Bulletin #70: Will it be possible to build peace through global health?

This fortnight

The healthcare infrastructure in the Gaza Strip has been decimated. Targeting key hospitals and health personnel in the northern regions, the Israeli army has now turned its attention to the south, where most of the Strip’s population seeks refuge. During this onslaught, Israeli armed forces have besieged and targeted some of the key health facilities south of the Wadi Gaza line, including Al-Amal Hospital and Nasser Medical Complex.

We provide insights into the recent attacks on healthcare in southern Gaza, along with an overview of Israeli assaults on health in Palestine since October 7, 2023.

Members of the World Health Organization have commenced a new round of negotiations on the Pandemic Treaty. With the deadline for submitting the document to the World Health Assembly in May, negotiators should be finalizing the details. However, countries from the Global North appear determined to disregard the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritize the interests of pharmaceutical companies over global health concerns. Jyotsna Singh from the People’s Health Movement interviewed Third World Network’s KM Gopakumar to delve deeper into this issue.

The WHO is also engaging in discussions on the Global Health and Peace Initiative, seeking to enhance the peacemaking role of health worldwide. While the initiative aims to reflect the agency’s increasing involvement in situations of armed conflict, the current version still lacks clarity on key aspects that need further development.

A violent cholera outbreak has endangered the health and lives of thousands of people in Zambia. Although the response has seemingly contained the worst phases of the outbreak, there is still much to be done in terms of strategy and strengthening sanitation infrastructure to prevent such occurrences from becoming regular events.

Junior and trainee doctors in South Korea have initiated a major collective action to oppose the government's announced increase in medical school placements. While the country faces an extensive shortage of healthcare staff, right-to-health groups have called for the expansion to proceed as part of broader reforms that prioritize the public nature of health systems.

In Brazil, efforts are underway to impose stricter regulations on the marketing of infant formula, which continues to endanger child health.

In focus: Health in Palestine

Malnourishment could lead to even more deaths among children in Gaza

A new report found that that over 15% of children under the age of 2 in northern Gaza are acutely malnourished, with 3% of them suffering from wasting. The World Food Programme has warned that without a ceasefire, a famine may ravage Gaza by May

Israel intensifies assault on healthcare in Gaza. Only 11 hospitals are partially functioning

Attacks on Al-Amal and Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis leave even more people without essential health care, health workers under threat

Israeli forces escalate siege on Nasser hospital, several patients killed

After over 20 days of besieging Nasser Medical Complex, Israeli occupation forces attacked thousands of people sheltering inside the hospital


Pandemic Treaty negotiations: Will the Global North prevail over international solidarity?

Join KM Gopakumar, legal advisor at Third World Network, and Jyotsna Singh from the People’s Health Movement as they delve into the ongoing negotiations surrounding the Pandemic Treaty

WHO EB endorses Global Health and Peace Initiative, calls for continued strengthening and financing surge

Members of WHO’s Executive Board endorsed the Global Health and Peace Initiative, opening the door for more discussion on peacemaking role of health around the world

Will training more doctors be enough to strengthen South Korea’s healthcare?

The recent strike by South Korean trainee doctors against the expansion of medical school quotas has highlighted the structural issues in the country’s health system

Cholera still poses risks in Zambia despite decrease in cases

A deadly cholera outbreak in Zambia continues to endanger lives despite a reduction in confirmed cases. The government and public health authorities need to carry out more public health education programs and improve living conditions that have facilitated the outbreak in the first place

Brazil to support stricter global regulation of infant formula marketing

Despite strong national policies supporting breastfeeding, Brazil faces challenges from infant formula producers seeking to dominate the field of child nutrition. One forthcoming step is to support a WHO resolution for regulating digital marketing

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