“Doctors in Zimbabwe said more than 800 cases of typhoid have been reported in Harare, the capital, in an outbreak of the bacterial disease,” GlobalPost reports (Conway-Smith, 1/29). “Health services director Dr. Prosper Chonzi raised fears of a cholera outbreak given the health conditions that gave birth to typhoid,” Xinhua writes (1/28). Chonzi “said … a clean-up and awareness campaign is underway,” according to GlobalPost (1/29).
Water and Sanitation
In this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, outlines 10 “milestones for the global health community” that occurred in 2011. Among the achievements, Hofmann says governments avoided making major cuts to foreign aid budgets despite a global economic downturn; studies supported “treatment as prevention” as an HIV prevention strategy; the number of malaria cases and deaths worldwide continued to decline; research showed a promising vaccine candidate to prevent malaria among children; and more women gained access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Hofmann also lists advances in social franchising; maternal health; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; pneumonia prevention and treatment; and sanitation, hygiene and access to clean water (12/29).
Officials from the U.S., African Union and the international community “are working with Sudan’s government to open humanitarian access to” the country’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where refugees “fleeing fighting between local militia and government troops” have gathered and are in need of food aid, VOA News reports. The officials are asking “Khartoum to approve a plan for humanitarian corridors as more than 140,000 new refugees have left for South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia,” the news service writes, adding that Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, “said there are ways to get food aid into Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile without Khartoum’s consent, but they are inadequate to the need” (Stearns, 4/2). On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved by voice vote a resolution (.pdf) urging an end to cross-border conflict and “calling for ‘the government of Sudan to allow immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to South Kordofan, Blue Nile and all other conflict-affected areas of Sudan,'” Agence France-Presse reports (3/31).
Sri Lankan Health Officials Report Increase In Number Of Dengue Cases In First Quarter Compared To 2011
Sri Lankan health authorities “have reported a three-fold increase in the number of recorded dengue fever cases in the first quarter of this year,” IRIN reports. According to the national Epidemiology Unit, “9,317 dengue cases and 38 deaths were reported in the first three months of 2012, [compared with] 3,103 in the first quarter of 2011,” the news service writes, noting that more than half of the cases were recorded “in the country’s Western Province, where most of the island’s 20 million inhabitants live.” Intermittent rain, which allows stagnant water to collect and create mosquito breeding grounds, are expected to continue through April, and “[h]ealth officials agree that removing mosquito breeding sites is the most important step in mitigating risk,” according to IRIN. “In May 2010 the government launched a campaign to curb the spread of the disease,” and last year the number of cases dropped when compared to 2010, the news service notes (4/11).
“Scientists say the cholera outbreak that struck more than 7,000 people in Guinea this year was caused by a more toxic and more contagious generation of the bacteria,” and they “suspect the same strain killed nearly 300 people and struck more than 22,000 others in neighboring Sierra Leone,” VOA News reports. “Through genetic sequencing of the cholera bacteria found in Guinea, epidemiologists working with the United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] have identified them as atypical variants of the O1 El Tor strain,” the news service writes. Francois Bellet, a member of UNICEF’s regional office for West and Central Africa, “said this discovery raises the alert level, requiring stronger epidemiological surveillance, preparedness and response to cholera outbreaks in Guinea and throughout the region,” according to VOA (Palus, 12/20). “This type of strain was present in Zimbabwe in 2009, in the Lake Chad Basin in 2009, and is found in Haiti currently,” IRIN notes (12/18).
The WHO on Thursday said the Philippines is requesting “international help to fight a deadly outbreak of an infectious disease following two devastating tropical storms,” Agence France-Presse reports. Parts of Manila, which are still flooded almost four weeks after Tropical Storm Ketsana hit, are experiencing an outbreak of the bacterial infection, leptospirosis (10/22).
Filipinos are “struggling to live in flooded suburbs or crowded shelters one month after devastating rains began pounding the Philippines, and officials warn no quick fix is in sight,” Agence France-Presse reports. According to the WHO, 1.43 million people, “mostly in and around Manila, continue to endure a dangerous existence living in flooded districts” (Morella, 10/26).
Opinions: U.S. International Affairs Budget; Health Impacts Of Climate Change; Role Of U.N.; Drug Development, Free Trade
The U.S. ‘Must Continue To Have A Strong, AndÂ Effective International Affairs Budget’ Despite challenging economic times, “[t]wo areas we cannot afford to shortchange right now … are our national security and our economic prosperity, which is why we must continue to have a strong and effective International Affairs Budget,” U.S.…
Also In Global Health News: U.N. Appeal For Sri Lanka; HIV Tests For Couples To Wed In Chechnya; Bush Reflects On PEPFAR
U.N. Issues $51M For Sri Lankans Affected By Floods; Sri Lankan Government Says Agricultural, Nutrition, Sanitation Among Needs Priority Needs For Country The U.N. on Wednesday issued an appeal of $51 million “to meet the urgent needs of more than one million people affected by recent monsoon floods in Sri…
Also In Global Health News: Food Inflation Drop In India; Cholera In Chad; HIV Testing In Bangladesh
Food Inflation Eases Slightly In India “India said Thursday that annual food inflation eased marginally for a second straight week after surging to nearly 18 percent last month, providing relief to consumers and policymakers,” Agence France-Presse reports. For the week ending Jan. 8, food inflation decreased to 15.52 percent from…