Recyke y’bike

Recyke y’bike are a charity based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne who work to save bikes from being sent to landfill.

Instead volunteers recycle, repair and fix up unwanted cycles to redistribute to community groups in their local area who need them.

In the last 12 months alone they have saved more than 1500 bikes from being dumped, and in turn have helped local children learn how to ride, given young offenders a new start by helping them learn cycle maintenance skills and donated bikes to asylum seekers and refugees who could not otherwise afford transport.

Sara Newson is the general manager at Recyke y’Bike. She said: “I’m incredibly proud to be able to contribute to an organisation that tackles multiple issues, including throw away culture, over use of landfill and access to affordable, sustainable and healthy transport.

“We also provide access to practical training and learning opportunities that bring people together and provide employment opportunities with just one core activity – recycling bikes.”

The charity started in 2006 with the aim of recycling bikes and donating them to asylum seekers and refugees in the community. Since then Recyke y’bike have grown to include 13 members of staff and 50 volunteers, and now provide bikes and cycle training to dozens of community groups in and around Newcastle.

They also work with young offenders in Deerbolt Prison in Co Durham, teaching them cycle repair and maintenance skills and helping to grow and improve the prison’s bike workshop.

Del Fiddes, industry manager at Deerbolt said: “The continual supply of bikes from Recyke ensures that we can engage young men in purposeful activity, increasing the employability options of an individual when released.

“The partnership between Deerbolt and Recyke y’bike is having a direct impact on the rehabilitation provision which we provide, with the aspiration of changing people’s lives by reducing the harm that crime causes and consequently reducing the number of victims within our society.”

But in order to continue their success Recyke y’bike need three things – donations of old bikes, volunteers and financial donations.

Sara said: “We really want to invest in training of our volunteers and staff so that they can develop their education and training provision, working more closely with the local community to give even more people the skills to maintain and fix their bikes.”

If you think you can help visit their website at for more information or find them on social:

Twitter @RYBike


Instagram @recykeybike


By Jenna Sloan


How One African Country Is Working to Eliminate a Neglected Tropical Disease

Robina Nali had eye problems for as long as she could remember. Throughout her childhood, she had difficulty seeing and was taken to various hospitals for treatment, but issues with her vision persisted.

In adulthood, it worsened, with her eyelashes irritating her to an extent that the issue prevented her from carrying out daily tasks.

“I could not see properly when writing. I was having problems cooking and farming, and staying in the sunshine was a problem,” she told Global Citizen. “I would go to the hospital for treatment, but no one could explain what it was.”

People in her community who claimed to be health workers — she later found out they were not — said they could help.

For 20,000 Ugandan shillings (US$5.50), Nali would visit them and have her eyelashes plucked off in what she thought was a medical procedure, which she did several times.

It helped alleviate the irritation temporarily, but in a matter of weeks, her eyelashes would grow out and she would once again be in pain and unable to complete her day-to-day chores.

Last August, Nali heard about a health initiative that was recruiting volunteers to help identify trachoma cases and she chose to participate. The program was part of an initiative by Uganda’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and organizations like Sightsavers Uganda, which has been working to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the East African country for the last 65 years.

Trachoma, an NTD, is the leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin in the world. Infection spreads through personal contact and by flies that have been in contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person. It begins as a bacterial infection and worsens if not treated — eventually it lines the inside of the eyelid with scars and forces the eyelashes to turn inward, which affects vision, causes pain, and can lead to blindness.

During the training, volunteers took turns examining one another to prepare for the community screenings. When it was Nali’s turn to be examined, she found out she had trachoma and was a suitable candidate for the surgery.

“After corrective surgery, I didn’t have any problems. I could see normally, my pain was relieved, and I resumed my [responsibilities],” she said.

Fred Tibamwagine, a senior medical clinical officer with the Ministry of Health in Uganda, says the partnership with the WHO and Sightsavers, which began in 2016, is a major reason why trachoma has nearly been eliminated in Uganda.

