UN conference in Moscow adopts declaration on NCDs

Health ministers from around the world met last week at the first Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-Communicable Diseases Control (April 28-29) in Moscow.  The goals of this conference were to highlight the magnitude and socio-economic impact of NCDs: to review international experience in NCD prevention and control; and provide evidence on the pressing need to strengthen global and national initiatives to prevent NCDs.

World TB Day 2011

Today is World TB Day - an opportunity to raise awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.  It is estimated that 1/3 of the world's population are infected with the bacteria that causes TB; according to the World Health Organization, more than 14 million people have active TB (as of 2009) leading to 4,600 deaths each day.

Globally, there were an estimated 9.4 million new cases of TB in 2008.

IBM supercomputer applied to medicine

The computer that defeated humanity’s finest Jeopardy players in February isn’t stopping at game show domination. Its creators have been busy retrofitting 'Watson' to help doctors diagnose and treat patients. (Source:  Mashable)

IBM has partnerships with eight major universities to get medical data for Watson’s information base and to help find the best ways for physicians to use Watson.

WHO begins review of Essential Medicines List; releases list of priority medicines for children

Today marks the start of the 18th Meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. At the weeklong meeting, held in Accra Ghana, the Committee will review 16 applications for the addition of a new medicine to the model list; 7 applications for the addition of a new formulation; and 9 applications for the deletion of a medicine from the list.

Access barriers to medicines and health: Op-Ed

Canadian MP Keith Martin recently wrote an interesting Op-Ed for the Edmonton Journal on the challenges of providing access to medicines and health for the world's poorest.  He notes that lack of infrastructure, access to trained health workers, potable water and sanitation are the real barriers to access to medicines and care -- not patents.

98.6 per cent of 'essential medicines' are generic or are not patented in developing countries, but for those living on $2 a day even generic drugs are too expensive (when available).

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