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Science in society – politics, development and social justice.

Archive for August 2011

Non-communicable diseases and the world’s government

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Non-communicable diseases or NCDs are the hot topic at the World Health Organisation (WHO) right now. NCDs, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and chronic pulmonary disease account for a large portion of morbidity and mortality in the world, and not just the developed bit. I am told it is Geneva’s big new thing and understandably so. A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, published last year, said:

The prevalence and impact of noncommunicable diseases continue to grow. Chronic diseases account for 60 per cent of all deaths worldwide, and 80 per cent of these deaths occur in low- or middle-income countries, where the toll is disproportionate during the prime productive years of youth and middle age.

Bulletin, the WHO’s monthly public health journal, feature two editorials on the subject. One focused on how the UN is addressing the issue and the other focused on technical issues of balancing investment in treatment and prevention.

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Written by nascenthack

August 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Seasonal blooms: what causes periodic coastal cholera proliferation?

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A broad, flat expanse of what was once fields is now a lake of muddy brown water

Flooding in Bangladesh - a sure risk of the spread of endemic cholera

Cholera cases total between 3-5 million each year with 100,000-120,000 deaths. It is endemic in Asia and Africa. It causes devastating outbreaks and global pandemics. It is said to have originated in the Bay of Bengal.

The two most recent outbreaks of this gastro-intestinal disease are in Haiti and the Congo River. As of 10 July 2011 388,958 cases had been reported in Haiti, with 5,899 deaths. On 20 July 2011 the World Health Organisation reported 3,896 cases and 256 deaths on the banks of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 14 to 20 July a total of 181 cases and six deaths were reported in the neighboring Republic of Congo.

Cholera is entirely preventable with comprehensive provision of hygiene, sanitation and drinking water. There has not been an outbreak of cholera in London since such infrastructure was built in the mid-19th century. Read the rest of this entry »