2013 WPPF/FIP Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our winners for 2013 WPPF/FIP Scholarships!

 

Ø              Mr Nibhay Nand from Fiji 

Nibhay

Mr. Nibhay Nand B.Pharm (CSU), MPS, FPS 

Community Pharmacist in the Islands of Fiji 

Board Member on Fiji Pharmaceutical Society

 Member: Fiji Pharmaceutical Society

It is an honour to be recognised as a young pharmacist within the Pacific Islands, through being chosen as one of the FIP/WPPF travel grant scholars.

As a recipient of the Dublin 2013 FIP travel grant, this will be an exciting platform to meet a vast academy of pharmacists that arise from a variety of faculty’s. Not only will this experience allow me to attain knowledge in a global setting, but also share my experience as a pharmacist from the Islands of Fiji on a global platform.

With large involvement in the community as a community pharmacist I see it important to gain more knowledge from professional colleague’s around the world to discuss the combination and utilization of pharmacy as an essential health service. It’s important to acknowledge that in developing countries like Fiji and around the pacific alike, the pharmacist is the first point of contact between patient and the primary healthcare system.

I have enjoyed a passion for the Pharmaceutical Practice Industry from a very young age. I have been a registered Pharmacist in Fiji for a number of years. I have worked in a number of pharmacies over the past few years gaining experience and being able to have a greater understanding of what being a community pharmacist is all about. With good collaboration with pharmacists from around the world, it will allow greater understanding of delivering health services in a primary healthcare setting. This will allow community pharmacists to positively impact improving consumer health outcomes, as community pharmacists are at the heart of every local community.

I am very appreciative to have been given the opportunity to attend the Dublin 2013 FIP world congress, with a lot of gratitude to be given to Mr John Ware OAM and WPPF Executive Committee members, in conjunction with Carola van der Hoeff and Board of Directors of FIP for this exciting opportunity. The attendance at the Dublin 2013 FIP World Congress will provide me ways to learn on improvement in regards to patient care with every patient that presents, this I can see as an invaluable tool in assisting the improvement of the nation’s healthcare

 

 

Ø              Mr Sheldon Silva from the Philippines

Sheldon

Madayaw! I would like to thank the WPPF and FIP for this great privilege to be chosen as a travel scholar for the 2013 FIP Congress in Dublin, Ireland.  To Mr. John Ware This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent my country the Philippines in the largest gathering of Pharmacists from around the globe.  I came to know about the FIP Conference and the Travel Grant through Erick Salenga, the first Filipino travel scholar of FIP.   Ever since then, I have envisioned myself to one day become on of the travel scholars.

I am excited to attend the conference as the previous participants upon returning to our country gained a new paradigm in their respective areas of practice.  My main purpose in vying for the FIP Travel Scholarship is to create the realization of practice and theory in my life’s education and experiences that would create a positive impact for pharmacists especially in Mindanao, to my students in the univerisity, and to the community which I am a part of.  The FIP Congress 2013 has a timely theme: “Towards a Future Vision for Complex Patients” that addresses the current challenges we face in the Philippines especially on the island of Mindanao. In recent years, Mindanao has been the focus of international assistance programs and one of the key areas that are funded by these programs are health and nutrition. The current socio-economic status of Mindanao poses a challenging environment for pharmacists to provide quality pharmaceutical service. There is a need for a new breed of pharmacists that will not only dispense medications but also aid in the provision positive health outcomes by providing pharmaceutical care. This gives the Filipino Pharmacist an opportune time to actively take part and provide our unique insight in the development of a healthcare program that will directly impact local communities. This conference will provide me the avenue to realize this goal. It will give me a chance to glean on the pharmacy practices in Europe, in particular Ireland.

Upon my return, I will re-echo my learnings with the local pharmaceutical associations (through CPE) and with college of pharmacies. Attending the FIP Congress will not only benefit myself but especially the pharmacists and the pharmacy students of Mindanao. I will serve as a conduit of knowledge and information to further our advocacy that a pharmacist is an indispensable member in the management of complex patients. Maraming Salamat!

