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Noncommunicable diseases are often a neglected component of global health. This category ranges from chronic diseases like mental illness, diabetes and heart disease to cancer and injuries. The posts in this section are aggregated from numerous sources on the web. Please contact us with any additional sources you think should be included.
By Hopkins International Injury Research
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Recently, several Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health students, including Health Systems PhD candidates, Casey Branchini and Veena Sriram –both JH-IIRU research assistants—published a paper on their work at the school on gender-based violence (GBV). Learn more here: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-international-injury-research-unit/news/JHIIRU_and_Health_Systems_Students_Publish_on_GenderBased_Violence_in_Reproductive_Health_Matters Friday SA Ranked Worst in Global Road Safety Reprot News24 (South Africa) May [...]
An anti-cancer drug reverses memory deficits in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers confirm in the journal Science. via Drug reverses Alzheimer’s disease deficits in mice.
UEA scientists make breast cancer advance that turns previous thinking on its head Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made an advance in breast cancer research which shows how some enzymes released by cancerous cells could have a protective function. via Scientists make breast cancer advance that turns previous thinking on its head.
The disease itself may not discriminate on the basis of gender, but when it comes to healthcare for patients with diabetes, women in India find themselves at a disadvantage compared with men. via Diabetes in India rising, with women at a particular disadvantage | Global development | guardian.co.uk.
By Eldis Jobs
Organization: Heartland Alliance Country: United States of America Closing date: 23 Jul 2013 BACKGROUND Heartland Alliance International (HAI) is a service-based human rights organization committed to protecting and promoting the rights of extremely vulnerable populations through an inclusive approach to comprehensive health and social and economic justice. All HAI programs focus on creating opportunities and strengthening the voice of marginalized populations. HAI works in countries which have been adversely affected by war, violence, and poverty, building the capacity of local partner organizations to provide high-quality, sustainable services. Currently operating in 12 countries, HAI is an industry leader in several specialized program areas, including: • Leadership and empowerment for women, youth, and minority populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals • HIV/AIDS programs targeting men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and other most-at-risk populations • Economic and labor rights, including anti-trafficking programs and self-help groups • Services for LGBT refugees in the United States • Mental health services, including treatment for severe mental illnesses • Treatment services for survivors of torture, trauma, and sexual and gender-based violence One hundred percent of HAI programs apply a progressive and inclusive approach to protecting and promoting the rights of extremely vulnerable populations that are frequently excluded or forgotten by more traditional development programming. HAI is an affiliate of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, a Chicago-based organization that has been promoting human rights and dignity for 125 years
By Hopkins International Injury Research
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Recently, several Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health students, including Health Systems PhD candidates, Casey Branchini and Veena Sriram –both JH-IIRU research assistants—published a paper on their work at the school on gender-based violence (GBV). Learn more here: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-international-injury-research-unit/news/JHIIRU_and_Health_Systems_Students_Publish_on_GenderBased_Violence_in_Reproductive_Health_Matters Thursday UN’s Ban, Russian Official Discuss Road Safety Interfax (News Agency) May 20, [...]
By Agnes Binagwaho
Rwandan health minister hits back at critics of drug company deal
The debate must move on from seeing pharmaceutical companies as evil predators and poor people as hapless victims
Published in the guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 May 2013 16.31 BST
A hero of mine wrote from prison that “human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; without hard work, time itself becomes an ally of social stagnation.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words have long resonated with Africa’s struggle against global cynicism in the fight against AIDS. At the turn of the millennium, while I practiced as a pediatrician in Rwanda, international experts brandishing computer-generated prescriptions of cost-effectiveness told us then that the time just wasn’t right to provide access to the effective treatment widely available in their own countries. In short, African lives were worth less than American or European lives. Costs were just too high, they said (never mind that activists soon drove AIDS drug prices downfrom $12,000 to $100 per year). African governments and patients simply weren’t prepared, they cautioned (never mind that studies show Africans have far higher adherence to treatment than North American counterparts).
Dr. King’s words came to mind again last week, when I read with interest a recent commentary in The Guardian on pharmaceutical company donations in Africa. As an example of the pitfalls of corporate philanthropy in global health, author Adam Green cited Rwanda’s partnership with Merck to provide universal access to the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer. He echoed claims made two years ago by some experts that Rwanda jumped the gun, allowing itself to be used as a pawn by a predatory multinational corporation.
Most in global health have moved on from this debate, as the world came to recognize the mounting burden of cervical cancer in Africa, as the price of the HPV vaccine dropped from $16.95 to $5 per dose by mid-2011, and as the GAVI Alliance added the vaccine to its portfolio of support. And despite skepticism from some about the feasibility of nationwide HPV vaccination in Africa, Rwanda reached more than 93% of eligible girls with all three doses through a school-based program in 2011. When Rwanda already had 90% or higher coverage for vaccines against 10 other diseases, when cervical cancer now rivals HIV and maternal mortality as a leading killer of our women, and when GAVI’s budget grew 42% last year, it is difficult for me to see this as some kind of dangerous precedent.
Yet such arguments keep recurring (for HIV, drug-resistant tuberculosis, cancer, cholera, and so on) because of a larger divide in global development. Many who advance or tacitly endorse the claims echoed in Green’s piece often do so because they believe ideological purity (that is, the view that drug companies often pursue only self-interest) is a moral imperative, and that cost-effectiveness (that is, poor people should get cheap things) should always trump other considerations.
