Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Migrant Health Clinics Caught In Crossfire Of Immigration Debate

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES W...

THE CHILDREN OF MIGRANT WORKERS PLAY MARBLES WHILE THEIR PARENTS WORK IN FIELDS – NARA – 543855 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a 6 June 2012 article at Kaiser Health

..clinics [which are] part of a 50-year-old federally funded program to treat migrant and seasonal farmworkers, have become the latest flash points in the national immigration debate. Health center officials across the country describe how local, state and national law enforcement authorities have staked out migrant clinics, detained staff members transporting patients to medical appointments and set up roadblocks near their facilities and health fairs as part of immigration crackdowns…

“We are looking at a growing climate of fear where folks really think long and hard about accessing basic services,” says Milton Butterworth, who oversees outreach migrant health services for Blue Ridge Community Health Services in Hendersonville, N.C.

Even many legal workers do not seek care at the health centers because they are fearful of exposing family members who are not legal residents, says Tara Plese, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. “There is a big fear factor and it’s a big concern from a public health perspective.”

Those concerns include making sure farmworkers’ children are vaccinated, stopping the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and treating those with chronic problems such as diabetes, officials say. Many farmworkers avoid seeking care except in emergencies.

Federal Aid Opposed

Supporters of the nation’s 156 migrant clinics, which are typically part of community health centers, say caring for all farmworkers helps protect them as well as the public — and is a humane way to treat three million people toiling at the heart of the nation’s food supply. About half of those are illegal immigrants, according to the latest federal survey of agricultural workers conducted in 2009.

“Migrant health centers continue to help ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply by keeping those who harvest it healthy,” …

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urgent Need To Fight Diseases Affecting The World’s Poor

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Image via Wikipedia

From the 22 June 2011 Medical News Today article 

Despite significant advancements in increasing distribution and development of vaccines against childhood killer diseases – including pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and Haemophilus influenzae Type B – global efforts to reduce the burden of infection from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has greatly lagged, argues Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) President Dr. Peter Hotez in an article for the June edition of Health Affairs.

[Above link is abstract only, for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here]

NTDs, a group of 17 parasitic infections, represent a significant contributor to global poverty, and have well documented chronic and disabling effects. Yet efforts to develop vaccines for NTDs have not benefitted from larger ongoing initiatives to combat major childhood diseases.

In his article, “A Handful of ‘Antipoverty’ Vaccines Exist for Neglected Diseases, But the World’s Poorest Billion People Need More,” Dr. Hotez cites three critical reasons for the lack of interest in “antipoverty” vaccines:

  • Though NTDs disable, they do not typically cause high levels of mortality leading some in the public health community to misleadingly conclude that NTDs are not a significant public health threat;
  • NTDs predominately occur in rural settings and are largely hidden diseases unknown to the public and infrequently documented; and,
  • Pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to make an investment in NTD vaccines because there is no financial incentive.

June 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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