Empowering women has a significant impact on public health.
“We all believe in a gender equal world. Obviously.
But more than 500 million girls and women will be denied the opportunity to take part in the next generation’s development.
This doesn’t have to be the reality.
Organizations working for girls and women currently raise less than half the average amount raised by other nonprofits and charities.
Catapult can change that.
We’re combining the financial power and actions of people like you to help tackle gender inequality around the world.”
This interactive map visually plots global outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and other diseases that are easily preventable by inexpensive and effective vaccines. The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports on these outbreaks since the fall of 2008. This project aims to promote awareness of a global health problem that is easily preventable.
So I noticed in the grocery store the other day that cigarette packages are now displaying graphic images of smoking-related health problems. Or rather, the guy standing in front of me in the checkout line noticed it and just about fell over himself from shock.
I think it’s an interesting development in Kazakhstan’s battle with smoking and tobacco use. WHO statistics from 2010 show that just about half of the male population in Kazakhstan uses any smoked tobacco, while for females this percentage is much smaller.
Still, I wonder how effective these images will be in preventing smoking. One of my friends, a smoker herself, remarked on how easy it is to emotionally distance herself from these photos. She explained that since these photos seem to present the most extreme of cases, it’s easy for most smokers to convince themselves that these examples do not apply to them.
Add up the cost of extra health care, smoke breaks, absenteeism, and lowered productivity, and smokers start to look like a pretty hefty business expense.
More and more companies are discriminating against smokers, either by not hiring them at all (in states where that’s allowed) or making every effort to get them to stop. It’s not particularly nice. But financially, it makes sense.
Smokers cost employers a lot of money—$5,816 a year compared to someone who has never smoked, to be exact. The number comes from new research that tallies the cost of smoke breaks (the biggest expense, at $3,077), additional health care ($2,056), absenteeism ($517), and lower productivity ($462).
Photo by Peter Casaer
“Today I saw the worst case of breast cancer I have ever seen”
“Sometimes, the seeming futility of this job overwhelms me. We see so many diseases – both chronic and acute – that we are unable to do anything about. When I considered coming to Afghanistan, I felt I was prepared to see malnutrition, wounded patients, trauma, etc. I did not realize the amount of chronic diseases and other conditions that we would be helpless to treat. At home, this woman would have had a mammogram and ultrasound when she first noticed a lump in her breast. She would have received free health care that would have, in all likelihood, saved her life. We have no chemotherapy, radiation therapy, mammography, or indeed oncologists here in Helmand [Afghanistan].”
Read more at http://blogs.msf.org/afghanistan/2013/06/what-if/
Bottom line: birth control works really well when you use it correctly all the time.
This father’s day, Garry Emmons is remembering Dr. Héctor Abad Gómez, pictured here with his son Héctor Jr. (Courtesy of Héctor Abad Faciolince)
“A man has only one mother, but his father could be any old son of a bitch.”
So goes a saying from Medellín, as recalled by celebrated Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince in his exquisite 2012 coming-of-age memoir, “Oblivion.” The book is also a meditation on fatherhood and an homage to the author’s own father, Dr. Héctor Abad Gómez, who emerges as the adored antithesis of the SOB stereotype.
A well-traveled World Health Organization official who helped pioneer Colombia’s public-health system, Dr. Abad was among the first to understand that public health, social justice, and human rights were intertwined. His life was dedicated to healing the sick and helping the poor — to some in Colombia that made him a dangerous man. “If they kill me for what I do,” Dr. Abad once said, “would it not be a beautiful death?”
I got to know Dr. Abad while supporting him in his role as the head of Medellín’s human rights committee. Over the phone and in his typewritten letters, he was formal and courteous, patient and, yes, paternal. I had lived in Colombia and I had many questions. As we talked, unbeknownst to him, he was imparting to me life-lessons in compassion and courage: His activism and grassroots work in public health were earning him friends, but also enemies in high, reactionary places. I watched anxiously from Boston as he soldiered on.
