Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Daily Scoop: Climate Change, Brave Youth Activists, and More

October 30, 2012

A quick roundup of the headlines that caught our eye today:

Associated Press/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi - Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Margaret Chan and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization Michel Jarraud pose for the media with the Atlas Of Health And Climate in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

1. As Hurricane Sandy reminds the United States of the changing climate, two UN agencies are mapping the intersection of climate change and global health. The World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization created the “Atlas of Health and Climate” to help prepare for and prevent disease outbreaks. While we have made great progress in preventing and treating malaria, diarrheal diseases, and malnutrition, these issues are expected to worsen with climate change.

As the Associated Press reports:

Since 2005, for example, the atlas shows that the weekly number of cases of meningitis, which is spread by bacteria and germs, has risen when the dry season hits sub-Saharan Africa, where it has killed an estimated 25,000 people over the past 10 years. And since at least 1998, there has been a strong seasonal pattern of dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes, during periods of heavy rainfall in tropical and subtropical areas, killing about 15,000 people a year.

Increased heat waves, floods, and droughts will likely have the most impact on vulnerable populations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East -- including women farmers in those areas. Population Action International has more information on climate change and global development issues.

The Scientific American is doing a live chat at 1pm ET today about Hurricane Sandy and climate change.

2. UN Dispatch identifies five incredibly brave youth activists you should know. The shooting of Malala Yousafzai got the world’s attention, but she’s not the only young person demonstrating courage in the face of violence and oppression. Read more about inspiring youth from Syria, Azerbaijan, Tibet, Spain, and Algeria at UN Dispatch.

3. Drug resistance is increasingly a problem for several diseases. Drug resistance makes it much harder to treat diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

Multi-drug resistance to TB is rising in Eastern Europe, with the former soviet states especially at risk – they have one-fifth of all drug-resistant TB cases (about 80,000 people). If a patient has drug-resistant TB, they may have to take up to 17 antibiotics, rather than four to five for regular TB cases. Many people think TB is an old-fashioned disease that disappeared years ago, but that’s not the case. Adding to this lack of awareness is the stigma around people with HIV and drug-users, the people most vulnerable to TB.

Australia is hosting a conference to discuss emerging resistance to the medicine used to treat malaria tomorrow. Drug-resistant malaria affects people primarily in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, but experts are worried that it could spread to other regions. Roll Back Malaria has more information.

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