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global health

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…

Rick Lines: Leading on harm reduction after 2015

18 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Rick-Lines2015 is looking like it could be a watershed year for global health. As the United Nation’s millennium development goals come to fruition, and we move towards a post 2015 sustainable development goals model, there will no doubt be much reflection on where we’ve collectively succeeded—and failed.

There has been much talk in recent years about the beginning of the “end of AIDS,” and we certainly have seen incredible successes, such as the roll-out of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to some 14 million people. This has transformed HIV from a death sentence into a chronic and manageable disease—for those on treatment. more…

Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch: The United Nations general assembly special session on drugs in 2016

17 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

In April 2016, representatives of the world’s nations will gather to evaluate drug policy in a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). While prohibitionist policies are still the norm, a rising tide of voices are demanding evidence based responses that respect human rights, promote public health, and reduce crime.

Voices for reform reached the UN General Assembly in 2012 when the presidents of Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala, fatigued by the drug war, requested that the UN hold a session to evaluate the impact of international drug policies. President Calderon of Mexico urged the UN to, “not only take part, but to lead a 21st century discussion that, without false prejudices, can lead us all to find solutions to this problem under new frameworks.more…

Jocalyn Clark: Are slums creating equality?

30 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1When you fly into Mumbai from the east, there is an extraordinary descent passing over mounds of lush green foothills reminiscent of Hawaii. It’s quite mesmerising. And then even more so is what lays at the foot of these foothills: a vast sprawl of tin roofed shanties, which I later learn is a slum of over 300 acres housing nearly 100 000 people. The slum literally encroaches upon the airfield, creating the illusion of a patchwork carpet leading on to the runway.

Inside the international airport are all the flashy trappings of a modern, bustling air and shopping terminal. Perhaps, I wonder, this is how the pace of development in South Asia is to be measured—not by absolute economic measures, but instead by how wide the gap is between the slum and the slick. more…

Rosalind McCollum: Reflections on Ebola from my time in Sierra Leone

28 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Rosalind McCollumIt was a rare privilege to return to Sierra Leone for a couple of months on a break from my PhD studies, where I joined former colleagues at Concern Worldwide in training health workers, volunteers, support staff, and community members on infection prevention and control at peripheral health units as part of the response to Ebola. Concern Worldwide has worked in Sierra Leone since the civil war in 1996, initially providing humanitarian assistance before transitioning to development work. more…

Sarah Kessler interviews Atul Gawande

21 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Sarah KesslerAtul Gawande, surgeon, author, and indie DJ (check his Twitter feed for mini playlists between the policy), just delivered the Reith Lectures for BBC Radio 4.

Broadcast to more than 50 million people worldwide, “The Future of Medicine” ranged across the UK, the United States, and India in a quest to navigate “the messy intersection of science and human fallibility.” more…

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