Which intervention would do the most to improve the health of the extreme poor?

October 22, 2007

This week PLoS Medicine publishes a special collection of articles that aim to highlight the profound influence of poverty upon health, as part of the Council of Science Editors' Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development (http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/globalthemeissue.cfm):

Please mention PLoS Medicine in your report and use the links below to take your readers straight to the online articles:




Which intervention would do the most to improve the health of the extreme poor?

For PLoS Medicine's special issue on poverty and health, the journal asked thirty commentators, including some of the world's most respected global health experts, to name the one intervention that would improve the health of those living on less than $1 a day.

The collected responses--from health researchers and activists, journalists, academics, and communities living in poverty--highlight effective, low tech, and remarkably cheap ways to make a profound difference to the lives of the poorest people on the planet.

Paul Farmer (Partners in Health and Harvard University) chose training of village health workers as the most effective intervention. "If we train village health workers, and make sure they're compensated," he said, "then the resources intended for the world's poorest--from vaccines, to bed nets, to prenatal care, and to care for chronic diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis--would reach the intended beneficiaries."

Other commentators, including Mushtaque Chowdhury (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, Dhaka, Bangladesh) and Murugi Murekio (a health reporter in Ethiopia) stressed the crucial role of hunger alleviation. In Ethiopia, said Murekio, "antiretrovirals are free, but mostly women can barely afford a meal a day and so this diminishes their capacity to live healthily with HIV."

Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the United Nations Millennium Project) focused his response on prevention and treatment of malaria: "In tropical Africa, a mass distribution of free long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to fight malaria accompanied by free access to artemisinin-based combination anti-malaria medicines." But he added that he has "spent years objecting to posing the question this way, since at low cost we could achieve major health advances through more comprehensive approaches."

Many of the responses note the importance of the rich world fulfilling its obligations to the global poor, while other commentators highlighted the empowerment of women ("There's a saying that when you educate a woman you have educated a whole village," said reporter Rosebell Kagumire in Uganda), promotion of breastfeeding, provision of clean water, and childhood vaccination. Members of poor rural communities in Ayacucho, Peru, talked about the importance of housing, food, family, and social interactions--a view of health promotion that goes far beyond a strictly biomedical approach.

In a related Editorial, the PLoS Medicine editors argue that the global community "easily has the financial and technical means to scale up all of these interventions immediately--it has more than enough resources, for example, to distribute insecticide-treated bed nets and artemisinin-based combination therapy for malaria, train community health workers, promote breastfeeding, and vaccinate all children."

Citation: Yamey G on Behalf of the Interviewees (2007) Which single intervention would do the most to improve the health of those living on less than $ per day? PLoS Med 4( 0): e303.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040303

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-yamey.pdf

Related PLoS Medicine Editorial:

Citation: The PLoS Medicine Editors (2007) Thirty ways to improve the health of the world's poorest people. PLoS Med 4( 0): e310.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040310

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-editorial.pdf

CONTACT:
The PLoS Medicine editors
medicine_editors@plos.org




ALSO IN THE MAGAZINE SECTION:

Executive Director of UNAIDS discusses links between AIDS and poverty

Peter Piot (Executive Director of UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland) and colleagues at UNAIDS explore the "downstream" effects of AIDS on poverty, and the "upstream" effects of poverty upon the risk of acquiring HIV.

Citation: Piot P, Greener R, Russell S (2007) Squaring the circle: AIDS, poverty, and human development. PLoS Med 4( 0): e314.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040314

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-piot.pdf

CONTACT:
Sarah Russell
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
Geneva 27, CH 1211
Switzerland
russells@unaids.org




How can we improve the health of those living in urban slums?

The defining physical and legal characteristics of slums profoundly affect the health of these communities and may also serve as potential targets for immediate intervention, argue Alon Unger (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and Lee Riley (University of California, Berkeley, USA)

Citation: Unger A, Riley LW, et al. (2007) Slum health: From understanding to action. PLoS Med 4( 0): e295.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040295

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-unger.pdf

CONTACT:
Alon Unger
University of California-Los Angeles
Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics
10833 Le Conte Avenue
12-335 MDCC, Mailcode 175217
Los Angeles, California 90095
United States of America
+1 415-238-6233
aunger@mednet.ucla.edu




Can the international framework of children's rights be used to improve child survival rates?

David Gordon (University of Bristol, UK) and colleagues in the United Kingdom explain how the international framework of human rights can be better used to help reduce child poverty and improve child survival rates.

Citation: Pemberton S, Gordon D, Nandy S, Pantazis C, Townsend P (2007) Child rights and child poverty: Can the international framework of children's rights be used to improve child survival rates? PLoS Med 4(0): e307.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040307

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-gordon.pdf

CONTACT:
Dave Gordon
University of Bristol
Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research
8 Priory Road
Bristol, BS8 1TZ
United Kingdom
+44-117-954 6761
+44-117-954 6756 (fax)
Dave.Gordon@bristol.ac.uk




Using information technologies to conduct clinical trials in low income settings

Eva Harris (University of California, Berkeley, USA) and colleagues in the United States and Nicaragua report their experience of integrating information technologies in clinical and epidemiological studies of dengue infection in Nicaragua.

Citation: Avilés W, Ortega O, Kuan G, Coloma J, Harris E (2007) Integration of information technologies in clinical studies in Nicaragua. PLoS Med 4( 0): e291.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040291

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-harris.pdf

CONTACT:
Eva Harris
University of California, Berkeley
Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health
140 Warren Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
United States of America
+1 510) 642-4845
+1 510 642-6350 (fax)
eharris@berkeley.edu




Improving access to health care in the world's poorest countries

Brigit Obrist (Swiss Tropical Institute) and colleagues in Tanzania and Switzerland present a framework for analysis and action to explore and improve access to health care in resource-poor countries, especially in Africa.

Citation: Obrist B, Iteba N, Lengeler C, Makemba A, Mshana C, et al. (2007) Access to health care in contexts of livelihood insecurity: A framework for analysis and action. PLoS Med 4( 0): e308.

IN YOUR ARTICLE, PLEASE LINK TO THIS URL, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE PUBLISHED PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040308

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-04-10-obrist.pdf

CONTACT:
Brigit Obrist
Swiss Tropical Institute
Department of Public Health and Epidemiology
Socinstrasse 57
Basel, Basel 4002
Switzerland
+41 61 2848163
Brigit.Obrist@unibas.ch
-end-
About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org

PLOS

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.