Turkey is a transcontinental country, with territory contiguously spanning two continents. It is bordered by eight countries and is circled by sea on three sides. The international airport in Istanbul is the 10th busiest airport in the world, and last year, in 2016, more than 60 million passengers went through it. Of these, two-thirds were international passengers. Yes, Turkey is very vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Indeed, all countries are.
"Sugar, rum, and tobacco, are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, [but] which are ... objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation."
- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)
World No Tobacco Day 2017 focuses on the links between tobacco use, tobacco control, and sustainable development. Does this mean that tobacco use is more than a public health issue? The answer is an emphatic yes, rooted in robust scientific evidence accumulated over the past five decades and country experiences worldwide. Let me explain.
For some people in low- and middle-income countries, opening a bank account, taking out a loan, obtaining a driver’s license, or sending their children to school is out of reach because they don’t have official documents that prove their legal identity. Why do some people lack birth certificates, marriage certificates, family members’ death certificates, and other documentation?
In my blog in February I described the rationale behind the creation of the International Working Group on Financing Preparedness (“IWG”), which is focused on how to ensure sustainable funding for the first line of defence against pandemics – prevention, identification and containment of infectious disease outbreaks at a national level. The IWG had its second face-to –face meeting earlier this month in London at Wellcome Trust. The goal of this meeting was to review the analytical work that had taken place over the last couple of months and debate a draft set of recommendations. Since that meeting we have been refining these recommendations with a view to presenting them in draft form to the UN Secretary General’s Global Health Crisis taskforce on May 1 and launching the full report at the World Health Assembly on May 25.
Thirty years ago, polio affected nearly 350,000 people per year across 125 countries. Today, the poliovirus is circulating in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where five new cases have been reported so far in 2017. But progress to eliminate polio in the region has been difficult, particularly in North-West Pakistan, an area affected by deadly flooding, ongoing conflict, and attacks against vaccine health workers.
“If breastfeeding did not already exist, someone who invented it today would deserve a dual Nobel Prize in medicine and economics.” - World Bank Vice President of Human Development, Keith Hansen
This is a sentiment long-shared by many of us in the nutrition community and as the global movement in nutrition grows, so does our body of evidence supporting how powerful nutrition interventions are for individuals and for societies.
This year’s World Health Day carries a particular significance for me and for many others. The theme, “Depression: Let’s Talk,” shines a light upon a problem that oftentimes remains hidden in a dark corner of our minds, trapping us in a painful agony of sadness, loss of interest, and fear.
The accumulated evidence over the past half century on the causal relationship between smoking and harm to health provides us with a robust scientific foundation to inform policy design and action.