After consultation with the FIP Foundation, a third scholarship was awarded this year because of the extreme closeness of the results.  However, the third successful candidate, Mr Van Tuan Duong, has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident and will not be able to attend.  We really sorry for this to happen and wish Mr. Duong the best his good health and recovery!

NPS News : Managing blood pressure – part of the diabetes trifecta World Hypertension Day, 17 May 2013

Reference :

http://www.nps.org.au/media-centre/media-releases/repository/Managing-blood-pressure-part-of-the-diabetes-trifecta-World-Hypertension-Day,-17-May-2013

13 May 2013

This World Hypertension Day, NPS MedicineWise is urging people with diabetes to manage their blood pressure and cholesterol in concert with managing their blood glucose (sugar) levels.

NPS Clinical Adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that a growing body of research confirms that managing diabetes should not focus exclusively on glucose levels.

“Current research shows that people with diabetes who have good blood pressure and cholesterol control are less likely to have strokes and heart attacks than people who lower their blood glucose alone,” says Dr Binns.

“This means that managing blood pressure and cholesterol is equally as important as managing blood glucose levels.”

For example, studies that followed people with diabetes over a five year period showed that more than three times as many cardiovascular events (strokes and heart attacks) were prevented when the focus was on cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering compared with reducing glucose levels alone.

“Diabetes can affect your body and your health in different ways. Having regular check-ups, making healthy lifestyle choices and using your medicines can help you manage your diabetes and prevent complications,” says Dr Binns.

This means that to stay healthy and prevent complications, people with diabetes need to keep track of several different health check ups and targets – including managing their glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

To help people with diabetes stay in control and better manage their health, NPS MedicineWise has produced two new resources that individuals, doctors, diabetes educators, pharmacists, other health professionals and community groups can order for free.

“Our new guide, Keeping track of your diabetes — it’s not just about glucose, explains why managing blood pressure and cholesterol are just as important as managing blood glucose levels to prevent diabetes-related complications.

“It also covers the different health checks and medical tests recommended for people with diabetes and the role of medicines in managing these conditions,” says Dr Binns.

“The Diabetes Health Tracker is a tool that people can use to record and keep track of both their medicines and the medical tests and check-ups that are part of the Diabetes Annual Cycle of Care.

“We encourage people to show this to their health professional at each visit, and to take an active role in their diabetes management.”

The Diabetes Health Tracker and the brochure are available to download in English, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Chinese – simplified and traditional. People can order copies from the NPS MedicineWise website at www.nps.org.au/ordernow.

For more information about how to manage diabetes visit www.nps.org.au/diabetes

For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1300 MEDICINE end_of_the_skype_highlighting (1300 633 424 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1300 633 424 end_of_the_skype_highlighting) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).

Will new dietary guidelines improve health?

Reference :

http://www.nps.org.au/publications/health-professional/nps-direct/2013/NHMRC-dietary-guidelines

Published in NPS Direct

Date published:

 Clinical content may change after this date. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a qualified health professional. Health professionals should rely on their own expertise and enquiries when providing medical advice or treatment.

Practice points | What has changed? | The Guideline at a glance | More dairy – what’s the evidence? | When no news is bad news | Balance between what and how much | Can we do more? | Useful links | References

Summary

New NHMRC Australian Dietary Guidelines are now available. These replace the previous 2003 guidelines but apart from recommending an increased consumption of low fat dairy products there are few changes.

These guidelines have been developed to ensure Australians get enough of the nutrients essential for good health and to help in selecting the types and amounts of the foods and drinks which reduce the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity. However the updated 2013 guidelines report that “if current trends continue in Australia, it is estimated that by 2025, 83% of men and 75% of women aged 20 years or more will be overweight or obese.”

Do the guidelines go far enough, and are we doing enough, to help address our growing diabetes and obesity epidemics?

