How the World Bank weakens health systems

Health researchers Natalie Rhodes and Remco van de Pas discuss about the nature and limitations of the World Bank Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response fund.

Peoples Dispatch | October 31, 2022

Natalie Rhodes, PhD candidate at University of Leeds, and People’s Health Movement, along with Remco van de Pas, researcher at the Centre for Planetary Health Policy, and People’s Health Movement discuss in detail about the implications of the newly established World Bank fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response and the Bank’s other policies pertaining to public health.

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The health status of Indonesia’s provinces: the double burden of diseases and inequality gap

Vicka Oktaria and Yodi Mahendradhata

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: November, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00405-3

In The Lancet Global Health, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2019 Indonesia Collaborators report on 30 years of disease burden and risk factors in Indonesia, expanding their analysis to a more granular subnational level.

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 Given the ongoing challenges of obtaining comparable subnational data, the GBD data provides enlightening evidence for decision makers at the subnational level for future programmatic planning and policy strategies specific to their local health issues. These findings will ultimately help narrow down the inequality gaps at regional levels. This paper is perfectly timed to captured and illustrate the health status in Indonesia before and after the launch of the universal health coverage (UHC) programme Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial Kesehatan (BPJS) in 2014. The BPJS has now covered more than 75% of the Indonesian population.

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Although excellent programmatic interventions and policies have significantly reduced the disease burden in the past three decades, communicable diseases remain the main source of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in Indonesia, along with the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes. Diabetes has become one of the main priorities of the national government as programmatic research and efforts towards prevention, early detection, and treatment of diabetes are increasing. Apart from poor quality of life, health-care costs related to diabetes complications are high, with diabetic retinopathy accounting for nearly 2% of the total national state budget, and are estimated to triple by 2025.

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Inside the US Supreme Court’s war on science

A new ultraconservative supermajority on the United States’ top court is undermining science’s role in informing public policy. Scholars fear the results could be disastrous for public health, justice and democracy itself.

Jeff Tollefson

Nature | September 14, 2022

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

In late June, the US Supreme Court issued a trio of landmark decisions that repealed the right to abortion, loosened gun restrictions and curtailed climate regulations. Although the decisions differed in rationale, they share a distinct trait: all three dismissed substantial evidence about how the court’s rulings would affect public health and safety. It is a troubling trend that many scientists fear could undermine the role of scientific evidence in shaping public policy. Now, as the court prepares to consider a landmark case on electoral policies, many worry about the future of American democracy itself.
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China approves first homegrown COVID antiviral

The country’s drug regulator has granted conditional authorization for an HIV drug to be used to treat COVID-19.

Yvaine Ye

Nature | July 26, 2022

A temporary hospital for people with COVID-19 in Shanghai. The country has approved the first antiviral for the disease made in China. Credit: Ray Young/Feature China/Future Publishing/Getty

China’s drug regulator granted conditional approval on Monday for an HIV drug to be used to treat COVID-19. The drug, Azvudine, developed by Chinese drugmaker Genuine Biotech, is the first oral antiviral for the disease made in China.

Genuine Biotech, headquartered in Pingdingshan, applied for regulatory approval earlier this month. In an announcement, the company said that 40% of people with COVID-19 who were given Azvudine for a week in a phase III clinical trial showed “improved clinical symptoms”, compared with 11% of those given a placebo. However, detailed data from the trial, including whether the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death, have not been released.

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How different COVID-19 recovery paths affect human health, environmental sustainability, and food affordability: a modelling study

Juliette Maire, PhD; Aimen Sattar, MPhil; Roslyn Henry, PhD; Frances Warren, PhD; Magnus Merkle, MSc; Prof Mark Rounsevell, PhD; and Peter Alexander, PhD

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: July, 2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00144-9

Summary
Background
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time of faltering global poverty reduction and increasing levels of diet-related diseases, both of which have a strong link to poor outcomes for those with COVID-19. Governments responded to the pandemic by placing unprecedented restrictions on internal and external movements, which have resulted in an economic contraction. In response to the economic shock, G20 governments have committed to providing US$14 trillion stimuli to support economic recovery. We aimed to assess the impact of different COVID-19 recovery paths on human health, environmental sustainability, and food sustainability.

