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Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Infectious Diseases Review Examines Progress On Dengue Vaccine

“The spread of dengue virus throughout the tropics represents a major, rapidly growing public health problem with an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk of dengue fever and the life-threatening disease, severe dengue,” write the authors of a Lancet Infectious Diseases review that examines what is known about the virus and progress in the development of a dengue vaccine (Webster et. al, 11/09).

Lancet Infectious Diseases Opinion Piece Suggests NIH Budget Cuts ‘A Blessing’ For Developing Countries

A Lancet Infectious Diseases Reflection and Reaction piece examines the effect funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2003 have had on developing countries. “Essentially, as a result of funding cuts in the USA, developing countries are not only witnessing increases in their own public research funding, but are also enjoying greater governmental commitment to health and improved pharmaceutical access to their underserved communities,” the author writes. Although there is “no doubt that funding cuts in U.S. research have had detrimental consequences for all scientific investigators and citizens of the USA … for the remaining 90% of the world’s population, cuts in the USA might have been a blessing in disguise” (Ahmed, 11/09).

Lancet Infectious Diseases Opinion Calls For Increased Emphasis On Routine Immunizations

Though “[t]he broad picture of immunisation in Africa is one of excellent progress and enthusiastic energy, with amazing advances having been made since the turn of the century … many children continue to be unimmunised,” write the authors of a Lancet Infectious Diseases Reflection and Reaction piece that examines recent measles and polio campaigns in Africa. “The whole of Africa needs to accelerate and to sustain efforts to improve routine immunisation services, with a focus on unimmunised children. … Routine immunisation should not be considered simply as an end strategy once campaigns have halted transmission” (Clements et al., 11/09).

Lancet Infectious Diseases Review Examines Male Circumcision, Women And HIV

A Lancet Infectious Diseases review examines whether male circumcision has a direct effect on the risk of women becoming infected with the HIV virus. “Although at a population-level, widespread male circumcision will benefit women by reducing their risk of exposure to HIV, there are insufficient data to know whether circumcision directly reduces risk of women becoming infected with HIV,” the authors write, concluding, “Expansion of male circumcision services needs to include rigorous monitoring and evaluation to ensure that there are no adverse consequences for female partners of circumcised men” (Weiss/Hankins/Dickson, 11/09).

Lancet Editorial Reflects On State Of World’s Vaccines and Immunization

A Lancet editorial examines the findings of the State of the world’s vaccines and immunization report released Wednesday by the WHO, UNICEF and World Bank. “Vaccination is one of the great triumphs of medicine,” but the joint report “makes it very clear that the immediate challenge lies in the sincerity of donors’ commitment to provide sustainable funding to extend vaccination coverage in the developing world, and in countries’ resolve to overcome impediments of poor governance, geographic isolation, or conflict,” the editorial states (10/24).

Progress Towards Polio Eradication Efforts In Nigeria Examined

An MMWR article examines polio eradication in Nigeria. “Recently, the government has prioritized activities to improve [supplemental immunization activities] in the [local government areas (LGAs)] at highest risk for polio transmission; the results of those efforts will be monitored closely at state and national levels. If the support of traditional, religious, and political leaders can be sustained and expanded to further improve implementation of polio vaccination activities in these states and LGAs, more rapid progress can be made toward interrupting poliovirus transmission in Nigeria” (10/23).

Blog: Advocates Call For ARVs To Reach More People

The Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses a memo that was recently sent to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby urging “the White House to set bold new HIV treatment targets for PEPFAR.” According to the blog, “The Center for Global Health Policy joined with a coalition of other organizations—including HealthGAP, amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research), the Treatment Action Group, and The AIDS Institute—in calling for PEPFAR to reach 6 million people with antiretroviral drugs by 2013 and 7 million by 2014.” Full text of the memo is available here (Shesgreen, 10/22).

USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program

USAID launched an Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program that will work “to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health” by focusing “resources on detecting dangerous pathogens at an early stage, building appropriate laboratory capacity to support surveillance, responding in an appropriate and timely manner, strengthening national and local response capacities, and educating at-risk populations on how to prevent exposure to these dangerous pathogens” (Policy Tracker, 10/21). More information on recent U.S. global health policy developments is available on Kaiser’s Policy Tracker tool.

Gates Foundation Awards $100,000 Grants For Ideas To Improve Health In Developing Countries

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced 76 grants of $100,000 each as part of its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, which aims to fund ideas to improve health in developing countries. According to a Gates Foundation release, “The grants support researchers in 16 countries with ideas as diverse as a developing an electronic nose to diagnose tuberculosis and using chocolate to help prevent malaria.” The foundation received almost 3,000 proposals for this round of grants. Information about individual recipients is available in the release (10/20).

Blog: Anti-Prostitution Policy, Hinders Global AIDS Fight

On The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Laura Abel, of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, examines the U.S.’s current “anti-prostitution policy requirement” that “forces non-profits that receive federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS overseas to adopt organizational policies explicitly opposing prostitution,” and HHS’s “goal of revising regulations that implement the policy requirement.” According to Abel, “This is a crucial moment for the public to play a role in shaping those regulations,” which she says harm the global fight against HIV/AIDS (10/20).

Blog: U.S. Should ‘Unbrand’

The Obama administration “has to find ways to demonstrate what its approach to aid looks like, and how it differs – if at all – from the orientation of the Bush years,” Ruth Levine, a health economist, writes on the Center for Global Development’s “Global Development” blog. According to Levine, the U.S. could be rebranded, by “unbranding.” She writes: “Unbranding means ending the practice of using multiple logos and labeling projects with clever acronyms. …We are unlikely to see complete unbranding, and there is admittedly a foreign policy rationale for making visible to aid recipients the generosity and goodwill of the U.S. taxpayer. But if this administration wants to rebrand America, it’s time to make the stuff procured with our aid dollars look more like it belongs to the countries we’re trying to help and less like pop-up ads for U.S.A. Inc and its wholly-owned subsidiaries” (10/19).

Blogs: Feachem Discusses Global Health Priorities

The CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy’s blog reviews a recent talk about global health in the 21st century by Richard Feachem. Topics discussed include: “avoidable life and health expectancy gaps between developed and underdeveloped countries; the potential danger of the human-to-human transmitability and mortality rates of emerging viral pandemics; the dual pandemics of hunger and obesity; and the governance of health systems.” The post includes a video of the talk and a link to the PowerPoint presentation (10/16). Malaria Watch also wrote about the talk (Brophy, 10/16).