Former President George W. Bush will travel next month with former first lady Laura Bush and officials with the George W. Bush Institute to Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia “where they’ll visit clinics and meet with governmental and health care leaders … to raise awareness about cervical and breast cancer, an effort he calls a ‘natural extension’ of” the PEPFAR program launched during his presidency, the Associated Press reports. “The new program, called the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, seeks to expand the availability of cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America,” the news service notes.
Non Communicable Disease/Chronic Disease
“The pollution that has accompanied China’s spectacular rate of economic growth will have dire health consequences for its population, the United Nations has warned in a report,” the International Business Times reports. “Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), told media that already hundreds of thousands of Chinese people have suffered respiratory illnesses or died prematurely due to the heavy smog that envelops some cities in the country,” the news service writes.
“One in 10 adults will have diabetes by 2030, posing a huge challenge to health care systems around the world, according to a report” released by the International Diabetes Federation to coincide with World Diabetes Day on Monday, Reuters reports. According to the report, the number of people living with diabetes worldwide will increase to 552 million by 2030 from 366 million in 2011 unless action is taken, Reuters notes (Hirschler, 11/14).
“More than 50 percent of all new cancers and two-thirds of the annual cancer mortality worldwide happen in low-income and middle-income countries,” a Lancet editorial states and describes how the recently released report Closing the Cancer Divide, by the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries, “presents a compelling case for comprehensive action on expanded access to cancer care and control with realistic recommendations that will be beneficial beyond cancer.” The editorial says the report notes that cancer and issues surrounding it “need to be addressed on humanitarian and rights-based grounds,” as well as “in terms of economic productivity and development.”
In this Lancet editorial, Giuseppe Raviola, Anne Becker and Paul Farmer, professors with the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, write, “Unprecedented opportunities to promote excellence and equity in health care delivery for the world’s most underserved populations are upon us,” but “delivery of mental health services in low-resource settings lags unacceptably and unjustly far behind that of other services.”
“‘First world’ health problems such as obesity and heart disease may be gaining ground in developing nations, but they are mostly afflicting the rich and middle class while poor people remain undernourished and underweight,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Reuters reports. “Researchers who looked at more than 500,000 women from 37 mid- and low-income nations in Asia, Africa and South America found that there was a clear divide between the better-off and the poor,” Reuters states, adding, “Across countries, the wealthier the women were, the higher their average [body mass index (BMI)], a pattern that held steady over time.” The news service notes, “The pattern is different from that seen in wealthy nations, such as the United States, where lower incomes and less education often correlate with higher weight” (Norton, 11/3).
With disease burden shifting from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) over the coming years, “African health scientists need more funding and support to overcome the barriers and deal with a changing health situation on the continent,” Olive Shisana, chief executive officer of the South African Human Sciences Research Council, said during a keynote address at last week’s World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany, SciDev.Net reports. “Many of these diseases can be prevented by putting scientific research and health technologies to work, said Shisana, adding that this ‘epidemiological transition is an opportunity for us to build capacity and to collaborate to tackle these diseases together for the benefit of the globe,’” the news service writes.
NPR’s food blog “The Salt” reports on the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’ efforts to “bring in celebrities, chefs and politicians to help create awareness for the need for cleaner fuels and better cookstoves,” the smoke and gases from which contribute to nearly two million deaths a year — more than malaria — according to a study released by the WHO last week. “The technology is easy, but getting the stoves and cleaner fuels to impoverished millions is not,” the blog writes.
Four years after the Lancet “published a special series on global mental health, highlighting the gap in provision between rich countries and the rest of the world,” the journal has published a new series, including an “editorial accompanying the series, welcom[ing] the initiatives in global mental health in the past four years, but [saying] ‘there is still a long way to go and many challenges to face,’” IRIN reports (10/18).
In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, William Savedoff, a senior fellow at the center, writes that while the World Bank has “spoken strongly” on the issue of raising tobacco taxes in an effort to “generate revenue, cut health costs and save lives,” it…