Friday, January 29, 2010

DETERMINE: An EU Consortium for Action on the Socio-Economic Determinants of Health

Working Together for Health Equity

This Portal is a tool to promote health equity amongst different socio-economic groups in the European Union. Here, you can find information on policies and interventions to promote health equity within and between the countries of Europe, via the socio-economic determinants of health. The information presented is the result of the collaboration of a wide range of health and social actors in the EU, that have come together in the context of a pan-European initiative that aims to stimulate action for greater health equity. The initiative, DETERMINE (2007-2010) establishes an EU Consortium for Action on the Socio-economic Determinants of Health (SDH).

Click here to see a short film introducing the DETERMINE Project

Click here for three films (Approx 8 minutes each) following the work of three ground-breaking projects taking place across Europe that address the social determinants of health.

The first film focuses on a project that is incorporating health in a local development strategy in Glasgow, Scotland. The second film follows a project providing help to people with drug addictions in Copenhagen, Denmark. The third film looks at a public health initiative aiming to improve diets and lifestyles in the Pomurje region of Slovenia.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

With Foreign Aid Still at a Trickle, Devastated Port-au-Prince General Hospital Struggles to Meet Overwhelming Need

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reports on the situation in Haiti. She spoke extensively with Dr. Evan Lyon from Partners In Health at the general hospital campus in Port-au-Prince about the lack of supplies and the misconceptions about security in Haiti. In keeping with their commitment to serving the poor through the public sector, Partners In Health has been directing the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince since the earthquake killed many of its staff.

Click here for transcript.

Earthquake Frees Haitian Prisoners from Port-au-Prince Jail, 80% Never Charged with a Crime

All the prisoners jailed at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince escaped in the earthquake. Amy Goodman speak with leading Haitian human rights attorney Mario Joseph, who says 80 percent of all prisoners in Haiti were not charged with a crime. She also speak with Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health about the issue of prisons.

Click here for transcript.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cuban Doctors Unsung Heroes Of Haitian Earthquake

"Haiti's medical needs were dire before the earthquake devastated what little infrastructure was available. Among those providing free medical were nearly 400 Cuban health workers. The day after the earthquake struck the Cuban doctors reopened two hospitals. Since the Cubans live in the poorest neighborhoods amongst the most disadvantaged Haitians they were actually the first responders."

Click here to listen to the story on NPR
Click here to support Cuban-trained Haitian Doctors

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Securing Disaster in Haiti

Peter Hallward

"Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, it's now clear that the initial phase of the U.S.-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island's recent history. [1] It has adopted military priorities and strategies. It has sidelined Haiti's own leaders and government, and ignored the needs of the majority of its people. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor. All three tendencies aren't just connected, they are mutually reinforcing. These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them."

Click here for complete article
Click here for an interview with Peter Hallward on CBC's Dispatches (Starts part 1, minute 13)
Click here to donate to Partners in Health in Haiti
Click here to donate to Cuba's long term medical work in Haiti

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Demand that France repay the 21 billion dollars it extorted from Haiti

Chris Keefer

The January 12th Haitian earthquake is now being described as one of the worst and most intense earthquakes, in terms of loss of life and devastation, recorded in human history. Estimates are that Haiti, the western hemisphere's poorest country, with a population of 9 million, has lost between 100,000-500,000 lives, and that 50% of the buildings of its capital Port au Prince, where 80% of the Haitian population resides, have been destroyed in the immediate aftermath of this disaster. It must be stressed that many more deaths are likely to follow as a result of devastated infrastructure, lack of clean water and the high rates of malnutrition all of which preceded and have exacerbated this disaster making it part natural and part man-made. Many observers have tried to understand the factors which have made Haiti, which was once the crown jewel of new world colonies, providing approximately one half of Europe's sugar and coffee and unimaginable wealth to its colonial masters, so vulnerable to this calamity.

To continue reading the article please go to comments.
To sign a petition calling for restitution to Haiti of the French ransom, click here.

Donate to Support Cuban Earthquake Disaster Response

GL-MEDICC Logo Small

 Give your donation staying power....with MEDICC and Global Links

The effects of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti will be long term. That's why MEDICC and Global Links (Pittsburgh, PA) are sending material aid to the  Cuban-trained Haitian doctors on the front lines in Haiti's public hospitals and clinics. Now 400-strong, they were already on the ground when disaster struck, serving in 120 communities throughout the country, including the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince.

Graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Cuba, these doctors come from some of Haiti's poorest regions, and will stay long after the initial disaster response is over. Like the 370 Cuban medical personnel who work with them, they are committed for the long-term to improving health and health care in Haiti.

And so are Global Links and MEDICC: together, we are organizing a recovery and long-term medical assistance program relying on decades of experience in regional material aid cooperation, and with Cuba and Haiti in particular. We will be working with representatives of the Haitian graduates of the Latin American Medical School to identify needs for medicines, medical supplies and equipment. And we will get these supplies directly to them.

While US law does not allow Cuban doctors in Haiti to receive these essential medical materials--the US embargo taking its toll post-disaster--the MEDICC and Global Links team will help ensure distribution to the young Haitian physicians working in public hospitals and clinics alongside the Cuban team, seeing hundreds of patients daily.

For health's sake....

We need your help to raise the funds for this joint effort--and to raise the policy bar by replacing hostility towards Cuba with cooperation when it comes to the health of the hemisphere--Haiti deserves nothing less. And Haiti's young doctors need your support now.

Donate on our secure donation page and please select "HAITI EARTHQUAKE APPEAL" or send your check to: MEDICC, PO Box 361449, Decatur, GA 30036, and indicate "Haiti Appeal" on your check.
Check our website or follow us on Twitter for updates.  Also, learn more about Global Links our partner organization.

President's Quote

MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba),, is a US non-governmental organization working to enhance cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UN confronts "worst ever disaster"

The United Nations says Haiti's earthquake is the worst disaster it has ever had to deal with. Aid is now pouring in, with a steady flow of relief getting through the nation's only airport. The World Food Programme says it expects to feed a million people. But survivors say help is not happening fast enough as dead bodies lie scattered on the capital's streets. Tarek Bazley reports.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our role in Haiti's plight

Our Role in Haiti's Plight

by Peter Hallward

Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti's capital city on Tuesday afternoon, but it's no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence
[click here for complete article].

Avi Lewis brilliantly (and concisely) contextualizes the history that leaves Haiti particularly vulnerable to "natural" disasters:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Too Much Health Care" -- Why we can’t afford life’s creeping medicalization.

Published November 1, 2009

The general health of the population today must be considered one of the greatest marvels of human civilization and ingenuity. Pregnant women no longer have to dread the 10 percent risk of death at childbirth that used to be usual; a newborn in Canada today can expect to live 80 years; death related to childhood infections is now rare; the long-term outcome of childhood leukemia has changed from 85 percent mortality to 85 percent survival; patients with cataracts, osteoarthritis and heart disease benefit from surgery that was unimaginable 40 years ago; many cancer patients can now be offered substantial relief and some even long-term survival. The focus now in well-developed countries such as Canada is on personal healthcare services, but we still must keep in proper perspective the indirect societal factors that are mainly responsible for making and keeping people healthy.

I learned a salutary lesson as a young and enthusiastic surgeon, a member of the team sent from Glasgow University in 1966 to help establish the new medical school in Nairobi. At a meeting with the Kenyan minister of health, we were complaining about the lack of drugs and equipment at the hospital when he interrupted, thanked us warmly for our service and politely explained that his major priorities as health minister were schools, safe water, houses, sewers and nutrition. We did not find this very endearing at the time, but he was displaying an excellent understanding of the determinants of human health.