Hunger on the rise amid pandemic

first_imgThe current crisis may present an opportunity for reform by raising awareness and providing platforms for change in COVID-19 relief and other legislation. With farm profit margins thin, Willett said, the government can offer incentives to nudge operators toward producing healthier foods in greater abundance, thereby lowering prices and encouraging smarter eating. Globally, Woteki said, a lot of thought and energy is being given to how to make the world’s food supply sustainable. A major opportunity, at least in the U.S., occurs every five years in the U.S. Farm Bill, which shapes U.S. farm policy through everything from guaranteed loan programs to crop insurance, from support for biofuels and food assistance to provisions for rural development and farm-based conservation programs. The next reauthorization is due in 2023.Before then, Bleich said, the U.S. House has already approved additional resources for SNAP in the HEROES Act, the latest COVID-19 relief legislation. Senate Republican leaders have said they would not take up the measure, but that additional relief may be considered in late July. Local officials have another tool to help, she said, by implementing the summertime equivalent of the school lunch program.“Simply going back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic would not be a good outcome, because we were already badly off-track from a nutritional, environmental, and social justice perspective,” Willett said. “Among the many critical issues we need to deal with in the long term must be the dismal health and nutritional status of our country and the great inequities in health and nutritional status.” Telling people what to eat and what not to eat often backfires, but ‘Don’t drink soda’ is a clearer message, Harvard expert says This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.The COVID-19 pandemic is not just making Americans sick, it’s leaving many hungry as well, and experts who gathered for a Harvard Chan School forum on the problem said that legislation to relieve the pandemic’s economic burden may be able to help.Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, said the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps, has already been used to help low-income and newly unemployed Americans in pandemic relief legislation approved by Congress and signed by President Trump. SNAP can be boosted again in a future bill, she said, advocating a 15 percent hike in the maximum benefit, or an extra $100 a month for a family of four.Bleich said a June analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by Northwestern University researchers showed food insecurity doubling from before the pandemic to late May, affecting 23 percent of Americans as U.S. unemployment spiked to more than 14 percent from 3.8 percent in February.Bleich, whose work focuses on government policies to fight obesity and diseases related to diet, said the survey shows not just a broad increase of the problem nationally but also that, like COVID-19 itself, food insecurity is hitting Black and minority communities particularly hard, rising from one in five households to nearly one in three. As a consequence, the network of charities that provide help are getting overwhelmed.“All states are showing an increase, and it has roughly doubled,” Bleich said. “Much like we saw prior to the start of COVID-19 where food insecurity clustered around Black and brown populations and low-income populations, we’re seeing those same disparities persist now.”Bleich appeared on a Facebook Live event sponsored by The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and PRI’s ”The World.” The hourlong event, “Food Insecurity, Inequality, and COVID-19,” also featured Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Catherine Woteki, Distinguished Institute Professor at the University of Virginia and professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, and David Bennell, manager, food and nature, for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.Willett said that, unlike some parts of the world, the U.S. has plenty of food, so the problem of hunger is one of equitable distribution. There is a secondary problem, albeit one that is far from trivial, of the least-expensive foods being unhealthy, with too many refined carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy fats. The counterintuitive result is that levels of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related ailments are higher in the same low-income communities that suffer food insecurity. Related Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic steps up its efforts in time of pandemic Waste not, want not Harvard continues to donate food for distribution in Cambridge and beyond Helping to feed the community Hold the soda, hold the fat shaminglast_img read more

