Healthy Dose February 3, 2012

New Study: Global Malaria Deaths Much Higher than Previously Thought


A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and published in the Lancet shows that Malaria has killed more than 1.2 million people a year. That is nearly 50% above previous estimates. The Daily Star reports:

But there is also good news: deaths from the mosquito-borne disease have in fact been falling sharply thanks to access to better drugs and insecticide-treated nets.

Published in The Lancet on Friday, the study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle, says malaria killed at least 1.2 million people worldwide in 2010.

The estimate will be a likely shock for health policymakers. Only last September the UN-backed Roll Back Malaria (RBM) calculated mortality in 2009 at 781,000.

The higher figure, say the US researchers, derives from wider and more reliable data, including use of a technique called “verbal autopsy”.

Under this, investigators interview relatives of someone who has recently died in order to help pinpoint the cause of death. In many poor countries which lack medical infrastructure, mortality is often poorly probed or misidentified.

The new study skewers the belief that the overwhelming majority of malaria deaths occur among the under-fives.

In 2010, more than 78,000 children aged five to 14, and more than 445,000 aged 15 or older, died of malaria, together accounting for 42 percent of the total.

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An Interview with WEF Founder & Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab

KATE ROBERTS: You have brought some of the most influential people together through the World Economic Forum, and about seven years ago you formed the Young Global Leaders. Why did you decide to start the Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers programs?

Prof. KLAUS SCHWAB: Fifty percent of the global population is less than 27 years old. It was very interesting that when I created the Young Global Leaders, it was difficult to find people who were already in very responsible positions below the age of 40. That has changed dramatically, which shows the age of leaders is coming down. Our Young Global Leaders are usually between 30 and 40, and we have to capture the energy and the spirit of those who are between 20 and 30. That was the reason for the creation of the Global Shapers.

KR: Much of your work in philanthropy focuses on social entrepreneurship. How can the Global Shapers become social entrepreneurs within your definition of the term?

KS: Social entrepreneurship has to be seen in a much wider way today. What we need to do is engineer society to move from a basis of self-interest toward a basis of serving society. What we want to do with the Global Shapers is to stimulate young leaders to be much more engaged into society on the local level, but through the Forum also on a global level.

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Healthy Dose February 2, 2012

Top UN Humanitarian Official Visits Sudan Crisis Zone

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos is in Sudan to visit the embattled states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. She expressed her concerns about the humanitarian situation as fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people since September.

USG Valerie Amos“South Sudan faces significant challenges, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced in 2011, people returning from Sudan and refugees from the ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan,” said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

“In addition, conflict, poverty, and increasing food insecurity are having a major humanitarian impact. The people of South Sudan need our support,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, when she met with met with representatives from aid agencies in Juba, the capital.


A relatively small number of aid organizations are dealing with about 30 simultaneous emergency operations in the vast and remote country prone to inter-ethnic conflict and insecurity. Aid workers briefed Ms. Amos on their efforts to distribute aid in Jonglei state, the scene of inter-communal clashes in late December and early last month.

“I am concerned about the scope and magnitude of the violence communities have inflicted on each other in Jonglei, as well as about the conflict between rebel militias and the army that has killed, wounded and displaced so many,” said Ms. Amos.

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What’s different at Davos

The following post is by Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI, and originally appears in the Washington Post Davos Blog.

There were two promising agendas discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum, where global finance and business leaders rub elbows every January, with some social entrepreneurs and NGOs like mine thrown in the mix.

First, the population taboo was broken.

At panel discussions around the planet’s 7 billion population threshold and environmental sustainability questions, participants are slowly but steadily finding ways to talk about an issue that for too long has been considered off-limits in gatherings like this.

Meeting the unmet need for modern contraception on the part of women around the world is understood to be important, vitally important, to the trajectory the world’s population takes during the next several decades.

Are we heading toward 8 billion by mid-century? Or 10.5 billion? Not only is that difference significant, it is also something we can do things about. Demography is not destiny, necessarily. Nor is a planet with more than 10 billion inhabitants inevitable.

