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Apr 16, 2018

Global healthcare needs a revolution. This is how technology can help.

Finding one single missing child can be difficult. So imagine trying to find millions of children who are living completely under the radar with no formal record of their existence. This is the challenge that we in the global health community now face as we try to protect every child from vaccine-preventable infectious disease. With one in four children born without being registered, it is an identity crisis that now represents one of the biggest barriers to achieving our development goals; a problem so systemic that nothing short of a Copernican revolution within global health is likely to fix it.

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Apr 12, 2018

Gene editing for good: How CRISPR could transform global development

Today, more people are living healthy, productive lives than ever before. This good news may come as a surprise, but there is plenty of evidence for it. Since the early 1990s, global child mortality has been cut in half. There have been massive reductions in cases of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The incidence of polio has decreased by 99 percent, bringing the world to the verge of eradicating a major infectious disease, a feat humanity has accomplished only once before, with smallpox. The proportion of the world’s population in extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day, has fallen from 35 percent to about 11 percent.

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Apr 11, 2018

Tanzania launches early-age cervical cancer vaccine

More than 600,000 girls in Tanzania have started receiving vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. Girls aged between nine and 14 are being targeted to protect them from developing the illness at an early age. “Prevention is better than cure, elongating lives and and reducing treatment costs,” said Dr Daphrosa Lyimo, heading the government rollout.

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Apr 4, 2018

Mining social media to predict outbreaks

Forecasting influenza outbreaks before they strike could help officials take early action to reduce related deaths, which total 290,000 to 650,000 worldwide every year. In a recent study, researchers say they have accurately predicted outbreaks up to two weeks in advance—using only the content of social media conversations. The findings could theoretically be used to direct resources to areas that will need them most.

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Mar 27, 2018

Calls to rein in antibiotic use after study shows 65% increase worldwide

A dramatic rise in global antibiotic consumption has led public health experts to call for fresh strategies to rein in excessive use of the drugs, and for major investments to provide clean water, sanitation and vaccines in countries where infectious diseases are rife.

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Mar 22, 2018

Ending polio in Nigeria, one home at a time

Zulaihatu Abdullahi is well known in her community, particularly to the mothers. As a volunteer community mobilizer in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, her mission is to ensure that no child contracts polio, or any other preventable childhood disease. This is difficult, as immunization programmes are sometimes treated with suspicion in her part of Nigeria. As a ‘change agent’, Zulaihatu’s job is to go door to door, counselling parents about the importance of the polio vaccine.

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Mar 20, 2018

Why Lassa, an Ebola-like fever, has exploded in Nigeria

If you want to understand West Africa’s largest-ever Lassa fever outbreak, which has killed 78 people so far, you need to know about rats. But first: Yes, there is an outbreak of the deadly, Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever in one of the most populous countries on earth. When severe, in about 10 to 20 percent of cases, Lassa does horrible things to the body: It replicates in the internal organs and central nervous system, causing its victims to bleed out of every orifice or go into shock. Most people will experience mild symptoms — fever or a headache — but even in those cases, Lassa can lead to permanent deafness.

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Mar 12, 2018

Global Health 50/50 report (2018)

The Global Health 50/50 Report, the first of its kind, provides a comprehensive review of the gender-related policies of more than 140 major organisations working in and/or influencing the field of global health. The initiative is focused at the intersection of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including on health (3), gender equality (5), inequalities (10) and inclusive societies and institutions (16). Gender equality has seemingly been embraced as a priority in global health. The report is inspired, however, by a growing concern that too few global health organisations walk the talk by defining, programming, resourcing or monitoring gender, either as a determinant of health, or as a driver of career equality in their own workplaces.

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Mar 11, 2018

Infection forecasts powered by big data

Even though you know it’s a sensible idea, you’re on the fence about whether it would be worth the bother to have this season’s influenza vaccine. But a quick glance at the flu forecast on your phone sets you straight: there’s a warning about a recent spike of cases nearby, so you head to the clinic rather than risk a feverish week in bed. Epidemiologists eagerly anticipate such a future, in which they can track infectious diseases with the same confidence as meteorologists mapping the weather.

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Mar 5, 2018

WHO approves cholera vaccine for use at temperatures high as 40 degree Celsius for up to 14 days

Sanofi Pasteur announced that its affiliate Shantha Biotechnics has received approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Shanchol, its oral cholera vaccine. The vaccine may be kept for single period of time of up to 14 days at temperature of up to 40°C immediately prior to administration, provided the vaccine has not reached its expiry date and vaccine vial monitor has not reached discard point. The approval is of great significance to regions where the vaccine is used, including India, as it eliminates the challenges of maintaining the vaccine cold chain (between +2°C and +8°C to maintain vaccine potency) during transport.

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