Polio outbreaks in DRC set back global efforts to eradicate the disease

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Author: Ruth Maclean
“Two separate outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set back global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease. The World Health Organisation last week said the virus had also come back in Syria. But the known cases could be just the tip of the iceberg: for every case of polio that is diagnosed, epidemiologists say there are 200 “silent infections” – people who have no symptoms but can pass the disease on to others.”
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Development of a consensus operational definition of child assent for research

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:41
Authors: Alan R Tait, Michael E Geisser
“While research participation for most children requires the permission of parent(s)/guardian(s), the bioethical principle of “respect for persons” requires that children also provide their assent to participate to the degree that they are deemed “capable of providing it,” taking into account the child’s “age, maturity, and psychological state”. While this regulatory framework is designed to allow children to express their burgeoning autonomy, foster moral growth, and develop decision-making skills, it provides absolutely no practical guidance with respect to what actually constitutes assent and which children are capable of providing it.”
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Charlie Gard’s parents make emergency appeal to European judges

The Guardian, 9 June 2017
Author: Owen Bowcott
“Established human rights law dictates that the rights of a child should take precedence over the rights of their parent, Hale stressed in her decision. “The child’s interests must prevail,” she said. Lawyers for the child’s guardian appointed by the court have argued against sending Charlie to the US, saying that the proposed treatment would be futile.”
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Italy has introduced mandatory vaccinations and other countries should follow its lead

The Conversation, 2 June 2017
Author: Alberto Giubilini
“Parents will have to provide proof of vaccination when they enrol their children in nursery or preschool. In this respect, the Italian policy follows the example of vaccination policies in the US. But there’s one crucial difference: the Italian law doesn’t allow parents to opt out on the grounds of ‘conscientious objection’.”
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Indonesia tobacco bill would open tap for ads aimed at kids, health official says

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Eveline Danubrata and Stefanno Reinard
“A proposed Indonesian tobacco law will roll back regulations to discourage smoking in a country that already has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and open the floodgates to advertising aimed at teenagers, a health ministry official said. If the bill initiated by the parliament is passed, companies will no longer have to put grim pictures on cigarette packs of lung cancer or other diseases linked to smoking. School and playground areas would be designated as “no- cigarette-smoke zones” instead of “no-cigarette zones”, which would allow cigarettes to be sold or displayed there.”
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Duterte Orders Strict Smoking Ban in Philippines, and Asks Citizens to Help

NYT, 18 May 2017
Author: Felipe Villamor
“President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a deadly campaign to eradicate drug use in the Philippines, has now ordered a strict public ban on smoking and called on citizens to help the local authorities apprehend smokers. The executive order, signed this week and made public on Thursday, forbids the use of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, in all public spaces, even sidewalks. It also prohibits anyone under 18 from “using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products.” More than a quarter of Filipinos smoke, according to a 2015 World Health Organization report, including 11 percent of minors.”
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Italy is set to make vaccinations for school children compulsory

The Independent, 16 May 2017
Author: Harriet Agerholm
“Italy is set to ban non-vaccinated children from starting state schools “by the end of next week”, according to the country’s health minister. Revealing the plan, Ms Lorenzin said the fall in vaccinations across Italy was “an emergency generated by fake news”. Cases of measles rose more than fivefold across Italy in April compared to the same month last year, according to National Health Institute figures. Health authorities issued repeated warnings over a rise of infectious diseases in the country, as a movement against vaccinations grew.”
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UK poverty has “devastating” effect on children’s health, doctors warn

BMJ, 11 May 2017
Source: BMJ 2017;357:j2285
“Poverty is damaging the health of children in the UK and must be urgently tackled by the next government. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Child Poverty Action Group, in a joint report based on an online survey of 266 paediatricians working at 90 NHS trusts in the UK, asked doctors for their views on how poverty is affecting the physical and mental health of the children they see. More than two thirds of the paediatricians surveyed said that poverty and low income contributed “very much” to ill health in children they treat.”
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Measles Outbreak Blamed on Anti-Vaccine Groups

WebMD, 9 May 2017
Source: WebMD News from HealthDay
“Vaccine skeptics are to blame for Minnesota’s largest measles outbreak in decades, health officials say. At least 48 people, nearly all children, have been infected, and 11 youngsters have been hospitalized with pneumonia and other serious complications of measles, according to the state health department. Somali immigrants have been hardest hit in the outbreak.”
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National guidelines oppose push to allow parents to choose sex of IVF babies

SMH, 20 April 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Australia’s peak medical council has knocked back a push to allow parents to choose the gender of their baby in new national guidelines. On Thursday, the NHMRC banned clinics from offering gender selection for non-medical purposes in its long-anticipated guidelines for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). But the National Health and Medical Research Council left the door open for future changes, suggesting sex selection may be ethical.”
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