Thursday, July 03, 2008

News from the healthcare world

Reading some health headlines lately, I've felt like I need to talk about them. You should probably expect to see more posts like this once I start school. I'm gonna be all shades of boring!

I receive regular emails from regarding the current situation of the world's poor, and what I can do to help. As you may know, the Group of Eight or G8 summit is coming up this month, and the Financial Times ran an article headlined:

"Leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations are set to backtrack on their landmark pledge at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to increase development aid to Africa to $25bn a year."
As Josh Peck, the writer of the email regarding this issue, so eloquently states:

"It is astonishing that there is even debate within the G8 as to whether or not they should keep their promises."
Seriously! I mean, they only made those promises three years ago! Why bother making promises you're not even gonna try to keep three measly years later? Grrrr...

But this cheers me up. A report from Partners in Health (PIH; sadly, no hyperlink) about creating jobs for a few HIV-positive women in Malawi.

MALAWI: Let them eat cake
The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and banana nut muffins recently began to waft through the small open-air market in Malawi’s rural district of Neno. These tasty confections are part of a new program launched by APZU (PIH’s partner organization in Malawi) to help supply job skills and employment to patients living in poverty. Currently, three HIV patients are working with a struggling local restaurant owned by another patient. APZU hopes that the new bakery program will help these women earn an income to support themselves and their families. If their first batch is any indication, they are well on their way—when APZU staff visited the market to sample the goodies, the women had already sold out.

So simple, yet it could make such a difference to those women and their families.

And while we're on the subject of simple solutions, there's another news brief from PIH. Now, I hate Crocs as much as the next person, but this is fascinating!

Going barefoot in the rocky hills and muddy valleys of Haiti isn’t just uncomfortable. It leads to a major public health problem – an epidemic of tungiasis, an infestation of sand fleas that can cause pain, itching, swelling, open sores and, if left untreated, sepsis, tetanus or gangrene.

So when they learned that 40,000 pairs of Crocs were available, Zanmi Lasante (ZL, PIH’s partner organization in Haiti) and the Haitian Ministry of Health jumped at the offer. The donation included not only the value of the shoes contributed by Crocs Footwear but all the costs of shipping them from the factory in China to the docks in Port-au-Prince.
Amazing, huh? Tacky, hideous Crocs shoes as a health care tool! Brilliant.

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