Practice points

Ensure your patients are aware of the guidelines – refer them to the consumer summary

Follow recommendations contained in the RACGP Red Book:

  • RACGP Red Book recommendations for all people over 18 years
    Assess BMI and waist circumference every 2 years
    Offer education on nutrition and physical activity
  • RACGP Red Book recommendations for people at increased risk (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those from Pacific Islands, people with existing diabetes or CVD, stroke, gout or liver disease)
    Assess BMI and waist circumference every 12 months in adults over 18 years
    Offer individual or group-based education on nutrition and physical activity
  • RACGP Red Book recommendations for people with identified risk(those who are overweight or obese)
    Assess weight and waist circumference every 6 months
    Develop a weight management plan to include frequent contact, realistic targets, and monitoring for at least 12 months
    Consider referral for self-management support or coaching in an individual or group-based diet or physical activity program or to an allied health provider (e.g. dietitian, exercise physiologist, psychologist).

What has changed?

The long-awaited update to the 2003 NHMRC Dietary Guidelines has been released but what has changed? The short answer is not a lot, with the authors themselves acknowledging that there are “no real surprises in the guidelines” but that we can “be surer and surer of the advice”.1

The updated Australian Dietary Guidelines2 provide an evidence-based approach to dietary recommendations and confirm that the evidence for the types of diets that maximise health and well-being (i.e. plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals, but not too many kilojoules) has not changed significantly. Indeed, the latest review of the evidence tells us we have been on the right track with dietary guidelines over the past decade.

The Guidelines at a glance

Guideline 1 To achieve and maintain healthy weight, encourage physical activity and careful choice of the amounts of food and drink necessary to meet daily needs.

Guideline 2 Ensure the diet contains a variety of foods from the five food groups every day:

  • Vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat

Guideline 3 Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol

Guideline 4 Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding

Guideline 5 Ensure food is prepared and stored safely

Adapted from National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013.2

More dairy – what’s the evidence?

The 2003 guidelines recommended 2 to 3 serves of low fat milk, yoghurt or cheese, or alternatives, each day for women and 2 to 4 serves for men.3 The latest guidelines now recommend 2½ serves a day for younger adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and from 3½–4 serves a day for older adults, particularly women.2

Some have argued the benefits of dairy are overstated.4 While the evidence base for the health benefits of increased consumption of reduced fat dairy foods has strengthened since 2003, it mainly consists of small, short-term studies with varied definitions of dairy foods.2 However a meta-analysis indicated that milk intake is not associated with total mortality but may be inversely associated with overall risk of cardiovascular disease.5 The study also concluded that intake of milk and dairy products does not seem to be harmful but that they cannot be recommended to benefit cardiovascular health outcomes.5 Further, dairy products have 50% of their fat as saturated fat, so recommending an increase in dairy to increase unsaturated fat is paradoxical as saturated fat will increase.4

While the consensus favours adopting this recommendation of the Guidelines, ensure a balance across the food groups and pay particular attention to serving sizes and total kilojoule intake per day (see Can we do more?).

When no news is bad news

Except for the stronger advocacy for low-fat dairy products in the 2013 Guidelines, the evidence for the types of diets that maximise health and well-being has not changed significantly since 2003. In fact the evidence is now stronger that the dietary recommendations that have been in place over the past decade have been correct.

The bad news is that despite the strength of evidence, these recommendations have not been translated into effective action. Almost 2 in 3 Australian adults are overweight or obese, and the rising tide of diabetes and other diet-related disorders shows no signs of receding.6

Based on previous published projections7,8, the updated 2013 Guidelines report that:
“if current trends continue in Australia, it is estimated that by 2025, 83% of men and 75% of women aged 20 years or more will be overweight or obese.”2

Further:
“the predicted increases would significantly affect disease burden and health care costs, mostly due to an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, type 2 diabetes will account for around 9% of the total disease burden in Australia in 2023, up from around 5% in 2003.”2

These projected increases are expected to be accompanied by dramatic rises in healthcare costs largely attributed to obesity-related illness. Healthcare expenditure for diabetes alone is projected to increase from $1.4 billion in 2002–2003 to $7 billion by 2032–2033. In 2008, the total annual cost of obesity to Australia, including health system costs, loss of productivity costs and carers’ costs, was estimated at around $58 billion.9

NHMRC is reviewing the 2003 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children10 and new guidelines are expected to be completed by mid-2013.11

Balance between what and how much

The guidelines at a glance are easily interpreted for choices of food. But the failure to meet health targets for obesity, diabetes and heart disease,and their projected future impact7,8, raises the question, if we eat the right foods, how much is enough?

A variety of calculators are available on the Eat For Health website and Table 1 summarises the recommendations for the number of serves.

Table 1. Number of serves per day for each of the food groups2

Cereals
(bread, rice, noodles, pasta)
Vegetables, legumes Fruit Milk, yoghurt, cheese Lean meat, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes Extra foods
(cakes, lollies, soft drinks, etc)
Women
19-50 yrs 6 5 2 2.5 2.5 0–2.5
51-70 yrs 4 5 2 4 2 0–2.5
70+ yrs 3 5 2 4 2 0–2
Pregnant (19-50 yrs) 8.5 5 2 2.5 3.5 0–2.5
Breastfeeding (19-50 yrs) 9 7.5 2 2.5 2.5 0–2.5
Men
19-50 yrs 6 6 2 2.5 3 0–3
51-70 yrs 6 5.5 2 2.5 2.5 0–2.5
70+ yrs 4.5 5 2 3.5 2.5 0–2.5

1 standard serve of vegetables = approx. 75 g (100–350 kJ)
1 standard serve of fruit = approx. 150 g (350 kJ)
1 standard serve of grain (cereal) = 500 kJ
1 standard serve of lean meat, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes = 500–600 kJ
1 standard serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives = 500–600 kJ

Can we do more?

GPs and other health professionals are in a unique position to identify people with nutrition-related risk factors and raise nutrition awareness and reinforce messages.12,13 The RACGP Red Book14 provides guidance on managing healthy eating and weight:

For all people over 18 years:

  • assess BMI and waist circumference every 2 years (in children and adolescents use age-specific BMI charts)
  • offer education on nutrition15 and physical activity.16

For people at increased risk (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those from Pacific Islands, people with existing diabetes or CVD, stroke, gout or liver disease):

  • assess BMI and waist circumference every 12 months inn adults over 18 years
  • offer individual or group-based education on nutrition15 and physical activity16

For people with identified risk (those who are overweight or obese):

  • assess weight and waist circumference every 6 months
  • develop weight management plan to include frequent contact, realistic targets, and monitoring for at least 12 months10
  • consider referral for self-management support or coaching in an individual or group-based diet or physical activity program or to an allied health provider (e.g. dietitian, exercise physiologist, psychologist).

NPS News : Lifestyle and warfarin

Reference :

http://www.nps.org.au/medicines/heart-blood-and-blood-vessels/anti-clotting-medicines/anti-clotting-medicines/anticoagulant-medicines/for-individuals/active-ingredients/warfarin/for-individuals/living-with-warfarin/lifestyle-and-warfarin

May 2013

While the thought of living with warfarin seems daunting at first, many people are able to take warfarin without experiencing problems. Understanding what can affect warfarin and blood clotting, and keeping these in mind in your day to day life, or when planning activities such as travel, will help you to live safely with warfarin.

Know what can affect your INR

If you are taking warfarin, changes to your diet, alcohol intake, illness, other medicines and travel can all affect your INR, and may result in a change to your dose of warfarin.

Limit your alcohol intake

Don’t make major changes to your diet or alcohol intake — consistency is the key. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks per day.

Find out more about alcohol and warfarin.

Eat consistent amounts of green leafy vegetables

You can eat green leafy vegetables if you are taking warfarin. But it’s important to eat the same amount of these foods each week to help keep your INR stable. This is because green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) are rich in vitamin K, which can affect your INR.

Don’t avoid vitamin K-rich foods completely. Studies show that eating regular, consistent amounts of vitamin K-rich foods is better for maintaining a stable INR, than not eating them at all, or eating varying amounts.

Find out more about diet and warfarin.

See a doctor if you are ill

See your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms or if you feel unwell while taking warfarin, even if you don’t think it’s caused by your medicine.

Seek urgent medical advice if you notice:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • any unusual symptoms
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fever or infection
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice).

Check before you start or stop a new medicine

Always check with a health professional before you start or stop taking a new medicine. This is because warfarin interacts with many common medicines including vitamins, prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. This means that taking one of these medicines could affect the way warfarin works.