There are two stages of trachoma: active and chronic. Active trachoma is an early stage of the disease, exemplified by red eyes and discharge, is found in children under 10 years of age, and it is treated through medication. As trachoma develops in adults, it becomes chronic, which impacts a person’s eyelids and eyelashes, causes pain, and must be treated with surgery — a simple and quick 15-minute procedure that prevents blindness.

Tibamwagine, who was trained as an ophthalmic clinical officer, would perform up to 10 surgeries per day.

“We would call it the disease of the poor because the ones who were marginalized and neglected suffered a lot,” he said.

Tibamwagine recalls how trachoma would impact entire communities, saying he often saw cases where the elderly went blind due to trachoma, and children in their family would not go to school, in order to care for them. Things have changed drastically since then, he says.

“People now do their normal activities. The children who were helping the blind have gone back to school and now the hygiene, which was very poor, has improved. A lot of changes, positive changes have happened,” he said.

Johnson Ngorok, the country director of Sightsavers Uganda, says in 2006 when health workers surveyed people across Uganda, they found trachoma in all 50 districts of the country. Since then, it has been eliminated in 46 districts, with four districts remaining. All of them are in the Karamoja sub-region of the country, with a nomadic population that has been difficult to reach. However, treatment is ongoing with two remaining rounds of medication needed for those who have trachoma, according to Ngorok.

“The end is in sight,” Ngorok said. “We just need a little push to get over the cliff and reach elimination nationally.”

Although trachoma has been monitored in the country since 2006, a systematic effort to eliminate the disease was only put into effect in 2014, Ngorok explained, due to funding from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which sought to eliminate the disease by 2019.

“At the moment, we don’t have funding so the program has stopped, which is really a shame,” Ngorok said. “But we would only need one more year … to eliminate trachoma in the country.”

Trachoma has blinded or visually impaired around 1.9 million people globally, and it is endemic in 44 countries, according to the WHO. According to the latest data, 142 million people live in trachoma endemic areas, putting them at risk of blindness.

Still, significant strides have been made to eliminate the disease. The number of people requiring surgery for trachomatous trichiasis, the stage of trachoma that is blinding, has dropped by nearly 70% from 7.6 million in 2002 to 2.5 million in 2019.


Original article by Jacky Habib  Source Global Citizen

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

To find out more about the World Health Organization (WHO) and ways to get involved, go to their website.

To find out more about Sightsavers Uganda and ways to get involved, go to their website.


These Global Citizens Are Bringing Clean Water and Sanitation to Rural India

Open defecation is a rampant issue in India — one that leads to widespread water contamination and can leave women particularly vulnerable to violence by forcing them to walk long distances in the dark to find a place to use the bathroom.

But efforts have been made in recent years to reduce rates of open defecation to zero.

Sanitation and Health Rights India (SHRI) aims to do just that by providing sanitary bathroom facilities and clean drinking water to rural India through the use of community toilets.

SHRI was co-founded by Anoop Jain — who was the very first winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen Award in 2014 — alongside Prabin Kumar Ghimire and Chandan Kumar.

Many communities in India don’t have accessible toilets and are therefore forced to go outside, often in or near bodies of water.

That is why the founders of SHRI decided to focus on community toilets. Community toilets are a cost-effective fix and depend upon community buy-in, allowing for behaviors to change over time, according to SHRI.

“But building a community toilet is not the only solution, because maintenance plays an equally important role,” Ghimire told the Better India. “And for that, you need money to keep it clean and employ staff.”

But they knew they couldn’t cover costs by charging for the use of the facilities because then people wouldn’t use them. Instead, the organization has made its community toilets self-sustainable — and turned them into “revenue generators” that cover the community toilets’ maintenance costs.

The human waste from the toilets is used to produce methane, which in turn is used to run a power generator. The electricity from that generator, meanwhile, is used to power a water filtration unit that creates pure, drinkable water that can then be stored and sold.

“Now people are so used to our facilities, that they queue up in front of it everyday,” Ghimire said. “I feel so happy to see that the place where people used to defecate, has become a playground for the kids of the community, today.”

So far, SHRI has built seven community toilets in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. The organization even keeps regular track of how many people use its toilets and drink its water on the “results” section of its website.

