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Elena Vargas

Elena Vargas is an EV2014 alumna. She works in Nicaragua.
 

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Health & human rights in Nicaragua: which side are you on?

While most people living in the Americas these days wake up to watch soccer matches of their all-time favorite country teams (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico…), we Nicaraguans wake up to count the dead and the missing from the night before. Living under siege has become the ‘new normal’ since a nation-wide social uprising started on April 18th. ...

Nicaragua: the House of Cards you probably didn’t notice

On April 20th afternoon, I decided to join one of the peaceful protests in my country. We marched approximately 2 km towards the cathedral in Managua, waving Nicaraguan flags, banging pans and pots or whatever could make noise, and yelling out loud “We’re not afraid anymore!”. We were protesting against the social security reforms announce...

Planetary health or WEIRD attempts to re-invent the wheel?

On a cold Monday (November 13th), I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Academy of Medical Sciences and The Lancet International Health Lecture, by Dr. Samuel Myers, who is Director of the Planetary Health Alliance and affiliated to the Harvard School of Public Health. The lecture took place in London, one of my favourite cities. In the very ...

Let’s get political…

The ninth edition of the World Health Summit (WHS) was held during October 15th -17th, in a nice former cinema hall in the city of East Berlin, built in the early 1960s and with a rather appropriate name for the occasion, “Kosmos”.  This year, the event was attended by 2,000 participants from 100 countries, all aiming “to improve healthca...

Mental Health in the Workplace: For too many people a contradictio in terminis in our (late-)capitalist world?

Every year, the World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10th. This year’s theme is Mental Health in the Workplace. The WHO acknowledges that an adverse working environment can lead to negative mental and physical outcomes, while also highlighting depression and anxiety as conditions that hamper productivity (with a substantial impact ...

Confronting the soaring cost of medicines: The Latin American response

The Sixth Regional Meeting on the Right to Health and Health Systems took place in Santiago de Chile from 6th to 8th of September. This event gathered country representatives (ministers and vice-ministers of health), academics and other stakeholders from different countries that are part of the World Bank Initiative Salud Derecho.  This is an e...

A glimmer of light amid the darkness: united to fight a global threat

Two weeks of Trump’s presidency have passed, and many of us Americans—proud inhabitants of the continent consisting of 35 sovereign states including the United States of America, the República Federativa do Brasil and the Estados Unidos Mexicanos—are watching his reign of intolerance and hatred unfold with fear and disbelief. And while I...

Investing in people – whether it’s sports, culture or health

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio (“Rio 2016”) are the first Olympic Games taking place in Latin America since 1968 in Mexico (not exactly a resounding success, we recall); it’s also the first time such an event is held in South America. People around the world are eagerly following the games on TV and social media, and Latin Americans are n...

Of Zika and other demons…

Zika virus is making headlines all around the world. In Latin America, Zika caused little less than a turmoil. In less than a year, perception veered from one more dengue-like discomfort to that of a devilish threat, particularly so since its possible association with microcephaly. Not unsurprisingly in times when health is increasingly seen as ...

Emerging Voices for Global Health are all set for Vancouver!

It’s over a year now since the third global symposium on health systems research took place in Cape Town. At the symposium, the science and practice of people-centred health systems took center stage. Almost 2000 participants represented 125 countries in Cape Town, so it clearly was a global conference. The 2014 edition of the Emerging Voice...

A whiff of Bolívar at the Seventh Summit of the Americas?

On April 10 and 11, all eyes in the Western Hemisphere will be on Panama City, hosting the Summit of the Americas. This event has been taking place every three years since 1994, and gathers around 34 members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss present and future challenges of the region that comprises North, Central and South...

Closing the gender gap in Nicaragua: who’s on top?

Last November the Economic Forum released The Global Gender Gap Report 2014. The report is an attempt to measure the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: (1) health and survival; (2) educational attainment; (3) economic participation and opportunity; and (4) political empowerment. In the Latin American/Caribbean region, 14 o...