Find out more about the medicines that can interact with warfarin.

Visit your doctor before travelling

Visit your doctor well before you leave for your holiday as you may need an INR test before you go. You may also need to have your INR checked while travelling, especially if:

  • your INR is not in your target range before you leave
  • you have just started taking warfarin
  • you start or are already taking another medicine known to affect your INR or warfarin.

Ask your doctor if you will need to test your INR while away, and if so how to go about it.

Also ask for advice about when to take your dose of warfarin if you are travelling in different time zones.

Find our more about INR tests and travelling with warfarin.

Take precautions to prevent injuries

Whether you are at home or away on holidays, avoid any activities or sports that put you at risk of injuries or falls that might cause bleeding — or take precautions to limit your risk. For example, if you’re cycling, wear protective clothing such as gloves, cycle helmets, knee padding and non-slip supportive shoes.

Make adjustments around your home to reduce your risk of cuts or injury. For example:

  • take care with sharp objects like knives
  • wear gloves when gardening
  • use a non-slip bathmat for the bath or shower
  • use an electric shaver
  • use a soft bristled or electric tooth brush.

Find out more about warfarin, who can take warfarin, and the side effects and interactions of warfarin.

Download our Living well with warfarin fact sheet — for people who’ve been prescribed warfarin, or their carers, to help you live safely with warfarin.

NPS News : Be aware: Perindopril + Amlodipine PBS listing differs from label

Reference :

http://www.nps.org.au/media-centre/media-releases/repository/Be-aware-Perindopril-Amlodipine-PBS-listing-differs-from-label

17 May 2013

NPS MedicineWise has published information for health professional to clarify prescribing and dispensing guidelines for fixed dose combination products containing perindopril and amlodipine (Coveram and Reaptan).

The order in which the components appear in the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT), which is used in PBS information and medical software packages, differs from the order on the manufacturer’s pack labelling. Caution is required to ensure the intended combination is accurately prescribed and dispensed.

Coveram and Reaptan are PBS listed as substitution therapy for the treatment of hypertension in a patient who is not adequately controlled with either of the drugs in the combination, and/or stable coronary heart disease in a patient who is stabilised on treatment with perindopril and amlodipine at the same doses.

Health professionals should note that the medicines were first listed on the PBS in June 2010 with the perindopril component listed first, and the current Product Information and label for each also list the components in this order, however the PBS listing was changed in December 2012 to reflect the preferred name under the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) (i.e. amlodipine + perindopril).

For more information, read the NPS Direct article.

[WHO]Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

Reference : http://www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2013/event/en/index.html

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2013

Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners everywhere mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2013 is: ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

A comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required under the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) for all Parties to this treaty within five years of the entry into force of the Convention for that Party. Evidence shows that comprehensive advertising bans lead to reductions in the numbers of people starting and continuing smoking. Statistics show that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand and thus a tobacco control “best buy”.

Goals

The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Unless we act, the epidemic will kill more than eight million people every year by 2030. More than 80% of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low- and middle-income countries.

The ultimate goal of World No Tobacco Day is to contribute to protect present and future generations not only from these devastating health consequences, but also against the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Specific objectives of the 2013 campaign are to:

  • spur countries to implement WHO FCTC Article 13 and its Guidelines to comprehensively ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship such that fewer people start and continue to use tobacco; and
  • drive local, national and international efforts to counteract tobacco industry efforts to undermine tobacco control, specifically industry efforts to stall or stop comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

 

2.4 billion people will lack improved sanitation in 2015

Reference :http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2013/sanitation_mdg_20130513/en/index.html

13 May 2013  | GENEVA/NEW YORK –Some 2.4 billion people – one-third of the world’s population – will remain without access to improved sanitation in 2015, according to a joint WHO/UNICEF report issued today.

The report, entitled Progress on sanitation and drinking-water 2013 update, warns that, at the current rate of progress, the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of the 1990 population without sanitation will be missed by 8% – or half a billion people.

While UNICEF and WHO announced last year that the MDG drinking water target had been met and surpassed by 2010, the challenge to improve sanitation and reach those in need has led to a consolidated call for action to accelerate progress.

