Diabetes in Mauritius: World Diabetes Day 2018

Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Continue reading “Diabetes in Mauritius: World Diabetes Day 2018”

24 March: World Tuberculosis Day

New tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched today by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.

TB, the world’s top infectious disease killer, claims 5 000 lives each day. The heaviest burden is carried by communities which already face socio-economic challenges: migrants, refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities, miners and others working and living in risk-prone settings, and marginalized women, children and older people.

“TB strikes some of the world’s poorest people hardest,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “WHO is determined to overcome the stigma, discrimination, and other barriers that prevent so many of these people from obtaining the services they so badly need.”

Poverty, malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation, compounded by other risk factors such as HIV, tobacco, alcohol use and diabetes, can put people at heightened risk of TB and make it harder for them to access care. More than a third (4.3 million) of people with TB go undiagnosed or unreported, some receive no care at all and others access care of questionable quality.

The new WHO ethics guidance addresses contentious issues such as, the isolation of contagious patients, the rights of TB patients in prison, discriminatory policies against migrants affected by TB, among others. It emphasizes five key ethical obligations for governments, health workers, care providers, nongovernmental organizations, researchers and other stakeholders to:

  • provide patients with the social support they need to fulfil their responsibilities
  • refrain from isolating TB patients before exhausting all options to enable treatment adherence and only under very specific conditions
  • enable “key populations” to access same standard of care offered to other citizens
  • ensure all health workers operate in a safe environment
  • rapidly share evidence from research to inform national and global TB policy updates.

From guidance to action

Protecting human rights, ethics and equity are principles which underpin WHO’s End TB Strategy. But it is not easy to apply these principles on the ground. Patients, communities, health workers, policy makers and other stakeholders frequently face conflicts and ethical dilemmas. The current multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) crisis and the health security threat it poses accentuate the situation even further.

“Only when evidence-based, effective interventions are informed by a sound ethical framework, and respect for human rights, will we be successful in reaching our ambitious goals of ending the TB epidemic and achieving universal health coverage. The SDG aspiration of leaving no one behind is centred on this,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director, WHO Global TB Programme.

“The guidance we have released today aims to identify the ethical predicaments faced in TB care delivery, and highlights key actions that can be taken to address them,” he added.

World TB Day is an opportunity to mobilize political and social commitment for further progress in efforts to end TB. This year, World TB Day signals new momentum at the highest levels with the announcement of the first ever Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB, which will be held in Moscow in November 2017.

“The Global Ministerial Conference will highlight the need for an accelerated multisectoral response to TB in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. “It will emphasize that global action against antimicrobial resistance must include optimized care, surveillance and research to address MDR-TB urgently”.

The Conference will inform the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB which will be held in 2018.

5 September: International Day of Charity

Charity contributes to the promotion of dialogue, solidarity and mutual understanding ‎among people.‎ Poverty persists in all countries of the world, ‎regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, particularly in developing countries.

In recognition of the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human ‎suffering within and among nations, as well as of the efforts of charitable organisations ‎and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa, the General Assembly of the ‎United Nations in its resolution A/RES/67/105 designated the 5th of September, the ‎anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, as the International Day of Charity.‎

On this International Day of Charity, the United Nations invites all Member States and all international and regional organisations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organisations and individuals, to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

Background

Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.

The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.

The date of 5 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.”

Mother Teresa, the renowned nun and missionary, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. In 1928 she went to India, where she devoted herself to helping the destitute. In 1948 she became an Indian citizen and founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkota (Calcutta) in 1950, which became noted for its work among the poor and the dying in that city.

For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless. Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997, at 87 years of age.