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April 22, 2014

A New Edition of International Journal for Quality in Health Care is Available

International Journal for Quality in Health Care (Volume 26, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Standardization in patient safety: the WHO High 5s project” by Agnès Leotsakos, et al.
  • “Physician communication behaviors from the perspective of adult HIV patients in Kenya” by Juddy Wachira, et al.
  • “Improving mental health outcomes: achieving equity through quality improvement” by Alan J. Poots, et al.

Saudi Officials See Spike in MERS Coronavirus Cases

(CNN) – Saudi health officials are stepping up efforts to fight the Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, after a recent spike in cases. Saudi Arabia confirmed more than 50 cases of the virus in the past week, at least seven of which were fatal. The Saudi Health Ministry says 13 new cases were reported Monday alone, bringing the total to 257. It is not clear why there was a sudden increase, said Dr. Abdullah Al-Asiri, assistant undersecretary at the Saudi Ministry of Health and a member of the Scientific Committee of Infectious Diseases.

A New Edition of Science, Technology & Human Values is Available

Science, Technology & Human Values (Volume 39, No. 3, May 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Genetic Testing, Birth, and the Quest for Health” by Joëlle Vailly
  • “Not Just Neoliberalism: Economization in US Science and Technology Policy” by Elizabeth Popp Berman
  • “The World’s Not Ready for This: Globalizing Selective Technologies” by Lauren Jade Martin

Made in the USA: Childless Chinese Turn to American Surrogates

(NPR) – Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China, as well as the country’s birth limits. It also guarantees their children something many wealthy Chinese want these days: a U.S. passport.

New Initiative Could Ban Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Europe

(Forbes) – Encouraged by a recent European Union court decision banning the patenting of technologies that use human embryonic stem cells, a group of pro-life organizations has launched an initiative which, if it passes, will cut funding of embryonic stem cell research in the E.U.

April 21, 2014

Iran Considers Ban on Vasectomies in Drive to Boost Birthrate

(The Guardian) – Iran’s parliament is seeking a ban on vasectomies and a tightening of abortion rules as the country moves away from its progressive laws on family planning in an attempt to increase the birthrate. Two decades after Iran initiated an effective birth control programme, including subsidised male sterilisation surgeries and free condom distribution, the country is to make a U-turn. Last year the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle.

April 17, 2014

WHO Issues New Guidelines to Ensure Contraception as a Human Right

(JAMA, by subscription) – The World Health Organization (WHO) released a set of guidelines on how countries can provide better information on contraception and easier access to services in ways that ensure the respect and protection of women’s human rights. The WHO estimates that 222 million girls and women who do not want to get pregnant are not using any method of contraception. The girls and women who are most in need of modern contraception include adolescents, those living in poor or rural areas, individuals living with HIV, and internally displaced people. The need is of particular concern where women are at high risk of maternal mortality.

April 16, 2014

UK ‘Has Fewer Hospital Beds Per Person Than Most European Countries’

(The Guardian) – There are fewer hospital beds per person in Britain than most other European countries, with less than half the number of many, a report has found. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK had three hospital beds per 1,000 people in 2011, with Ireland having the same number. This was far behind the majority of other countries on the continent, with Germany having 8.3 per 1,000 people, Austria 7.7, Hungary 7.2, Czech Republic 6.8 and Poland 6.6.

China Bans Genetic Testing

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – For nearly a half-century, interrupted only by the Cultural Revolution, China promoted the growth of genetic testing to prevent and address birth defects through state-run hospitals, as well as charities and increasingly in recent years, private enterprises. Then in February, China reversed course. The China Food and Drug Administration posted a new regulation that immediately banned genetic testing—even previously approved services “including prenatal genetic testing, gene sequencing technology-related products, and cutting-edge products and technologies.”

April 15, 2014

GlaxoSmithKline Faces Bribery Allegations in Poland

(The Guardian) – GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of bribing doctors to prescribe its medicines in Europe. The UK-based drug company, which has faced claims of corruption in China and Iraq, has been accused over its alleged behaviour in Poland. A former sales representative for the company told the BBC’s Panorama programme, which airs on Monday night, that reps paid doctors to boost prescriptions there.

Fertility Tourism: Couples Desperate for a Baby Heading Overseas

(The New Zealand Herald) – As a result of the 2002 law, lower costs, increasing medical infrastructure and the availability of surrogates, the country has emerged as a hotspot for this type of fertility tourism. International surrogacy, also legal in the United States, Thailand, the Ukraine and at least one state in Mexico, is a growing trend for couples and singles, both gay and straight, seeking ways to overcome the hurdles biological, technological, financial, and legal of having children.

