News in Brief

Dräger Academy opens in Dubai

The Dräger Academy has been launched in the Middle East region, in Dubai, where the first accredited Dräger Academy training program in Mechanical Ventilation and Acute Respiratory Failure – attended by more than 20 physicians from the region – took place in February. “I’m pleased that we at Dräger have the chance to improve and optimize the regional healthcare knowledge by offering interesting training programs with the Dräger Academy,” said Michael Karsta, president of Dräger Middle East, Africa.

Journal of Local and Global Health Science published on QScience.com

The Journal of Local and Global Health Science has published volume 2013 on QScience.com, the digital publishing portal for research journals. The Journal of Local and Global Health Science is a peer-reviewed international journal which publishes research on all aspects of both basic and applied research related to global health practiced in specific local environments, as well as the implications of local health issues in a global context. All content in the journal is ‘open access’. The journal accepts submissions in English and Arabic. www.qscience.com

H7N9 influenza infections continue in China

As of 23 April the number of infections from the novel H7N9 avian flu virus in China had risen to 108 cases including 22 deaths. Investigations into the possible sources of infection and reservoirs of the virus were ongoing. WHO said that until the source could be identified more infections were expected. At the time of the report the WHO said that so far there was no sign of sustained human-tohuman transmission.
 


WHO report on road traffic safety says political will needed to prevent fatalities

Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on all five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints.

The pace of legislative change needs to rapidly accelerate if the number of deaths from road traffic crashes is to be substantially reduced, according to the Global status report on road safety 2013: supporting a decade of action, published 14 March by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2010, there were 1.24 million deaths worldwide from road traffic crashes, roughly the same number as in 2007. The report shows that while 88 Member States were able to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities, that number increased in 87 countries.

“Political will is needed at the highest level of government to ensure appropriate road safety legislation and stringent enforcement of laws by which we all need to abide,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “If this cannot be ensured, families and communities will continue to grieve, and health systems will continue to bear the brunt of injury and disability due to road traffic crashes.”

“The Global status report on road safety 2013 serves as a strong warning to governments that more needs to be done to protect all those who use the roads,” says Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City, whose foundation funded the report. “Road traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable. This report is an important next step in the effort to also keep pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safe on the world’s roads. It demonstrates that progress is being made, but we still have a long way to go.”

Mandated by the United Nations General Assembly, the Decade of Action is a historic opportunity for countries to stop and reverse the trend which – without action – has been predicted to lead to the loss of around 1.9 million lives on the roads each year by 2020.



Global Fund says $1.9bn available over next two years

After spending more than a year reviewing and reforming its grant process, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is back in business, announcing the first handful of countries slated to receive up to US$1.9 billion in available funding over the next two years.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Zimbabwe are among the six countries set to receive funding under the Global Fund’s new model, the Fund announced on 28 February.

With up to nearly two billion dollars available between now and 2014, El Salvador, Kazakhstan and the Philippines, will also receive new funding, including access to an incentive funding pool aimed at fostering ambitious, high-impact and co-funded interventions.

According to the Fund, countries were selected for financing this year based, in part, on whether they would face an interruption of services without new funding and whether they were currently being underfunded based on levels set by the new model.

The new model, part of the many reforms, has introduced a system in which countries are grouped into bands based on a calculation of financial need and disease burden.

In awarding the new funding, the Global Fund board also chose geographically diverse countries as well as non-traditional applicants. It is looking to use these new grants as a learning opportunity, according to the new executive director, Mark Dybul.

“The new funding model gives us a special chance to learn and adapt,” he said. “During this year, we will monitor various aspects of the new funding model process so that we can adapt in real time. We are a learning institution, and we will gain insight and knowledge as we work together.”

Historically, the Fund has only accepted applications from country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs), or the bodies in charge of national Global Fund processes. The Fund has now chosen to fund civil society proposals as well, including those by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network, a group that deals with the underserved needs of injecting drug users.

According to Global Fund board documents, the Fund will be paying particular attention to how the new model improves services for underserved, most-at-risk populations like injecting drug users.

An additional 50 countries, including Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia, will receive money via renewals and the extension of existing grants, or grant reprogramming, to free up already committed funding.



First Global Vaccine Summit highlights progress towards vaccinating every child

More than 300 global leaders, health and development experts, vaccinators, celebrities, philanthropists, and business leaders gathered in Abu Dhabi on 24 April in the first Global Vaccine Summit to endorse the critical role that vaccines and immunization play in giving children a healthy start to life. Despite tremendous progress, one child still dies every 20 seconds from preventable diseases like pneumonia, rotavirus, measles, and meningitis.

The Summit, which focused on the power of vaccines, was held during World Immunization Week (April 24-30) to continue the momentum of the Decade of Vaccines – a vision and commitment to reach all people with the vaccines they need. Ending polio is a critical milestone in this vision.

Immunization reaches 80% of the world’s children, saving 2.5 million lives annually. Despite these successes, 23 million children are still being missed each year, mostly from the poorest, most vulnerable communities. To reach the unimmunized, the United Nations and its partners support vaccine procurement and distribution mechanisms, strengthen local health systems, help to secure sustainable funding for immunization, and advocate to reduce inequalities in access to essential vaccines and other life-saving interventions.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered a keynote to celebrate progress and honour the individuals, communities, partners and nations that have made success possible. “

Vaccines work to save lives and protect children for a lifetime,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “By investing in stronger immunization systems, we can protect our gains against polio and reach mothers and children with other health services.”

The world is coming together around the Global Vaccine Action Plan, endorsed by nearly 200 countries in May 2012, to develop better and more affordable vaccines and deliver them through stronger routine immunization systems. If we succeed, we can save more than 20 million lives and prevent nearly one billion illnesses by 2020. This will save nearly $12 billion in treatment costs and achieve more than $800 billion in economic gains as vaccinated children live longer, healthier, more productive lives.

