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    World Health Day 2007 – WHO Stresses “International Health Security”

    By Keith R | April 3, 2007

    Topics: Health Issues | No Comments »

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    April 7th is World Health Day. What? You didn’t even know there was such a thing? Then you probably are not involved in national or international public health policy. (Or so they tell me.)

    World Health Day is one of those constructs that allows everybody in a certain community to talk “on message” and focus discussion about a pre-selected theme. The date was picked because it is the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations specialized agency in charge of coordinating international public health policy efforts. This year the chosen theme is “invest in health, build a safer future.”

    In truth, each participating organization tends to bend the theme to whatever they wish to talk about. WHO, for example, wanted to have all its work viewed as related to promoting, ensuring and addressing “international health security,” and therefore worthy of greater attention and investment in this age of preoccupation about security issues.

    cover of WHO's WHO has already put out an “issues paper” on international health security which — surprisingly — covers alot of ground while remaining concise, readable and actually a pretty good starting point for discussion and debate about the issues it highlights.

    And yes, the fact that I am talking about here on The Temas Blog means I think it is very much relevant for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Do I need to explain why? A region where hurricanes, volcanoes, floods and mudslides happen every year? Where cholera, dengue or hantavirus can spread quickly? Where AIDS is a serious issue not being adequately addressed by any LAC government (except perhaps Brazil’s)?

    The brief profiles such issues as

    For each it provides a half-page overview of the issue, with a chart or two, a couple of bulleted discussion points and a few hyperlinks (usually WHO webpages) for further information.

    — Keith R

    briefing paper graphic on how climate change affects health (click to enlarge)

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