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ICYMI: protecting protest, tobacco lobbyists at work, and what children want to do about toxic marketing

Many of the items in the column this week examine the power and impact of the commercial determinants of health, and highlight the need for more concerted action for health equity.

We also report on plans for the new Australian Centre for Disease Control, the cultural determinants of health, policy recommendations for artificial intelligence in healthcare, recent COVID research, and bring news of a stack of upcoming events.

The quotable?

Progress on health equity needs to be tied to advocacy for social justice more broadly. This requires advocating for laws and policies that promote distributive justice for fairer allocation of resources and opportunity.”


Right to protest

As governments around the world fail to deal with the existential threats of our times – including the climate crisis, growing inequality and environmental degradation – many are choosing to penalise protesters rather than address the actual issues of concern.

In Australia, more than 60 civil society groups have signed a “Declaration of Our Right to Protest”, which identifies 10 related rights.

Signatories include the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Amnesty International Australia, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Australian Council of Social Service, Australian Democracy Network, the Peoples Health Movement Australia, and South Australian Abortion Action Coalition.

Given the health concerns at stake, it is surprising more health groups have not signed up. Perhaps they will


Artificial intelligence launch

A National Policy Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare has been released. It makes recommendations across these domains: safety, quality, ethics and security; workforce; consumers; industry; and research.

It was produced by the Australian Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, which brings together over 100 national and international partners and stakeholders in academia, government, consumer, clinical, industry organisations, and peak bodies. Formed in 2018, the alliance supports and  accelerates the adoption of AI-enabled healthcare.


#AusPol

All Australian governments have committed to working in partnership with First Nations people (including key national and state and territory advisory bodies) to ensure the establishment and operation of the Australian Centre for Disease Control is informed by the voices and needs of First Nations people and contributes to better outcomes for First Nations people. This includes the consideration of social determinants of health and is to be in-line with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

This commitment is noted in a Statement of Intent, which also outlines these objectives for the CDC’s development:

  • increase independence and strengthen evidence-based and transparent decision-making to maintain trust
  • improve national coordination of effort and efficiencies, with stronger partnerships, including across Commonwealth agencies and between jurisdictions
  • support national action through enhanced national capabilities, underpinned by the distinct and complementary roles and responsibilities of jurisdictions and the Commonwealth
  • enhance international connections
  • increase and productively utilise resources to support preparedness and response across all jurisdictions, including nationally.

Read the AHPA submission


First Nations peoples’ health and justice

Watch the video See the report Read QUT statement announcing ‘Australian-first Faculty of Indigenous Knowledges and Culture’


Global health and public health

Read the WHO report Read the factsheet on ultra-processed foods Read BMJ article, Health equity: we need political action not performative promises:

“To achieve health equity, taming the commercial determinants of ill health must become a priority. For most governments, that involves limiting and requiring transparency around commercial participation in politics and policymaking, anti-trust legislation to prevent monopolies, and progressive taxation on corporations.

“Progress on health equity needs to be tied to advocacy for social justice more broadly. This requires advocating for laws and policies that promote distributive justice for fairer allocation of resources and opportunity. This represents a movement away from individualising the causes of ill health and ensuring properly funded and functioning public institutions to ensure implementation and accountability for redistributive policies.”Read: ‘Harmful marketing by commercial actors and policy ideas from youth’:

“Children and young people are acutely aware of harmful marketing and its negative effects on health and well-being and are frustrated with the proliferation of dishonest and misleading marketing.

“Engaging with youth brought attention to regulatory priorities that have sometimes been overlooked in discussions amongst adults, such as the mental health impacts and body image issues associated with the beauty industry, the seemingly lawless atmosphere of marketing in the digital space, the power of celebrity endorsements and corporate social responsibility to influence young minds, and the urgency of regulating ultra-processed food marketing.

“Children and young people’s clear call for comprehensive marketing regulation that is strictly enforced further buttresses attention to this issue from policy, public health and human rights experts.” Read about the role of pharmacists in tackling overuse of antibiotics. Read the COVID paper featured above.Read the paper on air quality in schools.Read the US paper on long-term impact of COVID in residential aged care facilities.Read the WA Cancer Council summary of an economic evaluation of the implementation of a policy to restrict unhealthy food and drink advertising on Western Australian state-owned assets.This study, ‘Evaluating local primary health care actions to address health inequities: analysis of Australia’s Primary Health Networks’, analysed all 31 PHNs’ public planning documents, as well as developing case studies with a sample of five PHNs, drawing on 29 original interviews with key stakeholders, secondary analysis of 38 prior interviews, and analysis of 30 internal planning guidance documents.

The authors concluded:

“PHNs’ equity actions were limited. To optimise regional planning for health equity, primary healthcare organisations need autonomy and scope to act on the ‘upstream’ factors that contribute to local health issues. They also need sufficient time and resources for robust, systematic planning processes that incorporate mechanisms such as procedure guides and tools/templates, to capitalise on their local evidence to address health inequities.

Organisations should engage meaningfully with local communities and service providers, to ensure approaches are equity sensitive and appropriately targeted.”


Media matters

As some of the items below show, the media industry has a long and ongoing history of entwinement with the web of commercial determinants.

Read the article: The Walkley awards were begun by a prominent oil baron. How do we reconcile their history and future?


#CroakeyREAD


Conference watch


Congratulations


Upcoming events


See previous editions of ICYMI