To mark World Malaria Day yesterday, Dr. David Kaslow, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, posed an optimistic question: what’s the role of malaria vaccines in the ongoing effort to eliminate the disease? Optimistic, because until recently, the answer was depressingly simple: none. Now, David argues in an article for The Guardian’s malaria and infectious diseases hub, malaria vaccines have progressed far enough that we should consider their future place among other tools to end malaria. Here’s a link to his thoughts, and other items in a week packed with global health news.
Malaria vaccine development: no longer a pipe dream?
The Guardian, April 24, 2013
Saturday, last week, marked the beginning of World Immunization Week, and Thursday is World Malaria Day. It seems a fitting time to consider these two occasions by posing a seemingly simple, but in fact quite complex, question: what is the role for malaria vaccines in the ongoing effort to turn the tide against malaria, an ancient scourge, and ultimately to eradicate this wily parasite?
The bird flu has spread beyond China and it’s “one of the most lethal” ever
The Atlantic, April 24, 2013
The new strain of bird flu infecting and killing people in China is on the move. All of the reported cases had been contained to a relative few hotspots, but the first reported case of a human infection outside mainland China arrived Wednesday, and that’s got the world’s top scientists pretty worried about this H7N9 strain—even if it’s not being transmitted from person to person.
US budget negotiations threaten global health spending
GlobalPost, April 24, 2013
Many in Congress compare the budget process to balancing one’s checkbook at home. Now, as Congress braces for an historic struggle over the Obama administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014, one of the biggest potential impacts of sought-after cuts will not be at home, but abroad, as millions of the world’s poorest people, especially children, could feel the pain of America’s belt-tightening.
Another scourge in his sights
The New York Times, April 22, 2013
In his home office, Dr. Donald R. Hopkins has statues of the Hindu smallpox goddess and the Yoruba smallpox god. And, floating coiled up in a glass jar, something that looks like a yard-long strand of capellini but is actually one of the last Guinea worms on earth. Smallpox is gone, and Dr. Hopkins played an important role in its death. Guinea worm disease—formally known as dracunculiasis, or “affliction with little dragons”—is down to fewer than 600 cases worldwide, from 3.5 million in 1986, when Dr. Hopkins began leading the drive to eradicate it.
The geography of maternal and newborn health: hard-wiring equity through mapping, analysis, and data visualization
Huffington Post, April 18, 2013
When Arianna Huffington first launched Global Motherhood, she spoke of the loss of her first baby five months into her pregnancy and her terror that the same might happen in her second pregnancy. Christy Turlington has likewise shared her personal experience of postpartum hemorrhage and that of her great grandmother in El Salvador. The three personal events demonstrate the reality that your geographical location, your access to midwifery and obstetric care and who is available if there is a complication is all too often a determinant of whether a woman and her newborn will live or die. This is the geography of maternal and newborn health that continues to blight the lives of millions of women.