At World Health Organization, the future of health care is being decided, and contested

Peoples Dispatch | February 27, 2023

Jyotsna Singh of the People’s Health Movement talks about the recent Executive Board meeting of the World Health Organization. She talks about what happens during such meetings and the major issues on the table at the WHO. This is a key moment for the future of global health care as amendments to the International Health Regulations and the Pandemic Treaty are being discussed. Jyotsna describes the concerns raised by countries of the Global South and the ways in which the pandemic has influenced these discussions.

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Do hospital facilities influence global cancer surgery outcomes?

Deo Suryanarayana & Prashant Gupta

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: May 24, 2022 | DOI:

Cancer is emerging worldwide as a significant public health problem and trends indicate that low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are going to witness a substantial increase in cancer burden by 2040.1 Surgery plays a vital role in the management of solid tumours, but only 25% of the global population has access to safe, affordable, and timely surgery.2 This disparity is more pronounced in LMICs dealing with high cancer burden and limited resources. Timely access to quality multidisciplinary care is a critical factor determining outcomes. Surgical outcomes are reliant on the experience and skills of the surgeon, and the availability of ancillary support facilities. Cancer surgery outcomes have improved during the past three decades, primarily because of the advancements made in surgery, anaesthesia, surgical technology, perioperative, and critical care domains.3  4 Operative mortality in patients receiving complex cancer surgeries such as Whipple’s resection and oesophagectomy has reduced drastically.5 However, most of these studies originate from tertiary care cancer centres in high-income countries, and there is little literature available related to cancer surgical outcomes from LMICs.

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India: COVID-19 third wave: How do Delhi’s hospitals fare?

DTE visited a few hospitals in the national capital to take a pulse of the situation

Taran Deol

Down To Earth | January 06, 2022

COVID-19 third wave: Situation in Delhi hospitals is calm for now. Representative photo: iStock

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India sparked by the new variant of concern omicron has stoked fears about an unprecedented rise in cases, followed by a rise in hospitalisations and an overburdened healthcare system — as was seen in the ghastly second wave of April 2021.

India’s metropolitan cities are the epicentre of the third wave of COVID-19 cases. With 2,135 infections of the new variant across the country as of January 5, 2022 — 653 in Maharashtra and 464 in Delhi alone — omicron is fast establishing its dominance.

With 11,665 new cases in the last 24 hours, dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in the national capital are preparing for an unprecedented rise in cases, even though evidence, for now, suggests that omicron infections remain mostly mild.

Down to Earth visited a few hospitals in the national capital to take a pulse of the situation.

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Eyewitness report: Cuba’s scientists, medical workers advance fight vs. COVID

Gloria La Riva

People’s Dispatch | October 19, 2021

San Miguel del Padrón Pediatric Hospital: Head nurse, intensive care dept. Liliana Vaillant, nurse Marcia Marcial, nurse Yusliana Bustamante Hernandez, anesthesiologist Angel Labadid, Dr. Elizabeth González, head of the Intensive Care Dept. Photo: Gloria La Riva

After a serious rise in Cuba of illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 during the summer, there are encouraging developments with a steady recovery and downward curve in illnesses and deaths. Similar to the worldwide “third wave” of COVID, the delta variant quickly became the dominant mutation in Cuba and swept through the island.

Now, people are breathing a sigh of relief this month of October. Workplaces, restaurants, beaches and public spaces are opening up and tourism is soon to be welcomed on November 15. Of course, health experts still urge continued caution to avoid a new outbreak.

Massive vaccination of the population means that by November 15, an astounding 92% of the whole population will be fully vaccinated thanks to Cuba’s development and production of its own vaccines: Abdala, Mambisa and Soberana Plus. In fact, Cuba’s vaccination rate is the fastest in the world, and the only country whose children as young as two years are being covered.

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Healthcare Under Socialism: The History of the Soviet Healthcare System

POLITSTURM | September 07, 2021

Healthcare Under Socialism: The History of the Soviet Healthcare System

There are a lot of discussions on the healthcare systems today. Capitalist ideologists try their best to prove that the state healthcare system is too expensive and can not be implemented. But history proved them wrong. How did socialism change the approach to the management of healthcare?

