Salt, wonderful salt

salt-1914130_1920Cultures worldwide have always used salt. In Judaism salt sealed a bargain with God as it did in Islam. The salt tax helped justify the French Revolution in people’s minds and Mahatma Gandhi protested a similar tax on salt that sparked the march towards Indian independence. To conserve food or make it taste good, salt is an embedded part of the culture. In Japan, salt is sacred and cleanses. Twenty-nine percent of people in Japan have CVDs. In Haiti salt cures a zombie – in case the zombie apocalypse is on its way, this might be useful to know.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) salt consumption is too high for everyone. The World Cancer Research Fund has researched links between salt consumption and cancer.

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Leadership gets small steps to become big leaps: NCDs are the first key


Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Chander, the Permanent Representative of the Mission of India to the United Nations office and other international organizations in Geneva, talked recently about how many companies are using reverse innovation to develop new healthcare tools in India at a conference at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

He invokes a Google-invented app to diagnose diabetic retinopathy which is now going through trials in India. He said that the government and IT are the ones who can enable these steps forward, but that the sector needs to be treated as a public good with some coherent legislation. All stakeholders need to come together. This would take cultural and political leadership.

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Remarks on NCD financing at the Interactive Hearing for the 3rd HLM of UNGA on NCDs, UN Headquarters, New York, 5 July 2018


It is now well established that investing in NCD prevention and management is not just necessary to counter their massive negative social and economic development impacts but that doing so generates significant and quantifiable benefits in both short and long terms.

But how do we get the billions in sustained and sustainable financing needed for NCDs? This is the challenge especially in low and lower-middle-income countries that are hardest hit by the rising tide of NCDs but that also have the least capabilities to resource Universal Health Coverage for NCDs without which the broader UHC can’t be achieved.

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We are living in a digital world


The point of healthcare is to increase people’s quality of life and safety. A John Hopkins study done in the U.S. found that medical error and health care inefficiencies caused over 250,000 deaths a year. IT is seen as the answer to this, specifically data mining patient information – like IBM’s Watson Health – and coming up with answers for care or treatment that the attending doctor might not think of. This helps reduce the possibility of mistakes but still has a person making the final diagnosis.

At a conference at the Graduate Institute, Geneva Dr Ernst Hafen, Co-founder and President of, pointed out that it will be up to individuals to decide who they want to give access to their data, and to what extent they want to participate in data sharing.

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