The deadly H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus has now crept well into Europe—infecting birds in Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, and Denmark—and now also threatens Africa. Experts are at a loss over how to best tackle what could be an imminent global pandemic.
If a publisher had come to me four months ago and asked me to write a book about the Zika crisis in just 30 days, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to say yes, as Donald G. McNeil Jr. did. So many assumptions written in March or April could prove wrong by June or August that the challenge of quickly producing a book on Zika would seem too risky — given that there will also be sleep deprivation, speed writing, high-velocity editing and rewrite ahead.
Laurie Garrett writes that the organization responsible for international public health is increasing its budget by millions of dollars — but its plan for coming up with the cash to help battle epidemics like Zika isn’t grounded in reality.
Laurie Garrett provides an in-depth analysis of the upcoming election of the next director-general of the World Health Organization and its detrimental impact on the future of global health leadership.
The amount of international aid given to address noncommunicable diseases is minimal. Most of it is directed to wealthier countries and focuses on the prevention of unhealthy lifestyles. Explanations for the current direction of noncommunicable disease aid include that these are diseases of affluence that benefit from substantial research and development into their treatment in high-income countries and are better addressed through domestic tax and policy measures to reduce risk-factor prevalence than through aid programs. This study assessed these justifications. First, we examined the relationships among premature adult mortality, defined as the probability that a person who has lived to the age of fifteen will die before the age of sixty from noncommunicable diseases; the major risk factors for these diseases; and country wealth. Second, we compared noncommunicable and communicable diseases prevalent in poor and wealthy countries alike, and their respective links to economic development. Last, we examined the respective roles that wealth and risk prevention have played in countries that achieved substantial reductions in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases. Our results support greater investment in cost-effective noncommunicable disease preventive care and treatment in poorer countries and a higher priority for reducing key risk factors, particularly tobacco use.
Once thought to be challenges for affluent countries alone, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases are now the leading cause of death and disability in developing countries. The economic and human costs are high and rising in low- and middle-income countries, threatening their continued development prosperity. Lung, liver, cervical and breast cancers constitute a large proportion of this growing burden and can be addressed with life-saving and low-cost interventions.
This article, published in Duke University’s Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, examines the role of international institutional actors in China’s health policy process. Particular attention is paid to three major international institutional actors: the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund to Fight AID, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
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