“Earlier we couldn’t go [to the bathroom] when it used to rain, or at night, but now we can,” one woman told The Better India about the community toilets. “We can go anytime we need to.”

Access to clean drinking water and sanitation has been recognized as a human right by the United Nations. A lack of access to clean water and sanitation is estimated to kill over 842,000 people every year. The implementation of community toilets like these could have a positive impact on these grim statistics.


Original article by Brandon Wiggins –  Source Global Citizen

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

To find out more about Sanitation and Health Rights India (SHRI) and ways to get involved, go to their website.


2 Billion Mosquito Nets Have Officially Been Delivered Worldwide to Fight Malaria

In a global effort to fight malaria, 2 billion insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been delivered across the world since 2004, according to a press release from the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

These life-saving mosquito nets have helped prevent nearly 68% of all malaria cases in Africa and are responsible for saving over 7 million lives.

Malaria is a deadly disease, transmitted through mosquito bites, that causes fever, headache, and chills. In 2018, there were more than 228,000 cases of malaria in the world and around 405,000 deaths.

Children under the age of 5 are most susceptible to the disease, making up 67% of all malaria-related deaths in 2018.

The nets, which cover up to two people per net, can last up to three years or 20 washes on average, and the number of women and children using them has doubled within the last eight years, according to the World Malaria Report 2019.

“Insecticide-treated nets have saved lives, prevented suffering, and brought us 2 billion steps closer to our vision of a malaria-free world,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in the press release. “With country leadership and global partnership, they will continue to play a vital role in fulfilling that vision.”

Various organizations and nonprofits, such as UNICEF, the US President’s Malaria Initiative, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, contributed to help achieve this global milestone by distributing mosquito nets and working with countries currently experiencing malaria epidemics.

In celebration of this milestone, RBM Partnership to End Malaria has released a new video emphasizing the collective effort that was required to produce and deliver the 2 billion life-saving mosquito nets.

The video features Kenyan high school student Clementina Akinyi, who praised the mosquito nets and vouched for the effectiveness.

“I don’t fall sick because I’m using the nets,” Akinyi said. “Me and my sister are now champions for mosquito nets, and we are now advising people at school to use the nets. I advise everyone to use nets to prevent malaria, because malaria is a deadly disease.”

Original article by Erica Sanchez  and  Catherine Caruso –  Source Global Citizen

Photo by Bill Wegener on Unsplash

To find out more about RBM Partnership to End Malaria and ways to get involved, go to their website.


NHS lung cancer screening ‘could save 5,000 lives a year’

The NHS could save 5,000 lives a year by introducing screening for lung cancer, say experts.

Prof Charles Swanton, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK and one of the country’s leading cancer scientists, said: “The data are extraordinary. If we had a drug half as good as that, we would have adopted it by now.”

Swanton, whose work is focused on investigating mutations in cells in late-stage tumours that become very hard to treat, urged the introduction of CT screening for people at risk because of smoking or family history, because lung cancer is very curable by surgery if caught early, but often fatal if detected late.

Prof David Baldwin from Nottingham, a member of NHS England’s advisory group on lung cancer, backed his call, saying that the NHS had started a pilot programme that he expected would become national. Prof Sir Mike Richards, the former NHS cancer tsar, recently produced a report on the way forward which supported more targeted cancer screening programmes.

Most experts emphasise the need to prevent cancer by improving lifestyles, particularly in an era when the NHS is hard-pressed for money, cancer is on the increase and drug treatments for cancers that have spread are increasingly costly. Better diets, not smoking, less alcohol and more exercise are known to reduce people’s risk, but early diagnosis and swift surgery could help to save lives.

Baldwin is optimistic that lung cancer survival will increase. “We’re on the brink of real step change in terms of outcomes, I think,” he said. As well as screening, the NHS was speeding up the path from diagnosis to surgery, which would save or extend lives. But inequalities around the country also needed to be tackled. Four times as many patients get surgery in some trusts than others – sometimes because of worries that a frail patient may die in the operating theatre.

Lung cancer survival is about 15% in the UK, one of the lowest rates in Europe, with the best in the world – in New York state – at 25%. The experts were speaking before the publication of two reports – one from the UCL School of Pharmacy and the other, from the thinktank Demos, prepared for the drug company Pfizer – which both called for more money for cancer research and treatment.

