- Every year, 9 million people younger than 60 die from diseases like cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 63% of deaths worldwide in 2008, according to the Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases. In September, global leaders met at the United Nations to set a new international agenda to address control and prevention. To read the report, go to http://bit.ly/fNgj8y.
- According to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, "more than 80% of the world's population has no or insufficient access to pain relief drugs." For a summary of the data, go to http://bit.ly/sgD34S.
Health Care Delivery and Nursing Roles
- The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) created the National Expert Commission this year to "support a positive transformation of Canada's health system." (See http://bit.ly/roQztv for the CNA news release.) And the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously voted to support the ongoing operation of Insite, which operates in Vancouver on a harm-reduction model to offer primary care and medically supervised injection for drug users.
- The World Health Organization has released a guide to aid humanitarian care during crisis events, Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers. It can be found at http://bit.ly/n3JhsX.
- Famine gripped Somalia and the Horn of Africa this year, putting the lives of more than 2 million children at risk, and in October the United Nations warned of a looming food crisis in Sudan.
- Although guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) has nearly been eradicated worldwide, South Sudan bears the burden of 97% of the remaining cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) cautions against complacency regarding this crippling parasitic disease (see http://bit.ly/nlwbHy for the WHO fact sheet).
- From 1996 to 2008, China's neonatal mortality rate decreased 62%, owing to a national strategy that increased the quality of and access to hospital-based obstetric care, according to a report in the September 16 Lancet.
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- Flooding continued to cause health concerns in Pakistan, where 27% of health care facilities were left damaged or inaccessible by autumn rains.