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Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Examines Interconnectedness Of Global Health, Public Health

“Global health and public health are indistinguishable,” according to a Lancet Comment that examines the interconnectedness of the fields. “Yet global health is still often perceived as international aid, technologies, and interventions flowing from the wealthier countries of the global north to the poorer countries of the global south. …With the new understanding that many health problems have a linked aetiology and a common impact, and that innovative solutions can come from all sectors, collaborative relationships become, at a minimum, bidirectional – and optimally, multilateral” (Fried et al., 2/13).

BMC Study Examines Vaccine Strategy In GAVI-Eligible Countries

A BMC Infectious Diseases study examines whether the focus of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine strategies in GAVI-eligible countries on infant immunization is the most optimal across all settings. Using “population based data on pneumococcal meningitis throughout life in the African meningitis belt … to model overall meningitis risk” the researchers found “Sp [Streptococcus pneumoniae] is as important a cause of meningitis as Neisseria meningitidis, particularly among older children and working age adults,” the authors report. “Based on available data for pneumococcal disease epidemiology in the African meningitis belt, policymakers should consider mass vaccination campaigns among older children and adults to precede or accompany routine infant immunization,” they conclude (Gessner/Mueller/Yaro, 2/10).

Blog: What Is The International Community’s Responsibility When It Comes To Malaria Drug Quality In Africa?

In light of a recent USAID/U.S. Pharmacopeia study on the quality of malaria drugs, the “Malaria Matters” blog asks, “Is the international community living up to its responsibilities to protect the quality of malaria drugs and thus save lives?” The blog notes that “the private market for antimalarials is wide.” It adds, “It may be unreasonable to expect that each country’s drug regulatory authority take full responsibility for guaranteeing drug quality when we could go to the source – the manufacturers, or at least the importers – and prevent the problem from even entering endemic countries” (Brieger, 2/10).

Blog: Multinational Promotion Of Global Health

The Guardian’s global health blog looks into the work of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which works with multinational companies, such as Coca Cola and Chevron to use their ability to do business in “hard-to-reach” places to better global health. “The more cynical among us might think multinationals would happily shell out a shed-load of cash in a good cause to improve their public image – isn’t that what corporate social responsibility is often all about? But it’s not just money – sometimes the ‘different competences they bring to the table’ … are just as useful” (Boseley, 2/9).

PLoS Medicine Examines Malaria Atlas Project

“Despite advances in mapping the geographical distribution and intensity of malaria transmission the ability to provide strategic, evidence-based advice for malaria control programmes remains constrained by the lack of range maps of the dominant Anopheles vectors of human malaria,” write the authors of a PLoS Medicine Health In Action that examines ways scientists are trying to overcome this limitation. The piece describes the ongoing efforts of the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) to map the geographic distributions of the dominant mosquito vectors of human malaria (Hay et al., 2/9).

Blog: Interview With Ambassador Goosby

The Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s blog, “Science Speaks,” features an interview with Eric Goosby, the U.S. global AIDS ambassador. The interview covers a range of HIV/AIDS policy-related topics, including PEPFAR funding, universal access to antiretrovirals and Uganda’s anti-gay bill (Donnelly, 2/8).

Blog: Letter To Clinton Asks To ‘Preserve The Autonomy’ Of PEPFAR

Several groups involved with HIV/AIDS projects recently “sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … asking her to ‘preserve the autonomy’ of PEPFAR” by keeping the program at the State Department and reporting to her, according to the Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s blog, “Science Speaks.” The blog continues, “Although Administration officials have said PEPFAR would be the ‘cornerstone’ of its Global Health Initiative, HIV advocates and experts are worried that PEPFAR and the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator could actually have less visibility and authority under the GHI.” A PDF of the letter is available on the blog (Shesgreen, 2/4).

Commentary Examines Recurrent TB In Patients With HIV  

“The catastrophic collision of tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has yielded an extraordinary burden of suffering and death at both the individual and population levels,” write the authors of a Journal of Infectious Diseases Editorial Commentary that examines the challenges associated with trying to prevent and manage the two diseases. “Interventions to control tuberculosis and HIV therefore need to take into account the unique and deadly synergy between these 2 infections,” they continue. The piece outlines a growing body of evidence documenting TB recurrence in patients with HIV following the successful completion of treatment (Chaisson/Churchyard, 2/1).

Marginalized Are ‘Central’ To Fight Against HIV/AIDS

“Despite the recognition that vulnerable groups are key to addressing the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic, tackling the problem in these people is hampered by their exclusion from access to prevention and treatment,” according to a Lancet Infectious Diseases’ Leading Edge piece that calls on international funding bodies to do more to support these groups. “People who are marginalised in many societies and health systems are now central to the fight against HIV/AIDS. … Funding organisations can help to address these issues, by asking governments for legislation that removes barriers to accessing care and by encouraging local advocacy for these vulnerable groups. The fight against HIV/AIDS is no longer a battle against the virus, it is, and will increasingly be, a battle for human rights” (Feb. 2010).

Study Supports Development, Use Of Pediatric Formulated ACTs

“Small children suffering from falciparum malaria are at highest risk of adverse outcome, and clinical management of these patients is complex,” write the authors of a Lancet Infectious Diseases study that examines the efficacy, tolerability and safety of pediatric artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs). Based on a systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors write, “These data provide, for the first time, evidence for improved management of children by use of paediatric formulations, and support the further development and use of paediatric ACTs” (Ramharter et al., Feb. 2010).

Study Examines Strategy To ID Patients Living With TB  

A Lancet Infectious Diseases study examines a strategy called “intensified case finding,” which is used to identify and treat people with tuberculosis by screening patients living with or thought to be at high-risk for HIV/AIDS. The authors report, “In countries with high prevalence of tuberculosis, intensified case finding among individuals infected with HIV identifies a high yield of people with tuberculosis and the yield is significantly increased if all such individuals are screened microbiologically without preselection on the basis of the screening of symptoms.” They conclude, “Concerted action in tandem with further research might help develop this policy as an important method to accelerate progress towards the tuberculosis targets within the sixth Millennium Development Goal” (Kranzer et al., Feb. 2010).