“There is an urgent need to ensure all the necessary pieces are in place – political commitment, funding, leadership – so the world can accelerate progress and reach the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment. “The world can turn around and transform the lives of millions that still do not have access to basic sanitation. The rewards would be immense for health, ending poverty at its source, and well-being.”

The report echoes the urgent call to action by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for the world community to combine efforts and end open defecation by 2025. With less than three years to go to reach the MDG deadline WHO and UNICEF call for a final push to meet the sanitation target.

“This is an emergency no less horrifying than a massive earthquake or tsunami,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, global head of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme.  “Every day hundreds of children are dying; every day thousands of parents mourn their sons and daughters. We can and must act in the face of this colossal daily human tragedy.” 

Key findings

Among the key findings from the latest 2011 data, the report highlights:

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of the world’s population had access to improved sanitation facilities, an increase of almost 1.9 billion people since 1990.
  • Approximately 2.5 billion people lacked access to an improved sanitation facility. Of these, 761 million use public or shared sanitation facilities and 693 million use facilities that do not meet minimum standards of hygiene.
  • In 2011, one billion people still defecated in the open.  90% of all open defecation takes place in rural areas.
  • By the end of 2011, 89% of the world population used an improved drinking-water source, and 55% had a piped supply on premises. This left an estimated 768 million people without improved sources for drinking water, of whom 185 million relied on surface water for their daily needs.
  • There continues to be a striking disparity between those living in rural areas and those who live in cities. Urban dwellers make up three-quarters of those with access to piped water supplies at home. Rural communities comprise 83% of the global population without access to improved drinking water source and 71 per cent of those living without sanitation.

Faster progress on sanitation is possible, the two organizations say. The report summarizes the shared vision of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector including academia, human rights and global monitoring communities for a post-2015 world where:

  • No one should be defecating in the open
  • Everyone should have safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home
  • All schools and health centres should have water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene should be sustainable
  • Inequalities in access should be eliminated.

About the JMP

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation is the official United Nations mechanism tasked with monitoring global progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) relating to access to drinking water and sanitation. The JMP data helps draw connections between access to clean water and private sanitation facility and quality of life.

WHO statistics show narrowing health gap between countries with best and worst health status

Reference : http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/world_health_statistics_20130515/en/index.html

15 May 2013 | Geneva –The world has made dramatic progress in improving health in the poorest countries and narrowing the gaps between countries with the best and worst health status in the past two decades, according to the World Health Statistics 2013.

The WHO annual statistics report highlights how efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have reduced health gaps between the most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries.

Progress towards Millennium Development Goals measured

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approach the 2015 deadline, this year’s World Health Statistics shows the considerable progress made in reducing child and maternal deaths, improving nutrition and reducing deaths and illness from HIV infection, tuberculosis and malaria.

“Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But with less than 1000 days to go to reach the MDG deadline, it is timely to ask if these efforts have made a difference in reducing the unacceptable inequities between the richest and poorest countries.”

This year, the World Health Statistics compares progress made by countries with the best health status and those with least-favourable health status at the MDG baseline year of 1990 and again two decades later.

Impressive health progress for countries in lowest health status category

It shows that, in absolute terms, countries in the lowest 25% category of health status have made impressive health progress.

“Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world.”

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General

For example, the absolute gap in child mortality between the top and bottom countries was reduced from 171 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 107 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011. Some countries that were among those with the world’s highest child mortality rates in 1990 – including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal and Timor-Leste – have improved child survival to such an extent that they no longer belong to that group.

However, despite the fact that 27 countries have reached the MDG target already, the current rates of progress will not be sufficient to reach the global target of a two-thirds reduction in 1990 levels of child mortality by 2015.

In 1990, countries with the highest rates of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth had on average 915 more maternal deaths per 100 000 live births than countries with the lowest rates. By 2010, this gap had narrowed to 512 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. Unfortunately the global rate of decline (of 3%) will need to double to achieve the MDG target of reducing maternal mortality ratio by three quarters.

