Summer Global Health Roundup

Welcome back, Wildcats! Hopefully your summers were filled with thrilling travel, catching up with old friends, and some rest & relaxation. Maybe you were diligently following the news, but if you weren’t, I’ve got you covered.

For those of you too busy with summer activities to follow the news, I’d like to share some things that happened during the summer months in the global health world. With that, here’s my Summer Global Health Round-Up.  I’ve picked a few newsworthy events and abbreviated them to fit into your back to school schedules – so get caught up and get excited to be back!

 

WHO Has New HIV Recommendations:

The World Health Organization has taken into account recent evidence about the timeline to offer antiretroviral therapy, and they have deemed it more effective when offered earlier. Nearly 10 million people in low and middle income countries were treated by ART in 2012, according to the 2013 report on the global AIDS epidemic released by UNAID.

The hope is that individuals will begin treatment before the disease takes its course in order to cut down on transmissions. The WHO’s recommendations have been met with both praise and question. In South Africa, where roughly 5.5 million people are living with HIV, this change will be huge, says NPR’s Jason Beaubien. If they change their strategies to follow the WHO’s new recommendations, it could be incredibly costly.

The WHO insists that the changes are feasible, based on their global update on HIV treatment, but it remains to be seen if changes are made worldwide.

For the entire story, visit

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/new_hiv_recommendations_20130630/en/index.html

and

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/16/202381945/south-africa-weighs-starting-hiv-drug-treatment-sooner

 

Contamination Scares in Global Food Supply

This August, two food contamination cases sparked concerns about globalization and the food supply. According to Al Jazeera America, these reports have renewed concerns that the FDA is struggling to keep up with regulations of imported food. Outbreaks from imported food has been an increasingly relevant topic of conversation, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published data that the outbreaks have been on the rise since the late 1990s.

In early August there were reports of illnesses from salad mix produced in Mexico, leading to an outbreak of the cyclospora parasite. Around the same time, a New Zealand company announced that a concentrated-whey product it distributed to the United States was contaminated with botulism.

Global regulations vary broadly, so there’s no telling what may happen in the future if international regulators don’t align.

For the entire story, visit

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/8/12/contamination-casesrenewfearsoverfoodsafety.html.

Ethiopia Halves Child Mortality Rate:

Reports from Ethiopia late this summer show that the state has cut the number of child deaths to 68 per 1000 births in 2012, down from 200 out of 1000 in 1990. The nation is one of the few on a proper path to reach its Millennium Development Goals, says a BBC news report. The Ethiopian government attributes the improvement to a growing economy.

A similar trend was declared worldwide in mid-September when the United Nations sent out a release proclaiming that the same rate of improvement was also seen worldwide. This past year, the number of children who died before reaching their fifth birthday was 6.6 million – roughly half the number from 1990.

For the entire story, visit

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/child_mortality_causes_20130913/en/index.html

 

The Last Person to Get Smallpox Passed Away:

Ali Maow Maalin was the last person to catch smallpox, the only disease the human race has thus far successfully eliminated. In a report by Michaeleen Doucleff on NPR this summer, Maalin’s efforts to end another virus, polio, were commemorated. Maalin caught smallpox in Mogadishu while driving an infected family to a clinic. Upon recovery, he dedicated his efforts to vaccinate those around him in Somalia.

For the entire story, visit

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/31/206947581/last-person-to-get-smallpox-dedicated-his-life-to-ending-polio.

 

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