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African Health Scientists Need More Support, Funding To Address Shifting Priorities, Expert Says

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.

Incorporating Mental Health Into Agenda To Ensure Access To Services For All

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.”

Global Task Force Report Presents ‘Compelling’ Action On Cancer Care, Control

“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.”

Obesity Affecting Wealthy, Middle Classes More Than Poor In Developing Countries, Study Says

“‘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).

World Bank Urges China To Address NCDs Or Face Economic Consequences

In a report (.pdf) released on Tuesday, the World Bank urged China to step up its efforts to fight non-communicable diseases (NCDs), “the main cause of death in the country, warning of rising health expenditure and an economic slowdown if rapid action is not taken,” Reuters reports.

Rise of NCDs Is 'Growing But Under-Addressed Challenge' In Developed And Developing Countries

“The rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)” is “a growing but under-addressed challenge in both the developed and developing world,” Jean-Luc Butel, executive vice president and group president for Medtronic’s international operations, writes in a Muskegon Chronicle opinion piece. “[S]hifting demographics, lifestyles and environmental factors in places like China and India have led to a dramatic increase in NCDs,” he writes, adding that “[e]stimates suggest NCDs will account for three out of every four deaths globally by 2030.”

CDC Director Lauds India For TB And Tobacco Use Control Efforts, Urges Preparations To Fight NCDs

CDC Director Thomas Frieden, who currently is visiting India and who previously worked with the Indian government assisting in tuberculosis (TB) control, praised the country’s “progress in controlling tuberculosis and tobacco use” on Monday during a speech to health practitioners and policymakers, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog. Frieden also noted “India’s strides in the past decade on … polio control and HIV/AIDS prevention,” the blog reports.

U.N. Should Make Reduction In Salt Intake A Global Health Priority, Researchers Say

Researchers from the Universities of Warwick and Liverpool in a report published on Thursday in the British Medical Journal called for the U.N. to “make reducing salt intake a global health priority,” stating that “a 15 percent cut in consumption could save 8.5 million lives around the world over the next decade,” BBC News reports. “The researchers say there is a ‘consistent, direct relation between salt intake and blood pressure,'” which “in turn is linked to heart disease, stroke and kidney problems,” and “[t]hey point to the U.S., where cutting salt intake by a third would save tens of thousands of lives and save up to $24 billion annually in health care costs,” the news agency reports.

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