The gap between countries with the highest and lowest rates of new HIV infections narrowed from 360 to 261 people per 100 000 population between 1990 and 2011. While new HIV infections increased six-fold for countries with the lowest rates, the group of countries with the highest rates have cut new HIV infections by 27%. 

Key trends outlined in the report

Globally, tuberculosis (TB) deaths have decreased by more than 40% since 1990 and the trend indicates that this will reach 50% by 2015. The gap has narrowed between the top and bottom groups of countries from 62 TB deaths in 1990 to 41 deaths per 100 000 population in 2011. Progress in reducing TB deaths however has not been even, with just 34% reduction in countries with the highest TB death rates compared to 70% in countries with the lowest rates.

“Our statistics show that overall the gaps are closing between the most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries of the world,” says Dr Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO. “However, the situation is far from satisfactory as progress is uneven and large gaps persist between and within countries. ”

Other key trends in this year’s report include:

  • Preterm births: Every year around 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and one million of them die. Preterm birth is the world’s leading killer of newborn babies and the second most important cause of death (after pneumonia) in all children aged less than 5 years.
  • Diabetes: Almost 10% of the world’s adult population has diabetes, measured by elevated fasting blood glucose (≥126mg/dl). People with diabetes have increased risk of stroke and are 10 times more likely to need a lower limb amputation than people who do not have diabetes.
  • Access to medicines: Many low- and middle-income countries face a scarcity of medicines in the public sector, forcing people to the private sector where prices can be up to 16 times higher. In these countries, an average of only 57% (and as little as 3%) of selected generic medicines are available in the public sector.

About the World Health Statistics

Published annually by WHO, the World Health Statistics is the most comprehensive publication of health-related global statistics available. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from key diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.

Reducing the appeal of smoking – first experiences with Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law

Reference : http://www.who.int/features/2013/australia_tobacco_packaging/en/index.html

May 2013

Australia’s pioneering measure on tobacco plain packaging introduced in December 2012 was actively supported by WHO and is being watched closely by other countries.

1 December 2012 will remain a memorable day in the history of the fight against tobacco worldwide. On this day, Australia’s world-first laws on tobacco plain packaging came into full effect. Since then, all tobacco products must be sold  in standardized drab, dark brown packaging with large graphic health warnings. There are  no tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours or promotional text.  Brand and product names are printed in the same small font below hard-hitting warnings depicting the health consequences of smoking.

Tobacco: one of leading risk factors for noncommunicable diseases

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Jane Halton, Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing holding an information kit on tobacco plain packaging.

Tobacco is unlike any other product on the market:  the only legal consumer product that kills when used as intended by the manufacturer. Every year, more than 5 million people die because they use tobacco. Another 600 000 nonsmokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke. This makes tobacco one of the leading preventable risk factors for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.

In 2011-12, 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over smoked daily (16.3%). Smoking is estimated to kill 15 000 Australians each year.

“Many, many smokers have commented that they don’t like the look of the new packs and also believe the taste of the cigarettes is worse.”

Kylie Lindorff, Chair, Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee

“The tobacco plain packaging measure is an investment in the long-term health of Australians,” explains Jane Halton, Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. “It is a crucial part of the Australian Government’s comprehensive package of tobacco control measures to get tobacco smoking down to our aim of 10% or lower of the population.”

Plain packaging: does it work?

Plain packaging aims to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products, increase the noticeability and effectiveness of mandated health warnings, and reduce the ability of retail packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking. Australia’s measure is based on a broad range of research and is supported by leading public health experts. By enacting the new legislation as part of a package of  measures, Australia has led the way in implementing Articles 11 and 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the global tobacco control treaty that commits its more than 170 Parties to reduce demand and supply of tobacco products.

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

But does plain packaging really make using tobacco less attractive? The full effects of the plain packaging measure will be seen over the long term.  However, tobacco control experts in Australia are quite enthusiastic about early anecdotal indications that plain packaging may be having an effect. According to Kylie Lindorff, Chair of the Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee, the number of calls to the Quitline, Australia’s smoking cessation support service, have increased considerably since the law entered into force. “Many, many smokers have commented that they don’t like the look of the new packs and also believe the taste of the cigarettes is worse, even though the tobacco companies have confirmed that the product is the same,” reports Lindorff. “This proves just how powerful packaging is in conveying messages about supposed quality and features of a certain brand.” 

