World Congress on Public Health

Three cheers for the nanny state: World Congress on Public Health kicks off in Melbourne, Monday morning

Two and a half thousand public health leaders are discussing how to transform lives by the million for the next 50 years.

And they want to talk to you.

  • Celebrating billions of lives transformed by public health.
  • Australians are living more than twenty years longer.
  • China’s life expectancy has doubled since 1949.
  • The roads are much safer, and we’re less likely to die from smoking.
  • Childbirth is 10x safer for the baby and 100x safer for mum.
  • And we’re not dying of TB, dirty water, deadly workplaces.

But:

  • Globally, why are 4,000 people still dying from TB every day?
  • We defeated SARS in style, but Ebola and Zika were harder; what’s next?
  • Tobacco will kill six million people this year.
  • We have new plagues—sugary drinks and over consumption.
  • Chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, are now responsible for 85 per cent of deaths worldwide.
  • Violence against women and children continues.
  • Indigenous peoples from Nunavut to Alice Springs are dying too young.
  • And people with mental illnesses are losing even more years.
  • Climate change.
  • Trump.

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4,000 lives lost each day: ending the TB death toll

Tuberculosis (TB) is treatable and preventable. So why does it still kill more than 4,000 people each day? And what do we need to do to end the epidemic by 2030? We need to talk about solutions on World TB Day, Friday 24 March 2017.

Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Australian 130 years ago. Rates have plummeted since then, from 1,200 per million to four per million for males and from 900 to two per million for females, thanks to better living conditions, antibiotics, TB sanatoriums, immunisation and better screening.

Globally, we’re gaining ground in the fight to end TB:

  • Between 2000 and 2013, TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs saved an estimated 37 million lives.
  • The TB mortality rate fell by 45 per cent and the prevalence rate by 41 per cent from 1990 to 2013.

tb TB can lie dormant and undetected for months. But a weakened immune system leads to infectious ‘active’ TB, with fever, coughing up blood, and weight loss, the last of which gave the condition its historical name, ‘the consumption’. It’s a far cry from the Hollywood or BBC versions of TB, such as Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge! elegantly dying while singing ‘Come what may’.  [continue reading…]

Celebrating longer, healthier lives on International Women’s Day

What is saving and taking women’s lives in 2017?

The global average life expectancy for a girl born today is about 74 years. That’s 20 years more than women born in 1960.

An Australian girl born today can expect to live to 84 years. She’s gained a decade since 1960. Life expectancy for our Nepalese sisters has doubled from 35 to 71 years.

Around the world there’s been a remarkable transformation in the human condition. It’s come from a host of public achievements, including the following:

  • Improvements in living conditions in the early 20th century—better water supplies, sewerage systems, food quality and health education, have led to overall lower death rates and longer life expectancy at all ages.
  • In Australia, childbirth is 10 times safer for babies, and in USA, childbirth is 100 times safer for the mums than it was 100 years ago.
  • In Australia, we’ve seen a 95 per cent decrease in death rate for children aged zero to four years (including infants).
  • We’ve seen an 80 per cent reduction in cervical and uterine cancer mortality.
  • We have universal education for all children with no discrimination towards girls achieving their goals.
  • The protection of human rights of women and girls are improving, though we have more to do.
  • Women are less likely to die of breast cancer thanks to screening and improved treatments.

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