Find out more about the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day

Universal Health Coverage Day
Universal Health Coverage Day
A new global coalition of more than 500 leading health and development organizations worldwide is urging governments to accelerate reforms that ensure everyone, everywhere, can access quality health services without being forced into poverty. The coalition was launched today, on the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day, to stress the importance of universal access to health services for saving lives, ending extreme poverty, building resilience against the health effects of climate change and ending deadly epidemics such as Ebola.

Universal Health Coverage Day marks the two-year anniversary of a United Nations resolution, unanimously passed on 12 December 2012, which endorsed universal health coverage as a pillar of sustainable development and global security. Despite progress in combatting global killers such as HIV/AIDS and vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus and diphtheria, the global gap between those who can access needed health services without fear of financial hardship and those who cannot is widening. Each year, 100 million people fall into poverty because they or a family member becomes seriously ill and they have to pay for care out of their own pockets. Around one billion people worldwide can’t even access the health care they need, paving the way for disease outbreaks to become catastrophic epidemics.

“The need for equitable access to quality health care has never been greater, and there is unprecedented demand for universal health coverage around the world,” said Michael Myers, Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation, which is spearheading Universal Health Coverage Day. “Universal health coverage is an idea whose time has come – because health for all saves lives, strengthens nations and is achievable and affordable for every country.”

For much of the 20th century, universal health coverage was limited to a few high-income countries, but in the past two decades, a number of lower- and middle-income countries have successfully embraced reforms to make quality health care universally available. Countries as diverse as Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Rwanda, Turkey and Thailand have made tremendous progress toward universal health coverage in recent years. Today, the two most populous countries, India and China, are pursuing universal health coverage, and more than 80 countries have asked the World Health Organization for implementation assistance.

“Putting people’s health needs ahead of their ability to pay stems poverty and stimulates growth,” said Dr. Tim Evans, Senior Director for the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “Universal health coverage is an essential ingredient to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity within a generation.”

The 500+ organizations participating in the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day coalition represent a diverse cross-section of global health and development issues, including infectious diseases, maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases and palliative care. Across these issues, knowledge and technologies exist to save and improve lives in significant numbers, but the impact of these tools is severely hampered by lack of equitable access to quality health services.

“Ebola is only the most recent example of why universal health coverage is the most powerful concept in public health,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation at the World Health Organization. “Investing in strong, equitable health systems is the only way to truly protect and improve lives, particularly in the face of emerging threats like the global rise of non-communicable diseases and increasingly severe natural disasters.”

Events in 25 Countries Mark First-Ever Universal Health Coverage Day

Organizations around the world are calling on policymakers to prioritize universal health coverage, and are hosting events on 12 December to catalyze action, including:

  • New York, USA: High-level event on Ebola and resilience, organized by the Permanent Missions of France, Japan, Germany and Senegal to the United Nations, in collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
  • London, UK: Expert panel at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on creating resilient, equitable health systems, organized in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and Action for Global Health.
  • New Delhi, India: High-level event on universal health coverage implementation in both India and the global context, convened by the Public Health Foundation of India, Oxfam India and the World Health Organization Country Office for India.

GERD Awareness Week 2014 – Some tips for dealing with the holiday season if you have GERD.

Tips for dealing with GERD this holiday season
Tips for dealing with GERD this holiday season

This week sees the 16th commemoration of GERD Awareness Week. This year, as usual, it coincides with Thanksgiving week. Not surprising when you consider the food and drink flow in abundance this week!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD, is a very common condition.  You can check out a few commonly asked questions about GERD.

The Digestive Health Alliance have produced a fantastic selection of awareness raising materials which we have used above.  Please drop round to their site and check out their other great stuff!

Alcohol Awareness Week – Does not drinking in January actually work the rest of the year?

Alcohol Awareness Week
Alcohol Awareness Week
Like many of us I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening but I do like to go dry in January. The last two weeks of December are an opportunity for me to eat and drink far too much (even by my standards) so a dry January is a great way to kick start the year.

But what are the affects and does it have any affect the rest of the year!

Well according to research by the UK’s University of Sussex it does have a long term impact. Short term they found that of people who had given up a tipple for January:-

• 82% of participants felt a sense of achievement
• 79% of participants saved money
• 62% of participants had better sleep
• 62% of participants had more energy
• 49% of participants lost weight

Indeed Emily Robinson, Director of Campaigns at Alcohol Concern told us, “The long term effects of Dry January have previously been questioned, with people asking if a month booze-free would cause people to binge drink once the 1st February comes around. This research is the proof of how, with the help, advice and support we offer throughout the month, our model can really change behaviour and reduce drinking.”

Alcohol Awareness Week is run in the UK by Alcohol Concern who also promote, what they call, Dry January!

The research suggest that nearly 20% of the UK population drinks more than the recommended amount!

The main findings are :-

• 72% of participants had sustained reduced levels of harmful drinking six months after completing Dry January
• The 23% of people who had “harmful” alcohol consumption when they started Dry January are now in the “low risk” category
• 4% of participants were still dry in June

Dr Richard De Visser, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex who led the research, said: “What’s really interesting to see is that these changes in alcohol consumption were also seen in the participants who didn’t complete the whole month alcohol free. Even if participants took part but didn’t successfully complete the 31 days, it generally led to a significant decrease across all the measures of alcohol intake.”

World Mental Health Day 2014. This year’s theme is shining the spotlight on schizophrenia. Raise awareness and find out more about schizophrenia in this blog.

World Mental Health Day 2014
World Mental Health Day 2014

As you can see from the poster above schizophrenia affects around 26 million people across the globe. To put it in perspective this is similar to the population of Texas.

To mark World Mental Health Day 2014 we thought it would be useful to give you a very short overview of schizophrenia. This is because schizophrenia is the theme of this year’s day.

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition which impacts how a person thinks and feels. Schizophrenia may make it hard for people to judge reality. It should be noted that not every on with schizophrenia has the same symptoms.

Early signs of Schizophrenia, according to the Mental Health Foundation include:

  1. Sleep disturbance
  2. Appetite disturbance
  3. Marked unusual behavior
  4. Feelings that are flat or seem inconsistent to others
  5. Speech that is difficult to follow
  6. Marked preoccupation with unusual ideas
  7. Ideas of reference – thinking unrelated things have a special meaning, for example people on television talking to you
  8. Persistent feelings of unreality
  9. Changes in the way things appear, sound or smell.

The good news is that Schizophrenia is a treatable condition. Therapies can include long term m

Schizophrenia can occur in anyone but it’s a treatable disorder. Long term medication may be necessary for some people but talking therapies and self-help groups are also be effective.

To help us raise awareness of the day feel free to share this page and in particular the awareness raising graphic above.

Thanks in advance.

Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014. Raise awareness by sharing this Spina Bifida facts. #SBFacts #AsecondforSB

Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014 #SBFacts
Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014 #SBFacts

Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014. Raise awareness by sharing this Spina Bifida facts. #SBFacts #AsecondforSB