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.”
Non Communicable Disease/Chronic Disease
“‘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…
In this “End the Neglect” blog post, Alanna Shaikh, a writer for U.N. Dispatch, follows up on her previous post in which she asserts that “there is a single approach that will help to fight both” non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), writing that in order to tackle both…
Pollution from indoor cooking stoves, typically open fires that that burn solid fuels such as wood, charcoal or dung, kills two million globally each year, scientists at NIH said in a study published in the journal Science on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports. Smoke emitted from the stoves, used by three billion people worldwide, “causes pneumonia and chronic lung disease that particularly affects women and children who tend to spend more time in the home while men are outside working,” AFP writes, adding that “little public awareness surrounds what the World Health Organization describes as the globe’s top environmental killer” (Sheridan, 10/13).
In this “End the Neglect” blog post, Alanna Shaikh, a writer for U.N. Dispatch, writes that while “[a]t first glance, the new focus on cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) looks like trouble for the funding for things like neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) … that conflict is mostly superficial. NCDs and NTDs have much more in common than their initials.”
In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Melissa Sharer, AIDSTAR-One senior care and support officer at John Snow, Inc., writes, “Although treatment is now widely available and [people living with HIV (PLHIV)] are able to live normal and active lives for many years, their mental health needs are often overlooked in care, treatment, and support programs.” Sharer highlights the success of programs in Vietnam and in Uganda that “combine mental health and existing health services.”