Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

World TB Day (March 24th, 2011)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and treatable disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is spread by person-to-person contact via droplets from the lungs and throat of people with active respiratory TB disease.

Two billion people, fully one-third of humanity, are infected with latent TB. While healthy immune systems are often able to contain the bacteria, people with latent TB remain susceptible to developing active TB disease, with symptoms including productive coughing, chills, night sweats, fever, easy fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Each year there are 9.4 million new case of active TB cases, resulting in 1 million deaths.

TB closely follows social gradients in income, housing, and other social determinants of health. It is at once a completely curable disease, and a leading cause of death worldwide. While effective antibiotic treatment has existed for over 50 years, poor and inconsistent access to care has facilitated the rise of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). TB and MDR-TB remain preventable and treatable.

Preventing and treating TB involves the practice of social medicine, and a commitment to pragmatic solidarity - "a commitment to struggle alongside the destitute sick and against the economic and political structures that cause and perpetuate poverty and ill health" (PIH 2003).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Addressing Non-communicable Diseases of the ‘Bottom Billion’

From Global Health Delivery Online

"Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like coronary disease, adult-onset diabetes, and some cancers have attracted a great deal of attention and resources in wealthy and middle-income countries, where they have emerged as leading causes of death and disability among populations who eat too much, exercise too little, and are heavy consumers of tobacco and alcohol. “The NCDs that afflict people living on less than a dollar a day in countries like Rwanda or Haiti have received far less attention and have very different causes,” says Partners In Health physician Gene Bukhman. “For this ‘bottom billion,’ NCDs like rheumatic heart disease, type 1 diabetes, mental illnesses, epilepsy, and cervical cancer are often the result of lack of access to food, shelter, education, and health care interventions readily available in developed countries.”

When looking at a graph plotting out the diseases that most affect a population, communicable diseases like HIV and malaria are at the top of the curve, causing more deaths, but NCDs like epilepsy or heart disease are on the ‘long tail.’ No single condition has a dramatic prevalence but together they impose a heavy burden that is not effectively addressed by disease-specific strategies that have been used for communicable diseases.

Read More

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

100 Years of International Women's Day: Time to Make the Promise of Equality a Reality

"This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration. read more »

The United Nations observes International Women’s Day this year on 8 March 2011. The theme is “Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women.” UN Women is organizing or cosponsoring a number of events around the world to commemorate the day."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Indigenous health promotion in Canada

While much of the Canadian population enjoys good health, health status in Canada still follows steep social gradients of inequality. From obesity and cardiovascular disease, to sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, and suicide, Indigenous people in Canada face a disproportionate burden of disease. It doesn't have to be this way, and Indigenous peoples across Canada are pouring energy into creative calls for action.

This video by Anishinaabe hip hop artist and CBC producer Wab Kinew video translates data from youth participants in the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey into hip hop lyrics for a youth audience. Congrats to Wab Kinew and the FNIGC for their great work! For more info, visit the the First Nations Information Governance Centre.

The living history of colonialism in Canada is a reminder that public health involves a commitment to pragmatic solidarity - a commitment to struggle alongside Indigenous peoples to address the political and economic conditions that cause and perpetuate poverty and poor health.