Prepared by Professor Alan Whiteside, OBE, Chair of Global Health Policy, BSIA, Waterloo, Canada & Professor Emeritus, University of KwaZulu-Natal – www.alan-whiteside.com1 and Dr Steven Forsythe, Deputy Director of Economics and Costing, Avenir Health
After I began posting I promised to invite guest contributions. It is with great pleasure (and some relief) that this post focuses on the economics of Covid-19, written by friend and colleague Dr Steven Forsythe. Please, readers, feel free to suggest what you want covered in greater depth. The world is stirring as countries tentatively start the process of emerging from lockdown. This is a key topic for next week.2 I am adding three key, usually short, readings per week at the end of the blog.
The following pieces were written by my students.
The following pieces were written by my students.
The following post was written by Anastasia Zabludvoskaya.
Anastasia Zabludovskaya is a student of International Relations at University of Nottingham, UK. Currently she is taking part in Erasmus exchange programme at Universität Konstanz, Germany.
On October 27th, president Donald Trump has declared a long-awaited national emergency status on opioid crisis within the United States. According to CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) data, opioid overdoses had reached its abnormal level in 2011 and has been growing since. However, its roots could be found in the beginning of the 1990s. The crisis has dominated the media for the past month and there are some basic questions that need urgent answers. I would like to explore what challenges the epidemic brings with it and what changes can be made to stop overdoses.
The following post was written by Nina Fuchsová.
Nina Fuchsová is studying International Relations at the Anglo-American University in her home town, Prague, with the interest of contributing to the humanitarian sector in the future. The Ebola epidemics of 2014 became a great interest to her as she also devoted the topic to her bachelors thesis.
In the past, we experienced epidemics to eventually end. With the declaration of termination of the outbreak, they vanished from the news and general attention. This was the case with the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in the West Africa (mainly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). By June 2016 the epidemic was declared over in all countries1. However, for many, the epidemic is maybe over, but its ghostly presence remains. Survivors are facing austerity, joblessness, mental instability, permanent health damage and recently child survivors have been diagnosed with serious cataracts. Even so, many, on recovery, returned to fight Ebola as treatment center supporters.
The following post was written by Kerry Solomon.
Kerry Solomon is a Graduate Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a Master of International Public Policy Candidate at the Balsillie School of International Affairs 2016-2017. Her research interests include equity and global health.
Canada has protection from discrimination based on one’s race, religion, and sexual orientation; however, it may come as a surprise to some that genetics is not one of those grounds. In fact, Canada is the only G7 country that does not already have laws in place to protect its inhabitants from genetic discrimination. On a personal note, as someone of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, I am at increased risk compared to the general population to have an inherited mutation in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. This means that that if I carry this mutation, I am at a much greater likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Does this leave me vulnerable to discrimination based on my genetics?
The following post was written by Jeremy Wagner.
Jeremy is a Graduate Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a Master of International Public Policy Candidate at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His research interests are in food security and public health.
Openly discussing depression and anxiety can be difficult for anyone who struggles with their mental health — but for men, the cultural baggage of traditional masculinity bears with it unique challenges.
There’s an obvious stigma when it comes to men and anxiety. Research suggests many men find it difficult to disclose anxiety and depression symptoms. In a society where “being a man” is conflated with being stoic, it’s hard for men to come forward and reveal they struggle with their mental health. As a result, it goes unheard; it hides in the shadows.
Yet, it’s a chronic public health issue. Anxiety is systemic in men and women alike; an estimated 11.6% of Canadians aged 18 years or older have a depression or anxiety disorder. Gendered social constructions ensure that mental health experiences can vary between men and woman.
The following post was written by Jessica Powell, Master of International Public Policy 2015-2016, The Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada
I have been in and out of various gyms for years. I will just start to make progress, then life gets busy and I stop attending for a while. And each time I want to start working out again, I think to myself, ‘I need to build up confidence before I can return to a gym. I have to lose some weight before I feel comfortable being in a gym’.
I have recently realized I am not the only one who feels uncomfortable in this environment. I believe fitness institutions have become places for elite users. The divide between those who are fit and those who are unfit has been increased by a ‘fitness culture’ which marginalizes those who are in average or less-than-average shape, and this deters regular people from beginning their own fitness journey.
The following was written by Aya Al-Shalchi
Mark Twain famously said that ‘the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why’. I knew my purpose from the age of twelve. My experiences in Iraq and Libya instilled in me a passion to change this world and make it a better place. My passion dictated my life decisions including career and academic ones. I followed the path that would lead me to making this world better, a seemingly aspirational and far-fetched goal. At times it seems like the world is too far gone in its complexities, diseases and manipulative politics. At times, it seems like even the greats have lived and worked tirelessly only to earn the title of ‘attempt’ rather than ‘accomplishment’. At times, I found there to be conflict between my passion to make the world better and feeling helpless at anyone’s ability to do so. However, I argue there is still hope.