The Demos report calls for the government to raise spending on cancer to the EU average by 2030, which would cost £2.1bn a year. The total economic impact, it says, is far more, at £7.6bn a year.

The UCL School of Pharmacy report argues for more spending, including more money for drugs which, it claims, a fifth of the public wrongly think are “bankrupting the NHS”. It argues that about 0.15% of GDP is actually spent on drugs for cancer and that improving outcomes “should be seen as an affordable goal for Brexit Britain even if spending on some treatments rises during the 2020s”.


Original article by Sarah Boseley-  Source The Guardian

Photo National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

To find out more about Cancer Research UK and ways to get involved, go to their website.


Equality Wellbeing

‘It’s a miracle’: Helsinki’s radical solution to homelessness

Tatu Ainesmaa turns 32 this summer, and for the first time in more than a decade he has a home he can truly say is his: an airy two-room apartment in a small, recently renovated block in a leafy suburb of Helsinki, with a view over birch trees.

“It’s a big miracle,” he says. “I’ve been in communes, but everyone was doing drugs and I’ve had to get out. I’ve been in bad relationships; same thing. I’ve been on my brother’s sofa. I’ve slept rough. I’ve never had my own place. This is huge for me.”

Downstairs in the two-storey block is a bright communal living and dining area, a spotless kitchen, a gym room and a sauna (in Finland, saunas are basically obligatory). Upstairs is where the 21 tenants, men and women, most under 30, live.

It is important that they are tenants: each has a contract, pays rent and (if they need to) applies for housing benefit. That, after all, is all part of having a home – and part of a housing policy that has now made Finland the only EU country where homelessness is falling.

When the policy was being devised just over a decade ago, the four people who came up with what is now widely known as the Housing First principle – a social scientist, a doctor, a politician and a bishop – called their report Nimi Ovessa (Your Name on the Door).

“It was clear to everyone the old system wasn’t working; we needed radical change,” says Juha Kaakinen, the working group’s secretary and first programme leader, who now runs the Y-Foundation developing supported and affordable housing.

“We had to get rid of the night shelters and short-term hostels we still had back then. They had a very long history in Finland, and everyone could see they were not getting people out of homelessness. We decided to reverse the assumptions.”

As in many countries, homelessness in Finland had long been tackled using a staircase model: you were supposed to move through different stages of temporary accommodation as you got your life back on track, with an apartment as the ultimate reward.

“We decided to make the housing unconditional,” says Kaakinen. “To say, look, you don’t need to solve your problems before you get a home. Instead, a home should be the secure foundation that makes it easier to solve your problems.”

With state, municipal and NGO backing, flats were bought, new blocks built and old shelters converted into permanent, comfortable homes – among them the Rukkila homeless hostel in the Helsinki suburb of Malminkartano where Ainesmaa now lives.

Housing First’s early goal was to create 2,500 new homes. It has created 3,500. Since its launch in 2008, the number of long-term homeless people in Finland has fallen by more than 35%. Rough sleeping has been all but eradicated in Helsinki, where only one 50-bed night shelter remains, and where winter temperatures can plunge to -20C.

The city’s deputy mayor Sanna Vesikansa says that in her childhood, “hundreds in the whole country slept in the parks and forests. We hardly have that any more. Street sleeping is very rare now.”

In England, meanwhile, government figures show the number of rough sleepers – a small fraction of the total homeless population – climbed from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,677 last year (and since the official count is based on a single evening, charities say the real figure is far higher).

But Housing First is not just about housing. “Services have been crucial,” says Helsinki’s mayor, Jan Vapaavuori, who was housing minister when the original scheme was launched. “Many long-term homeless people have addictions, mental health issues, medical conditions that need ongoing care. The support has to be there.”

At Rukkila, seven staff support 21 tenants. Assistant manager Saara Haapa says the work ranges from practical help navigating bureaucracy and getting education, training and work placements to activities including games, visits and learning – or re-learning – basic life skills such as cleaning and cooking.

