A bitter pill to swallow: the problem of, and solutions to, Sub-Saharan Africa’s counterfeit pharmaceutical trade

This review concludes that the actual scale of the problem in Sub-Saharan Africa is inadequately evidenced. Methodologically poor research, commonly cited “estimates” with no empirical evidence, illegal activity and media sensationalism help conceal the true prevalence of fake drugs. However, a compilation of the most accurate data available suggests that counterfeit drugs account for a third of the pharmaceutical trade in the region.

[ Read More ]

From Breastfeeding to Bottles

Prior to the early twentieth century, women had only two choices for how to feed their infants: they could breastfeed their infants themselves, or they could seek out a “wet nurse.” In the 1920s, a third option was introduced in developed nations—infant formula, a manufactured alternative to breast milk. Depending on its audience, this alternative was seen as a lifesaving option, a modern way to feed a child or a shameful health risk.

[ Read More ]

Ebola, Emerging: The Limitations of Culturalist Discourses in Epidemiology

In this paper, I offer a critique of the culturalist epidemiology that dominates the discourse of Ebola in both popular and international health spheres. Ebola has been exoticized, associated with “traditional” practices, local customs, and cultural “beliefs” and insinuated to be the result of African ignorance and backwardness. Indeed, reified culture is reconfigured into a “risk-factor.”

[ Read More ]

Challenges of Building Health Impact Assessment Capacity in Developing Countries: A Review

The published and grey literatures, including online technical reports and guidelines, about Health Impact Assessment (HIA) capacity building and training are reviewed. The review aims to compare the country-specific HIA environments and the different training materials and to identify appropriate training material for HIA in low- and middle-income (LMIC) settings, such as Mongolia.

[ Read More ]

The Rise, Critique and Persistence of the DALY in Global Health

The elimination of the DALY and development of a replacement is therefore not only necessary, as has been pointed out for almost twenty years, but also feasible, due to more recent changes in the political structure of global health. A new, two-part metric is proposed that would address the most common critiques of the DALY while still providing numerical guidance for health policy decision-making.

[ Read More ]

Access to Safe Anesthesia: A Global Perspective

Despite tremendous global disparities in access to safe anesthesia, governments and major donors have been reluctant to prioritize the issue because of myths about burden of disease and the cost-effectiveness of surgical services. This article summarizes the most up-to-date literature on anesthetic capacity in low- and middle-income countries, discusses the compelling reasons why safe anesthesia is a vital part of health system planning and provides future strategies to improve global disparities in access to care.

[ Read More ]