To keep you up to date with what's happening in global health, I will now be posting biweekly round ups of the most significant and interesting news, views and events.

As we're focused on the more creative ways of story telling here at Creatology, I will include a selection of news and feature articles, blogs, pictures, data visualizations, videos and more. And don't miss quotes and photos of the week towards the end.

Global health round up: 1 - 15 October 2011


- Former U.S President Jimmy Carter and World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan have announced a new funding campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease within the next few years.

- The cholera outbreak in Central and West Africa is 'one of the worst ever', says the UN. Meanwhile, the CDC has published a report on the lessons to be learned from the outbreak in Haiti.

- A new laboratory has been set up to track, research and combat infectious diseases, such as yellow fever and dengue, in Kenya, East Africa.

- The second phase of the Millennium Villages Project has been launched but there are concerns about its sustainability in the long run.

- A new law is being passed in France to enhance greater transparency among health experts following the Mediator drug scandal but there are fears that this is a political stunt than an attempt to improve the regulatory system.

- China takes action on its antibiotic problem.

- Unregulated drug trials in South America.

- World Mental Health Day was marked on 10 October.


- The most common method of contraceptive in Africa doubles the risk of HIV infection, finds a study. Another shows that over 100,000 infections of HIV have been prevented thanks to safe-sex campaigns in India.

- Vaccine research and development should be the top priority of AIDS funding, according to a panel of Nobel-laureate economists.

- The number of TB cases is falling for the first time but there are concerns of a short fall in funding, a WHO report shows.

- Indoor air pollution, caused by primitive cooking and heating, kills 2 million people every year yet little is known about whether current interventions actually work and how they can be improved, say researchers.

Feature favourites

- HIV and aids drugs are difficult to access in many developing world countries but it is a particularly dangerous struggle for those from Pakistan's tribal regions.

- An inspiring story from Senegal to illustrate the movement across Africa to end female genital mutilation. A colourful slideshow accompanies the story.

- The Bulletin of the World Health Organization has a special theme issue on social determinants of health in the run up the World Conference on 19-21 October in Brazil.


- The BMA hosted a two day conference on global health policy in London, bringing together ministers of health and other big public health figures. Topics of discussion included the need for less bureaucracy in clincal trials.

- Europe's public health experts are not convincing governments of the importance of continued funding in health promotion and prevention during economically disadvantaged times, the European Health Forum heard.

Quote of the week

“Before you would never even dare to discuss this. It was taboo.

Now you have thousands of people coming to abandon it.”

- Mamadou Dia, governor of the Kolda region in Senegal, where a village has decided to abandon the widespread practice of female genital circumcision.

Picture of the week

World Sight Day was marked on 13 October. Here I'd like to share a slideshow of river blindness in Nigeria, Africa, produced by IRIN News.

River blindness is caused by the parasetic worm Onchocerca volvulus which is spread by the bite of an infected Simulium blackfly. It is the second leading infectious cause of blindness.

Around 270,000 people are blind because of the parasite and 500,000 have visual impairment. Almost 99% of infected persons live in Africa. Preventive measures and treatments are available but many people still don't have access to these.

The photograph above, taken from the slideshow, shows a child leading a blind woman who contracted river blindness in Aguna village, Kachia, in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.

Coming up

- World Conference on Social Determinates of Health, 19-21 October, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

- World Health Summit, Berlin, Germany, 23-26 October.

- Science Question Time - future of pharmaceutical drugs, King's College London, 25 October.

- Expanding the evidence base for HPV Vaccination in developing countries, webinar available, 31 October.

- Global Health Histories seminar on asbestos pollution, webinar available, 2 November.