Our Mid-Year Highlights

 GlobeMed’s chapter at Boston College has had an excellent first semester! With many new and returning members, our chapter has been thriving anywhere from fundraising at football tailgates, to passionate discussions on Global Health in our meetings, to rallying for the right to Health on Article 25 Day. The leadership from our E-board members has helped our GlobeMed chapter to have such large success this semester academically, socially, and economically! Their great leadership has lead our chapter to experience events such as a staff retreat, various fundraising events, and in-the classroom learning about concepts such as a single payer health care system, the Declaration of Human Rights, and effective advocacy on a case study of Ferguson. Here is what some of our members have to say about what we’ve been up to this semester!

Fall Retreat:

This semester, the community building committee hosted GlobeMed’s first retreat of the year. The fall retreat this year focused on building relationships with one another and listing our aspirations and visions for the club this year. We started the day off with GlobeMed jeopardy, which focused on questions about the GlobeMed organization, our CORD partner, and some fun facts about E-board members. Both teams were extremely competitive, which made it fun, and everyone learned something about the club. We then broke up into teams and did a photo scavenger hunt around Newton campus. Each group worked together and really bonded. And all the pictures turned out great! We continued to get to know each other by doing a four corners reflection, where everyone shared different aspects of their lives to their group. Once we had all gotten to know each other better, we switched gears and started outlining our goals for the club this year. We did a pass it forward activity, where we wrote answers to the question, “Why we believe in global health?” We then left these cards in different areas around campus. This activity helped us reflect and remind ourselves why we personally are in GlobeMed, and it also served as a way to advocate and educate others on campus. We then did a values activity, which determined what values are most important to us, and discussed how these values can be incorporated into GlobeMed. And we ended the retreat with a body of goals reflection, where we outlined the body of a group member and answered questions related GlobeMed, that were associated with different parts of the body. This helped us set goals for the year, and plans to carry out those goals. At the end of the fall retreat, we all knew each other better and were reminded of why we joined GlobeMed and our goals for the semester.

-Community Building Member, Bea Lynch

ghU:

One of the most interesting ghU topics this semester included a discussion about the single-payer health care system. Brendan started by explaining the basics of the single-payer system to the large group, and then we analyzed the specifics of this policy and discussed it in comparison to President Obama’s current health care plan. This ghU was very effective because it connected to the Article 25 event that our GlobeMed chapter participated in at the Boston Commons. During this event, we partnered with organizations that are advocating for single-payer health care, and so this ghU session allowed us to better understand their plan. By connecting directly to an advocacy event, the single-payer ghU was extremely informative and well-received by the whole group.

-ghU member, Elizabeth Magill

My favorite ghU subjects were when we talked about Single Payer health care and when we talked about advocacy in Ferguson.

-ghU member, Alexandra Mills

I really enjoy being able to participate in small group discussions. It’s rewarding as a GhU coordinator to see how passionate and excited members of our club are about global and public health related topics. Through participating in these conversations, I get to learn from the interesting and knowledgable perspectives of other members.

-ghU E-board member, Brendan Pier

My favorite ghU this year was the one on the single-payer healthcare system. As a person looking to go into the medical field it was interesting to learn about an alternative to our healthcare system. As one day I will have to deal healthcare system it always good to be educated on ways it can be improved!

-ghU member, Bryan Wiedemann
“My favorite part of ghU thus far has been all of the discussions about current events, which have helped me to understand them much better. These discussions also served to draw connections back to the broader sphere of social justice, as well as global health, and what we do within the context of GlobeMed. For instance, I think that there were a lot of misconceptions about Ebola when the crisis first began, and I appreciated the information I learned through ghU, and the meaningful discussions we had afterwards about the many different ways to deal with such a complex problem. I think that relating everything back to these current events helps us to not only be more informed when having discussions with other students and professors on campus, but also serves to highlight and provide a deeper appreciation for the myriad public health issues that are plaguing our world as we speak.”
-ghU member, Michaela Simoneau

We’re looking forward to many more events and happenings next semester!