“A lot of it is really about talking,” says Henna Ahonen, a trainee social worker. And that is “easier when you are actually doing something together, rather than in a formal interview”, Haapa says. “The connection is just … easier. You can spot problems more readily.”

Hardly any of the tenants come straight from the street, Haapa says, and those who do can take time to adjust to living indoors. But after a three-month trial, tenants’ contracts are permanent – they can’t be moved unless they break the rules (Rukkila does not allow drug or alcohol use; some other Housing First units do) or fail to pay the rent.

Some stay seven years or more; others leave after one or two. In 2018, six tenants moved out to lead fully independent lives, Haapa says. One is now a cleaner, living in her own flat; another studied for a cookery qualification during his five years at Rukkila and now works as a chef.

Ainesmaa is on a two-year work experience programme designed to lead to a job. He says the opportunity to sort himself out was priceless: “Look, I own nothing. I’m on the autism spectrum. I think people are my friends, and then they rip me me off. I’ve been ripped off … a lot. But now I have my place. It’s mine. I can build.”

Housing First costs money, of course: Finland has spent €250m creating new homes and hiring 300 extra support workers. But a recent study showed the savings in emergency healthcare, social services and the justice system totalled as much as €15,000 a year for every homeless person in properly supported housing.

Interest in the policy beyond the country’s borders has been exceptional, from France to Australia, says Vesikansa. The British government is funding pilot schemes in Merseyside, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, whose Labour mayor, Andy Burnham, is due in Helsinki in July to see the policy in action.

But if Housing First is working in Helsinki, where half the country’s homeless people live, it is also because it is part of a much broader housing policy. More pilot schemes serve little real purpose, says Kaakinen: “We know what works. You can have all sorts of projects, but if you don’t have the actual homes … A sufficient supply of social housing is just crucial.”

And there, the Finnish capital is fortunate. Helsinki owns 60,000 social housing units; one in seven residents live in city-owned housing. It also owns 70% of the land within the city limits, runs its own construction company, and has a current target of building 7,000 more new homes – of all categories – a year.

In each new district, the city maintains a strict housing mix to limit social segregation: 25% social housing, 30% subsidised purchase, and 45% private sector. Helsinki also insists on no visible external differences between private and public housing stock, and sets no maximum income ceiling on its social housing tenants.

It has invested heavily, too, in homelessness prevention, setting up special teams to advise and help tenants in danger of losing their homes and halving the number of evictions from city-owned and social housing from 2008 to 2016.

“We own much of the land, we have a zoning monopoly, we run our own construction company,” says Riikka Karjalainen, senior planning officer. “That helped a lot with Housing First because simply, there is no way you will eradicate homelessness without a serious, big-picture housing policy.”

Finland has not entirely solved homelessness. Nationwide, about 5,500 people are still officially classified as homeless. The overwhelming majority – more than 70% – are living temporarily with friends or relatives.

But public-sector planning and collective effort have helped ensure that as a way to reduce long-term homelessness, Housing First is a proven success. “We’re not there yet, of course,” says Vesikansa. “No model is perfect; we still have failures. But I’m proud we had the courage to try it.”

The mayor agrees. “We have reduced long-term homelessness by a remarkable amount,” he says. “We must do more – better support, better prevention, better dialogue with residents: people really support this policy, but not everyone wants a unit in their neighbourhood … But yes, we can be very proud.”

Original article by Jon Henley –  Source Global Citizen

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

To find out more about Housing First and ways to get involved, go to their website.

To find out more about the Y-Foundation and ways to get involved, go to their website.


How Health Workers Are Reaching a Nomadic Tribe in Sub-Saharan Africa

Access to health care is essential, and a priority to United Nations member states who committed to achieving universal health coverage by 2030 — but for a nomadic tribe that moves between countries, it’s easy to be forgotten.

The Ateker tribe, also known in Uganda as the Karamojong, located in the northeast sub-region of the country, are a nomadic and pastoralist group who roam between Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia in search of food.

Their migratory nature puts them at risk of falling between the cracks of formal health systems, so a special effort must be made to locate Ateker people and provide them with health services.

