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Archive for April, 2009

Apr 30 2009

The First International Conference on Reading and Writing – Updates on Managing Dyslexia

Published by under Education
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The conference is co-hosted by the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences of the University of Hong Kong and the Education Division of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. It focus on current advances in treatment practices and support work to dyslexic children. Researchers and practitioners are bought together to share their knowledge and experiences. A number of world-renowned experts in the field have been invited to deliver keynote speeches. Please click the following links for details. [Faculty of Education, HKU]

http://web.edu.hku.hk/outreach/media/docs/media/090515-16_Internations_Conference_rundown.pdf

http://web.edu.hku.hk/outreach/media/docs/media/090515-16_Internations_Conference_flyer.pdf

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Apr 29 2009

WHO DAILY MEDIA BRIEFING – SWINE INFLUENZA – INVITATION TO A GLOBAL TELEPHONE NEWS CONFERENCE

Media Advisory WHO/8

28 APRIL 2009

 

Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General ad. Interim for Health Security and Environment will hold a global telephone news conference at 17.00 hrs Geneva time, Tuesday 28 April to discuss the swine influenza and the World Health Organization’s response.

 

  • WHAT:   Telephone news conference  
  • WHO:    Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General ad. Interim for Health Security and Environment at the World Health Organization
  • WHEN:   Tuesday 28 April 2009 at 17:00hrs, Geneva Time
  • WHERE:  WHO Headquarters, Geneva

 

Dial-in numbers for journalists:

You can call one of these numbers or the one closest to you.

Switzerland :+41 22 580 5981
France: +33 1 722 53414
USA: +1 866 388 1928
UK: +44 207108 6209

 

Type PIN code: 543665#

 

On connecting to the conference, you will be asked your name and media outlet.
Please try to call in 20 minutes before the conference begins in order to be registered correctly.

 

Link to the audio file:
http://terrance.who.int/mediacentre/audio/press_briefings/

A web site dedicated to swine influenza is here: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html

 

All information can be found on www.who.int

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Apr 28 2009

Swine Influenza update

25 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA – In response to cases of swine influenza A/H1N1, reported in Mexico and the United States of America, the Director-General convened a meeting of the Emergency Committee to assess the situation and advise her on appropriate responses.

 

The establishment of the Committee, which is composed of international experts in a variety of disciplines, is in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005).

 

The first meeting of the Emergency Committee was held on Saturday 25 April 2009.

 

After reviewing available data on the current situation, Committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate responses.

 

The Committee advised that answers to several specific questions were needed to facilitate its work.

 

The Committee nevertheless agreed that the current situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

 

Based on this advice, the WHO Director-General has determined that the current events constitute a public health emergency of international concern, under the Regulations.

       
Concerning public health measures, in line with the Regulations the Director-General is recommending, on the advice of the Committee, that all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.

 

The Committee further agreed that more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current phase 3

 http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/phase/en/index.html

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

More information can be found at :

www.who.int

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html

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Apr 28 2009

Gradual e-learning development adopted

Published by under Education
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Secretary for Education Kenneth Chen says e-learning resource development is a long process and the Government will adopt a gradual and progressive approach to promote it. He said schools should consider the use of e-learning resources according to their own needs and situation, adding the Government will not force them to replace textbooks with e-learning resources.  Please click here for details. [Source: Information Services Department, HKSAR]

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Apr 27 2009

Flare Index to Treaties

Published by under Internet Resources,Law
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Flare Index to Treaties (http://ials.sas.ac.uk/treatyindex.htm) is hosted by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London and supported by the FLARE Group of major UK law libraries (Cambridge, IALS, Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library). This searchable database includes over 1,500 of the most significant treaties, conventions and agreements with at least three parties, from 1856 to the present.  It will be kept up to date annually.  For details about the search fields and information sources, view the introduction at http://ials.sas.ac.uk/library/flag/introtreaties.htm

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Apr 27 2009

Climate Change Headlines

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Apr 27 2009

Obama’s Report Card

Foreign Policy asked some of the best foreign-policy minds in Washington and beyond to rate the U.S. president’s first 100 days in office. The result? 11 As, 16 Bs, 7 Cs, and a D.

Click here to read more.

