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.”
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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.”
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How traditional medicine can play a key role in Latino health care

The Conversation, 5 March 2017
Author: Courtney Parker
“In the U.S., many undocumented individuals and other vulnerable groups in the Latino immigrant population, such as indigenous language speakers, are already marginalized from mainstream health services. Traditional or indigenous medicine, commonly referred to as TM, can bridge some of these barriers to health care because their methods stem from the unique values, cultural systems and specific health needs of these populations. In its latest report on traditional medicine, WHO acknowledges TM as a “mainstay of health and health care delivery.””
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The campaign to eradicate Zika has trampled over women’s rights

The Conversation, 9 February 2017
Author: Pia Riggirozzi
“The delivery of health care programmes in Latin America should be anchored in an understanding of the inequalities, discrimination and power relations that prevent many people from accessing them. Governments should remember that they have legal and ethical obligations under international law to ensure the best possible provision of services for all.”
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Human rights violations in organ procurement practice in China

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:11
Authors: Norbert W. Paul, Arthur Caplan, Michael E. Shapiro, Charl Els, Kirk C. Allison, Huige Li
“Over 90% of the organs transplanted in China before 2010 were procured from prisoners. Although Chinese officials announced in December 2014 that the country would completely cease using organs harvested from prisoners, no regulatory adjustments or changes in China’s organ donation laws followed. As a result, the use of prisoner organs remains legal in China if consent is obtained.”
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Mr. Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ Will Harm Global Health

NYT, 26 January 2017
Author: The Editorial Board
“With a single memorandum, President Trump may well have made it harder for health workers around the world to fight cancer, H.I.V., Zika and Ebola. The memorandum, signed on Monday, reinstates and expands a policy barring health organizations abroad, many of which provide an array of services, from receiving federal funds if they even talk to women about abortion as a method of family planning.”
Find article here.