In our selection of global health news this week, we find a gene mutation that protects against malaria, an epidemiologist’s view on the campaign against meningitis, a proposed bill to support contraception in the Philippines, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe, and efforts to extend the reach of HPV vaccine in Africa.
Newly discovered gene mutation offers malaria defense like sickle cell
Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2012
Researchers have discovered a gene mutation that protects people in Southeast Asia against malaria in much the same fashion that a sickle cell trait protects Africans from the disease. Read the article.
Ending the meningitis season
Huffington Post, August 30, 2012
In the region of Africa stretching west to Senegal and east to Ethiopia, large-scale outbreaks of meningitis have led to significant suffering. Through a coordinated effort across several countries and continents, nearly 20 million individuals were vaccinated during a four-week period in 2010. An upcoming field study will address the number one question following the introduction of the vaccine: how long will protection last? Read the article.
In Philippines, a 14-year fight for birth control
CNN, September 4, 2012
Growing up, Cecilia Lopez hoped to escape poverty by finishing school and becoming a teacher. But now 52 years old and having never finished school, she wishes she had learned a few things. “If I knew back then about the choices in family planning, I would’ve been able to control having children,” said Lopez, who has 12 children. After 14 years in limbo, a controversial landmark legislation could bring major changes in the country of almost 96 million people. Read the article.
AIDS spreading fast across East Europe
Inter Press Service, September 3, 2012
Despite pledges from governments across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to fight HIV/AIDS—one of the eight Millennium Development Goals—the region has the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic. Punitive drug policies, discrimination, and problems with access to medicines and important therapy are all driving an epidemic which is unlikely to be contained, world experts say, until governments change key policies and approaches to the disease. Read the article.
Public health: prevention comes of age
Nature, August 29, 2012
It wends its way across bumpy terrain packed in coolers loaded in the back of trucks, lashed to bicycles or even carried by hand. But however it gets there, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a key weapon in the fight against cervical cancer, is finally making its way to African communities that desperately need it. Read the article.