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global health

Chris​ Simms: What can Senegal teach the West about dealing with Ebola?

20 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Chris_simsTen years ago, Peter Piot (the discoverer of Ebola) wrote the foreword to a collaborative effort on HIV strategies by nearly 200 scientists. He warned that an effective country response to the epidemic requires adherence to the so called “Three Ones” principle: a single national strategy, coordinated by one agency, and supported by one monitoring and evaluation framework. This advice applies as much to the Ebola crisis as it did to HIV—in rich and poor countries alike. more…

What’s the leading cause of death among children in Bangladesh? It’s not what you think

19 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) program focused needed attention on unacceptably high levels of child deaths across the world, dedicating its MDG4 target to reducing the under 5 mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. Considerable gains have been achieved overall and many countries are on track toward that target.

Beneath the overall trends are more specific ones. These deserve more attention. This month a remarkable and unprecedented new dataset of individual deaths across the developing world sheds light on often hidden trends. more…

Colin Brown: In the field in Sierra Leone—part two

18 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

colin brownIn the second instalment of this blog series, I will share some ongoing challenges faced by Sierra Leone in treating Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). I will also share some success stories and how both will help shape the future of healthcare in the region.

Challenges

This week I watched several people die in front of me, helpless to do anything. As health professionals, this is not what we are trained for. We assess. We diagnose. We treat. One young man was being cared for in an isolation unit, waiting for his test result to come back. It had been two days since it was sent and a result was expected later that day. It would be too late. A fit, young, muscular man, he was propped upright by his younger brother—also suspected of having EVD. His breathing was laboured, his eyes vacant, his body limp. He died in his brother’s arms a minute later. more…

Lawrence Haddad: Think we can’t end global malnutrition by 2030? Think again

18 Nov, 14 | by BMJ Group

L_Haddad_twitter_400x400There is a public health crisis that is threatening the health and lives of men, women, and children across our planet at an alarming rate, and the richest nations are affected as well as the poorest. And the sad truth is that many nations in the world have not made addressing the crisis a high enough priority to successfully combat it. We are not talking about Ebola, which has claimed the lives of some 5000 people worldwide. Malnutrition—in the form of stunting, obesity, heart disease, and early death—affects at least 2 billion people worldwide. more…

Tackling a pandemic: Is Ebola the definitive lesson?

14 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

SAMSUNG CSCUntil recently, Ebola was rarely heard of in the developed world, but during the last few months, we are receiving such a high volume of daily information on Ebola virus disease (EVD) that this blog would have been different if written a few weeks earlier or later. It is worth noting that all The BMJ articles referring to the EVD outbreak have been made free of access.

Aser García Rada_BMJAs we have seen both in Spain and the United States—the first two countries dealing with EVD out of Africa—we share current ignorance in this field with most Western healthcare workers, politicians, journalists, and even scientific advisers. more…

David Southall and Rhona MacDonald: More resources are urgently needed to treat Ebola in west Africa

13 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

In Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—the countries most affected by Ebola—the outbreak has, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), resulted in 5160 deaths.

In Liberia, a country we have been working in for three years, by 29 October 2014 WHO reported 2413 deaths from Ebola. Two weeks later, on 12 November, WHO reported 2836 deaths, an increased number of 423 deaths in two weeks.

Health workers are bearing the brunt of the outbreak: by 12 November 2014, 329 Liberian healthcare workers had contracted Ebola (107 more than three weeks earlier on 22 October), and 162 had died (59 more than three weeks earlier). According to WHO, when the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor for every 100 000 people in a population of 4.4 million–that is about 40 doctors in total, and now there are even less. more…

Grania Brigden: Mind the deadly gaps in the TB response

11 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

grania_brigdenThe 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health, recently held in Barcelona, opened with the health ministers of South Africa and India making bold commitments to address and reverse the tuberculosis epidemics in their countries. Five other countries also committed to ending TB, resulting in the birth of the Barcelona Declaration on TB.

This political commitment is desperately needed. The recently published World Health Organization Global TB Report 2014 highlighted not only the increasing number of cases, but also the growing crisis in tackling drug resistant TB. The reality for those infected with multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is that they have only a one in eight chance of being identified, correctly diagnosed, started on treatment, and cured. This is not acceptable. more…

The Ebola diaries—10 November 2014

10 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

ebola_diariesIf you had asked any of us about our plans for November 2014, it probably would not have included a tour to Sierra Leone to treat patients with Ebola. But here we are: eight British army and navy doctors, sweating in the heat and the humidity of a west African afternoon, waiting for the President to open our brand new Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone. more…

Colin Brown: In the field in Sierra Leone

7 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

colin brown

Welcome to the first blog about my return to Sierra Leone. This week a few reflections on the organisation I am here with, the country, and the Ebola epidemic as it unfolds.

KSLP

For the past two years, King’s Sierra Leone Partnership has worked with our partners—Connaught Hospital (the only adult referral hospital in the country), the College of Medicine and Health Sciences medical school (COHMAS), and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS)—to help support and strengthen medical education, health policy, and clinical services in the country. more…

Rupert Whitaker: A pill for risky sex—another step on the road to a pill for bad housing

7 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Rupert_whitakerPrEP—or chemoprophylaxis against HIV infection, as the less sexy phrase goes—is about using chemicals to prevent yourself from contracting HIV during sex or the sharing of injection equipment, the acronym standing for “pre-exposure prophylaxis.” It has gradually emerged as a possibility as a public health intervention after six years of clinical trials. It looks very promising, but only some of the problems that burden it are being discussed during the increasing—and increasingly irrational—hoopla around the topic. more…

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