The Seattle Times examines a partnership between the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). In 2008, “the two institutes formally agreed to collaborate on clinical care and research projects, and more recently a major building project at Uganda’s only cancer-research center,” the newspaper writes. Corey Casper, director of the UCI/Fred Hutchinson Research Center Cancer Alliance, “says [the partnership] has the potential to demonstrate ‘that you can do first-rate research that can alter the impact of cancer care in the developing world, and that the craft of oncology can be practiced as well in Africa as it is in the developed world, just like it is with HIV,'” according to the Seattle Times (Silberner, 12/16).
In a Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Tom Murphy, founder of the development blog “A View From The Cave,” examines Rwanda’s efforts to reduce cancer incidence by implementing screening programs for breast and cervical cancers and vaccinating girls and young women for human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. Discussing the new programs, Minister of Health Agnes Bingawaho said, “We are a government that is evidence-based and result-oriented. … We always go for a policy first — the science in front of everything. We develop a strategy plan, followed by an implementation plan and then fundraise,” according to Murphy. He discusses Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s push for accountability within the government, the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution recognizing non-communicable diseases as a global problem, and efforts by Merck and the GAVI Alliance to vaccinate more girls against HPV (12/18).
In this post in the Global Post’s “Global Pulse” blog, journalist John Donnelly reports on how a machine developed by researchers at the TB Laboratory at the Lung Center of the Philippines “that can detect multi-drug resistant [tuberculosis (MDR-TB)] in record time may revolutionize TB treatment.” According to the blog, the GeneXpert, dubbed by researchers as the “espresso maker,” grew out of a collaboration among partners put together by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Geneva and “can detect [MDR-TB] in two hours instead of the old way of growing cultures that took two months.”
As part of its series on the relationships between human, animal and environmental health, titled “The Infection Loop,” HuffPost Green examines how changes in climate and landscape, human movement, agricultural practices, and microbe adaptation are affecting the spread of malaria. “Our disease-fighting weaponry has certainly improved in recent years, from the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to hopeful progress towards a malaria vaccine,” but some “experts suggest that getting ahead of the disease, let alone maintaining a lead, is far easier said than done,” according to the article, which includes quotes from malaria researchers working in several academic disciplines (Peeples, 11/16).
South African President Jacob Zuma in a speech on Thursday to mark World AIDS Day introduced a new five-year National Strategic Plan (.pdf) on HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB), which “calls for stepped-up prevention efforts to halve new infections of HIV and tuberculosis by 2016 and to put 80 percent of eligible patients on antiretroviral drugs to fight AIDS,” Agence France-Presse reports (12/1). In addition, the plan aims to reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV transmission cases, which Zuma noted was halved between 2008 and 2010, reduce HIV- and TB-related stigma, target high-risk populations, and promote education among youth to reduce their risk of HIV infection, according to Times Live (Chauke/Mclea, 12/2).
The Guardian profiles Biosense Technologies, an Indian startup company, and its first product, the “world’s first needle-free anemia scanner,” called ToucHb, which will be launched in February. “Anemia, or abnormally low hemoglobin in the blood, affects more than half of children under five and pregnant women in the developing world, according to the [WHO],” and it is a leading cause of maternal mortality because of postpartum hemorrhage, according to the newspaper.
“Declining malaria deaths in Africa and progress toward an effective malaria vaccine are raising hopes the disease will soon be eradicated worldwide,” but “researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, [on Monday] unveiled a new global malaria map that raises new concerns about the disease,” VOA News writes (Sinha, 12/5). The researchers from Britain’s Oxford University mapped the Plasmodium vivax malaria parasite, “which is often recurring and can be deadly,” and found it is “endemic in substantial parts of the world,” particularly in Asia and Latin America, Reuters writes (Kelland, 12/5).
In this Africa.com opinion piece, Ana Ruth Luis, medical director of the Southern Africa Strategic Business Unit at Chevron Africa and Latin America Ex in Angola, discusses what she calls “the important role Chevron has in driving down the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.” She writes, “Chevron was able to drop new infections to zero among our employees and their babies by educating our employees, establishing a culture of voluntary, confidential testing and treatment, addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace, and providing comprehensive medical care for expectant mothers.”
The Canadian government-funded non-profit Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “have invested around $32 million in the discovery and development of new and improved diagnostic tools to help health workers in developing countries, with the aim of speeding up treatment and saving lives,” IRIN reports (12/16). “Innovative point-of-care diagnostic tools such as a piece of woven fabric which can test blood or urine for disease and a simple, easy to use test for diagnosing diarrheal disease which is the biggest killer of developing world children under the age of five are some of the projects which are receiving funding,” according to a Grand Challenges press release (.pdf) (12/16).
“Haiti has seen a steady decline in the number of cholera cases, as the Caribbean nation settles into its dry season, humanitarian groups said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports, adding, “The seasonal decline in the number of cholera cases is consistent with the findings of a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.” According to the report, health officials are recording about 300 cases nationwide per day, compared with 500 cases one month ago, and the mortality rate has dropped or leveled in nearly all of Haiti’s 10 departments, the AP notes (Daniel, 12/20).