Tuesday , June 22 2021
Home / Tag Archives: public health

Tag Archives: public health

Hard to rouse a moral panic about coffee

Swap "coffee" and "caffeine" in this piece for "vaping" and "nicotine", and imagine the outraged calls for tougher regulation. A nationwide survey of hundreds of New Zealand tertiary students found almost every single one of them consume some level of caffeine daily, with a quarter experiencing "distressing" side effects.But researchers found most of those students who suffered negative effects associated with caffeine such as a fast heartbeat, upset stomach or an inability to sleep had no...

Read More »

Pandemic priorities

Prior to Covid, successive governments' approaches to public health meant that we had central government ready and able to command District Health Boards to stop the sale of soda at hospital cafeterias, but unable to tell whether hospital staff were vaccinated during a measles outbreak caused by failure to make sure everyone was getting their measles shots.I worry that a new Public Health Agency will find itself tempted to shift back to those kinds of priorities once Covid is eventually in...

Read More »

A rather costly failure

Lockdown wasn't a failure; it was a symptom of a failure. From where we were at when the government shut the country down, they had to do it.But we didn't have to be in that position at all.The Herald's been going through the Friday afternoon document dump and caught this one. Contact-tracing capacity has repeatedly been referred to as a weak point in New Zealand's Covid-19 response and has been ramped up in recent weeks to a point where director general of health Ashley Bloomfield now...

Read More »

Public Health Priorities

New Zealand's public health system has pivoted admirably to focus on the current pandemic. But the neglect of communicable disease for rather a long time ahead of this has had costs.The public health system's focus on noncommunicable disease may make sense if you only look at the current burden of disease, prior to this year. But contagious and noncommunicable disease are very different things. If I decide to live an unhealthy lifestyle and have worse health as consequence, the costs of that...

Read More »

Compare and contrast: Covid-19 funding edition

On 24 February, New Zealand's Health Research Council announced that up to $3m would be available for Covid-19 research. We're pleased to announce up to $3 million in funding will be made available for a range of research projects to address the current COVID-19 threat as well as future infectious diseases. @minhealthnz @SunnyCollings https://t.co/6wSNVyLmsD — HRC New Zealand (@HRCNewZealand) February 24, 2020 The Spinoff reported on Friday 17 April that they've awarded $3.8 million to...

Read More »

Ready-up

My column in the last Insights newsletter covered some of the coming Coronavirus mess. The government this week extended the COVID-19 (coronavirus) travel ban barring foreign nationals from arriving in New Zealand from mainland China and suggesting self-quarantine for Kiwis returning.The continued ban feels like the right decision for a highly contagious disease with mortality rates that appear to be around twenty times higher than the seasonal flu. But feels are a poor basis for...

Read More »

Public health and vaccination

There could well be a case for having a public agency focused comprehensively on vaccination and communicable disease.  But the proposal that the folks over at Public Health Expert isn't that. In a post framed around the recent measles outbreak and noting the risks around antimicrobial resistance and pandemics, we get this conclusion: Business as usual is not a rational or viable option for NZ. There are almost daily reminders about the large current and impending public health challenges...

Read More »

Ice Cream Makes You Happy

An excellent response to a stupid complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, a ludicrous ruling from the ASA, and a milquetoast response from the manufacturer. First, the stupid complaint about an ad outside a dairy noting "Ice Cream Makes U Happy".  I wonder if E Fowler has ever tasted ice cream. And wouldn't kids who've walked a kilometre from school to the dairy deserve an ice cream?The ASA upheld the complaint. Absolutely absurd, inside-the-asylum stuff: A majority of the...

Read More »

Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders

The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake.But it sure isn't the way I'd do it.National's suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren't keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working for Families, but that appears more controversial.We can go back to first principles and note that there's a reasonable case for government intervention to encourage vaccination - as I...

Read More »

Public health, externality, and vaccination

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I've heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There's a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement.In a place with relatively high vaccination rates, the primary benefit from your getting vaccinated goes to other...

Read More »