Recent Releases in Global Health: Worldwide Sexual Health and Malaria Efforts, International Media Coverage of H1N1 Flu; WHO Health Stats

PLoS Medicine Editorial Discusses Worldwide Sexual Health Policy Efforts

Policy efforts to promote sexual health worldwide must be systematically integrated and tailored to individual at risk groups in order to effectively reduce the high morbidity and mortality from sexually transmitted infections, according to a PLoS Medicine editorial. Lawmakers and religious leaders who have led “narrowly focused” efforts in the past “must redouble their leadership” in sexual health issues “because they occur at the intersection of health, culture, religion, and politics,” according to the editorial. “Only in the setting of such support can medical research fulfill its role in promoting sexual health, be it through the use of new media … or through more traditional studies examining how new drugs, or novel educational packages, can [sexual health efforts] be deployed effectively,” the editorial concludes (PLoS Medicine, 5/26).

Report Looks at H1N1 Flu Coverage in U.S. Media in Comparison With Other Countries

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index looked at 12 days of front-page newspaper coverage of the H1N1 flu outbreak in six foreign countries and the U.S., including the top three Spanish-language papers in the U.S. From April 27 – May 3, the study found varying portrayals of the outbreak such as its severity, its effect on daily living and even the name of the virus. According to the study, H1N1 flu “got less coverage in U.S. newspapers than in some other nations’ press, at least in relation to the number of people ill in those countries. The newspaper coverage here [in the U.S.] also was broader in nature and somewhat less alarmist” (Pew Research Center, 5/28). 

Increased International Efforts To Control Malaria Effectively Reducing Spread, the WHO Says

A WHO perspective piece in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health summarizes the outcomes of a recent WHO expert meeting that examined the feasibility of completely eradicating malaria in developing countries. The WHO anticipates that malaria can eventually be completely eradicated in areas such as tropical Africa, where risk is greater, based on the fact that anti-malaria efforts in other countries have been successful at reducing its spread. According to the paper, “Elimination of malaria requires a re-orientation of control activity, moving away from a population-based coverage of interventions, to one based on a program of effective surveillance and response” (Mendis et al., Tropical Medicine and International Health, 5/26).

Lots of Progress Still Needs To Be Made To Reach MDGs, WHO Report Finds

Last week the WHO released its
annual health statistics report, based on more than 100 health indicators collected from the WHO’s 193 member states. The report, which included its “first progress report” on the Millennium Development Goals, found that although there have been some signs of improvement in reaching the U.N. targets, there is still much progress to be made by 2015. “The challenges ahead are those presented by weak health systems, those associated with noncommunicable chronic conditions, and emerging health threats such as pandemics and climate change,” Director of WHO’s Department of Health Statistics and Informatics Ties Boerma said in a release (WHO release, 5/21). Click here for a Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report story on the maternal and childhood mortality findings from this WHO report.

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