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Improving the health of all the world's children

VANCOUVER, BC -- Each year, millions of children in developing countries die from diseases for which known treatments exist. How to use this knowledge to save children's lives on a global scale will be discussed in a day-long session Monday, May 3, 2010, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Only 10 percent of the world's health research focuses on the health problems of the developing world, even though those countries are burdened with 90 percent of the world's disease, according to the Global Forum for Health Research. "We're talking about millions of children," said Alvin Zipursky, MD, chair and scientific director of the Programme for Global Paediatric Research (PGPR) at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dr. Zipursky founded PGPR in 2004 after he noticed the paucity of research into the healthcare issues of the developing world. At that time, the PAS meeting attracted very few scientific abstracts addressing diseases specific to low-income countries. In 2010, PAS has more than 100 abstracts that focus on global health, which is also the focus of several sessions at the meeting. PGPR works as a "network incubator" bringing together experts from around the world to focus on health issues affecting children in developing countries.

The session takes place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT in at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. Highlights include:

  • An address at 8 a.m. by Robert Black, MD, MPH, professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is receiving the 2010 PGPR Award for Outstanding Contributions to Global Child Health.

  • A keynote address at 9 a.m., titled "Implementation Science: Putting Knowledge into Action," by Roger Glass, MD, PhD, director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Glass will discuss the barriers that prevent scientific discoveries from being put into practice in low-resource countries. He is also speaking at 2:45 p.m. on the latest developments in rotavirus vaccines.

  • An address at 10 a.m. by Isaac Odame, MB, ChB, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, on the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network. Dr Odame will discuss the challenges of implementing the goals of the network, which include coordinating the development of programs, through sustainable North-South partnerships, to enhance clinical care and research in low-income countries.

  • A lecture at 3 p.m. by Stanley H. Zlotkin, MD, PhD, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, on the use of micronutrient powders known as "Sprinkles" to improve the nutritional status of children in developing nations.

Other sessions at PAS will focus on vaccine-preventable diseases in the developing world, malaria eradication, and effective models of research and clinical care that can improve child health on a global scale. For a list of sessions that examine international health, contact the PAS Press Office.

Reporters wanting to interview any of the speakers should call the PAS Press Office at 778-331-7694. Reporters who wish to attend the session must first check in with the PAS Press Office at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre to receive press credentials.


Contact: Susan Martin
American Academy of Pediatrics

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