Your bi-monthly peek at what is happening behind the scenes in the field of global health, with trending news, upcoming events, funding opportunities and more! Read on to find out what researchers across all disciplines of global health research have been up to in recent months. We look forward to staying connected with you!
Developed by the Université Laval in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, a Quebec-made vaccine against the Zika virus is set to enter Phase I clinical trials in the upcoming weeks. Gary Kobinger, of the Université Laval, suspects that there will be very few side effects. “We have evidence that it’s potent and safe in animals,” he says. This 16-month trial period will test the immunogenicity (the ability of a substance to cause an immune response) of the vaccine in 10-15 volunteers. If all goes well, the Phase II clinical trials may begin as early as 2017.
An outbreak of long-dormant “zombie” anthrax bacteria has struck western Siberia for the first time since 1941, resulting so far in the hospitalization of 72 Yamal nomads, the passing of one 12-year-old child and the death of some 2,300 reindeer. This outbreak is attributed to the soaring temperatures in Russia’s Yamal tundra in recent weeks, which are thought to have caused the thawing of an old reindeer carcass and activated the bacteria. Herders face a quarantine that may last until September while the governor, Dmitry Kobylkin, has declared a state of emergency.
Following the case of an 8-month old baby girl in Lahore, Pakistan, who was found to be severely undernourished, it has been discovered that products disguised as milk such as artificial tea whitener are often used to supplement real milk by parents who lack knowledge of child feeding practices. These milk substitutes, being less expensive than milk, are particularly popular in poverty-ridden areas of the world. The author urges health practitioners to probe parents about their child feeding practices to determine the root cause of undernourishment and calls for the removal of false advertisement by the companies marketing these products.
“This new sense of nationalism that fueled Brexit, or, to coin a mouthful of a term, anti-globalizationism, poses an existential threat to an array of initiatives that have saved millions of lives, mostly in poor or war-torn regions of the world,” writes Laurie Garrett. A highly-committed contributor to global health, the U.K. accounted for one out of every 7$ in official development assistance (ODA) in the world by mid-2015. However, as the value of the British pound declines and the national economy shrinks as a result of the U.K.’s decision to exit the EU, we can expect lower aid commitments to global causes and a sharp decline in remittances towards impoverished households all over the world that depend on a family member living in the U.K. This, coupled with the impending U.S. presidential election, could have serious ramifications for hundreds of global health and relief efforts.
This year’s theme for the United Nations Development Programme’s World Population Day was “Investing in teenage girls”. This was recognized as a major population health issue due to the fact that access to basic information about health, human rights and reproductive rights for girls of marginalized populations is severely lacking, thus leaving them vulnerable to illness, injury and exploitation. Poor reproductive health outcomes are also a direct result of poor education and harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programmes aim to curb these practices and empower girls to make informed choices about their healths and lives.
The International AIDS Conference took place this year in Durban, South Africa, from July 18 to 22. Bringing together a variety of professionals from the field as well as policy makers and persons living with HIV, this conference is the largest of its kind and has proven to be extremely important in directing a course of action for this key global health issue in previous years. Read on to discover the seven main points that were raised during this international meeting with regards to ARVs, treatment as prevention, and a way forward.
To mark World Hepatitis Day, which took place on the 28th of July 2016, the WHO has released a list of key statistics and facts regarding viral hepatitis infection. Hepatitis is widely spread on a global level, affecting more than 400 million people worldwide – over 10 times the number of people affected by the HIV epidemic. Read on to get informed and contribute to the vision of eliminating hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
With the growing recognition that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for a significant proportion of the global burden of disease, a new data collection initiative is shedding light on the prevalent risk factors. This project, currently being administered in Morocco and Zambia, utilizes the WHO's STEPwise approach to surveillance to fill in data gaps relating to NCDs by collecting information on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, weight and height, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This initiative aligns itself with the global commitment to tackle NCDs as established by the World Health Assembly and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels is now being cited as a "moral imperative", according to new evidence that has demonstrated that fossil fuel combustion and associated air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2) are the root causes of poor health outcomes in children in present times. A sharp reduction in our use of fossil fuels could potentially remediate many health problems common in children, such as heat stress, malnutrition, infectious disease, respiratory illness, mental illness, low birth weight, asthma and neurodevelopmental problems, and subsequently spare millions of dollars spent on healthcare for these issues.