Happy Holidays,

GlobeMed at Boston College

In India, Latrines Are Truly Lifesavers

 NOVEMBER 13, 2014 

“The mural on the wall outside of Chandramani Jani’s home is more message than art. It depicts a sari-clad woman relieving herself behind a bush, looking worried as a man advances. A large thought bubble suggests the woman wishes for a toilet of her own, clean and complete with the privacy of a door.

To Jani, a 34-year-old sarpanch, or elected village head, in the hilly Koraput district of India’s Odisha  state, the mural represents a personal mission. She boasts that ever since she had toilets built in her village of Chakarliguda last December, no one in her community defecates outside. A few steps behind every home in the village, well-maintained latrines stand amid kitchen gardens and chicken coops.

“Before we had toilets people used to search for a place to squat. Now it’s easy access,”she said. A few elderly women were hesitant to use the new toilets at first, “but now even they’ve gotten used to the comfort.”

Jani’s pride is not unfounded. The success in her village is rare despite India’s repeated attempts to stop open defecation, a serious risk to health and safety that is on newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda. More than 620 million people in India defecate outdoors — a much higher rate than in poorer countries like Bangladesh or those in sub-Saharan Africa. Exposure to fecal matter is a leading cause of diarrhea, which kills 600,000 people in the country each year, a third of them children. And as Gardiner Harris reported in July, open defecation and rapid population growth fuel bacterial growth that contributes to malnutrition and stunted growth in 65 million Indian children under the age of five.

The impact goes beyond health, as the mural on Jani’s wall displays. Women, who venture farther from their village than men or children to relieve themselves face additional threats to safety. The link between defecating outside and security was further emphasized by advocates like Wateraid after a fatal rape of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh who were walking to a field to relieve themselves earlier this year.

When the government started building toilets en masse in 1999, under an 18 billion rupee ($300 million) initiative to eradicate open defecation by 2019, authorities came up against a problem that has plagued developmental solutions from oral rehydration therapy to mosquito nets: people just weren’t using them. The Research Institute for Compassionate Economics’Sanitation Quality, Use, Access and Trends (SQUAT) survey, which interviewed 22,000 people in five Indian states on sanitation habits, found that 40 percent of households with a working latrine have at least one member who continues to defecate outdoors. That’s partly because, in rural India, defecating far away from the home is considered cleaner than using toilets, said Payal Hathi, one of the authors of the SQUAT survey,

“It’s not enough to build toilets, because even in households that have their own latrines, people do not use them,”said Arundati Muralidharan, a senior research fellow at the Public Health Foundation of India. “There are massive social, cultural norms and behavioral practices that we are looking to influence.”

Changing those norms will be a major challenge for Modi, who has pledged to end open defecation in the country by 2019. In October, he started a nationwide sanitation drive called Swachh Bharat, or Clean India Campaign, which promotes hygiene and sanitation. But any new initiative will have to avoid the fate of the thousands of government-built toilets that remain unused— one major reason a recent study in The Lancet, a British health journal, found that a toilet-building program in Odisha may have had little impact on health.

Jani made it her personal mission to make sure people received and used the new toilets in Chakarliguda, a poor tribal village with relative low literacy levels in southern Odisha. She understood the value long ago, when she built a latrine outside her hut, but the villagers only knew that their families were getting sick from unclean drinking water.

When the leader learned that the district administration would be providing toilets to select villages last May, she knew that she would have to sell the idea to her community first. Although Chakarliguda wasn’t initially picked for the sanitation campaign, Jani, who left school after seventh grade, fought with district officials, repeatedly visiting their offices and drummed up community support from her neighbors.

