I don't smoke, but I find myself fascinated by and passionate about the debate over e-cigarettes. Why? Because e-cigarettes illustrate how harm reduction approaches to drug policy, particularly maintenance or substitution therapies, are at once both filled with promise and deeply misunderstood.
The U.S., using public health approaches, has made incredible strides in reducing the number of smokers. But 480,000 people in the U.S. will die from cigarette smoking each year, a number that has remained relatively stable since 2004. While education, prevention and cessation programs must continue, these strategies are unlikely to result in the kind of big reductions in smoking at the population level that we have seen in the past. Many of those still smoking simply cannot or will not quit.
Today, the Obama administration is announcing a comprehensive set of new federal actions to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and protect public health. Additionally, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is releasing a related report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance.
The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th century fundamentally transformed medicine; antibiotics now save millions of lives each year in the United States and around the world. Yet bacteria repeatedly exposed to the same antibiotics can become resistant to even the most potent drugs. These so-called antibiotic-resistant bacteria can present a serious threat to public health, national security, and the economy.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant infections are associated with an additional 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States each year. The estimated annual impact of antibiotic-resistant infections on the national economy is $20 billion in excess direct health care costs, and as much as $35 billion in lost productivity from hospitalizations and sick days. Antibiotics are also critical to many modern medical interventions, including chemotherapy, surgery, dialysis, and organ transplantation.
“It relieves pain five times faster than normal drugs”. This is the slogan used to advertise a painkiller on one of the local radio stations. With such catchy adverts, many people are lured into buying these drugs with the hope that it will relieve them of pain soon after swallowing.
While it is possible to experience short-term relief, doctors warn of the dangers of over relying on painkillers to manage pain. According to health experts, over or misuse of painkillers can damage the liver, kidney and affect hearing, especially among women.
A Harvard University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that women who frequently use painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (tylenol) have an increased risk of developing hearing complications. “Women who took these pain relievers at least twice a week were more likely to experience hearing loss, and more frequent usage increased the risk by up to 24 per cent,” the study reveals.
A Primary One pupil of Namwaya Primary School in Nagongera Sub-county Tororo District yesterday surprised a school assembly when he tasked the district chairperson, Mr Emmanuel Osuna to explain the circumstances under which their school operates without a pit latrine.
Mr Osuna had paid a visit to the school to find out how much the school is doing towards the feeding of children.
When: July 1, 2012 @ 06:00 - 12:00
Where: Lira town
Cost: 15,000 UGX (Individuals) ; 500,000 UGX (Corporate Teams)
Categories: 21km, 10km Run and 10km tricycle race
Organized by Global Health Network (U) in collaboration with Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF)
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First Annual Global Health Symposium on the future of Community Based Primary Health Care and Reproductive Health in LDCs
Theme: “Making a difference by using simple solutions-to improve health for all by reducing avoidable disease, disabilities, and deaths”
September (Exact date will communicated soon), 2010; Venue: Kampala, Uganda
Community based Health care – the purposeful generation of knowledge and practice, that enables societies to organize themselves to improve health outcomes and health services – is rapidly emerging as one of the most dynamic and complex areas of health research and programming. Awareness is growing among politicians, policy-makers, healthcare providers and researchers that the evidence base to support the theory and practice of strengthening health systems is not strong, especially in low-and middle-income countries. Moreover, the scientific foundations for health research and programming are in need of significant development and improvement. Calls for more effective and better primary health care and reproductive health programmes are not new but they have recently been given a boost.
In 1978, the World Health Organization sponsored the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. Representatives of more than 100 ministries of health attended, and they described a goal in which everybody in the world would attain a level of health that would permit them to lead socially and economically productive lives by 2000. They named that goal "Health for All" The conference reinforced the concept of community-based health care as a fundamental means through which health, especially among poor populations, can be improved.
Since 1978, community-based health care systems have been credited with helping many people, but they also have been overshadowed by programs that promote specific interventions, such as individual drug therapy. Now, 22 years after the Alma-Ata attendees stated a desire for "Health for All," GHNU has invited some of the re-known practitioners and researchers to review primary health care and reproductive health situations around the world.
Universal Heath coverage- A case for Community based-PHC and Reproductive Health
This first Global Health symposium is dedicated to improving the scientific evidence needed by health policy-makers and practitioners to inform their decisions related to accelerating universal health coverage-through community based model. Achieving and sustaining universal coverage requires attention to a broad range of issues that are central to health systems performance. This includes drawing on the six interdependent health system building blocks – finance, workforce, services, technologies, information, and governance – and understanding how policies and programmes from within and beyond the health sector can be developed and implemented effectively, efficiently, and equitably.
Although universal health coverage is highly country and context specific, rigorous scientific research has the potential to generate evidence to inform better policy and practice within and across countries; For example, robust methodologies could be instrumental in identifying how the services for water and sanitation, hygiene, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, immunization and maternal and child health can be scaled up to reach the poor and disadvantaged more quickly and sustainably in low-income countries; Similarly, prospective monitoring and evaluation of health coverage policies in middle-income countries can help to better target the vulnerable populations and make important mid-course corrections.
In recognition of the historical importance of the Alma-Ata declaration, and of the abiding interest in Primary Health Care (PHC) from a range of stakeholders, Global Health Network-Uganda is holding its first annual Health symposium, on the 23rd July, 2010. A range of leading speakers will use the available evidence to address both the promise and the pitfalls of PHC and Reproductive Health, from a range of perspectives and discuss the continuing relevance of such concepts to improvement of world health.