The discovery of cervical cancer at an early stage is crucial for its effective treatment. In sub-Saharan Africa, where this disease is most prevalent, screening methods for the disease such as pap smears are rarely utilized due to there being insufficient economic resources, high levels of gender inequality, and limited access to adequate reproductive health care. MobileODT, an Israeli-based firm, has developed a system incorporating android mobile phones allowing for women to take a photograph of their own cervixes which is then enhanced digitally and passed on to specialists for further consultation. This innovation's greatest strengths lie in the affordability, portability and technological advancements that it provides to a highly under-served part of the world.
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, the Pan American Health Organization has released a short article on the importance of breastfeeding for combating poverty, poor development outcomes in infants, and general ill health. The theme of this year's World Breastfeeding Week was in fact "Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development,", highlighting the contribution of breastfeeding to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to Dr. Chessa Lutter, PAHO/WHO senior advisor in food and nutrition, "Breastfeeding is intrinsically linked to the transformative change needed to shape a more prosperous and sustainable future for all."
When: October 1, 2016
Where: Palais des Congrès, Montreal, Quebec
This yearly Expo presents opportunities to volunteer, study, work or live overseas in more than 100 countries! Participants will be able to connect with a wide range of organizations involved in all kinds of international endeavours and gain knowledge from inspiring speakers (including the founder of MSF Canada, Richard Heinzl) as well as panels and workshops. Many of the organizations present and central topics addressed will focus on global health. And to top it all off, registration is free!
When: December 5-6, 2016
Where: HEC Montreal, Montreal, Quebec
This conference will focus on the economic conditions of seniors and the ways in which these interact with trends in population health, formal and informal healthcare services offered to seniors, and the general well-being of seniors. Longitudinal data from different countries will be presented in order to establish comparisons between different parts of the world. In addition, this conference aims to examine the means by which both applied and quantitative research can contribute to better understanding the health status of the elderly population.
DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS: September 1st, 2016
When: June 28-30, 2017
Where: Delta Montreal, Montreal, Quebec
Convening in Montreal in the upcoming year, this conference will gather researchers, practitioners, policy makers and child advocates from across the world to share and discuss the latest research on child indicators and implications for policy and interventions, with subthemes including Physical and mental health, Poverty, deprivation, material well-being, and inequality, and Early childhood and adolescent development and education. The Planning Committee is now welcoming abstracts for oral presentations, interactive poster presentations, and panels relating to the process and findings of child indicators research, with an emphasis on submissions that are culturally or ethically relevant to a global context.
DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS: September 30th, 2016
This year, the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research is being held in Vancouver, Canada! This event aims to convene the global community to share and apply knowledge in order to strengthen health systems worldwide. Organized by the Canadian Society for International health (CSIS) on behalf of Health Systems Global (HSG), the theme for 2016 is “Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world”.
The CIC 2016 conference will bring together experts from across Canada and around the world to share and learn about immunization research, programs and practice, and policy innovations. This will be an important venue for discussing the recurrence and emergence of infectious diseases that are posing challenges for public health at all levels, especially in light of recent occurrences of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. The topic of special populations, including Canada’s Indigenous peoples, will be given particular attention during this conference.
EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION DEADLINE: September 30, 2016
Covering everything from the disease pathology to the global challenges of the persistent threat of influenza, this conference’s many tracks will allow for various approaches to be explored. Professionals in different fields relating to the study of influenza will share their perspectives, with the objective of developing a comprehensive plan of action for the future.