“The Global Vaccine Summit is an historic gathering of global leaders and innovators whose collaboration can have a significant and positive impact on ensuring a healthy global society. Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, we remain committed to supporting the delivery of lifesaving vaccines to children around the world,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Immunization is one of the most costeffective ways to prevent disease and safeguard young lives,” said UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon. “The global success so far in fighting polio shows how far we can advance. Our great progress came thanks to an international alliance of partners. Today, we have a window of opportunity to end polio forever.”

The Global Vaccine Summit was held in partnership with His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



Islamic Development Bank partners with GAVI to speed up vaccination

The GAVI Alliance and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 12 March at the IDB Headquarters to help save children’s lives by accelerating the introduction of life-saving vaccines in IDB member countries.

According to the MoU signed between Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President, IDB Group, and Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI, the IDB will work closely with GAVI to help secure sufficient funds for immunization. By 2020, GAVI plans to vaccinate more than 400 million children in at least 29 member countries with the objective of preventing 3.2 million deaths. An estimated US$7 billion will be required to reach this target.

“We are joining hands with the IDB to accelerate the introduction of life-saving vaccines in IDB member countries and ensure that children have a healthy start in life,” said Dr Seth Berkley. “We also aim to increase the uptake of new and underused vaccines in these countries and hopefully generate new sources of funding.”

On the occasion, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali stated that promoting health is among the major strategic thrusts of the Vision 1440H (2020) of the IDB Group and that it was happy to enter into a cooperation agreement with GAVI to save the lives of millions of children in member countries, thereby playing a major role against child mortality. He mentioned that in the initial stage, IDB will try to support the governments of selected member countries to implement the vaccination programme through its “triple win financing model” in which it will seek collaboration with other partners while also providing the recipient countries the opportunity to contribute a portion of the cost along with IDB. This kind of tripartite partnership will ensure country ownership as well as sustainability of funding in the long term.



MSF says cost of vaccines too high

Coinciding with the Global Vaccines Summit in Abu Dhabi in April, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that high prices for new vaccines could put developing countries in the precarious situation of not being able to afford to fully vaccinate their children in the future.

“Urgent action is needed to address the skyrocketing price to vaccinate a child, which has risen by 2,700 percent over the last decade,” said Dr Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Countries where we work will lose their donor support to pay for vaccines soon, and will have to decide which killer diseases they can and can’t afford to protect their children against.”

The ‘Decade of Vaccines,’ the global vaccination initiative for the next ten years, is estimated to cost US$57 billion, with more than half going to pay for the vaccines themselves. In 2001, it cost $1.37 to fully vaccinate a child against six diseases. While 11 vaccines are included in today’s vaccines package, the total price has risen to $38.80, largely because two expensive new vaccines – against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus – have been added, which make up three-quarters of that cost. They are only produced by Pfizer, Glaxo- SmithKline (GSK), and Merck. Newer vaccines are significantly more expensive: vaccinating a child against measles costs $0.25, while protecting a child against pneumococcal diseases costs, at best, $21.

MSF vaccinates millions of people each year and fully supports the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries. But negotiations between companies and the largely taxpayer-funded GAVI Alliance for the newest vaccines have not resulted in deeper price cuts that would help more children benefit. The lack of transparency by companies on vaccine manufacturing costs and their focus on profits above ensuring sustainable prices for vaccines for low-income countries are at the root of the problem, MSF said in statement.

GAVI has recently announced a new deal to reduce the price of pentavalent vaccine. This is an excellent example of what GAVI can achieve, especially when there are multiple vaccine manufacturers in a market and healthy competition. GAVI should urgently prioritise further negotiations for the two newest and most expensive vaccines and pharmaceutical companies should come to the table to offer GAVI better deals, said MSF.. Worldwide Cardiac Assist Devices market set to grow by 93% by 2019, says GlobalData

A global increase in Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) prevalence, combined with improved device adoption rates, will see the worldwide Cardiac Assist Devices (CAD) market to grow by 93% by 2019, says the latest report produced by research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to the company’s new report, CAD sales are expected to reach a value of US$2.3 billion in 2019, climbing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.8% from US$1.1 billion in 2012.

The CAD market, comprising Intra- Aortic Balloon Pumps (IABP), Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) and Total Artificial Hearts (TAH), is expected to experience increasing revenue due to a lack of available of heart transplants combined with an expanding population suffering from end-stage heart failure. GlobalData estimates the global CHF population to reach approximately 31 million in 2019, from 2012’s total of 25 million.

Rob Littlefield, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Cardiovascular Medical Devices, says: “While the prevalence of end-stage congestive heart failure continues to grow, transplantation procedure volumes have remained the same for more than a decade, providing the majority of patients with few options for treatment.

“Furthermore, as a result of significant advances in mechanical pump safety and efficacy, many patients are now looking to CAD implantation in lieu of waiting on the donor list for a heart transplantation, which could take years.”

VAD is expected to remain the most profitable sector of the CAD market in coming years, driven largely by the adoption of intracorporeal VAD, including Heartware’s HVAD and Thoratec’s HeartMate II. VAD sector revenue growth is expected to be further supported by increased implementation of CAD in healthier patients, whose condition has not progressed to a point of necessitating heart transplantation.

Additionally, with the advent of percutaneous technologies enabling minimally invasive cardiac support, CAD are being increasingly implemented in patients where surgery is not preferable or not an option. Taking these factors into consideration, GlobalData forecasts the VAD portion of the global CAD market to reach revenue of US$1.9 billion by 2019 from US$635m in 2012.


 

                                  
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