Polio outbreaks in DRC set back global efforts to eradicate the disease

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Author: Ruth Maclean
“Two separate outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set back global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease. The World Health Organisation last week said the virus had also come back in Syria. But the known cases could be just the tip of the iceberg: for every case of polio that is diagnosed, epidemiologists say there are 200 “silent infections” – people who have no symptoms but can pass the disease on to others.”
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Michigan Case Adds U.S. Dimension to Debate on Genital Mutilation

NYT, 10 June 2017
Author: Pam Belluck
“As more details emerge about the first-ever charges of female genital mutilation in the United States, the case is opening a window onto a small immigrant community, while stirring impassioned discussion about genital cutting among women who have experienced it.”
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Online access to abortion pill may be safe alternative to clinics

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Lisa Rapaport
“Women who don’t have access to reproductive health clinics can safely use telemedicine services to consult with a doctor and get drugs to terminate their pregnancy without surgery, suggests a study of Irish women. About one quarter of the world’s population lives in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws and where women may resort to unsafe methods to end pregnancies. This results in an estimated 43,000 deaths every year. The current study showed that 95 percent of the women reported successfully terminating their pregnancies without surgical intervention using medication they received in the mail after providing their medical details and consulting with a trained helpdesk team on how to use the drug.”
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French drugmaker Servier to face trial over weight-loss Mediator

Reuters, 24 May 2017
Authors: Simond Carraud, Matthias Blamont, Emmanuel Jarry and Leigh Thomas
“The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that drugmaker Servier as well as the French drug regulator should face trial over weight-loss pill Mediator, believed to have caused at least 500 deaths in one of France’s worst health scandals. Once licensed as a diabetes treatment, the drug was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant to help people lose weight. The prosecutor’s indictment covers charges of misleading claims as well as manslaughter and targets 14 people as well as 11 institutions including Servier and the French drug regulator ANSM.”
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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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Abortion pill group’s Facebook page deleted over promoting ‘drug use’

The Guardian, 12 May 2017
Author: Julia Carrie Wong
“Facebook has censored the page of an organization that helps women obtain abortion pills, citing its policy against the “promotion or encouragement of drug use”. Women on Web, which is based in Amsterdam, helps connect women with doctors who can provide abortion pills if they live in countries where abortion access is restricted. Facebook’s has faced particular difficulty enforcing its rules for “regulated goods” – prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms, and ammunition.”
Find article here.

Israeli doctors reject force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike

Al Monitor, 10 May 2017
Author: Daoud Kuttab
“Israeli doctors continue to reject attempts by prison authorities to participate in any force-feeding or forced treatment of Palestinian prisoners who are on a hunger strike. The Israeli executive director of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), told Al-Monitor that Israeli doctors see any force used in medical treatment as unethical. the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has, for a number of years, refused to participate in any force-feeding of prisoners. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and The World Medical Association (WMA) also opposes force-feeding.”
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WHO Launches Global Effort to Halve Medication-Related Errors in 5 Years

WHO, 29 March 2017
“WHO today launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated harm in all countries by 50% over the next 5 years. The Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety aims to address the weaknesses in health systems that lead to medication errors and the severe harm that results. It lays out ways to improve the way medicines are prescribed, distributed and consumed, and increase awareness among patients about the risks associated with the improper use of medication.”
Find news release here.

WHO issues ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

WHO, 22 March 2017
“New tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched today by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.”
Find news release here.

Study shows healthcare in Syria now a target of war

Reuters, 14 March 2017
Author: Kate Kelland
“The international community must do more to protect healthcare in Syria as medical services become targets of war, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday. Published to mark the sixth anniversary of the Syrian crisis, the study used data from multiple sources to assess the conflict’s impact on health care and health workers. Researchers said there were almost 200 attacks on health centers last year alone and said a key feature of the weaponisation of healthcare is the repeated targeting of medical facilities with the aim of shutting them down.”
Find article here.