Extra mural

Science in society – politics, development and social justice.

Posts Tagged ‘Hygiene

One Health and the built environment

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A tumble-down house sits above a poluted stretch of water, plastic detreitus washed up on its banks

Slum living - our health and our environment go hand in hand

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published A Guide For Assisted Living. It is a ‘how-to’ for designers, healthcare workers, architects and anyone else “who may have to take decisions on the appropriate design, specification, construction and adaptation of ‘assisted living enabled’ buildings.

As we are all aware, we are an aging population. The Western world has coaxed life-expectancy out to new extremes and so rates of chronic disease have increased. This week’s edition of The Lancet has given over its pages (actually its website, I cannot say I have seen a copy but presumably one mirrors t’other) to the staggering burden of diabetes across the globe. The well-worth-a-read editorial cites a 2011 study that shows the worldwide burden of the disease is 347 million cases, as of 2008.

The RIBA guide recognises that the growing chronic disease burden threatens to overwhelm the ever-more scant healthcare resources:

The changing demographic means that traditional arrangements for supporting those with long term conditions will not be sustainable even in the medium term.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Polio – forgotten but not gone

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A young girl's right leg bends backwards at the knee like a bow as her father leads he by the hand down a clinic corridor

Consequence of polio - too many children must suffer a similar fate

For centuries polio has maimed and killed children across the world. Like all diseases it struck out at all echelons of society, from Presidents down, but it disproportionately affected the poor.

The virus transmits because of insanitary and unhygienic conditions. It is spread in faeces, infecting a victim with their food or water. It shreds the nervous system, attacking motor-neurons, paralysing the victim.

Polio kills the poorest and most marginalised of the world’s population. Those who do not drink clean water; who cannot wash their hands; those who are compelled to live in filth bereft of sanitation.

It is grievously unfair that children still suffer from this disease. This pathogen that only infects humans, that does not live long outside of its human host, that we have had a vaccine to combat for nearly 60 years.

Up to 90 per cent of those infected show no symptoms. This virus passes by so many; silently passing through en route to those few to destroy their fragile bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

A spot of self aggrandising and a few hundred words for your pleasure

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So I’ve been quite quiet of late. Extra mural has gathered dust and pretty much gone into a hibernating state. Well, I have been busy you see.

Medical Media Watch has taken shape, Elements is still growing stronger every day, and the good people of the Financial Times took a holiday from reason and decided I was worthy of being printed.

We await the ABC figures to see how much of a hit the FT took. I’m thinking they’ll drop a few thousand copies in New York for sure.

But here is some writings for you to enjoy, or at least read. Genuine, Extra mural penned, fodder for your brain spaces.

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A tap with clear, clean water pouring from it

Potable water is essential for health and prosperity. Dirty water carries disease and poverty. Easy to understand yet the benefit is not appreciated by millions

We live in a time of unparalleled technological advance. Our knowledge of the Universe is immense, growing greater each day.

On a whim we can connect with minds from across the planet. In smallpox we have bested a killer more blood-soaked than any artifice of man. In one giant leap we broke the surly bonds of Earth, reaching out to touch the face of God.

We wallow in our own majesty.

It is too easy to forget the challenges we overcame to sit pretty in this developed world. The aching poverty and suffering of the industrial revolution that brought such desperate hardship. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by nascenthack

February 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm