Health

Africa’s Investment Drive Gathers Pace

Headwinds are blowing amid IMF warnings of a “synchronised slowdown” in global economic growth, yet Africa’s investment drive is still gathering pace, supported by intense international competition in development finance.

Tuberculosis Infections Declining, But Not Fast Enough Among Poor, Marginalised: UN Health Agency

A staggering 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis (TB) last year, the UN health agency said on Thursday, in an appeal for far greater funding and political support to eradicate the curable and preventable disease.

Let Plants be Thy Medicine – You Are What You Eat

United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet study and a United Nations Report published earlier this year.

Global Challenges for the ‘NextGen’

Success has many parents – so the saying goes. In the case of the massive successes of international agricultural research, no one person can claim parentage. There are heroes along the way such as Norman Borlaug and his early cereal breeding, and the team that eliminated the cattle disease Rinderpest from the world – smallpox is the only other disease that has been totally eradicated. Another is the founder of The Crawford Fund, Derek Tribe, who was also instrumental in the creation of what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which I chair. However, it would be more correct to highlight the thousands of scientists who have contributed to the world’s greatest feat of feeding an extra three billion people when pundits said it was impossible.

Rural Poverty Is Still a Scar on the Soul of Colombia, but a New Program Supporting Agri-Entrepreneurship Can Help Heal the Wounds

Rural poverty and inequality continue inflicting large swaths of population in Colombia, especially in rural areas. This situation, endemic since at least the beginning of the twentieth century, was at the root of the 50-year long conflict that shattered the country, leaving 220,000 deaths and 5.7 million displaced persons, and devastating a significant part of the rural areas, where government services and infrastructure vanished.

Austerity, the “New Normal”

While this week Ministers of Finance and economists meet in Washington to confront global economic challenges at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings, the majority of the world population lives with austerity cuts and see their living standards deteriorating. World leaders must reverse this trend.

Abortion Remains an Unresolved Issue: ICPD25 Meeting next Month

Currently, the topic of abortion as human rights leaves the world bustling. When the state of Alabama1 in the United States enacted a very strict ban on abortion, it shocked the world. This prompted so-called conservative movements, led by female business owners, to make a full-scale advertisement in the New York Times claiming abortion is a human right2 ; hence the global debate between pro-life and pro-choice.

One Billion People Have Preventable Eye Conditions, Increasingly Linked to Lifestyle Choices, According to WHO

A staggering 2.2 billion people already suffer from eye conditions and visual impairment today, but the global need for eye care is set to increase “dramatically”, with lack of exercise a key factor, the UN health agency said on Tuesday, unveiling its first ever report on vision across the world.

Beware High-Fat Diets

Two decades into the 21st century, all too many people still associate being ‘overweight’ with prosperity, health and wellbeing, mainly because being thin has long been associated with being emaciated due to hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition. Overweight and obesity can easily be assessed by anthropometric measures, including the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. But BMI thresholds for overweight and obesity may differ by ethnic group or country.

‘Salty’ Concern: Tackling High Salt Consumption in China

China’s almost meteoric transition from a being a low income to a middle income country within a span of four decades is often perceived as a miracle analogous to the post Second World War Japanese economic development experience.

Three Ways to End HIV Stigma and Discrimination

As a Public Health Doctor, I often meet people who experience stigma simply because they live with HIV. One person who still haunts me is a woman who is HIV positive and when she was in labor, a midwife would not help her. Instead she shouted at her to just push out the baby and then she stood far away from the bedside, disgusted by the woman’s HIV status.  No one should go through such stigma at a vulnerable situation when they are about to birth life.

Ground-breaking Clean Air Protocol to Guard Human Health and the Planet, Enters into Force

European and North American countries will take a major stride in cleaning up the atmosphere next Monday, 7 October, through the implementation of an amended legally binding treaty to limit the amount of emissions polluting the air.

No to Ageism, Yes to Intergenerational Equality

As we are celebrating the International Day of Older Persons today, we recognize that population ageing is a human success story, a story of longer and often healthier lives of the world’s people. The many faces of older persons that we see in Asia and in the Pacific, and, indeed, all over the world, attest to this fact. Still, however, ageing is considered a threat. There is talk about the “burden of ageing”, exploding healthcare costs, and concerns about plummeting economic growth due to the shrinking labour force. In many cities of Asia-Pacific, we see advertisement for “anti-ageing cosmetics” and surgeries. The current ideal is that we must be young, dynamic and without wrinkles or grey hair, especially older women.

Medical Centres Cover Every Village in Tibet

Tibetan medicine is one of the world's oldest known traditional medicines, originally developed during the pre-Buddhist era in the kingdom known as Shang Shung. IPS correspondent Crystal Oderson visited one of the major Tibetan health facilities in Lhasa.... and got a glimpse of the age old tradition.

How Slow Moving Asbestos Regulations Compromise Health

Last year, the United States introduced a new asbestos rule that was received both positively and negatively and Canada banned the mineral altogether. Countries like the U.K. and Australia continue to struggle with the health implications of historic asbestos use, despite both having bans for several years. In contrast, nations like Russia and Vietnam continue to manufacture and use the mineral frequently. 

UN Welcomes ‘Most Comprehensive Agreement Ever’ on Global Health

Describing it as an “important landmark” on our “journey to health for all”, Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday welcomed the UN Political Declaration on universal health coverage, or UHC, which commits countries to advance towards full coverage for their citizens in four major areas around primary care.

The Social Impact of Economic Inequality

Increasing economic inequality is a defining challenge of our time. In recent years, it has triggered analysis and reflection by many scholars, politicians and others on its causes and consequences on economic growth and efficiency, politics and democracy, human rights, individual behaviors, access to health, social cohesion and environmental degradation. The perception that the top 1% of income earners are gaining at the expense of the other 99% has resulted in widespread public debates in many countries on the social and political repercussions of inequality.

Women In Leadership: A Q&A with President Sahle-Work Zewde

Women Deliver President/CEO Katja Iversen discusses women in leadership and links between sexual and reproductive health and rights and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to advance gender equality with the first female President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde.

Do Women Suffer Greater Loss of Employment than Men in Morbidity?

In a life peppered with tragedy, Mary Shelley wrote in 1818, “Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery?” That this accurately sums up the fate of many women in South Asia who suffer a major health shock such as a serious illness or a disability or both, is hard to dispute.

UNAIDS and WHO Africa Leaders Should Prioritize Women’s Health

Two African women were recently appointed to top global health positions: Winnie Byanyima as the Executive Director of UNAIDS and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti reappointed as the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

Translating Ambition to Action: High Hopes for United Nations Action Week

In less than 10 days, countries from around the planet will come together in New York for the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit. I look forward to representing the Pacific Community (SPC) at this important event, and throughout “Action Week” during the upcoming UN General Assembly.

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