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SciDev.Net: How building community trust helps combat [Ebola] epidemics

'Public health responses to the Ebola crisis neglected to build trust among affected people, and more must be done to engage with the 'human factor' when disease outbreaks occur, anthropologist Heidi Larson warns in this audio interview.

A systematic review of web-based educational interventions

A complement to in-hospital educational interventions is web-based patient education accessed during the home recovery period. While findings demonstrate the effectiveness of web-based patient education interventions on patient outcomes, they fall short of identifying the characteristics that are associated with desired outcomes. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the characteristics of web-based patient education interventions that are associated with producing changes in self-care behaviors.

Doctoori: Arabic Health Information

A few years back as part of my public health work at LSHTM I had been surprised by the general standard of health information in the Arabic language. Quality and reliability were key issues for me. However the accessibility of this information for the ordinary person or patient in these mainly developing countries was the critical issue. There is lots of research that points to this.

ICANN and the proposed .health gTLD (26)

One of the consequences of the ugly world of marketing by pharmaceutical companies is the over-medicalisation and over-medication of millions of people who do not need the drugs, and indeed are more likely to suffer harm (for example, from side effects) than they are to derive any benefit.
With this in mind, I was interested to read in a BMJ article that *almost 1 in 10* citizens in the United States are currently, at this moment, on antidepressants: 

Are Health Behavior Change Interventions That Use Online Social Networks Effective? A Systematic Review

Background: The dramatic growth of Web 2.0 technologies and online social networks offers immense potential for the delivery of health behavior change campaigns. However, it is currently unclear how online social networks may best be harnessed to achieve health behavior change.

Objective: The intent of the study was to systematically review the current level of evidence regarding the effectiveness of online social network health behavior interventions.

ICANN and the proposed .health gTLD (23)

The potential commercialisation of  the ".health" new top-level domain name (and indeed other health-related TLDs) has profound risks to public and individual health, not least because it will make it more difficult for global citizens to differentiate between reliable and unreliable health information (unreliable in all its forms: commercially-biased, ideological, false, and/or not reflective of the available cumulative evidence...)

Universal Health Coverage

Improving the availability and use of reliable health information for citizens, health workers and policymakers is fundamental to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, whereby all people should have access to the quality, essential health services they need without enduring financial hardship. UHC is now established as the dominant vision for global health in the coming decades. With this in mind, I would like to pass on an important new joint discussion paper, which suggests commitment not only by WHO (which we know already), but also by the World Bank.

Meeting the information needs of Users of Medicines: Encouraging citizens to ask questions

Dear all,

I have found a very interesting campaign (from 2003 to 2009) that aimed at increasing people's involvement in decisions about their use of medicines, called Ask About Medicines. 

It seems that the website is not available anymore, but the resources and materials can be found at the Patient Information Forum:


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