Lautoka, Fiji – Twenty legal, trade and health department representatives from across the Pacific are in Fiji this week to examine the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) burden in the region and the role of the law in preventing and controlling NCDs, particularly in the context of developing coherence between health, trade and investment laws, policies and sectors.
The Law, NCD, Trade and Sustainable Development workshop, a first for the region, is jointly organized by the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the Government of Australia.
Heart disease, cancers, lung disease and diabetes are the leading causes of death in the Pacific region with most Pacific Islands countries losing their productive citizens to NCDs.
An international tribunal has upheld the sovereign authority of states to protect health through tobacco control. The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has confirmed that tobacco control measures applied by the Government of Uruguay did not violate the terms of an investment agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, under which the dispute was initiated. Continue reading →
The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that based on the current assessment of the Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 countries in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the 2016 Olympic Games.
In a news release, WHO noted that Brazil is 1 of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitoes, and therefore cancelling or changing the location of the Olympics – which are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August – will not significantly alter the international spread of the virus.
“People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice,” the agency said.
WHO said it advises pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, which includes Rio de Janeiro. In addition, pregnant women’s sex partners returning from areas with circulating virus should be counselled to practice safer sex or abstain throughout the pregnancy, the agency said.
What seemed like a routine visit to the maternal and child clinic for some 25 pregnant women quickly turned into an informative session on Zika virus. As soon as leaflets arrived at the Sigatoka hospital on Friday morning, nurses wasted no time in picking up copies and explaining the importance of prevention of the Zika virus to the group. Continue reading →