Asia needs to improve equity in health

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, 18.11.2020 (SciDev.Net): Access to health care is a challenge for the most marginalised communities within Asian countries, but over the past decade there has been a growing commitment to identify and address health inequalities to make progress towards universal health coverage, a seminar heard.

A satellite session (8—12 November) of the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, organised by Health Systems Global (HSG), focused on creative ways people working in health policy and research across Asia are increasing health equity, including for ethnic minorities and non-citizens.

Evidence suggests that certain socially disadvantaged groups tend to use health services less, although these groups may need health services more. This is partly because disadvantaged groups typically face multiple barriers, such as financial, geographical and cultural, in accessing services, according to Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018.

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© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from neenabhandari.com content is expressly prohibited without the permission of the writer and the media outlet syndicating or publishing the article.

A breath of fresh microbes

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney 12.11.20 (The Medical Republic): Microbiomes of the gut and the skin, in particular, and their interactions with other organs, have been increasingly linked to human health status.

Now, most recently, scientists have begun investigating at another microbial community, called the aerobiome – that is, the airborne microbial communities we live in and breathe in every day.

Recent research by scientists from the University of Tasmania has found urban environments alter people’s exposure to the aerobiome, which has potentially important, but underexplored, health impacts.

“People living in urban environments can inhale approximately 100 million bacteria each day. This microbial exposure helps shape our internal microbiomes and seems to be connected to the rise in allergic and inflammatory diseases in urban areas”, says Emily J. Flies, lead author and lecturer at University of Tasmania’s School of Natural Sciences.

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© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from neenabhandari.com content is expressly prohibited without the permission of the writer and the media outlet syndicating or publishing the article.

Mothers can pass on allergies to babies in the womb

By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, 10.11.20 (SciDev.Net): Mothers can pass on allergies to offspring while they are developing in the womb and that is one reason why babies exhibit allergies early in life, according to a Singapore preclinical study.

Findings from the research published 30 October in Science show that the key antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE), responsible for triggering allergic reactions, can enter the foetus from the mother’s body through the placenta. Once inside the foetus, it binds with foetal mast cells which are immune cells responsible for causing allergic reactions, such as runny noses and asthma.

Globally, 10—30 per cent of the population is affected by allergies and this number continues to increase. The sensitisation rates for allergies in school children are close to 40—50 per cent, according to the World Allergy Organization White Book on Allergy 2013 update.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from neenabhandari.com content is expressly prohibited without the permission of the writer and the media outlet syndicating or publishing the article.