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UN health agency launches new panel to fight social causes behind illhealth

The United Nations health agency today launched a new global Commission to tackle the social “causes behind the causes of” ill-health, such as poverty, social exclusion, inappropriate housing, shortcomings in safeguarding early childhood development, unsafe employment conditions and lack of quality health systems. “Social standing plays a big part in whether people will live to be 40 or 80, whether they will be treated for a curable disease, and whether their children survive their fifth birthday,” World Health Organization Director-General Lee Jong-wook at the official launch in Santiago, Chile, with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar. “People should not die young because they are poor. This commission will assist countries, no matter how rich or poor, to implement strategies that will help people who are poor and marginalized live longer, healthier lives. This effectively places the needs of the disadvantaged first on the health agenda in the 21st century,” he added. The 17-member Commission on Social Determinants of Health includes leading global experts on health, education, housing and economics. Commissioners will work to recommend the best ways to address health’s social determinants and safeguard the health of poor and marginalized populations, and to break the “poverty equals ill-health” cycle. The core of the Commission’s work will be to identify, evaluate, adapt and distribute effective strategies to address social determinants, with the aim of supporting governments to scale-up action. It will operate for three years. “A great share of health problems is attributable to social conditions, and this is why the poor carry the greatest burden of ill-health,” Commission Chair Michael Marmot, Director of the International Centre for Health and Society at University College London, said. “On a global scale, we must ensure that health policies move beyond exclusively disease-focused solutions and include the social environment. “We will arm policymakers with the best evidence to ensure that poverty does not sentence a person to a shorter, unhealthy life,” he added. Social determinants are a significant reason behind the world’s vast difference in average life expectancy, ranging from 34 years in Sierra Leone, the lowest in the world, to 81.9 in Japan, the highest. Social determinants also account for the majority of health inequalities within countries. In Indonesia, under-five mortality is nearly four times higher in the poorest fifth of the population than in the richest fifth. In England and Wales, the latest data shows a 7.4-year gap in life expectancy between men in professional occupations and men in unskilled manual occupations. read more

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Trump on Sessions I dont have an attorney general

President Donald Trump(BBC) US President Donald Trump has said he does not “have an attorney general” in his fiercest attack yet on Jeff Sessions.In an interview with Hill.TV, Mr Trump renewed criticism of Mr Sessions’ decision to step aside from the inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.He also said he was unhappy with Mr Sessions’ response to immigration.The attorney general is yet to respond to Mr Trump’s comments.It is unusual for a sitting president to attack their attorney general and critics accuse Mr Trump of trying to meddle in the legal system.After the president criticised Mr Sessions last month, two key Republican senators signalled that they would support Mr Trump if he were to fire Mr Sessions after the November mid-term elections.However, other Republicans told Politico they thought this would be a bad move and said they were standing by the attorney general.Mr Sessions has pushed back against previous criticism by Mr Trump. “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” he said in August.“I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”Mr Sessions was an early supporter of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.But he left the Russia investigation – which is reportedly looking into whether Mr Trump attempted to obstruct justice – in 2017, citing a potential conflict of interest, and handed control to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.The president insists there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government, and denies he has attempted to obstruct justice.What has Mr Trump said this time?“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Mr Trump said during Tuesday’s interview.He added that he was “very disappointed” about Mr Sessions’ decision to leave the investigation.Asked whether he would consider firing Mr Sessions, the president responded: “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that.“And I guess I study history, and I say I just want to leave things alone, but it was very unfair what he did [in recusing himself from the Russia investigation].”Mr Trump also told Hill.TV that he was “not happy” with Mr Sessions on immigration and other issues, and said the attorney general had performed “very poorly” during the nomination process for the post.“I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers,” he said.“Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedFBI chief sacking: Trump warns Comey over leaks to mediaMay 12, 2017In “World”Trump presidency ‘dangerous’, says UN rights chiefOctober 12, 2016In “latest news”Trump to end protections for young C’bean immigrant ‘Dreamers’September 4, 2017In “World” read more