“Health systems, particularly in poorer countries, need to adapt to meet the chronic care needs of older people as the shift to aging populations gathers pace in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said” Wednesday in a briefing paper to mark World Health Day, observed on Saturday, the Guardian reports. The agency “points out that developing countries will have less time than wealthy nations to adapt to the challenges of an aging population — generally defined as people over 60,” the news service writes, adding, “By 2050, 80 percent of older people will live in low- and middle-income countries.”
Non Communicable Disease/Chronic Disease
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) on Monday released a summary of a workshop, titled “Country-Level Decision Making for Control of Chronic Diseases.” As part of a series of follow-up activities to the IOM’s 2010 report, “Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World,” the workshop “aimed to identify what is needed to create tools for country-led planning of effective, efficient, and equitable provision of programs to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic diseases,” according to its website (4/2).
“The ruling this week by Australia’s high court to uphold its government’s right to introduce ‘plain packaging’ for tobacco products is a landmark event for global health,” John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, writes in this Health-e opinion piece. “As the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, I am grateful for this ruling on plain packaging, as it will undoubtedly reduce the cancer burden in Australia,” he continues. “However, the significance of this Australia ruling extends to countries around the world and the global health community,” he adds, noting, “The reason tobacco companies have fought vociferously against plain packaging is because they know this will have a major impact in not only decreasing the number of new consumers who may become addicted, but also because other countries may follow Australia’s lead.”
“In one of the most significant victories for public health policy, the Australian High Court upheld the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act, which effectively removes the last form of advertising available to the tobacco industry in the country — logos on cigarette packs,” Cynthia Lewis, a senior program officer for the tobacco initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “After a multi-million dollar legal battle, the Government of Australia effectively defended its right to legislate to protect the health of its citizens,” she continues, adding, “While the battle is not yet over — Australia still faces two additional cases with Philip Morris Asia and the World Trade Organization — [Wednesday’s] victory establishes an important precedent for plain packaging, and encourages those who seek to implement it elsewhere” (8/15).
“Two fifths of men in developing countries still smoke or use tobacco, and women are increasingly starting to smoke at younger ages, according to a large international study which found ‘alarming patterns’ of tobacco use,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/17). The study, published Friday in the Lancet, “covered enough representative samples to estimate tobacco use among three billion people” and “‘demonstrates an urgent need for policy change in low- and middle-income countries,’ said lead researcher Gary Giovino,” according to CNN (Levs, 8/17). “‘Although 1.1 billion people have been covered by the adoption of the most effective tobacco control policies since 2008, 83 percent of the world’s population are not covered by two or more of these policies,’ said [Giovino],” Reuters adds (8/17).
“Australia’s highest court Wednesday rejected a challenge from big tobacco companies to tough new plain-packaging laws due to come into effect later this year, in a legal battle closely watched around the world,” the Wall Street Journal reports, adding, “The ruling is a major blow for global tobacco giants that had been seeking to stop Australia implementing the new laws, fearing the move would set a precedent for other countries to follow” (Curran, 8/14). “Tobacco companies British American Tobacco, Britain’s Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco challenged the laws in Australia’s high court, claiming the rules were unconstitutional because they effectively extinguished the companies’ intellectual property rights,” according to the Guardian (8/15). “The law, approved by Parliament last year, requires cigarettes to be sold in drab dark packaging starting in December, without logos but featuring graphic images of smoking-related diseases,” the Washington Post writes, adding, “Brand names can still be used, but only in a standard font, size and position” (Hume, 8/15).
“Trauma has become a silent epidemic in Africa, an epidemic that will only spread as the economy grows,” Ola Orekunrin, a trauma doctor and the managing director of Flying Doctors Nigeria, an air ambulance service, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. “Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s smallest number…
“Over the past year I have been involved with the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, a group of international leaders working to identify how progress can be delivered on critical challenges such as addressing the global burden of chronic disease and the risks (and opportunities) associated with our hyper-connected…
“In a large study of nearly a million girls in Denmark and Sweden, the human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccine was not linked to short- or long-term health problems,” Reuters reports. “Previously, isolated incidents of blood clots or other problems had been pegged to the vaccine, but this large new study did…
New Installation Of Al Jazeera’s ‘Lifelines’ Examines Efforts Against River Blindness in South Sudan
In a recent installation of “Lifelines: The Quest For Global Health,” Al Jazeera’s “new cross-platform project profiling the extraordinary work of global health workers as they tackle eight deadly diseases and conditions that afflict poor people,” the news agency examines efforts prevent and treat river blindness in South Sudan, where…