The Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the commitment entered into by UN member states in 2000, is coming to an end this year. Now, the world is aspiring to achieve a new set of global goals by 2030 where ‘no one is left behind’.

 

Building on MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) also known as Global Goals, was launched on September 25, 2015 at the Sustainable Development Summit. These new goals promise to finish the job of MDGs.

 

While the MDGs achieved significant developments over the past 15 years, persistent gaps have been evident and progress has been uneven across regions and UN member states . The MDG Report 2015 concludes that targeted efforts are needed to fill in the gaps and reach the most vulnerable people.

 

 

SDG on health

 

UN member states are set to adopt 17 SDGS by 2030. SDG 3 entitled Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, embodies the global health goal.

 

1The global health community expresses their disappointment as health component in the framework of SDG has been reduced. Global health will now play a less prominent role as one of the 17 SDGs from 3 of the eight MDGs. The good news is reducing child and maternal mortality, and reversing HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria are still integrated in SDG 3.

 

SDG 3 also includes targets on health security; reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and universal health coverage.

 

In light of the SDG on health, a new report calls for inclusion of global health research and development (R&D) indicators in SDG framework. The report— Measuring global health R&D for the post-2015 development agenda—was prepared by the think tank Policy Cures and commissioned by a group of leading global health nonprofits.

 

The report proposes three indicators to measure global health R&D and five additional indicators for countries to include in their national monitoring frameworks if appropriate for their circumstances.

 

“The transition from the MDGs to the new set of SDGs presents an opportunity to unlock resources for investments in education, health, equitable growth and sustainable production and consumption,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He encouraged countries to embrace the ambition embodied in the new set of goals.

 

The new global health goal presents more challenges and opportunities for low and middle income countries such as Philippines. According to the MDG report 2015, while some UN member states made significant achievements in health-related targets, others affected by high levels of HIV/AIDS, economic hardship or conflict are falling behind.

 

As PH currently experiences the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, efforts to achieve SDG 3 must be intensified to ensure that no Filipino is left behind.

 

1http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2900300-1/fulltext?rss=yes

During the rainy season when floods are very common, one should be extra cautious of the health risks brought by flooding.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), flooding or “baha” can increase the prevalence of communicable diseases which can be water or vector-borne.

WHO explains that water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, and leptospirosis are brought by water contamination, the major risk factor associated with flooding. The incidents of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever, on the other hand, increases due to standing water that serves as breeding sites for mosquitoes.

 

Other health risks especially among workers who handle corpses during flood include tuberculosis, blood-borne viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and gastrointestinal infections such as diarrhea, WHO explained. People with wound exposed to bacteria in soil or feces have also higher chances of getting tetanus, an infection characterized by muscle stiffness, while children who immerse in floodwaters may suffer from hypothermia, a condition of having low body temperature.

Ensuring uninterrupted provision of safe drinking water is the most important preventive measure to be implemented following flooding,” WHO states. Other preventive measures include vaccination of high-risk groups, and disease surveillance.

Workers who routinely handle corpses, on the other hand, are advised to wear gloves, wash both hands carefully after handling corpses, and disinfect vehicles and equipment used in operation.

WHO also encourages governments to create disaster-preparedness programs and early warning systems, improve water treatment and sanitation, and enforce high standards of hygiene. Moreover, Malacañang advised citizens to consult doctors if needed.

For more information, read WHO’s fact sheet at http://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/ems/en/FloodingandCommunicableDiseasesfactsheet.pdf and view Malacañang’s infographic at http://www.gov.ph/images/uploads/web_baha.png. For details about future typhoons, access PAG-ASA’s website at http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/. ■

 

Male breast cancer is rare, but it happens.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that breast cancer is the most usual cause of cancer deaths among women with more than 500,000 deaths in 2012. In the recent estimates, one in 1000 men has the risk of getting the disease. In the Philippines, it is the most common disease for both sexes combined, according to the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS).

“All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer,” National Breast Cancer Foundation explained. Breast cancer usually develops in the lobules (lobular carcinoma) or ducts (ductal carcinoma), the most common type in males.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer can have varying symptoms to none at all. Symptoms of breast cancer in males are similar to that of females that may include lump in breast or underarm, change in size or shape of the breast, redness of breast skin and nipple discharge.

