Displaying 1-13 of 13 key documents
Source: UNESCO International Hydrological Programme | July 2012
This collection of papers was presented at a conference on linkages between climate change, water, conflict and migration, held in September 2011 at The Hague, in the Netherlands, where the discussion focused on: capacity building and resilience in climate hotspots; conflict prevention; and a legal framework to protect environmental migrants.
The publication includes a conference summary and a background document providing an overview of how climate change, water stress and environmental problems are increasingly seen as major threats to human security. Also included are papers that explore connections between these issues from the perspective of vulnerability; put forward a research and capacity-building agenda for climate-induced migrations; and review current literature, evidence and implications for policymaking on the environment, climate change and human displacement.
Source: Springer-Verlag | June 2011
This peer-reviewed paper examines the factors that motivate people to innovate, with the authors arguing that material rewards, such as capital or patents, make up only one aspect of their motivation. Using grassroots innovation in India as a case-study, the study found that the intrinsic rewards of "getting things done" and satisfaction play just as important a role as extrinsic factors, such as increased income.
The authors developed indicators of motivation by looking at innovation as a process of three stages — idea generation, experimentation and application. They found that intrinsic motivations were particularly important in the early stages, when there are high levels of uncertainty about the innovation. They conclude by outlining implications of their findings for innovation policies, suggesting that use of funding and patents could negatively impact innovators by reducing their desire to share their ideas locally.
Source: PLoS Medicine | June 2009
This study documents the chemical composition of drugs randomly sampled from pharmacies in Delhi and Chennai in India, and aims to offer the government guidance on improving drug regulation. India is a major producer and consumer of pharmaceuticals but, with quality control standards varying significantly between states, the country has high levels of counterfeit drugs. The study shows that 12 per cent of Delhi samples and 5 per cent of Chennai samples collected in 2008 and 2009 did not meet international quality standards. Although these numbers roughly match the government's estimates, there were differences between pharmacies in the types of drugs commonly counterfeited. And while some had no fake drugs, others had up to 30 per cent.
Source: Medical Anthropology Quarterly | March 2010
This article argues that unless the modernisation of traditional medicine in Nepal is treated with care, it could create gender inequalities and the increased social marginalisation of women. Healthcare in Nepal is slowly being modernised to fit more with a model of Western medicine than with traditional Ayurveda. Ayurveda attracts many female practitioners since it is one of the few professions in this patriarchal society in which women are accorded high status.
Source: Consilience | February 2008
This article assesses the benefits and drawbacks of using solar home lighting to supply energy to rural villages in India. The author suggests that these systems can meet all a village's lighting needs and have other benefits including better education, lower costs and reduced reliance on kerosene. But the systems are also susceptible to damage, with component parts often needing replacing or repair. The author highlights the need for financial support to disseminate solar home lighting — be it through microfinance or government subsidies.
Source: Nature | August 2005
A population's immunity to disease can greatly affect outbreaks of vector-borne disease, and isolating the influence of climate variability has proven difficult. This research study sets out to evaluate the effect of climate by accounting for population immunity.
The authors collated data on cholera cases from a predominant strain in the rural area of Matlab, Bangladesh, from 1966–2002. They used a model to incorporate immunity from previous infections and also potential cross-immunity from previous infections by other strains. They found that both forms of immunity were long-lasting — over 10 years in some cases. Yet the variation in transmission did not always match variations in immunity; at several points, it coincided with severe weather change such as monsoon rains or river overflow.
The authors suggest that forecasting disease will require considering climate variability alongside population susceptibility.
Source: Current Science | March 2009
This paper by scientists at the University of Hyderabad examines the nanoscience debate in India. Nanoscience's revolutionary potential and economic benefits are assessed against ethical, legal, social and environmental (ELSE) issues.
The authors present commercial applications, investment, risks and regulatory mechanisms, using the case of Bt cotton in India to show the implications of a new technology. They argue that India's diverse socio-cultural landscape means that nanoscience is likely to have uneven and multilayered effects.
India's scientists do not advocate regulation at the current stage of research — so as not to slow down development, say the authors. But they add that a broad-based and transparent regulatory body to address ELSE issues and funding for research on them would be beneficial.