In July 2013, district sanitation officers worked with Jani and a few young community volunteers to start an intensive campaign called “triggering.”In order to educate and “trigger”community ownership of toilets, the team staged street plays and regular workshops that explained how open defecation was making children sick. (As with most villages in the Koraput region, diarrhea and malaria were the two biggest ailments in Chakarliguda.)

They also used waste mapping and calculations, two viscerally provocative methods that have proved effective in Bangladesh. Sanitation officials had villagers mark on a map where they defecated, and then demonstrated how excrement moved from the fields into their drinking water and food. They also calculated the total weight of human excrement, which for Chakarliguda — a tiny mountainside hamlet of less than 300 people — came out to 52 tons each year.

“We basically showed them how they were eating and drinking” their own waste ,said Kasi Prasad Nayak, who oversees water and sanitation in the Koraput district. “And that had a lot of motivational impact.”

Triggering is a component of the ongoing national toilet-building program, known as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, or the Total Sanitation Campaign. But so far, the success of such programs — which are allocated 15 percent of the total campaign budget — has varied wildly. Unlike building toilets, triggering is an abstract effort that’s hard to oversee, and the money for it is often unspent. But, as the case of Chakarliguda shows, the right investment in local leadership goes a long way in changing a community’s attitude.

Here, Jani’s campaigning won over most of the village — important because the health risks of open defecation remain unless most of the community has switched to latrines. To persuade holdouts, the sarpanch used a more aggressive, less kosher, approach.

“I told my people that if they didn’t build toilets and start using them, they wouldn’t get their subsidized rice or pension from the government,”she recalled with a laugh. The villagers knew it was an empty threat — a sarpanch does not have the right to withhold welfare benefits — but it nudged them into compliance.

Every family was on board when the village received toilets last December. The government covered most of the cost and sent engineers to guide them, although households were required to build their own toilets and contribute 900 rupees ($15) toward construction. Free to customize, some families invested in tiles and water storage units, while others expanded theirs to include a bathing room.

Dena Kila, a local resident in the village, said her family bought extra cement to make a solid latrine, and was now installing a pipe for running water. Sitting at her clay stove, Kila said building toilets kept the village pathways cleaner, and that more people washed their hands with soap. And women felt safer.

“I used to only go in the early morning and evening, when it was dark enough to not be visible,”she said. “I had to go in a group and worry about safety risks like wild animals.”

The project has changed daily habits for men, women and children in Chakarliguda, but has had much less impact in villages that didn’t use a similar community strategy.

In 2004, a large nonprofit organization called Gram Vikas built toilets in the hilltop village of Phulband, also in the Koraput district. But 10 years later, most of the structures serve as sheds for lumber and live chickens. Devendra, a 25-year-old laborer and social worker from the village, said Gram Vikas conducted community activities while introducing the toilets, but there was little follow-up, and villagers soon returned to their old habits.

“We need to understand what is driving people to defecate in the open even when they don’t have to,”Muralidharan said of similar failed attempts. “Behavioral intervention needs to go beyond telling people to use toilets to really address some of these underlying factors.”

For Jani, the follow-up was essential. Throughout the process she led a monitoring committee to check in with villagers and their facilities. And she now regularly checks the latrines to ensure that families are using and maintaining their toilets.

This active leadership makes all the difference, said Kuldip Gyaneswar, a fellow with the Ministry of Rural Development who works with the Koraput district administration. While thousands qualify for the Total Sanitation Campaign funding, many Indians slip through the cracks because panchayat leaders and citizens don’t know that they are eligible to benefit. Meanwhile, Jani has become an expert on sanitation in her village and was invited to Delhi to participate in a Unicef-led discussion about promoting sanitation.

You need someone in each village to anchor the program, Gyaneswar said. “Wherever there are strong leaders they are working well.”Toilets built by community demand, he said, were far more effective than supply-driven measures by the government.

But more diverse, large Indian communities may prove more difficult a challenge than Chakarliguda — said Muralidharan.

