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External Panel Issues Draft Report Saying WHO Response To H1N1 Lacked Cohesion, Clarity

An independent panel of experts commissioned by the WHO to probe its response to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic on Thursday released a draft report (.pdf) stating that while the organization performed well in many ways, it made “crucial mistakes” and “warned tens of millions could die if there is a severe flu outbreak in the future,” the Associated Press reports (3/10).

Scientists Create GM Chicken That Does Not Spread Bird Flu To Other Chickens

“Scientists have developed genetically modified [GM] chickens that don’t transmit bird flu [H5N1] to other chickens,” HealthDay News/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. “This achievement could stop bird flu outbreaks from spreading within poultry flocks and possibly reduce the risk of bird flu epidemics that could lead to flu virus epidemics in humans, according to the researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom,” whose findings appear in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Science, according to the news service (Preidt, 1/13).

BMJ News Examines Ongoing Investigation Of WHO’s Handling Of H1N1

BMJ News reports on the ongoing external investigation of the WHO’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, following recent statements to the WHO’s executive board meeting by review committee chairman, Harvey Fineberg. Despite initial expectations that the external review committee would produce a draft of its findings in January, Fineberg “said the panel was planning a meeting on 28-30 March, and it would distribute in advance to all WHO member nations copies of a draft summary of its principal findings, conclusions, and recommendations, for comments and reactions, before it finalises the report.”

Recent Releases In Global Health

Innovative Health Financing Can Benefit Global Health, Pharma: “The launch of pneumococcal vaccination in Nicaragua under AMC [advance market commitment] has shown that innovative approaches to health financing can benefit both global health and pharmaceutical companies,” according to a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial that describes how the roll-out of GAVI initiative…

Also In Global Health News: Medical Tourism In Southeast Asia; Cholera, Yellow Fever In Ivory Coast; U.S. Aid To Egypt; Universal Coverage In Mexico; Pneumonia’s Evolution

IRIN Examines Medical Tourism’s Affect In Southeast Asia IRIN examines how “rapid growth in medical tourism” in southeast Asian countries is affecting health systems in the region. According to the WHO, “medical tourism is leading to some highly skilled specialists, as well as other trained medical staff, leaving public health…

Also In Global Health News: Reproductive Health In Philippines; Microfinance Debt In India; HIV/AIDS In Kenya; Google’s DotOrg

Reproductive Health Bill Is Approved By Philippines House Of Representatives IRIN reports a “hotly debated” bill “that proposes national funding for, and access to, reproductive healthcare services and products,” cleared “a major hurdle on [Monday] after being approved by a committee of the Philippines House of Representatives” (2/1). Biliran Rep. Rogelio…

GAO Reports On Government Response To H1N1 Pandemic

GAO on Monday published two reports on the government’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The first report examines lessons learned from the government’s response that can be incorporated into future planning (6/27). The second report examines how production delays for the H1N1 vaccine “heightened interest in alternative technologies…

WHO Says World Is Better Prepared For Influenza Pandemic

“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).

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