PROMISING PRACTICES FOR PANDEMIC PLANNING Toolkit provides guidance on home care for the sick

first_img Instructions on using thermometers, isolating the sick, making disinfectant with bleach, and cleaning potentially contaminated areas Burroughs said the county doesn’t have the capabilities to translate the guide into the eight other languages they make available in the county. She added that the county intends to make additional modifications to the toolkit to make it more accessible for various populations. Assessing the toolkitThe kit is mainly available through the county’s Web site. Burroughs said that, because of limited resources, dissemination to all households in the county has not been possible. During an influenza pandemic, the county plans to distribute the toolkit when quarantine and isolation plans are handed out and to also send messages through the media on how people can download the kit. Rachel Abbey and Betsy Burroughs of the county’s Advanced Practice Center (APC) for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response compiled the toolkit and said the idea developed following suggestions from other public health officials about the necessity for home care guidelines. The creators sought public input through focus groups, which Abbey said was very useful in creating the final product. Editor’s Note: CIDRAP’s Promising Practices: Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Tools online database showcases peer-reviewed practices, including useful tools to help others with their planning. This article is one of a biweekly series exploring the development of these practices. We hope that describing the process and context of these practices enhances pandemic planning. Jan 2, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – As healthcare facilities become overwhelmed during pandemic influenza, many of the sick may have to receive care elsewhere, including at home. The “Stay at Home Toolkit for Influenza,” developed by health officials in Maryland’s Montgomery County, offers the public practical guidelines on how to nurse ill household members. The simple guide, from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Services, highlights prevention and caregiving with outlines on what people should or should not do when assisting those sick with the flu. Despite the toolkit’s simplicity, it doesn’t skimp on necessary details and is medically accurate, Abbey said. “It’s still very comprehensive on specifics on what to do.” The county has developed other tools to help the public prepare. Aside from a pandemic flu Web site, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pandemicflu, staff members have made presentations on preparedness at community forums and events about pandemic influenza. In addition, the county has launched a bus ad campaign encouraging hand washing and cough etiquette specific to seasonal influenza. User-friendly informationThe home care influenza toolkit includes: “If you were bereft of information, you could turn to this,” Burroughs added. Abbey and Burroughs said they solicited expert feedback from nurses and other healthcare workers while creating the content areas for the toolkit, which also uses public health information from various sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Public Health – Seattle & King County, among others. Items to keep on hand for pets for disaster preparedness “It’s a useful tool for other localities and hopefully other populations,” she said. “We might provide a more simplified version in the future that is more streamlined,” she said. “During a pandemic, in order to deal with surge, we would need residents to take care of sick people,” said Abbey, a program specialist at the APC. “We just don’t know how it’s going to be utilized,” noted Abbey.center_img While the guide was born out of concerns about pandemic flu, its creators say it is applicable for caregiving during regular flu season as well. Prevention tips are especially essential, because each infected person is expected to transmit infection to two other people, according to the US government’s planning Web site (http://www.flu.gov/). See also: There is little medical jargon in the user-friendly toolkit. For example, when advising people to wash hands for 20 seconds after coming in contact with a sick person, the guide recommends singing “Happy Birthday” twice to keep time. Burroughs said the toolkit has been generally well received. Guidelines for those returning to work after recovering from flu Montgomery County has the highest population in the state of Maryland, with nearly a million people. A “medium-level” pandemic could cause almost a quarter of a million illnesses in the county, with 133, 235 requiring outpatient care and 2,742 hospitalizations, while a severe pandemic could infect almost 300,000 residents, according to county statistics. Of these, about 160,000 would need outpatient care and 3,290 would require hospitalization. In addition, the plan in its current state cannot be used by everyone. It will be impossible to evaluate the toolkit’s strengths and weaknesses until a pandemic actually occurs, Abbey and Burroughs said. “It doesn’t address specific populations that we serve, and we recognize that,” Abbey said, pointing out, for instance, that despite its simplicity, the toolkit might still pose a barrier for those with limited English proficiency. According to 2000 census data, 31.6% of Montgomery County’s population speaks a language other than English at home. Determining the needAccording to federal estimates based on past pandemics, as many as 90 million people nationwide could become infected in either a moderate or a severe pandemic. At least 45 million will require outpatient care in either scenario; during a severe pandemic, 9.9 million may need hospitalization. Demand is expected to outpace hospital capacity, forcing people to rely on alternate care sites, including homes. Tips on how to recognize flu signs and symptoms View tools and reviewers’ comments for the “Stay at Home Toolkit for Influenza” practicehttp://www.publichealthpractices.org/practice/stay-home-toolkit-influenza-md A personal care log to help caregivers track observations and actions Checklists on what to keep in the home “It’s really basic information,” said Burroughs, a communication specialist at the APC. “We actually had a consultant to tame the language to make it more understandable. I think this goes a long way in how it is received.”last_img read more

