Weekly health roundup July 4

International health news

New research has found that the immune system can be “trained” to attack itself in order to fight Pemphigus vulgaris – a deadly autoimmune disease. The method is also proving effective in battling cancer.

A new precedent has been set by a UK woman winning her appeal to use her dead daughter’s eggs and carry and raise her child. The woman lost her case in the High Court last year but the decision was recently overturned.  

Health services

A huge number of clinics in the USA have been found to be offering unregulated stem cell therapy. Usually, people would travel to countries in the Caribbean and Latin America to find treatment, as the regulations were more relaxed. Described as a ‘miracle-cure’ by many, there are concerns over bogus treatments trying to piggy-back off other successful breakthroughs.

Australia could soon see an end to ‘junk insurance policies’. Some of these policies only offered basic treatment in public hospitals, and were adopted by people wanting to avoid Medicare Levy Surcharge – a tax penalty for being uninsured. With the number of people seeking cover to avoid this penalty down from 8% to lower than 1%, and expectations that “there would soon be changes to the minimum level of hospital insurance required to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge”, junk policies seem to heading for the bin.

Every citizen in Delhi, India may soon be covered by a health insurance scheme proposed by the AAP. The plan looks to provide cover to everyone for a small premium, with the premium being paid by the government for those from the economically weaker section.  

Country updates

The UK narrowly voted to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum, with one key policy being extra funds going to the NHS. While this claim has now been rejected by leave campaigners, the NHS looks to be taking yet another hit as doctors and nurses from the EU could be less willing to work in a non-EU UK.

Further, despite staff shortages, it has been found that overseas nurses were denied NHS jobs last year, with East Lancashire Hospital NHS going as far as rejecting 300 out of 300 applicants.

Two-thirds of Americans are not worried about the Zika virus, despite there having been hundreds of reported cases of Zika compared to merely a few cases of Ebola.

The UK is taking advice from Finland with the introduction of ‘baby boxes’. Every newborn is given a box to sleep in and a ‘starter set’, including clothes, nappies and toys.