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Getting to zero new HIV infections in Zambia

The following post is by Dr. Mannasseh Phiri, Country Representative in Zambia for PSI. Mannasseh writes a weekly column in the Sunday Post in his personal capacity and originally appears in Zambia’s Sunday Post. During the lead up to (and for a few days after) World AIDS Day (WAD) 2011, I appeared on 3 radio stations and […]

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Healthy Dose February 1, 2012

India Has Massive Health Disparity Between Girls and Boys

New data reveals a significant gap between young boys and girls when it comes to health in India. The Times of India reports:

Bonda girl - Orissa-IndiaInfant (0-1 years) and child (1-5 years) mortality are declining in India and across the world, though not as fast as was hoped in India. Simultaneously, most of the world is experiencing a faster fall in female infant and child mortality than in male, on account of well established biological factors which make girls better survivors of early infancy given equal access to resources. The world’s two most populous countries, however, buck this trend.

Newly released United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs ( UN-DESA) data for 150 countries over 40 years shows that India and China are the only two countries in the world where female infant mortality is higher than male infant mortality in the 2000s. In China, there are 76 male infant deaths for every 100 female infant deaths compared with 122 male infant deaths for every 100 female infant deaths in the developing world as a whole.

The released data has found that India has a better infant mortality sex ratio than China, with 97 male infant deaths for every 100 female, but this is still not in tune with the global trend, or with its neighbours Sri Lanka (125) or Pakistan (120).

When it comes to the child mortality sex ratio, however, India is far and away the world’s worst. In the 2000s, there were 56 male child deaths for every 100 female, compared with 111 in the developing world. This ratio has got progressively worse since the 1970s in India, even as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Iraq improved.

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Kate Roberts: Thoughts on Young Leaders and Private-Public Partnerships

While at at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, PSI’s Kate Roberts took some time to make a pair of videos on topics that she believes to be important.  In the first, she shares her vision of how public-private partnerships can bring about more effective change in the world. In the second video, Kate is inspired by the young leaders who are taking part in the Global Shapers program.

Check out the videos!

Public-Private Partnerships

Key quote: “Use private sector strategies to build markets and to deliver healthcare and behavior change communications to those people who really need it the most”

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Davos ‘dates’: The power of partnership for global health

The following post is by Kate Roberts, Vice President – Corporate Marketing, Communications and Advocacy, and originally appears on the Washington Post Davos blog.

The 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has concluded.  Today, I returned to Washington, put away my snow boots, and began the process of sorting through hundreds of business cards.  It was an exhausting week, but I landed at Dulles energized by the collaborative ideas and commitments generated at this year’s Forum – particularly with regards to global health.

Davos is a bit like corporate speed dating. As a representative for my global health nonprofit, PSI, I sat down for numerous 30 minute “dates” with corporate leaders from around the world. Like any first date, each was an opportunity to evaluate if/how a partnership would work – Do we have similar or complementary interests? Are our values the same? We both came to the table interested in increasing our bottom lines.  For organizations like PSI, that line is measured by health impact and lives saved.  For corporations, the bottom line is opening new markets, developing a new consumer base, and being a good global neighbor.

At the end, it was profoundly clear that we could achieve both goals by working together.

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Healthy Dose January 31, 2012

Humanitarian Space Shrinks Even Further in Somalia

The Islamist group announced that it is banning one of the few humanitarian groups still operating in Somalia. AFP reports:

The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab said in a statement it had “decided to fully terminate the contract” of the ICRC, claiming it had handed out outdated food and had “falsely accused the mujahideen of hindering food distribution.”

Hardline Shebab gunmen control large parts of south and central Somalia, a region the United Nations says is in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with three areas hit by famine and nearly 250,000 people facing starvation.

The ICRC had already suspended food aid to 1.1 million people in southern and central Somalia earlier this month due to obstruction by local militia, including in Shebab-controlled regions.

The aid suspended included food as well as seeds for farmers, and was intended to be given to the thousands struggling from years of war and the impact of a devastating drought that has ravaged Somalia since October 2010.

However, the ICRC had continued to provide emergency aid including supporting health programmes and providing clean water.

But the Shebab said the ICRC had “betrayed the trust” of the insurgents, and said it had set fire to “nearly 2,000 metric tons of expired ICRC rations intended for distribution.”

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Does PSI Kate Roberts Have Moves Like Jagger?

Unfortunately, we won’t know for sure the answer to that question. Kate did have the chance to dance with the Rolling Stones front man while at Davos. Alas, there is no video evidence of the two doing the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Check out Kate’s Davos Diary above where she shares her favorite moment of the week. We have more videos and reflections to share from Kate and CEO Karl Hofmann over the next two days.  Stay tuned!

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