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Cancer Scientists Publish Commentary Describing Path Forward For Research, Prevention

Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday published a commentary “authored by Harold Varmus, Nobel prize-winning director of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., and by Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research U.K., on behalf of leading [cancer research] institutions from Australia to Argentina and Taiwan to Turkey,” in which they describe a…

WHO Calls For Images of Smoking-Related Diseases on Cigarette Packaging

In an effort to increase the public’s awareness of the health consequences of cigarettes, the WHO on Friday called on international governments to require that cigarette packages feature images of the harmful effects smoking can have on the body, the AP/Google.com reports.

Advocates Say Nigeria Should Consider Photo Health Warnings On Cigarettes; WHO Honors Malaysia for Tobacco Regulation

In honor of 2009 World No Tobacco Day Nigerian Heart Foundation President Oluyomi Adeyemi-Wilson spoke at an event in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday where he called for members of the National Assembly to pass a new bill requiring that cigarette manufacturers print pictorial and graphical health warnings on the packages of cigarettes – an effort supported by the WHO, Vanguard/allAfrica.com reports.

Also In Global Health News: Indonesia To Host AIDS Congress; Smoking Ban in Ghana

Indonesia To Host International Congress On AIDS Indonesia will host the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific region, August 3 – 13 in Bali, organizers of the event announced Wednesday, Xinhua reports. Indonesia was selected to host the congress because it “was one of the first…

WHO Releases World Health Statistics 2012 With First-Time Data On Blood Pressure, Diabetes

The WHO on Wednesday released its World Health Statistics 2012 report, which “for the first time includes a look at blood pressure and glucose levels, two of the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (5/16). The “data showed one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure — the cause of around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease — and the condition affects almost half the adult population in some countries in Africa,” Reuters writes (Kelland, 5/16). “One in 10 people are estimated to have diabetes, rising to up to one third in Pacific Island countries,” Agence France-Presse notes (5/16). According to Reuters, “Obesity is another major issue, the WHO said, with data showing rates of obesity doubling in every region of the world between 1980 and 2008” (5/16). “This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, the news agency reports (5/16).

WHO Faces Challenges In Setting Priorities

In this BMJ Groups Blog post, Amanda Glassman, director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development, writes about the challenges the WHO faces in “[s]etting priorities and fully funding those priorities.” She defines the criteria by which the WHO could outline its priorities, including by identifying “global” and “shared” concerns and adequately funding and staffing priority areas. Glassman concludes, “There is tentative movement towards limiting the number of new resolutions based on ‘an assessment of their strategic value, financial and administrative implications, and reporting requirements and timelines.’ That sounds very good, and would inspire more confidence if the assessment were rigorous and transparent to member states and the public. Still, the reform seems to have punted on the WHO’s priority-setting problem” (5/17).

WHO DG Chan Addresses World Health Assembly; HHS Secretary Sebelius Speaks At Plenary Session

“Opening the 65th annual World Health Assembly (WHA) [on Monday in Geneva], World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan said she sees a bright future for health development, despite financial crises that many countries are facing, which has shrunk support for many initiatives,” CIDRAP News reports. According to the news service, “Chan said the WHO can leverage its leadership role to make the most of small and wise investments” and that “[u]niversal health coverage is the best way to maintain health gains that have been made over the past decade” (Schnirring, 5/21). Focusing on innovations that bring social benefit rather than profit, as well as research and development into new treatments, also are important, Chan noted, Devex reports (Ravelo, 5/22).

Sugar Poses Significant Health Risks, Should Be Regulated Like Alcohol, U.S. Researchers Say

“Sugar poses enough health risks that it should be considered a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco, contend a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),” in an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar,” published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, TIME’s “Healthland” blog reports (Rochman, 2/2). “While acknowledging that food, unlike alcohol and tobacco, is required for survival, [authors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis] say taxes, zoning ordinances and even age limits for purchasing certain sugar-laden products are all appropriate remedies for what they see as a not-so-sweet problem,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Health” blog writes (Hobson, 2/2).