In a recent visit to El Salvador, the smallest, yet beautiful most densely populated country in Central America, I attended an international event organized by the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for the FCTC 2030 project. During this event, I had the opportunity to learn from government officials and the Solidarity Fund for Health (FOSALUD) team about the significant tobacco control steps taken by the country.
According to data presented at the event, 1 in 10 adults in El Salvador smoke; the prevalence of current cigarette consumption is 17 percent among men, 2 percent among women, and 10 percent among young people. Data from the IHME Global Burden of Disease study indicate that, in 2016, of the more than 1,600 tobacco-attributable deaths in El Salvador, almost half of them were premature deaths (before the age of 70 years). This contributed to an estimated 34,000 years of life lost due to tobacco-related premature mortality and disability. Besides these impacts, an assessment done by FOSALUD with the support of the FCTC Secretariat, UNDP and PAHO/WHO, estimates that tobacco use causes significant economic losses, including both health care costs (US$115.6 million) and loss of productivity (US$148 million), amounting to US$264 million or 1 percent of El Salvador’s GDP.
Latin America & Caribbean
We recently participated in an event held in Lima by Peru’s Ministry of Health and the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University for the launching of a new report that assesses the initial results at the municipal level of the mental health services reform in the country.
Compelling evidence showing that the community-based initiatives to improve mental health care in Peru are helping close a major access gap that exists in most countries was shared.
So, what are the main pillars of the Peruvian mental health reform process and its initial impact?
Illicit trade in tobacco products undermines global tobacco prevention and control interventions, particularly with respect to tobacco tax policy. From a public health perspective, illicit trade weakens the effect of tobacco excise taxes on tobacco consumption - and consequently on preventable morbidity and mortality - by increasing the affordability, attractiveness, and/or availability of tobacco products. Furthermore, tobacco illicit trade often depends on and can contribute to weakened governance.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Virgin Islands, British
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom
- East Asia and Pacific
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South Asia
- Europe and Central Asia
Helena Costa, a smallholder from Sao Tome & Principe, has been investing in her family’s small agribusiness for a decade, wanting it to be more productive, more profitable, and produce quality fruits and vegetable products to supply local and export markets. The quality improvements she’s invested in include food safety practices, shifting to organic production, and planting biofortified crops. However, these food quality improvements are not yet recognized by the market. So, for Helena, improving the nutritional value of her food products is an extra cost that puts her at a disadvantage in relation to her competitors.
Accumulated scientific evidence shows that proper nutrition and stimulation in utero and during early childhood benefit physical and mental well-being later in life and contribute to the development of children’s cognitive and socioemotional skills. Yet, a critical but often overlooked fact in policy design and program development across the world is the association between maternal depression and childhood stunting -- the impaired growth and development measured by low height-for-age.
“Si no existiera ya la lactancia materna y alguien la inventara hoy, esa persona merecería un doble premio Nobel, en medicina y economía”. Keith Hansen, vicepresidente de Desarrollo Humano del Banco Mundial.
Esta es una idea que compartimos desde hace tiempo muchos de los que trabajamos en el ámbito de la nutrición, y a medida que crece el movimiento mundial en esta área, se incrementa también el cúmulo de evidencias acerca del enorme valor que revisten las intervenciones nutricionales para las personas y las sociedades.
El tabaco es sin duda uno de los riesgos más importantes para la salud pública que nos toca enfrentar. A partir de la publicación del emblemático Informe del Cirujano General de Estados Unidos de 1964 acerca de los daños a la salud atribuibles al consumo de tabaco que proporcionó la evidencia que relacionaba al tabaquismo con enfermedades de casi todos los órganos del cuerpo (véase el gráfico abajo), la comunidad internacional comenzó lentamente a darse cuenta que la larga epidemia del hábito de fumar cigarrillos estaba causando una enorme catástrofe en materia de salud pública en todo el mundo, y que esta se podía prevenir.
Tobacco is arguably one of the most significant threats to public health we have ever faced. Since the publication of the landmark U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco and Health in 1964, that provided evidence linking smoking to diseases of nearly all organs of the body (see graph below), the international community slowly began to realize that a century-long epidemic of cigarette smoking was causing an enormous, avoidable public health catastrophe across the world.
In 2000, one in three Peruvian children under 5-years-old suffered from chronic malnutrition. Several years later despite high economic growth and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in nutrition programs, the stunting rate barely inched down. Then, something happened.
Figure 1. Stunting Rate, Peru 2000-2015 (% of under-5 children)
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year, and reflect on several notable events from 2015 - a year of remarkable progress in global health, and remarkable expansion for the World Bank Group's health, nutrition and population portfolio, which grew to more than $10 billion.