledge to follow our fallen colleagues' dream of a life of dignity for all the people of Haiti,” said the UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

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China to ban smoking in public places

10 January 2014

This week the Chinese government announced that it aims to roll out a national smoking ban by the end of the year. China, with 300 million smokers, has the largest number of tobacco consumers in the world and is also one of the largest producers of tobacco. An official from the National Health and Family Planning Commission stated this week that the economic benefits from smoking are "trivial" compared with the health conditions to which smoking contributes.

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UK International Development Minister faces questions over aid decisions

9 January 2014

A group of MPs have questioned decisions made by ministers at the Department for International Development to reduce bilateral aid given to India and South Africa - both classed as middle income countries. From 2015 India will no longer receive aid from the UK. The MPs were concerned that decisions were made in response to "political pressure" from those perturbed by a ring fenced aid budget while other budgets have been cut. There was particular concern over the effect this would have on health programmes, including HIV programmes in South Africa. The department argues that any aid money should go to the poorest countries, where it will have the biggest impact.

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WHO sends 125 tonnes of medical supplies to Syria

8 January 2014

The ongoing civil war in Syria has lead to a depletion in both health personnel and medical supplies. In the last two weeks the WHO has sent two shipments of drugs, surgical equipment and infant incubators. It is estimated that local production of medicines had decreased by as much as 70%, where previously 90% of medicines were produced locally. WHO continues to call for all parties to the conflict to end attacks on health facilities and health workers as stipulated under International Humanitarian Law.

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Lancet Commission on Global Health and Surgery

7 January 2014

Officially launched on the 17th January, the Lancet Commission on Global Heath and Surgery will bring together global health leaders from around the world to discuss the future of surgery within the global health agenda. Clinicians and policy makers, amongst other stakeholders, will look at how to integrate surgical care into the post-2015 agenda and how best to provide equitable high quality surgical care, particularly in low and middle income countries. A series of meetings will culminate in a report which is due to be published in the Lancet at the end if the year.

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Further clashes in South Sudan delay peace talks

6 January 2014

Fighting which began in South Sudan on 15 December has already left 1000 people dead and 200,000 displaced from their homes. UN peace keepers have been deployed and medical humanitarian organisations already present in South Sudan are organising emergency teams and mobile clinics for displaced peoples. Yesterday, the fighting further delayed peace talks arranged in Ethiopia but it is hoped the talks will get underway today.

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The year in Global Health

23 December 2013

At this time of year, actors and stakeholders in global health will be reflecting on what has been achieved in 2013- and what is yet to be accomplished. An editorial for the Lancet Global Health highlights the new HIV treatment guidelines issued by WHO this year as well as future avenues of research into how cost-effective this treatment strategy is and whether governments ought to follow this guidance. It is likely that humanitarian health issues, particularly in Syria and in Central African Republic, will continue to feature strongly on the global health agenda into 2014.

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New thoughts on aid effectiveness

18 December 2013

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, seeks to expound some myths surrounding foreign aid. Dr. Farmer affirms the effectiveness of aid, citing Rwanda as an example where aid has indeed ‘worked’. He warns against confusing weak institutions with corrupt ones and against the pessimism surrounding how much aid can achieve. He concludes that it is through local institutions, as part of a functioning public sector, that aid can be most effectively delivered.

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UN seeks $13 billion in humanitarian aid for 2014

17 December 2013

Half of the humanitarian aid being sought by UN bodies is for the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria. “As we look towards the fourth year of this appalling crisis, its brutal impact on millions of Syrians is testing the capacity of the international community to respond,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos. With the funds the UN aims to help more than 52 million people, including record numbers of displaced people, in countries including Afghanistan, Central African Republic and the Philippines.

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Central African Republic: humanitarian situation critical

16 December 2013

The medical humanitarian charity Médecins sans Frontières has called for the United Nations to change its humanitarian response in the Central African Republic. In an open letter to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, MSF has said that in recent months, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated rapidly. While the UN has taken the decision to step up its humanitarian efforts, the charity says this comes too late and does not go far enough. There are currently 30,000 people living at Bangui airport according and MSF would like to see basic items such as food and tents provided by UN agencies. “Despite the best efforts of MSF and the few NGOs operating in the field, the needs remain extremely high. UN agencies must now provide an effective response to meet them,’ said Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations.

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Calls for increased global funding for disaster preparedness

13 December 2013

A new report from the Overseas Development Institute has called for greater investment in disaster and emergency preparedness. With the world facing ever more disasters such as the typhoon in the Philippines last month, it is paramount that countries mitigate the risks posed by such disasters. It is hoped this will reduce the health and humanitarian burden and reduce reliance on emergency humanitarian organisations. The report recommends a global way forward to increase funding and for the small amount of existing funding to be streamlined.

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World Malaria Report 2013 estimates 3.3 million lives saved since 2000

12 December 2013

This report, published by WHO, has showed that malaria death rates have reduced by 45% globally and 49% in Africa. Malaria prevention efforts have been aided by increased funding, however many people still do not have access to life-saving insecticide- treated nets. “This remarkable progress is no cause for complacency: absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century.”

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‘Developing countries’ an ‘outdated concept’

11 December 2013

According to Hans Rosling, Professor of Global Health at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, the notions of ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries, how many people still categorise countries in the world, is an outdated world view. Now, in terms of income, most countries form a continuous ‘middle’ and most people in the world live in this ‘middle’, in countries like Brazil Indonesia and China. Whilst much progress has been made, the gap between the very poorest and very richest countries remains stubbornly wide.

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Good governance for the post-2015 development agenda

10 December 2013

Speaking on anti-corruption day, UN Development Program Administrator Helen Clark outlined how improving governance was essential to development agenda. The World Bank estimates that corruption can cost a country up to 17% of its GDP. “People everywhere want governments to focus on effective management of public and natural resources, and they want quality public services. Tackling corruption is critical for that,” she said. How the post-2015 development agenda itself can contribute towards fighting corruption and maximising human development was also discussed.

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UN bodies jointly condemn attacks on healthcare workers in Syria

9 December 2013

The WHO and UNICEF have appealed for a halt in hostilities in Syria to help health care workers safely carry out a polio vaccination campaign. “All parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians, health facilities and health professionals,” UN officials have stated. Despite difficulties, 3.3 million children have been vaccinated in the past few weeks and it is expected the campaign will continue for an estimated 8 months.

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‘Most government woefully unprepared for dementia epidemic’

6 December 2013

According to a report released by the international federation of Alzheimer’s associations, Alzheimer’s disease International, the number of people living with dementia will treble to 135 million people by 2050. It is also predicted that the proportion of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in poor and middle-income countries will increase. Next week, London will host the G8 summit on dementia, which has been described as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle a global epidemic.

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Global Health 2035: Lancet Commission on Investing in Health

5 December 2013

This week The Lancet has publishes a commission, entitled: Global health 2035: a world converging within a generation. The series of papers examines the case for governments around the world investing in health, which was set out in the 1993 World Development Report from the World Bank. The report has been described as a ‘milestone’ and ‘catalyst’ for making global health policies. The Commission describes a ‘grand convergence’ of health outcomes between poor and middle income countries which is possible between now and 2035, due to the increasing ability to prevent both infectious and non-communicable diseases and to prevent maternal and child mortality. The ways in which governments can go about achieving this, are also outlined.

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$12 committed to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria

4 December 2013

At a meeting on the replenishment of the Global Fund in Washington DC, $12 billion have been committed by members of the international community- up from the $9billion pledged at the last meeting. Domestic spending on HIV has also increased, but Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, pointed out that despite this, three in ten children and adults do not receive the treatment they need – more work needs to be done. “Support for the Global Fund comes at a crucial point – in many parts of the world we are entering into a ‘make or break’ point in progressing towards our goals. These pledges are a demonstration of global solidarity and trust to move towards ending the three diseases,” he said.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2013

3 December 2013

The theme of this year’s observance is: Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all. Prior to September of this year, disability received very little attention from those who had set the development agenda pre-2015. This is despite disabled persons being disproportionately represented amongst the poorest people and facing unique development challenges. A UN higher level meeting in September outlined a disability inclusive post-2015 development agenda. Today it is hoped in raising awareness the momentum can be gained to implement the actions outlined in the outcome document of the September meeting.

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More than one million child refugees from Syria facing traumatic exile

2 December 2013

The United Nations Refugee agency has warned of the further long term effects of the Syrian civil war on child refugees. Children that have already been traumatised by the war also face being forced into work in order to survive, having no education and being separated from their families. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said: "If we do not act quickly, a generation of innocents will become lasting casualties of an appalling war."

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World AIDS Day 2013: Getting to Zero

29 November 2013

World AIDS day will be commemorated by campaigners, advocates and patients around the world on Sunday 1st December. The theme for 2011-2015 has been: ‘Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths. This year, the World Health Organisation is campaigning on improving the testing and treatment of adolescents. It has recently issued new guidance on preventing transmission through circumcision and has recommended commencing antiretroviral therapy earlier. It is hoped that these measures will prevent millions of deaths and new infections.

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New recommendations for acutely malnourished children

28 November 2013

The WHO has issued new guidelines on treating acute malnutrition in children, which state that unless a child has a concurrent medical condition, they do not require hospitalization and can be treated at home with antibiotics and high-energy foods. These guidelines are specific to acute malnutrition- and not applicable to undernutrition. The new guidelines also recommend that acutely malnourished children be tested for HIV in regions where the prevalence of the virus is high. Children with positive diagnoses should be started on anti-retrovirals alongside food and antibiotics. “The guidelines are critical because many national health plans currently overlook children with severe acute malnutrition. This can be fatal. If these children don’t get the right medical and nutritional care, very often they die,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

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Cash transfers could reduce HIV transmission in adolescent girls

27 November 2013

A new study published in the recent issue of Lancet Global Health has evaluated the impact of giving children cash transfers in order to prevent the transmission of HIV in adolescents. The study found that girls who had received a cash transfer were less likely to engage in sex for financial reasons. However, the cash transfers had no effect on other risky sexual behaviours and no consistent effect on boys. The authors concluded that cash transfers can be part of the strategy to reduce HIV transmission in adolescent girls and the study goes some way to teasing out the complex relationship between poverty and HIV transmission.

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Adolescents and HIV: New guidance for testing and care

26 November 2013

In advance of World AIDS day on December 1st, the WHO has released new guidance on the most effective ways to diagnose and treat adolescents with HIV. The lack of services has led to a 50% increase in AIDS-related deaths amongst adolescents since 2005. The new guidelines are to be used by policy-makers and programme managers to help plan more effective HIV services which address the specific needs of adolescents. “Adolescents need health services and support, tailored to their needs. They are less likely than adults to be tested for HIV and often need more support than adults to help them maintain care and to stick to treatment,” says Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of WHO HIV/AIDS Department.

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HIV infections increasing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

21 November 2013

Since 2006 new infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have increased by 13% and have doubled in the Middle East and North Africa since 2001. It is thought that reduced access to HIV services for populations including men who have sex with men is one of the reasons for the rise. Globally, however, new infections have decreased by 33% since 2001. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé has said in advance of World AIDS day next month: “Every person counts. If we are going to keep our pledge of leaving no one behind, we have to make sure HIV services reaches everyone in need.”

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Maternal health programme in developing countries expanded to the U.S

20 November 2013

The U.S pharmaceutical company Merck, which runs maternal health programmes in countries including Zambia and India, would now like to expand its ‘Merck for Mothers’ programme to the United States. Since 1990, pregnancy related deaths in the U.S have more than doubled and the rate among African-American women is triple that of white women. Merck will provide $6 million to programmes in ten different states and is collaborating with researchers to find out which interventions are the most effective.

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Anger from developing countries at climate change talks

18 November 2013

The recent typhoon in the Philippines has led to many, including the former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, calling for climate change to be addressed with renewed vigour. However, there has been anger over the weekend from many developing countries at a UN climate change meeting in Warsaw over what they perceive to be rich countries backtracking on climate change promises. More than 3,600 are thought to have been killed by the typhoon with a significant threat of disease predicted to follow.

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World Diabetes Day 2013

14 November 2013

World diabetes day is celebrated on this date every year as it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin alongside Charles Best. The day is marked with campaigns to increase global awareness of diabetes. This year the theme is education and prevention. Last year, there were 4.8 million deaths due to diabetes. More than 371 million people are living with diabetes globally, 80% of which are in low and middle income countries and the numbers of people living with diabetes are increasing in every country.

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London summit to address violence against women in conflicts and disasters

13 November 2013

Today in London, the UN and other NGOs will meet at at a summit on protecting women and girls in emergencies. It is hoped that action and policies to reduce the risk of violence to women and girls during and in the aftermath of crises will be agreed upon. These policies include building well lit water points close to where other people live and securing access to contraception and safe abortion. Violence towards women and girls have been features of current conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Syria. The executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking in advance of the summit to the Guardian has said, "Organisations like us…will be working with governments to see that the impact [of an emergency] is not disproportionately borne by women."

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World Pneumonia Day 2013

12 November 2013

Pneumonia is currently the biggest killer of children under 5. Last year, 1.1 million children died as a result of this largely preventable disease. This year’s theme is innovation - finding new solutions to end childhood pneumonia - whilst also finding ways to implement the solutions that already exist. More than 99% of pneumonia deaths in children occur in developing countries. Pneumonia can be effectively treated by antibiotics, however globally only 30% of children who showed signs of pneumonia received treatment. Use the #WPD2013 hashtag on twitter to join the global conversation.

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4 million affected by super typhoon in the Philippines

11 November 2013

The emergency response to the super typhoon Haiyan by organisations such as UNICEF has been increased as estimates of numbers of those affected have also risen. The health of the millions of children affected is a particular concern in the aftermath of the disaster, due to the effect on water and sanitation systems. "We are rushing to get critical supplies to children who are bearing the brunt of this crisis,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi. “Reaching the worst affected areas is very difficult, with limited access due to the damage caused by the typhoon to infrastructure and communications. But we are working around the clock to find ways to get these supplies to children as quickly as conditions allow."

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Human Resources for Health-a path to Universal Health Coverage

6 November 2013

The difficulty in matching the demand and supply of healthcare workers is well known. The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which will take place in Recife, Brazil, this month, will work towards increasing political commitment to improving access and improving the quality of the healthcare workforce. The forum will examine evidence based policies and the success stories of workforce planning in other countries, with the overarching aim of improving universal access to the healthcare.

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$8 billion for Africa’s Sahel region

5 November 2013

The World Bank Group has pledged $1.5 billion and the European Union (EU) will provide $6.75 billion in funding to six countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad, over the next seven years. “The challenges in the Sahel respect no borders – neither should our solutions. The cycle of crises can be broken,” said UN Secretary - General Ban Ki-moon. Over the last ten years there have been three major droughts in the country and ongoing political instability. The funding will be to support social safety nets, to improve infrastructure and agriculture and to expand health services for women and girls.

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Mexico instigates ‘junk food’ tax

4 November 2013

The new taxes, which include taxes on soft drinks, sweets and crisps, will be made law in January. It was deemed the taxes were necessary to curb rising rates of obesity and diabetes. There will be an 8% tax on junk food and a tax of one peso per litre of soft drink. According to the WHO, one in three Mexicans are obese and 70% of the population overweight, rates which have recently surpassed that of the United States.

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Adolescent motherhood highlighted in new UN report

31 October 2013

The new report entitled State of World Population 2013 and produced by the UN Population Fund, highlights the high numbers of births to adolescent mothers in developing countries. The report draws attention to the medical complications in pregnancy and the long term health and social consequences of adolescent motherhood. The UNFPA has estimated that there are 2 million births to girls aged 14 or younger and that 70,000 adolescents die each year due to obstetric complications in developing countries. UNFPA has called for action to help empower young women and girls and for greater enforcement of their human rights.

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WHO confirms polio cases in Syria

30 October 2013

10 cases of polio have been confirmed and a further 12 cases are being investigated. The UN estimates that the civil war has left 500,000 children not vaccinated. "Anytime where you have areas with complex emergencies where health systems deteriorate, where immunisation levels deteriorate, children are much more vulnerable to diseases such as polio," said a WHO spokesman. There are now more than 100,000 children at risk of polio just in the province where the cases have been confirmed, and there is risk of further spread across the country. The Syrian health ministry and aid agencies have already begun emergency immunisation campaigns.

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Insufficient drug and vaccine development for neglected diseases

29 October 2013

A new study which analysed the proportion of drug and vaccine development for diseases which affect low income countries has found that whilst the proportion has increased in the last 12 years, it is still inadequate. Out of 850 new therapeutic products registered in 2000-2011, 4% were indicated for neglected diseases, which include TB, malaria and neglected tropical diseases as defined by the WHO. This study follows on from research in 2001 which found that only 1% of therapeutic products were developed for neglected diseases. The authors acknowledge this improvement but call for more vaccines and drugs to be developed if neglected diseases are to be eliminated.