As a result of the October Revolution of 1917, an entirely new state was created in place of the Russian Empire, establishing a proletarian dictatorship. For the first time in history, the country’s resources and means of production were in the hands of the majority of the population, rather than a narrow stratum of the nobility and bourgeoisie. It was a state with different principles of development and a unique communist ideology.

As far back as 1903, Vladimir Lenin outlined the objectives of the state in the sphere of health protection in the 1st Program of the RSDLP. It stressed the necessity of establishing an 8-hour working day, banning child labor, arrangement of crèches in factories, state insurance for workers, sanitary supervision in factories, etc.  But like any new country, Soviet Russia was faced with many problems in all spheres which had to be solved as effectively and promptly as possible. And one of the most serious problems was the lack of a healthcare system.

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Thinking outside the modern capitalist logic: health-care systems based in other world views

Erika Arteaga-Cruz & Juan Cuvi

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: October, 2021 | DOI:

Latin America is home to about 800 different Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities, the equivalent to 9·8% of its population. The average infant mortality rate in Indigenous children is 60% higher than that in non-Indigenous children.1 In 2018, Ecuador reported that 50·6% of its Indigenous population lived in poverty, compared with 20·9% of the non-Indigenous population.2 Between 2014 and 2017, maternal mortality was 69% higher in Indigenous than in Mestizo women.3 Chronic malnutrition affects one in four Ecuadorian children, and the rate doubles in Indigenous children.4
These figures evidence historical and structural inequalities. Despite discourses of modernisation and development, the old process of colonisation and subjugation of Indigenous Peoples continues. Violent appropriation of territory, forced displacement of peoples and communities, or depredation of their vital spaces for oil and mining are some facets of this domination.

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Some 15 U.S. Cities Request Cuban Healthcare Collaboration

Raúl Antonio Capote

Granma | February 05, 2021

Photo: Endrys Correa Vaillant

The absurd inclusion of Cuba in the U.S. State Department list of countries it considers to be sponsors of terrorism, a unilateral decision by former President Donald Trump, has generated condemnations from many countries, organizations and personalities around the world, including the U.S.

The Seattle City Council (Washington state) requested that President Joe Biden reverse the inclusion of Cuba on the spurious list. The resolution, signed by Seattle City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons, also calls for initiating collaboration with the island in the area of health.Read More »


COVID-19: Examining Theories for Africa’s Low Death Rates

Kevin Marsh & Moses Alobo

Down To Earth | October 09, 2020

As the threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic emerged earlier this year, many felt a sense of apprehension about what would happen when it reached Africa.

Concerns over the combination of overstretched and underfunded health systems and the existing load of infectious and non-infectious diseases often led to it being talked about in apocalyptic terms.

However, it has not turned out quite that way. On September 29, the world passed the one million reported deaths mark (the true figure will of course be higher). On the same day, the count for Africa was a cumulative total of 35,954.Read More »

Bolivia’s COVID-19 Crisis: Hospital Will No Longer Receive Patients

teleSUR | July 09, 2020

Corpse abandoned on a street. The sign reads,
Corpse abandoned on a street. The sign reads, “R.I.P. Died from COVID-19, 7 days ago” | Photo: Twitter/ @fmcapitalsalta

The Health Ministry ordered that “mild cases” be discharged to enable beds for new COVID-19 patients.

La Paz City’s Obrero Hospital director Raul Villanueva Wednesday confirmed that his institution will no longer receive COVID-19 patients because its ability to offer services has collapsed.

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Coronavirus: Ten reasons why you ought not to panic


The Conversation | March 07, 2020

Regardless of whether we classify the new coronavirus as a pandemic, it is a serious issue. In less than two months, it has spread over several continents. Pandemic means sustained and continuous transmission of the disease, simultaneously in more than three different geographical regions. Pandemic does not refer to the lethality of a virus but to its transmissibility and geographical extension.

What we certainly have is a pandemic of fear. The entire planet’s media is gripped by coronavirus. It is right that there is deep concern and mass planning for worst-case scenarios. And, of course, the repercussions move from the global health sphere into business and politics.Read More »