Get informed about Ballston sewer plan

first_imgThe town of Ballston is embarking on a potential project to bring sanitary sewers to the “hamlet.” Timing for the project is linked to the Ballston Lake Sewer Project that is already approved and under detailed planning.Residential and commercial property owners in the district will vote on April 18 whether to install the sewers. There are many factors involved in the decision making, including the environment, health, viability of hamlet businesses, financing, and operating the system. It’s important for voters to become fully informed of all the relevant factors so as to make the best decision. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Existing failed septic systems have, and still are affecting, the land, water table and waterways. Repair costs increase with time, and businesses are significantly burdened to handle sanitary waste in the Route 50 corridor.This doesn’t come free. The Sewer Committee continues to pursue minimizing the total cost, including obtaining grants, low-interest loans and encouraging contractors to discount multiple installations. Forty years ago, a similar project with 85 percent grants was defeated. That level of grants is not available today. While cost is a major factor, there are planned allowances for extreme situations, like financial hardship, installation cost based on distance from sewer mains and age of recently established septic systems. These will be in the required town law.Information on upcoming public sessions, including Wednesday’s (March 14) is available at www.ballstonsewers.org or by calling the town of Ballston, 518-885-8502.After learning the facts, I’m certain the proposed sewer district is an investment in the future of our community. I urge everyone to become fully informed.Al Pirigyi Sr.Burnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Bumper sticker promotion launched ahead of 3rd Digicel test series

first_img Share Sharing is caring! 20 Views   no discussions Share LocalNews Bumper sticker promotion launched ahead of 3rd Digicel test series by: – April 2, 2012center_img Share Tweet The Dominica Cricket Association’s Marketing team has launched a bumper sticker promotion in an effort to heighten the public’s interest ahead of the 3rd Digicel Test match which will be hosted in Dominica later this month. Cricket lovers and enthusiasts are encouraged to “show” how much they love the sport by placing a bumper sticker on their vehicles, which could earn them entry into the Windsor Park Sports Stadium ” absolutely free”.The bumper sticker which is described by the marketing team as “an attractive, eye-catching image of West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, and Australia captain, Michael Clarke, in action” Dominica Cricket Association’s Media Liaison, Marie-Antoinette Mora, noted that the Association is “constantly looking at ways to engage the general public”.“This is just one of the exciting initiatives that we have come up with to motivate local cricket-loving fans. Persons spotted by members of our team with the bumper sticker on their vehicles will get a chance to win season tickets to the Test. We will be moving around the island and taking note of the vehicle registrations with bumper stickers and they will all be entered into a draw,” Mora explained.Interested persons can collect stickers at the Association’s office located at the Windsor Park Stadium, from Digicel outlets, various Digicel TopUp vendors around the island. They can also get a chance to win tickets by tuning into Digicel programmes on local radio stations, “Off the Field” on DBS with Brian Francis and by logging onto the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) website at www.discoverdominica.com.The test match will be held in Dominica from the 23rd to the 27th of April, 2012.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

AFCON Qualifier :Can Uganda Cranes defy the omens?