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Apr 24 2009

EVALUATION OF MALARIA DIAGNOSTIC TESTS BY WHO AND PARTNERS FINDS VARIATION IN TEST PERFORMANCE

24 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA – The largest-ever independent, laboratory-based evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria has shown that some tests on the market  perform exceptionally well in tropical temperatures and can detect even low parasite densities in blood samples, while other tests were only able to detect the parasite at high parasite densities.

 

The evaluation was co-sponsored by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) , WHO-based Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND). Testing was performed at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Forty one commercially available RDTs  went through a blinded laboratory evaluation. 

 

The  findings will serve as a tool for countries to make informed choices, from among the dozens of tests commercially available, on the  purchase and use of rapid diagnostics that are best suited to local conditions.

 

This performance evaluation will also inform procurement and prioritization for diagnostic test entry into WHO Prequalification Diagnostics Programme and WHO Procurement Schemes.  Donor agencies also regularly refer to WHO recommendations on diagnostics when making their own purchases.

 

“This is an important first step in establishing a broader system of diagnostics surveillance and quality assurance to ensure sound and accurate diagnosis of malaria in poor and remote settings,” said Dr Robert Ridley, Director of TDR.

 

“These evaluations provide us with a mechanism to evaluate RDT performance in a standardized way so that WHO, donors and country health ministries can identify those tests that perform best for their needs and particular settings,” he added. 

 

“While some tests clearly outperform others in terms of identifying malaria in populations of low parasite density, such as newborns or people sleeping under bednets, there are a whole range of criteria related to local conditions of malaria transmission and illness that need to be considered in country and donor procurement decisions,” said Giorgio Roscigno, CEO of FIND.

  

In addition to product testing WHO, TDR and FIND have also collaborated to establish procedures and quality assured facilities for routine lot testing of rapid diagnostics in Asia and Africa.

 

During the evaluation, samples of blood from patients infected with P. falciparum and P. vivax  (the two major plasmodium species that cause malaria)  in diverse geographic locations were diluted to achieve both a low parasite density (200 parasites/µ) and high parasite densities (2000 or 5000 parasites/µ). At low parasite density, samples were tested against two rapid tests per lot (2 lots) and at high parasite density samples were tested against one rapid test per lot (2 lots).

 

Among the concrete findings:

 

  • Several RDTs demonstrated consistent detection of malaria at low parasite densities (200 parasites/µ), have low false-positive rates, are stable at tropical temperatures, are relatively easy to use, and can detect P. falciparum, P. vivax infections, or both.
  • Performance between products varied widely at low parasite density (200 parasites/ µ); however, most products showed a high level of detection at 2000 to 5000 parasite/μl.
  • P. falciparum tests targeting HRP2 antigen demonstrated the highest detection rates, but some tests targeting pLDH also exhibited high detection rates.
  • Test performance varied between lots, and widely between similar products, confirming the advisability of lot-testing post purchase and prior to use in the field.
  • The results highlight the need for manufacturers to have adequate reference materials for product development and lot-release. The WHO-FIND Malaria RDT Evaluation Programme, in collaboration with the CDC, will soon offer quality standard panels to manufacturers to assist in this process.

 

A second round of performance evaluations for 29 products is currently being carried out by TDR, FIND and CDC, with results due to be published in 2010. An executive summary of findings along with the detailed evaluation of test performance results are provided in the report available online at http://www.who.int/tdr

 

For more details contact:

 

Elaine Fletcher, TDR Communications, E-mail: fletchere@who.int  Mobile: +41 79 471 7792

Jane Cunningham, Scientist, TDR, E-mail: cunninghamj@who.int   Mobile: +41 79 517 8048 

David Bell, Medical Officer, FIND, E-mail: david.bell@finddiagnostics.org  Office telephone +41  22 710 0590

 

All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may be found at www.who.int

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Apr 23 2009

MALARIA DEATHS PLUNGE BY 66% IN ZAMBIA

23 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA / BRAZZAVILLE – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that Zambia joins several other African countries[1] to have achieved a major reduction in malaria mortality through accelerated malaria control activities. Malaria deaths reported from health facilities have declined by 66% in Zambia and this result along with other confirming data indicates that Zambia has reached the 2010 Roll Back Malaria target of a more than 50% reduction in malaria mortality compared to 2000.  Zambia’s efforts will be promoted as models for other countries to follow on the occasion of World Malaria Day, on 25 April.