Key themes and objectives of the Symposium
I) Systematically review PHC & RH and promote novel methods of improvement
· Highlight successes & failures of PHC in the last 30 years
· Evaluating the lessons learned: The value of community participation
and community health workers for PHC & RH improvements;
· Examine the threats / challenges to the PHC& RH approach and how to
II) Understand the approaches to health policy for PHC & RH at the domestic and national level.
· Outline the tensions between disease specific programmes,
Reproductive Health and PHC approaches (how can they be
· Consider the implications of PHC & RH for decision makers (donors,
governments, research funders, academic institutions) in the future.
· Facilitate greater research collaboration and learning communities
across disciplines, sectors, initiatives and countries
· Find approaches to engage in PPPs
III) Identify strategies to improve the micro and macro level health care
· Identify mechanisms for strengthening capacities – individual,
institutional and infrastructural – for research and practice, on
community based PHC & RH in low- and middle-income countries.
· Integrated delivery of interventions for neonatal, maternal and child
health in PHC.
· Role of community participation in PHC.
IV) Address inequalities in PHC and RH
· Exposing inequalities in health, giving special focus to social
determinants of health, primary health care and reproductive health.
· Evaluating the roles of PPP/PFI- providing best case scenario
for LDCs, for more effective and efficient PHC & RH delivery (e.g.
what are the responsibilities of the private sector in health care?
‘what are there limits of health care responsibilities?’)
V) Promote policy mechanism that will achieve comprehensive PHC and RH
· Achieving Comprehensive and Multidisciplinary Primary Healthcare:
Challenges and Opportunities
· Training Community Health Workers to be the Lifeline of a Village
The symposium programme is in development. Details will be posted soon. It will include:
· Plenary sessions
· Discussion sessions
· Networking time in breaks and over meals
· The Marketplace: the meeting hub for exchange of ideas.
The First annual Global Health Symposium on PHC & RH offers many opportunities to meet and network with other participants. The Marketplace is one such opportunity, which lasts throughout the meeting. If you represent an organization or institution that would like to display its projects, new initiatives, publications or products to other participants – provided that these are relevant to the theme of the First Global Health Symposium on PHC & RH– you can request a stall in the Marketplace.
There will be stalls for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations at the Marketplace. Please indicate on the market stall request form which category applies to your institution. No goods or services may be sold in the Marketplace or the Symposium venue. All requests need to be approved by the Symposium Secretariat for suitability to the programme and to the objectives and mandate of the Symposium.
Kampala - Milly Nalwadda believed that when she checked into a hospital in Uganda instead of using a traditional birth attendant, she was doing the best thing for her unborn child. But Milly's decision backfired when the attending nurse accidentally killed her newborn baby. 'Two hours after delivery, I requested to see my baby but she was dead because the nurse had laid her face-down,' the 39-year-old mother of six said. 'She apologized, but I was left in tatters.'
Despite the tragedy, which came in 2005, Milly returned to a maternity clinic when she became pregnant again, only to face abuse from nurses who told her she was too old to have a child. She gave up on modern medicine and turned instead to a traditional birth attendant, who administered a course of herbs and delivered her child safely.
Milly's case is not an isolated incident. Hundreds of thousands of Ugandan women, distrustful of the dire healthcare system, are relying on traditional birth attendants, leading UN officials to warn that child mortality reduction targets are in danger. Officials say that poor medical facilities in hospitals, badly trained and rude medical staff, poverty and the long distances from rural areas to medical centres are contributing to the trend.
An average of 1 million babies are born in Uganda every year, but government and UN officials concede that while the majority of mothers visit antenatal clinics during the first months of pregnancy, they opt to stay away at the moment of birth. 'Antenatal care for Ugandan women is over 70 per cent, but only 40 per cent deliver in hospitals,' Deputy Health Minister Emmanuel Otala said. 'The reasons for this are many ... there are delays in the delivery of services, there are negative attitudes towards the patients.'
A government study in 2006 found that more than 370 children under the age of 5 die in the country per day, of which 25 per cent are under the age of 1.
The death rates are decreasing at a rate of 1 per cent per annum, but this is far below the target of a 13-per-cent annual reduction, the United Nation's children's agency UNICEF says. According to the agency, there is a direct link between the deaths and mothers giving birth away from health centres. 'It is absolutely clear that there is a connection (between the deaths and mothers staying away from antenatal clinics),' UNICEF's spokesman in Kampala Hyun Chulho said.
'There is also a connection to where the child is living, household incomes, the level of antenatal care and the educational level of the mothers,' he added. The traditional birth attendants are seizing the opportunity left by yawning gaps in the healthcare system and have organized themselves into a registered association, which is busy wooing the expectant mothers to their side.
'Pregnant mothers normally seek services from us because we have experience in handling them,' said Musanje Kyabaggu, the secretary general of the National Traditional Healers and Herbalists Association. Members of Kyabaggu's group, which numbers around 60,000, charge around 10 dollars for each expectant mother, compared to more than 50 dollars charged for the services in the established health centres. 'Expectant mothers are running away from nurses because the nurses are young, inexperienced and abusive,' Kyabaggu said.