Global Health

Humanosphere
9:32 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Does global health have to first focus on poverty?

Bill Clinton embraces Paul Farmer, top left, in 2009 as they watch women perform a traditional Haitian dance in Port-au-Prince. In New York on Tuesday, Farmer joined in the clarion call to expand the global health agenda to include all the big killers.
Associated Press

KPLU's Tom Paulson caught up with physician-activist Paul Farmer at the Clinton Global Initiative, the other big meeting in New York full of heads of state, celebs and bigwigs.

Farmer, the inspiring and controversial cyclist-celeb Lance Armstrong and others have joined in the clarion call to expand the global health agenda to include all the big killers.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
9:52 am
Tue September 20, 2011

Global health efforts make food, beverage, drug industries nervous

Headquarters of the United Nations.
UN

Chronic or non-communicable diseases (aka NCDs) are the world’s big killers, representing about 60 percent of all causes of death. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease (mostly from tobacco), diabetes and the like kill many more people — most of them in the developing world — than do infectious diseases like AIDS, TB or malaria.

However, developing health goals to combat NCSs often run up against powerful commercial interests in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Humanosphere
8:57 am
Tue September 20, 2011

KPLU's Tom Paulson attending 'weird and wonderful' UN Week

People attend a 'Health Workers Count' event sponsored by Save the Children in New York's Times Square to raise awareness of the importance of midwives and local healthcare providers in developing countries ahead of the Unite Nations General Assembly.
Associated Press

As heads of state, officials and other bigwigs descend on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, key city streets are closed, the traffic replaced by police officers, patrol cars and vans, and New Yorkers are irritated.

It’s UN Week and most of the buzz is about the Palestinian push for UN recognition as an independent state. President Obama is already in town, scheduled to speak at the UN on Wednesday.

But I’m not here for all that. I just came to see the UN deal with a proposal to re-set the global health agenda — something that, arguably, could do a lot more to increase global stability, our national security and worldwide economic growth than all this other blather. Arguably.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
12:23 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Get live ongoing coverage of UN Week from Humanosphere

A week of big meetings surrounding the United Nations in New York, including a pivotal discussion of tackling non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes ... in poor countries.

Go to Humanosphere for Compelete coverage.

Global Health
6:00 pm
Sun September 18, 2011

What's so controversial about cancer? Ask the U.N.

Some of the leading disease experts from Seattle are visiting the United Nations this week. They’re at a "High-Level" meeting to discuss whether poor countries should start worrying about cancer and diabetes – as much as malaria or AIDS. 

That's a controversial idea, says KPLU’s Humanosphere blogger Tom Paulson.  He's in New York to cover the meeting. Before he left he explained the controversy to KPLU’s Keith Seinfeld.

Read more
Global Health
11:28 am
Fri September 16, 2011

More women in poor countries dying from breast cancer

The number of young women with breast cancer has more than doubled worldwide since 1980, say researchers at Seattle’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Most of this, say the University of Washington global health number crunchers, is in the developing world where women lack access to screening, prevention and treatment programs that have reduced the overall risk of breast cancer for women in the rich world.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
12:05 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Report shows increasing presence of global health 'industry'

The Washington Global Health Alliance and the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development has published a new report describing our region’s growing global health industry (even though they shy away from calling it that, preferring words like “sector” and such).

It’s a fascinating and informative report, showing the growth and increasing economic presence of organizations working on global health in the region.

Read more on Humanosphere.

9/11 Anniversary
4:47 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Post 9/11: What happened to the global humanitarian agenda?

Dimitra Tzanos Flickr

KPLU's Tom Paulson wondered over on our Humanosphere blog: "What has happened to our sense of ourselves as global citizens and how Sept. 11, 2001, may have altered matters of global health, foreign aid, development — basically, the global humanitarian agenda.

The short answer: It’s a mixed bag of good and bad, some clear signs of what many see as progress but also some disturbing lessons not learned."

Read more at Humanosphere.

Global Health
4:59 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Fighting global illiteracy with the 'Talking Book'

Kids in Ghana trying out the Talking Book
Literacy Bridge

Words can be just as important as vaccines, drugs or better seeds when it comes to helping the world’s poorest.

And Cliff Schmidt, founder of a Seattle-based organization called Literacy Bridge, has created a device to get these valuable words out to the world’s poorest. It’s called the Talking Book.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
9:55 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Contagion: What can we learn from movies about killer viruses?

Image cropped from the poster for the movie "Contagion." Killer viruses make for great movies, but do those movies teach us anything?

Time for another movie about a killer virus that spreads across the planet: "Contagion" by Steven Soderbergh is due out in a few days. Can these movies teach us anything?

Humanosphere’s Tom Paulson writes about the movie and his science-writing colleague, “one of the top public health and pandemic journalists out there," who was a consultant for it.

“Despite her misgivings, Garrett agreed to work as a consultant to the filmmakers for 'Contagion.' She says it is definitely based on an extraordinarily virulent bug that spreads fast. But the science is solid, she says, and there are some valuable lessons contained in the drama.”

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
2:30 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Gates Foundation identifies plant vaccination as new initiative

Do you have a solution for making plants more resistant to disease? The Gates Foundation wants to hear from you.
Eric Hershman Flickr

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has done a lot to boost the science and delivery of vaccines for human health and to assist in the fight against disease.

Now, the Seattle philanthropy would like to start vaccinating crop plants to help poor farmers and hopes solutions will emerge through its next round of Grand Challenges Explorations.

Humanosphere
11:34 am
Mon August 29, 2011

Does success in Libya make the case for humanitarian warfare?

Gandhi and Che, two kinds of freedom fighters
Runs with Scissors Flickr

CNN’s Global Public Square blog writes "... as the first unambiguous military enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm, Gadhafi’s utter defeat seemingly put new wind in the sails of humanitarian intervention."

Tom Paulson, blogger for KPLU's Humanosphere, has written on this topic before and continues the discussion on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
9:14 am
Thu August 25, 2011

Heroic humanitarian narrative - more harm than good?

Stephen Poff Flickr

The heroic narrative is almost irresistible as a storytelling strategy.

But many in the aid and development community think it frequently does more harm than good.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
5:22 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Critical of U.S. celebrity focus, African writer names top women

Ory Okolloh from Kenya is a Harvard-trained lawyer, activist and blogger. She is No. 1 on the list of young power women of Africa.
Forbes

In response to this somewhat typical (if not also dispiriting) celebration of American celebrity elite – particularly when it comes to lists of "power women" – Nigerian writer Mfonobong Nsehe decided to put together for Forbes his own list of the top 20 young power women of Africa.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:43 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Insecticide-resistant mosquitoes challenging Gates malaria efforts

A child with cerebral malaria.
Mike Urban

The World Health Organization has long been worried over reports that mosquitoes were increasingly resistant to chemical-treated bed nets, a mainstay in the Gates Foundation-led, worldwide campaign against malaria.

Now, a study from Senegal raises doubts over Gates’ plant to beat malaria, blaming mosquitoes’ growing resistance to insecticide.

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