More than 1 200 leading figures from the worlds of science, politics, economics and civil society are at the World Health Summit taking place from 23 – 26 October in Berlin to discuss some of the major challenges in global health today.
Under theme Today’s Science - Tomorrow’s Agenda five main issues are being addressed at the conference: the impact of climate change on health; the rapid increase in chronic diseases in developing and industrialized countries; the worldwide burden caused by mental diseases; vaccine strategies; and international health policy.
PROPONENTS on both sides of the National Health Insurance (NHI) debate have emphasised improving service at public health facilities. They are right. Many clinics and hospitals are understaffed and poorly managed, with shortages of essential medicines and equipment. Patients have to wait in long queues. They are lucky if they see a pharmacist for assistance on the correct use of medicines. The reasons for this are many and complex. The fragmented apartheid health system, the poor leadership until 2008 on the HIV/AIDS crisis, under-resourcing and poor management skills have affected the public health system. The skewed distribution of resources between private and public healthcare is a crucial factor.
UN meeting has finally alerted the world to what SA’s medical professionals have long suspected — the burden of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease is as serious a threat as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis to social and economic development.
THIS week’s first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on noncommunicable diseases has finally alerted the world to what SA’s medical professionals have long suspected — the burden of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease is as serious a threat as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis to social and economic development.
Health officials in sub-Saharan Africa are finally focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, having spent much of the past decade concentrating on HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The growth of NCDs in developing countries has gone almost unnoticed, having been largely perceived as a problem affecting affluent countries. But NCDs have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death worldwide, with nearly 80 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Maternal mortality – The global picture
The death of a woman who leaves behind a young family has devastating consequences for these survivors, with increased chances of disadvantage, illness and premature death, especially in poorer societies. Maternal death (death during pregnancy or less than 42 days after the end of a pregnancy) is also the outcome measure that causes serious concern to public health authorities and maternity care clinicians. No health outcome shows such large discrepancies between rich and poor nations. The most recent reliable figures show more than hundred-fold differences in maternal mortality ratios (MMR – deaths per 100 000 live births).
The National Health Research Committee (NHRC) will this week hold an important summit to look at the various health challenges facing the government. The summit takes place on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 July 2011 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
According to the chairperson of the NHRC, Professor Bongani Mayosi, South Africa is facing four main health challenges: