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global health

Richard Smith: Leapfrogging to universal health coverage

28 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014Low and middle income countries have the chance to create health systems that will perform much better than those in high income countries. Copying health systems that look increasingly unsustainable would not be wise. Instead, low and middle income countries can “leapfrog” to something better, and the World Economic Forum has a project to make that happen. I heard about it in New York last week.

A plot of health adjusted life expectancy against the health expenditure of individual countries shows a plateau in the late 1960s at an expenditure of about US$500 per head adjusted for purchasing power. Yet most high income countries are spending more than US$2500, with the US spending US$8000. To be blunt, these high expenditures don’t look like “value for money.” more…

Abdullah Aljoudi: An epidemic free Hajj

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ Group

My photo 1 “Complete the pilgrimages … for the sake of God” Quran 2:196

The 2014 Hajj was epidemic-free, according to Saudi Arabia’s acting health minister. In addition to the regular Hajj health regulations, this year the Saudi government decided to ban pilgrims from Mano river Union countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) because of the Ebola threat. The World Health Organization said there was “no report of MERS-CoV among pilgrims,”  and more than two million attended. more…

Sian Falder: Burns care overseas—the forgotten health crisis

10 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

sian_falderThe role of UK medical professionals overseas often captivates the public, especially when there are dramatic scenes and mass suffering. There is something about war zones and huge natural disasters which especially capture the imagination and interest. But why? Is it the indiscriminate destruction of innocent life, the number of casualties, or the danger to those who try and help, which makes these situations so compelling? more…

The price of joining the middle income country club: reduced access to medical innovation

10 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

When people think about medical humanitarian aid, the usual association is with war zones and natural disasters, and the assumption is that the most critical medical needs are concentrated in the world’s poorest countries. That’s mostly right, but not entirely.

While the needs of low income countries remain huge, there are large—and growing—populations excluded from access to healthcare who now live in countries classified as middle income countries (MIC). This shift presents enormous challenges, particularly in accessing new lifesaving drugs and vaccines for diseases that take a disproportionately high toll on poor, marginalized populations. more…

Vinitha Soundararajan and Alisha Patel: Sustainable Healthcare

10 Oct, 14 | by BMJ Group

Vinitha_SoundararajanClimate change, an ageing and growing global population, and depleting planetary resources are well established issues. There is a call for urgent action, especially in healthcare.

The NHS has been scrutinised for being a major contributor to the national carbon footprint. Health services globally need to act more sustainably to maintain the world we live in. Is it too late to act? What can we do about it? more…

Richard Smith: A tobacco company CEO writes to his marketing department

8 Oct, 14 | by BMJ Group

richard_smith_2014Dear all,

I see a great opportunity for us. You won’t believe this, but I’m at a public health conference in Sousse in Tunisia. I’ve come with my twin brother, a professor of public health. I am, of course, incognito. My brother asked me—yes, asked me—to come. Despite what you might think, we agree on most things—but differ radically on tobacco. We are twins, our connection goes deep. He hoped that by getting me to come to this conference he might get me to change my views. Unfortunately for him—and we’ve discussed this—the effect has been the opposite: I see a huge chance to grow our business. more…

William Cayley: Thinking about Ebola from the sidelines

7 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

bill_cayley_2Recently I was staring at two dramatically different bits of “news” on my computer screen. Yet another story on the spreading Ebola outbreak was in one window, and the latest update on our practice’s clinical performance metrics was in the next window. News of an out of control plague, juxtaposed with little red and green numbers telling me how well (or poorly?) I’m doing at “keeping” enough of my patients “in control” with their blood pressures, lipids, and the like. more…

Tony Waterston and Jean Bowyer: Teaching and learning about disability in the West Bank

6 Oct, 14 | by BMJ Group

tony_waterston“We want to improve the attitudes of nurses towards their patients.” This call from senior nurses at an Educating of Educators course in Ramallah (a Palestinian city in the central West Bank) could have been echoed in any country in the world, but these nurses are determined to bring about change and have the capacity to do so. more…

Sharon Lewin: The challenge of infectious diseases

6 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Sharon_LewinIt was not so long ago that there was a broadly held belief that modern society had defeated the worst of the world’s most lethal infectious diseases, and that the horrendous plagues of centuries gone by were no longer a possibility moving into the future.

The emergence of HIV in the early 1980’s certainly challenged that notion. So far, the HIV epidemic has prematurely taken the lives of over 30 million people, and the virus continues to be fatal. Even with some of the most remarkable scientific advances of the past two decades, HIV is still a tragedy in far too many parts of the world. more…

Suchita Shah: Malaria in the Little Novels of Sicily and why we need literature in medicine

2 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

suchita_shah“And you feel you could touch it with your hand—as if it smoked up from the fat earth, there, everywhere, round about the mountains that shut it in, from Agnone to Mount Etna capped with snow – stagnating in the plain like the sultry heat of June.”

With these words Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga begins a short story, “Malaria,” thought to be the first fictional depiction of the disease that threatens half the world’s population. Part of a collection called Little Novels of Sicily, this little gem of literary realism was first published in 1883 and later translated into English by D H Lawrence. more…

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