Global health briefs December 2012

November / December 2012 | Volume 11, Issue 6

Assessing global pollution

Lead, mercury, pesticides and other industrial pollutants are risking the health of 125 million people globally, making it as dangerous as malaria or tuberculosis, according to a new report, "2012 World's Worst Pollution Problems," from the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland.

Global TB cases decline slightly

About 8.7 million new cases of tuberculosis were diagnosed worldwide in 2011, down 2.2 percent from the previous year. The disease remained a heavy global burden, killing 1.4 million people, the WHO says in its latest report.

Global health spending database offered

The WHO is making freely available its "Global Health Expenditure Atlas," a database on health spending, presented in regional, national or continent-wide formats.

Depression is common, although treatable

Depression affects about 350 million people around the world and contributes to the 3,000 suicides that occur daily. Effective treatments exist, but those most in need do not receive them, according to the WHO's report, "Depression: a global public health concern."

Making quality research easier to find

A university in Chile has created a non-commercial database of health research to make relevant high-quality health research easier to find. The PDQ-Evidence database will be systematically updated through searches of PubMed and other relevant databases.

mHealth to tackle chronic diseases

The WHO and International Telecommunications Union have established evidence-based and operational guidance for governments and others seeking to tackle noncommunicable diseases using mobile technology, especially text-messaging and apps.

US defense body active in global health

The U.S. defense department's impact on global health is substantial and more prominent now than before 9/11, including a focus on HIV/AIDS, concerns about emerging disease threats, and U.S. nation-building activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis shows.

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