“How do you transpose that success to an urban slum where you have highly mixed communities?”she said. “What can be the binding force in a heterogeneous community for an issue that really affects everyone?”

As the Modi administration prepares to invest millions of dollars in building toilets, they will have to address the challenges that come with a country of one billion people. But examples of success are as close as Chakarliguda, or, on a larger scale, right next door in Bangladesh, which has all but eliminated open defecation.

Hathi, of the SQUAT Survey, said that during a recent trip to the country, she was struck by how freely people discussed sanitation, and by how common it was for people to use simple, low-cost latrines that are difficult to find in India. While most people in India could afford the simple latrines found in Bangladesh, they don’t build them because they don’t prioritize owning a toilet.

“Everyone in Bangladesh is working on it. Here we are struggling to have the same kind of dialogue on sanitation,”she said. “It needs to start with Modi and it needs to come down to the local level. We need cricket players, politicians, sarpanches, Bollywood people — everybody.’ “

This article is from the Opinion Pages of the New York Times. The original article can be found here.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/in-india-latrines-are-truly-lifesavers/?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A14%22%7D

Over-Cautious Laws for Ebola Heath Care Workers Lead to Counter-Intuitive Effects

With a few citizens of the United States becoming infected with Ebola, state health officials are beginning to take a highly precautious stance and are enforcing unnecessary laws. Some governors in the United States have instituted a mandatory 21-day quarantine law for healthcare workers returning from Ebola-affected regions. The aim of this rather conservative quarantine law is to provide protection and maintain health for the people in the States. However, I’d argue that it has more negative consequences on health issues than positive. The very reasons for the institution of the quarantine law aren’t based on scientific evidence. Consequently, this law doesn’t resonate well with health care workers as they return from combatting an infectious disease and find out that they will be unpaid for three weeks and have to take a leave of absence from their everyday lives and medical careers. In addition, a prestigious health conference in New Orleans banned any participants who had been in Ebola- affected areas 21-days prior to the conference. Because these laws contradict scientific evidence on the contagious elements of Ebola, these unnecessary laws will inhibit and dissuade American health care workers to want to travel to Ebola-affected regions such as Sierra-Leone and Liberia and in return, it will further limit the amount of American resources available to combat the Ebola outbreak.

As written in the “Ebola and Quarantine” article in the New England Journal of Medicine, “transmission [of Ebola] arises from contact with bodily fluids of a person who is symptomatic- that is, has a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and malaise…. Therefore, an asymptomatic health care worker returning from treating patients with Ebola, even if he or she were infected, would not be contagious.” States such as New Jersey and New York are enforcing health care workers returning from Ebola-affected regions to submit themselves to quarantine, despite whether or not they are displaying symptoms; this policy is completely unnecessary and overly cautious. The article states that many people suggest that the law is harmless because it is only slightly “inconveniencing health care workers” for the sake of “just in case” protection. The authors reply to these notions by saying, “to stop an epidemic of this type requires controlling it at its source… we need tens of thousands of additional volunteers to control the epidemic… If we add barriers, making it harder for volunteers to return to their community, we are hurting ourselves.” In fact, an example of how these barriers have affected medical personal has unfolded in Louisiana.

In Louisiana, state officials wouldn’t allow anyone who has traveled to “Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the past 21 days or [who] has treated Ebola patients elsewhere” to attend the prestigious meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which took place on November 1st, 2014. Participants of the conference immediately responded to this outlaw with an outcry. In an article from Science Magazine, Daniel Baush who organized a “specialized Ebola symposia” for the conference stated, “This policy is fundamentally flawed and not evidence-based.” Another representative, Peter Hotez stated, “It’s very unfortunate and could potentially be counterproductive by preventing health care workers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea from sharing their experiences and findings at one of the most important tropical disease meetings globally.”

