Global health news round-up: Canada and the Netherlands tackle diabetes, Gibraltar vaccine success

It’s that time of the week again, when we take a look at what’s going on beyond our shores.

The UK has had another hectic seven days of health news, including the announcement of the final 13 areas set to become Integrated Care Systems in England and the publication of a new review into babies’ and young children’s health.

But there have also been some great stories and developments across the globe. So here are some of the most interesting from 19 – 26 March.

We begin our digital travels in Gibraltar, where ‘Operation Freedom’ – Gibraltar’s vaccination programme – is almost ‘complete’. This will make the British overseas territory one of the first places to ‘finish’ its vaccination mission, with every resident aged 16 and over that was willing to have a vaccination fully immunised.

According to The Guardian, over 90% of Gibraltar’s 33,000 residents have now had two doses, with only around 3% believed to have refused the jabs and the remaining citizens set to receive second doses in the next few days. (The Guardian / ITV News)

Next up from Italy, the news is more cautious as the Mediterranean nation released its COVID-19 report for 8 to 14 March, this week. The country’s Ministero della Salute said that the “number of people admitted to intensive care is increasing sharply” and that the national occupancy rate is “above the critical threshold”. (Ministero della Salute)

However, better news comes from the Italian region of Lombardy, one of the worst hit during the pandemic. According to Reuters, a team from Milan’s Bicocca University has developed an algorithm that will help the regional government to resolve disputes over priority and get the rollout back on track.

The algorithm, which takes into account chronic health conditions, as well as age, gender and other factors, is also under consideration for national use. (Reuters)

Over in Portugal, meanwhile, the government has recently announced a €12.1 billion investment in its national health service structure. Aimed to improve future pandemic resilience, the funding will reportedly come from a Recovery and Resilience Plan to access EU money. (The Portugal News)

Across the other side of the globe, in Japan, Kyoto University’s CiRA Foundation has announced it will supply iPS cells from COVID-19 survivors to research institutions, both domestically and internationally.

The cells will be provided free of charge as the foundation hopes answers can be found as to why some people suffer more severe reactions and symptoms than others. It hopes the cells will be converted into lung and blood vessel cells that are then infected with the virus, as per The Japan Times. (The Japan Times)

In Australia, the government is providing (AUS) $3.2 million to help up to four partnership projects with new, innovative medical devices and to assist them in starting human trials and early stage manufacturing. The funding is part of the fourth and final round of the (AUS) $45 million BioMed Tech Horizons programme, which aims to get devices to the market more swiftly. (Australia’s Department of Health)

And, finally, Canada and the Netherlands are working together to tackle type 2 diabetes. A new partnership between the two nations will aim to help fund and accelerate research into the condition, focusing on both prevention and quality of life.

The Netherland-Canada Type 2 Diabetes Research Consortium will be supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dutch Diabetes Research Foundation, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), and Health~Holland. It will look at how behaviours around eating, exercise, work and travel may impact on the prevention, reversal and remission of the condition. (Government of Canada)