With this year’s theme of “Exploring the Sociological Interrelations between Health, Illness and Medicine,” this summit aims to bring together professionals and researchers in the field of Medical Sociology to share their experiences, insights and results. Centering on social aspects of health and disease, central topics will include political, economic and environmental circumstances contributing to ill health. This will allow participants to work towards more integrated and effective approaches to addressing community health needs.
The World Health Summit is among the world’s most prominent forums for addressing global health issues, bringing together key leaders from academia, politics, civil society, and the private sector. Among this year’s central topics are Infectious diseases: lessons learnt from Ebola to Zika and The Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming the Health Agenda.
The main problem in global health initiatives is often not funding or healthcare delivery but rather, implementation and expertise in the field. The UCSF Global Health Core seeks to advance global health equity by providing practioners with tools to administer effective global health delivery programs. These include low-cost, low-technology skills that are often lacking in traditional global health curricula but are much more applicable to a global setting.
FALL 2016 REGISTRATION HAS BEGUN! There are only 36 spots available, so act fast if you are interested.
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, founded in 1903, is the largest international scientific organization of experts dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and improving global health. The ASTMH Annual Meeting will draw tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, government, non-profits, philanthropy, NGOs, industry, military and private practice.
Registration has just opened! EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE: September 22, 2015
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), AcademyHealth and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are collaborating to host this forum for discussing the science of dissemination and implementation in order to bridge the gap between evidence, practice and policy in health and medicine. This year’s theme, "Mapping the Complexity and Dynamism of the Field", focuses on the ways in which effective interventions can be implemented in a variety of clinical and community settings. Thematic tracks include Global Dissemination & Implementation and Promoting Health Equity and Eliminating Disparities.
The Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Affairs Canada and Canada’s International Development Research Centre, aims to improve the health of livestock and the livelihoods of farmers through the development, production, and commercialization of vaccines against priority livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. IDRC grant funding is available for up to eight research projects allowing for researchers to exploit the latest advances in biotechnology and vaccinology for the rapid development of new generation livestock vaccines.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM (EDT)
The CIHR HIV/AIDS CBR Program supports the partnered work of Community Leaders and Researchers in knowledge development and capacity-building initiatives of relevance to communities engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This opportunity is available in two distinct funding streams: Indigenous and General. In the Indigenous stream, applicants are called on to focus on indigenous populations and in particular, Indigenous knowledge systems, and Indigenous lived experience in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Communities of Canada.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 4, 2016
Watch: Get insights from peer reviewers and NIH Staff on putting together a grant application!
In this paper, the authors argue that most Latin American health systems, which are composed of public, social security and private subsystems, lead to health care fragmentation and population segmentation. They examine the extent of subsystem cross-coverage in the population of Rosario city to compare the performance of these subsystems on core primary health care (PHC) dimensions. Their results indicate a high level of cross-coverage among the sub-systems, each with their own areas of strength and weakness that appear to undermine the provision of PHC and result in financial inequity and inefficiency.
This qualitative descriptive study regarding the perceptions and caring practices of caregivers with 13 caregivers of adult family members with a cancer diagnosis was conducted in Japan, with the aim of examining the ways in which cultural beliefs shape a caring culture in different societies. In this case, the Japanese cultural construct of a strong relationship to family lineage and spiritual connection to past and future generations was essential in understanding the perceptions and experiences surrounding caregiving. Insights from this type of research have the potential to enhance the understanding of healthcare needs in a variety of different settings, cultures and societies.
The authors aim to provide a systematic description of the ways in which the influences of both genetic and environmental factors on height differ by sex, age and global region. Using a pool of 45 twin cohorts from 20 countries, they find that the proportion of height variation attributed to environmental factors is more prevalent in early childhood, and that the relative genetic contribution increases along with age to reach its peak during adolescence. Across the four geographic-cultural regions examined, genetic variance appears to be the lowest in East-Asia. This research provides important clues as to the height variations in children and adolescents in relation to their ethnic backgrounds and the environments to which they are exposed.
