Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.
More than five million children around the world die before the age of five from infectious diseases like pneumonia, malaria and measles, and scientist John Aitchison wants to talk to journalists about his work to reverse that trend.
“We can help journalists with the significance or size of an issue and provide understanding of why a disease is hard to cure or treat,” says Aitchison, whose organization, the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) announced plans in July 2018 to merge with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Continue reading →
Andy Miller (@gahealthnews) is the editor and publisher of the nonprofit Georgia Health News. The former health care reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a member of AHCJ's board of directors and leads the association's Atlanta chapter.
Members of the Atlanta chapter of AHCJ heard a fascinating talk about the CDC’s global reach from Ron Ballard, associate director for laboratory science for the agency’s Center for Global Health.
Ballard, who has traveled extensively in coordinating international lab activities for the CDC, told about 20 journalists at a Sept. 10 meeting that the agency is working in dozens of countries on activities ranging from disease detection and immunizations to programs fighting HIV/AIDS. Continue reading →
The guide devotes sections to diseases/issues (HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Maternal and Child Health, Water-Related Diseases, Food Insecurity), U.S. funding of global health efforts (Obama’s Global Health Initiative), relevant policy issues and policymaking. It also catalogues and explains related multinational and NGO efforts and lists news-making events.
The Associated Press has neatly wrapped up its wide-ranging look at drug resistance and the threat it poses to global health into a flash-based multimedia presentation. The presentation consists of stories, infographics, videos and a photo/audio slideshow.
The two videos explain drug-resistant strains of various infectious diseases. The first looks at the wide availability of powerful antibiotics without guidance or prescription, addresses the problem as it has emerged both in the United States and in locales like Mexico and the Philippines. The second, which is about the use of antibiotics in large-scale livestock operations, relies on just one source, Dr. Craig Rowles of Elite Pork Partnership.
The AP uses infographics to establish the spread and scope of the problem, relying heavily on various world maps. I particularly like the timeline that accompanies the malaria graphic (click “statistics” in the upper right, then “malaria”); it shows the span of time from when each malaria-fighting drug was introduced to the date at which a resistant strain emerged.
Finally, they drive the problem home with three strong anecdotes, including a Southeast Asian boy with drug-resistant malaria, a man fighting the drug-resistant tuberculosis that killed his HIV-positive partner, and a woman who lost an infant daughter to MRSA.
As much as 50-60 per cent of anti-infective medicines tested in Asia and Africa have been found to have insufficient amounts of the active ingredients. Medicines with low levels of active ingredients pose a greater hazard than those with none, because substandard antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs can promote the development of drug resistant strains, or “super bugs” that can spread beyond the region.
The UN report calls for immediate action, including the naming, shaming and banning of companies producing the faux pills and stronger government regulatory efforts.