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Global Health Headlines: COP28 Breaks Ground with Inaugural Health Day, Climate-Linked Health Concerns, and Advances in Gene Therapy

Stay informed with the week’s top health stories, from COP28’s landmark Health Day to breakthroughs in gene therapy.

Almost 60% of Americans believe the climate crisis is harming their health.

  1. COP28 Pioneers Health Day Amid Climate Talks:
    • COP28, the climate conference, marked a historic moment with its inaugural Health Day on December 3. Over 40 million health professionals rallied behind the World Health Organization’s plea to prioritize health in climate negotiations.
    • A day earlier, 123 countries signed the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health, emphasizing the severe health implications of climate change. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underscored the long-overdue recognition of the climate crisis as a health crisis.
  2. Over $700 Million Pledged to Tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases:
    • The United Arab Emirates and various charities pledged over $700 million on Health Day to combat neglected tropical diseases, anticipated to surge due to the climate crisis. This funding aligns with efforts to bolster global health resilience.
  3. Fossil Fuel Air Pollution Linked to 5 Million Deaths Annually:
    • New research reveals that fossil fuel-related air pollution contributes to a staggering 5 million deaths annually, surpassing previous estimates. Almost two-thirds of the 8.3 million global deaths from outdoor air pollution in 2019 are attributed to fossil fuel pollution.
    • In Europe, nearly 400,000 deaths in 2021 are linked to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and short-term ozone exposure, according to the European Environment Agency.
  4. Global Health Snapshot:
    • South Korea experiences its first decline in life expectancy since 1970, attributed to COVID-19 deaths.
    • The US sees an increase in life expectancy for babies born in 2022 compared to 2021.
    • Early-onset dementia is found to be three times more likely in individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • AIDS infections surge due to a human rights backlash, warns the UN AIDS programme.
  5. Innovations in Healthcare Technology:
    • A laser camera may soon detect cardiovascular illnesses by capturing a person’s heartbeat from a distance, offering a potential non-invasive diagnostic tool.
    • The UK approves a CRISPR-based gene therapy, marking a milestone in the treatment of sickle cell anaemia and beta thalassemia.
  6. Global Perspectives on Women’s Healthcare:
    • A survey by the White Ribbon Alliance highlights the global need for a holistic approach to women’s healthcare, reflecting insights from over a million women and girls.

Stay informed with these crucial developments shaping global health, climate, and medical advancements.

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