In Uganda, trachoma, an infectious eye disease which can lead to blindness, has been eliminated as a health problem in 46 out of 50 districts, according to Sightsavers Uganda. However, the disease is still prevalent amongst the Ateker population.

To treat these communities who are typically very remote, health teams often need to travel across treacherous terrain — on roads that are rough and that sometimes cross flooded rivers. In some cases, where vehicles are unable to travel, health workers climb hills and rocks on foot to reach communities to provide eye screenings, health advice, medication, and even perform surgeries.

While in Kampala, Global Citizen met with Dr. Johnson Ngorok, country director of Sightsavers Uganda and a member of the Ateker tribe, to discuss the group’s lifestyle and how health organizations are reaching this remote population.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Tell me about your childhood growing up in the Ateker tribe.

I’m from the Napak district in northern Uganda. I was fortunate that my father had six years of education, which was enough for him to write and get a job as a policeman. He took his children to school, although everyone else, as per tradition, would move around. In my time, if you had the opportunity to go to school, that was great. I went to schools in the Karamoja area.

What is the Karamoja area like?

The area is semi-arid so there are issues with a lack of water. Cattle rearing and farming, which these communities are involved in, is an adaptation to the harsh climate. Most of Uganda is very green but this area in the northeast is very dry and crop farming doesn’t do very well. The nomadic life is one in search of water and pasture. When you finish the water and grass in one area, you move on. People move together in groups of about 20 to 100 people.

What issues do these communities face?

Hygiene is a big issue, especially latrine coverage. People settle in homesteads — which we call manyatta — and there are lots of huts in the manyatta. These are permanent structures which people keep coming back to as they return from various areas.

There is less than 5% latrine coverage in manyattas, so most people go to the bush — which attracts flies. Also, the cow dung from people’s cows is also a source of breeding flies, which is a hygiene problem.

Water is not easily available and people walk a long distance to get it, so when they get, they need to prioritize how they will use it. Will it be for washing your face or will it be used for cooking? They will definitely choose cooking.

How do the government and health organizations reach these groups?

The roads are so poor during the rainy seasons, and you need a vehicle to cross rivers and go through the rough terrain to reach these communities. There are also a lot of mountains in the Karamoja area and communities that live in the mountains. Reaching them is terrible and difficult — we have actually not [yet] reached them. All four districts we have not eliminated trachoma in are in Karamoja. It’s a challenge. How do you reach people in the mountain?

Because they have a low level of education, they may not see the importance of the service you are providing, so they want food, not eye treatment.

However, when a person like me speaks their language, they say, “What? You are Karamojong?” and I say, “Yes, I am.” When I explain it in their language, I tell them that if they don’t take this treatment, they will go blind. Traditionally, they believe that if you perform a surgery, you are going to remove their eye, but we try to explain to them that we cut on top and push the skin up so the eyelashes no longer touch your eye. I think when a person like me explains it, they are more accepting because I am one of them.

How do you locate the communities in order to provide them services?

We work with local leaders amongst them, who are a little bit educated, in order to find out where the group has migrated. They don’t have basic Nokia phones, you have to track them down. Sometimes they have routines like going to certain areas during certain seasons.

There are old people who stay back in the manyatta. It’s the young people who are nomadic and move around with the cows. The young people occasionally come back with meat and milk for the elderly who remain. So we get to know the whereabouts of the nomadic people by asking around.

Tell me about providing eye care in these areas.

These surgeries are performed anywhere. The idea with trachoma procedures is just to pull back the eyelashes. It’s a simple operation, but very useful and because it doesn’t require going internally into the body, it can be done anywhere. We try to maintain hygiene, so we will try to do it in a church or school if we can find one. When we find a building, we create an operating room and fumigate it for hygiene. We also carry tents, so when we can’t find a suitable place, we put up a tent.

When we are in deep remote villages, these surgeries are not done by doctors, they are done by clinical officers who are like medical assistants. They are trained to perform these surgeries; it takes one year of training to become an ophthalmic clinical officer, which is like an opthamologist assistant, and you can perform these simple eye procedures.

What unique challenges are there when providing a service to people who regularly travel across borders?

When we do mass drug administrations or surgeries, we [sometimes] go to a place only to find that our target group has moved to another country and we can’t provide that service.

