I oblige to thank Prof. Nicholas Cunningham, for reminding us the important issues of growth chart and Road to Health.
Community health workers
I don't know how we can go beyond journals. In addition to the fact that journals fulfil a limited need, many African health practitioners are too overwhelmed to seat down and write an article on their daily experiences & tie this with broad health literature. If we limit knowledge sharing to journals and their rigorous reviewing processes, we miss a lot of real-time 'truths'. Emphasis on journals suggest the written word is the only way knowledge about health issues can travel.
All my career years in WHO (over 29 years) I always believed that the electronic publishing should not replace paper based publishing. They should complement each other. Publishers who think that electronic publishing should replace paper publishing are wrong. I made this position very clear and implemented it when I was director in WHO.
Many will be familiar with the need for "research to policy" or R2P. But that in itself is a shortened form of "research to policy to practice" or R2P2P. Clearly, health policies should be based on the best and most appropriate research. But that is not enough. If sound health policies don't then go into clinical practice, they are just empty words. Effort needs to be devoted to each link in this chain.
Najeeb al-Shorbaji hit the nail on the head last year when he wrote in a submission to this email list: "Health workers and most practitioners in the field do not need scientific articles written by academicians. They need practical information, best practices, case studies, stories from the field, lessons learned and guidance on how to do things".
At Africa Health journal, that is precisely what we have tried to do since launch in October 1978.
Health experts in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province warn that persistent rumours that their vaccines actual harm children are hampering efforts to combat polio. Medical professionals report significant resistance from village elders and mullahs, particularly in more remote districts, who claim the injections contain viruses designed by Western governments to deliberately hurt people in the Muslim world.
Herbal medicine has been accepted as a component of global health. The current investment going into research and development of herbal products is unprecedented. It is very sad to note that in country like Nigeria where over 80% of her population relies on herbs for daily health needs, only few of such herbs have been validated using research. In a recent study conducted in Ibadan, it was discovered that of the herbal products evaluated, only about 20% of the products were validated using clinical trial. In spite of this, over 80% of the manufacturers made various treatment claims.
It is important to have a diagnosis done. For each medical contact a diagnosis must be 'suspected' by the doctor and then written down on the Health Booklet that the patient has with him.
Some factors that might be attributed to too much medicine may include the following:
Some Lab. Technicians and to a lesser extent pharmacists prescribe drugs for their friends, colleagues and relatives on request outside patientclerking;