Five billion liters
Recently in Malawi, UNC and Procter & Gamble shared the 5 billionth liter of drinking water cleaned by P&G’s Purifier of Water technology. The moment was captured by a team of UNC students with Students of the World, an organization driven by the belief that progress is being made every day across the globe in even the most dire of situations and that these stories need to be told. With funding from the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, the students traveled to Malawi to document P&G’s efforts with UNC and other partners in the region.
Research ethics in Africa
Biomedical research is increasingly being outsourced to developing countries, raising concerns about the potential for exploitation of vulnerable populations. In response, UNC researchers are spearheading projects to cultivate a culture of bioethics in several African countries.
Many of the drugs entering the market today have been tested and refined through trials in developing countries. Although conducting science abroad can have both scientific and societal benefits, this growing trend also poses challenges for ensuring research is conducted ethically and responsibly.
‘Breakthrough of the Year’
The HIV Prevention Trials Network 052 study, led by IGHID director Myron Cohen, MD, has been named the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year by the journal Science. HPTN 052 evaluated whether antiretroviral drugs can prevent sexual transmission of HIV among couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not. The research found that early treatment with antiretroviral therapy reduced HIV transmission in couples by at least 96 percent.
(Photo: Science, Dec. 23, 2011. Reprinted with permission from AAAS)
UNC’s New Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program
Medical students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will have the opportunity to put their emergency training into practice while also helping developing nations improve their own emergency services programs. The new Emergency Medicine Global Health and Leadership Program at the UNC School of Medicine is offering fellowships for emergency medicine physicians to work, conduct research and build emergency services capacity in developing countries.
The Malawi Surgical Initiative
Carol Shores, MD, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. She works with the UNC Head and Neck Cancer Program and is pursuing her virology research interests, maintaining an active clinical practice at UNC and training surgical residents in Malawi with the Malawi Surgical Initiative (MSI). She works in Malawi with UNC Project.
Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Carolina responds
The Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. As a result, crops are failing, livestock are dying and food prices are skyrocketing. As many as 12 million people across four countries—Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti—are threatened with starvation. In collaboration with the Gillings School of Global Public Health, we recently sat down with several UNC experts – all in different fields – to talk about the current crisis, its history, context, and what people can do to help.
NEW! Global Travel Registry
UNC faculty and students study, research and work around the world, sometimes in challenging locations or during unexpected crises. Now, thanks to the work of a task force formed by the Office of the Provost, the university is launching the UNC Global Travel Registry, which allows members of the UNC community to provide information about trips abroad so that UNC can contact them and better assist them as needed. All students traveling abroad will be required to register their university-related trips in the online registry.
Photo essay: UNC at IAS
Earlier this summer, a large UNC delegation traveled to Rome, Italy for the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, the world’s largest open scientific conference on HIV/AIDS. UNC faculty and students presented more than 50 abstracts. Many conference attendees were especially anticipating the late-breaker session presenting the results from HPTN 052. The complete list of UNC abstracts is below (UNC authors are underlined).
Progress in AIDS Battle
A UNC-led research study has made a major discovery in efforts to halt the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The large international clinical trial, led by Myron S. Cohen, M.D., has found that treating HIV-infected individuals with antiretroviral therapy while their immune systems are still strong significantly reduces the risk of their sexual partners contracting the virus.
Poverty, Politics, Potable Water
As a student trained in journalism, oral history and ethnography, I usually feel capable of conducting interviews and entering into conversations with people whom I don’t know. As a daughter of two foreign-born parents, I have been fortunate to travel around the world and live in a diverse range of communities. But as I stood with my fellow UNC student documentarians outside of a Maasai hut in rural Tanzania, I knew that even with my training and background, this project would be a complicated and challenging adventure.
UNC Chancellor visits Malawi
UNC researchers began working in Malawi more than 20 years ago. Since then, the relationship has deepened as faculty and students help tackle challenges such as HIV, malaria and a lack of basic health infrastructure.
Little Hearts, Big Dreams
In a world of 6 billion people and myriad cultures, few things can truly be said to be universal. The everyday sounds of children, however, are among them.
