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global health

Behrooz Astaneh: Iran’s scientific community shouldn’t be put in the shade

26 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

behrooz-astanehA recent news report published in Science ran with the alarming headline: “A shady market in scientific papers mars Iran’s rise in science.”

The story reports that some Iranian scholars buy scientific papers to publish under their name, and that there is a prosperous market in Iran to sell such articles to researchers. While it was interesting reading about the Iranian scientific community (something of a novelty), there are some notable omissions in the report.

I agree that there are some fraudsters in the Iranian scientific community who abuse the accelerated demand from Iranian researchers for publishing in “indexed” journals by selling papers. Yet this kind of report overshadows the whole Iranian community of researchers more…

Peter Grabitz et al: How can we improve data sharing in public health emergencies?

25 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

At the recent World Health Summit in Berlin there was a workshop discussing the case of data sharing in Public Health Emergencies” organized by the Centre Virchow-Villermé.

About two years ago, during the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, it became clear that researchers weren’t sharing screened viral genomes openly, thus delaying the outbreak response. At that moment there were no good guidelines in place to ensure that this happened. more…

Sian M Griffiths: How to implement handwashing with soap in schools

14 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

sian_griffiths11 March 2016 was an important day for global public health. It was the day the UN adopted a hygiene indicator as part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6–the goal that covers the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and which will guide funding and policy in this area for the next 15 years.

The adoption of the indicator is in part thanks to advocacy efforts of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, especially the Global Public-Private Handwashing Partnership on Handwashing with Soap. Academics, influential NGOs including the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and UNICEF, and private sector partners such as Unilever-Lifebuoy, have all played their part in raising the profile of handwashing with soap (HWWS). more…

After Hurricane Matthew: The fight to prevent a cholera epidemic in Haiti

14 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

haiti_dotw_3Cholera has been in Haiti since shortly after the earthquake in 2010. Before Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti this month, it was predicted there would be 50 000 cases by the end of this year. Sadly, with some areas showing as much as a 91% increase in cases last weekend, this number is now feared to be much higher.

When the deadly storm ripped through Haiti, it took with it the homes, livestock, and crops belonging to thousands of people and left behind severe flooding and devastation. At the time of writing, the death toll is more than 1000 and at least 62 000 people have had to leave their homes.  more…

Lara Fairall: Where there are nurses and community health workers

11 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

lara_fairallAugust marked the fourth anniversary of the shootings at the Marikana mine in North West Province of South Africa. It’s one of those events that so etches itself onto our collective soul that you remember exactly where you were when you learnt about it.  I was in an upmarket coffee shop—I live in one South Africa and work in another—indulging my Friday morning fix of precious alone time and caffeine—when I saw that front page and reeled at those images. Thirty-four miners gunned down—many shot in the back—by South African policemen during wage protests in an act that reproduced the worst atrocities of apartheid. It was, and always will be, outrageous that such brutality could be part of our democracy—it belonged to another time, to another South Africa. The lead-up to the massacre was as brutal as the act itself—mining security guards hacked to death with pangas. In the months and years that followed we have learned more of the miners’ lives—the long shifts, day and night 24/7—during which rock drillers core the earth, extracting its riches to line the pockets of the wealthy and perpetuate the landscape that surrounds these mines—a narrative of generations of migrant labour, dismantled families, alcohol, AIDS and the silent rage of the dispossessed.  more…

Jeph Mathias: The human face of inequality

6 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

Long ago an MSF (Doctors Without Borders) poster transfixed one junior doctor. Me.

msf_posterIt was black and white. Two figures, photographed from behind, dominate the foreground: a poor black child, desperately malnourished and in need (yet another African war?), being led by a white man (a doctor maybe?) to a makeshift clinic that is but a grass hut. In the background, a black man in sandals with x-rays in a plastic bag tries to talk his way past another black man at the clinic entrance. We know that with his guardian our little black child will get past the gatekeeper.

It’s all here: a dangerous place, a boy in need, more…

Canada’s new government: Climate change, “regulatory capture,” and “cathedral thinking”

6 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

Chris_simsIt’s a year this month since Justin Trudeau was elected as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister, ending a decade of conservative rule under Stephen Harper. By most accounts he has set a progressive and inclusive agenda at home, while internationally he has eschewed populist sentiments (seen in many countries)—welcoming instead 25 000 Syrian refugees, re-engaging with UN agencies, and endorsing free trade.

Despite this promising start, evidence suggests that he has paid inadequate attention to the influence of resource industries on public policy making more…

Claudia Stein: Europe is embracing the burden of disease approach

4 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

claudia_steinAs readers of The BMJ, there’s a good chance you are familiar with the burden of disease (BoD) approach. BoD is a systematic scientific effort to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss due to disease, injury, and risk factors by age, sex, and geography for specific points in time.

It combines measures of morbidity and disability to quantify the effect of disease on populations using measures such as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and quality adjusted life years (QALYs). more…

Christopher Stokes: One year after Kunduz

4 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

msf_kunduz4Battlefields without doctors, in wars without limits

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is remembering one of the darkest moments in its history. On 3 October 2015, US airstrikes killed 42 people and destroyed the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

As we grieve the loss of our colleagues and patients, we are left with the question: is it still possible to safely provide medical care on the frontline? In the past year, there have been a further 77 attacks on medical facilities run and supported by MSF in Syria and Yemen. more…

Madhukar Pai and Nimalan Arinaminpathy: How can India overcome tuberculosis?

3 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

tb_indiaIndia reports more cases of tuberculosis than any other country. This much is well known. However, nobody quite knows the true magnitude of the TB problem in the country.

For one, we do not know the number of TB patients who do not seek care or who remain undiagnosed, but we refer to this often as the “missing million.” Also, until recently, we did not have the foggiest idea of the number of TB patients treated in India’s vast, fragmented private sector. Currently, many private providers and hospitals do not notify the government of TB cases, despite TB being made a notifiable disease in 2012.

This can change. more…

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