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No Cuban child died of COVID-19 after vaccination campaign

Before the vaccination campaign in children started, 18 infants between the ages of two and 18 years old had unfortunately lost their lives to COVID-19. No child died of this terrible disease in Cuba after the vaccination campaign in this population group began.

Leticia Martínez

Granma | July 20, 2022

Photo: Ismael Batista

Before the vaccination campaign in children started, 18 infants between the ages of two and 18 years old had unfortunately lost their lives to COVID-19. No child died of this terrible disease in Cuba after the vaccination campaign in this population group began. This is the most relevant result of the Cuban vaccine Soberana, an immunogen of the Finlay Vaccine Institute.

Precisely, the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine presented the closing of the evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the pediatric vaccination against COVID-19 in the country during the Tuesday meeting with the President of the Republic.

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Roe vs. Wade: A Time Of Reproductive Unrest

Madelaine Moore

Progress in Political Economy | July 05, 2022

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade in the USA highlights the precariousness of legal institutions and the necessity for continuous struggle to both push for and enforce social rights. It shows the limitations of legal and state apparatuses, that are themselves a reflection of existing power relations and vested interests, but also the ways that previous struggles and class forces are continuously inscribed within such institutions. While this decision clearly signifies a new intensity of attacks on women’s rights in the USA, it may also (hopefully) signify a heightened mobilisation and coordination of left-wing struggles.

This increasingly fractious relation between church, the capitalist state, and capital accumulation regimes, alongside increasing social struggles is not unique to the US. In a recent article in New Political Economy, entitled ‘A time of reproductive unrest: the articulation of capital accumulation, social reproduction, and the Irish state’, I analyse similar dynamics in the Republic of Ireland (herein Ireland) and argue that this is a time of Reproductive Unrest. The concept Reproductive Unrest captures two dynamics, first the way that economic crisis (in this case the repercussions following the financial crisis) were “resolved” by displacing it to the sphere of social reproduction (housing, water, healthcare, reproductive rights) and in particular, working-class communities. And second, the way that economic crisis and the dominant accumulation regime that caused it were contested by these communities on the terrain of social reproduction and increasingly the capitalist state. Economic crisis was displaced to the social and then the political, which left behind an increasingly uneasy and unworkable institutional and political constellation.

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Drug-resistant typhoid ‘spreading out of South Asia’

Sanjeet Bagcchi

SciDevNet | June 29, 2022

[NEW DELHI] Antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella Typhi, the typhoid bacteria, have spread from South Asia to other countries nearly 200 times since 1990, new research suggests.

Every year, an estimated 11 to 20 million people suffer from typhoid and 128,000 to 161,000 victims die from the diseasesays the World Health Organization (WHO). Typhoid spreads through water contaminated by an infected person’s faeces. Its symptoms include prolonged fever, nausea, rashes, headache and diarrhoea or constipation.

S. Typhi can only infect humans, and by studying how closely related bacteria found in different places are, we discovered that typhoid had spread from South Asia, the home of typhoid, to many parts of the world many times,” says Gagandeep Kang, co-author of the study and professor at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory in the Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

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Adolescent transport and unintentional injuries: a systematic analysis using the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019

GBD 2019 Adolescent Transport and Unintentional Injuries Collaborators

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: June 29, 2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00134-7

Summary
Background
Globally, transport and unintentional injuries persist as leading preventable causes of mortality and morbidity for adolescents. We sought to report comprehensive trends in injury-related mortality and morbidity for adolescents aged 10–24 years during the past three decades.

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Cuba: Digitization of medical services: Another revolution in health

A project to digitalize Cuba’s public health system was presented at a meeting between Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz with experts and scientists working on healthcare issues

René Tamayo León

Granma | June 22, 2022

As part of the computerization of society, the first system to undergo a digital transformation must be public health, Díaz-Canel emphasized. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

As “another revolution in health,” Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez described the project, “For digital health,” presented at this week’s meeting with experts and scientists working on healthcare issues.


The Ministry of Public Health project involves “a cultural transformation of health institutions, to produce a positive impact on the quality and safety of services focused on the patient, the family and the community, as a result of the computerization of care, teaching and research processes, through inter-operational integration,” explained Dr. Dalsy Torres Dávila, one of the specialists leading the initiative.

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