Source: Current Science | February 2006
The authors of this article analysed simulation results from a regional climate model for the northern Indian Ocean to predict likely changes in the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal from 2041–2060.
They find that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases will lead to more frequent cyclones in the region, particularly during the post-monsoon period. In addition, the number of intense cyclones and storm surges will increase. These results are consistent with other trend analyses that show intensification of cyclones in the bay during the last century.
But the research described in this paper only deals with simulations from one future climate scenario. To obtain better regional climate projections, the authors suggest it is necessary to examine simulations from more scenarios.
Source: The Lancet | December 2007
This series of five articles outlines new challenges and unsolved problems since the journal's last series in 2005. The first article ([189kB]) predicts the disease burden and economic losses that developing countries would face from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. In the 23 countries that the authors incorporated into a model, chronic disease was responsible for 50% of the disease burden in 2005. If no action is taken, they say, about US$84 billion of economic production will be lost from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes alone in these 23 countries between 2006 and 2015. The second article ([105kB]) looks at how to scale-up strategies to fight chronic diseases in developing countries. The authors review evidence to identify which methods are cost-effective and financially feasible, and therefore ready to be scaled-up.
Tobacco control, salt reduction (both of which are detailed in the series' third paper ([177kB])), and a multidrug strategy to treat individuals with high-risk cardiovascular disease (see an in-depth look in paper four ([220kB])) are prime candidates for scaling-up. What effect improving health systems has on the level of chronic diseases should be properly evaluated, say the authors. For some health interventions, such as preventing or controlling diabetes, there is little cost-effectiveness data for low or middle-income countries, but their scientific effectiveness is so compelling that countries should consider how best to incorporate them. The final paper ([92kB]) is a call to action to incorporate existing interventions into healthcare programmes, which in 2005 was costed at US$5.8 billion.
Source: PLoS Medicine | January 2005
1990 saw the first major effort to estimate the main causes of illness and the biggest killer diseases in different countries. The data are important for public-health officials to allocate their resources wisely but also for feeding into estimates to plan for the future. Importantly, these need to be regularly updated to ensure that health programmes are still going in the right direction. This paper updates the 1990 study and offer predictions up to 2030.
The most forceful change in disease trends is in developing countries, with the proportion of people affected by non-communicable diseases set to increase. Proportionally, the number of people with infectious diseases is set to fall, though not when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
Because the authors also rely on predicting socio-economic development trends, they created best-case and worst-case scenarios for economic growth. In the pessimistic scenario, by 2030, the three leading causes of illness will be HIV/AIDS, depression, and ischaemic heart disease; in the optimistic scenario, road-traffic accidents will replace heart disease as the third leading cause.
Source: International Journal for Equity in Health | January 2005
The WHO has provided its own estimates of how non-communicable diseases are set to rise in developing countries. These authors pool data from national registries and international databases to compare data on the differing burden from individual diseases. They outline the risk factors associated with the diseases.
The main three killers are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The paper ranks different types of cancer by how many people in developing countries they kill (lung and breast cancer are the deadliest) and also ranks diabetes prevalence by country (India, followed by China, has the highest prevalence).
To tackle these diseases, say the authors, people need to look closely at the risk factors in their life – eating healthily and exercising can do much to reduce the chances of getting one of these diseases.
Source: PLoS Medicine | May 2005
Cardiovascular diseases are set to rise dramatically in developing countries, partly because of an increase in risk factors for the diseases, which include diet, physical activity, smoking. The authors looked at cardiovascular disease risks such as being overweight or obese, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol, and related them to national income, food purchase constraints, and urbanisation. Body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol increased as national income increased, then flattened, and eventually declined. BMI also rose with increasing urbanisation.
The authors suggest that cardiovascular disease risks will increasingly be concentrated in low-income and middle-income countries. Thus, preventing obesity should be considered a priority in these countries, along with measures to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and tobacco use.
Source: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences | 2002
This document presents the proceedings of a conference at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in December 2001. The conference papers deal with themes relating to the role of scientific research in the development of Northern countries and the need for North–South research cooperation. They document the experiences of research cooperation involving, among others, India, South Africa and a number of East African countries. Several papers deal with innovation and scientific cooperation, with case studies.