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from Expert Zone:

A call to action to galvanize momentum around maternal, child health in India

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The last decade has witnessed one of the most sincere, dedicated and coordinated efforts toward addressing global development and healthcare challenges. National and international policymakers, development partners and researchers have come together to work toward a common vision of a better and healthier world.

In September 2000, building upon a decade of dialogue, world leaders unanimously adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration. In doing so, they committed to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and laid out a series of time-bound targets with a deadline of 2015 that have come to be known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

These eight goals formed a blueprint that brought together the world’s countries and leading development institutions and galvanized efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest populations.

In the years that followed, the world has witnessed great successes in many areas. Globally, extreme poverty has declined by half from 1990 to 2010, and there is now nearly universal enrolment in primary education.

from The Great Debate:

You don’t need that annual pelvic exam. So why is your doctor giving you one?

 To match feature DOCTORS-DUMMIES/

In June, the American College of Physicians (ACP) reported what many doctors have known for years: There is little justification for the widespread practice of the annual pelvic exam. In its clinical guidelines, the physicians group recommended against performing the exams for non-pregnant women who don’t have pelvic pain or other symptoms that suggest a gynecologic problem. These guidelines do not apply to Pap smears for cervical cancer screening, for which there is strong evidence for their continued use. They apply to the pelvic exam, where the clinician first uses a speculum to perform an internal exam, and then with his or her hands, feels for pelvic organs.

The guidelines are based on an extensive review of nearly 70 years’ worth of studies looking at the benefits and harms of the annual pelvic exam. After decades of research, the studies don’t show any benefits to performing this annual exam. When surveyed, many doctors said that they do the pelvic exam to screen for ovarian cancer, yet the review found that the pelvic exam could not effectively detect ovarian cancer, nor reduce deaths from it. Nor did the exams reduce deaths from non-ovarian and non-cervical cancers.

from Stories I’d like to see:

How much is contraception coverage and costly violations for BNP Paribas

justices

1. Does health insurance covering contraception actually cost anything?

In this article about a renewed fight at the U.S. Supreme Court just days after its decision about whether the owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain had to buy insurance covering certain forms of contraception, the New York Times’ ace court reporter Adam Liptak wrote:

The majority opinion there, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., seemed to suggest that the forms could play a role in an arrangement that was an acceptable alternative to having employers pay for the coverage. Under the arrangement, insurance companies that receive the forms pay for the coverage on the theory that it costs no more to provide contraception than to pay for pregnancies.

from India Insight:

Budget 2014: Wishlist from healthcare sector

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has its work cut out if it wants to transform the country's health system and provide a universal health insurance programme.

India has just 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people, and 80 percent of this workforce is in urban areas serving 30 percent of the population, according to industry lobby group NATHEALTH.

from The Great Debate UK:

Rogue private healthcare requires government action

--Ali Malsher is a clinical negligence partner in law firm Anthony Gold and a former nurse. The opinions expressed are her own.--

The private healthcare sector is booming. Cut backs in the NHS mean more people are taking out health insurance and looking to private hospitals to provide their care.

from Breakingviews:

Tax-arbitrage M&A requires a deep discount

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.  

Tax-arbitrage M&A requires a deep discount. U.S. companies seeking to relocate by mergers in a bid to slash how much they remit to Uncle Sam were a big part of the $1.8 trillion first-half deal boom. The benefits of such ill-conceived combinations will be fleeting, though. The more so-called inversions there are, the more likely the law is to change.

from Edward Hadas:

Market failure can be sign of fatigue

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Modern economies work to meet consumers’ needs. So if needs are not met, that must be an economic failure, right? Healthcare suggests otherwise. Sometimes, unhelpful ideologies get in the way of economics delivering the goods.

from Lawrence Summers:

Inequality is about more than money

Graduates from Columbia University's School of Business hold a sign as they cheer during university's commencement ceremony in New York

With Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century, rising to number 1 on best-seller lists, inequality has become central to the public debate over economic policy. Piketty, and much of this discussion, focuses on the sharp increases in the share of income and wealth going to the top 1 percent, .1 percent and .01 percent of the population.

This is indeed a critical issue. Whatever the resolution of particular numerical arguments, it is almost certain that the share of income going to the top 1 percent of the population has risen by 10 percentage points over the last generation, and that the share of the bottom 90 percent has fallen by a comparable amount. The only groups that have seen faster income growth than the top 1 percent are the top .1 percent and top .01 percent.

from India Insight:

Telemedicine in India might be just what the doctor ordered

Between surgeries and hospital rounds one recent day, Dr. Rajiv Parakh made a dash into his Gurgaon office for an appointment he couldn’t miss: a consultation with a patient who lives hundreds of kilometres away.

Seated before his laptop in this city on the outskirts of India’s capital, the surgeon listened as a patient in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka described his swollen legs. For the next 20 minutes, Parakh examined the patient via Web camera, made a diagnosis and prescribed treatment.

from Breakingviews:

Valeant’s sweetener comes off a little defensive

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International comes off oddly defensive in its latest advance on Allergan. A sweetened $49 billion bid for the Botox maker disappointed investors in both companies. The use of a messy financial instrument probably didn’t help, especially after the target pushed back hard on the deal math and compared its suitor to Tyco. Valeant has more work to do to reclaim the role of aggressor.

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