When the United Nations negotiators recently met in New York to track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGSs), a number of side events to the High-Level Political Forum were organized to emphasize the crucial role of agriculture. I attended a couple of these events and took the opportunity to illustrate why investments in livestock will pay dividends for sustainable development, and more particularly for health.
Blood-delivering drones? Check. 3D-printer working off grid to print finger splints? Check. Disadvantaged women trained and employed in software-developing? Check. Is this how technology can deliver for development?
In 2013, I was confronted by the realization of my country’s situation at a parliamentarian workshop organized by UNICEF where I learned about the different forms of malnutrition that we face. There, I discovered that my country, Cameroon, has an overall stunting prevalence of 32% for children under age five. In other words, one in three children under the age of five is affected. I now know of the devastating effects of malnutrition on the health of families, children and adolescents and consequently on the development of our country. As a parliamentarian, I’ve worked to serve my constituency and set up a community health insurance which helps improve the coverage of vulnerable children and young people. These challenges are our daily reality, but I was surprised to see them highlighted by the President of the World Bank in Washington, DC when I traveled there for the World Bank’s Spring Meetings.
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis ended more than a year ago in Liberia. It resulted in over 10,000 cases and 5,000 deaths. For many children, the crisis continues through intrusive memories of illness, isolation, and death. These memories are particularly acute for the children directly affected by Ebola; those that were quarantined, separated from family during treatment, or orphaned. The Liberia Ministry of Health (MOH) identified 3,091 such children, and a World Bank working paper calculated that approximately 4,200 Liberian children lost one or both parents to Ebola.
A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) shares some good news: Six in 10 people worldwide are now protected by at least one of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)-recommended demand reduction measures, including taxation. The report, launched on the sidelines of the UN high-level political forum on sustainable development, also makes clear that raising taxes to increase tobacco product prices is the most cost-effective means to reduce tobacco use and prevent initiation among the youth. But it is still one of the least used tobacco control measures.
Big results, require big ambitions and there are few bigger for primary healthcare than universal immunization coverage. Governments have committed to this through the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) and the Addis Declaration on Immunisation (ADI). And while there has been good progress over the last decade – 86% of children globally now receive basic vaccinations – far too many children are still missing out. One in seven children under the age of one is still excluded from basic immunisation.
You may not have noticed it, but the planet grew a bit safer over the weekend. Starting last Saturday, the world finally became formally insured against pandemics like the dreadful Ebola outbreak that caused so much loss and suffering three years ago.
March 15, 2017. She looked at me curiously, sipping on her juice box. Her pink sweater in contrast to her anemic pallor. If it had not been for the drip in her right arm, she could be any five year old child. Except she was not. She was a refugee, one of the more than 650,000 Syrians that Jordan has been hosting since the start of the war. Exactly six years ago, the civil war in Syria had started a couple of miles away. Six years later the war continued. It was all this girl had seen in her lifetime.
Le changement climatique a déjà des répercussions concrètes et quantifiables sur la santé humaine, qui devraient aller en s’aggravant. Particulièrement exposés aux aléas du climat et moins capables de s’y adapter à cause de systèmes de santé et d’infrastructures défaillants, les pays à revenu faible et intermédiaire sont les plus durement touchés. Heureusement, cela fait des décennies que les experts s’intéressent aux impacts cumulés du changement climatique sur la santé, de sorte que nous comprenons de mieux en mieux les enjeux.
À cause notamment de ses effets délétères sur la santé, le dérèglement climatique pourrait replonger dans la pauvreté plus de 100 millions de personnes à l’horizon 2030. Les agents polluants associés aux émissions de carbone sont déjà responsables de plus de 7 millions de décès prématurés par an. D’ici 2030, ce sont 7,5 millions d’enfants supplémentaires qui risquent de présenter un retard de croissance, dont 4 millions sous une forme sévère (soit une augmentation de 4 %). L’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) estime qu’avec le changement climatique, le nombre d’enfants souffrant de retards de croissance devrait passer à 10 millions en 2050. En Afrique, le renchérissement des denrées alimentaires lié au changement climatique pourrait atteindre 12 % en 2030 et jusqu’à 70 % en 2080 — ce qui porterait un coup brutal aux pays où la nourriture représente plus de 60 % des dépenses des ménages les plus démunis. Quant aux coûts directs pour la santé (hors dépenses dans les secteurs qui ont un impact sur la santé, comme l’agriculture, l’eau et l’assainissement), ils se situeraient dans une fourchette de 2 à 4 milliards de dollars par an d’ici 2030.
Le problème, c’est que 15 % seulement des pays qui se sont dotés de plans d’action contre le changement climatique y ont intégré un volet sanitaire. Conscient de cette lacune et face à l’appel grandissant des chercheurs et des agents sur le terrain, le Groupe de la Banque mondiale a élaboré un programme pour y remédier.
Climate change is already having real, measurable impacts on human health, and those impacts are expected to grow. Low- and middle-income countries are seeing the worst effects as they are most vulnerable to climate shifts and least able to adapt given weak health systems and poor infrastructure. The good news is that the cumulative impacts of climate change on health have been extensively discussed for decades and understanding is growing.