Healthy Dose September 9, 2011

Top StoryNon-Communicable Diseases: A Growing Epidemic

As the UN high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases approaches, PBS reports on the growing global epidemic.

Roughly two out of every three deaths on the planet is now caused by non-communicable disease, and the U.N. estimates that by 2030, 52 million people will die annually from these diseases. That’s five times as many deaths as the estimated death toll for infectious disease. (snip) [T]he burden of non-communicable illness falls heavily on the poor. The death rate, by far, is highest in countries ranked as lower-middle income. The U.N. finds that the rates in lower-middle income countries come not from the fact that they have large populations, but rather from unplanned urbanization, aging populations, and even from rising incomes giving more people the ability to purchase tasty — but unhealthy — foods and smoke more cigarettes. Young industrial powers like India and China are home to hundreds of millions who still earn their daily living from hard physical labor. At the same time, they are home to millions who grew up on the land, whose parents did that unremitting physical labor, and now spend their days sitting at benches assembling consumer goods, tending machines, or boxing finished goods. Along with smoking, alcohol use, and lousy diets, increasingly sedentary lives in the developing world has become a major source of ill health and early death. (snip) There is not enough money in the world to use drugs to treat non-communicable disease in the developing world. In the United States we are already reaping the whirlwind of rising health care costs due to non-communicable illness, with a per capita income approaching $50,000 a year. The hard work of hundreds of millions of aspiring and struggling people in poor countries doesn’t just pay for better educations, cell phones, video games, and televisions. That new money pays for small indulgences. It pays for candy, ice cream, beer, cigarettes, and cheap motorcycles that belch blue smoke into the crowded streets of the developing world.


Global Health and Development Beat

Cervical Cancer – A new study shows that less than three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer can effectively protect women in the developing world where 80% of global deaths due to cervical cancer take place.

Reproductive Health – The Nigerian government has set aside $4 million for contraceptives and other reproductive health facilities.

Reproductive Health – 7 villages in Bataan the Philippines have banned “artificial contraception.” The move comes amid a national debate over a reproductive health bill.

Maternal Mortality – Only three African countries are on track to achieve MGD 5 according to an African Institute for Development Policy study.

Malaria – According to WHO officials, only 30% of the South Sudanese have access to anti-malaria services.

HIV/AIDS – The government in Cross River State, Nigeria has determined that anyone who willfully transmits HIV/AIDS to another person could be jailed for life.


The Players

DFID – Has opened applications for international development innovators to apply for grants from its £40 million Global Poverty Action Fund.

UNICEF – Announced that it has doubled its support to both outpatient and inpatient facilities across southern Somalia.

UNICEF – In Zimbabwe, 7,000 children die from HIV/AIDS each year says a UNICEF representative, and part of that may be attributed to a significant shortage of ARVs.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers – Have put together a one day conference bringing together innovators and health workers to share ideas about ways to more easily deliver interventions.

USAID – Swears in Stephen Haykin as the new mission director for Georgia.


Spotlight on PSI

The “Free Your Friend from the Heroin Clutch” program has been launched in Kolub, Tajikistan. A partnership between PSI, USAID and local partners.

“Over the past two years, a rehabilitation center with 10 beds has been set up in Kulob and all necessary conditions have been created for social workers dealing with high-risk groups, particularly injecting drug users (IDUs), commercial sex workers (CSWs), migrants, prisoners and people living with HIV,” Kholmurodova noted. According to her, some 100 people have been freed from drug dependence and new several dozen cases of HIV have been detected in the area over the report period. Besides, access of hundreds of TB sufferers to medical aid has been eased. “Many of former IDUs who underwent medical treatment at our rehabilitation center are participating in the action,” Kholmurodova added. The USAID Dialogue on HIV and TB Project provides technical assistance, training and direct outreach services to increase access of people who are most at risk of contracting HIV and tuberculosis (TB) to quality HIV prevention and TB treatment services. The overarching aim of the Dialogue on HIV and TB Project is to reduce HIV and TB among key populations (injecting drug users, sex workers, migrants, men who have sex with men, prisoners and people living with HIV). Specifically, activities evolve around three pillars: evidence-based planning, targeted outreach services and regional and national working groups.


Buzzing in the Blogs

Sarah Bosley shares the great news that Kenya has officially made female genital mutilation illegal. She writes in the Guardian Development:

Kenya has become the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation, with the passing of a law making it illegal to practice or procure it or take somebody abroad for cutting. The law even prohibits derogatory remarks about women who have not undergone FGM. Offenders may be jailed or fined or both. Members of the Kenyan Women Parliamentary Association said it was a historic day. Linah Kilimo, its chairperson, said the move would improve school attendance. (snip) Nobody imagines this means FGM will never take place again in Kenya, but making it illegal is a massive step towards changing attitudes and giving strength to those who oppose the practice. Kenya follows a number of African governments in outlawing it. According to the Pan African news agency, at the time of the African Union summit in June which proposed prohibition of FGM, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Central African Republic, Senegal, Chad, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda already had legislation against it. But in nine countries (including some of those where it is illegal) it is still widely practised. In Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, 85% of women undergo mutilation.


Capital Events


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