Children in world’s urban slums are twice as likely to die before they reach the age of five as their richer counterparts, according to the State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report released by the Save the Children Foundation last 5 May 2015.

The first-ever assessment of disparities in health among the the rich and the poor in cities worldwide, the report warned of the widening gaps in child survival rates among the rich and poor in almost half of the 40 developing nations surveyed.

Death among newborns in cities is common, the report revealed. However, in some cities, such as in Brazil and India, death rates among newborns could be 50% higher in urban slums than in the richer neighborhoods.

Malnutrition increases susceptibility of children in slum areas to diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections, further increasing chances of dying among children in slums. For instance, in Bangladesh, 50% of children living in slums under the age of five are stunted, while 43% are underweight. The figures are 33% and 26%, respectively, in wealthier areas in the country.

Lack of access to medical and health services was cited as a major factor in the skewed death rates among rich and poor children in cities worldwide. For instance, mothers giving births at home without the attendance of trained medical personnel can result to late recognition of newborn illnesses, inadequate newborn care, and delay in appropriate medical interventions.

“While urbanization in and of itself not inherently problematic, the pace and the sheer scale of urbanization has, in many places, far exceeded local government’s ability to provide essential services, including water, sanitation, and health care,” the report discussed.

Amidst the grim statistics, Dr. Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, found hope in cities such as Addis Ababa and Manila. “There is no simple solution to creating more equitable cities, but a number of cities cited in the report – such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Manila in the Philippines – have been successful in addressing the health needs of the poorest families, and these examples could serve as models for other cities to follow,” she said.

Manila and Addis Ababa were among the major cities that were found to be making significant gains for the poorest children, which also include Cairo, Guatemala City, Kampala and Phnom Penh. Dr. Miles explained that while these cities have conducted various programs to address the inequity in access to health care services, three major strategies were found to be consistent. These are 1) better care for mothers and babies before, during and after childbirth; 2) increased use of modern contraception to prevent or postpone pregnancy; and 3) effective strategies to provide free or subsidized quality health services for the poor.

Dr. Miles stressed that cities have the advantage of technology, highly skilled partners, and presence of health care services to address the growing divide in survivability of children in cities of the world. What must be done is to provide enough resources to fuel lifesaving programs to make health services accessible to everyone.

Calling everyone to take action, Dr. Miles said, “It’s time for all of us to set things right - to reverse the urban disadvantage, once and for all.
As cities expand and transform into megacities, we must learn how we can correctly address the unique health concerns and problems that come with it. Join the discussion on health in megacities in Manila on August 24-27, 2015 at the Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health 2015. (RICHMOND Q. ACOSTA)

Capture the value of research and innovation in people’s health                         

Council on Health Research and Development (COHRED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Department of Health (DOH) invite photographers and photography enthusiasts to showcase their work during the Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health on 24-27 August 2015.

The theme of the exhibition is “People at the center of health research and innovation.” Forum 2015 will provide the platform that will showcase the direct impact and transformational ability of research--in all sectors that affect health and development and people’s lives.

The Forum 2015 Photo Exhibition will highlight innovative research projects which illustrates their impact and value in real world situations. Selected photographs, representing research and innovation for health, equity and development will be displayed during the Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Metro Manila, Philippines.

All those working in various areas of research for health – including social enterprises, research institutions, media practitioners reporting on health research and civil society organizations (CSOs) – are welcome to join the exhibition. Submitted photos can include those taken with a professional camera, a basic camera or a cell phone, showcasing how research and innovation projects affect people’s health.

All interested participants may contact, Ms Aarti Shrivastava, Founder, Humanity Watchdog Foundation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Submissions are now open and accepted up to the 15th of July 2015. Submit a photo now!

Public Consultation on Graphic Health Warning Implementing Rules and Regulations (GHW IRR) will be on May 25, 2015,   9:00 AM at the Pearl Hotel Manila.

 

See Attached Files:

a) Draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10643

b) Annex B of Draft IRR of RA 10643 (GHW Checklist)

c) GHW Illustration Layouts on Various-sized Packaging

 

RxBox live demonstration during Juan, Konek! program.

