WHO Director: World does not need to live with monkeypox
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, of the World Health Organization (WHO) today said many European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, were showing continued slowing of new monkeypox cases, while countries in the Americas (save for Canada) are still seeing increased case counts.
Tedros said the slowing of cases in Europe, once the epicenter of the current outbreak, is welcome news.
"There are encouraging early signs, as evidenced in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom. These signs confirm what we have said consistently since the beginning: that with the right measures, this is an outbreak that can be stopped," Tedros said. "And in regions that do not have animal-to-human transmission, this is a virus that can be eliminated."
Unlike COVID-19, which the world will have to live with for the foreseeable future, monkeypox does not have to become an accepted disease, Tedros said.
"Eliminating monkeypox needs three things: the evidence that it's possible, which we are now beginning to see; political will and commitment; and the implementation of public health measures in the communities that need them most," said Tedros.
Limited COVID healthcare tied to excess deaths in kids, moms in poor countries
COVID-19–related healthcare disruptions in the first year of the pandemic were tied to nearly 114,000 excess deaths in children and mothers in 18 low- and middle-income countries, threatening to erase years of progress, according to an international modeling study published yesterday in PLOS Medicine.
A team led by researchers from the World Bank extracted data on health-service usage from health management information systems in 18 low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East from January 2018 to June 2021.
Across all countries, all outpatient healthcare visits declined by an estimated average of 13.1%, with drops of 2.6% for maternal services and 4.6% for child services. These decreases were associated with a projected 110,686 excess deaths in children younger than 5 years and 3,276 excess deaths in mothers, representing 3.6% and 1.5% jumps in child and maternal death rates, respectively.
Healthcare usage shortfalls varied widely among countries and health services over time. The largest healthcare disruptions, linked to 27.5% of excess deaths, occurred in spring 2020. The scope of health-service disruptions was significantly associated with the strictness of lockdowns.
The researchers said the healthcare disruptions could have resulted from limited healthcare services during COVID-19 surges; shortages of workers, space, and supplies; and differences in patient behavior because of changes in public transportation, lockdowns, and fear of infection in a healthcare setting.
"This use of facility data highlights the potential, with additional investment and validation, for these systems to play an important role in monitoring the resilience of health systems during times of shock," they wrote.
In a PLOS news release, lead author Tashrik Ahmed, PhD, MPH, of the World Bank, said the study shows how the pandemic has negated years of progress in child and maternal health in vulnerable communities. "As countries tackle multiple crises that continue to restrict service delivery and utilization, these findings can help them promote effective policies to strengthen health systems and recover with greater resilience," he said.
Aug 30 PLOS Med study and news release
Study: COVID-19 vaccine incentives do not impact uptake
Small incentives to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including amounts of $10 to $50, do not meaningfully increase COVID-19 vaccination rates amongst the vaccine hesitant according to a California study. The study is published in Vaccine.
The study was conducted in mid-to-late 2021, after vaccines were widely and easily available across California. Researchers targeted 2,701 unvaccinated members of a Medicaid managed care plan in California and randomly assigned them to different public health messages, $10 or $50 financial incentives for vaccination, a simple vaccination appointment scheduler, or control (no intervention). At the time of the study, roughly 30% of Medicaid recipients in California were unvaccinated.
None of the interventions influenced or increased vaccination rates.
"Although some public health messages increased vaccination intentions, none of the interventions meaningfully changed COVID-19 vaccination rates among the vaccine hesitant," the authors said.
Moreover, the authors found offering financial incentives had perverse effects on intention to vaccination among Trump supporters and those 40 and older.
Aug 30 Vaccine study