Global health news round-up: ‘world first’ living donor lung transplant, Italy to host Global Health Summit

This week has seen some big news in the healthcare sphere, including rapid COVID-testing kits being made available to everyone in the UK and a new time-saving breast cancer treatment available on the NHS.

As usual, at the end of every week, we take a look at what news is being reported elsewhere in the world. As always, plenty has been going on across the globe over the past week, from 2 to 9 April 2021…

It’s over to Italy first, where it’s been confirmed that the Global Health Summit 2021 will go ahead as planned. Italy will co-host the event with the European Commission, according to the latter’s president, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, who gave a speech about the conference. The summit, which will focus on cooperation, solidarity, sharing knowledge and experiences, and fundraising for the COVID-19 response, will take place in Rome on 21 May. [European Commission]

Hopping across the Ionian Sea to Greece, it seems that the UK isn’t the only country rolling out COVID-19 testing kits for all. The Greek government has also begun its mass distribution of home tests, claiming that 2 million kits were already available and that a further 7 million are set to follow by the end of next week. [Reuters]

Meanwhile, in Poland, a new World Health Organisation/Europe report tackled the promotion of ‘unsuitable’ baby foods. Aiming to improve the nutritional quality of infant food, the study – conducted by the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and the Institute of Mother and Child in Poland – found that ‘over half (58%) of the products promoted for babies and toddlers in Poland provide more than 30% of calories from sugars’, while ‘around 40% of baby food products promoted in the country provide too few calories per 100g to meet infants’ needs’. [WHO]

As per The Japan Times, Japan’s Kyoto University Hospital has reported an apparent ‘wold first’ living donor lung transplant. The transplant patient had lost lung functionality after suffering from COVID-19, but received healthy lung parts from her husband and son, in an operation that is said to have taken 11 hours. Both donors are believed to be stable and the transplant recipient is currently in intensive care – although it is hoped she will be able to be discharged in two months’ time. [The Japan Times]

According to the Telegraph, France and Germany have told their under 55s and under 60s cohorts, respectively, that those who received the Oxford/ AstraZeneca jab for their first doses should have a different vaccine for their second doses. There is set to be an official announcement by the French health regulator on 9 April. [The Telegraph]

There’s positive news in South Africa – which has been refunded for undelivered vaccines that it did not want anymore, by The Serum Institute of India. But despite pausing its Oxford/AstraZeneca programme due to concerns over whether it would work against the local variant, the nation’s health regulator has now approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the government has signed a Pfizer deal for 20 million doses to boost its roll-out. [Reuters/ Bloomberg]

And finally, in Denmark, construction of BørneRiget – Children’s Hospital Copenhagen – has begun. The hospital is expected to provide a ‘completely new way of thinking’ about hospitals and hospital construction. As part of its plans, it’s said that it will be a safe, positive space where ‘specialists come to the patient’ and play will become part of treatments. The structure is set to open in 2025, with space for 900 patients and approximately 1,200 staff. [Healthcare Denmark]