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The global burden of cerebrovascular disease

28 October 2013

Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Project which have estimated the burden of cerebrovascular disease, has been published in the Lancet Global Health. It was found that most of the burden of ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke is in low-income and middle income countries, where 57% of deaths due to ischaemic stroke and 84% due to haemorrhagic stroke occurred. In addition, the incidence of stroke has increased in low and middle income countries. The authors suggest that in order to reduce the global burden of stroke, a key priority is preventing hypertension and its associated lifestyle factors.

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Haiti cholera now in Mexico

25 October 2013

The strain of cholera that became an epidemic in Haiti three years ago has now spread to the mainland via Mexico. Cases of cholera have been exported as far away as Germany but good sanitation has prevented outbreaks. The outbreak in Mexico has so far caused one death. Nearly 9000 people died in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after the infection was very likely brought to the island by UN peacekeepers.

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Global TB deaths decreasing- but urgent action needed to tackle MDR-TB

24 October 2013

According to the new global TB report published yesterday by the WHO, the lives of 22 million people have been saved by TB treatment. However, one in three people with TB are ‘missed’ by the healthcare system, and those with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are not receiving adequate treatment. The WHO cites insufficient resources for TB programmes as one of the key problems. The WHO has recommended action to improve access to diagnostic tests and treatment to people living in remote areas and also increased financing to tackle what is being called the MDR-TB crisis.

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Building an evidence base for vaccine introduction

23 October 2013

Rana Hajjeh, Director of the Division of Bacterial Diseases at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention discusses how the haemophilus influenza bacteria (Hib) vaccine initiative helped to establish an evidence base for the vaccine, which gave governments and policy makers the right information to take the decision to introduce the vaccine to children. The initiative also helped to fund post- vaccination surveillance studies. The importance of the global health community in anticipating the kind of evidence needed to introduce potentially life-saving vaccines has also been highlighted.

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Social media in global health - World Health Summit discussion

22 October 2013

At the World Health Summit taking place in Berlin this week, the potential contributions that social media can make to global health has been discussed, as well its potential drawbacks. Social media is already being harnessed to pick up indications of vaccine resistance and monitoring medicine stocks. However, the potential for both positive and negative messages to be broadcast, and concerns about social media being used for mass surveillance were also discussed.

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Suspected polio cases in Syria

21 October 2013

The WHO is currently investigating reports of a cluster of ‘acute flaccid paralysis cases’ in an Eastern province of Syria. The country is awaiting confirmation of polio from the WHO laboratory of the Eastern Mediterranean region, as initial results from a Damascus lab had indicated polio positive cases. Syria’s health infrastructure has been severely affected by the civil war; however, Syria’s health ministry has said it is now planning ‘an urgent nationwide response’. Polio was last reported in Syria in 1995.

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Air pollution a leading environmental cause of cancer worldwide

18 October 2013

The global problem of air pollution has been highlighted by the WHO, which yesterday deemed air pollution as the leading environmental cause of cancer. New data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggests air pollution can be linked to bladder cancer in addition to the respiratory and cardiac illnesses to which air pollution is already known to be linked. The director of the IARC has commented, “there are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action."

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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: working in partnership

17 October 2013

The theme for this year’s observance is: Working together towards a world without discrimination: building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty. It emphasises the role of those experiencing poverty in helping to bring about change. Today there will also be a live webcast from the UN, during which people will be sharing their views on poverty. You can join the global conversation on Facebook and on twitter using the hashtag #EndPoverty.

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World Food Day 2013: sustainable food systems for better nutrition

16 October 2013

The focus of this year’s World Food Day is sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition. Whilst global supplies of cereals have increased on last year, there remain many places around the world which are ‘food insecure’. This is often due to conflict, but also caused by a lack of resilience to climate change which has left many people vulnerable to the effects of drought and therefore hunger and malnutrition. After decades of droughts, there are currently 1.5 million people In Angola and 778,000 in Namibia people who do not currently have enough to eat.

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Japanese Encephalitis vaccine new global health milestone

14 October 2013

The new vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis is the first vaccine produced by China to be prequalified by the WHO, which means the WHO has approved the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Japanese encephalitis is caused by a mosquito-borne virus and is seasonally endemic in parts of South-East Asia. The process by which the vaccine was brought to prequalification involved close collaboration with an organisation called PATH. Next month the board of the GAVI Alliance will meet to decide whether to finance the vaccine. If GAVI decide that they will fund the vaccine, countries can then apply for financing from 2014.

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400 million children living in extreme poverty – World Bank

11 October 2013

According to a new report from the World Bank the number of people living in extreme poverty - that is, those living on less than $1.25 a day- was reduced by 721 million between 1981 and 2001. However, it also found that a large proportion of children - one in three - were among those living in extreme poverty. The report also stated that 78% of those living in extreme poverty live in rural areas and ever more money would be needed to lift people out of extreme poverty. “We have witnessed an historic movement of people lifting themselves out of poverty over the past three decades, but the number of children living in poverty alone should leave no doubt that there remains much work to do,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

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World Mental Health Day – promoting mental health later in life

10 October 2013

This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on the mental health of older adults. In particular, the WHO and the World Federation for Mental Health would like to highlight the positive effects on mental health and wellbeing that the later years of life can bring. “There is much we can do to promote good mental health and well-being in later life. Participation in meaningful activities, strong personal relationships and good physical health are key factors,” the Mental Health Federation stated in their new report.

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WHO encourages EU to approve revised Tobacco Products Directive

9 October 2013

In a statement from the Director General Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO has urged the European Union to support the adoption of a revised Tobacco Products Directive. The directive, first passed in 2001, is a piece of legislation regulating the sale of tobacco. Dr. Chan outlined what has already been achieved in the EU, such as the early ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, but calls for EU member states to remain “steadfast” against pressures from the tobacco industry. It is estimated that each year smoking and the inhalation of second hand smoke contributes to 700,000 avoidable deaths in the EU.

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GlaxoSmithKleine seeks to market first malaria vaccine

8 October 2013

The British pharmaceutical company has presented trial results which showed that the new vaccine reduces the number of young children with clinical malaria by a half - in Africa’s largest clinical trial involving 15,000 children in seven countries. However in infants aged six to 12 weeks at the time of vaccination, the risk of clinical malaria was only reduced by 27%. GSK will submit a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency and it is hoped the vaccine will be recommended by the WHO in 2015.

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Disability the focus for International Day for Disaster Reduction

7 October 2013

The theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction, to be marked on the 13th October and coordinated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, is living with disability. The aim of the day is to draw attention to the measures that can be taken and are being taken around the world to reduce vulnerability to disaster and to build resilience. There are approximately one billion people living with disability, who when afflicted by disasters, often do not receive the humanitarian aid they need and are less likely to recover after a disaster.

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Decisions and dilemma for a medical humanitarian aid organisation

4 October 2013

The medical humanitarian charity Médecins Sans Frontières has launched an educational website which uses case studies to outline the decision making processes of the organisation. The first case study looks at MSF’s work in Somalia between1992 and 1993. It examines the complex challenges faced by the organisation; such as the decision to temporarily leave the country, how to remain neutral, whether to employ armed guards and how to bear witness to events where medical humanitarian aid is delivered.

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Indian HIV prevention programme averts over half a million HIV infections over ten years

3 October 2013

The effectiveness of the first ten years of a Bill and Melinda Gates AIDS initiative in India has been evaluated in the Lancet Global Health. Using mathematical models to estimate HIV prevalence trends, the preventative programme averted an estimated 202,000 infections in the first four years of the programme and an estimated 606,000 infections over ten years. The intervention targeted high risk groups such as sex workers and their risk behaviours. The authors of the evaluation concluded that this large-scale, targeted and preventative intervention had indeed been effective.

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How Columbia eliminated onchocerciasis

2 October 2013

Onchocerciasis is a neglected tropical disease which affects millions worldwide. This year Columbia has successfully eliminated the disease and has achieved 'verification of elimination' status by the World Health Organisation. A health education advisor with the Onchocerciasis elimination programme for the Americas describes how health workers administered medicines to people living in remote areas and outlines the importance of community health education in eliminating the disease. This success may serve as a model for other countries where onchocerciasis remains endemic.

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UNHCR continue to seek international cooperation on Syria

1 October 2013

The Executive Committee of the UN refugee agency UNHCR is continuing their annual meeting today. The meeting aims to discuss ways of increasing support for refugee populations of Syria in its neighbouring countries. Today addressing the UN General Assembly, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister said, “there is no civil war in Syria, but it is a war against terror that recognizes no values, nor justice, nor equality, and disregards any rights or laws”. Since it began in 2011, the conflict has claimed 100,000 lives, 2 million people have fled the country and 4 million are internally displaced.

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Minorities and indigenous people suffer poorer health outcomes

30 September 2013

A new report released by Minority Rights Group International has found that minority groups and indigenous people receive poorer healthcare and die younger in almost every country. In State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2013, launched to coincide with the UN General Assembly, examples of health inequalities include undernutrition in Guatemala, where rates are 20 per cent higher amongst indigenous children than in Ladino children. Carl Soderbergh, Minority Rights Group's Director of Policy and Communications, has said, ‘Indigenous peoples and minorities are often marginalized in all aspects of life, such as access to water and sanitation, education and employment. But the marginalization and inequalities experienced by these groups in relation to health outcomes are particularly stark'.

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Access to medicines policy in China

27 September 2013

The National Essential Medicine Policy (NEMP) in China aims to increase availability of essential medicines and was implemented in 2009. A new study which aims to monitor the implementation of the policy, found that the availability of some essential medicines decreased between 2010 and 2012, but that the price of medicines had come down. The study measured the availability of medicines using a standard WHO method. The authors conclude that future policies might target availability as well as prices and that access to essential medicines remains a barrier to attaining the highest standard of health in China.

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How do we best measure poverty?

26 September 2013

At a meeting in New York this week alongside the UN General Assembly and hosted by the Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, representatives from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (Ophi) and ministers and officials from Latin America, Nigeria and the Philippines have all called for a more multi-dimensional measure of poverty to be used as a yardstick for progress. Reducing the number of people living below the $1.25 ‘poverty line’, is one of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, however many consider this a crude measurement of poverty.

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UK to give £1bn to Global Fund over three years

25 September 2013

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria is set to receive a £1 billion boost in funding from the UK; it was announced by Justine Greening this week at a General Assembly meeting in New York. "The Global Fund has already helped save millions of lives but we must keep up the momentum if we are to beat these diseases for good,” Greening has said.

The need for transparency and accountability of such organisations and major actors in global health were just some of the topics of discussion at last night’s RSM Global Health Alert: ‘All is not fine in global health’.

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New HIV infections in children reduced by 52% since 2001

24 September 2013

The number of people estimated to be newly diagnosed with HIV in 2012 was 2.3 million- 33% lower than in 2001. The reduction in children was higher at 52%. “Not only can we meet the 2015 target of 15 million people on HIV treatment—we must also go beyond and have the vision and commitment to ensure no one is left behind,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. Donor funding for HIV has remained at similar levels since 2008 and is $3-5 billion short of the estimated $22-25 billion needed each year by 2015. UNAIDS has this week released a report which outlines the key barriers to further progress towards targets on HIV and AIDS including difficulty in accessing services for high risk groups and gender inequality.

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A disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond

23 September 2013

Integrating disability into the post-2015 development agenda is the theme of a UN General Assembly high-level meeting on disability and development taking place today. The meeting comes five years after the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) came into force. The role of people with disabilities in development will be discussed as will how best to reach children with disabilities during humanitarian and natural disasters. Over a billion people have some form of disability and the rates of disability are increasing due to ageing populations and more people acquiring chronic health conditions. People with disabilities are also more likely to have unmet healthcare needs when compared to people without disabilities.

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India requires ‘accelerated progress’ to achieve MDG 4

20 September 2013

A new study published in The Lancet Global Health aiming to establish whether India will achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 (to reduce child mortality by two-thirds) has found that if the current rate of progress were to continue, India would achieve the goal in 2020. This is five year later than the 2015 aim. The study compared data for neonatal and under-5 mortality for 597 districts in India between 2001 and 2012. A third of the districts will achieve MDG 4 by 2015 whilst 222 districts are likely to achieve this only after 2020. Diarrhoea, pneumonia, and under-nutrition are some of the causes of child deaths. India currently has the largest number of child deaths globally. The authors have called for ‘accelerated progress’ toward achieving MDG 4.

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The role of community health workers in attaining universal health coverage

19 September 2013

In a recent blog for the Lancet Global Health, Biodun Awosusi, a Nigerian doctor, writes about why he believes community health workers (CHWs) have a key role in improving access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. The author points out the chronic shortage of health staff in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the very sound evidence that CHWs help to reduce maternal and child mortality. CHWs can help improve access to basic health services in these areas with low resources. However, the author would like those involved in service delivery to “resist the temptation to create a monster vertical programme that neglects broader human resource for health reform” and emphasises a collaborative approach between different healthcare professionals to help make universal health coverage a reality.

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Present and future cost of antimicrobial resistance

18 September 2013

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts some numbers on the human cost of antimicrobial resistance in the US, estimating that 23,000 people are killed by bacteria not responsive to treatment with antibiotics. In a recent study researchers in the UK found that the proportion of research funds allocated to tackling antimicrobial resistance were low, despite the grave global health threat that antimicrobial resistance may pose. Tomorrow a Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance will be called together by the WHO to formulate a strategy to avoid a ‘post-antibiotic era’ in collaboration with sectors beyond healthcare.

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Syrian healthcare system at ‘breaking point’

17 September 2013

In an open letter to the Lancet, a group of doctors have called for increased support from UN agencies for medical networks to help them to treat patients in what they describe as the ‘worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the cold war’. According to the Violations Documentation Centre, an estimated 469 health workers are currently imprisoned, and around 15,000 doctors have been forced to leave the country according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Out of the 5000 physicians in Aleppo before the conflict began, only 36 are still there. The 51 signatories call for an end to targeted attacks on medical facilities and personnel.

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Global number of child deaths reduced by almost 50% since 1990

16 September 2013

In 1990, more than 12 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday. In 2012, the number of child deaths was closer to 6.6 million. Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest child mortality rates, has improved faster than the global average. This global rate of reduction of child deaths, however, is insufficient to achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal: to reduce the 1990 child mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. “Continued investments by countries to strengthen health systems are essential to ensure that all mothers and children can get the affordable, quality care they need to live healthy, productive lives,” Keith Hansen, Acting Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank Group has said.

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HIV, TB and malaria: cost of inaction would be ‘staggering’

13 September 2013

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has asked for a $15 billion investment over three years to tackle the “big three global pandemics”. The Global Fund, a public private partnership, released a report yesterday entitled Cost of Inaction. “If we do not act now, the costs will be staggering,” Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund has said. The report has stated that without a replenishment of funds, 2.6 million people would be infected with HIV, 196,000 people would die of malaria and one million patients with TB would die every year.

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Old drug being used to prevent malaria in West Africa

12 September 2013

The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has reported that a malaria drug used as seasonal prophylaxis reduced the number of malaria cases by 66% in Mali and Chad last year. In trials each involving thousands of children, it was also found that there was a 70% reduction in the number of hospital admissions and 75% fewer blood transfusions due to malaria. The drug was used to treat malaria before other drugs became more commonly used. The seasonal prophylaxis approach was particularly suitable for Chad where most of the malaria cases occur in the four month rainy season.

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High prevalence of intimate partner violence in Asia and the Pacific

11 September 2013

Surveys of men conducted in Asia and countries in the Pacific on behalf of the Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence, have found that the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) was high in the countries studied, which included Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea, but that there was variation between countries. For example, the prevalence of physical or sexual IPV was 25•4% in rural Indonesia and 80•0% in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea). The researchers advocated that gender socialisation and power relations, abuse in childhood, mental health issues, and poverty be addressed and preventative strategies be implemented.

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Evidence for effectiveness of antiviral drugs in preliminary MERS-CoV research

9 September 2013

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes a serious respiratory illness in those who become infected. Since it emerged in 2012, there have been 111 cases reported and 52 deaths. New research published online in Nature Medicine yesterday found that rhesus monkeys given two antiviral drugs after they were infected with the MERS virus did not go on to develop the breathing abnormalities and evidence of pneumonia that the monkeys who did not receive the drugs developed. The researchers concluded that although the research is only preliminary, the two antiviral drugs, IFN-α2b and ribavirin should be considered in the treatment of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in humans.