To work around this, there are cross-border meetings, for example between Kenya and Uganda, and we share information so that when the group moves to another country, they get the service from there, and when they come here, they get the treatment here. Otherwise, there will be cross-border infections and these diseases won’t be eliminated.

I think we have established a strong connection with health services in Kenya. South Sudan, on the other hand, is very difficult because they don’t have health programs on their side, so when these groups travel there, they cannot receive care.

Original article by Jacky Habib –  Source Global Citizen

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

To find out more about Sightsavers and ways to get involved, go to their website.


Cities From rubbish to rice: the cafe that gives food in exchange for plastic

On bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadav’s main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.

But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. “The hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,” he said.

Opened in October by the Ambikapur municipal corporation, the cafe is designed both to encourage awareness about the need to collect and remove plastic waste and to give a meal to anyone – ragpicker, student or civic-minded individual – who does so. The tagline? “More the waste, better the taste.”

The launch was attended by the Chhattisgarh health minister, TS Singh Deo, who emphasised that the cafe was for everyone by bringing in half a kilo of plastic himself.

“It’s become well known fast, because it’s located right by the main bus stand in the city,” said the city’s mayor, Ajay Tirkey. “We’re getting about a dozen people coming in every day. One day a whole family came in with huge sacks weighing seven kilos.”

Most Indian cities are struggling with huge amounts of unsegregated waste. There are few effective waste-management systems, and according to the country’s environment ministry the country generates approximately 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day – only about 14,000 tonnes of which are collected.

A modest effort to push back against single-use plastic received a boost in October, when the prime minster, Narendra Modi, used the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth to announce that India would phase out single-use plastic by 2022 (though he stopped short of a blanket ban). Later that month, during a visit to Tamil Nadu state, he went for a morning walk by the sea at Mamallapuram and ended up “plogging” on the beach.

Ambikapur is one of the cities at the front of the charge. It boasts 100% door-to-door waste collection and segregation, and was the second-cleanest in government rankings this year. It also generates about 1.2 million rupees (13,000 pounds sterling) a month selling plastic and recycled paper to private companies. The collected plastic from the Garbage Cafe will be used to construct roads – in 2015, the Ambikapur authorities built an entire road out of plastic. “It has lasted really well, even during the monsoon rains,” said Tirkey.

The cafe’s concept of bartering food for plastic waste is catching on elsewhere, too. In Siliguri, West Bengal, the alumni of a local school are distributing free food on Saturdays to anyone who deposits half a kilo of plastic waste. At the other end of the country in Mulugu in Telangana state, the town authorities give one kilo of rice in return for one kilo of plastic. Local school children also go around collecting plastic. The district collector of Mulugu has said he wants to make his district the first in India to be free of single use plastic. The enthusiasm is proving infections: one local couple sent out wedding invitations printed on reusable cloth grocery bags.

It has now reached the capital, New Delhi, where municipal authorities plan to open several Garbage Cafes along the lines of the one in Ambikapur. About 70% of the city’s plastic waste is single use, and most of it ends up in landfills or clogging drains. It is a particular menace for hungry cows who end up rummaging through garbage bins and eating plastic. Last year, a vet in Delhi removed 70kg of plastic from a cow’s stomach.

Simar Malhotra, co-founder of Parvaah, a not-for-profit in New Delhi which campaigns against plastic, believes the Garbage Cafe is worth emulating across the country.

“How many schemes solve two problems in one go? The cafe tackles waste and also gives hungry people a hot meal which in turn motivates them to collect more plastic,” she said.

Tirkey stresses the importance of that loop. “What’s important is that our meals are nutritious and tasty. We didn’t want to give rubbish.”

Original article by Amrit Dhillon –  Source The Guardian

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

To find out more about the Garbage Cafe and ways to get involved, go to their website.

To find out more about Plastic Donation Center and ways to get involved, go to their website.

Equality Wellbeing

Low-Income Countries Now Have Access to Affordable Life-Saving Breast Cancer Drug

The World Health Organization (WHO) just gave a game-changing breast cancer treatment its stamp of approval.