I believe that returning health care workers should be checked for symptoms of Ebola before departure to the United States, at arrival into the country, and for 21 consecutive days after, but that health care workers should not have to be quarantined unless deemed necessary by exuding symptoms of Ebola. Instead, healthy medical personnel should return home to the States with warm greetings and honor, and should be able to continue to live their lives according to their own individual and unique desires.

Sources used:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1413139

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/10/been-ebola-affected-country-stay-away-tropical-medicine-meeting-louisiana-says

-Opinion article written by: Bridie Lawlor ’17

Sanitation, Gender Issues, and Culture: The Lack of Toilets in India

In India as a whole, about half of 1.2 billion people have no household toilets, and in many villages, up to two-thirds of the homes do not have toilets. However, access to toilets is gradually increasing. In 2009, 51% of people had access to sanitation facilities in comparison to 2002, when only 40% of people had access. Federal spending on sanitation increased to about three-fold in 2005.  In addition, the government began to award village councils that decreased open defecation in their districts (Biswas, “Is India’s Lack of Toilets a Cultural Problem”).

            The lack of proper sanitation is directly linked to the spread of diseases, such as cholera and typhus. Diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of deaths in India; approximately 2,000 children die each day from contaminated water supplies and improper sanitation. The World Health Organization estimates that half of the developing world’s people are sick from diseases associated with dirty water and bad sanitation (Koba, “No Joke: Lack of Toilets Signals Deadly Crisis”).

            In addition to causing disease, the lack of toilets results in many issues that specifically pertain to women. India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development estimates that a lack of access to toilets causes girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen to miss on average five days of school per month. Although a 2011 Supreme Court ruling required every public school to have toilets, only 18% have gender-segregated facilities, and 11% simply have no facilities (Brady, “In India, a Toilet Shortage Drains the Economy”). Furthermore, the lack of household toilets has shown to make women more susceptible to rape. In the Indian state of Bihar, most rapes occur when women go to defecate in open, specifically during the early morning/late evening. An estimated 400 women would have been saved from rape if they had access to home toilets (Tewary, “India Bihar Rapes Caused by Lack of Toilets).

            However, these unfortunately truths are not necessarily a result of lack of resources, but are rather strongly influenced by cultural beliefs. Open defecation is actually a preference for many, used as a statement against the social oppression. Additionally, household toilets are often seen as unclean, and simply a Western standard (Biswas, “Is India’s Lack of Toilets a Cultural Problem”). This clash between cultural beliefs and proper sanitation is a complex problem, in which an increase in education regarding the health issues linked to sanitation may be the solution.

            I definitely recommend reading more about this issue! As BC GlobeMed raises money to build toilets in the Siruvani region of India, it is important to look at this issue from different viewpoints (especially from different cultural perspectives). Below is a link to a video about this issue from CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2012/09/17/pkg-udas-india-open-toilets.cnn.html

 

 

References

Biswas, Soutik. “Is India’s Lack of Toilets a Cultural Problem?” BBC News. BBC, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Brady, Diane. “In India, a Toilet Shortage Drains the Economy.” Bloomberg Bussinessweek. Global Economics, 09 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

Chaudhary, Archana. “UN’s Challenge: The 638 Million in India Who Go Outdoors.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

“India Census: Half of Homes Have Phones but No Toilets.” BBC News. BBC, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Koba, Mark. “No Joke: Lack of Toilets Signals Deadly Crisis.” NBC News. NBC News Business, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Tewary, Amarnath. “India Bihar Rapes ’caused by Lack of Toilets'” BBC News. BBC, 05 Sept. 2013. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Udas, Sumnima. “Bringing Toilets and Dignity to India’s Poor.” CNN. Cable News 

            Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 09 Jan. 2014[SD1] .


 [SD1]

The Innerworkings of CORD

By aiding communities in establishing sustainable programs, the non-profit organization CORD helps to enhance the communities’ holistic welfare. Cord facilitates social help programs in local communities and throughout the Indian subcontinent, encouraging a bond of love and understanding between the giver and receiver. To promote sustainability, CORD believes that the receiver must engage in “Active Participation”, in which the villagers have to be willing to take the first steps in changing their lives. CORD believes that the importance of development, such as teaching people to earn a living, is greater than that of welfare, such as donating food.