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Latin America life expectancy increases; non communicable diseases an increasing burden

5 September 2013

Life expectancy in Latin America has risen by thirty years in the last four decades according to a new report which summarises the findings of the Global Burden of Disease project for Latin America and the Caribbean. However, those extra years are not necessarily healthy ones. Non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are now the leading cause of death in the region. The report also states that the region has made ‘substantial health progress’, having successfully reduced premature death rates due to communicable, newborn and maternal causes.

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2.2 million people in Zimbabwe will be in need of food assistance by next year

4 September 2013

The United Nations World Food Programme, a humanitarian agency which fights hunger, has stated that, in collaboration with the government of Zimbabwe, it will begin to distribute food to the most vulnerable in the country next month. It expects that by March next year more than 2 million people will need assistance. Poor weather and the high price of agricultural supplies are thought to have contributed to the increasing food insecurity. The UN has also implemented a scheme which aims to increase the resilience of people at risk in the country, whilst the Zimbabwean government has contributed $10 million of grain to the assistance.

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Promising new evidence for future malaria control

3 September 2013

New research suggests that a malaria control technique which aims to stop malarial mosquitoes breeding by altering the environments in which they reproduce could make an important contribution to future malaria control. It is known as larval source management (LSM) and the research found that the technique reduces the number of people contracting malaria and becoming ill by 75%. Whilst more evidence is needed, the results are promising for what is a relatively inexpensive method of malaria control. Malaria causes between an estimated 655,000 and 1.24 million deaths each year.

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Syria conflict: healthcare systems overwhelmed

2 September 2013

UNICEF and other UN agencies have reported that 1 million Syrian children are now refugees across Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt. This recent Lancet editorial reminds its readers of the devastating impact of the conflict to the Syrian healthcare system and of the overwhelming health needs of refugees in neighbouring healthcare systems which threaten the sustainability of humanitarian aid. The health crisis has also had grave consequences for the health workers delivering humanitarian aid. An estimated 100 000 people have been killed since the conflict began.

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Drug use and dependence: a global burden

30 August 2013

A new paper published as part of the Global Burden of Disease project, has concluded that mental and substance use disorders including alcohol and other drug use disorders - accounted for 7•4% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) - a significant contribution to the global burden of disease. Drug dependence made a bigger contribution to the overall burden of disease in high income countries, whereas dependence on alcohol and smoking has increased substantially in low income countries. A large variation in the contribution of drug dependence to DALYs between countries was also found. The paper’s authors call for more research into drug use and dependence, and stress the importance of this research in directing policy.

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Improving access to HIV treatment and diagnosis: achieving international goals

29 August 2013

Two of the aims of UNAIDS is to ´normalise´ HIV testing and to increase effective linkage to treatment once tested. A study carried out in Uganda found that a shortened pre-test counselling session did not increase risky behaviours after testing. It also found that of those patients who did test positive, lengthier counselling sessions may be necessary to facilitate the effective joining up of diagnosis and treatment. These findings show that HIV-testing can be more eficient- particularly important in low-resource settings.

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WHO hand hygiene strategy found to be feasible and sustainable in diverse health care settings worldwide

28 August 2013

According to a new study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, the WHO´s strategy for helping healthcare workers improve their hand hygiene will be easy to implement in diverse healthcare settings. The study showed that after implementing the hand hygiene strategy, there was increased hand washing and hygiene knowledge amongst healthcare workers. The effect was greater in the low and middle income countries studied. The authors of the study support the use of the strategy worldwide.

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Floods in Sudan: health fears for 500,000 people at risk

27 August 2013

48 people have been killed and 15,000 homes have been destroyed in the worst floods in the country for 25 years. The World Health Organisation, which has been helping to run emergency clinics alongside Unicef and national NGOs, is concerned about the increase in the incidence of malaria and the collapse of 53,000 latrines. The continuing conflict in Sudan has also put people at risk of violence and disease.

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Drug resistant TB in Myanmar- an ‘urgent health threat’

23 August 2013

Today the Ministry of Health of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the World Health Organisation and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), co-host a symposium: Turning the tide on TB: Tackling DR-TB and TB/HIV co-infection in Myanmar. According to MSF, the number of people in Myanmar with drug resistant TB is growing at an ‘alarming rate’. TB prevalence in Myanmar is double the regional average and nearly three times the global average. The symposium aims to share knowledge to help scale up TB treatment in the country.

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Aid for trade: join the debate

22 August 2013

Whether aid or trade is good for economic growth and therefore global health is one of the enduring debates in international development. On the one hand aid for trade is one way to help countries grow and diversify, on the other, the construction industry is one of the main sectors in which investment is siphoned off via corrupt practices. Click on the link below to join development experts at 1pm BST to discuss how best to invest in facilitating trade and whether trade can benefit developing countries.

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Disability still absent from data and monitoring in global health

21 August 2013

Whilst there was no mention of disability in the Millennium Development Goals, disability, as mentioned in a UN higher level report; is being included in the post-2015 development agenda. The report calls for development data to be disaggregated by disability and by other groups in order to know if the correct interventions are happening where they are needed. Currently the paucity of data on disability makes this difficult. The author of the article calls for nothing short of a ‘disability data revolution’. A set of questions have been composed by the UN’s Washington City Group on Disability Statistics in order to make international comparisons. The author calls for these surveys to be used by governments in order to implement the post-2015 development agenda.

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Social networks and ‘contagious health’

20 August 2013

Since researchers concluded in 2007 that obesity can be ‘spread’ through social networks, global health practitioners have been calling for a rethink of global public health. The socially ‘infectious’ determinants of health can be researched in the same way as infectious biological agents. Daniel Zoughbie, founder of Microclinic International has been putting these ideas into practice and is working with the department of public health in Kentucky, in rural areas in Kenya to prevent disability from HIV/AIDS, and in the Middle East using this social network model to prevent chronic diseases.

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World Humanitarian Day – What does the world need more of?

19 August 2013

This year’s World Humanitarian Day campaign is about harnessing the power of words to save lives. As part of the campaign, the UN is asking ‘What does the world need more of?’ and asking people to share their answers on social media. The day is to commemorate the humanitarian workers who have lost their lives in service and to celebrate humanitarian work. It is being marked at a time when images of thousands of Syrian refugees now crossing the border into Iraqi Kurdistan have been broadcast around the world and humanitarian crises in the Central African Republic and in many other regions of the world continue.

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Political collaboration will be the key to ensuring water and sanitation for all

16 August 2013

A recently released United Nations report has cited much progress towards targets in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The report was compiled by the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership - a group of governments and civil society organisations which last met in April 2012 and are due to meet in April next year. “I am especially encouraged by the increased budgets, strengthened national planning and reduced numbers of people practicing open defecation,” said the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. However, according to the report only 44% of country commitments and 42% of donor commitments are on course to be achieved by April 2014. The report recommends actions such as the inclusion of more stakeholders in order to reach the targets.

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Médecins Sans Frontières to pull out of Somalia after 22 years

15 August 2013

The humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières is ending operations in Somalia after working in the country for 22 years. MSF cited "extreme attacks on its staff” as the reason for the decision. The BBC's international development correspondent Mark Doyle has described the decision as “the equivalent of shutting down the entire national health service overnight”. In a statement, MSF’s international President said: "In choosing to kill, attack, and abduct humanitarian aid workers, these armed groups, and the civilian authorities who tolerate their actions, have sealed the fate of countless lives in Somalia."

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New HIV drug approved by the US Food and Drug administration - affordability not yet guaranteed

14 August 2013

The new drug, dolutegravir, was approved by the US Food and Drug administration on Monday. Médecins Sans Frontières, a humanitarian organisation that has been campaigning for increased access to medicines for patients in developing countries, has questioned the affordability of the new drug. “Where dolutegravir is priced out of reach, the onus will be on countries to overcome patent barriers by making full use of public health safeguards and flexibilities in international trade rules, which allow for more affordable versions to be produced or imported”, said Rohit Malpani, director of Policy and Analysis at MSF’s Access Campaign.

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World Bank: poverty cannot be eradicated without slowing climate change

13 August 2013

The World Bank has reiterated its commitment to tackling climate change after scientists recently published research which showed there will be dire consequences of global warming for some of the poorer and least resilient areas in the world. The World Bank believes climate change is ‘central’ to understanding how poor countries can grow and is working with countries in order to help them understand how to evade a carbon-dependent model of growth. Last year the Bank doubled lending which contributes to building resilience and looks upon all its business operations through a ‘climate lens’. The Bank is also calling for the larger economies of the world to step up their efforts to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

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Researchers get ever closer to fully protective malaria vaccine

12 August 2013

Five doses of a new vaccine developed by researchers in the US are enough to fully protect against Plasmodium falciparum - one of the parasites which causes malaria. The vaccine does however, have a number of practical limitations and there were a small number vaccine recipients in this new trial. Though the results of the current research are promising, this new vaccine is still in the early stages of development. Fortunately there are many vaccines currently being advanced - some much closer to reaching the market - making it increasingly likely that a fully protective vaccine will be within sight soon.

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WHO release new clinical guidelines on mental healthcare after trauma

8 August 2013

With treatment protocols already in place for mental and neurological disorders as part of the 2008 Mental Health Global Action Programme, the WHO has now incorporated recommendations for trauma, acute stress and bereavement within its global programme. According to a recent meta-analysis of post-conflict studies, 15.4% of people reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The WHO has recommended psychological first aid, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and a new technique called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as treatments for people suffering with PTSD. The WHO also recommends that benzodiazepines - anti-anxiety drugs - should not be given in acute stress situations.

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Japanese government enables UNICEF to tackle polio epidemic in Somalia

7 August 2013

An outbreak of polio in Somalia has paralysed almost a hundred children and is threatening global efforts to eradicate the disease. The Japanese government has contributed an emergency fund of $1.3 million which will benefit approximately 2.8 million children. UNICEF will use the funds to continue immunization campaigns in Somalian communities where it is estimated there are million children who were not vaccinated between 2008 and 2012. According to Sikander Khan, UNICEF Somalia Representative, “the poliovirus in such a large reservoir has the potential to result in a catastrophic outbreak, the likes of which are beginning to be seen and as such constitutes an international emergency”.

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Non-Communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa: ‘hidden epidemics’

6 August 2013

A new report from the World Bank has described non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and road traffic injuries as ‘hidden epidemics’ in Sub-Saharan Africa. They account for more than a third of deaths in the region and the burden is growing. In addition, many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are still facing the challenge of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The report calls for an ‘integrated’ approach to tackling non-communicable diseases, in which countries with resource constraints can utilise the systems already in place for communicable diseases. The report argues that ‘vertical’ approaches are less feasible if countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are to address these hidden and growing epidemics.

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Merlin joins Save the Children to create a new humanitarian health force

17 July 2013

The international health charity Merlin has become part of Save the Children, the two organisations have announced today. In a joint statement from the charities, Merlin said that it was "joining" Save the Children "to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families living in some of the toughest places in the world". A Merlin spokeswoman said that the charity’s board had stood down today and will be replaced by a new group of trustees that would work closely with Save the Children.

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World class Emergency surgeries operate against all odds in high conflict zones

15 July 2013

Gino Strada, surgeon and founder of NGO ‘Emergency’, operates on victims of war in poverty stricken countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, in the highest quality of surrounding medical conditions that he himself would be happy for his family to be treated in. Strada believes in free surgery that would cost thousands in the first world economy, "We think everyone has the right to be cured.. If you think of medicine as a human right, then you cannot have some hospitals that offer sophisticated, very effective, hi-tech medicine and then go to Africa and think, 'OK, here's a couple of vaccinations and a few shots’”. Taking incredible personal risk by negotiating with the Taliban and other militia, Strada has operated on some 30,000 people in around 47 areas of need across the globe.

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The benefits from overseas volunteering to the UK and abroad

12 July 2013

The All Parliamentary Group on Global Health in the UK has released its final report of a review of overseas health volunteering from the UK. It has found that progress has been made in developing international partnerships but that more could be done to turn volunteering from a number of different schemes and into a movement, which could be mutually beneficial to both the UK and the countries in which health professionals volunteer.

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Advertising ban ‘powerful way to reduce tobacco use’

11 July 2013

The Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, a new report from the UN, has reported that the number of people covered by bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship has increased to a total of 2.3 billion. 24 countries with a combined population of 694 million people have introduced complete bans and 100 more countries implement partial bans. However, 67 countries currently do not have a ban on any form of tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship. “We know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective,” said Douglas Bettcher, the Director of WHO's Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department. Tobacco is still the leading global cause of preventable death.

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Malaria Crisis in Central African Republic

10 July 2013

The NGO Médecins Sans Frontières has detailed in a recent report the dire humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic. The country is facing a severe healthcare crisis following political instability - resulting in a coup in March and leaving the majority of people without access to healthcare. The report states that cases of malaria have increased by 33% compared to the same period last year. The report called for agencies to maintain their commitment to the Central African Republic to prevent an acute malaria crisis in the country.

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Achieving Global Health Equity: Are randomised trials really the pinnacle of global health research?

9 July 2013

In a new blog for the Lancet global health, Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health argues that the gold standard randomised controlled clinical trials are not the only method of finding ways of achieving equitable health outcomes. Clinical trials, he argues, deprives any research of its context, so that global health practitioners may know what the ‘correct’ intervention is, but still won’t know the best thing to do in certain contexts. Dr. Farmer finally argues that any piece of global health research should aim to address disparities in disease risk and should also address the reasons why research capacity is not matched to global burden of disease.

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Traditional healers in developing countries - working in partnership with psychiatrists

8 July 2013

With only one psychiatrist for every one million of the population in low-income countries, health and development practitioners are now training traditional healers to recognise mental health problems to be referred to psychiatrists. Meanwhile, psychiatrists who treat their patients biomedically can also refer their patients to traditional healers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently estimates that mental and neurological disorders are the leading cause of ill health and disability globally. Training traditional healers is one way of increasing access to mental healthcare in low income countries.

To view a lecture on RSM Videos on this topic visit

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Urgent aid needed in Syria to avoid health disaster

5 July 2013

Last month the UN launched the largest appeal in its history for Syria and its neighbours – as it warned that 10 million people will need humanitarian aid by the end of this year. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is spending $27m (£17.7m) a week to feed Syrians and predicts that by the end of this year it will be spending $42m a week. Public appeals for aid have not raised as much as hoped, and as the warmer weather approaches the threat of disease looms. The executive director of the UN World Food Programme describes the aid situation: "money is going out as fast as it is coming in."

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Counterfeit drugs - the Rwandan approach

4 July 2013

This week research showed that medicines in low and middle income countries were of variable quality. In some African countries, the rate of so called ‘fake pharma’ is higher, with up to 7% of the TB drugs sampled in the research found to be counterfeit. However none of the drugs in the sample that were from Rwanda were found to be counterfeit, which it is thought is due to the joining up of public health and law enforcement. The researchers call for a global treaty to prevent people being harmed by fake drugs, much like the kind of treaties that exist for counterfeit money.

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Rapid urbanization a threat to sustainable development

3 July 2013

A new approach to development is required to realise the vision of promoting wellbeing whilst protecting the environment, according to the UN World Economic and Social Survey 2013. “Rising inequalities, the food, fuel and financial crises, and the breaching of planetary boundaries have made clear that a mere continuation of current strategies will not suffice to achieve sustainable development after 2015,” the report states. It is predicted that some three billion people are going to live in urban areas by 2050 - without access to basic sanitation and healthcare.

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Building Fair and Accountable Health Systems in the Middle East and North Africa

2 July 2013

A new report from the World Bank has highlighted that many people in the Middle East and North Africa are paying out of pocket for health services as the governments of these countries are spending less of their budgets on health when compared to the OECD average. However, according to the World Bank, ‘the response to the twin challenges of reaching the MDGs and coping with the rising burden of NCDs and injuries requires more than increased health spending.” The World Bank hopes to engage both the governments of these countries and civil society in order to improve the fairness and accountability of the health services.

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WHO recommends earlier treatment for HIV patients

1 July 2013

The WHO is now recommending that patients begin taking medication much earlier in the course of the disease. The new guidelines could help prevent 3 million deaths due to AIDS by 2025. It will also help prevent transmission of the disease. The new recommendations mean that 80% of those with HIV would be receiving treatment, which it is estimated will cost an extra £15 billion.

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New HIV infections among children have been reduced by 50% in some sub-Saharan countries

28 June 2013

A progress report from The Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive has been issued showing marked improvement in reducing the numbers of children with HIV. The report outlines that seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa—Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia—have reduced new HIV infections among children by 50 per cent since 2009. However, some countries have not shown the same improvement and more action needs to be taken- for example ensuring that all pregnant and breastfeeding women have access to antiretroviral medication- to ensure that no child is born with HIV.

