Although accurate figures are not readily available,
mental disability in the Middle East is believed to be
higher than the world average of 2.5-3% of the population,
because of consanguineous marriages. While
there is a concerted move in Europe and the US to try
and integrate mentally disabled children into society,
this is generally not the case in the Middle East. Middle
East Health explores this contentious, and serious, issue
on page 28.
For decades, the World Health Organisation has
been doing excellent work in guiding governments and
providing a knowledge base to improve public health around the world. The
global body is now playing an increasingly important role in an increasingly
interconnected world. For example, it has been the driving force behind the
anti-tobacco treaty and campaigns, resulting in smoking bans in public places in
much of the world as well as concerted efforts to help smokers quit the habit.
World No Tobacco Day on page 30. The WHO has also played a crucial role in
co-ordinating global moves to curtail the spread of viral epidemics around the
globe, such as the swine flu near-disaster last year which was only averted
fast and concerted action. Members of the Organisation met in Geneva in May
for the annual World Health Assembly to discuss the right way forward on a wide
range of global public health issues, and adopted no fewer than 28 resolutions.
Our report on the meeting is on page 22.
The MEH team recently visited Jordan, following a World Bank report which
ranks the country as number one in the region and number five in the world for
medical tourism. They spoke to several leading hospitals in Amman to uncover
their strategies and secrets. Astonishingly, they all seem to be bursting at the
seams and have expansion programmes underway in an effort to cope with the
growing demand. Learn more in the exclusive Jordan report on page 38.
And as usual you’ll find inside a wide range of informative news about the
medical research and other points of interest, locally and globally, to keep you
talking and thinking over the summer.
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I’ll be spending part of the summer in spas, trying to lose some weight,
and regain healthy habits. What about you? I’ll be reporting back in our regular
spa feature in the September issue. Until then, I wish you good health – and a