            CORD-Siruvani is one of the many branches of CORD. This sub-organization takes an active role in many aspects of the Siruvani region of India, such as health and agriculture. From July 2013 to September 2013, CORD-Siruvani facilitated the examination and treatment of 730 patients, 334 of which received free treatment. One hundred beneficiaries received three doses of Hepatitis B vaccinations, and 300 received deworming agents and vitamins. CORD-Siruvani is currently looking after 80 Self Help Groups and established two new Self-Help groups. Additionally, they’ve held training and field activities, awareness programs, and classes for children conducted by volunteers.

            CORD-Siruvani plays a major role in promoting the sanitation of the Siruvani region. For example, they are working to both spread awareness of the hazards of plastic use and to encourage and guide villagers to build low-cost individual household toilets. Rainwater harvesting is done in the CORD office and the homes of the CORD workers. CORD-Siruvani has furthermore reduced the problem of mosquitos by emptying stagnant water into containers.

            In 2013, for the second year, CORD was awarded Top-Rated Non-Profit by Great Nonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations! Boston College GlobeMed is thankful for having such an inspiring partner organization!

References:

http://www.cordusa.org/

http://cordusa.org/media/news/newsletters/Activity%20Report%20Siruvani%20July-Sept%202011.pdf

The Siruvani Region in Tamil Nadu, India

          GlobeMed at Boston College is working with our partner CORD to advance sustainability and promote health in the region surrounding the Siruvani River in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is located in the extreme south of India where Tamils, descendants of early inhabitants of India, make up the majority of the population. The population also includes various indigenous communities. Most of the people speak Tamil, a Dravidian language.

 

The culture of Tamil Nadu is strongly influenced by Hinduism, the dominant religion, and also by, despite its constitutional ban, the caste system that exists.  Vocationally, half of the working population is involved in agriculture.  The irrigation systems are noteworthy because of the need to conserve scarce rainwater.

 

Unfortunately, the Siruvani region of Tamil Nadu has been experiencing major problems with sanitation.  The drains are open and become congested from excess rain and inadequate garbage disposal.  Furthermore, there is a lack of kitchen gardens, resulting in the stagnation of water that permits mosquito breeding. Additionally, only 340 out of 1020 families have separate toilet facilities.  Due to their living conditions, villagers are susceptible to disease and other health issues, and they are not always aware of this susceptibility.  

 

Poverty is another prominent problem in the Siruvani region. About 60% of families are below the poverty line.  A factor promoting the poverty of the region is the lack of employment and work.  For example, most people work as manual labors in agriculture and are employed for only twenty days out of the month.  In addition there is a lack of education; about 25% of adults are illiterate.  Moreover, there are high levels of indebtedness to moneylenders and a large problem of alcoholism among men.

 

CORD-Siruvani, located in Thennamanallur, Tamil Nadu, has started comprehensive, sustainable, and integrated community development activities in the region, and is working to advance the works of the Chinmaya Rural Development Centre (CRDC).  The CRDC works in the treatment of acute and chronic ailments, and in health education and awareness in its six subcentres and in the main center in Nallurvayal. The CRDC provides diagnosis and treatment for 200 patients per day.

 

GlobeMed at Boston College, in its partnership with CORD-Siruvani, has taken on a project for the 2013-2014 academic year.  This project involves both sanitation and hepatitis B, in addition to raising awareness on campus and throughout the community. Our goal is to raise $6,000 by the end of the academic year for toilets and hepatitis B vaccinations.  The GlobeMed general staff also participates in globalhealthU: weekly discussions to learn and educate ourselves about the region of Siruvani and global health issues.  Furthermore, Boston College GlobeMed works to collaborate with other institutions, individuals, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, and donor agencies to promote the objectives of CORD.  During the summer of 2014, there will be a GROW internship, in which four students that are GlobeMed members will travel to India to implement the sanitation project and follow it through.  GlobeMed is an organization that promotes partnership, community, and sustainability.  Look out for us around campus and online!  

