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Science in society – politics, development and social justice.

Posts Tagged ‘TB

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.

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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 »