Connect to share and comment

Could treating drug companies like restaurants improve global health?

Academics consider the value of rating companies’ global health “footprints.”
A Manhattan restaurant rated with a Health Department 'A' grade on March 7, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/GlobalPost)

BOSTON — If prominently displayed grades in restaurant windows in New York City and Los Angeles can lead to healthier kitchen practices, could similar ratings on products — say, a special label on a box of Advil — do the same for global health?


Why India and Pakistan must be united on health care

Commentary: Not surprisingly, India and Pakistan have nuclear bombs but few vaccines for insect-borne tropical diseases.
Kolkata man mosquito netEnlarge
A laborer sleeps under a mosquito net in Kolkata, India. Mosquito-borne illnesses kill hundreds of thousands in India every year. (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, Texas — New and mounting evidence indicates that South Asia is now under siege from a group of six tropical infectious diseases. These tropical infections, all transmitted by insects, are finding a new “ground zero” on the subcontinent. Unless India and Pakistan can urgently establish an infrastructure for engaging in meaningful international scientific cooperation and redirect resources from nuclear weapons to tropical medicine, such diseases will continue to kill and disable hundreds of thousands in the region.

Afflicted: Pakistan's children hit hard by measles epidemic

KARACHI — Haleema first thought the rash on her daughter’s skin was heat related. It was mid-May, and with temperatures in Karachi had been soaring over 100 degrees, electricity was sporadic.

WHO campaign revisits high blood pressure

On this World Health Day, the World Health Organization’s campaign aims to raise awareness about the same issue it focused on 35 years ago.
130405 high blood pressureEnlarge
A doctor (R) examines a patient in Godewaersvelde, northern France, during a medical check-up. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

To celebrate the anniversary of its founding, every year on World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) draws attention to a specific public health issue.

This year’s theme, “Control Your Blood Pressure,” reflects the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease and stroke and follows up on a 2011 UN commitment to tackle them.


Health care beyond 2015: Highlights from a conversation with UNDP's Helen Clark

Helen Clark talked to the Harvard School of Public Health about global health and what lessons we can learn from the Millenium Development Goals, set to expire in 2015.
20130204 hsph forumEnlarge

BOSTON, Massachusetts—Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, spoke at the Forum at the Harvard School of Public Health on Thursday, January 15.

Clark spoke about addressing social determinants of health, and the need to look at health and environment in the promotion of sustainable development. She also discussed what we can learn from the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015. Here are some highlights from her talk.


Rumors and myths harm effort to eradicate polio

20-year effort to make world polio-free “breathtakingly close” to goal.
Pakistan polio vaccine 2013 1 24Enlarge
A Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child at a vaccination center in Peshawar on Sep. 11, 2012. Polio vaccination campaigns in rural Pakistan have long suffered because of rumors they are a plot to sterilize Muslims. In July the Taliban banned them in the northwestern tribal region of Waziristan to protest against US drone attacks. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)

BALTMORE — The world has expressed shock and sadness following the wave of killings of health workers in Pakistan tasked with delivering polio vaccines in areas where polio still persists. Those murdered were mostly women and teenage girls, dedicating their time to provide infants and children with the most basic of health services.


Q&A with WHO: In the fight against TB, we've reached a crossroads

Mario Raviglione, director of the World Health Organization's Stop TB Department, tells GlobalPost why the fight against TB is at a crossroads.
20120712 mario raviglioneEnlarge
Mario Raviglione (World Health Organization/Courtesy)

In October, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its 2012 Global TB Report, which announced that the fight against tuberculosis is at a crossroads.

The report found that 51 million people have been successfully treated for tuberculosis in the last 17 years. Medical breakthroughs and technological advancements have brought successes, including a new diagnostic tool that can test for TB in 100 minutes, and development of the first new TB drugs in more than 40 years, which could be on the market in 2013.

But WHO also points to funding gaps in both research and treatment, which amounts to a total of $4.4 billion.

GlobalPost spoke with Mario Raviglione, director of WHO’s Stop TB Department, about why the funding gap exists, what would help reduce it, and what’s at stake as we choose a path forward.


In the fight against polio, what we need to cross the finish line

Canada's former Prime Minister Paul Martin, a polio survivor, calls for a renewed universal commitment to eradicate the disease.
20121028 paul martin polioEnlarge
Prime Minister Paul Martin smiles at the podium prior to a televised debate in Montreal on January 9, 2006. Martin is a Polio survivor and is calling for a universal commitment to eradicate the disease. (David Boily/AFP/Getty Images)

Paul Martin was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada.

Last Wednesday marked World Polio Day, an opportunity for the global community to reflect on where we stand against polio. We have much to be proud of. Today, we’re closer than ever to reaching the historic goal of polio eradication – but there’s still more work to be done.

Like my father before me I contracted polio when I was very young. I was lucky enough to fully recover, but I will never forget the polio ward and my fear as I slowly became aware of what could happen to those of us who found ourselves there.

In 1988, when the polio eradication movement truly came together with the founding of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 350,000 cases in more than 125 countries every year. So far this year, we’ve seen just 171 cases, and only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria have never stopped transmission. India, which was always thought to be the hardest place to eliminate polio, made an enormous political and financial investment in its program and hasn’t seen a case in almost two years.


Has Obama's Global Health Initiative run out of steam?

President Obama's Global Health Initiative continues to falter.
Will the GHI's promise hold true? (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Since we last checked in on Obama's Global Health Initiative, a few studies have been released that evaluate different aspects of GHI. All come to the same conclusion: effective strategy, poor implementation. Here’s a roundup.

Medical Peace Corps could be key to healthcare in Africa

Dr. Claire Dunavan says Vanessa Kerry's new initiative could be the start of something big.
20121023 vanessa kerry peace corpsEnlarge
Vanessa Kerry, the daughter of US Senator John Kerry, leaves a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace January 14, 2005 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Claire Panosian Dunavan is a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, a former president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and a co-author of the Institute of Medicine’s 2005 “Healers Abroad” report. Her columns and articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Scientific American and Discover magazine, among others. 

LOS ANGELES — Massachusetts Senator John Kerry may head the US State Department next year, but his daughter Vanessa has already launched a new era of global health realpolitik.

Dr. Vanessa Kerry visited California on October 15 and 16 and spoke to medical students, trainees and faculty at USC and UCLA about a new public-private partnership designed to boost the education of doctors and nurses in sub-Saharan Africa.

Syndicate content