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Dec 31, 2018

Beating the world’s deadliest disease against all odds

When it comes to stopping childhood pneumonia, the odds are stacked against the poor and vulnerable; but vaccines can give them a fighting chance. In 2009, approximately 3,400 children died of pneumonia every day. Now, with investments in pneumonia prevention and treatment – including the introduction and scale up of two vaccines to prevent the most common causes of pneumonia death, Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcus – that number has fallen to 1,000.

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Dec 3, 2018

Flu virus is a master shape-shifter

An influenza virus infecting a single cell can produce offspring with a wide variety of shapes, maximizing the virus’s chance of escaping attack by antiviral therapies.

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Nov 6, 2018

No, you cannot get the flu from a vaccine: Here’s why

Flu vaccines are made using flu viruses. But there’s a simple reason that they keep us healthy without giving us the flu. The virus in the vaccine has been killed. When scientists are making the annual flu injection, they use heat or other processes to ‘inactivate’ the virus. This means it cannot infect us. Thanks science!

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Oct 27, 2018

Op-Ed: Protecting Africa’s invisible children, the case for birth registration and a digital identity

Universal health coverage (UHC) is the vision that all countries provide affordable, quality preventive and curative healthcare to every person, everywhere. Besides helping to end extreme poverty and prevent 10 million deaths by 2035, this Sustainable Development Goal target is expected to also contribute to a grand convergence in health, where the poorest countries’ rates of mortality – infectious, infant and maternal – fall to levels currently only seen in the best performing middle income countries.

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Oct 21, 2018

The biggest pandemic risk? Viral misinformation

A hundred years ago this month, the death rate from the 1918 influenza was at its peak. An estimated 500 million people were infected over the course of the pandemic; between 50 million and 100 million died, around 3% of the global population at the time.

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Oct 17, 2018

Good data saves lives

In the harsh, dry highland plains of the Ngorongoro region of Tanzania stands a small red tent – a tiny speck of colour in an otherwise dusty, lifeless landscape. It can be seen from several kilometres away, and that is precisely the point. Because even before Bakari Shemagembe, the local Assistant Medical Officer, and his team have finished setting up around the tent, the local Maasai tribespeople start to arrive, trickling in from all directions, drawn towards this beacon.

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Oct 9, 2018

The lifesaving power of rotavirus vaccines in Malawi: Behind the numbers

Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrheal disease among infants and young children in all countries. Despite improvements in sanitation and case management, rotavirus still caused 215,000 child deaths in 2013, with 121,000 of these in Africa. With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, many countries with high death rates have added rotavirus vaccine to their routine immunization program over the past five years.

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Oct 8, 2018

Data for decision making: using a dashboard to strengthen routine immunisation in Nigeria

Availability of reliable data has for a long time been a challenge for health programmes in Nigeria. Routine immunisation (RI) data have always been characterised by conflicting coverage figures for the same vaccine across different routine data reporting platforms.

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Sep 4, 2018

How Met Office weather data is being used to predict cholera outbreaks

Sophisticated computer models of weather data and population movement are being used to predict future outbreaks of cholera. Weather data from the UK Met Office and Nasa is being combined with research on the spread of the disease to predict where there is likely to be a cholera outbreak in Yemen – helping health workers to plan a response.

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Aug 28, 2018

Catch-up HPV vaccine effective for women aged up to 20 years, US study suggests

US study confirms effectiveness of quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in women aged up to 20 years who receive all three doses, but more research is needed in women aged 21-26 years. For women aged 14-20 years, catch-up HPV vaccination—offered if American women miss the recommended vaccination series at 11-12 years—is effective against the risk of important cervical precancers if women receive all three doses, according to a population case-control study of over 25000 people published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

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