Around the world, the melodic tones of children playing, the uneven rhythm of a toddler’s steps, and the insistent call of an infant crying cross all barriers imposed by nations, language or culture. These sounds also seem to embody the wish that all parents have for their children: to be healthy and grow up to live long and happy lives.
A Partnership for Health
In the spring, the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases collaborated with Global Health TV to make a short film about UNC’s partnership with Malawi. Highlighting the work of UNC Project-Malawi, a research, training and care program in Lilongwe, Malawi, the film “premiered” at the annual meeting of the Global Health Council in June in Washington, DC. In the video, you will see how UNC is building local health workforce capacity to educate and deliver critical services to pregnant women. . .
Global Health is Public Health
Last year, in The Lancet, Jeffrey Koplan and colleagues1 provided a new definition for global health and proposed several distinctions between global health,international health, and public health. This attempt to distinguish differences between global health and public health conflicts with the key tenets of a global public health strategy (panel). These tenets offer the foundation of a redesigned global health system that could accomplish the optimum level of health for populations. This approach has profound implications for training, scholarship, and practice necessary to improve human health.
Maps, Mosquitoes, and Malaria
All Cameron Taylor needed was a place to sit. The nurses of the Area 18 clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi, rummaged through a closet. They brought back a metal frame with an attached bowl and a plastic toilet seat — a potty chair. Taylor perched on the potty with her laptop and got to work sifting through years of medical records. Taylor, a UNC undergrad, went to Lilongwe in the summer of 2008 to help lay the groundwork for a Phase III clinical trial of the most promising malaria vaccine to date.
Wearing the Cap and Gown
With training from UNC, nurses fill a critical health care need in Malawi.
HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc on Malawi. In this land-locked, mostly rural country of 10 million people, 15-17% of the adult population is infected with HIV. Not limited to the physical health of those who have the disease, the impact of HIV reverberates throughout all levels of society. Ironically, one of the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic is the health care system.
A remote, impoverished country in sub-Saharan Africa may not be the first place most undergraduates want to spend their summer vacation, but it was the dream destination for UNC juniors Olivia Myrick and Elizabeth Monier. The two Morehead-Cain scholars were looking for a summer enrichment experience when they heard about UNC Project-Malawi and the work the University is doing on HIV and other infectious diseases in the region. Since both women plan to go to medical school, this seemed like an ideal situation.
In Search of the Holy Grail
J. Victor Garcia-Martinez, PhD, is a compact man with a broad, inexorable smile. He is brimming with energy and seems about to jump out of the chair in his new (but still empty) office. He marvels at how the heat and humidity of a North Carolina summer can turn even a short walk across campus into an endurance test, but then he looks out the window and talks about where to go cycling in the area.
He also talks about HIV and AIDS. Specifically, he talks about curing AIDS, which he calls the “holy grail” of infectious disease medicine. Garcia-Martinez has come to Chapel Hill to find it.
UNC in Nicaragua: a forward-looking program that will “hold us accountable”
The Nicaraguan mother was frantic, her baby gasping for breath. They had been at the clinic the day before, but the antibiotics didn’t seem to be working. The clinic, staffed by UNC second-year medical student Andrew Chen and a UNC pediatric medical resident, was short on medication. A last-ditch option was to give the baby epinephrine through a nebulizer, but the electricity was out, the battery hadn’t been charged and a search for diesel fuel for the generator had been futile.
Information goes global
That building, Tidziwe Centre, was built in 2003 to accommodate UNC Project’s growing research, clinical care, and training program in the capital city of Lilongwe. A collaboration between UNC and Kamuzu Central Hospital, UNC Project was started in 1991 and has become a dynamic partnership of research and exchange in the study, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS.
I’m in a hotel room in a remote area of western China where the food is unrecognizable and the local dialect exceeds my knowledge of Chinese. There is a strange man perched on the edge of my bed with a cigarette dangling between his lips, eying me darkly. I also happen to be stark naked. I have the sinking feeling I’m about to become the subject of a “cautionary tale.”
Perhaps I should back up.