Challenge to the tobacco industry

The tobacco industry has taken high profile, aggressive measures against the Australian legislation, but these have not been a deterrent. In August 2012, Australia’s High Court dismissed constitutional challenges brought by tobacco companies, awarding costs in favour of the Australian Government. Further legal challenges are pending in the World Trade Organization and under the Australia-Hong Kong Bilateral Investment Treaty.

WHO actively supported Australia’s pioneering tobacco control measure and is standing firmly behind all countries that face intimidation from big tobacco.

The plain packaging experience in Australia is being watched closely by other countries. New Zealand has announced its intention to introduce similar legislation and France, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the European Union are also considering tougher packaging laws for tobacco products.

Reducing the appeal of smoking – first experiences with Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law

Reference : http://www.who.int/features/2013/australia_tobacco_packaging/en/index.html

May 2013

Australia’s pioneering measure on tobacco plain packaging introduced in December 2012 was actively supported by WHO and is being watched closely by other countries.

1 December 2012 will remain a memorable day in the history of the fight against tobacco worldwide. On this day, Australia’s world-first laws on tobacco plain packaging came into full effect. Since then, all tobacco products must be sold  in standardized drab, dark brown packaging with large graphic health warnings. There are  no tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours or promotional text.  Brand and product names are printed in the same small font below hard-hitting warnings depicting the health consequences of smoking.

Tobacco: one of leading risk factors for noncommunicable diseases

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Jane Halton, Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing holding an information kit on tobacco plain packaging.

Tobacco is unlike any other product on the market:  the only legal consumer product that kills when used as intended by the manufacturer. Every year, more than 5 million people die because they use tobacco. Another 600 000 nonsmokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke. This makes tobacco one of the leading preventable risk factors for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.

In 2011-12, 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over smoked daily (16.3%). Smoking is estimated to kill 15 000 Australians each year.

“Many, many smokers have commented that they don’t like the look of the new packs and also believe the taste of the cigarettes is worse.”

Kylie Lindorff, Chair, Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee

“The tobacco plain packaging measure is an investment in the long-term health of Australians,” explains Jane Halton, Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. “It is a crucial part of the Australian Government’s comprehensive package of tobacco control measures to get tobacco smoking down to our aim of 10% or lower of the population.”

Plain packaging: does it work?

Plain packaging aims to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products, increase the noticeability and effectiveness of mandated health warnings, and reduce the ability of retail packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking. Australia’s measure is based on a broad range of research and is supported by leading public health experts. By enacting the new legislation as part of a package of  measures, Australia has led the way in implementing Articles 11 and 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the global tobacco control treaty that commits its more than 170 Parties to reduce demand and supply of tobacco products.

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

But does plain packaging really make using tobacco less attractive? The full effects of the plain packaging measure will be seen over the long term.  However, tobacco control experts in Australia are quite enthusiastic about early anecdotal indications that plain packaging may be having an effect. According to Kylie Lindorff, Chair of the Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee, the number of calls to the Quitline, Australia’s smoking cessation support service, have increased considerably since the law entered into force. “Many, many smokers have commented that they don’t like the look of the new packs and also believe the taste of the cigarettes is worse, even though the tobacco companies have confirmed that the product is the same,” reports Lindorff. “This proves just how powerful packaging is in conveying messages about supposed quality and features of a certain brand.” 

Challenge to the tobacco industry

The tobacco industry has taken high profile, aggressive measures against the Australian legislation, but these have not been a deterrent. In August 2012, Australia’s High Court dismissed constitutional challenges brought by tobacco companies, awarding costs in favour of the Australian Government. Further legal challenges are pending in the World Trade Organization and under the Australia-Hong Kong Bilateral Investment Treaty.

WHO actively supported Australia’s pioneering tobacco control measure and is standing firmly behind all countries that face intimidation from big tobacco.

The plain packaging experience in Australia is being watched closely by other countries. New Zealand has announced its intention to introduce similar legislation and France, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the European Union are also considering tougher packaging laws for tobacco products.