U.N. - Related Issues
Up to date news and comment about UN related public health issues.
December 9, 2008
Cancer to be world's top killer by 2010, WHO says
Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world's top killer by 2010, part of a trend that should more than double global cancer cases and deaths by 2030, international health experts reported Tuesday.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Whilst these skyrocketing increases in the number of cancer cases will doubtless be welcomed by the pharmaceutical investment ‘business with disease’, the fact is that safer, effective alternatives to the use of toxic chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer are available. To learn about them, click here.
November 26, 2008
Universal test 'would slash Aids'
Universal testing for HIV, followed by immediate treatment could cut the number of people developing full-blown Aids by up to 95%, a Lancet study says. The World Health Organization (WHO) also found that such a strategy could virtually eliminate HIV transmission. The study used computer modelling to project what would happen if everyone over 15 was tested every year. But the WHO said that weak health care systems meant that universal testing was not a realistic idea.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)
Comment: Despite around a quarter of a century’s research and billions of pounds of government funding, most scientists involved in AIDS research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some are actually admitting that effective immunisation against the virus may never be possible. Moreover, given that some vaccine trials have seemingly even increased the risk among vaccine recipients of becoming infected with HIV, the question has to be asked as to whether most current orthodox HIV/AIDS research is exploring the wrong avenues. In considering this, we note in particular that whilst the promoters of ARV drugs – including the World Health Organization - say “there is no evidence that, taken alone, micronutrient supplements prevent HIV disease progression,” the truth is that the clinical benefits of micronutrient supplements have been demonstrated in HIV/AIDS. As such, bearing in mind the numerous ethical and human rights issues that universal HIV testing raises – that even the World Health Organization itself would appear to recognize – we agree with those who say that this strategy would involve over-testing, over-treatment, side effects, resistance, and potentially reduced autonomy of the individual in their choices of care.
October 27, 2008
WHO: Heart, infectious diseases, cancer kill most
Heart ailments, infectious diseases and cancer remain the world's top three killers, the U.N. health agency said Monday. Heart attacks and related problems are the top killer, claiming 29 percent of people who die each year, the World Health Organization said in a report on the global burden of disease. In second place, infectious diseases lead to 16.2 percent of worldwide deaths. Cancer, in third, claims 12.6 percent of global deaths, said the 146-page report, which is based on death registration data from 112 countries and estimates where reporting is incomplete.
Read article at physorg.com
April 28, 2008
At WHO Meeting, Patient Group Has Pharma Ties
A World Health Organization group that meets in Geneva today to debate ways to improve access to drugs in the developing world and promoting R&D for new meds is, of course, going to attract input from all sides, including industry, academics, patients groups and non-govermental organizations, or NGOs. However, many individuals who signed a "Patient Declaration" have undisclosed ties to pharma, as does the patient advocacy group that is circulating the petition, according to Essential Action, a non-profit project that focuses on public health and corporate accountability, and is funded by the Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation.
Read article at pharmalot.com
January 5, 2008
Cutbacks to Iraqi food rations threaten malnutrition and starvation
Under conditions of widespread malnutrition, run-away inflation and mass unemployment, the Iraqi Trade Ministry is preparing to slash the provision of subsidised food and basic hygiene necessities under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Read article on the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS)
Comment: The PDS was introduced by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime as a short-term answer to the UN economic sanctions imposed during the Gulf War of 1990-1991. It is estimated that these sanctions led to as many as one million Iraqi deaths, including those of 500,000 children, between 1991 and 1998. Denis Halliday, the then United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, resigned in protest in October 1998, declaring: "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral." Notably, therefore, by the time of the March 2003 invasion, virtually the entire Iraqi population was to some extent reliant on food rations to meet even their basic nutritional requirements. Nevertheless, the US military has utterly failed to ensure that they received them. As such, the UN's retrospective and continued approval of the US-led military occupation of Iraq only further cements the final erosion of its credibility, thus heralding the ultimate demise of its role as servant to the people of the world.