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WHA Endorses Interim Targets To Eradicate Measles As WHO Warns Disease On The Rise

“Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and even some European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organization said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015,” the Associated Press reports (Jordans, 5/22). On the final day of the 63rd Annual World Health Assembly, the assembly endorsed a series of interim targets towards the global eradication of measles, VOA News reports.

Health Leaders Discuss Polio, Alcohol, Childhood Obesity At WHA

From the 63rd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, the Associated Press reports on what some “describe as a new strategy to get rid of” polio that focuses on developing solutions to “problems in each country, provides more WHO monitoring, like more teleconferences, and holds governments more accountable.” The plans also provide “[n]ew [polio] outbreak response plans,” according to the AP.

Also In Global Health News: Gates MoC In India; U.N. Aid Appeal For Mongolia; HIV Vaccine; U.N. Developing Database For Somalia; Kenya’s HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey

Gates Foundation Signs Cooperative Agreement To Improve Health Care In Indian State The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday signed a cooperative agreement with the Indian state of Bihar that “aims to improve and increase the availability, quality and utilisation of health care facilities and services,” the ANI/Economic Times…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Infectious Diseases Calls For Sustained Effort To Eradicate Polio A Lancet Infectious Diseases Leading Edge article examines the history of the global efforts to control polio and the challenges associated with targets to globally eradicate the disease. “The eradication of polio seems imminent, but with so few cases, there…

Polio Vaccination Campaign To Target 85M Children In 19 West, Central African Countries

Global health organizations will launch a $30 million polio vaccination campaign on Saturday in West and Central Africa aimed at immunizing 85 million children under age 5, the Joint Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the International Federation of the Red Cross said on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (3/4).

Former President Clinton, Bill Gates Encourage U.S. Global Health Investment At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “that U.S. investments in fighting [HIV/]AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations save lives and play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad,” the Associated Press reports.

As World’s First Polio Vaccine Turns 57, Scientists Working To Develop Better Alternatives

In this post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Oshinsky examines the development of the world’s first polio vaccine, noting that the vaccine, developed by Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburgh, turned 57 on Thursday. “Now, with an eye on the endgame, scientists and researchers are developing even better vaccines,” Oshinsky writes, concluding, “The fight to end polio will not be easy, but it surely can be done. … We must seize this historic opportunity, fulfilling the promise we made to our children — to all children — 57 years ago today” (4/12).

Showing Progress In The ‘Decade Of Vaccines’

In a post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Christopher Elias, president of global development at the foundation, discusses progress on “the Decade of Vaccines, a vision and commitment to reach all people with the vaccines they need.” He says “the Global Vaccine Action Plan, a roadmap for saving more than 20 million lives by 2020,” as well as the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, WHO, health experts, dedicated vaccinators and many others,” are helping “vaccines [reach] more children, in more places, than ever before.” According to Elias, the Gates Foundation is “co-hosting a vaccine summit in Abu Dhabi in April” during World Immunization Week. He notes, “We’re holding the summit in Abu Dhabi to recognize that Middle Eastern and Islamic countries are emerging as leaders in efforts to immunize children against polio and other diseases” (12/2).

Pakistan Reports 9th Death In Polio Worker Attacks, Resumes Vaccination Campaign Under Police Escort

“Another victim from attacks on U.N.-backed anti-polio teams in Pakistan died on Thursday, bringing the three-day death toll in the wave of assaults on volunteers vaccinating children across the country to nine, officials said,” the Associated Press reports (Khan, 12/20). “Four female health workers were killed in Karachi, shot dead by masked men on motorbikes. The other five victims, including a 17-year-old volunteer, were slain in Peshawar and Charsadda,” Inter Press Service notes (Yusufzai/Ebrahim, 12/20). The attacks “indicate a threat not only to workers but also to the effort to eradicate the disease — locally and globally,” Scientific American’s “Observations” blog adds (Harmon, 12/20).