Health

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Safer Water, Better Health

  • Posted on: 4 July 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released an interesting and easy to understand guide on the relationship between investments in water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) and public health.  The international community, and Haiti Innovation included, have been paying a lot of attention to food security.  However, children with diarrhoea from poor water are not able to absorb nutrients, are more likely to become malnourished, and subsequently come down with a life threatening disease. Worldwide 1.4 million children a year die (6,000 a day) die from diarrhoea.  In Haiti, 10% of all deaths are estimated to be water-related.   Access to water, sanitation and hygiene, together are key to promoting public health in Haiti and elsewhere.  

Sprinkles in Haiti: Fortifying Food, Protecting Kids

  • Posted on: 11 June 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Malnutrition is a major problem throughout the developing world including Haiti.  It saps the immune system, making it easier to get sick with and die from an infectious disease.  It slows cognitive development reducing the contributions a person can make to his or her country.  After years of business as usual, there have been several very promising developments such as the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food called Plumpynut.   There is another important intervention called Sprinkles - a easy to use nutritional supplement that has proven effective in Haiti and elsewhere.

The Top Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems (Reason Online)

  • Posted on: 8 June 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Copied below is a good article in Reason Online concerning the results of the 2008 Copenhagen Conference.  The purpose of the conference was to bring together the world's leading economists to  concentrate the attention of policymakers, charitable foundations, and members of the public on the relative urgency and costs of the world's big problems.  You might be surprised by the number one solution - suppplying Vitamin A and zinc children who lack them in the developing world.  The price tag is $60 million a year but the cost is dwarfed it by the benefits - stronger immune systems, less sickness and death, and improved cognitive development.  Read their proposed solutions and then vote whether you agree or disagree with their findings.

Mosquito Nets Make Charity Cool (New York Times)

  • Posted on: 2 June 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

I will be the first to admit I never really thought about philanthropy when I was young.  I didn't even know malaria existed until I was in my late teens.  It was inspiring for me to read this New York Times piece about children who have gotten involved in the fight against malaria, one of whom has raised $43,000 dollars! Children understand the damage malaria can do and the moral imperative of doing something in response.  A long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net is a beautiful thing indeed.  If a family receives one, retains it, and sleeps under it properly, it will have a major protective effect.  At ten dollars (or under) a net, it is an excellent investment, whether in Sub-Saharan Africa or in Haiti which also is malaria endemic.   The full article is copied below.  

Sanitation: The Overlooked and Under-Appreciated Life Saver

  • Posted on: 21 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Sanitation is an often overlooked but very important component of public health.  The United States government has an HIV/AIDS Coordinator, a Malaria Coordinator, and an Avian Influenza Coordinator.  However, if we really wanted to focus on saving the lives of children worldwide, we would have a global diarrhea coordinator.  As Rose George writes in the article below, "excrement is the real weapon of mass destruction."  Alas, it is not a sexy public health issue and celebrities are unlikely to rally around this cause.  But in countries such as Haiti, providing adequate sanitation is an essential part of promoting public health.  The full article is below.  

Wyclef Jean Kicks Off Next Phase of Historic Vaccination Campaign

  • Posted on: 1 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

A press release by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced the next phase of Haiti's largest vaccination campaign ever.  According to PAHO, Haiti has the worst health indicators of any country in the Americas, including the highest rates of infant mortality and lowest rates of childhood immunization. This campaign will go a long way towards changing that. As Wyclef states in the Public Service Announcements that kicked off the campaign, "To vaccinate a child is an act of love". 

Haiti Food Security Update (4/27/2008)

  • Posted on: 27 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Security and food security go hand in hand in countries like Haiti that are dependent on importation for survival.  President Rene Preval announced a 15 percent cut in rice prices and a series of measures to uphold national food production namely by providing subsidies, credit and technical assistance to farmers.  Rice exports are banned.  However, Haitians cannot survive on rice alone. Corn, beans, oil, etc. all remain expensive. The President has yet to appoint a Prime Minister who can assemble a new Cabinet.  We hope, whoever he or she is, the new Prime Minister will take food security seriously and communicate often with the public about what is doing to reduce food costs and improve national production.  This should have been a priority long ago.

Make A Difference with Medishare on Mother's Day

  • Posted on: 26 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Don't forget - Mother's Day is Sunday, May 11th.  Project Medishare has released a special Mother's Day Appeal to complete their innovative program to treat malnourished children with locally grown ingredients.  Once established in Thomonde, Project Medishare wants to expand their coverage throughout the entire Central Plateau.  You can make a special donation in your mother's name to Project Medishare this year, helping to make sure that Haitian mothers are able to keep their children nourished and healthy.  

World Malaria Day 2008 - Eradication is Possible!

  • Posted on: 26 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Friday was World Malaria Day 2008.  Global health depends on controlling this global disease.  It is the leading cause of death in African children and a major health concern in Haiti.  It overwhelms fragile health care systems and hurts economies - the annual economic loss in Africa due to malaria is estimated to be $12 billion (1.3% loss in GDP.)   Yet, we know how to prevent it and how to treat it.  There has been tremendous progress made in the past year, so much so that the international community increasingly agrees that we should begin working toward eradication - in other words, a world without malaria.  It would be a better world indeed.

Happy World Health Day 2008 - Are We Getting Healthier?

  • Posted on: 7 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Today is World Health Day, a time to step back and ask if the world is becoming healthier.  On some areas such as HIV/AIDS and malaria we are making progress.  Yet we are falling behind in other areas such as maternal and child health.  We are also ill prepared to deal with the negative health consequences of climate change - the theme for this year's World Health Day.   Though it will be an issue for all of us, it will most severely affect the poorest of the poor.  When it comes to public health, however, we are all in it together.

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