A new report published on Tuesday by Oxfam and the Institute of Development Studies on the impact of rising food prices “shows that the overall impact of the 2011 food price spike seems to be a ratcheting up of inequality, producing a pattern of ‘weak losers and strong winners,'” Duncan Green, Oxfam GB’s head of research, and Naomi Hossain, a research fellow in the Participation, Power and Social Change team at IDS, write in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”
“Research evidence has undoubtedly been crucial in formulating countless global health policies which have saved many millions of lives,” but “at the same time, we believe there are several common fallacies about its ‘real world’ application,” Gavin Yamey and Richard Feachem of the Evidence to Policy initiative write in an Evidence-Based Medicine perspective.
In his latest New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof discusses the health benefits of breast milk for preventing childhood malnutrition.
“The rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)” is “a growing but under-addressed challenge in both the developed and developing world,” Jean-Luc Butel, executive vice president and group president for Medtronic’s international operations, writes in a Muskegon Chronicle opinion piece. “[S]hifting demographics, lifestyles and environmental factors in places like China and India have led to a dramatic increase in NCDs,” he writes, adding that “[e]stimates suggest NCDs will account for three out of every four deaths globally by 2030.”
A drought and “security crisis as a result of political conflicts, civil war and anarchy” in Somalia are to blame for the famine recently declared by the U.N., but “[t]he international community is also to blame for responding too slowly and neglecting its responsibilities in this preventable disaster,” a Lancet editorial says. “The USA, Europe, and other wealthy donors waited until pictures of starving children and desperate women made the evening news to hand over funds. China, Africa’s second largest trading partner after the USA, merely said it would pay ‘close attention’ to the disaster, and only pledged a modest $14 million of food aid on August 5, after U.S. House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, urged the country to do more,” the editorial states.
“Transactional sex, sexual intercourse driven by material exchanges,” occurs worldwide, but “[i]n poor regions with high HIV prevalence rates like sub-Saharan Africa â€¦ transactional sex poses an even higher threat to one’s wellbeing and health because the chance of HIV infection is greater,” Daniella Choi, staff member at the Center…
“The Obama administration deserves credit for acting in advance to ameliorate the effects” of drought in East Africa, a New York Times editorial states, noting that USAID has been working since last summer, when the crisis was predicted, to “plac[e] food and other supplies in Kenya, Djibouti and South Africa” and “working on programs to help Somalia and other countries improve food production to avert future crises.”
“This week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launches a global campaign â€“ ‘It’s a matter of life and death’ â€“ which aims to improve security and delivery of effective and impartial health care in situations of armed conflict and other contexts of widespread violence,” Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the British Medical Association, writes in a BMJ editorial.
In a New York Times essay, journalist Donald McNeil writes, “To a doctor, all epidemics are objectively different â€¦ But to the mortals they mow down, all epidemics are emotionally alike â€” an onslaught of fear, awe, repulsion, stigma, denial, rage and blame â€” and doctors would be foolish to forget that.”
“Outside of immediate crisis relief,” such as the administration of measles vaccinations or oral rehydration therapy for children affected by diarrheal diseases, the U.S. government’s “past investments clearly are paying off” in the fight against drought and famine the Horn of Africa, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. “U.S.-supported early-warning networks identified the famine threat a year ago,” the government is working with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. to lessen the risk of corruption and looting of food aid, and “the multi-year, multi-agency Feed the Future program [is] stimulat[ing] research into making plants more nutritious and crops more drought-resistant,” he notes.