Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Article: W.H.O. Reports 25 Percent Drop in Malaria Deaths in a Decade -

Coordinated efforts through the WHO over the past year have dropped deaths from malaria by 25% according to a recent NY Times article. 

Issues we're still dealing with:  the 600,000+ deaths annually from malaria, a disease that rapidly develops resistance (especially to mono-drug therapy), and continued set-backs related to funding shortages and political instability.  None of these are particularly new challenges in combating this disease or others.

Read the whole article at the link below:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Selected Public Health Headlines

-A new method of sterilizing hospital rooms using pulses of UV light was recently studied at a MA hospital and showed promising results :

- An article in the NY Times reported obesity rates on city schoolchildren are down 5.5% over 5 years.

- The CDC recently issued a report on sexual violence in US bsed on a survey of over 16000 adults.  1/4 American women report a violent attack by a husband or boyfriend.  1/5 have been sexually assaulted (rape, attempted rape). 1/6 have been stalked.  Compare this to 1/71 males reporting being raped.  For women, 30% of those raped experience their first trauma berween 11 and 17 years of age; 12 % before 10 years of age.  The full report can be found here: ( the report is exhaustive; the executive summary is brief)

- Adolescents are using more marijuana and less alcohol and cigarettes.  A government report claims 1/15 high-schoolers use marijuana on a daily basis.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Publicly Speaking - Dec 2011 Newsletter

CGPH - Publicly Speaking (Dec 2011 Newsletter)

Global Health Scholarship Opportunities

Child Family Health International (CFHI) GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAMS


Never done before, CFHI is offering scholarships for summer programs, our busiest time of the year. These four (4) partial scholarships in the amount of US $1,000 may be awarded towards participation in any May & June 2012 CFHI Global Health Education Program.

- One scholarship will be designated for CFHI's Opthalmology Rotation in New Delhi, India
- One designated for CFHI's Dental Program in Quito, Ecuador.

All interested in global health are encouraged to apply. Deadline January 16th , 2012. For more details see CFHI's Scholarship Page.


2013 program dates are now open and CHFI is now accepting 2012 and 2013 applications on a rolling basis. CFHI continues to offer academic credit and fundraising assistance. For more details on any of CFHI’s 20+ programs, visit the website or contact them.

CFHI - Socially Responsible Global Health Education Programs

Child Family Health International (CFHI) is a nonprofit that offers socially responsible Global Health Education Programs for health sciences students of all levels. Through CFHI participants go on 4-16 week placements alongside local physicians in underserved communities. Participants rotate through clinics and hospitals, attend medical lectures, and become immersed in the healthcare system of the community.

CFHI is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Lesson in Estimating Prevalence

Estimations of the prevalence of behaviors do not necessarily match with reality.

Prevalence itself is the total number of cases divided by the number of people at risk for being cases (Wiki).  If you're calculating from measured numbers, this is easy.  If you're dealing with perceptions -- not so much.

In particular, it is very easy to over-estimate the prevalence of a behavior or a disease that seems particularly dramatic.  Taken one way -- if you see a disease in medical school, you're less likely to think of it as rare (...there are at least enough cases out there that you were able to see it).  Taken another way -- when you were in high school, it probably seemed like everyone was having sex.

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study on the Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting  this week that found the prevalence of sending sexually explicit texts was as low as 1.0% (much lower than previous studies reporting the level somewhere north of 10%).

Friday, December 2, 2011

U.S. medical 'trash' saving lives abroad

I'd like to point you towards an article from CNN yesterday dealing with the redistribution of unused medical supplies towards developing countries. While the language is perhaps a bit inflammatory (our trash becomes their treasure), our MSS has discussed this issue at several recent meetings.

Chief among concerns from our section is the thought that folks abroad might be getting second rate medical care by using expired supplies.  In some cases (drugs that expire and may become dangerous or ineffective), this is clearly an ethical issue.  In many others (equipment that can be re-sterilized or used without concern of degradation), this  is a great way to redistribute unused supplies to the benefit of the poor.

Take a look at the article and see some examples how this is taking place and helping deliver care in the real world.

U.S. medical 'trash' saving lives abroad
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Third World hospitals are saving lives with medical materials discarded in the U.S.