 

The decline in Zambia was especially steep after 3.6 million long-lasting insecticidal nets were distributed between 2006 and 2008.  During this period malaria deaths declined 47% and nationwide surveys showed parasite prevalence declined 53% from 21.8% to 10.2% and the percentage of children with severe anemia declined 68% from 13.3% to 4.3%.  Most  moderate and severe anemia  in children is caused by malaria.

 

“This is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the Ministry of Health of Zambia and its partners to combat malaria” said Dr Luís Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “As we celebrate World Malaria Day this week, I urge all countries affected by malaria to intensify and sustain malaria control and elimination efforts in order to meet the 2010 goal of 100% coverage.”

 

WHO, with the support of The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), has been collaborating with Ministries of Health over the last two years to evaluate impact from accelerated malaria control activities.

 

Malaria imposes a substantial burden on African countries. Accelerated malaria control activities started in Zambia in 2003 when approximately 500,000 insecticide-treated nets were distributed and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) started in seven pilot districts through a grant from the Global Fund.

 

Since then, the Ministry of Health of Zambia, with grants worth US$120 million from the Global Fund as well as with support from partners including the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) and the World Bank Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa has further expanded malaria control activities.

 

“The Global Fund is pleased to see proof that malaria control resources provided by the Ministry of Health, the Global Fund, and other partners are resulting in a dramatic reduction of preventable deaths” said Dr Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, which provides two thirds of all resources for malaria control worldwide. “Zambia stands as an example of what we can achieve throughout Africa through the combination of universal access to bed nets and effective malaria medicines,” he said.

 

By 2006-2007, large amounts of insecticide-treated nets and ACT were distributed and indoor residual spraying (IRS) was taking place in 15 of 72 districts in Zambia. During 2006 and 2007 insecticide-treated nets were distributed to the general population rather than only children and pregnant women, who were the primary beneficiaries in earlier campaigns.

 

Mr Kapembwa Simbao, Minister of Health for Zambia said, “The Government of Zambia is committed to increasing coverage of key malaria control interventions and reducing the burden of malaria throughout the country.”

 

“We will endeavour to continue to build on progress made and ensure that malaria control is addressed as part of a health systems strengthening effort to ensure that ACTs will reach all persons with suspected malaria thereby ensuring universal coverage,” he added.

 

In countries with moderate and low transmission malaria, it appears that the RBM target of a more than 75% reduction is within reach several years before 2015. Aggressive malaria control measures as is occurring in Zambia may enable African countries to make rapid progress towards the child survival Millennium Development Goal (two-thirds reduction of child mortality by 2015).

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Ravini Thenabadu, Communications Officer, Global Malaria Programme, Telephone: +41 22 791 2339, Mobile: +41 79 500 6549, Email: thenabadur@who.int

 

Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications & Advocacy Officer, WHO Regional Office for Africa

Telephone: +47 241 39420, Mobile: +242 568 4179, Email: boakyec@afro.who.int

 

All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may be found at www.who.int

 

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[1] Zambia, Rwanda, Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania), Sao Tome and Eritrea.

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Apr 23 2009

Free Access to “Counseling and Therapy in Video” for one month

Counseling and Therapy in Video provides a huge collection of online video for the study of social work, psychotherapy, psychology, sociology, psychiatric counseling, and all helping professions from multiple perspectives. It lets you access hundreds of cross-searchable therapy sessions, case consultations, training videos, demonstrations, lectures/presentations, interviews, discussions, and workshops together with dozens of classroom and discussion guides. The topics of videos include family and relationships, substance abuse, sex and sexual abuse, gender, disorders, violence and crime, and psychological issues.

Currently, the database includes 276 videos which totaled up to 300 hours, it is still under progress and will contain more than 330 videos on completion.

Users can have free access to Counseling and Therapy in Video until 31 May 2009. Please feel free to try it out and send your comments and suggestions to Tina Yang, Social Sciences Faculty Librarian at yangta@hkucc.hku.hk.

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