Through it all, he remained an involved, physically affectionate, and indulgent father, as “Oblivion” (titled “El olvido que seremos” in the original Spanish) wonderfully recounts. In a house full of “Catholicism-afflicted women” — maids, five sisters, a grandma, a mother, a nun — Héctor Jr. (as I will call Faciolince) bonded deeply with his humanist father, whom he “loved more than God.” But this man who loved growing roses, listening to Beethoven, and doting on his family was not without flaws — naiveté about people’s motives, a lack of discipline, a touch of vanity. And one more flaw: as Héctor Jr. observes, “A father as perfect as he was can become unbearable.”
As that Medellín saying caustically affirms, we all have a father who, to different degrees, is incomplete in our eyes. As young men, most of us are restless for more than what any one man can teach us, and a father can only be so much. So when we are trying on “manhood” for size, a father figure can help us find a fit. Dr. Abad did that for me.
In August 1987, Dr. Abad was gunned down in the streets of Medellín by death-squad assassins. Even in a country accustomed to horrific political violence, his death was shocking. Dr. Abad, 65, had long maintained that violence should be treated as a public-health issue. Now he himself had become one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of a slow-motion massacre, begun in the 1940s, that has created in Colombia today the third-largest displaced civilian population in the world.
At home, Dr. Abad was an extraordinary father; outside, he was one of those special individuals who single-handedly advances humanity. But Dr. Abad would have been embarrassed by the label “special” and the attention it draws. Consider the words of this Borges poem, “Epitaph,” that he had hand copied and was carrying in his pocket when he died. It ends with these lines: I am not some fool who clings to the sound of his own name. I think, with hope, of that man who will never know I walked the earth. Beneath the blue indifference of heaven, I find this thought consoling.
This Father’s Day, as I remember my own father, I will also recall the father figures in my life, and in particular, one whose wish for “indifference” I cannot grant — a gentle, brave man who touched more lives than he knew.
The figure above shows confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (N = 55) reported as of June 7, 2013, to the World Health Organization and history of travel from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries within 14 days of illness onset, during 2012-2013. All reported cases of MERS-CoV were directly or indirectly linked to one of four countries: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Haiti has finally carried out a nationwide campaign to get rid of the parasitic worms that cause elephantiasis.
Haiti has waged other campaigns against the condition, characterized by severe disfiguration of the legs and arms. But until now, it has never managed to adequately reach residents of the chaotic capital Port-au-Prince.
The latest effort by the Haitian Ministry of Health now puts the country on track to wipe out elephantiasis within the next four years, says a study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Elephantiasis — officially called lymphatic filariasis — is a cruel condition. Parasites invade your lymphatic system and cause grotesque swelling, primarily of the legs, but also, at times, of the arms and scrotum.
Photograph by Maggie Steber for The Washington Post/Getty Images
BY ITS fifth month, Beatriz’s pregnancy had become dangerously complicated. Scans showed that the fetus was developing without parts of its brain and skull and would not survive more than a few hours outside the womb. Beatriz (not her real name) was suffering from kidney problems and lupus, an autoimmune disease, which had become so acute that her doctors said she risked death too. With the backing of El Salvador’s health ministry, she decided to terminate the pregnancy.
Not so fast, said the Supreme Court, ruling on May 29th that the constitution’s protection of all citizens “from the moment of conception” meant that abortion could not be permitted in any circumstances. Hours later, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered that the government should give Beatriz’s doctors access “without interference” to whatever measures were necessary to save her life.
A compromise was reached: rather than have an abortion, Beatriz could undergo a premature caesarean section. Since she was already past 20 weeks of pregnancy, the operation could be considered an “induced birth”, not an abortion, the health ministry said. This seemed to satisfy the courts. On June 3rd the baby was delivered, and died a few hours later. Beatriz was in intensive care as The Economist went to press.
This sorry story and its face-saving solution is typical of the ineffective abortion regime present in most of Latin America. At the urging of the Catholic church, abortion is banned under all circumstances—including rape, and where the mother faces death—in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname, as well as in El Salvador. In most other countries it is highly restricted. Only Cuba, Guyana, Puerto Rico and Uruguay offer abortion on demand (so does Mexico City, unlike the rest of Mexico).
(From The Economist)