COVID-19: Vaccines, New Drugs, Global TrendsBy Rodrigo Brugada | Thu, 06/17/2021 - 17:50
This week saw advances in COVID-19 vaccine donations, both to and from Mexico, as well as emerging threats. We also explore how the midterm elections may impact the health industry and analyze trends for a better future. Read it all in this week’s roundup!
Sharing Bioimaging Tech for Stronger Global Health
Technological advances are enhancing our understanding of the human body, but this technology is not equitably reaching every corner of the world. As time passes and these technologies become the norm, more options for preventing, identifying and treating the disease will become available. But it is necessary to ensure widespread access to these technologies, mainly in developing countries.
J&J Vaccine Arrivals, Donations to Latin America
Mexico has vaccinated about one-fifth of its population. This week, the country received 1.35 million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 290,160 doses from Pfizer, adding up to almost 48 million total vaccines. Part of the recently received vaccines will be used in the US-Mexico border to advance towards its complete reopening. Mexico has also donated 400,000 doses to a few Latin American countries.
Schools See Rise in COVID-19 Cases; Health Conferences to Stop
After a year of online classes, earlier this month Mexican schools welcomed students back on a voluntary basis. But a week after the return to in-person classes, authorities are reporting some COVID-19 cases at schools. The affected children will still have remote learning available, just like their peers who opted out of in-person classes.
Also, the Health Ministry has decided to stop the daily health briefings led by Deputy Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo Lopez-Gatell.
Decolonizing Global Health Practices
There are still major power asymmetries in the global health sphere, rooted in economic power imbalances, lopsided global governance structures, racism and colonialism. There are major areas of opportunity to improve health and bring equity, but they require shifts in paradigm, leadership, and knowledge.
Public Health Implications of E-Cigarettes
Vaping and e-cigarettes are threatening to set back advances made on reducing the consumption of nicotine, as they are widely used by teenagers and young adults. Thus, policy makers are already responding the threat with regulations and prohibition of such devices. Despite of these efforts, several online and retail shops still sell these products.
Preventive Practices Necessary for the New Normal
The Mexican healthcare system has difficulties in ensuring universal coverage and adequate access to health services. Moreover, its care practices have been characterized by being primarily reactive in their approach. Prevention remains a handy tool not only in the mitigation of current problems but in ensuring a reduction in future ailments.
Midterm Elections’ Impact on Healthcare
Mexico’s midterm elections will change the power dynamics in the lower chamber, and with them several aspects in the healthcare industry. Medicine supply processes will be sped up and greater confidence in the industry is expected. In some cases, however, the election will leave mostly unchanged political environment, as is the case with cannabis regulation.
Chronic Obesity Treatment Gains FDA Approval
The FDA approved an injection-form treatment for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight who have at least one weight-related condition, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high cholesterol. Mexico is one of the countries that could benefit the most from this type of treatments.
PAHO Warns About Hurricane Preparedness Amid COVID-19
The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1 and will last through November 30. Just like last year, Latin America is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases just as the hurricane season is starting. However, this year’s hurricanes could stifle the usual preventive measures, as well as efforts in vaccine distribution.
Irregularities Among Health Providers Lead to Fines, Suspensions
The Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) imposed sanctions on eight health sector contractors following reports of irregularities in the provision of services and in contracting processes in the last three weeks. The sanctions consist of suspensions and fines that together exceed MX$6.6 million (US$340,000).
Patent Waiver Discarded as Vaccine Access Solution
Boosting widespread access to the COVID-19 vaccine has been a global priority. While several measures to increase access have been discussed, including waiving the patent rights of the COVID-19 vaccines, this last proposal has been discarded. WTO recently announced that its members will start formal negotiations to boost COVID-19 vaccine supply to developing countries with rival proposals.
Mexico’s Limited Health Financing to Cause Future Trouble
Mexico has always struggled with a fragmented and segmented health system and has further struggled with health financing. Historic neglect of the healthcare system will inevitably take its toll, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mexico is the emerging economy that has spent less in its pandemic response.