24 – 30 May 2014

Martin McKee discusses the risks of e-cigarettes for BBC News Online: “The health community is completely divided on the subject of whether electronic cigarettes are safer than real cigarettes. While the signatories to this letter are clearly supportive, the World Health Organization, correctly, bases its decisions on the best available evidence. It has commissioned an extremely comprehensive independent report, subsequently published in summary form in the prestigious academic journal Circulation, that urges great caution, questioning just how safe these products are and raising serious concerns about how their marketing may undermine the substantial progress that has been made with tobacco control in recent decades – a view supported by a recent report from the US Senate. Until these issues are resolved, it would be premature to encourage their wider use.” He is also  interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live (2h 09m 51s) and the BBC World Service on new calls to raise the price of cigarettes to £20 a packet.

In a blog for Huffington Post UK, Laura Cornelsen discusses whether health related food and beverage taxes are the answer to tackling the growing global problem of obesity: “The question consumers will ask themselves is crucial: “If we reduce consumption due to taxes, what will we consume instead?” Unfortunately this is an area we don’t know too much about, particularly across sub-sections of consumers, but above all the obese and overweight. The last thing we’d want is a tax on sugary drinks to drive up the demand for chocolate or croissants.”

Joy Lawn talks to Humanosphere about her recent study into preventable newborn deaths: “What the data shows is that 71% of newborn deaths can be prevented. It is not appropriate when 40% of child deaths are are during the neonatal period, but only 4% of funding mentions it.” The study is also reported by Devex, CBC (Canada), Huffington Post and Asia News Network

Martin McKee is also interviewed by the Transition Network about The Lancet’s new Manifesto for Planetary Health: There’s no doubt that both the communist system that was in place before 1990 and the capitalist system that led to the economic crisis have both failed abysmally and we need a new way of doing things. Is the capitalist system that we have at the moment bad for our health? Well clearly it is because we’re seeing a vastly more unequal society. People are not sharing equally in the game.”

Rashida Ferrand is quoted by MedIndia, MedicalXpress, Health Canal and Red Orbit on her new study showing that health care providers in Zimbabwe feel discouraged from testing children for HIV: “The fear of the stigma faced by the child and their family seems to be discouraging caregivers from testing children for HIV. However, with improved clarity of guidelines, engagement with staff, and organisational adjustments within clinics, it should be possible to harness the commitment of health-care workers and properly implement HIV testing and counselling.” She is also interviewed on Channel Africa.

Lucy Reynolds is interviewed by The Atlantic on the plasma industry and the potential health risks of companies cutting corners: “Certain governments are people and people’s-rights centered. In those places they make the plasma corporations play by the rules; sometimes they just choose to have as little as possible to do with them. But the United States is a corporate country.”

David Heymann is quoted in Vaccine News Daily and Health Canal on his new research into health surveillance systems used in recent mass gathering events: “For all of these events, the host countries and international public health agencies undertook major planning activities to assess and build capacity for disease alert and outbreak response, and to develop effective strategies for public health services. This level of preparedness obviously paid off as all the events in question took place without major disease outbreaks or public health issues. Enhancements to surveillance and reporting systems will therefore need to be made a key part of public health planning for future sporting events like the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.”

Pauline Paterson is featured on SciDev.Net speaking about the drop in public confidence in vaccines.

Joanna Hanefield’s study on medical tourism is mentioned in The Spectator.

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