Inside story on Syria; healthy parks healthy people; abortion by telehealth; and more: Stories from Day 4 of the World Congress on Public Health

Thursday 6 April 2017

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Inside story on Syria; healthy parks healthy people; abortion by telehealth; and more: Stories from Day 4 of the World Congress on Public Health

  • Pouring water on fast food kids’ meals
  • The inside story on Syria and eliminating chemical, nuclear, and bio weapons
  • WHO guru on what globalisation means for health security
  • Labia Library reveals ‘normal’ and fights genital cosmetic surgery trend
  • Providing abortion by telehealth: safe and effective
  • Making Melbourne a global health epicentre
  • Healthy Parks for public health
  • From dental health to MasterChef to Sugar Free Smiles

Thursday 6 April at the 15th World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne

Parents pour water on fast food kids’ meals

Australian parents want water to become the standard drink offered to their children when eating out. In a Parents’ Voice survey of Australian parents, 89 per cent agreed that water should be the default option in kids’ meals.

Advocacy group Parents’ Voice presented those findings at today’s launch of the #waterwiththat campaign in Melbourne. Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, said: “Our parents are sick of seeing advertisements for fast food kids’ meals that don’t match the in-store reality.

“These companies have pledged not to market unhealthy food and drinks to children, yet their meals come with a sugary drink as standard.”

With 47 per cent of Australian children consuming at least one sugary drink every day, the campaign #waterwiththat is urging all signatories to the Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children (QSRI) to put water with their kids’ meals.

What’s happening in Syria? How can we eliminate chemical, nuclear, and bio weapons?

Paul Walker has visited every US and Russian chemical weapon stockpile.

The recent use of chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals in the Syrian civil war, with thousands of innocent civilians killed and injured, has once again illustrated the threat of inhumane, indiscriminate, and banned weapons of mass destruction to humankind, the environment, and public health.

And numerous industrial accidents and occasional catastrophes such as the nuclear reactor meltdown at Fukushima, Japan in 2011 underline the extreme importance of safety and security for high-risk commercial sites, facilities, and transportation.

Paul Walkeris the head of security and sustainability at Green Cross International (founded by Gorbachev). He leads a world leadership forum at the Congress today at 4 pm.

Healthy parks create healthy communities – biodiversity protection in Victoria linked to public health

A new biodiversity protection plan was released at the Congress by the Victorian Government. The plan aims to ensure the long-term protection of the State’s natural areas and encourage the local population to make greater use of their parks and green spaces. It is a significant step forward in recognising the intrinsic link between thriving natural environments and human health.

Michael Moore, CEO of the Public Health Association Australia said, “as the incidence of non-communicable diseases in Australia such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety continues to rise, it’s crucial that governments consider the body of research which demonstrates the connection between these public health issues and increasing levels of urbanisation.

“There is a wealth of evidence which shows the link between time spent outside in the natural environment and greater levels of health and wellbeing, due to the increased physical activity that results from being outdoors in park and recreation areas and the positive mental effects associated with nature,” said Mr Moore.

The Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 plan forms part of a wider strategy by the Victorian Government for the conservation of natural areas and improving public health.

Melbourne aims to become global health epicentre

The Regional Director from WHO, Dr Shin Young-so and The Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research the Hon. Frank Maguire, will launch a partnership between the Global Health Alliance Melbourne (GLHAM) and the Victorian State Government at 10am this morning.

The partnership will commence with the first-ever Melbourne Landscape Study, to map and collect the global health investment and trade opportunities, and the expertise that resides in Melbourne.

From dental health to MasterChef to Sugar Free Smiles

Oral health researcher Matthew Hopcraft (Dental Health Services Victoria) used the fame he gained as a MasterChef Australia contestant to co-found Sugar Free Smiles, aimed at promoting healthier teeth through eating less sugar. He will be presenting research on dental problems presenting in hospital emergency rooms, but is happy to share his ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ celebrity experiences.

Providing abortion by telehealth: first 1,000 abortions safe and effective

Associate Professor Suzanne Belton says, “telehealth abortions with tablets are a safe and effective way for Australian women to seek a termination of pregnancy.

“It is a low-risk procedure. Very few women needed extra support at a hospital for assistance with bleeding or additional pain relief.

“Women can use a telephone medical abortion service to speak with doctors and nurses to get information, tests and medications. Since September 2015, more than 1,000 women have used the service which is very affordable”.

According to a spokesman for the Tabbot Foundation, telemedicine is ideal for this type of service as there is no need—beyond a blood test and ultrasound—for a physical examination.

What does globalisation mean for health security?

Waves of refugees, the growing health industry, ‘trade not aid’ policies, bugs crossing borders—what is the role of public health in the era of globalisation?

Universal Health Coverage is one aspect of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to bring sustainable growth and a path out of poverty to developing countries.

Rüdiger Krech, Director of Health Systems and Innovation at the World Health Organization, will discuss the needs and challenges linked with public health and globalisation, including:

  • How is health a threat to global security?
  • What skills and training are needed in the growing health care sector, an increasingly large employer?
  • What essential health services need to be in place for refugees?
  • What policies and health investments are needed from governments to meet these needs?

Other speakers and topics

  • Labia Library reveals ‘normal’ and fights genital cosmetic surgery trend
  • Women have gained 20 years of life expectancy since 1960 but 1 Australian woman dies each week due to domestic violence—today the WHO reveals the global problem.
  • 1 in 3 women experiences violence from their partner says WHO’s Claudia Garcia-Moreno, head of research on violence against women at the WHO.
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