The WHO prequalified its first biosimilar (meaning an affordable copy) of the medicine trastuzumab on Wednesday. Trastuzumab has shown high efficacy in curing early-stage breast cancer and, in some cases, more advanced forms of the disease, according to the WHO. Prequalification from the WHO gives countries the guarantee that they’re purchasing quality health products. This is the first biosimilar out of a few that were introduced over the past years to be prequalified by the WHO.

Trastuzumab is an antibody and was categorized by the WHO as an essential medicine for about 20% of breast cancers. First released in 2006 by a company by the Netherlands, trastuzumab sparked debate in the UK about who could afford to use it, according to the Guardian. The drug usually costs around $20,000 per treatment period, making it an unavailable option for many women and health care systems in most countries. The biosimilar version is around 65% cheaper.

Prices for biosimilar trastuzumab should decrease even more as the WHO is expected to prequalify more products. Some other versions of the drug are already available for around $4,000, but without approval from the WHO, they can’t be sold in every country.

“Women in many cultures suffer from gender disparity when it comes to accessing health services,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said in a news release. “In poor countries, there is the added burden of a lack of access to treatment for many, and the high cost of medicines. Effective, affordable breast cancer treatment should be a right for all women, not the privilege of a few.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. In 2018, 2.1 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 630,000 of them died from the disease. Many of these women could have survived if it weren’t for late diagnosis and lack of access to affordable treatment, according to the WHO.

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that by 2040 the number of diagnosed breast cancers will reach 3.1 million, with the greatest increase in low-and middle-income countries. Lack of screening programs, health education, and inadequate funding all attribute to the rise of breast cancer in developing countries.

“WHO prequalification of biosimilar trastuzumab is good news for women everywhere,” Dr. Tedros said.

Original article by Leah Rodriguez –  Source Global Citizen

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

To find out more about the World Health Organisation (WHO) and ways to get involved, go to their website.


This London Road Is Set to Become the UK’s First Zero-Emission Street

A street in the Barbican area of central London is set to become the UK’s first zero-emission street, the City of London Corporation has announced this week.

From Spring 2020 the road is expected to only be open to zero-emission vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians through Beech Street, one of the area’s main thoroughfares.

The street normally experiences a high level of air pollution because it is mostly enclosed in a tunnel running under the Barbican Estate. Cyclists and pedestrians travel alongside cars through the tunnel, breathing in fumes.

Working with Transport for London, the City said a temporary traffic order will be placed and the impact of the decision on air quality will be monitored, adding that it expects to see “a significant improvement on air quality” resulting in health benefits for those who use the street.

Emergency vehicles, refuse collection, and delivery vehicles will still be able to drive through as an exception.

The City of London Corporation – not to be confused with the government of the whole of London, but a district within the wider metropolitan area – also said it hopes the effect of the ban will improve the quality of the air around nearby schools. If successful it may become a permanent ban.

“These measures are another important step towards cleaner air in the City. Drastically reducing air pollution requires radical actions, and these plans will help us eliminate toxic air on our streets,” the chair of the environmental committee of the City of London Corporation, Jeremy Simons, said.

He added: “Nobody should have to breathe in dirty air, and we will continue to take bold and ambitious steps to ensure that the health of Londoners is protected.”

The scheme is to bring nitrogen dioxide levels on Beech Street in line with air quality guidelines set out by the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The UK capital has struggled to keep in line with the recommended acceptable levels of air pollution for some time.

In 2017, London breached annual air pollution limits within just five days of the new year. Since then, action has improved things a bit, but 2 million people are still living with pollution above legal limits, the Guardian reported in April this year.

Meanwhile, it was announced on Tuesday that a fresh inquest would be launched to determine the role of air pollution and monitoring in the death of 9-year-old Londoner Ella Kissi-Debrah in 2013, who suffered a fatal asthma attack.

A 2018 report by Prof. Stephen Holgate found air pollution levels at the Catford monitoring station — one mile from Ella’s home — “consistently” exceeded lawful EU limits during the three years prior to her death.

Original article by Helen Lock- Source Global Citizen

Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

To find out more about the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and ways to get involved, go to their website.