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Prioritising healthy people - not disease control - will transform global health

26 June 2013

In the first issue of the new publication, The Lancet Global Health, the Swedish Ambassador for Global Health at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, writes about why a focus on health rather than disease will lead to a healthier world. Dr Anders Nordström emphasises multi-sectoral collaboration, calls for a more research into political and behavioural science and for governments to create an enabling environment for this to happen.

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Aeronautical technology aims to cut maternal deaths

25 June 2013

The development of an anti-shock garment from US National Aeronautics and Space Administration research was presented at the maternal health conference in Malaysia last month. It works by constricting the blood vessels in the lower half of a woman’s body, reducing the risk of post partum haemorrhage until women can reach secondary health facilities. Post partum haemorrhage is the chief cause of maternal deaths.

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Violence against women highlighted by WHO as significant global health issue

24 June 2013

The WHO, in conjunction with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council, has released a new report which has estimated the global prevalence of violence against women. The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence has found that 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. “These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO. “We also see that the world’s health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence.”

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UN and Lancet to hold meeting on AIDS and global health

20 June 2013

Policy makers, scientists and many other global health stakeholders are to meet in Malawi at the end of the month to discuss how best to utilise the response to the global AIDS epidemic to shape a more sustainable future for global health practices. The meeting, organised by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal, will enable a diverse group of actors to also discuss how to catalyse the elimination of AIDS and how to address global health issues, including HIV/AIDS, in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

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Health services in Jordan becoming overwhelmed

19 June 2013

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Jordan has operated an open door policy to Syrians crossing the border and seeking healthcare. UNHCR estimates the total number of Syrians in Jordan will exceed 1 million before the end of this year, comprising almost 17% of the population of Jordan. Jordan had spent a total of US$ 52.65 million on health care for Syrian refugees as of April 2013, and has only received US$ 4.97 million, mainly through the support of four United Nations agencies, including the WHO.

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Comparing the Swedish and American healthcare systems

17 June 2013

In this recent article from the New York Times, an economics professor from Cornell University looks at the reasons for differences in health outcomes between the United States and Sweden. While much of the difference can be accounted for by lifestyle and income factors, the article examines the differences between their respective healthcare systems. The different financial incentives that exist within the different systems are pointed out and the author wonders if greater government involvement in health, in the context of ‘Obamacare’, would indeed worsen outcomes.

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World Blood Donor Day: More voluntary donors needed!

14 June 2013

Today is World Blood Donor Day, and this year the WHO is calling for all countries to obtain 100% of their blood products from voluntary donors by 2020. This is because voluntary donors are more likely to provide safe blood. Currently 60 countries collect 100% of their blood from voluntary donors. Supplies of voluntarily donated blood have increased from 75 million donations in 2004 to 83 million donations in 2011, yet blood products are in ever increasing demand.

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UK calling for G8 action on antibiotic resistance

13 June 2013

Tackling antibiotic resistance will require an international effort if the threat of widespread resistance and excess mortality due to infection is to be avoided. The UK, which this year is chairing the G8, has urged countries to agree on the best ways to incentivise discovery of drugs and discourage unnecessary usage. David Willets, the UK science minister, has described antibiotic resistance as a “global challenge that is up there with climate change, water stress and environmental damage”.

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Developing countries to get more time before complying with intellectual property laws

11 June 2013

The World Trade Organization is to agree an extended period of eight years during which the least developed countries do not have to comply with international intellectual property laws. These laws affect products like medicines. The WTO council on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) will conclude tomorrow. Some NGOs representing developing countries believe this is not the best situation for the least developed countries which may need more than eight years to comply with the laws.

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Billions pledged to eliminate undernutrition at London nutrition summit

10 June 2013

At the global Nutrition for Growth summit, hosted this weekend by the governments of the UK and Brazil and Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), donors have pledged £2.7 billion ($4.15 billion) to tackle undernutrition up to 2020. This will hopefully go some way towards achieving the goal set by the World Health Assembly: to reduce the number of stunted children by 40% by 2025.

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How the HIV/AIDS epidemic gave rise to a new model of global health

7 June 2013

Despite 34 million people still living with HIV today, much progress has been made in the last 30 years since the discovery of the virus. In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a medical historian looks back on how the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the health community laid the foundations for the new ‘global health’. Examples of the changes that occurred include how healthcare was funded with philanthropic foundations and public private partnerships coming to the fore. Access to medicines and human rights became key areas for activism. The new model essentially recognises the supranational nature of the global health problems faced today.

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WHO issues action plan to tackle obesity in low and middle income countries

6 June 2013

Whilst many low and middle income countries have policies in place to combat malnutrition, many of these countries are hit with the double burden of malnutrition and obesity. Policies aimed at reducing the prevalence of obesity in these countries have been neglected according to the WHO. The action plan includes interventions such as improving the nutritional status of pregnant women and providing micronutrient supplements. Worldwide 165 million children are stunted, whilst the number of overweight and obese children is currently 43 million.

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Antimicrobial Resistance - risk of returning to pre-antibiotic era a threat to global health

5 June 2013

The resistance of a microorganism to conventional therapy is fast becoming a major global public health risk. The possible consequences include people dying due to once treatable infections, increased cost of healthcare - as patients experience a more protracted illness - and hindered infection control measures. The WHO is calling for policy makers, patients and medical practitioners to act together and share responsibility for fighting resistance.

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Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises

3 June 2013

A three year research programme will be launched on Tuesday 4 June by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Wellcome Trust and Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance with the aim of increasing the quality of research into interventions during humanitarian disasters. An example of one of the key gaps in the evidence base is guidance on addressing mental health in humanitarian crises. It is hoped that a collaborative effort will fill in such gaps and will elucidate cost-effective interventions and improve health outcomes in the context of humanitarian crises.

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World No Tobacco Day - WHO calls for a ban on advertising

31 May 2013

On this year’s World Tobacco Day, the WHO are calling for all member states to ban any form of promotion, sponsorship or advertising of tobacco. Research has shown that bans are one of the more effective methods of reducing tobacco consumption- such a ban in Turkey has contributed to a reduction in tobacco use of 13%. The WHO estimates that tobacco will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030.

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Largest event in decade to focus on health of women and girls - Women deliver 2013

30 May 2013

The Women Deliver Conference, this year held in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, aims to draw up political commitment to reduce maternal mortality and increase access to reproductive healthcare. During the conference, the Prime Minister of Malaysia affirmed that access to family planning services is a human right whilst the head of UN Women described investing in gender equality and women’s rights as the ‘highest return investment’ you can make.

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‘Sprint finish’ needed for achieving Millennium Development Goals

29 May 2013

A new report from an anti-poverty campaign group has shown a link between the proportion of a country’s budget allocated to health and education and progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The report has shown that whilst many African counties have made progress, many are still lagging behind. Campaigners are calling for a ‘sprint finish’ to 2015 and commitment from leaders of the G8 - this year presided over by the UK - who will meet next month in Northern Ireland.

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Food price volatility: Beyond the economic effects

24 May 2013

A new report from Oxfam and the Institute of Development Studies discusses the effects that food price volatility is having upon the world's poorer people. The year on year rises in food prices have meant many poorer families' incomes have been squeezed. This has resulted in social strain upon families, communities and society, whereby money takes priority over social ties. The report calls for greater recognition of the far reaching social effects of food price rises and greater social protection that anticipates food price spikes.

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Rise in poverty and food insecurity in Egypt

23 May 2013

During the past three years, the proportion of Egyptians experiencing food insecurity has risen according to a UN report. Malnutrition has also increased since 2005 with 31% of children under five stunted, which is categorised as in the “high” range of 30-39% by the World Health Organization. The deterioration has been attributed to a succession of crises in the country, both health and financial, and the current ‘challenging macroeconomic context’.

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The role of gender in global health: make health for all

22 May 2013

Recent data collected as part of the global burden of disease study has shown that men experience a higher burden of disease and die younger than women. It has been suggested that perhaps it is gender norms, such as the acceptability in society for men to partake in risk behaviours such as smoking- that are adversely affecting men. Global health policies must ‘mainstream’ gender- which is clearly not just about women- into health policy research and implementation and begin to address poor health outcomes that are due to gender.

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Bill Gates talks health system financing

21 May 2013

In an interview with the Washington Post, Bill Gates discusses the problems faced by rich and poor countries alike when deciding on which health interventions to finance and how best to deliver healthcare. He discusses the way in which data is used to make decisions about how best to allocate finite resources, mentioning in particular the DALY disability-adjusted life year. He also discusses his own personal goal of eradicating polio.

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Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly begins today

20 May 2013

For the next nine days delegates from 194 countries will meet in Geneva for this year’s World Health Assembly. The issues on this year’s agenda include prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, pandemic influenza preparedness and universal health coverage amongst many others. In addition to coming to a consensus on the policies of the WHO, the new Director General will also be appointed and the year’s budget approved.

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Health gap is narrowing between countries with best and worst health outcomes

16 May 2013

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its annual World Health Statistics. Its key finding was that the countries with the poorest health status have made significant progress in improving the health of their populations; narrowing the overall gap between the healthiest countries and the least healthy countries. The report also states that global tuberculosis deaths have fallen since 1990, the baseline year taken in the report. However, it was also found that almost 10% of the world’s population has diabetes, as measured by elevated fasting blood glucose. Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the WHO, has indicated that the global endeavour to achieve Millennium Development Goals has contributed to the improvement in health for people around the world.

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World Bank supports Indian government in combating malnutrition

15 May 2013

The rate of malnutrition of children in India is almost five times that of China and double that of Sub-Saharan Africa. 60% of India’s children are underweight. Whilst previous programmes addressing this have focussed on providing nutritional supplements to children, the World Bank is supporting the Indian government in restructuring its programme so that supplements are provided for pregnant women as well as children under three years old. It will also educate women about feeding practices and will promote growth monitoring. It is hoped the programme will go some way to breaking the intergenerational cycle of under nutrition.

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Last push needed to meet 2015 sanitation goal

14 May 2013

A new report compiled by the WHO and UNICEF has warned that the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of the population without sanitation will be missed by 8%, or around half a billion people, if current trends continue. The sanitation target is one of the MDGs for which progress has stalled. The global head of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme described the situation as “an emergency no less horrifying than a massive earthquake or tsunami.”

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How mobile technology can help in fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases

13 May 2013

There is great potential for mobile technology to be harnessed in the control and elimination of NTDs. A recent example of innovation in this area has included turning the lens of an iPhone camera into a field microscope to detect intestinal worms (soil transmitted helminths) which reduces the cost of diagnostic testing. Other ways in which mobile technology may be exploited includes informing communities when and where treatments will be provided, sharing information about the causes of infection and how to prevent them, and collecting and reporting data.

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Millions more to be protected against cervical cancer after vaccine deal secured by the GAVI Alliance

10 May 2013

A lower price for the vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer has been agreed by the GAVI alliance and pharmaceutical companies. This will help increase the numbers of women vaccinated, particularly in developing countries where 85% of deaths due to cervical cancer occur. However, some organisations such as Médecins sans Frontières, believe the price that developing countries have to pay for the vaccine is still too high.

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Helping babies survive the most dangerous day of their lives - Save the Children reports on preventing newborn mortality

9 May 2013

In its annual State of the World’s Mothers report, the charity Save the Children has found the most dangerous time for a baby is the day the baby is born. 3 million newborn babies die every year, with a third of these dying on the first day of life. According to the report, 98% of newborn deaths occur in developing countries. Save the Children has identified the causes of these deaths - which are mostly preventable - and the interventions that can help to reduce their number. The interventions put forward by Save the Children include investing in training more healthcare workers so that everyone has access to obstetric care.

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Global Road Safety Week launched by UN: making walking safe

7 May 2013

As part of the second annual Global Road Safety Week, the UN is calling for governments around the world to improve pedestrian safety. More than 270,000 pedestrians are killed on the world’s roads each year - 22% of the total 1.24 million road traffic deaths. Measures advocated by the WHO to protect pedestrians include implementing and enforcing legislation such as speed limits and creating pedestrian zones in city centres. The overall aim is to save 5 million lives, a goal set out in the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

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Brazilian Family Health- lessons for the UK

3 May 2013

UK researchers are collaborating with the Brazilian ministry of health to learn from their community health worker (CHW) healthcare strategy. In Brazil, lay community health workers are recruited and trained in health promotion and in providing advice on interventions such as immunization and breastfeeding. Each household receives a visit from their CHW once a month. The strategy has led to reduced infant mortality, hospitalizations for chronic diseases and improvement in screening uptake amongst other outcomes. In the UK, pilot projects are currently being planned for North Wales and will further strengthen an emerging health link between Brazil and the UK.

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New EU biopiracy law aims to protect local indigenous people and biodiversity

2 May 2013

A new law is being proposed which aims to compensate local indigenous people who have shared knowledge about traditional resources with pharmaceutical companies which have then exploited this knowledge for commercial development. A cited example of this is a German pharmaceutical company profiting from a product derived from geranium, traditionally used in South Africa as an antimicrobial. The new law would ensure that local people would be adequately compensated in such a situation and would protect biodiversity allowing for more medical uses of local resources to be developed.

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Measles outbreak in region affected by Syria conflict

1 May 2013

UNICEF has increased vaccination campaigns as a number of measles outbreaks have occurred in the region affected by the conflict in Syria. Since the conflict began 1.4 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. On average 8,000 Syrians are currently fleeing the country daily according to UNICEF. Large population movements and lack of basic health provision are the factors thought to have contributed to causing the outbreaks.

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Food shortages in Mali: humanitarian situation deteriorating

30 April 2013

Food prices have risen significantly in Mali as the continuing conflict there has impaired food security. The UN World Food Programme and USAID are currently distributing food in the country in advance of the upcoming dry season. Last week the UN Security Council approved a peacekeeping operation to take over from the African-led mission in Mali in July which will help facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid.

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Global Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020: Human rights emphasised

26 April 2013

In advance of next month’s meeting about the Global Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, the WHO’s mental health policy coordinator has discussed the aims of the plan which member states agreed to draw up last year. The plan aims to promote mental health, to promote the human rights of those with mental health conditions and to support those people in accessing other services during their period of treatment.

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World Malaria Day 2013: vaccine within sight

25 April 2013

Much progress has been made in combating malaria in the last decade: the WHO estimates that more than 274 million cases and 1.1 million deaths have been averted between 2001 and 2010. However, malaria still causes more than 600,000 deaths annually, mostly in young children. As yet there is no vaccine, but research continues with a phase three clinical trial currently underway. A malaria vaccine, however, would likely not be a replacement for other interventions such as bed nets but would be used in conjunction with these.

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Polio eradication within reach

23 April 2013

The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan writes about the significant impact global disease initiatives have made, in particular the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, such that the eradication of the disease is “tantalising within our reach”. The last push will come from redoubled efforts in marginalised communities such as migrants. This will avoid the new outbreaks and financial cost of continuing polio infection and is why continuing efforts to eradicate the disease are so important.

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World Immunization Week 2013: Better vaccination supply needed

22 April 2013

As part of this year’s campaign, the WHO is highlighting the logistical challenges of supplying vaccines to the 22 million children who are still not fully immunized. The WHO and other organisations such as the GAVI Alliance are aiming to strengthen delivery systems which will help to overcome the practical challenges of delivery, such as transporting and storing the vaccines. The WHO is also aiming to better communicate the health benefits of vaccination. More than 1.5 million children under five died in 2011 from diseases that could be prevented by existing vaccines.

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Urbanization a force for reducing poverty- but not a ‘cure-all’

18 April 2013

A new report from the World Bank and the IMF- a report card on the progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals - has highlighted the disparity in poverty rates between urban and rural areas. It has cited urbanization as having had a role in effectively reducing poverty; however, the urban poor living in the world’s city slums serve as a reminder that city living does provide some health challenges.

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Malaria: new epidemiology demands rethink of approach to elimination

17 April 2013

In countries where the burden of malaria has already been successfully reduced, there is new evidence that it is not women and children who are now at greatest risk of contracting malaria, but men. The men tend to work and sleep outdoors and therefore interventions such as bed nets are unlikely to have a significant effect. There is also new evidence that a different species of the malaria parasite is causing an increasing proportion of malaria cases outside sub-Saharan Africa. New strategies must therefore be developed which better match the changing epidemiology of the disease.

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Global action plan on child mortality launched by WHO and UNICEF

15 April 2013

2 million children a year could be saved from deaths due to pneumonia and diarrhoea according to the WHO and UNICEF; after launching a new global action plan which aims to tackle the two biggest causes of child mortality. The target is near-elimination of deaths from both diseases in the under 5s by 2025. The plan outlines ways to tackle these diseases by integrating interventions, which it is thought will provide better outcomes than interventions offered in parallel.

