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Addressing Barriers To Successful Immunization Programs Important While Vaccine Development Progresses

Immunizations can be a cost-effective means of disease prevention, but “[t]o reach the fully realized stage of cost-effectiveness, … it is vital to acknowledge — and more importantly, address — the barriers that often prevent them from either being as cheap or as widely used as needed,” Forbes contributor Sarika Bansal writes in a Forbes opinion piece. She cites costs associated with vaccines, such as shipping and refrigeration; time and monetary commitments from potential vaccine recipients; a lack of medical professionals in rural areas; and the implementation of public awareness campaigns as barriers to successful immunization campaigns.

Opinion Pieces Respond To U.N. Special Rapporteur's Report On Reproductive Health Policies

Several opinion pieces respond to a report (.pdf) presented on Monday to the U.N. General Assembly by Arnand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur for the Right to Health, that “considers the impact of criminal and other legal restrictions on abortion; conduct during pregnancy; contraception and family planning; and the provision of sexual and reproductive education and information,” according to the report summary. The report also states, “Realization of the right to health requires the removal of barriers that interfere with individual decision-making on health-related issues and with access to health services, education and information, in particular on health conditions that only affect women and girls. In cases where a barrier is created by a criminal law or other legal restriction, it is the obligation of the State to remove it” (8/3).

Positive Outlook, Support For Change In Polio Programs Important For Eradication Efforts

A new report from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) “has concluded that the major obstacle to eradication is not political or scientific or monetary, but something seemingly mundane — bad management,” health reporter Andre Picard writes in his Globe and Mail column, adding that “the panel offers concrete proposals for what needs to be done to close the deal.” He continues, “The fundamental problem though, according to the expert panel, is that the global eradication effort is overeager to celebrate the successes (like India) and ignore the failures (like Pakistan).”

Malaria Vaccine Offers Hope In Overcoming 'Clinical Trials Labyrinth'

In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, the director of Global Health Policy and a research fellow at the center, and Thomas Bollyky, a former research fellow at the center, write that this month’s announcement that “an experimental vaccine cuts in half the…

Zambia's Increasing Population May Pose Challenges

In his BBC News column, medical correspondent Fergus Walsh examines maternal health, fertility, myths surrounding contraception, and gender equality in Zambia, which “has one of the world’s fastest growing populations.” With the nation’s population expected to triple to 39 million people by 2050 and reach 100 million by 2100, “[t]he potential problem for Zambia is that the population increase is so rapid that the government may struggle to keep pace. Those under 16 need education, healthcare and homes but they are not yet contributing to the economy. Zambia can barely feed 13 million people so how will it cope in the future?” Walsh writes (10/24).

As Malaria Vaccine Research Goes On, Continue To Support Existing Prevention Tools To Save Lives

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of the Doctors Without Borders Access to Essential Medicines Campaign, responds to the results of the RTS,S malaria vaccine clinical trial announced last week, writing, “A malaria vaccine that works would be a major breakthrough. But while the latest advance toward the development is scientifically important, there are several reasons to be cautious about the difference this vaccine could make, on the basis of current results.”

Sustained 'Vigilance And Money' Necessary To Fight Malaria

With the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial results showing “moderate” success, helping to reignite “optimism about eradicating malaria entirely,” “there are other big hurdles still to surmount,” a New York Times editorial states. “There are hints that the protection may wane over time and results from administering a booster shot won’t be known until 2014,” and side effects could be a concern, the editorial writes.

Opinion Pieces Address World Polio Day

Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we haven’t done enough yet,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in his blog, “The Gates Notes.” He continues, “The last one percent is the hardest percent, and we have to do even more than we’ve already done if we hope to finish the job on polio. The day the world is declared polio free is the day we can really begin celebrating” (10/21).

Using Spousal Communication To Increase Family Planning In Africa

Helen Epstein, author of “The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS” examines the implications of the world’s growing population for Africa in this New York Times Opinion piece, writing, “Before this century ends, there could well be 10 billion of us, a billion more than previously expected. Nearly all of these extra billion people will be born in Africa, where women in some countries bear seven children each on average, and only one in 10 uses contraception. With mortality rates from disease falling, the population of some countries could increase eightfold in the next century.”

Ambitious Vision, Lasting Investment In Science Can Save Countless Lives

In this post in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s “ASTMH Blog,” Rick Steketee, science director of PATH’s Malaria Control Program and ASTMH council member, responds to the results of the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial, writing, “It’s milestones like this week’s findings that remind us all that ambitious…