WHO ran a lovely social media campaign this week, wishing Chinese people all around the world a Happy Lunar New Year, with 12 pieces of healthy advice on top of it – a ‘Survival Kit’ for the new Year of the Pig, as they called it. Very sensible advice, although sometimes a bit utopian, perhaps. How about survival tip 2, for example: “Don’t drink to get drunk. Substitute alcohol with water or tea instead.” Recalling the ‘Ganbei’ fests with abundantly flowing “baijiu” at Chinese get-togethers, that will be a tall order. But good to see that WHO at least put the alcohol abuse issue on the table, in a fun piggy way (hard taxes can follow later this year 🙂 ).
There’s still some scope, though, for a more “Syndemic” campaign next year, as environmental campaigners would like to see, urging Chinese to eat less pork and help save the planet. Sadly, China is also the country experimenting with multi-story hog hotels, “elevating” industrial farming to new levels. Anyway, also on IHP’s behalf, a Happy Lunar New Year to all Chinese readers of this newsletter (we just hope it gets past the “Great Chinese Firewall” 😊 ). Or as a Chinese twitterandus put it, “Oink Oink Happy Pig Year to All!”
As we have 2 editorials this week, we’ll keep it short in this week’s intro, just flagging that two of this week’s highlights are the Lancet’s special issue on advancing women in science, medicine and global health (launched later today in London & livestreamed) and a few must-read analyses of the political economy of PMAC 2019, by Rachel Thompson and Renzo Guinto respectively.
In the first editorial of the week, Priti Patnaik dwells on what the recent discussions on access to medicines at WHO’s 144th Executive Board meeting tell us. The second editorial, by Nigerian IHP correspondent Vanessa Offiong, comes back on the Lassa Fever conference of a few weeks ago, in Abuja. As we speak, WHO is scaling up the Lassa fever response in affected states in Nigeria.
Enjoy your reading.
(you find the pdf of the newsletter here: IHPn508 )