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World Health Day 2013: Hypertension - a global public health crisis

11 April 2013

As celebrated recently, World Health Day marks the anniversary of the founding of the WHO. Each year a different theme highlights a pressing global health concern. This year the WHO has chosen to campaign about high blood pressure, which affects nearly one in three adults worldwide and is treatable and preventable. The aim of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure - with the overall goal being to reduce the incidences of these consequences - which includes fatal heart attacks and strokes.

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Politics halting early action to prevent famines - not technology

10 April 2013

The most important barrier to preventing famine early is a lack of political will, according to a report from the think tank Chatham House. This is in part due to prioritisation of domestic and foreign policy over humanitarian needs. Technological advances enabling famines to be more accurately predicted, such as more sophisticated climate and weather models, have not translated into early action.

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Researchers take step towards HIV vaccine

5 April 2013

Scientists in the US have been able to “map out the arms race of both virus and antibody” as part of research into the interactions between HIV and the immune system. The researchers tracked the progressive mutations in the virus and recorded the process by which the highly effective antibodies evolved in response. It is hoped that recreating the process can provide a blueprint for a HIV vaccine. Globally, there are approximately 34 million people living with HIV.

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New cases of H7N9 influenza in China

4 April 2013

Yesterday the WHO was notified of four new cases of patients infected with influenza A(H7N9) in China. A total of seven cases have been confirmed and there have been two deaths. Currently there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission, but it is not known how the virus was transmitted. The WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry and has not recommended that any travel or trade restrictions be applied. The Chinese government has increased surveillance and infection control measures.

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UN approves global arms treaty with specific reference to women and children

3 April 2013

The UN General Assembly has voted in approval of a global arms treaty which aims to prevent weapons from being sold on illicit markets and to impede weapons being acquired by warlords. The treaty asks States to explicitly consider the risk that exportation of arms could facilitate violence against women and children before permitting it. Weapons are now one of the leading causes of death of children and adolescents in many countries.

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Private sector tax on agenda at post-2015 meeting in Bali

27 March 2013

At a UN high level meeting on the post-2015 development agenda in Bali, the UK’s international development secretary Justine Greening has espoused the benefits of private sector engagement in development. Whilst some NGOs are concerned that private sector involvement might exacerbate inequalities, Save the Children’s latest policy briefing supports the private sector having a role in post-2015 development. It is hoped the meeting will go some way to improving global tax laws, ensuring that global corporations pay their fair share of tax.

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Dietary salt intake contributed to 2.3 million heart-related deaths worldwide in 2010

26 March 2013

Researchers in the U.S analysed 247 surveys of adult sodium intake - as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study - and analysed how the amount of sodium consumed affected the risk of cardiovascular disease. 40% of these deaths occurred in people aged 69 and younger. Heart attacks caused 42% of the deaths and strokes 41%. The remainder resulted from other types of cardiovascular disease. Eighty-four percent of these deaths due to consuming too much sodium were in low and middle-income countries.

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World TB Day: untreatable TB poses significant threat

25 March 2013

A Lancet report published on World TB Day yesterday has warned about the possibility of TB becoming untreatable, due to the emergence of another strain of TB known as XDR-TB (extensively drug resistant tuberculosis). The report stated that, “with the ease of international travel and increased rates of MDR in eastern Europe, central Asia and elsewhere, the threat and range of untreatable tuberculosis is very real."

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World Water Day: 2.5 billion people still without basic sanitation

22 March 2013

There are 2.5 billion people without basic sanitation; more people have mobile phones than access to toilets and clean water. The UN Deputy Secretary General describes the issue as “at the heart of ensuring good health, a clean environment and fundamental human dignity for billions of people”. The call to action has included an aim to end open defecation by 2025 estimating it will contribute to a 36 per cent reduction in diarrhoea, which kills three quarters of a million children under five each year.

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Spotlight back on aid as UK Chancellor meets UN aid target in budget

21 March 2013

In the UK budget yesterday, the Chancellor announced that the UK will become the first country in the G8 to meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on aid. Many NGOs welcomed the news as it would mean 'stable, predictable financing’ for development. However many still debate the effectiveness of aid as a means of achieving development and poverty reduction and also question the relevance of the 0.7% target.

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WHO and Global Fund: We need to scale up our response to MDR-TB

20 March 2013

The WHO and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria have identified a US$ 1.6 billion shortfall in international funding for treatment and prevention of TB, particularly multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The WHO has highlighted the sluggish 2% decrease in the incidence of TB each year, and has stated that Africa and Europe are not on track to achieve the global target of halving the TB death rate between 1990 and 2015.

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Jephcott Lecture with Michael Buerk: The people problem; the danger of human success

18 March 2013

We are facing demographic disaster due to overpopulation but why is this important topic rarely discussed, asks Michael Buerk? He also discusses what might be done about this complex issue.

This lecture was filmed at an event called 'The Jephcott Lecture: The people problem; the danger of human sucess' at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

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Human development may be reversed by environmental challenges warns UN report

15 March 2013

According the UN 2013 Human Development Report, released recently, the number of people in extreme poverty could increase by up to three billion by 2050 unless action is taken to prevent environmental disasters. It also warns that inaction on challenges such as climate change and water pollution could reverse development progress. The title of the report –‘The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World’ reflects what it has found to be unprecedented development improvements for developing countries of the global South.

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Syrian war having devastating impact on children

14 March 2013

A report released from the international charity Save the Children has cited evidence detailing the “collapse of childhood” in Syria since the uprising against Assad two years ago. Since then the price of food has increased by 500% and sanitation systems have been destroyed. The report also found that one in three children have been hit, kicked or shot. Overall the violence is affecting 2 million children.

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Droughts: prevention must be the priority

12 March 2013

At the opening of a high-level international meeting on National Drought Policy Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon has called for countries to work together to minimise the impacts of water scarcity: “No single nation can insulate itself from global shocks. The only way to respond is through cooperation – between countries and among civil society, government and business.” The meeting aims to share drought preparedness measures. Drought is one of the most common causes of severe food shortages, particularly in developing countries.

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Global Cancer Manifesto: cancer prevention and treatment for developing countries

11 March 2013

The world’s leading cancer research institutes, including Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US have stated in a paper published this month that a new way forward for cancer research is required so that more people benefit and less expensive treatments are developed. Countries need to come together rather than focus only on the cancers which affect their citizens, and, as stated by Hazel Nunn, head of health and evidence and information at Cancer Research UK, countries must “ensure the scourge of tobacco-related cancers doesn't engulf the poorest countries of the world”.

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Investing to eliminate violence against women

7 March 2013

Ahead of tomorrow’s International Women’s Day, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development Lynne Featherstone blogs about how the UK government is investing in a Violence Against Women and Girls Research and Innovation Fund. Eliminating violence against women is the theme of this years’ UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

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Increase use of legal highs a threat to global public health

6 March 2013

According to the latest report from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) there has been an “unprecedented surge” in the abuse of “legal highs” with one new substance appearing every week in Europe alone. The INCB is the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. The president of the INCB emphasised the global nature of the problem in the report and reiterated the need to comply with existing international drug control conventions to prevent drug-related trafficking.

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International trade agreements and the threat to global health

4 March 2013

Today the 16th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) begins in Singapore. The TPP is a regional trading bloc consisting of 11 countries including China and the USA. The power imbalance that exists in such regional agreements may exacerbate health inequalities, according to researchers writing in the Lancet. These negotiations are feared to lead to a reduction in access to medicines and a restriction on the ability of governments to implement regulatory policies to tackle the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.

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Environmental concerns lowest in twenty years

1 March 2013

Public environmental concern amongst is at a twenty year low according to a survey carried out by Canadian researchers GlobeScan. 22,812 people in 22 countries were interviewed. Twelve of these countries have been polled on environmental issues since 1992. The poll asked participants to rate the seriousness of six environmental issues: air pollution, water pollution, species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages and climate change. 51% considered air pollution as “very serious” which is the lowest percentage of reported serious concern since the first survey in 1992. This is despite the impact environmental issues such as air quality can have on human health.

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2013 Global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Conference: many challenges still to overcome

28 February 2013

In a speech to delegates yesterday at the Global MDG Conference, held in Bogota, Columbia, the UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark warned that inequality was a significant problem that has “stood in the way” of reaching the targets. With less than 1000 days before the 2015 deadline, Helen Clark has emphasised that despite the remarkable progress that has been made, countries should focus on the goals where less progress has been made, such as the goal to reduce maternal mortality. Today is the second and final day of the conference.

After success with measles vaccine in Rwanda, donors to fund joint measles and rubella vaccine

27 February 2013

Up to 5 million children up to the age of 14 will be vaccinated in Rwanda against both measles and rubella as part of a three day campaign starting in March. Rwanda’s successful measles vaccination campaign saw more than 90% of Rwandan children vaccinated against measles in 2011. Rwanda will be the first country in Africa to introduce the more expensive dual vaccine

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Russia’s Putin signs law that will ban smoking in public places

26 February 2013

Russia’s President signed the law on Saturday, which will come into effect on June 1st. Smoking will be banned in public places such as subways and schools and a ban on smoking in places such as restaurants and cafes will be brought in a year later. Cigarette sales, advertising and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies will also be restricted. Russia has one of the highest proportions of people who say they are regular smokers. It is hoped the legislation will improve public health and economic productivity.

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WHO encourages all member states to continue surveillance for novel coronavirus

25 February 2013

The WHO has been informed of 13 cases of novel coronavirus so far including 7 deaths. It is a virus which, based on current clinical evidence, presents as pneumonia. The WHO continues with its monitoring whilst encouraging its member states to be vigilant. Other countries which have so far been affected include Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Click here for the full update from the WHO

Global progress towards universal health coverage

21 February 2013

At a ministerial meeting this week the Director General of the WHO Dr. Margaret Chan spoke of the progresses and the challenges facing countries aspiring to universal healthcare coverage, including rising healthcare costs. Dr. Chan emphasised that “universal care provides a solid platform for tackling all health problems, for reaching all health goals, in a fair, integrated, and efficient way”. It was stated that each country must choose its own way of achieving universal coverage hand in hand with a primary health approach.

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UN warns of potential food crisis in Central African Republic

18 February 2013

A representative from the UN Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) has stated that conflict and instability in the Central African Republic has left land unprepared for the growing season this year. The renewed fighting has also impeded trade leading to increased food prices. A representative from the World Food Programme is also calling for humanitarian access to avoid a crisis.

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TV series in Ghana aims to reduce maternal mortality

15 February 2013

A new TV series is to be launched in Ghana with the aim of highlighting the reasons why many women are still dying in childbirth. Ghana is unlikely to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing maternal deaths by 75%, from 560 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003 to 185 in 2015. If current trends continue, the expected number is 340 per 100,000. The TV series will encompass documentaries following the lives of women across the country in addition to studio discussions and special reports.

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Access to Essential Medicines for Non-Communicable Diseases

14 February 2013

Access to essential medicines for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low and middle income countries is a significant global health problem that was addressed by the UN in a political declaration in 2011. In the Lancet’s series on NCDs, specific measures are outlined which will help improve access to medicines. The lessons learned from extending access to lifesaving HIV medication are emphasised, as well as the need for an NCD specific approach.

Click here for a summary of the article.

Healthy Hearts in the City - live panel discussion

13 February 2013

As governments around the world start to take note of how our environment affects our health, join a panel of experts discuss the impact that city living has on your heart tomorrow at 11.30 am via the Guardian. This issue has become increasingly pertinent, with Beijing’s inhabitants experiencing historic levels of air pollution and other cities such as New York experiencing increases in life expectancy.

Click here to sign up for a reminder.

Development Assistance for Health spending has fallen - but not as much as predicted

12 February 2013

New research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has found that the growth in levels of global health spending seen since 1990 stopped in 2011 as spending decreased. But what the IMHE described as a ‘stagnation’ of funds has not been equal across all donors, with funding by bilateral donors decreasing and that of the multilateral GAVI alliance significantly increasing.

Click here to read the full report.

Researchers join pilgrims at Indian Religious Festival to map health data

11 February 2013

Yesterday saw the main bathing day during the the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu religious festival held in India every three years and dubbed the ‘biggest gathering on Earth’. A team of U.S researchers are collecting data from five nearby hospitals with the aim of carrying out health surveillance which could help health care providers plan for future mass gatherings as well as provide a large data set for future public health researchers.

Click here to find out more about the project

Rwanda’s Health success could be model for other countries

8 February 2013

In recent decades Rwanda has gone from being one of the poorest nations in the world to being the only sub-Saharan African country to be on track for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Its success, such as the stark reductions in the maternal mortality ratio and the probability that a child dies by the age of 5, could be emulated in other developing nations, according to Dr. Paul Farmer, writing in the BMJ.

Click here to read a summary

Disappointment as trial shows new TB vaccine not effective in babies

7 February 2013

In the fight against infectious diseases, the pursuit of a more effective vaccination against TB is a significant research avenue. The results published from the latest clinical trial show little evidence of efficacy in preventing Tuberculosis or infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in infants who had previously received the BCG vaccination. It is acknowledged, however, that further research needs to be conducted to fully interpret these findings.

Click here to find out more

Annual Letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

5 February 2013

In the Foundation’s annual letter, the importance of measurement and how setting goals can drive progress in global health is emphasised. One of the Foundation’s primary goals is polio eradication. The letter outlines the progress toward achieving this goal, in addition to the obstacles to eradication faced, particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Read the full letter here.

Today is Word Cancer Day – 50% of countries unprepared to prevent and manage cancer

4 February 2013

In time for World Cancer Day, the WHO highlights the difference between countries’ abilities to prevent and manage cancer, estimating that 50% of countries are unprepared. Approximately 70% of cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

Click here to read U.S Public Health practitioners blog about cancer inequities

Refugees fleeing Southern states of Sudan face grave health threats

1 February 2013

The grave health threats facing civilians and refugees fleeing fighting in two Southern states of Sudan are reported.

Read full article here

International Development Committee publishes Post- 2015 Development Goals

31 January 2013

As the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approaches, the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee publishes a report on post- 2015 development goals, with consequences for global health.

Read the full article here

Neglected Tropical Diseases

30 January 2013

A year ago today politicians and representatives from pharmaceutical companies and global health organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation united at the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to make a commitment to combating ten NTDs by the end of this decade. This year the first annual progress report was released.

Click here to read a summary of progress achieved so far

Taking the fight to malaria

29 January 2013

Ambitious plans to eradicate malaria involve tackling the disease on all fronts, as Professor Hilary Hurd, of Keele University's School of Life Sciences, explains…

Malaria has been a scourge of mankind since prehistory. The introduction of a quinine-based herbal remedy into Europe in the early 17th Century marked the beginning of effective treatment methods, but not until the 1880s, when Ronald Ross demonstrated that the disease was transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes, were disease prevention methods based on vector control employed. Malaria was finally eliminated from southern Europe in the 1950s, however the challenging goal of global malaria eradication was soon abandoned in favour of one of control. A recent revival of this ambitious goal has imbued the malaria research community with optimism, but the task is still immense.

Read the full article here >>>

Strengthening commitments for maternal and child health

29 January 2013

Today in the United Arab Emirates health representatives from the Eastern Mediterranean region - which includes the ten priority countries identified under the WHO Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health - are meeting to discuss ways to accelerate progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

Click here to find out more.

Enough food for Everyone IF

28 January 2013

Last week saw the launch of the ‘Enough food for Everyone IF’ campaign to end world hunger, supported by more than 100 aid organisations. The Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening discusses tackling tax evasion and avoidance as one way to ensure countries receive greater incomes to feed their populations.

Click here for the full article

World Cancer Day

28 January 2013

World Cancer Day 2013 will focus on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration by dispelling damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer.

Full text available here

mHealth initiatives having little impact in poor countries

17 January 2013

Two systematic reviews have found little evidence that mobile phone technology is effective at managing disease in low- and middle-income countries

Full text available here

Report from 2012 winner of RSM Global Health award

15 January 2013

I sought to complement my Global Health BSc with some on-the-ground experience. Throughout the BSc, I was very fortunate to devote some time to an empirical-evidence-based approach towards Global Health and sought to infuse that study with some experience in the field by way of an elective in Tanzania. Owing to my pre-existing interest in Paediatrics and HIV, I applied to undertake an elective at the Muhimbili National Hospital to explore the interface between these two and specifically the health of children affected by HIV and malnutrition. I was specifically interest in the on-the-ground implementation and uptake of initiatives such as Test and Treat and the availability of HAART.

