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Officials Discuss Leadership, Donor Commitments, Eliminating Leprosy At Start Of WHO Western Pacific Region Committee Session

The WHO “must demonstrate strong leadership backed by impeccable technical competency, [Malaysian] Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said” at the opening ceremony of the 61st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Monday, Bernama reports. “I believe this important conference can provide the input for future global action against pandemics and other trans-boundary diseases affecting all countries and communities, especially developing countries,” he said.

Dengue Cases In Western Pacific Doubled In Last 10 Years; WHO Says Disease Needs Higher Profile

The number of dengue cases “has more than doubled in the last decade” in the Western Pacific, according to the WHO, BBC reports. “National resources need to be mobilized to sustain dengue prevention and control, and the disease’s profile needs to be raised on the global health agenda to stimulate the interest of international agencies and donors,” said Shin Young-soo, the WHO’s regional director for the Western Pacific, where the majority of the population at risk of dengue lives.

WHO Western Pacific Meeting To Address Maternal Health, Rise In Dengue

Maternal health and dengue fever are among the issues that will be discussed at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, Bernama reports. The meeting, which will take place this week in Malaysia, will be attended by 21 ministers and health officials from 33 countries in the region. WHO Regional Director of the Western Pacific Shin Young-Soo spoke at a press conference Sunday ahead of the meeting (10/10).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Community Groups Offer Cost-Effective Mechanism For Reducing Maternal Mortality “Achieving the [Millennium Development Goal] MDG 4 target of reducing newborn and child mortality will require concerted efforts to scale up evidence-based interventions, especially community-based preventive and therapeutic strategies in primary care,” according to a Lancet comment that reflects on the challenges associated…

Dengue Vaccine Initiative Launches Redesigned Website, New Blog

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog reports that the Dengue Vaccine Initiative has launched a redesigned website, including a new blog that “will include regular posts about the disease, dengue in the news, the work of DVI and the development of a dengue vaccine” (9/17).

Clinical Trial Results Signal 'Promise, Unresolved Challenges' In Finding Effective Dengue Vaccine

The first-ever results from a dengue virus vaccine clinical trial aimed at showing effectiveness “provide signals rather than definitive answers, and a mixture of both promise and unresolved challenges,” Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center, and Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, write in the Huffington Post “Impact” blog. “To date, these represent the most promising indications that a safe, effective vaccine to prevent dengue is technically feasible,” they continue, adding, “At the same time, the results on protection were inconclusive, somewhat inconsistent with the measured immune responses and uneven across the four strains included in the vaccine.”

WHO Releases Dengue Strategy Report, Sets Goal Of Cutting Related Deaths In Half By 2020

“Saying dengue virus infections and deaths have mushroomed in recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a strategy report that sets a goal of cutting deaths in half and reducing cases by 25 percent over the next eight years,” CIDRAP reports. “The report, titled ‘Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control,’ also sets a goal of estimating the true burden of dengue disease by 2015 — signaling how little is known about the global impact of the mosquito-borne illness,” the news service writes. “In general, the report says that the tools already exist to make a big dent in the dengue problem, but that better tools, particularly in the diagnostic realm, are urgently needed,” CIDRAP notes, adding, “Currently there is no licensed vaccine or specific treatment for dengue fever or its more serious complication, dengue hemorrhagic fever” (Roos, 9/4).

Also In Global Health News: North Korean Health Crisis; HIV/AIDS In India; Antibiotics For Malaria Prevention; WHO Flu Pandemic Status; Dengue In Florida; HIV/AIDS Among IDUs In Ukraine

Amnesty International Report Describes North Korea’s ‘Desperate Picture of Health’ A new report by Amnesty International paints a “desperate picture of the health of North Korea’s population,” the Guardian reports. Amnesty International describes “a country of stunted children, where the hungry eat poisonous plants and pigfeed … amputations are conducted without…

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…

Also In Global Health News: Humanitarian, Development Aid; North Korea Asks For Food Aid; HIV/AIDS In Afghanistan; Peru’s Dengue Outbreak

Oxfam Report Says Aid Money Being Used To Promote Military, Security Objectives Donor countries “are ‘increasingly concentrating’ both humanitarian and development aid on countries and regions seen to threaten their own immediate security interests, while neglecting other equally insecure, impoverished and conflict-afflicted places,” the humanitarian group Oxfam said in a report…