Monday, March 21, 2011

Infographic: How Community Health Workers Save Lives in the Developing World

"Imagine if pregnant women and their kids in developing countries could be given simple, lifesaving health care, even when miles away from a hospital or doctor. Community health workers—trained practitioners who provide health care for pregnant women, assist in childbirth, and treat newborns—provide just that service. Without community health workers, pregnant women and newborn babies in the developing world are at risk for disease. More than 350,000 women die in childbirth and pregnancy each year, and almost 3.6 million babies die before they are a month old. Even small complications can be deadly for people living so far away from hospitals. Community health workers are saving lives by using a very basic—but very important—set of solutions and techniques."

Link to graphic:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who is healthier? Please take the GBD 2010 Health Measurement Survey!

Imagine two people. One is completely blind. The other suffers from constant and intense back pain.

Who is healthier overall?

A landmark global health survey being launched today will explore the impact of different diseases and injuries. A person’s health state may limit how well parts of the body or mind work. Some people are not able to do everything that others can, with some people more severely limited than others. This survey intends to measure peoples’ priorities and values around these various states of health.
We are writing to ask you and your organization to participate in this online survey, which can be found at this link:

The survey is part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, in collaboration with four other leading institutions: Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Queensland, and the World Health Organization.

Our goal is to collect responses from at least 50,000 people worldwide. Please consider sharing this email and encouraging participation within your organization. In addition, we would ask you to consider forwarding information about this survey to colleagues and contacts outside your organization who might be interested in participating.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. Participation is completely voluntary and anonymous. In the near future, we hope to translate the survey into additional languages.

By participating in the survey, you will contribute to the scientific understanding of global health problems and ultimately enable policymakers and health care leaders to make better decisions based on a stronger evidence base. Summary survey results will be posted online at upon completion of the study in spring 2011.

For more information, please contact us at:

Thank you very much for taking part in this important public health assessment.

Follow the GBD project on Twitter:
Become a GBD fan on Facebook and follow the survey’s progress:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Buying Health Care, the Individual Mandate, and the Constitution

Posted by NEJM • June 23rd, 2010

Sara Rosenbaum, J.D., and Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D.

"In Rashomon, a classic film that explores the concept of truth, director Akira Kurosawa presents a story about a single incident retold by four narrators, leaving the audience to figure out what is real. Litigation has a Rashomon-like quality to it: two sides meet in a courtroom and each presents its case, arguing not only that abstract legal principles favor its cause, but equally important, that its version of the event that gave rise to the dispute should be the filter through which the court decides the matter.

Three separate cases raising constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are now under way and together they present issues of great legal complexity. Yet although difficult legal questions must be resolved, a pivotal issue is whose version of events will serve as the judicial analytic filter. For reasons related to the very basis of Congress’s constitutional power to enact health care reform, the fight is over whether the individual mandate to purchase health insurance (or pay a tax) is about regulating individuals’ economic conduct or regulating their noneconomic status. Depending on which characterization of the facts prevails, the individual mandate either falls within or lies outside Congress’s power to act"

For the full article:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food Safety and Global Health: An International Law Perspective

(home page for Global Health Governance: )
Stefania Negri

“Following the recurrence of serious events of food contamination across the globe, food safety has become a matter of ever increasing international concern and the World Health Organization has defined foodborne diseases as a global public health challenge. Protecting global health from foodborne hazards is a compelling duty and a primary interest of both States and non-State actors; it calls for enhanced proactive cooperation between national and international institutions. Unfortunately, the present state of international law on food safety regulation and governance is still unsatisfactory and reforms are desirable in many respects.

This paper suggests that improvements and progresses could be achieved in three major areas of intervention:

a. the human rights framework, where the profile of the emerged right to safe food should be raised by way of express recognition in international human rights law, backed up by authoritative interpretation by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and strengthening of accountability and remedial measures;

b. the regulatory framework, where trade and health issues related to food safety should be addressed in a way that contributes to easing tensions between trading parties while prioritizing consumer protection over freedom of trade;

c. the sanitary framework, where international preparedness and response to public health hazards posed by foodborne diseases should benefit, where appropriate, from the extended application of the International Health Regulations and the possible devise of enforcement measures aimed at ensuring international health security….”