Full text available here

World Malaria Report 2012

18 December 2012

During the past decade, a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and global malaria partners led to strengthened malaria control around the world. The scale-up of malaria prevention and control interventions had the greatest impact in countries with high malaria transmission; 58% of the 1.1 million lives saved during this period were in the ten highest burden countries.

Full text available here

MSF Scientific Day: Call for abstracts

11 December 2012

MSF Scientific Day: Call for abstracts
MSF has issued a call for abstracts for posters and oral presentations for the 2013 Scientific Day. The deadline for abstract submission is 19th February 2013. Follow the link for information about how to submit an abstract.

programme and registration details

Global Health Elective Report Prize results

5 December 2012

Congratulations to this year’s winner Miss Emma Firth from Sheffield University for her elective report from Australasia.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an essay and shared their elective experiences! There were a total of 28 submissions from 18 universities. The judges were extremely impressed with the quality of the essays as well as the Facebook activity generated by the reports.

Read Emma’s report here

Top award for RSM President

27 November 2012

On 22 November, The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation decided to confer this year’s Prince Mahidol Award in the field of medicine to RSM President Sir Michael Rawlins. In the field of public health, the award is conferred to Dr. Uche Veronica Amazigo of Nigeria, Former Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) of the WHO. There were a total of 75 nominations from 34 countries. Each year, the Foundation confers two Prince Mahidol Awards upon individuals or institutions which have demonstrated outstanding and exemplary contributions to the advancement of the world’s medical and public health services.

Full text available here

JRSM: Follow the conversation

21 November 2012

See the latest response to the JRSM short report 'Negative health system effects of Global Fund's investments in AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria from 2002 to 2009: systematic review'

Full text available here

RSM Press: new article from the International Journal of STD & AIDS

9 November 2012

Anticipated changes in sexual risk behaviour following vaccination with a low-efficacy HIV vaccine: survey results from a South African township.

Full text available here

Latest short report in the JRSM: Harmful effects of global health initiatives are exaggerated

24 October 2012

An evaluation of the scientific evidence on the effects of global health initiatives on the health systems of developing countries concludes that the harmful effects have been exaggerated. The systematic review found that much of the research literature did not fulfil the requirements of rigorous scientific evidence. Published today by JRSM Short Reports, the review focused on negative health system effects because these have been a source of criticism for global health initiatives and if true, have important implications for policy-makers. Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are channelled as aid through these initiatives.

Read the full article here

World Mental Health Day

10 October 2012

Nearly 450 million people have mental health disorders and more than three-quarters live in developing countries.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), eight in every 10 of those living in developing nations receive no treatment at all.

Many are the survivors of infectious diseases, natural disasters and war.

Read the full article here >>>

Pakistan introduces pneumonia vaccine as government aims to cut child deaths

9 October 2012

Pakistan is set to become the first country in south Asia to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine to protect children against pneumonia, one of the biggest killers of children under five in the developing world.

Read the full article here >>>

Investigating drug resistant malaria in Cambodia

2 October 2012

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA - Scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are working along the Thai-Cambodian border: the 'epicentre' of resistance to artemisinin combination therapy - the newest, and so far most effective, treatment for malaria. Dr Shunmay Yeung talks about the importance of collecting scientific data rigorously to document what is happening - not only for the benefit of Cambodians but for the good of other countries facing similar threats.

Watch LSHTM's video here >>>

HIV 'made' new deadly Salmonella - study

1 October 2012

One in four people in Africa infected with the strain died.

It is thought to be the first time a single strain of an infection has spread so widely in the wake of HIV.

Read the full article here >>>

South Africa to open US$8 million HIV, TB facility

27 September 2012

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) will open a 40,000 square feet research building in Durban, South Africa, next month (October) — the latest example of a trend of pouring investment into fighting Africa's HIV epidemic, according to experts.

Read the full article here >>>

THET Launches Medical Equipment Programme

20 September 2012

The organisations awarded funding through the Health Partnership Scheme to improve the maintenance and management of medical equipment across five countries in sub-Saharan Africa were announced today by Lord Nigel Crisp at the International Conference on Appropriate Healthcare Technologies for Developing Countries hosted by the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET).

Click here to see the organisations that have been successful in receiving grants >>>

THET Photography Challenge 2012

11 September 2012

Rachel Adams is the winner of the photography competition organised by THET. Rachel submitted a photo entitled: "Comparing traditional and modern sexual health education techniques in Mtwara, Tanzania". She took the photo while volunteering with the Partnerships London Mtwara (PaLM), a link between professionals and students in London and Southern Tanzania.

Comparing traditional and modern sexual health education techniques in Mtwara, Tanzania

EuWHO: WHO Simulation Youth Initiative

11 September 2012

EuWHO is a simulation of a WHO World Health Assembly. Delegates discuss health issues from the point of view of designated UN member states or NGOs in regional and plenary sessions. The event is a rare and exciting opportunity for students and junior professionals to develop public speaking skills, discuss key issues in global health and contribute to a written declaration that will be submitted to the WHO in Geneva. You will meet students from across the world and we have organised a social programme alongside the meeting. The focus for this simulation will be "Population and reproductive health: Addressing the unmet need".

For further information about the meeting and to register please visit our website >>>

Tuberculosis explosion in South Africa blamed on weak public health system

10 September 2012

Weaknesses in South Africa's public health system have been cited as being among the reasons tuberculosis has increased four-fold in the past 15 years. Addressing the country's failure to control and cure TB, Veloshnee Govender of the University of Cape Town's health economics unit told a major conference on poverty alleviation that there has been a 400% increase in TB incidence.

Read the full article here >>>

Major price cut for tuberculosis test to save $18m in developing world

29 August 2012

The cost of a highly accurate, rapid diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) has been reduced by 40% under a new agreement between the US government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the health financing mechanism, Unitaid.

Read the full article here >>>

Guinea worm is poised to become the second human disease to be eradicated

28 August 2012

The parasitic infection, which has sickened millions, mostly in Asia and Africa, is on the verge of being done in not by sophisticated medicine but by aggressive public health efforts in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world.

Read the full article here >>>

Investigating the Impact of Treatment on New HIV Infections

22 August 2012

In November 2011 the HIV Modelling Consortium held a meeting in South Africa to focus on the cross-cutting issues of the impact of new scientific findings about HIV treatment preventing new infections. The group considered the feasibility of interventions, potential epidemiological impact, affordability, and new scientific observational studies and community trials. The nine reviews and one research article which comprise this collection arose from that meeting and provide insights into the factors which will support evidence-based decision-making in HIV prevention, with a focus on the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV transmission.

The collection is produced with support from the HIV Modelling Consortium, which was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Collection Editor is Dr. Kamran Abbasi, and the Academic Editors are Dr. John Bartlett and Dr. David R. Bangsberg.

Read the complete collection here >>>

Increased risk of death among premature and small babies in East Africa: analysis

15 August 2012

To investigate these causes international researchers led by Dr Tanya Marchant analysed data on 4,843 live births from studies in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. They found that overall, 9% of babies were low birth weight, 4% were premature, and 20% were small for gestational age.

Read the full article here >>>

Bacterial Infections in Pregnant Women and Newborns in Mozambique and Morocco

13 August 2012

In sharp contrast to the situation in developed countries, infectious diseases in resource-poor settings are still a major cause of maternal, fetal, and newborn morbidity. In developed countries, screening for certain bacteria during the later stages of pregnancy (group B streptococcus, Escherichia coli) has improved the early detection and treatment of infection and decreased mother to child transmission, thereby reducing both child morbidity and mortality.

Read the full article here >>>

Scientists say they have made malaria breakthrough

9 August 2012

Malaria is one of the world's biggest killers, but now scientists in Australia say they have made a breakthrough which could lead to a malaria vaccine.

They have discovered that some people in Kenya who contract the disease and recover, develop an immunity against subsequent attacks.

Learn more here >>>

Audio slideshow: A surgeon in Somalia

3 August 2012

Dr Omar Saleh, a surgeon working for the World Health Organization, says many of his patients had never seen a doctor before he and his team arrive.

Listen to the audio here >>>

Uganda's Yoweri Museveni warns of Ebola threat

30 July 2012

Fourteen people have now died since the outbreak began in western Uganda three weeks ago, he said in a broadcast.

Read the full article here >>>

Drug-resistant HIV 'on increase' in sub-Saharan Africa

23 July 2012

The researchers, from the World Health Organization (WHO) and University College London (UCL) found the most rapid increase in drug resistance occurred in East Africa, at 29% per year. In Southern Africa, it was 14% per year.

Read the full article here >>>

“It’s not rocket science": Paul Farmer On Best Ways to Boost Health Care in Poor Countries

20 July 2012

Farmer is Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti under UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton. He spoke about “Global Health Equity and the Challenges of Unequal Modernity” in the first installment of HSPH’s Hot Topics summer lecture series.

Read the full article here >>>

Frequent antenatal screening dramatically reduces maternal mortality on Thai-Myanmar border

19 July 2012

In an analysis of 25 years' worth of data from 50 981 women at antenatal clinics at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, researchers found that the number of deaths from Plasmodium falciparum malaria fell from an estimated 1000 deaths per 100 000 pregnant women before the introduction of screening to zero in 2005.

Read the full article here >>>

The Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) Launches Call for Proposals

13 July 2012

The Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) has released a call for proposals with the objective of funding research projects. Researchers are invited to apply for grants until Aug 21st 2012. Building on the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) and in collaboration with the community, MESA monitors progress and catalyses research critical for understanding the science of malaria eradication.

For more information click here >>>

Art in Global Health

11 July 2012

'Art in Global Health' has set up six artist residencies in six Wellcome Trust-funded research centres as a way of teasing out some of the more personal, philosophical, cultural and political dimensions of health research. This exciting project is born out of Wellcome Collection’s desire to engage the curious public globally with the health research that the Trust funds – in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK.

For more information click here >>>

HIV treatment now reaching more than 6 million people in sub-Saharan Africa

10 July 2012

GENEVA, 6 July 2012 — For the second year in a row, an additional 1.1 million people in sub-Saharan Africa received antiretroviral therapy, reaching a total of 6.2 million people across the region in 2011. In less than a decade, access to HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa has increased more than 100-fold.

Read the press release here >>>

Enabling Solution, Ensuring healthcare - Global Health Workforce Alliance - Annual Report 2011

6 July 2012

The accomplishments of 2011 illustrate the many contributions and value added by the Alliance over the past years, and are intrinsically linked to the contributions of more than 300 member and partner organizations that, together, constitute the global network of the Alliance.

Download the report here >>>

Sustainable development goals: UN must take simple, sensible approach

3 July 2012

The one important outcome of the Rio+20 summit was the agreement to develop a new set of goals to succeed the millennium development goals (MDGs) in 2015.

Read the full article here >>>

Scientists design malaria-resistant GM mosquito

28 June 2012

The modified Anopheles stephensi mosquito — one of 30–40 mosquito species that commonly transmit malaria — releases antibodies that either kill or stall the development of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite which causes the most severe form of malaria in humans.

Read the full article here >>>

Birth of Hope Appeal Update

27 June 2012

Professor Parveen Kumar, the RSM President, visited Liberia in October 2010 and as a result of the visit and the shocking conditions she witnessed, launched an appeal which raised enough funds for a new maternal health clinic to be run by the charity Merlin. We now have news that work on the construction of the foundations and superstructure will begin shortly following the selection of contractor, completion of an adjacent staff house and engaging the local community who have cleared the ground for the building. If all goes well then the building will be completed and formally handed over to the County Health Team by the end of August.

Controversial vaccine trial should never have been run in India, researchers say

26 June 2012

Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine raises further questions about a trial of HPV vaccines in India.

The trial, which has now been halted and is the subject of an investigation by the Indian government, was examining the safety and feasibility of offering a vaccine against the virus associated with cervical cancer.

The new study by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Edinburgh suggests that lack of data on cervical cancer in India does not support a trial of the vaccine to prevent the disease.

Read the full article here >>>

Countries rush rapid maternal syphilis tests into service

22 June 2012

For some years, point-of-care tests (POCTs) have been available as an alternative to rapid plasma reagin (RPR) testing for syphilis. Unlike RPR, POCTs do not require specialist training or laboratory equipment, and results are available immediately, allowing swift treatment and ending the need for patients to return to the clinic to get test results.

Read the full article here >>>

Case Studies Focus on Role of Multi-Sector Collaborations to Address Global Health Challenges

18 June 2012

May 18, 2012 – Chicago, IL – Successful multi-sector global health programs engage partners and policymakers early, communicate openly and frequently with relevant stakeholders, and empower and involve communities, according to a website relaunched this week, Case Studies for Global Health,
The site provides a searchable collection of case studies, which illustrate that meaningful and lasting progress in addressing global health challenges cannot be achieved without these partnerships and collaborations.

Read the full article here >>>

Steve Mannion presents the BBC Radio 4 Appeal on behalf of CBM

11 June 2012

CBM is part of a global initiative to make clubfoot treatment available worldwide. CBM consultant surgeon Steve Mannion talks about his orthopaedic work overseas; specifically clubfoot treatment.
Steve Mannion MA Mchir DTM&H DMCC FRCS (Tr & Orth) Hon. Fellow RSM is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with CBM. Steve promotes the use of the Ponseti method – a manipulative, rather than surgical, technique that can be used to treat clubfoot in young children.

The programme will air on BBC Radio 4 again on the 14th June at 3:27 PM.

To find out more click here >>>

Mapping identifies best targets for malaria prevention

7 June 2012

A slim but substantial swathe of Africa stands to gain from a new strategy in malaria control. Pre-emptive treatment of children living in regions where the mosquito-transmitted disease is prevalent only during the rainy season could avert 11 million cases and 50,000 deaths a year.

Read the full article here >>>

Reshaping Global Health

6 June 2012

Reshaping Global Health
by Mark Dybul; Peter Piot; and Julio Frenk

Movement along the arc of development has been propelled by new worldviews and the creation of institutions to respond to them. In the 19th and 20th centuries, development efforts evolved from colonial expansion to missionary zeal, the aftermath of two world wars, the Cold War, economic self-interest, and postcolonial guilt. Numerous private and public organizations were created to respond to shifting demands, including multilateral and bilateral organizations wholly or partially dedicated to global health.

Read the full article here >>>

Which countries are faced with a 'critical' health worker shortage?

1 June 2012

57 countries are considered by the World Health Organisation to have critical health worker shortages, which means that they have fewer than the recommended 23 health workers per 10,000 people.

Click here to view the infographic >>>

MSF Scientific Day 2012

31 May 2012

This year, the MSF Scientific Day took place on 25th May at our premises and was live-streamed for the first time. You can now watch videos from all presentations.

Watch the Scientific Day presentations here >>>

Public health science: A national conference dedicated to new research in public health

30 May 2012

Call for Abstracts

The Royal Society of Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, National Heart Forum, and The Lancet invite abstract submissions for oral or poster presentations at Public Health Science: A national conference dedicated to new research in public health to be held on Friday 23 November 2012, at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.

The peer-review process will be organised by The Lancet. Accepted abstracts will be published in a booklet and on The Lancet's website.

Submission deadline: Friday 6 July 2012

For more information click here >>>

65th World Health Assembly

21 May 2012

The Sixty-fifth session of the World Health Assembly is taking place in Geneva during 21–26 May 2012. At this session, the Health Assembly will discuss a number of public health issues such as universal health coverage, Millennium Development Goals, noncommunicable diseases, mental disorders, nutrition and adolescent pregnancy.

The nomination of Dr Margaret Chan to be WHO Director-General for a second term will be submitted for approval.

The Health Assembly will also discuss the programme budget, administration and management matters of WHO.

Read the provisional agenda here >>>

Researchers hope to reduce sub-Saharan Africa newborn deaths (LSHTM)

16 May 2012

Clinical trials are underway to test a new treatment for pregnant women, which could tackle some of the leading preventable causes of death for babies in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have

Each year an estimated 25 million women in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk of malaria infection during pregnancy, the study said. Malarial infection heightens the risk of miscarriage, still births, or premature birth and death.

Read the full article >>>

Global Fund to Resume New Health Grants

10 May 2012

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has boosted its coffers and will resume funding new grants following the launch of a management overhaul prompted by a slowdown in donations and past disclosures of some misused grant money.

The Geneva-based organization, one of the world's biggest financiers of programs to combat the three infectious diseases, also has cut its work force 7.3% and reorganized to dedicate 75% of its staff to managing grants, up from 40% before the reorganization.