But do we truly live in such a zero-sum world that a win-win outcome from a public-private partnership for health is unimaginable? Certainly, competition is better for promoting access to medicines than voluntary donation programs. Yet there are already two companies making the HPV vaccine, and generic versions are not so far off. Furthermore, the historical gap between new vaccine introduction in rich and poor countries is two decades; by working with Merck, Rwanda reduced it to four years and showed the world one possible strategy for reaching universal coverage. Just this past week, GAVI made international news by announcing even lower prices for the HPV vaccine (down to $4.50 per dose) through agreements with two manufacturers, and approved a grant to continue Rwanda’s national program after Merck support stops in 2014.
So much can be achieved in global health with shared commitments to teamwork and humility, a willingness to grapple with complexity, and a big dose of imagination. Indeed, for the very health issues that Green argued should rank higher than the HPV vaccine, Rwanda (and many other nations) are already engaged in novel collaborations to address. On top of the HPV vaccine rollout, we are working with groups around the world to build synergistic screening and treatment programs for cervical and many other cancers. In tackling maternal and child mortality, we’re strengthening health and sanitation systems in addition to teaming up with development partners on a mobile-based notification system for community health workers. With the support of GAVI, we’ve rolled out three new childhood vaccines against pneumonia, diarrhea, and rubella nationwide since 2009. With two-dozen American schools, we are training hundreds of nurses and specialist physicians.
And it seems to be working: while spending less than $60 per capita on health, Rwanda is now on track for the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, to those interested in working here, we like to say, “Don’t come for charity. Come for partnership.”
Adam Green’s piece voiced concerns about programs like those described above serving as “market priming to create the conditions for adoption.” From Rwanda’s view, the jury is in: with more women dying of cervical cancer than in childbirth worldwide, the market is quite primed and demand readily apparent. Supply of the HPV vaccine and many other tools of modern medicine, on the other hand, remains in doubt for those who need them most. But with no global solidarity fund for cancer today, how else should we get started but to forge smart new partnerships? One lesson from AIDS is that if the world stalls, you just need to act and show that it can be done.
As Dr. King said, in the face of challenges like growing global health inequalities, “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” Let’s use our time and talents—as health workers, researchers, and journalists—to work together towards a future in which wherea patient lives doesn’t determine ifthey live.
Agnes Binagwaho is Minister of Health of Rwanda, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
Public health interventions have reduced motor vehicle fatalities by 80%. The authors argue for a public health approach to prevent gun violence, including designing and manufacturing safer guns. via Public Health Approach to the Prevention of Gun Violence — NEJM.
China may impose higher quality standards for imported and locally traded coal to cut air pollution, two sources said, in a move that could slash imports while boosting the fortunes of a faltering domestic industry. via China Plans Tougher Quality Standards for Coal to Tackle Pollution: Scientific American.
Watching TV or using computers, tablets or smartphones after dark may cause sleep loss and resultant health problems, a leading doctor has warned. via Peering at bright screens after dark could harm health, doctor claims | Science | The Guardian.
A long-anticipated revision of an official diagnostic guide to mental illness, known as the DSM-5, was released this week. While the new manual is being welcomed by some doctors as reflecting advancements in the understanding and diagnosis of mental disorders, critics say its definitions of psychiatric conditions are based too much on symptoms and too [...]
By Hopkins International Injury Research
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Recently, several Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health students, including Health Systems PhD candidates, Casey Branchini and Veena Sriram –both JH-IIRU research assistants—published a paper on their work at the school on gender-based violence (GBV). Learn more here: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-international-injury-research-unit/news/JHIIRU_and_Health_Systems_Students_Publish_on_GenderBased_Violence_in_Reproductive_Health_Matters Wednesday World Telecom Day Focuses on Improving Road Safety, Prosperity Oman Observer (Oman) [...]
By PLoS Medicine Blog
For someone who was lucky enough to grow up and live in a country where guns aren’t household objects, it is difficult to understand America’s addiction to guns and the political resistance to gun control measures despite support for some controls within the general public. The recent failure of the US government to pass the Manchin-Toomey bill, a relatively limited move to strengthen background checks when purchasing guns in the US, demonstrates how difficult it will be for the substantial gun control laws to be passed in America. The bill itself is not straight forward to understand if, like me, you’re not used to reading government legalese but you can read the full text on Senator Toomey’s website and simpler explanations can be found in the accompanying press release and on the Politifact website. Ultimately, the measures were voted down much to the frustration of President Barack Obama who noted, “there were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this.” Bizarrely, the Southern region director for Organizing for Action (Obama’s grass roots campaign organization) whose job was to build up community support for gun violence prevention legislation was shot by a stray bullet only days after the amendment failed. Image Credit: Mista Stagga Lee, flickr In addition to strengthened background checks, one of the proposals in the failed measure was to establish a 12-member National Commission on Mass Violence to conduct a comprehensive factual study of incidents of mass violence.
By PLoS Medicine Blog
Image Credit: Flickr snre The following new articles are published in PLOS Medicine this week: Continuing with the series providing a global perspective on integrating mental health, Sylvia Kaaya and colleagues discuss the importance of integrating mental health interventions into HIV prevention and treatment platforms. Clinical depression, alcohol abuse, and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are highly prevalent in people living with HIV and have negative consequences for treatment outcomes and cost of care. The prognosis and treatment for colorectal cancer depend on five pathological stages (0–IV), each of which has a different treatment option and five year survival rate. Pierre Laurent-Puig and colleagues present a novel transcriptome-based classification of colon cancer associated with prognosis that is based on molecular subtypes, clinical and pathological factors, and common DNA alterations. These findings could help classify colorectal cancer into six robust molecular subgroups that might help identify robust prognostic genetic signatures, new prognostic subgroups, and targets for future drug development