 

References:

 

http://globemed.org/impact/bc/

 

http://www.cord.org.in/reports.html#5

 

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/581975/Tamil-Nadu/

20 million children in Mideast to get polio vaccine after Syria outbreak

In a region that had not seen polio for nearly a decade, in the last 12 months poliovirus has been detected in sewage samples from Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip,’ WHO and UNICEF said in a statement.

Image

The UN has launched the largest-ever polio vaccination campaign in the Middle East, aiming to immunize more than 20 million children in seven countries amid an outbreak of the crippling virus in war-torn Syria, officials said on Friday.

“The polio outbreak in Syria is not just a tragedy for children; it is an urgent alarm — and a crucial opportunity to reach all under-immunized children wherever they are,” Peter Crowley, who heads the UN children’s agency’s polio division, said in a statement.

The World Health Organization last week confirmed the polio outbreak in Syria, which had been free of the disease since 1999.

The highly infectious disease affects mainly children under five and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. Some cases can be fatal.

“In a region that had not seen polio for nearly a decade, in the last 12 months poliovirus has been detected in sewage samples from Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” WHO and UNICEF said in a joint statement.

More from GlobalPost: Polio: A common enemy from Syria to Somalia (Q&A)

“It has so far left 10 children paralyzed, and poses a risk of paralysis to hundreds of thousands of children across the region,” they stressed, pointing out that Syria has seen its immunization rate plummet from more than 90 percent before the conflict began in March 2011 to 68 percent today.

The whole region will now face an intense vaccination push over the next six months, and will be on heightened alert to spot cases that may have been missed, they said.

More than 650,000 children in Syria, including 116,000 in the strife-torn northeastern Deir Ezzor province where the polio outbreak was confirmed last week, had already received emergency vaccinations, UNICEF and the WHO said.

More from GlobalPost: Red Cross leader explains how polio vaccination campaign in Syria could work

A new campaign aims to vaccinate 1.6 million children in Syria against polio, measles, mumps and rubella, while Jordan plans to immunize 3.5 million across the country, the UN agencies said, adding that some 18,800 kids had received vaccines in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp in recent days.

In Iraq, a vaccination campaign has started in the west of the country, with another pending in the Kurdistan region, while Lebanon plans to launch a nationwide vaccination push this week and Turkey and Egypt by the middle of the month.

Thanks to a global drive against polio, the virus is now endemic in just three countries:AfghanistanPakistan and Nigeria.

“Preliminary evidence indicates that the poliovirus is of Pakistani origin and is similar to the strain detected in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” Friday’s statement said.

 

original article found at: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131108/20-mn-kids-mideast-get-polio-vaccine-after-syria-outbreak 

New HIV Vaccine Proves Successful in Phase 1 Human Trial

original article found at: http://www.medicaldaily.com/new-hiv-vaccine-proves-successful-phase-1-human-trial-255439

A vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has proved successful in a Phase 1 clinical trial with no adverse effects in human patients, Sumagen Canada Inc. and Western University of Ontario announced today. The vaccine, which was developed by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang and his team, is the first genetically modified, whole-killed vaccine to be approved for testing in humans.

“We are now prepared to take the next steps towards Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials,” stated Jung-Gee Cho, the CEO of Sumagen Co. Ltd., in a press release. “We are opening the gate to pharmaceutical companies, government, and charity organization for collaboration to be one step closer to the first commercialized HIV vaccine.”

