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  • Kuensel (Bhutan)

    Cross-border collaboration crucial for malaria elimination

    3 September 2019 - Kuensel

    Younten Tshedup

    Bhutan aims for malaria elimination (zero incidence of indigenous malaria) by next year. If Bhutan maintains this status for three consecutive years, the country would achieve the malaria-free status by 2023. In an effort to achieve the target, a two-day meeting on cross-border malaria elimination is underway in Gelephu. Chief Programme officer with the Communicable Disease Division of the Department of Public Health, Rixin Jamtsho, said that cross border malaria posed a considerable threat for malaria elimination, prevention and control of re-emergence of malaria.

  • Medicines for Malaria Venture logo

    Medicines for Malaria Venture e-news

    31 August 2019 - Medicines for Malaria Venture e-news

    Medicines for Malaria Venture e-news

  • Protecting the world from infectious disease threats: now or never

    31 August 2019 - BMJ Global Health

    Cyrus Shahpar et al.,

    For the first time, the world now has a clear picture of how prepared countries are for this potentially catastrophic event. When the international evaluation team left Haiti in July 2019, one hundred countries had completed a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of health emergency readiness. The first 100 JEEs lead to three overarching conclusions. First, no country is fully prepared to manage disease epidemics. Second, the number of preparedness gaps, and the resulting to-do list of actions to take to fill them, is overwhelming: more than 7000 priority tasks await action. Third, JEEs have diagnosed preparedness gaps well, but few of these gaps have been filled. Disease outbreaks are both lethal and costly. During 1997–2009, economic losses from six major outbreaks averaged $6.7 billion per year, and the cost of the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic alone is estimated at $53 billion. Unfortunately, preparedness, although more effective and less costly than response, rarely ranks high on political agendas. Stepping up preparedness is difficult, and requires that many incremental activities be done to achieve meaningful change. This is nearly impossible without prioritisation, and countries need coherent guidance and practical tools to identify where to begin. Donors and governments often prefer tangible and highly visible support, such as building Emergency Operations Centers, without means to support ongoing operational costs and human resource requirements. Strengthening management, improving technical expertise and advocating for increased long-term domestic financing should be a part of every engagement. Leadership and management skills are essential to planning and implementation, but their development is often eclipsed by a focus on more ‘technical’ skills. Health cannot be protected by Ministries of Health alone. Many sectors need to be involved in order to increase and sustain investment, build long-term capacity and implement policies affecting health in the food, security and animal sectors. In many countries, the JEE was the first opportunity for these sectors to work together.

  • WHO Director-General Statement on the Role of Social Media Platforms in Health Information

    28 August 2019 - WHO

    Misinformation about vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes Pinterest’s leadership in protecting public health by only providing evidence-based information about vaccines to its users. We hope to see other social media platforms around the world following Pinterest’s lead. Social media platforms are the way many people get their information and they will likely be major sources of information for the next generations of parents. We see this as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect people’s health and lives. The truth is, vaccines work. Smallpox has been eradicated thanks to vaccines, and vaccines have brought us to the brink of eradicating polio. Rates of many other diseases including measles have been dramatically reduced thanks to the life-saving power of vaccines.

  • MedRxiv

    Estimating the health impact of vaccination against 10 pathogens in 98 low and middle income countries from 2000 to 2030

    27 August 2019 - MedRxiv

    Via JHCHS - Xiang Li et al.,

    The last two decades have seen substantial expansion of childhood vaccination programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Here we quantify the health impact of these programmes by estimating the deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted by vaccination with ten antigens in 98 LMICs between 2000 and 2030.

  • EFSA

    Research gap analysis on African swine fever

    27 August 2019 - European Food Safety Authority

    The most significant knowledge gaps in the prevention and control of African swine fever (ASF) were identified by the EU Veterinary services and other stakeholders involved in pig production and wild boar management through an online survey. The respondents were asked to identify the major research needs in order to improve short-term ASF risk management. Four major gaps were identified: ‘wild boar’,‘African swine fever virus (ASFV) survival and transmission’, ‘biosecurity’ and ‘surveillance’. In particular, the respondents stressed the need for better knowledge on wild boar management and surveillance, and improved knowledge on the possible mechanism for spread and persistence of ASF in wild boar populations. 

  • Scientific American

    Moving away from antibiotics in animal agriculture

    22 August 2019 - Scientific American

    Kyle Bennett

    The farming of livestock is facing major challenges in the 21st century. The practice of housing livestock animals such as poultry, pigs and cattle at high densities allows for disease to spread more rapidly. Indeed, the very conditions that make factory farming so profitable provide a perfect environment for disease spread. Antibiotics have been key in the battle to prevent disease at factory farms. Often, these are the same medications as those used to treat humans. An exciting area of growth is a technology known as phage therapy. Phage therapy involves using viruses known as bacteriophages to kill pathogenic bacteria. Commercial application of just one bacteriophage product could provide the spark for a highly lucrative industry. In the U.S., however, there is a challenge to the bacteriophage industry posed by the 2013 Association of Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics Supreme Court ruling. The ruling did, however, leave some room for maneuver: while the court decided that the DNA sequences were not eligible for a patent, they did conclude that cDNA, an artificial form of DNA made by scientists, would be eligible as it represents "something new" they had created and does not occur in nature. At present, there are relatively few inventions relating to phage therapies, as more companies enter the field, a legal challenge could provide the opportunity for clarification on the patentability of this type of invention.

  • UNSW Sydney tops ARC Research Hub grants

    19 August 2019 - UNSW

    Lucy Carroll

    More than $8 million worth of ARC grants have been awarded to two UNSW projects that will involve research into the major global challenges of antibiotic resistance and recyclable waste. The two UNSW projects, which were awarded funding over five years, will tackle critical challenges facing Australians, including antimicrobial resistance and finding solutions to global waste and recycling issues. 

  • Taiwan to begin checking all carry-on bags from Philippines for African swine fever

    18 August 2019 - Taiwan News

    All travelers from the Philippines will have their carry-on baggage checked during entry to Taiwan starting Monday (Aug. 19) as a precaution against African Swine Fever (ASF). ASF cases have been detected in Bulacan and Rizal Province of the Philippines, even though the authorities have not reported the cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). 

  • Outbreak news

    Thailand dengue case count nears 50,000

    15 August 2019 - Outbreak News

    Thailand health officials reported an additional 4,500 dengue fever cases during the past week, which has brought the total case tally to 49,174 cases with 64 deaths, according to a Chiang Rai Times report. This has prompted the Health Minister to order preventive measures against dengue fever to include requiring the healthcare sector to report the number of new infections to contain the outbreak. Local authorities and volunteers will spray chemicals to kill mosquitoes and pubic members are advised to destroy mosquito-breeding grounds around their houses.

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