“Through the eHealth and RxBox, diagnosis can be possible even without personal visit to the doctors,” said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo during the digital empowerment program Juan, Konek! Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Tungo sa Sama-samang Pag-unlad on 8 May 2015 at Pulilan Central Elementary School, Bulacan.

Organized by DOST-ICT Office, Juan, Konek! aims to encourage every citizen to connect to the internet and access online government information and services including eHealth and RxBox.

The World Health Organization explained that eHealth is a “cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including health-care services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education.”

In 2004, WHO crafted an action framework to be used for the eHealth initiatives of their member states such as formulation of cost-effective eHealth strategies, forging partnerships for the improvement of eHealth content, and establishing global health observatory.

In the country, the website eHealth Philippines was formed by the DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and ADMU Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC) to create an internet-linked community that allows interaction on health issues and access to research databases.

The RxBox, on the other hand, is a multi-component program and ICT innovation designed to provide further access to life-saving health services in isolated and disadvantaged communities.

During the event, a live demonstration was held explaining how the innovation is capable of capturing medical signals through built-in sensors, storing data in an electronic medical record, and transmitting health information via internet.

For further information on eHealth Philippines and RxBox, please visit http://www.ehealth.ph/ and https://rxbox.chits.ph/ respectively. You can also visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbddxbzCSVE to watch what has transpired during the Juan, Konek! program.

 

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo during his discussion about the benefits of online government services.

 

The Department of Science and Technology Information and Communications Technology (DOST-ICT) Office encouraged every Filipino to connect to the internet and access online government information and services including eHealth, during the digital empowerment program Juan, Konek! ICT Tungo sa Sama-samang Pag-unlad on 8 May 2015 at Pulilan Central Elementary School, Bulacan.

Juan, Konek! is a campaign of the DOST-ICT Office in response to the implementation of their Television White Space (TVWS) Technology and Free Wi-Fi in Public Places Project. TVWS are vacant frequencies between broadcast TV channels which can be used to provide wireless data connectivity to remote communities. Pilot testing of the technology is ongoing in Bohol and Leyte provinces. The Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places project, on the other hand, aims to bring free connectivity across the country with 256 kilobits per second (kbps) average speed.

According to Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre, ICT Office Executive Director, the campaign recognizes the importance of government services to the well-being of the Filipinos especially those living in unserved and underserved areas having limited or no access to government services. “It is always been the government’s role to serve its nation… and ensure that all citizens are taken care of,” he stated.

Usec. Casambre also encouraged people to take advantage of the online services offered by the government as ICT Office aims for 99% connectivity in 2015. “Together let’s break the barriers and build and strengthen connections so that no one will be left behind,” he emphasized.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, meanwhile, explained the benefits that people can get from the online government services such as eSkills, eRecruit, eEntrepreneurship, eRuralEconomy, eGovernment, eCommunity, eDisasterRiskReductionManagement (DRRM) and eHealth. He emphasized the advantages of eHealth and RxBox explaining that diagnosis can be possible even without personal visit to the doctors.

RxBox is an ICT innovation designed to provide further access to life-saving health services in isolated and disadvantaged communities. During the event, there was also a live demonstration that showed how the innovation is capable of capturing medical signals through built-in sensors, storing data in an electronic medical record, and transmitting health information via internet.

Other highlights of the event were the talks of person with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizen sectors representatives about the effects of technology in their lives.

According to Rhea Guntalilib, a visually impaired individual who was able to finish her studies in Programming, technology and ICT changed her life positively. “The best change it [ICT] has brought to my life is it gave me back the hope and confidence that I lost when I lost my sight,” she shared.

Other speakers also present were Pulilan, Bulacan Mayor, Hon. Vicente Esguerra, Mynd Consulting Owner, Ms. Myrna Padilla, Del Carmen, Siargao Mayor, Hon. Alfredo Coro and Pulilan, Bulacan Acting Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Concepcion Antonino.

To view what has transpired during the event, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbddxbzCSVE. ■