Human Testinghiv-curt
The clinical trial, which evaluated safety, tolerability, and immune responses, was initiated in March 2012 and completed in August 2013. The study of the vaccine, known as SAV001-H, followed intramuscular administration in HIV-infected, asymptomatic men and women, 18 to 50 years of age. The trial studied the vaccine’s effects on volunteers as compared to a placebo group.

After receiving the vaccination, volunteers visited test sites on weeks four, six, 12, 18, 26, and 52 for a general physical examination as well as analysis of clinical chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis. Researchers observed no serious adverse events and also found a surprising boost in antibody production, which may forecast success in Phase 2 trials measuring immune response.

The antibody against p24 capsid antigen increased as much as 64-fold in some vaccinees while the antibody against gp120 surface antigen increased up to eight-fold. P24 is a structural protein that makes up most of the HIV viral core also known as the ‘capsid.’ High levels of p24 are present in the blood serum of newly infected individuals during the short period between infection and seroconversion, making p24 antigen assays useful in diagnosing primary HIV infection. A glycoprotein, gp120, is necessary for attachment to cell surface receptors and also allows for the HIV virus to enter cells.

The increased antibody titers were maintained during the 52-week study period.

Production
SAV001-H, which was produced at a manufacturing facility in the U.S., is the only HIV vaccine developed in Canada and one of only a few in the world. Sumagen anticipates having the first HIV vaccine approved for market. HIV currently affects more than 34 million people who live with the virus worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Over the past three decades, HIV has claimed more than 25 million lives.

Since the virus was characterized in 1983, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions around the world have attempted, yet consistently failed, to develop a vaccine. What is unique about Kang’s vaccine is its use of a killed-whole HIV-1, which is similar to the vaccines developed for polio, influenza, and rabies. HIV-1 is also genetically engineered; this raises its safety profile and the possibility of it being produced in large quantities.

Sumagen is a member of Curo Group, a Seoul-based company with subsidiaries or affiliates in financial services, information technology, and other business areas. Sumagen has secured patents for the SAV001 vaccine in more than 70 countries, including the U.S., the European Union, China, India, and South Korea.

Development of Sumagen’s HIV vaccine has been supported by the government of Canada as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

image found at: http://www.techyville.com/2013/03/news/14-people-have-been-functionally-cured-of-hiv/

Global Health to the BC Student

A huge factor that influenced me to attend Boston College was its dedication to social justice and the student body’s motivation to understand the root causes of social justice issues. The speaker at my information session even gave a little speech about the importance of social justice in our lives as college students! And now upon attending BC, I realize that the strive to achieve social justice through volunteer work and fundraising is actually competitive. Students at Boston College strive to achieve this Jesuit ideal, one that is devoted to examining how equality and justice is spread among various social classes.
The “root causes” of social justice issues are based around a lot of aspects, such as education and government; however, one aspect that is especially important to me as a nursing student, and GlobeMed at BC, is global health. Health simply is a basic human right, yet people in poverty are deprived of it on a daily basis. Many die from easily preventable and treatable diseases. The World Health Organization states that with the spread of awareness and action taken already, social and economic conditions in developing countries are improving, influencing their health and surveillance systems. However, citizens are still highly at risk for non-communicable diseases– chronic diseases like cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Education of these health issues, in addition to continuing the improvement of dealing with infectious disease, is imperative.
We, as students of Boston College, are fortunate to have access to health care and an education so we know how to prevent diseases and infections. It should therefore be are responsibility to help those who are not as fortunate. GlobeMed focuses on the root of health causes in order to build a foundation on medical care, nutritious food, sanitary water, and health. One simple way you can begin to help achieve equality for health is by supporting GlobeMed!

Other ways to help achieve Global health equity:

–Volunteer at a hospital nearby!

http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/offices/service/serviceopp/Databasetest.html

–Look into the Medical Humanities minor at BC

http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/medhumanities.html

–Educate yourself. Browse the GlobeMed website and read articles from their “reading list” on link below

http://globemed.org/get-involved/readinglist/