April 14, 2014

IVF Patient Pregnant with Another Couple’s Twins in Embryo Mix-Up

(News.com.au) – A WOMAN who underwent fertility treatment at a clinic in Rome became pregnant with the twins of another couple after their embryos were mixed up. Italy’s health ministry says it’s launching an investigation into the error, which was only discovered when the woman was three-months-pregnant.

Payment Bid to Boost IVF Cycle

(Sydney Morning Herald) – Women who donate their eggs so others can have children would be paid for their trouble, under changes to the IVF code of ethics being considered by Australia’s chief medical advisory and research authority. As part of its review of the ethical guidelines for the practice of assisted reproductive technology in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has sought public comment on whether women should be ”compensated for the reproductive effort and risks associated with donating their eggs”.

Dubai Rolling Out Red Carpet for Medical Tourism Patients

(Medical Tourism Magazine) – The Dubai Health Authority has its eyes set on attracting 500,000 medical tourism patients a year and plans to build 22 hospitals, boosting the national economy by up to Dh2.6 billion by 2020. Designs aimed at making Dubai a major center for medical tourism in time for when the United Arab Emirates land territory hosts World Expo 2020 include the hiring of thousands of healthcare staff and new visas.

April 11, 2014

A New Edition of Health Policy and Planning is Available

Health Policy and Planning (Volume 29, No. 2, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Impact of user fees on maternal health service utilization and related health outcomes: a systematic review” by Susie Dzakpasu, Timothy Powell-Jackson, and Oona M.R. Campbell
  • “Estimates of performance in the rate of decline of under-five mortality for 113 low- and middle-income countries, 1970–2010” by Stéphane Verguet and Dean T. Jamison
  • “Financial protection in health in Turkey: the effects of the Health Transformation Programme” by Mahmut S Yardim, Nesrin Cilingiroglu, and Nazan Yardim
  • “Health reform and out-of-pocket payments: lessons from China” by Lufa Zhang and Nan Liu
  • “Through the back door: nurse migration to the UK from Malawi and Nepal, a policy critique” by Radha Adhikari and Astrida Grigulis

A New Edition of Developing World Bioethics is Available

Developing World Bioethics (Volume 14, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Bioethics and Forensic Psychiatry” by Debora Diniz
  • “Impact of Three Years Training on Operations Capacities of Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria” by Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, et al.
  • “On Abortion: Exploring Psychological Meaning and Attitudes in a Sample of Mexican Gynecologists” by Ma. Luisa Marván, Asunción Álvarez del Río and Zaira Campos
  • “Ethical Issues in Field Trials of Genetically Modified Disease-Resistant Mosquitoes” by David B. Resnik
  • “The Ethics of Engaged Presence: A Framework for Health Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Work” by Matthew R. Hunt, et al.

European Union Debates Initiative on Embryo Protection

(New York Times) – A packed hearing on a petition calling for the protection of human embryos led to a rare outbreak of raucous exchanges in the European Parliament on Thursday — a sign that the battles over abortion and stem cell research that divide nations like Spain and the United States are making a serious incursion into European Union affairs.

Luring Medical Tourists for Cash Is a Trip Down the Slippery Slope

(The Globe and Mail) – So it looks like the ‘magic bullet’ solution has been found at last to cure Canada’s health care woes: medical tourism. Last week, Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital defended its position to court affluent medical patients from other countries who can afford to pay generously for out-of-pocket care in a Canadian hospital. It’s a revenue-generating solution for a cash-strapped system, we are told. A handful of other hospitals already engage in this practice, and many across the country are starting to sit up and take notice. Should we break out the champagne and celebrate?

April 10, 2014

Italian Court Overturns Divisive Ban on Donor Eggs, Sperm

(Reuters) – Italy’s constitutional court overturned a ban on using donor sperm and eggs in fertility treatments on Wednesday, knocking down part of a divisive set of restrictions on assisted reproduction. The court said in a statement the ban breached the constitution, without going into further detail, and lawyers in the case said the ruling was effective immediately.

Scientists Disagree on Responsible Research

(Nanotechnology Now) – Responsible research has been put firmly on the political agenda with, for instance, EU’s Horizon 2020 programme in which all research projects must show how they contribute responsibly to society. New research from the University of Copenhagen reveals that the scientists themselves place great emphasis on behaving responsibly; they just disagree on what social responsibility in science entails. Responsibility is, in other words, a matter of perspective.

April 9, 2014

Pro-Life Citizen’s Initiative Worries E.U. Scientists

(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.

 

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