Bulletin #31: Public health emergencies of ceaseless concern

This fortnight  

The World Health Organization declared the global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 23 July. The reaction to the outbreak is drawing criticism as the presence of the orthopox virus caused little concern while it was limited to West and Central Africa, sparking a reaction only once it spread into the West.

The denunciations also address the unequal distribution of vaccines and therapeutics available to alleviate the spread of monkeypox. Countries which have been battling the virus for decades are left without a single vaccine dose, while countries in the Global North have millions of doses in their national stockpiles. The situation resembles the experience of the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, which is still heavily influenced by the interests of transnational corporations.

The power of transnational corporations relies heavily on the current framework of Intellectual Property (IP) privileges. We met with Thiru Balasubramaniam from Knowledge Ecology International to find out more about discussions that have taken place at recent World Intellectual Property Organization meetings.

The lives of people around the world continue to be influenced by social, ecological, and commercial determinants of health. In the Kibera urban settlement in Kenya, community members warn about the interlinkages between bad living conditions, poor health, and inaccessibility of health care due to commercialization.

Protests and mobilizations for the rights of health workers continue in the United Kingdom and in the United States. While junior doctors in the UK fight for better working conditions and an increase of salaries to match the cost of living crisis, activists in the US are demanding the compassionate release of revolutionary leader and health worker Mutulu Shakur.

In Data speaks, we share an episode of the graphic series on agriculture and food security published by Focus on the Global South.

How commercialization and privatization deplete people’s health in Kenya’s urban settlements

Sharon Joan, a community member from the Kibera urban settlement, talks about the intersections of commercialization and environmental factors on the health of people living in urban settlements in Kenya

As monkeypox cases mount, need of the hour is an equitable and effective response

The World Health Organization declared the global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, calling upon countries to roll out a public health response and ensure access to the necessary vaccines and medicines

Inequities in access to COVID-19 medical products continue as power of corporations expands

A recent report on COVID-19-related crises points to links between the growing power of transnational corporations in shaping the pandemic response and reduced access to key medical products

Video: The Pandemic Age and the debates around intellectual property

Thiru Balasubramaniam of Knowledge Ecology International and Gargeya Telakapalli of the People's Health Movement discuss the recent debates around intellectual property rights in the context of access to medicines and health for all

US political prisoner Mutulu Shakur has six months to live. Will courts finally grant compassionate release?

Renowned revolutionary leader and health worker Mutulu Shakur has spent over three decades in prison. As his cancer worsens, activists are demanding his release

Junior doctors in the UK protest government disregard and demand pay rise

Over the last two decades, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has been substantially weakened due to underfunding and understaffing. A good share of its staff, including young doctors, are now on the verge of leaving the NHS due to overwork and lack of decent wages

Data speaks

Focus on the Global South launched a graphic series about food security in India, which explores the complexity of agriculture and food sovereignty in India through the investigations of characters Soni and Lucky.

US labor fights back against Amazon’s expansion into healthcare : Peoples Dispatch
Amazon has violated user data privacy multiple times. Now, the corporation will have access to patient medical records, eliciting protest across US labor organizations
Monkey Pox: Monitoring, Awareness Keys to Control, Says Dr Satyajit Rath | NewsClick
The Monkey Pox virus has spread to over 75 countries, including India, infecting over 16,000 people globally.
The Baby Formula Shortage Is a Crisis of Capitalism
The Right has seized on the US baby formula shortage to discredit the Biden administration. It’s correct to harp on the administration’s failures — but the crisis is due to the dysfunctions of an economic system of which Republicans are the biggest champions.
PSI condemns Attacks on Health Care Workers in DRC
Six health centres were burnt down in the Democratic Republic of Congo resulting in the death of patients and members of the nursing staff. PSI, and its affiliate SOLSICO, call on the Government to ensure that health care workers are protected in the performance of their duties and can carry out the…
“It’s Already Happening”: Ugandan Activist Vanessa Nakate on Deadly Climate Crisis in Africa
As heat waves scorch much of the globe, we look at who bears the brunt of the climate emergency and go to Kampala, Uganda, to speak with climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate. “The climate crisis has been here. It has been impacting the lives of so many people on the African continent, which is r…
The Three COVID crises and Multistakeholderism