Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lancet background series on NCD and human development

For those interested in global and/or public health issues, you might want to check out the The Lancet. The journal has published two days ago (on-line early) a series of excellent background papers on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their threat to human development in low- and middle-income countries. This is a very important issue, because for decades political activism and much of bioethical scholarship) has been focusing on issues of infectious disease control (think about HIV/AIDS, drug resistant TB etc) and/or the brain drain. More or less completely neglected by bioethics scholars (yes, there are a few exceptions) have been NCD. This background series is looking among other issues at the producers of food products (if you want to call cigarettes, soft drinks, and other such goodies food products). Noteworthy is the conclusion found in one of these review papers. It should give the current UK government and its calls for self-regulation and public-private partnerships pause for thought:  'Despite the common reliance on industry self-regulation and public—private partnerships, there is no evidence of their effectiveness or safety. Public regulation and market intervention are the only evidence-based mechanisms to prevent harm caused by the unhealthy commodity industries.' Other papers look at strategies developed by STI activists to get essential medicines to those in need and apply them to the NCD issue.

The papers mentioned are available at the time of writing as Open Access documents, but you might have to register with The Lancet.

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