The risk of men getting cancer goes up with age, mostly between 60 to 70 years old. However, chances of getting the disease can also be attributed to family history, radiation exposure, alcohol consumption, and obesity.

To reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, CDC advised to eat healthful diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, limit alcohol intake and reduce radiation exposure.

PCS, on the other hand, stressed the importance of early diagnosis like breast self-exam (BSE), clinical breast exam (CBE) and mammograms, x-ray picture of the breast.

Anyone who notices anything unusual about their breasts, whether male or female, should contact their physician immediately…Early detection of breast cancer increases treatment options and often reduces the risk of dying,” National Breast Cancer Foundation emphasized.

October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information about the disease and its status in the Philippines, you may read http://www.philcancer.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Breast-Cancer-Awareness-Oct-Campaign.pdf. Detailed information about male breast cancer can be accessed at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003091-pdf.pdf.■

The ‘dignity’ of people with mental health conditions should be respected

 

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One should be mindful of the fact that the arrival of the National Mental Health Week this October made no difference for those people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and other mental health conditions.

In an online press release, World Health Organization (WHO) stressed that people with mental health conditions are deprived of their human rights, discriminated against, and subjected to emotional and physical abuse.

WHO explained that mental health is a state where an individual realizes his/her abilities, copes with normal stresses of life, works productively, and makes contributions to one’s community. However, people’s mental health suffers due to reasons such as rapid social change, stressful work conditions, discrimination, unhealthy lifestyle, and human rights violations.

 WHO also pointed out that the dignity of people with mental health conditions is not respected. While they are suffering from their mental conditions, they are also locked up in institutions, subjected to various types of abuses, denied access to basic services, deprived of their right to make their own decisions, or prevented from participating fully in society.

With the theme “Dignity in mental health,” this year’s celebration aims to raise awareness of the ways to ensure that people with mental health conditions can continue to live with dignity through human-oriented policy and law, training of health professionals, and public information campaigns.

Dignity, which is understood as person’s innate value or worth, can be attained through respect and recognition, WHO explained. Emphasizing that dignity is needed to achieve mental health, WHO emphasized that people with mental health conditions should be given freedom from violence and discrimination, inclusion in community life, and participation in policy and decision making.

WHO also stresses the importance of providing them with community-based services. For more information about the National Mental Health Week 2015, visit http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2015_infosheet/en/. You can also access http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/to find out more about facts on mental health. ■

Aniecito and A New Breed of Doctors, two documentaries, bested the 24 entries in the Health Film Festival, one of the special activities of the recently concluded Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health.

Aniecito by King Marc Baco features a severely malnourished boy who was included in his school’s nutrition program. The video showed the situation of the nutrition program efforts of the school and the support they get from their local government unit in Bulacan.

A New Breed of Doctors by Dexter Dela Peña, on the other hand, is about a group of health professionals who are extending health services in the communities of Zamboanga. Aside from medical missions, they also conduct health and livelihood seminars.

Other short listed entries include the following: Community Transforming Doctors, Doctors Transforming Communities by Dexter Dela Peña, Digpa Ning Alti (Struck by Lightning) by Bor Ocampo, The Children of the Night by Katherine Pearl Sarabia, Chubby by Marie Joy Denila, Sinarapan (Small Fish) by Terence Verona and Mariel Jaucian, Faces of Shadow by Miraz Thakuri, Boat of Hope by Nadine Bernardino, Tainted by Sarah Jane Biton, Spring Zone by Jeffrie Po and Sukat (Measurement) by Jae-re Louise Liwanag.

 

The grand winners bagged a cash prize of PhP 100,000, trophy and certificate while short listed entries received cash prize of PhP 10,000 plus certificate.

 

The Health Film Festival aims to utilize films to promote awareness, advocacies and campaigns related to Forum 2015 themes - social accountability, increasing investments, country-driven capacity building, food and nutrition safety and security, health in megacities and disaster risk reduction. The festival was organized in partnership with the Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE).

 

All entries were shown in the Forum 2015 exhibit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Manila on 24-27 August 2015.