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What We're Reading: Week of April 22

    • Good data on population trends, coupled with information on service delivery, can help us build resilient health systems and ensure that universal health coverage plans leave no one behind, says WorldPop Director Andy Tatem.
    •  Africa still lags behind the rest of the world in achieving universal health coverage by 2030. However, some countries are now taking encouraging steps to ensure people can access essential health services at a price they can afford.
    •  Despite security and funding challenges, South Sudan’s maternal mortality rate has dramatically dropped over the last few years due to concerted efforts by the government and UN partners to increase the number of trained midwives.
    •  In its first guideline on digital health intervention, the WHO emphasizes that while “digital health is not a silver bullet,” it can push health systems to function more effectively and efficiently, reaching the furthest first.
    • Worldwide, measles cases have spiked 300% in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Though supply challenges are one reason for the alarming number of outbreaks, vaccine hesitancy and misinformation campaigns take much of the blame in high-income countries.  
    • Lack of access to safe, quality medicines due to sky-high prices is a “global human rights issue,” said the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Medicines and Health Products Mariângela Simão at this week’s global medicines forum in South Africa.
    • malaria vaccine pilot trial will begin later this month in Ghana. While RTS,S is the first vaccine to protect against any parasite, concerns over its efficacy and safety are overshadowing the launch.