Cancer Infecting Europe

31 03 2010

The Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation has found that cancer is the second most common cause of death in Europe. Health disparities exist in the incidence and mortality rates for all cancers within Europe, with better survival rates for every type of cancer in Western Europe.

The assumed reason for this disparity is because Eastern Europe has inadequate health prevention measures, including delay in early diagnosis and use of innovative treatments and lack of quality care, may account for differences in survival. In addition, public education and awareness campaigns around cancer and its prevention are fragmented or relatively rare.

There is also a higher use of tobacco and alcohol in the east along with worse dietary habits, pollution, hepatitis B, as well as inadequate screening, diagnosis and treatment.

In Europe’s case I feel that the political geography is very different between the West and the more communist East are so very different, which worsens the disparities.


Hepatitis in Asia

31 03 2010

According to Stanford University’s Asian Liver Center, Worldwide, there are about 350 million people who are infected with chronic hepatitis B virus. About 78 percent, or 275 million people, of those individuals reside in Asia or the Pacific Islands.

Lifelong infection with hepatitis B can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. About one million people die each year from liver cancer or liver failure caused by hepatitis B. That’s the equivalent of 2,800 deaths per day.

According to the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation, China has the highest incidence of the disease, with an estimated 170 million people with lifelong infections. With only about four percent of those affected reportedly receiving treatment, each year about 300,000 Chinese die from hepatitis B.

This is a large worldwide health disparity since incidents of Hepatitis B is much lower in all other parts of the world.  But there is something being done to advocate for these Asian people.  The Shanghai Charity Foundation, working with the Shanghai Center for Disease Control, will use a $371,000 Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation grant to develop awareness programs for 200,000 people, including migrant workers, high risk groups in both urban and factory areas, school children and teachers, and hepatitis patients and their families.

International Women’s Day 2010

9 03 2010

Women advocating for women's health around the world at the 2009 conference for International Women's Day

Since gender is one of the contributors to health disparities, the WHO (World Health Organization) is doing all that they can to promote healthy lifestyles for women by providing opportunities for them to receive health care and health education. The WHO has created an international women’s day, which falls on March 8th every year.  The theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Equal rights, equal opportunities: progress for all” which re-emphasizes that equal rights and opportunities lead to improved health outcomes for women and girls.

Gender norms and values give rise to gender inequalities. The fact that, throughout the world, women on average have lower cash incomes than men is an example of a gender inequality.  Both gender differences and gender inequalities can give rise to inequities between men and women in health status and access to health care. For example, a woman cannot receive needed health care because norms in her community prevent her from travelling alone to a clinic. A married woman contracts HIV because societal standards encourage her husband’s promiscuity while simultaneously preventing her from insisting on condom use.