This paper describes a number of clinical cases of patients treated for Ebola virus disease (EVD) at the Ebola treatment center (ETC) run by the French Red Cross in Forecariah, Guinea. The difficult conditions associated with the provision of medical care in such an environment are identified in order to inform future interventions for EVD patients to improve their general outcomes and provide the health staff with a more comprehensive training.
Steven R Steinhubl, Dawit Feye, Adam C Levine, Chad Conkright, Stephan W Wegerich and Gary Conkright
The authors developed a Modular Wireless Patient Monitoring System (MWPMS) for continuous vital sign monitoring and transmission as well as data analytics in resource-poor areas. Its efficacy was tested in Makeni, Sierra Leone, where a total of 1838 hours of vital sign data was collected. The study concludes that this portable system provided a reliable measure of the physiological status of all patients treated. The authors believe that this system is applicable to any healthcare setting in the world, and thus has major implications for the field of global health.
This study aims to quantify worldwide cumulative coverage of publicly funded HPV immunisation programmes up to 2014 by reviewing data in 80 countries and overseas territories that have implemented HPV immunisation programmes. The findings indicate that women from low-income and lower-middle-income countries are much less likely to have received the full course vaccine, despite the fact that its impact is estimated to be much higher in these regions than in high-income countries. It is thus essential that coverage be increased in these parts of the world to reduce the worldwide burden of cervical cancer.
America Bracho, Ginger Lee, Gloria P. Giraldo and Rosa Maria De Prado
This book addresses the situation of Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, California, demonstrating that today's health problems require an approach going beyond biomedicine to include the strengths and resources of the target community as well as their cultural roots. Heralded as a practical guide to health organizing, the story of the Latino community's experience with gaining access to healthcare in the face of adverse socioeconomic conditions can serve to inform public health practitioners to better evaluate needs, generate programs and organize communities around greater health outcomes.
We are pleased to present the Research Booth, a section of our newsletter dedicated to important global health research data! We would love to feature the work of our researchers to give the general public a glimpse at their research and an overview of important global health issues. If you have any infographics, research data or publications that you would like to share, get in touch with us via the RRSPQ email linked at the top and bottom of the newsletter.
Welcome to the Student’s Corner! This space is dedicated to the research, publications, experiences and work of students of Québec Universities, and can also serve as a platform to publicize events and activities organized by students in the realm of global health. We welcome submissions from any students who would like to contribute and see their material posted in our upcoming issues! If you are interested, get in touch with us via the RRSPQ email linked at the top and bottom of the newsletter.
Testimonies from the field
Have you ever wondered about your fellow students’ experiences in the field? Discover what two students from the Unité de Santé Internationale of the Université de Montréal, David-Martin Milot and Chang Yuan, have been up to in recent months as they describe the global health work they are each involved with in Haïti!
More Canadian students will soon be able to study in Mexico and Canada’s universities will welcome more Mexican students thanks to a new commitment by the governments of both countries to enhance international exchange opportunities. “Canada needs more graduates with cross-cultural competencies and global understanding,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. This new initiative may be of particular interest to those of you hoping to pursue global health fieldwork in Mexico!
The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to highly deserving postdoctoral applicants by three of Canada’s federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The program’s emphasis on the synergy between applicants and host institutions dictates that applicants must complete their application in full collaboration with a proposed host institution.
This call is open to Canadians or permanent residents of Canada who have completed or are pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree at a recognized university. Recipients will undertake a one-year paid program of research on the topic they have selected under the supervision of the International Development Research Centre. Eligible areas of research include Food, Environment and Health and Maternal and Child Health.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 7, 2016 at 4:00 PM (EDT)
This year, the RS Global Health lent support to the McGill Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health which took place from the 13th to the 24th of June 2016. Organized by McGill Global Health Programs, this course featured internationally-known faculty, a focus on highly applicable new research, and an opportunity to network with fellow global health researchers from around the world. The event proved to be a huge success, gathering 400 participants hailing from 46 countries - 94% of which have said that they would recommend the course to their colleagues in coming years!