Read the full article here >>>

Ethiopia: too many deaths in childbirth as women opt out of healthcare

8 May 2012

In Ethiopia, a lack of awareness of the importance of skilled hospital deliveries, cultural beliefs and transport challenges in rural areas are causing a high number of deaths during childbirth, say officials. Only 10% of deliveries take place within health facilities, according to the Ethiopia's latest demographic health survey results. Nevertheless, the figure is a significant improvement on 6% in the previous survey, in 2005.

Read the full article here >>>

Photography Exhibition: Palliative Care in sub-Saharan Africa

2 May 2012

The exhibition is open to the public and takes place in the Auchi Foyer until the end of June.

The images were commissioned by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and their display here is supported by the Palliative Care Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. Names have been changed where necessary within the exhibit.


The Fund has been a leading donor and advocate for palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001, committing more than £13 million towards integrating palliative care into national health systems and ensuring it is available to all those with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-limiting illnesses who need it.


Nadia Bettega is a freelance reportage/portrait photographer with a strong interest in community participation.

In addition to this work, Nadia has recently completed commissions for Art on the Underground and The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She is now working on a project, funded by the Arts Council, exploring of attitudes and experiences of death and palliative care in communities across Britain. For more information please visit

The exhibition relates to the meeting on the 20 June: Meeting challenges in Palliative care >>>

UK training for South Sudan midwives

26 April 2012

A team from the University of Southampton has developed an in-service midwifery training programme.

It was appointed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to design a comprehensive midwifery training programme for the newly developed Ministry of Health, Government of South Sudan.

Read the full story here >>>

World Malaria Day: 25 April 2012

24 April 2012

This year’s world malaria day has the global theme: Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria. This message could not come at a better time. The global effort to tackle malaria has picked up pace in recent years and impressive achievements in reducing the impact of malaria on some of the world’s poorest people have been made. Since 2000, malaria deaths - mostly among young children - are estimated to have fallen by 20 percent. But this impetus must be maintained or there is a very serious risk of these gains being lost.

On this World Malaria Day 2012, Malaria Consortium would like to celebrate those who have helped bring about the fall in the number of malaria deaths, particularly among young children in Africa.

Read the full report >>>

We need a global treaty on health research for the poor

23 April 2012

In the current financial and political climate, it is brave — some might say foolhardy — to propose a binding international treaty on the funding and coordination of research into health problems facing the developing world.
Nevertheless this is what the World Health Assembly (WHA), the body responsible for the policies of the WHO, is being asked to consider at its annual meeting in Geneva next month (21–26 May).

Read the full article here >>>

Mother: Caring for 7 Billion

13 April 2012

The Global Health Film Club presents the award-winning documentary "Mother: Caring for 7 Billion", a film that brings to light an issue that silently fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises - population growth. In 2011 the world population reached 7 billion, a startling seven-fold increase since the first billion occurred 200 years ago.

6.00 pm Registration

6.30 pm Film Screening

7.40 pm Chaired discussion
(Panellists include author Lionel Shriver and Dr Rip Hayes)

8.20 pm Networking reception

***This screening is organised in association with Population Matters. Please visit for more information***

Register your place here >>>

THET Medical Equipment Grants

10 April 2012

THET is pleased to announce a call for applications for Medium Paired Institutional Medical Equipment Grants as part of the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS).

Medical Equipment Grant funding is available for clearly defined projects run by institutional partnerships where the ultimate goal is to improve the state of medical equipment. These grants are not intended to fund the provision of medical equipment. They are designed to increase the capacity of developing countries to maintain and manage existing equipment through skills transfer and capacity development of maintenance staff, clinical staff and administrators.

Click here to find out more

World Health Day 2012

2 April 2012

Saturday 7 April marks the WHO's World Health Day in 2012. This year's topic is "Ageing and Health" with the theme "Good health adds life to years". The focus is how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities. Ageing concerns each and every one of us – whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor – no matter where we live.

World TB Day: 24 March 2012

23 March 2012

World TB Day raises awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. One-third of the world's population is currently infected with TB. The Stop TB Partnership, a network of organizations and countries fighting TB, organizes the Day to highlight the scope of the disease and how to prevent and cure it.

Read the message from Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership >>>

Shaping the global health agenda - women, children and society, 27 - 28 March

16 March 2012

A two day conference organised by the Royal Society of Medicine in association with the Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH.

We are delighted to announce that HRH The Princess Royal will be attending this conference.

>>> Registration closes 20 March - book now to avoid disappointment. <<<

Global Health Young Leaders Award 2012 Results

15 March 2012

The 10 shortlisted essays were carefully reviewed by the RSM Global Health Steering Group which includes RSM President Professor Parveen Kumar, RSM Dean Professor John Betteridge and RSM Lead for Global Health, Mr B. Sethia.

Click here to see the winners >>>

Call for World Health Organization to target dementia

7 March 2012

Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, told the Today programme's Justin Webb that, due to lack of funding and research, dementia could be "the next global health time bomb".

Listen Professor Peter Piot here >>

World meets UN target for safe water

6 March 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The world's nations achieved a U.N. goal of cutting in half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water five years ahead of the 2015 target, the United Nations announced Tuesday.

A report issued by the U.N. children's agency and the World Health Organization said over 2 billion people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010.

Read the full article >>>

HIV-free generation efforts gaining tempo in Tanzania

5 March 2012

QUESTION: What are the challenges of being HIV positive in this part of the world?
ANSWER: Stigma and discrimination toward HIV/Aids, coupled with the challenges associated with operating in resource-limited settings, are setbacks to ensuring universal provision as well as uptake of effective HIV preventive and treatment services.

Read the full article >>>

India is no longer polio-endemic, leaving just three countries which have not stopped polio

2 March 2012

It was a much-anticipated moment. Weeks after India marked 12 months in which no Indian child had been paralyzed by polio, the World Health Organization notified the national authorities on 25 February that India was officially removed from the list of countries with active transmission of endemic polio. India’s success leaves only three countries remaining polio-endemic - meaning they have never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus transmission: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Read the full report >>>

A first step in bringing typhoid fever out of the closet

28 February 2012

Whoever invented the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” must have been thinking of typhoid fever. With the exception of a few hardy travellers, the disease has dropped out of sight and out of mind in the rich countries of the world. Gone are the days when the disease decimated armies and rampaged through the filthy streets of 19th century London, New York, and other large cities of the western world, taking the lives of rich and poor alike. Today, it is the poor, the poorest of the poor, living in the slums of the developing world, who bear the full brunt of the mortality and morbidity—216 000 deaths and about 21 million cases a year—wrought by Salmonella typhi.

Read the full report >>>

Mobile Phone Text Messaging: Tool for Malaria Control in Africa

24 February 2012

Across many malaria-endemic areas in rural Africa, health systems are weak, infrastructure is poor, and poverty is widespread. Traditionally, the communication gap between managers of health services, health workers at the periphery, and the patient population they serve has been a barrier to efficient service delivery. This gap, however, has the potential to be bridged through the rapid expansion of mobile network coverage, availability of inexpensive handsets, and decreasing costs of mobile phone services.

Read the full article >>>

Health workers in fragile states: the case for investment

22 February 2012

About Action For Global Health:
AFGH is a broad European network of NGOs advocating for Europe to play a more proactive role in enabling developing countries to meet the Health Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Countries which have suffered, or are still suffering, from severe crises, need to re-establish destroyed infrastructure and systems. Human resources are a critical part of this at all levels. As well as doctors, mid level health care providers such as nurses and midwives, health managers, and community health workers are needed to make vital
contributions. Too often however, health workers are underemphasised in current investments.

Read more >>>

Call for applications for Start-up Grants

15 February 2012

THET is pleased to announce a call for applications for Start-up Grants.
The grants form part of the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS) which is a four-year programme that funds health partnerships to carry out training and capacity-building projects in low-income countries. The Scheme is funded by the UK Department for International Development. It is managed by THET in a consortium with HLSP to deliver the programme.

What are Health Partnerships?
Health Partnerships (or “Health Links”) are formalised voluntary partnerships between health institutions in developing countries and their counterparts in the UK. They can support a wide variety of activities to help strengthen the training of health staff and enhance the capacity of health systems in developing countries. Partnerships also benefit the UK partners, developing skills and increasing understanding of global health issues.

For more information visit the THET website >>>

Humanitarian Fund 2012

14 February 2012

The BMA International Department runs the BMA Humanitarian Fund which offers grants of up to £3,000 for projects taking place in developing countries.

Projects must offer clear health benefits to the local population, must involve at least one current NHS employee and should have a sustainable impact. The grants will cover incidental costs such as travel and accommodation only (not equipment or drugs).

Who can apply?

Any current NHS employee who is planning to participate or run a project taking place between May 2012 - May 2013 can apply for funding.

For more information click here >>>

Indian eye clinic uses tiered pricing to combat blindness among poor

8 February 2012

Madan Keshav, a shy 11-year-old, looks tired as he waits for the optometrist to examine his eyes. He says he and his father travelled by bus for two hours to reach the LV Prasad Eye Institute's (LVPEI) hospital in Mudhol, a tiny village in southern India. He perks up a little when he is asked to read aloud from the eye chart.

Read the full article >>>

What does the second decade hold for the Global Fund?

2 February 2012

At Davos last week, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria received an unexpected birthday gift from Bill Gates in the form of a $750m "promissory note" to help shore up its faltering finances.

Read the full article >>>

Kofi Annan: "Save West Africa from the drugs barons"

30 January 2012

Over the last decade, West Africa has made encouraging progress. Violent conflicts that had blighted the region for many years have been ended. There have been real advances in development, health and education. Economic growth is accelerating. Democratic practice, although still not the norm everywhere in the region, is taking root.

Read the full article >>>

Genetic screens bring new hope for tackling sleeping sickness

26 January 2012

Research led by scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has exploited a revolutionary genetic technique to discover how human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) drugs target the parasite which causes the disease. The new knowledge could help lead to the development of better treatments for the tens of thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa who are affected each year.

Read the full article >>>

New malaria maps to guide battle against the disease

24 January 2012

In a study published in 'Malaria Journal', a multinational team of researchers from the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust, present the results of a two-year effort to assemble all available data worldwide on the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the most deadly form of the disease. Using computer modelling and data on climate and human populations, they have revealed the complex landscape of malaria across the globe. The maps build on the first ever Atlas of Malaria-Eliminating Countries published earlier this year.

Read the full article >>>

Food crisis looms in west Africa

23 January 2012

The Red Cross is carrying out assessments in the Sahel region of west Africa where millions of people are at risk of a food crisis this year.

Low and erratic rainfall and insect infestations have led to poor harvests and lack of pasture in parts of Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Communities are also dealing with high food prices and reduced cash flow from migrant workers sending money back to their families from Libya and the Ivory Coast.

Read the full article >>>

Battling through the malaria season in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

18 January 2012

Our team arrived to start working at the Lulimba hospital at the height of the malaria season. We barely had time to unpack our boxes because we were greeted by a crowd of sick children, and more have been arriving in ever-greater numbers since. We also found out very quickly that the hospital had only one thermometer.

Read the full article >>>

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011

17 January 2012

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president. Since her inauguration in 2006, she has contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women. Leymah Gbowee mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war. In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the “Arab spring”, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

Read the Nobel Lecture by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf >>>

Immunological defence mechanism leaves malaria patients vulnerable to deadly infection

16 January 2012

Malaria patients are at high risk of developing fatal bacterial infections, especially salmonella infections. This is commonly believed to be due to generalised immunosuppression by malaria, whereby the entire immune system is weakened and compromised.

However, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have discovered that the increased vulnerability to salmonella infections is a side effect of the body’s attempts to protect itself from the damaging effects of the malaria infection.

Read the press release >>>

Malnutrition Widespread in Indian Children, Report Finds

11 January 2012

NEW DELHI — Roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under age 5 suffer from malnutrition, a sobering reminder of the persistence of poverty and hunger in the world’s largest democracy, according to a major report released on Tuesday.

Read the full article >>>

HIV vaccine trial approved by FDA

21 December 2011

A vaccine that may prevent HIV has been given the green light by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials in humans, according to Canadian researchers.

The announcement was made on the campus of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont.

Read the full article >>>

Humanitarian needs must take priority in South Sudan, warn aid agencies

19 December 2011

UN's warning of 'gathering storm of hunger' tempers focus on foreign investment agenda at two-day conference

Speaking at a two-day development and investment conference for South Sudan in Washington DC, Hillary Clinton said the newly-independent country had the potential to be "one of Africa's breadbaskets".

Read the full article >>>

Delivering cervical cancer prevention in the developing world

13 December 2011

Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action against maternal death.

“Delivering Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Developing World” highlights exciting new partnerships and innovations in cervical cancer prevention and treatment.
The report includes profiles of success in increasing access to HPV vaccines and treatment from around the world, with country spotlights on Mexico, Thailand, Bolivia and Rwanda.

Read the full document >>>

Podcast: The struggle for basic care in DRC

7 December 2011

Paul Brockmann, MSF project coordinator in Mweso, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), describes the difficulties Congolese people face in getting even the most basic health care.

People living in this area of eastern DRC have to contend with ongoing insecurity and outbreaks of violence that push them out of their homes. They suffer from preventable diseases like cholera, measles and malaria. They are often unable to access medical care, which is why MSF has been working there for 30 years.

Watch the podcast >>>

World AIDS Day - December 1st

1 December 2011

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action.

For more information on how you can support the cause visit the link below:

Finding the pulse of the poor

29 November 2011

CAMBRIDGE - It’s no one’s idea of an MIT laboratory: not a beaker or an oscilloscope in sight. But in a wood-paneled suite, on the third floor of a bland, concrete building, researchers are tackling problems as complex and vexing as any in technology, science, or medicine.

This is the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL, where economists through precise, detailed studies are trying to find ways to alleviate poverty.

Read the full article >>>

Marc Koska: 'My self-destructing syringe could save millions of lives'

24 November 2011

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 1.3 million people die every year because of the reuse of syringes.

Marc Koska has worked for 27 years to stop the reuse of syringes. He designed the self-destructing K1 syringe, set up Star Syringe to manufacture it and runs the charity SafePoint, which campaigns against unsafe injections.

Read the full interview here >>>

New Acting Chief Executive for THET

23 November 2011

Jane Cockerell takes up the post of Acting Chief Executive at THET as a replacement for Pia MacRae, who served that role for the past two years.

THET, the Tropical Health and Education Trust, is an international development organisation working to improve the health of people in Africa and Asia. Based in the UK, THET have over twenty years experience working with health institutions around the world, promoting action that is practical, sustainable and responsive.

Visit >>>

The Guardian: Médecins sans Frontières book reveals aid agencies' ugly compromises

21 November 2011

A controversial new book produced by one of the world's best-known aid agencies, Médecins sans Frontières, lifts the lid on the often deeply uncomfortable compromises aid organisations are forced to make while working in conflicts.

Read the full article >>>

Caravan of Hope: A campaigning road trip in Africa for climate justice

16 November 2011

Glance at the timetable for the Caravan of Hope – a two-week campaigning road trip across 10 African countries, covering more than 7,000km (4,350 miles) – and it resembles the kind of frantic continental tour where countries flash past the coach window and any more meaningful engagement is off the itinerary.

Read the full article >>>

To find more about the Caravan of Hope visit their website >>>

World Pneumonia Day - November 12th

9 November 2011

The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia was established in April 2009 to raise awareness about the toll of pneumonia, the world's leading killer of children, and to advocate for global action to protect against, effectively treat and help prevent this deadly disease.

The Coalition is a global network of more than 125 NGOs, community‐based organizations, academic institutions, government agencies and foundations who together provide leadership for World Pneumonia Day, marked each year on November 12 to encourage efforts to combat the disease among donors, policy makers, healthcare professionals and the general public.

Visit their website >>>

Malaria Day in the Americas - November 6th

2 November 2011

Malaria Day in the Americas, which is observed on November 6 of every year, is envisioned to be the platform upon which countries of the Region can engage in a year-round aggressive campaign against the disease.

Read the full article >>>

Fighting Polio in Chad - Watch Video

31 October 2011

Chad has the highest number of reported polio cases of any country in the world this year. In spite of monthly campaigns, transmission is now widespread with wild poliovirus now detected in 14 out of 21 regions.

Watch the video >>>

Elsevier helps the RSM and Merlin to give books to the Monrovia medical school in Liberia

24 October 2011

Merlin is the UK's leading charity specialising in international health, sending medical experts to the frontline of global emergencies. When disaster strikes we deliver emergency medical relief and then we stay; taking countries shattered by war, earthquake or floods from emergency to recovery, working with communities and host governments to rebuild health services.

Merlin has been in Liberia since 1997, and is currently working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to improve the health system in six of Liberia’s 15 counties.

