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Recent Releases In Global Health

Situation In Japan ‘Demands Calm, But Considered’ International Response: In light of the recent disaster in Japan and ongoing concerns over radiation in the country,”WHO might consider convening experts to review the consequences for human safety of nuclear energy, and the wider lessons to be learned from recent earthquakes,” a Lancet editorial proposes. “The mounting anxiety about events in Japan demands a calm but considered international, as well as national, response” (3/19).

Efforts To Eradicate Polio: A report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) describes efforts through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to interrupt transmission of wild polio virus (WPV) after its reemergence in Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Sudan. Athough “[t]he 2010 GPEI 2010-2012 strategic plan milestone of ending reestablished transmission by the end of 2010 appears to be on track in Sudan,” the report notes,”[t]he milestone was missed in Angola and is at high risk for being missed in Chad and DRC.” The report concludes, “To achieve measurable operational improvements and interrupt WPV transmission in these countries, … renewed efforts must begin immediately” (3/18).

U.S., Other Nations Need To Step Up Now To Ensure Japan’s Food Security: “Japan’s devastating and ongoing humanitarian crisis will require the United States and other nations to ensure Japan’s food security needs are met during this critical period,” according to an “Idea of the Day” item on the Center for American Progress’ website. Although Japan “is capable of purchasing the food it needs. … soaring worldwide food prices are likely to rise further once Japan emerges from its multiple crises,” the piece notes. “That’s why U.S. and global action to assist Japan with priority emergency food and water needs, agricultural investment, and open markets for basic foodstuffs – some countries are placing limits and hoarding food exports due to rising demand and prices – is needed now” (3/17).

How Much Power Does U.S. Have To Push China To Become Global Health Donor?: In a post on the Council on Foreign Relations’ blog, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for Global Health at the Council, reflects on the question, “Should the United States press China to make the full transition from health aid recipient to global health donor?” Huang writes, “While I am sympathetic to the critics’ perspectives, I don’t think the United States has very much leverage to press China to become a full global health donor,” pointing to the U.S.’ own “[l]ack of policy coherence and consistenc[y].” The conflicting calls for trimming foreign assistance while “leading through ‘civilian power’ in solving global problems … only reinforces Beijing’s view that our efforts to press for radical change of its foreign aid policy are hypocritical at best” (3/16).

G20 Plans To Reduce Food Price Spikes, Reuters Agriculture Summit Coverage: G20 nations are close to reaching a deal on France’s proposed plans aimed at reducing rising food prices, Bruno Le Maire, France’s agriculture minister, said at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit, Reuters reports. “There is a consensus on the set of solutions on which we should work,” Le Maire said. “On transparency, on the idea of having a common database, on the idea of having emergency food reserves, on the idea of having better cooperation among G20 members and international organizations, I would say there is a consensus,” he said (de La Hamaide/Maitre, 3/16). Reuters has published a series of stories on its summit.

Those Engaged In Measuring Health, Evaluating Impact Need To Share Knowledge: “Now more than ever, those engaged in measuring health and evaluating impact to improve health need to come together to share knowledge. … What has been missing from the global health calendar is a cross-cutting forum that unites the myriad disciplines that have something to contribute to an enhanced collective capacity for global health measurement and evaluation,” the organizers of this week’s Global Health Metrics & Evaluation (GHME) conference in Seattle, Washington, write in a Lancet comment. The authors describe a few of the major themes that were addressed at the meeting, such as trends in data collection and integrated approaches to health metrics and evaluation, and provide a link (.pdf) to a booklet of abstracts presented at the conference (3/14).

CDC Reproductive Health Reports To Be Hosted By Global Health Data Exchange: During the GHME meeting on Monday, the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health announced it has chosen the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s “Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) to host its reports and datasets for an extensive series of reproductive health survey data from more than 30 countries that have received technical assistance from the Division from 1975 to the present,” according to an IHME press release. “The datasets cover a wide range of topics, including pregnancies, births, contraceptive use, prenatal care, nutrition, delivery assistance, immunizations, behavioral risk factors, and domestic violence,” the release states (3/14).

Kenya GHI Strategy Released: The U.S. Embassy-Nairobi and the Government of Kenya on Monday released a country-specific strategy developed under the Global Health Initiative (GHI), according to a GHI press release. The Kenya GHI strategy offers “a multi-year blueprint for achieving major improvements in health,” the release states. “The foundation for the Kenya GHI Strategy is the Government of Kenya’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan II, (2009-12),” which “includes a comprehensive package of services that transition focus away from burden of disease to the promotion of individual and community health” (3/14). 

Lessons From Mobile Health Projects In Africa: Garth Moore, ONE’s U.S. new media deputy director, writes about a panel discussion at the recent South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, on ONE’s blog. “SMS-based training for health workers in villages and the field; a lens-free blood and tissue slide scanner that uses the camera on a mobile phone; and urine test strips that use text technology to monitor and track patient medicine records” were some of the mHealth tools highlighted at the panel (3/14).  

Strengthening Rational Use Of, Access To Medicines In Developing Countries Saves Lives: Although “[m]odern pharmaceuticals have revolutionized health care, … weak health systems prevent many people from accessing basic life-saving medicines” in developing countries, Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), writes in a post on the organizations’ “Global Health Impact” blog. “Ensuring that health systems can procure pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and other supplies at an affordable price and in an efficient manner is critical to saving lives. Strengthening the rational use of and access to medicines within health systems leads to self-sustaining pharmaceutical management systems that provide quality medicines and commodities to save the lives of millions,” he concludes (3/11).

R&D Issues Around HIV/AIDS: In the final post in a four-part series examining research and development issues around HIV, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” features a Q&A with Michael Johnson, deputy director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who discusses the aims of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a $130 million program funded by PEPFAR and NIH, to bolster the health workforce and researchers in developing countries. As Johnson explains, “core funding for MEPI comes from PEPFAR, so a focus of the programs is HIV/AIDS. But there is also NIH funding to the projects, and this expands the program past HIV/AIDS into issues such as training in child and maternal health, cancer, heart disease, mental health, and emergency medicine” (Donnelly, 3/11). A second post features a Q&A with Kevin DeCock, director of the Center for Global Health at the CDC, who describes the ongoing studies of microbicides and the need to coordinate resources to maximize resources in this area (Donnelly, 3/10).

Launch Of Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence: In a post on USAID’s “Impact Blog,” John Wilson, director of the Office of Technical Services for USAID’s Middle East and Asia Bureaus, describes a recent meeting of scientists, policy makers and administrators in Doha, Qatar, where a Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence was launched. According to the post, the network, which brings together 17 water centers from 10 countries, “aims to link technical institutions across the Middle East and North Africa with each other, with counterpart institutions in the United States and elsewhere, with governments, and with the private sector to solve the critical water problems confronting the region.” The event was co-sponsored by USAID and the Qatar National Food Security Program, according to the post (3/10).

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