The delightful Nancy Shute, a longtime friend and colleague, explores how one misguided doctor — assisted by the media — led to Britain’s current measles outbreak. Sometimes, words can do as much damage as sticks and stones.
Global health is primarily about public health, medical and research efforts aimed at assisting poor countries.
If all you do is look at the global health statistics for death and disability, it’s clear that men are doing worse than women. Yet women, and children, tend to get most of the focus and emphasis in global health policy. A recent Lancet paper pointed this out. But NPR quotes one of my favorite health experts explaining why, despite these numbers, it still makes sense to focus mostly on women and children.
Karen Grepin, a health economist at New York University, says men are often doing poorly because of unhealthy behavior. Women and children are often doing poorly due to lack of equal access to income, power and health services – often basic preventive care like vaccines and reproductive health.
“Women are politically, economically disadvantaged around the world,” Grepin says. “There are really important consequences for women’s health. They play a large role in taking care of children. When they get sick, there’s a spillover effect in the house — for the next generation.”
I’ve been waiting for someone to make this argument based on the numbers. I don’t expect it to be very popular or compelling. The long-standing emphasis on women and children’s needs in global health are based not so much on simple burden of disease numbers alone as on issues of equity.
Jokes naturally followed the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s new report extolling the virtues of eating bugs.
The most popular tweet was a variant on “Let them eat cake.” Others pointed to the scene in the Disney movie the Lion King where Timon and Pumba introduce bugs to Simba. They assure Simba that bugs are “slimy, yet satisfying.”
It’s all in good fun and probably got more people to pay closer attention to an issue (hunger) in a report that would have otherwise only been discussed within development wonk circles.
Setting aside jokes and a gross-out-factor, bugs turn out to be a pretty awesome food. They pack some real protein punch and are better for the environment as compared to cows, pigs and chickens.
My buddy Christine Gorman explains why one case of polio showing up in Somalia is so worrisome.
No, it wasn’t a new strain of bird flu out of China or the SARS-like new coronovirus that was first spotted in the Middle East. This is the West Nile virus, which is relatively new to the United States and last year killed a record 286 people. It is spread by mosquitoes like malaria or dengue.
The virus, first identified in Uganda and related to the much more deadly Japanese encephalitis virus, appeared in the U.S. in 1999 and has since spread throughout the country. We used to get all excited about WNV but hardly anybody seems to care anymore….
Toxic waste sites “fly under the radar” in terms of public health awareness and action. Little research has been done on the health impacts of chemical pollutants in developing countries.