Bulletin #36: Outbreaks of resistance

This fortnight  

A growing number of communicable diseases outbreaks are adding to the worries of health workers and activists around the world. In Uganda, the recent Ebola outbreak led to new concerns about the country’s chronic health workers’ shortage and underfunded health system. Public health officials and local activists have called for a worldwide, solidarity-based response to the outbreak. Yet, the response from high-income countries seems to be focused on health security and protection of their own borders.

Lebanon is facing the first cholera outbreak since 1993. Limited access to water, food, and sanitation, in combination with a health system weakened by three years of crisis, are putting the health of thousands of people at risk. Cholera remains a problem in Haiti as well, where hospitals are struggling with managing basic operations because of fuel shortages.

The health of women, children and adolescents is particularly vulnerable to disruptions in health systems, inadequate access to health care and malnutrition. Recent reports indicate that many countries are still struggling with providing these groups with adequate care. In India, infant mortality rates have improved in only a few selected states, keeping the country in the overall bottom rank where these indicators are concerned. In Data speaks, we bring snippets from a new UN report on the health of women, children and adolescents.

Health activists are launching new initiatives to ensure that health systems are better equipped to care for people. The People’s Health Movement circles in Latin America are coming together in a campaign for health transformation. In Europe, activists continue to fight for more investment in health care and health workers. Left groups in Denmark are advocating for a stronger health system as they prepare for an election at the beginning of November.

In the United Kingdom, health workers are mobilizing against cuts and other repressive policies. We spoke to two physicians who are helping build a health workers’ initiative against the relocation of asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, as the country faces a new phase of political crisis.

Uganda needs equipment and solidarity in the face of Ebola outbreak

The health system in Uganda has faced the Ebola outbreak without enough personal protective equipment or effective vaccines, leading to concern among activists and health workers alike

Cholera outbreak spreads rapidly in Lebanon

Lebanon struggles with its first cholera outbreak since 1993, as poverty, poor living conditions, and a weak health system put thousands of people at risk

The remedy for India’s high infant mortality rate is to increase investment in primary health care

India’s Infant Mortality Rate and Under-five mortality rate are not showing any significant decline, and hence, India‘s rank for IMR/U5MR performance globally continues to remain in the bottom quarter of all countries despite robust economic growth rates

Transforming health systems in Latin America: a vital conversation

Román Vega, Global Coordinator of the People’s Health Movement (PHM), speaks about the need for movements, organizations, communities and governments to start a discussion on the transformation of health systems in Latin America

Video: UK health workers take a stand against plan to deport refugees to Rwanda

Lianna Reynolds and Sepeedeh Saleh are British health workers and supporters of an appeal to former Home Secretary Priti Patel protesting the government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Short reads

Fuel shortage: SOS call for hospitals in Les Cayes, Haiti

Head of health unit in Haiti’s South Department calls for emergency measures to allow hospitals in the city of Les Cayes to access enough fuel to run generators

Leftists in Denmark demand more funds for health and welfare sector

The Danish health sector is struggling without adequate staff and resources, even as workers in female-dominated professions like nursing make less money than those in male-dominated professions

Data speaks

A recent report by the WHO and UNICEF shows worrying trends in women's, children's and adolescents' health.

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