In 2010 Professor Parveen Kumar, president of the Royal Society of Medicine, visited Liberia with Merlin, and saw at first-hand the need for medical text books in the Monrovia medical school. On her return she asked Elsevier (whose mission statement includes a commitment to ‘work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance scholarship and improve lives’) if they could help.

Elsevier responded with a very generous donation of 2,500 medical text books, which have now been sent to Liberia.

The shipment was organised by Merlin and Elsevier, and paid for by the MOHSW Pool Fund.

In Africa, getting things done is as important as democracy, says Blair

21 October 2011

When it comes to conditions of aid, evidence of democracy and good governance now appear high on the list of requirements from donor countries (the EU being the latest donor to announce its intentions in this regard). But how do you square these ideals with leaders whose countries are hitting development targets and showing economic growth, but who play fast and loose with the notion of human rights and freedoms?

Read the full article >>>

Malaria vaccine could save millions of children's lives

19 October 2011

Millions of children's lives could be saved by a new vaccine shown to halve the risk of malaria in the first large-scale trials across seven African countries.

Read the full article >>>

Millennium Development Goal Three:
Promote gender equality and empower women

18 October 2011

MDG 3:Promote gender equality and empower women

To eliminate gender disparity in all levels of education by 2015, based on the ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education, increase the number of women in paid employment outside the agricultural sector, and increase the number of female MPs. Visit the UN webpage to read more about MDG3 and its progress.

Read more about the MDG3, on the Guardian's Global Development microsite.

'First ever' fall in global TB

12 October 2011

The number of people falling ill with tuberculosis has declined for the first time, according to the World Health Organization.

New figures show the global death toll has also fallen, to its lowest level in a decade, with major headway made in China, Brazil, Kenya and Tanzania.

Read the full article on the BBC website >>>

Health Innovation for the world’s poor: Who are the players and what is the game?

10 October 2011

A variety of public private partnering arrangements and innovative financing mechanisms has begun to change the neglected disease landscape over the last decade. How significant are these public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements? Are these players likely to endure? Do they deserve the continued support of development donors? How do they relate to broader shifts in the pharmaceutical industry?

Read the full brief >>>

Optimizing Global Fund Proposals to Promote Women’s & Children’s Health

6 October 2011

The Global Fund Round 11 Call for Proposals is now open, with a submission date of 15 December 2011. Women and children bear a heavy burden of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria: more than two million women and children die every year from AIDS, TB and malaria. There is potential to expand the impact of Global Fund investments to improve the health of women and children even further.


Millennium Development Goal Two:
Achieve universal primary education

3 October 2011

MDG2: Universal primary education

To ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, complete a full course of primary education. Success is measured based on the number of children enrolled in primary education, the proportion who reach the last grade of primary school, and literacy rates for those aged 15-24.

Read the full article >>>

Rabies is killing more than 55,000 a year

26 September 2011

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are 55,000 rabies deaths every year. According to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the total is 70,000, with 10 million treated for bites from potentially infected dogs. India has the highest annual rate of deaths in Asia: 20,000. The majority of victims are under 15. Around the world, rabies kills around 100 children every day. In Africa and Asia alone, the disease (the most potently lethal known on earth) threatens 3.3 billion people – just under half the world's population.

Read the full article >>>

The NHS and the world, careers of the future

21 September 2011

View the video of the lecture on

Millennium Development Goal One:
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

20 September 2011

MDG1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

To halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day, to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, and to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Hunger figures are based on the number of underweight children under five, and the proportion of the population below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption. Visit the UN webpage to find out more about MDG1 and its progress.

Read more about the MDG1, on the Guardian's Global Development microsite.

Small Steps Project

19 September 2011

This exhibition demonstrates the work of Small Steps Project, a humanitarian project that delivers shoes, aid and medical care to children on inhabited rubbish dumps/landfill sites all over the world.
The images were taken by SSP photographer and videographer, Lucas Orme.

For more information about the exhbition, please visit our web site >>>

The exhibition will culminate in a fundraising Celebrity Shoe Auction and premiere of the latest film 'Small Steps: Nicaragua', at the Royal Society of Medicine on Wednesday 12 October, 7.00pm.
If you would like to attend the event, bid for some of the auction lots or purchase a limited edition print, please visit where you can also view the first documentary online and see the celebrity shoes or email

Using football to kick about a message on Aids

15 September 2011

In 11 years, Deradjat Ginanjar Koesmayad has gone from a hopeless, homeless, thieving HIV-positive drug addict to a respected community mobiliser and adviser to his country's government. It is a transformation Ginan – as he is more commonly called – attributes, in no small measure, to an unusual quarter.

Read the full article >>>

Getting Engaged with the Global Fund

13 September 2011

This report summarises some of the key challenges facing civil society in engaging with the Global Fund to Fight AID, TB and Malaria, and sets out recommendations to improve civial society participation and success in Global Fund proposal development, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) engagement, and grant implementation.

Aimed at all key stakeholders including the Global Fund, grant recipients and potential recipients, and technical support providers, the report reflects the experience of civil society across Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Read the report >>>

Fake drugs: a global overdose

8 September 2011

We are delighted to share with you this very well-made video exploring the complex and tragic story of fake medicines in the developing world.

View the video >>>

Discover The Lancet Global Health Portal

7 September 2011

Access the portal >>>

'Global Politics of Health'

6 September 2011

Policy for Sustainable and Effective Healthcare

30 August 2011

29-30 September 2011
BMA House

NICE International and the BMJ Group are hosting a global event, to be hosted at the BMA House, that will bring together policy-makers and researchers from around the world to discuss and promote, cost-effective and evidence-informed policy-making as a means of improving global health outcomes.

View the full programme >>>

Access to Essential Medicines: Ten Stories That Mattered in 2010

24 August 2011

Through its Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been closely following the developments in the world of access to medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.

Among the positive stories of the past year: new tools were developed for Meningitis A and for tuberculosis, promising research was published on severe malaria, an innovative mechanism was created to make lifesaving HIV medicines more affordable, and the quality of food aid is progressively improving.

But it wasn’t all good news in 2010: donors are turning their back on AIDS, and pursuing a number of policies that threaten access to generic medicines (here and here). At the same time, measles is making a comeback, and neglected tropical diseases continue to take a heavy toll.

<a href="" target="_blank">Read the full report >>> </a>

Reducing global health inequalities - Part 1

22 August 2011

This paper promotes the perception of health both as a global public good and as a developmental issue and why a focus on poverty is essential to the address of global health issues.

It sees the designing of appropriate strategies and partnerships towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as an important first step for achieving successful address to global public health issues.

Read the full text article >>>

HIV/AIDS: "Worrying" Drop in Global Spending

18 August 2011

International funding for HIV fell by 10 percent in 2010 from the previous year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS; activists worry that a continued reduction will undermine progress in global HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

For complete article, click here >>>

Addressing the Global Health Workforce Crisis: Challenges for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK

5 August 2011

This report compares the foreign and domestic policies regarding health workers in the five EU countries home to the Action for Global Health (AfGH) network, which have some of the highest densities of doctors and nurses in the world.

It looks at the reasons for health shortages in both source and destination countries, exploring what needs to change or to be put into practice in order to fulfill the requirements of the WHO Code of Practice and to strengthen health systems in the developing world.

Readd the full report >>>

UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases: addressing four questions

3 August 2011

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), principally heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, are a global crisis and require a global response.

In this report, the authors present the realities of the situation by answering four questions: is there really a global crisis of NCDs; how is NCD a development issue; are affordable and cost-effective interventions available; and do we really need high-level leadership and accountability?

Read the full text article on the Lancet's website.

Improving healthcare in South Sudan - in pictures

1 August 2011

View the pictures >>>

Mobiles Transforming Data Collection in Developing Countries

29 July 2011

More videos are available on

Eradicating polio. Late? Or never?

28 July 2011

HUBRIS is always dangerous. In 1977 smallpox was eradicated and—an accidental infection in a British laboratory a year later aside—that claim has stood the test of time. Having eliminated one viral disease, the authorities decided they ought to be able to get rid of another: polio. That, though, proved a tougher opponent. The World Health Organisation’s original target, set in 1988—a polio-free world by 2000—proved illusory.

Read the article >>>

Donate to UNICEF's East Africa Children's Crisis Appeal.

25 July 2011

Right now, today, children in East Africa are facing a desperate crisis caused by prolonged drought, soaring food prices and conflict. The United Nations has formally declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia.

This crisis is getting worse and we need to act now to save lives.

Children and women are the most vulnerable. More than 2 million children under five in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are acutely malnourished, including almost 500,000 children suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.

Please DONATE now

'The Health Systems Funding Platform: Resolving Tensions between the Aid and Development Effectiveness Agendas'

20 July 2011

This paper briefly assesses the “Health Systems Funding Platform” and argues that the way the initiative is proceeding differs little from prior initiatives, such as sector wide approaches and budget support.

However, the initiative does represent an opportunity to make global health aid more effective if it were to deepen its commitment to improving information for policy, link funding explicitly to well-chosen independently verified indicators, and establish an evaluation strategy to learn from its experience.

Read more >>>

Smelly socks tested in Tanzania as way to prevent malaria

14 July 2011

In global public health, disease-fighting tools that are cheap, available and sustainable are the Holy Grail. It might be hard to top the one being tested in Tanzania as a way to prevent malaria: smelly socks.

Experiments in three villages where people get about 350 bites a year from malaria-infected mosquitoes are using dirty socks to lure the insects into traps, where they become contaminated with poisons and ultimately die.

Read the article on the Washington Post >>>

Campaign Against Severe Acute Malnutrition

13 July 2011

Dr André Briend is the inventor of Plumpy'nut, a ready-to-use food which has transformed the campaign against severe acute malnutrition.

He was invited to discuss the development process and the difficulties encountered before its wide-spread implementation and acclamation at our Medical Innovations Summit, last June.

View the video on >>>

THET announces Health Partnership Scheme

12 July 2011

THET, a UK-based international development charity, announced they had been awarded the contract for a major new programme to help develop the skills of health workers in some of the world’s poorest countries. They will be working in consortium with HLSP, an international health sector consultancy, for the delivery of the Health Partnership Scheme.

Funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development, the Health Partnership Scheme will harness the expertise of UK health professionals to improve health outcomes by transferring skills and supporting skills development in low income countries, as well as through promoting UK involvement in volunteering. Activities will be wide-ranging and include training and capacity-building for staff, providing practical skills, continuing professional development, and curriculum development.

Read More >>>

Health workers call for peace. Join them.

11 July 2011

Photo exhibition - Purple Hearts by Nina Berman

5 July 2011

Photo exhibition - Purple Hearts by Nina Berman
In the RSM Auchi Foyer, throughout July 2011 - Free entry

Nina Berman began to photograph and interview wounded American soldiers after their return from Iraq in 2003. This endeavour has resulted in a series of intimate portraits showing the soldiers in their private spaces or in military hospitals or bases, away from the ceremonies and parades.

For more information, please visit the RSM's website

Diabetes' rapid rise makes it a 'defining global health issue'

29 June 2011

That number has more than doubled in three decades, jumping to an estimated 347 million, a new study says. And with the numbers climbing almost everywhere, experts said the disease is no longer limited to rich countries and is now a global problem.

“Diabetes may well become the defining issue of global health for the next decade,” said Majid Ezzati, chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London, one of the study authors.


View a video of the first Global Health Alerts

21 June 2011

Countries pledge $4.3bn in funding for child vaccines

15 June 2011

The Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation says this funding milestone will save more than four million lives in the next four years.

The donations exceeded expectations - GAVI asked for $3.7bn.

Read more on the BBC website

Discover Small Steps Project

13 June 2011

Small Steps Project is a humanitarian project dedicated to supporting the children living on rubbish dumps around the world and raising awareness of the unacceptable hardships faced by them through film.

View their short promo film about how they are trying to raise money for children living on inhabited landfill sites through documentary films. It was shot at The Hampstead Film Society (Exchange Studios), Camp Bestival and uses footage shot in Phnom Penh from the documentary Small Steps: Cambodia, Directed and Produced by Amy Hanson.

AIDS on the agenda

9 June 2011

The meeting came 10 years after the Declaration of Commitment and 5 years after the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, and reunited UN member states to review progress and renew declarations for sustained global commitments in response to the pandemic.


Global Health Alerts - In partnership with MSF

7 June 2011

'Global Health Alerts' is a news series of RSM evening events.

In this new series well respected speakers are being asked to address controversial issues and current challenges in their areas of activity. Following the presentation, attendees will be able to share some refreshments and network with colleagues.

Book your free place

Hunger crisis worsens, food system broken

31 May 2011

Food prices could double in the next 20 years and demand in 2050 will be 70 percent higher than now, UK charity Oxfam said on Tuesday, warning of worsening hunger as the global food economy stumbles close to breakdown.

Read the full article

Merlin’s Hands Up For Health Workers campaign

25 May 2011

This May Merlin’s Hands Up For Health Workers campaign team attended the World Health Assembly alongside Merlin campaign ambassador Miatta, a health worker from Liberia who has worked in some of the world’s toughest places, including Darfur and the DR Congo.

Miatta spoke at an event where Merlin was a contributor, calling for better protection of health workers caught up in conflict – increasingly the targets in the fight to secure territory, resources and power.

Click here to read more about Miatta and the event and to join Merlin’s call for better protection of health workers.

Birth of Hope Appeal

17 May 2011

Professor Parveen Kumar, the RSM President, visited Liberia last October and as a result of the visit and the shocking conditions she witnessed, the RSM is launching an appeal - The Birth of Hope Appeal - to raise £25,000 for a maternal health clinic run by Merlin, who have worked in the country for the last 13 years.

Members have already donated nearly £23,000. For more information, please contact Paul Summerfield:

So you want to be a relief doctor?

12 May 2011

RedR is an international charity that provides training and recruitment services for the humanitarian sector, improving emergency response worldwide.

Are you thinking about a new career direction? Or simply
interested in learning more about working in the humanitarian

If so this introductory one day workshop is for you.

Kofi Annan at the RSM

5 May 2011

Mr Kofi Annan was at the RSM where the Royal African Society held their inaugural annual lecture. He spoke about Africa and the World Food Security System. You can now view the video on our YouTube channel.

Kofi Annan at the RSM

12 April 2011

View the pictures of the events.

World Health Day

7 April 2011

Antimicrobial resistance is not a new problem but one that is becoming more dangerous; urgent and consolidated efforts are needed to avoid regressing to the pre-antibiotic era.

For World Health Day 2011, WHO is introducing a six-point policy package to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Visit WHO website for more information.

View the WHO brohure

Volunteer with the Welbodi Partnership

28 March 2011

The Welbodi Partnership is a young charity supporting child health care in Sierra Leone, a small West Africa country where one in seven children die before the age of five, mostly from preventable and treatable infections. They are currently looking for two volunteer programme managers and a consultant subspecialist paediatrician. All the positions are based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Click on the job description for more details and to apply.

Programme Manager (Healthcare Professional)

Programme Manager (Hospital Management)

Consultant Subspecialist Paediatrician

Want to treat the bigger picture?

25 March 2011

The day is aimed at young people (clinicians and non-clinicians) interested in finding out more about how to have a career in clinical trials and epidemiology (the study of the distribution and determinants of population health). The invited speakers will provide an overview of potential career pathways and how to progress in this relatively new area. There will also be numerous opportunities throughout the day to allow people to interact more informally with the speakers and other relevant parties in order to get further information and guidance.

Event date: Friday 8 July
Venue: The Royal Society of Medicine

View the full programme and register

View a video of the recent 'Healing Southern Sudan' lecture held at the RCOG

21 March 2011

Click here to view the video.

Birth of Hope Appeal - Photo exhibition

18 March 2011

Professor Parveen Kumar, the RSM President, visited Liberia last October and as a result of the visit and the shocking conditions she witnessed, the RSM is launching an appeal - The Birth of Hope Appeal - to raise £25,000 for a maternal health clinic run by Merlin, who have worked in the country for the last 13 years.

For more information about the exhibition, click here, or make a donation.

First RSM Global Health Symposium

18 March 2011

On 14 March the RSM Global Health programme hosted the First International RSM symposium on Global Health in association with THET. Entitled 'Engaging in Global Health: Controversies and Solutions', the event attracted a packed house who listend to presentations from a distinguished group of national and international experts in the field.

We were fortunate to have secured the attendance of Prof 'Zeke' Emanuel who currently advises President Obama on aspects of his new Global Health programme and who gave an excellent presentation entitled 'What the Global Community should be doing to improve health' (this talk can be viewed on the RSM Global Health website). Plans for the 2012 RSM symposium 'Shaping the Global Health Agenda: Women, Children and Society' being held on 27/28 March 2012 are progressing rapidly. Put these dates in your diary!