💊 African alliance against zoonoses; More ADB support for health in Indonesia; WHO’s mRNA vaccine tech report
#493 | Neurons behind lost sleep; Protein behind pregnancy puking; OPEC behind lack of phaseout mention
Hello, and welcome back to The Kable. Remember Covid? That pesky little pandemic-causing illness that the world wants to believe is over? Well, it's still around. And the WHO has things to say on what lineage of it Covid vaccines should target.
Not that this needed saying, but the UN says the public health situation in Gaza is approaching disaster levels.
The Investing in Innovation Africa (i3) initiative, funded by the Gates Foundation, among others, is seeking applications from early and growth-stage health tech innovators in Africa to join its second cohort. The program offers financial support, commercialisation assistance, and access to a network of partners, with a particular focus on women-led companies and those in Francophone regions, aiming to enhance healthcare supply chains across the continent.
On the PATH blog, they're talking to Derrick Mimbe, the technical leader for PATH's IDDS project in Uganda, and Dr Laura Lydia Adong, a veterinarian and lab manager working with the Mbale District government, to discuss their perspectives on the USAID-funded infectious disease initiatives in Uganda and its significance for the health of humans, animals, and the environment. A read well worth your time.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has announced his administration's commitment to prioritising Nigeria's health sector through significant investments and increased funding, as highlighted in the proposed 2024 budget. This declaration was made during the unveiling of Nigeria’s Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative, which aims to mobilise about $2.5 billion between 2024-2026 to enhance the primary health system, with contributions from external partners and the government, marking a step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
Universal Health Coverage can't come too soon to Nigeria, where an ongoing - and seemingly perennial - rise in drug costs has been accompanied by an unprecedented increase in fake and substandard drugs, challenging the regulatory capabilities of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The agency faces severe limitations due to inadequate staff, poor funding, and insufficient post-market surveillance, making it difficult to effectively regulate and police the over 58,000 registered products and rampant drug markets, despite the urgent need to combat the growing public health menace of counterfeit medicines.
The first death from mpox has been reported in Japan. The man in his thirties was co-infected with HIV.
Less than a month after pumping in $350 million into Indonesia's health transformation programme, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is back with $650 million in funding for upgrading the country's healthcare facilities and labs.
The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund has announced an investment of $8.8 million to develop medicines to treat malaria and Chagas disease.
And finally, Big Tech continues to (stealthily) expand its footprint in healthcare. The latest (stealthy) announcement is Google's recent introduction of MedLM, a suite of healthcare-focused generative AI models aimed at enhancing clinical and medical research workflows. Built on Google’s Med-PaLM 2 system, MedLM offers two models: a large model for complex tasks requiring extensive knowledge and in-depth analysis, and a medium model optimized for real-time applications and integration into clinical workflows. The large model can answer medical questions and generate medical summarisations, while the medium model is designed to streamline tasks across various specialities and is particularly effective in summarising clinician-patient conversations.