It's been nearly two years since the World Health Organization called the rise in antibiotic resistance a crisis. Since that time, public health officials have sought new answers to prepare for an uncertain future. While the idea of making new and stronger antibiotics continues to explored, its popularity has faded.
Canada's health system needs reform -- although provincial and territorial ministers might think reform is about cost cutting, I would argue that real reform is about putting patients first. As the chair of an organization representing 23 patient groups from across the country, I have seen too many conversations focused on reducing the budget impact of medications through pricing.
As patients are becoming more knowledgeable about their own care, and as doctors develop a wider array of options available to treat diseases, the costs are increasing. So it may be time to better distinguish between medically necessary care and optional care, for the sake of our country's limited health care budget going forward. It's a discussion worth having.
Why do we not dedicate even a fraction of what we put into actually paying our health workers for their services into coordinated planning for those services? We don't just need another short term task force to manage health worker supply. We need effective management of our entire health workforce on an ongoing basis.
Despite all the technology in academic and pharmaceutical institutions, nothing can stop a microbe from figuring out how to best an antibiotic. As such, the mood is sombre at best and apocalyptic at worst. Instead of trying to develop yet another complex mousetrap, the answer lies in looking at weapons of mass microbial destruction already in use in the wild.
The government is reducing the number of training spots for family physicians in the coming years. And now they are implementing cuts and clawbacks that are not only resulting in established physicians packing up and leaving the province, but our new grads are planning to leave in droves. The future isn't as bright as we once thought, and if something isn't done to prevent the loss of our physicians in training, it will only get much worse.
What good is it to treat illness if we can only send our patients back to the conditions that helped make them sick to begin with? Our health is strongly influenced by factors such as income, our working environment and affordable housing, over which neither patients nor medical doctors have much control.
The glaring gaps in drug coverage for Canadian children are made stranger by the economic dimensions of the issue. Children's health care represents a drop in the ocean of health care budgets -- extending universal drug coverage to children would constitute a small fraction of total pharmaceutical spending.
Lack of healthcare has dire consequences for the well-being of refugees and can also stand in the way of their integration into new environments. For the four-million Syrian refugees living in the neighbouring countries, their access to healthcare has been severely hampered by the funding shortage facing aid agencies.
National drug coverage has long been a priority for the more than one in five Canadian households that can't afford to buy needed prescription medicines. But in spite of decades of calls for a new program, the idea seemed not ready for primetime. The cost of national pharmacare was seen to be too great in a time of low political appetite for new universal benefits. But it turns out that pharmacare isn't a money sucker -- it's a money saver.
A Commissioner for Children and Young Persons could report on the status of children. They would ensure all sectors consider children in decision-making. A Commissioner for Children and Young Persons could also provide a framework of accountability for a federal commitment to eliminate child poverty.
In response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, our current Canadian government has reluctantly offered some support. We shall, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accept 10,000 refugees over the next three years. As medical students committed to global health, we call into question this lukewarm commitment to such a pressing crisis and call for stronger commitments in line with Canada's values.
Cancer is the number one killer in this country. In women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of this potentially deadly disease. Researchers across the country and around the world are working tirelessly not only to find a cure but also to find the cause. When it comes to how exactly breast cancer is triggered, the answer is elusive.
Twenty years ago, heart disease was the number one killer of Canadians. That number has dropped over the years thanks in part to research examining the causes of heart attacks and recommendations for better preventative behaviours. Despite this drop, there is still much to be learned about how heart attacks happen. One of the most studied causes is the atherosclerotic lesion, better known as plaque. This accumulation of cells, fats, minerals, and other organic material tend to accumulate in the arteries as we age. If buildup happens to occur in the coronary artery, cardiac arrest may inevitably happen.