first_imgOver the years, Uganda-Ghana fixtures have been closely contested affairs.In fact, in the eight meetings the two sides have faced off since their meeting in the 1978 Nations Cup final when Ghana edged Uganda 2-0, the Black Stars have only registered four two-goal wins over the Cranes. In the other three, Uganda has beaten Ghana once and pulled off two draws –a pattern that would ideally point to another cracking fixture in Kumasi this weekend. Unfortunately, events in Cranes’ build-up to their first Group E fixture suggest otherwise. Apart from staging a mediocre performance in their 2-0 loss to Niger in Niamey on Tuesday, the team’s preparations have been dampened by mysterious circumstances under which the team’s main striker Geoffrey Massa was dropped for this particular fixture. “Why would anyone stop me from travelling to Ghana?” I had prepared for this game and thought I would help the team but that isn’t possible now,” Massa stated early this week. Massa, who turns out for South African side Amatuks, had scored in Cranes’ last two qualifying matches against Madagascar and Mauritania –games that decided Uganda’s progress to the group stages. It’s the second time that the 28-year-old has been overlooked for a crucial game.  In September 2013, Massa was dropped for the crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Senegal in Marrakesh –a fixture Cranes lost 1-0. Uganda also self-destructed in October, 2011. Back then, Cranes star David Obua was dismissed from camp, just 24 hours to a vital fi xture against Kenya that could have earned a place to the finals after several years of waiting. In the absence of Massa, Cranes will look to Robert Ssentongo, Yunus Ssentamu, Hamis Kizza and Brian Umony for ammunition. On the evidence of their display against Niger, Cranes will have to show more bite, application, and spirit if they are to survive the intensity of the game in Kumasi. Over the years, Cranes have always won their first fixtures. Cranes have always won their home fixtures. But for the first time in over a decade, their Nations Cup campaign starts away from home, at a place of no faint hearts. Ghana too experienced  The Black Stars will come to this fixture with plenty of experience gathered over the years from both Nations Cup and World Cup tournaments. In qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Ghana topped their qualifying group, which included 2012 African Cup of Nations champions Zambia, with five wins out of six games. They eventually booked their flight to Brazil by dismantling much-fancied Egypt 7-3 on aggregate, including a 6-1 home victory. If Egypt’s performance against Ghana in Kumasi last year proved one thing, it was that any side that encounters the current Black Stars team needs to motor in top gear and not in bits. Engaging in second or third gear is not an option. Cranes will need to keep their tactical shape, throw bodies upfront, pressurize Ghana and force them into errors. This season, goalkeeper Denis Onyango has yet to start for his South Africa club Mamelodi Sundowns but will be considered ahead of Robert Odongkara due to his experience.  No changes The gangly custodian will be shielded by a back-four that includes Denis Iguma (right), Godfrey Walusimbi (left) and central pairing of Andrew Mwesigwa and Isaac Isinde.Micho Sredojevic will most likely opt for a conservative approach in midfield with two defensive midfielders in Khalid Aucho and Geoffrey Kizito. Tony Mawejje has assumed a more attacking role in recent Cranes matches. He will however find himself caught in providing more defensive cover than supporting the likes of Luwagga Kizito, Moses Oloya and Brian Umony in the offensive side of the pitch. It must be said, that although Ghana are good going forward, they do struggle at the back, with a lack of quality in goal and defence. In defence, the successors to John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah come with little of the quality the centre back paring provided in previous qualifiers.  This is where Massa would have weaved his magic, troubled the makeshift Ghanaian defense with pace and power over 90 minutes. As it is, Ghana will certainly dictate proceedings with Kwadwo Asamoah at the forefront of their attacking play. Asamoah has immensely improved since his move to Italian club Juventus. He was in great form last season as Juve pushed for a third successive Serie A title. Although Asamoah has often dropped back to play at left back for Juventus, he plays in a more central role for Ghana, linking the midfield and attack, and is the team’s orchestra alongside Andrew Ayew, Jordan Ayew and Gyan Asamoah — Ghana’s chief source of goals.But equally dangerous is Majeed Waris, a player whose stock has risen quicker than anyone on the Ghanaian team in the last six months. Waris has the ability to make diagonal runs off the shoulders of defenders than most players would make, giving him more space to run onto the ball. It will be interesting to see how Cranes central defenders shackle the youngster.last_img read more