Indonesia tobacco bill would open tap for ads aimed at kids, health official says

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Eveline Danubrata and Stefanno Reinard
“A proposed Indonesian tobacco law will roll back regulations to discourage smoking in a country that already has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and open the floodgates to advertising aimed at teenagers, a health ministry official said. If the bill initiated by the parliament is passed, companies will no longer have to put grim pictures on cigarette packs of lung cancer or other diseases linked to smoking. School and playground areas would be designated as “no- cigarette-smoke zones” instead of “no-cigarette zones”, which would allow cigarettes to be sold or displayed there.”
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Duterte Orders Strict Smoking Ban in Philippines, and Asks Citizens to Help

NYT, 18 May 2017
Author: Felipe Villamor
“President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a deadly campaign to eradicate drug use in the Philippines, has now ordered a strict public ban on smoking and called on citizens to help the local authorities apprehend smokers. The executive order, signed this week and made public on Thursday, forbids the use of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, in all public spaces, even sidewalks. It also prohibits anyone under 18 from “using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products.” More than a quarter of Filipinos smoke, according to a 2015 World Health Organization report, including 11 percent of minors.”
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Italy is set to make vaccinations for school children compulsory

The Independent, 16 May 2017
Author: Harriet Agerholm
“Italy is set to ban non-vaccinated children from starting state schools “by the end of next week”, according to the country’s health minister. Revealing the plan, Ms Lorenzin said the fall in vaccinations across Italy was “an emergency generated by fake news”. Cases of measles rose more than fivefold across Italy in April compared to the same month last year, according to National Health Institute figures. Health authorities issued repeated warnings over a rise of infectious diseases in the country, as a movement against vaccinations grew.”
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UK poverty has “devastating” effect on children’s health, doctors warn

BMJ, 11 May 2017
Source: BMJ 2017;357:j2285
“Poverty is damaging the health of children in the UK and must be urgently tackled by the next government. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Child Poverty Action Group, in a joint report based on an online survey of 266 paediatricians working at 90 NHS trusts in the UK, asked doctors for their views on how poverty is affecting the physical and mental health of the children they see. More than two thirds of the paediatricians surveyed said that poverty and low income contributed “very much” to ill health in children they treat.”
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Measles Outbreak Blamed on Anti-Vaccine Groups

WebMD, 9 May 2017
Source: WebMD News from HealthDay
“Vaccine skeptics are to blame for Minnesota’s largest measles outbreak in decades, health officials say. At least 48 people, nearly all children, have been infected, and 11 youngsters have been hospitalized with pneumonia and other serious complications of measles, according to the state health department. Somali immigrants have been hardest hit in the outbreak.”
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National guidelines oppose push to allow parents to choose sex of IVF babies

SMH, 20 April 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Australia’s peak medical council has knocked back a push to allow parents to choose the gender of their baby in new national guidelines. On Thursday, the NHMRC banned clinics from offering gender selection for non-medical purposes in its long-anticipated guidelines for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). But the National Health and Medical Research Council left the door open for future changes, suggesting sex selection may be ethical.”
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New evidence in France of harm from epilepsy drug valproate

BBC, 21 April 2017
Source: BBC News
“A drug given to pregnant women for epilepsy and bipolar disorder caused “serious malformations” in up to 4,100 children, a French study suggests. Introduced in France in 1967, valproate is prescribed widely worldwide. Doctors in France are now advised not to give it to girls, women of childbearing age and pregnant women. Some families of children with birth defects born to women who took the drug while pregnant have sued Sanofi, saying that it did not adequately warn about the risks.”
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Italy experiencing measles epidemic after fall-off in vaccinations

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Source: Reuters
“Italy is experiencing a measles epidemic following a fall-off in vaccinations. The Italian health ministry said on Wednesday there had been almost 1,500 registered cases of measles so far this year against some 840 in all of 2016 and some 250 in 2015. The Higher Health Institute says only around 85% of two-year-olds are being vaccinated against measles at present, well below the 95% threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation to block the illness.”
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Is decision-making capacity an “essentially contested” concept in pediatrics?

Med Health Care and Philos (2017). doi:10.1007/s11019-017-9768-z
Authors: Eva De Clercq, Katharina Ruhe, Michel Rost, Bernice Elger
“Key legislations in many countries emphasize the importance of involving children in decisions regarding their own health at a level commensurate with their age and capacities. Research is engaged in developing tools to assess capacity in children in order to facilitate their responsible involvement. These instruments, however, are usually based on the cognitive criteria for capacity assessment as defined by Appelbaum and Grisso and thus ill adapted to address the life-situation of children. The aim of this paper is to revisit and critically reflect upon the current definitions of decision-making capacity.”
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Why Assam’s two-child policy plan is being criticised by public health experts

ScrollIn, 13 April 2017
Author: Arunabh Saikia
“India: Assam’s health minister unveiled the draft of a new population policy for the state. It proposes, among other things, to penalise people who have more than two children. If the draft were to become law, they would be ineligible for government jobs and benefits, and be barred from contesting all elections held under the aegis of the state election commission.”
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