Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Show Me Campaign

I went to see John Legend the other day (great concert!) where he profiled a campaign he is involved with in Africa whose mission it is to fight economic and spiritual poverty through fostering sustainable development. This is from his site:

Normally I travel to locations around the world to perform, but I came to Ghana to learn after being inspired by the book The End of Poverty by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs. What I loved about the book is that is appealed to both my practical and compassionate sides. It also convinced me that extreme poverty could be eradicated in our lifetime by a surprisingly realistic amount of money.

He goes onto say that:

Hundreds of thousands of kids in Africa die from Malaria, which is preventable with a $10 bed net and curable with a $2 medicine dosage. That same $10 can fertilize an entire farm and dramatically increase its crop yield for a year.

So not only does John Legend have a soulful voice. He has a soul.

I have to mention that I am also reading Jeffrey Sachs' book The End of Poverty and would really recommend it to anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of strategies for economic development around the world. It's not only a goal that we can reach, but it's also something that can be sustained.


Here is an excerpt from an article about Michael Moore's new film about the US healthcare system. It sounds like Moore's film discusses the issues of inadquate healthcare coverage moreso than a lack of health coverage. However, i tend to think the root of the problem is the same and I look forward to this film spurring dialogue and impacting society in the same way Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine shed light on Iraq and Gun Control.

"Sicko" purposefully does not focus on the 50 million or so Americans who don't have health insurance, as scandalous as that is, but on the horror stories of middle-class working folks who believed they were adequately covered. There are so many of these they begin to blur into each other: the woman in Los Angeles whose baby was denied treatment at an emergency room outside her HMO network, and died as it was being transferred hours later; the woman in Kansas City whose husband was repeatedly denied various drugs his physician prescribed for kidney cancer, and who in the last stage of life was denied a bone-marrow transplant that could have saved his life; the woman who was told her brain tumor was not a life-threatening illness, and died; the woman who was told her cancer must have been a preexisting condition, and died.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hypertension: What Oprah doesn't know

A few weeks ago, Oprah's show was devoted to answering health questions. Dr. Oz asked her if she knew why African Americans have such high rates of hypertension, and Oprah retorted that indeed she did and that it was because "African Americans who survived [the slave trade's Middle Passage] were those who could hold more salt in their body." To which Dr. Oz rejoiced: "That's perfect!"

This conversation caused quite a stir and I've been following the discussion of this on a listserv that i belong to. Finally, an article about it came out in the LA times. It's an interesting discussion because not only does it shed some light on the prevalence of hypertension in a minority group - but it emphasizes the need to communicate health information that is accurate. Oprah has such an impact on her audience that it means it's even more important that she provides them with concrete information about their health and well-being.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Support the Global Health Council on Mother's Day

For some children and mothers, this Mother's Day isn't a time to celebrate.

One woman dies every minute, every day from maternal causes. 99% of which occur in low-income countries.

Help develop healthy women in a healthy world by donating $10 or more to the Global Health Council in honor of your mother. In return, the Global Health Council will send her a personalized Mother's Day card.

Your gift will help the Global Health Council ensure a Global Happy Mother's Day.

Any gift you give will make a difference.

Epidemiology Definitions

An epidemic is a rate of disease that reaches unexpectedly high levels, affecting a large number of people in a relatively short time. Epidemic is a relative concept: a small absolutely number of cases of a disease is considered an epidemic if the disease incidence is usually very low. In contrast, a disease (such as malaria) is considered endemic if it is continuously present in a population but at low or moderate levels, while a pandemic describes epidemics of world-wide proportions, such as influenxa in 1918 or HIV/AIDS today.