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ICYMI: a polluted information ecosystem, tobacco industry interference, the gambling lobby at work – and a stack of awards

The column this week links to a new resource for integrating the social determinants of health into health workforce education and training, and brings news on a variety of commercial determinants of health.

Don’t miss the featured publication, on Indigenous relational self-care, as well as Conference Watch, COVID updates, and details of upcoming events.

The quotable?

In all my years in communications, I can’t say I ever worked in such a troubled environment – an information ecosystem so polluted that voices for positive change are struggling to make themselves heard. The potential impacts of this – on democracy, human rights and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals are devastating.”


Global health

Croakey readers have until 1 December to make a submission on development of a Code of Conduct for information integrity on digital platforms.

This United Nations initiative seeks to provide a concerted global response to information threats that is firmly rooted in human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and opinion and access to information.

The voluntary Code will help guide Member States, digital platforms and other groups in their efforts to make the digital space more inclusive and safer for all.

Read this article by Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Department of Global Communications. It begins:

“The case for information integrity has rarely been more compelling, or more urgent.

In all my years in communications, I can’t say I ever worked in such a troubled environment – an information ecosystem so polluted that voices for positive change are struggling to make themselves heard.

The potential impacts of this – on democracy, human rights and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals are devastating.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. When digital platforms first arrived, we communicators were so excited. For the UN, they held great potential to engage people directly with our advocacy and move them to act to improve the world.

And it’s true these tools have brought many benefits — revolutionising communications for everyone, everywhere, connecting those crying out for change, bringing together the isolated, and reuniting the displaced.

But we’ve also seen a darker side. Digital platforms have enabled the massive proliferation of lies and hate on an industrial scale, enabling malicious actors to pump lies and hate into our public sphere, day in, day out, over many years….(read more)“.

(Croakey’s archives on the digital platforms and #DigitalNationBuilding may be helpful for those submissions.)

Read the new WHO report, Integrating the social determinants of health into health workforce education and training.

“Because the conditions and circumstances in which people live are diverse and constantly changing, it follows that there is no single universal approach to addressing social determinants of health. However, there are common guiding and organisational principles that can be applied in health workforce education and training, in a consistent and reinforcing manner in all settings. This book aims to collate information produced by WHO on social determinants of health, to help the educators of health workers to integrate the social determinants of health into education and training.”Read: Widening Gender Gap in Life Expectancy in the US, 2010-2021

Abstract: As life expectancy at birth in the US decreased for the second consecutive year, from 78.8 years (2019) to 77.0 years (2020) and 76.1 years (2021), the gap between women and men widened to 5.8 years, its largest since 1996 and an increase from a low of 4.8 years in 2010. For more than a century, US women have outlived US men, attributable to lower cardiovascular and lung cancer death rates related largely to differences in smoking behavior. This study systematically examines the contributions of COVID-19 and other underlying causes of death to the widened gender life expectancy gap from 2010 to 2021. Listen to ABC RN report: Ultra-Processed Foods: why did we create them and why can’t we stop eating them? Estimated impact of UK soft drinks industry levy on childhood hospital admissions for carious tooth extractions

Health Policy Watch reports that tobacco industry interference in governments’ tobacco control policies has increased in 43 out of 90 countries analysed over the past two years. This is according to the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023 released by tobacco watchdog STOP, and the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC).


COVID updates

Read National Geographic on COVID brain fog


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