Measles Outbreak: a need for action

After water and sanitation, childhood immunization is considered to be the greatest public health intervention, saving millions of lives each year.  Childhood vaccination is one of the simplest and the most cost-effective objective of an efficient health system. Yet the recent havoc that Measles has played in Pakistan tells a different story. It undermines the […]

Maternal Death – a Silent Emergency

The distinct roles and behaviors of men and women in a given culture, dictated by that culture’s gender norms and values, give rise to gender differences. Not all such differences between men and women imply inequity but they do give rise to gender inequalities – that is, difference between men and women which systemically empower […]

World No Tobacco Day, “Ban all forms of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS)”

Analysis of the collected data from the Report “Monitoring of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS) and Point of Sale Advertising” reveals that Point of Sale (POS) advertisement is observed at 78% of the tobacco retail places, 77% POS are using “Power walls and Fascia” for tobacco advertising, beneficiary schemes for retailers observed at 32% of monitored POS . Further, […]

World No Tobacco Day 2013: Not just another day

The 31st of May 2013 will mark the 26th year of successive observance of World No Tobacco Day across the world, when WHO Member States resolved to commemorate a day every year to say NO to use of tobacco through a World Health Assembly Resolution in 1988. While this year’s message calls  to  ‘free ourselves’ […]

World No Tobacco Day 2013

According to GBD 2010, tobacco smoking continues to be the second leading risk factor for death and disability globally. 1 Tobacco-attributable deaths are projected to rise from 5.4 million in 2005 to 6.4 million in 2015 (10% of all deaths globally) and 8.3 million in 2030. 2 Over 1 billion people smoke globally – the […]

Ghana Health Service: It works

I accompanied GAVI CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, on a joint country visit with Mr.  Bill Gates to Ghana two weeks ago.  This was Mr Gates first visit with the Ghana Health Service. We spent our first morning on the field, visiting more specifically the Community-based Health Planning and Services initiative’s compound which is part of […]

Brazilian Hearts

It took 12 minutes in a taxi to get to my meeting in Sao Paulo last Thursday.  By the evening, the same drive back to my hotel took more than two hours.  Alternatives?  There aren’t many – limited public transportation, a bus system that would have not provided much of an option, and certainly no […]

Hypertension and the imperative for reducing salt intake

In a recent meeting convened by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean to discuss the regional agenda for noncommunicable diseases, the crucial role of high salt intake was highlighted. This is quite appropriate considering the emphasis of this year’s World Health Day (held April 7th) on hypertension. Among the leading risk factors in […]

The Hypertension Myth

The whole concept of World Hypertension Day is misguided because it perpetutes an unfortunate myth – it implies that we can deal with “hypertension” (i.e. raised blood pressure) problem through treatment.  Based on current knowledge and experiences, reductions in population blood pressure levels will be most efficiently achieved through salt intake reduction and this should […]