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global health

Nasreen Jessani: The (conflicted) role of researchers as advocates

9 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Nasreen Jessani“You must lobby the parliament for your research to be considered! Rigorous evidence needs to be coupled with intense lobbying in order for political parties, who are steered by interest groups, to be willing to listen.”

This was the advice of a Kenyan parliamentarian at the opening session of the ResUpMeetUp symposium in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2015 (ResUpMeetUp is a community of research uptake and communication professionals). Not surprisingly, the advice resulted in several nodding heads, numerous discontented murmurs, and a handful of quizzical expressions among the participants. This range of reactions reflects the perpetual dilemma researchers face about how their role in society is interpreted: as responsible citizens, as neutral knowledge brokers, or as biased advocates. more…

Gado Napo-Koura: Togo joins the Family Planning 2020 Movement

6 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

As a former medical intern, I witnessed the devastating impact that lack of access to modern family planning had on the lives of women and young girls. I recall admitting a teenager who had an unsafe abortion that was done in secret. Her own mother was what we call an “avorteuse”—a traditional, unqualified practitioner who performs abortions, and she had performed this practice on her own daughter. Unfortunately, it went horribly wrong, and we had to perform a complete hysterectomy on this young girl, who has consequently never been able to dream of motherhood. more…

Jocalyn Clark: Where cancer is a neglected disease

5 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1A great deal of attention is being paid to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as an emerging source of illness, death, and healthcare costs—recognising that low and middle income countries (LMICs) in particular are faced with a growing threat.

The NCDs movement tends to coalesce around four priority conditions—heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and common cancers—and has been effective at pressing for the inclusion and priority of these diseases in the “post 2015″ international development agenda. more…

Janneke Hartvig Blomberg: Insights into infant feeding practices in Indonesia

3 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

unnamedExperts in nutrition, researchers, academics, and business leaders gathered in London last week for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)’s Symposium to progress thinking around infant and young child nutrition. When seeking to develop effective communications to bring about lasting change, understanding the motivations and cultural and societal beliefs that inform behaviours is essential.

Indonesia faces major nutritional challenges. Rates of childhood malnutrition are high and, according to the national nutrition survey Riskesdas (2013), 37.2% of children in the country are affected by stunting. more…

Peter Baker: Men’s health—a problem hidden in plain sight?

2 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

peter_bakerThe poor state of men’s health must be one of the biggest health issues routinely not talked about. It is ignored or sidelined by virtually all national governments and by global public health organisations, such as the World Health Organization. It is barely addressed by policymakers, professional organisations, public health non-governmental organisations, researchers, or practitioners. more…

William Cayley: What are the (hidden) costs?

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

bill_cayley_2“The economics of education are changed dramatically by delivering online courses to large numbers, making expensive education much cheaper.” That line in Richard Smith’s blog post describing a proposed “global university” for healthcare workers caught my attention—especially since my own local statewide university system, of which I am an employee as a medical school faculty member, is facing a proposed $300 million budget cut over the next two years. more…

Sandra Lako: The challenges of identifying and isolating Ebola cases in Sierra Leone

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoAlthough the situation in Sierra Leone with respect to Ebola has improved considerably since November, there are still cases in Freetown every day. With Ebola still present, it is important to stay vigilant and have a high index of suspicion. Every single person that enters the hospital compound needs to be screened according to the case definition, and anyone meeting the case definition needs to be isolated and tested. One positive case can infect many people, and that needs to be avoided. more…

Richard Smith: A global university for healthcare workers

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014WHO estimates that the world is short of 12.9 million healthcare workers, and Devi Shetty, the cardiac surgeon and chairman and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals, thinks that radical steps are needed to provide these workers. Money for healthcare for all will come, he believes, but it cannot be achieved unless healthcare workers are available to provide the care.

India, for example, needs three million doctors and six million nurses in addition to millions of community health workers. The country needs 500 new medical colleges, and Shetty is keen that the very poorest who have “magic in their fingers and passion in the hearts” should be able to train as doctors. more…

Richard Smith: Surgeons spend their time putting a price tag on human life

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014Physicians and surgeons across Asia, Africa, and Latin America spend their time putting a price tag on human life, said Devi Shetty, cardiac surgeon and chairman and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals, at the World Summit on Innovation in Heath in Doha last week. His mission is to reduce the costs of health to make healthcare available to as many people as possible. more…

Aser García Rada: Some thorny questions posed by our response to Ebola

19 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Aser García Rada_BMJOver the last few months, I had been getting ready for being deployed to Liberia or Sierra Leone with a non-governmental organisation. Regrettably, owing to several doubts I had with the project, I finally will not be going. However, I have been trying to learn as much as possible about the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and I am concerned about some of the things I learned.

Last December, I attended a roundtable on this topic at the Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII) in Madrid. Alberto Infante, a former professor of international health at the National School of Public Health, pointed out some striking facts. Firstly, and as Google Trends show, as the risk of the disease spreading in Western countries drops, our interest sharply declines. more…

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