Read the entire article at:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scaling Up in International Health: What are the Key Issues?

Lindsay J Mangham and Kara Hanson

“The term ‘scaling up’ is now widely used in the international health literature, though it lacks an agreed definition. The authors review what is meant by scaling up in the context of changes in international health and development over the last decade. They argue that the notion of scaling up is primarily used to describe the ambition or process of expanding the coverage of health interventions, though the term has also referred to increasing the financial, human and capital resources required to expand coverage.

The authors also discuss four pertinent issues in scaling up the coverage of health interventions: the costs of scaling up coverage; constraints to scaling up; equity and quality concerns; and key service delivery issues when scaling up. They then review recent progress in scaling up the coverage of health interventions. This includes a considerable increase in the volume of aid, accompanied by numerous new health initiatives and financing mechanisms. Finally, the authors reflect on the importance of obtaining a better understanding of how to deliver priority health interventions at scale, the current emphasis on health system strengthening and the challenges of sustaining scaling up in the prevailing global economic environment.”
The abstract:

Three accompanying commentaries:

Lucy Gilson and Helen Schneider
Commentary: Managing scaling up: What are the key issues?

Susan M Cleary
Commentary: Trade-offs in scaling up HIV treatment in South Africa

Viroj Tangcharoensathien and Walaiporn Patcharanarumol
Commentary: Global health initiatives: Opportunities or challenges?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Impact of Income Inequalities on Sustainable Development in London

“If the UK enjoyed levels of equality closer to countries like Sweden or Japan, the evidence indicates that obesity in London would decline by 50 per cent, mental illness would be reduced to less than one-third of its present levels, and the teenage birth rate would be cut by almost three quarters. It shows that although the biggest improvements would be seen in the poorest boroughs, life in the richest ones would also get better.

The impact of income inequalities on sustainable development in London is a powerful and compelling new report written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, published by the London Sustainable Development Commission.”

Access the report at:

The Biology of Disadvantage: Socioeconomic Status and Health

“This volume is the product of the JohnD. andCatherine T.MacArthurNetwork on Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Health. For the last 12 years the network has provided a structure through which scientists from a wide range of disciplines jointly addressed the question: How does SES get under the skin to affect health? In 1999, early in our life as a network, we organized a conference held at the National Institutes of Health on SES and health in industrialized nations. The conference presentations were published as a special volume of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Since that time, network members have worked together to provide answers to the central questions about the relationship of SES and health. In the process, numerous articles and books reflecting our work have been published.
The current volume builds on these findings and stands as a bookend to the former Annals volume, presenting what we have learned in our decade of work since the 1999 conference, and our thoughts on the current state of knowledge about the pathways by which SES affects health.”

1. Adler, N.E., M. Marmot, B.S. McEwen & J. Stewart. 1999. Socioeconomic Status and Health in Industrial Nations: Social, Psychological, and Biological Pathways. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 896.

2. MacArthur Research Network on SES and Health.

Full-length articles in the volumen can be accessed at:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the U.S.

“More than two women die every day in the USA from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately half of these deaths could be prevented if maternal health care were available, accessible and of good quality for all women in the USA. A recent report by Amnesty International USA analyzes the barriers to health care that result in the USA’s troubling maternal mortality and morbidity statistics. Among other issues, the report examines discrimination; financial, bureaucratic and language barriers to accessing care; information about maternal care options; participation in care decisions; staffing and quality questions; and accountability and oversight.”

A summary of the report is available at:
The full report is can be accessed at:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ontario Women’s Health Equity Report: Access to Health Care Services

“Access to health care services continues to be an important issue for Ontarians in general and for women in particular. Lack of access to services can result in costly and potentially avoidable complications, increased disease and disability, and reduced quality of life. The access to health services chapter reports on access to primary care, specialist care, home care and care for chronic conditions. Information on how barriers to care vary for at-risk population subgroups can help decision makers identify targets for intervention to foster timely access to effective services.”
The chapter’s key findings and recommendation can be read at:
To learn more about the Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER study), go to:

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