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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hot public health topics: Gambling X 2, intimidation, privatization, HPV and influenza vaccine

While headline stories capture our attention, the follow-up of such stories often has a very different course and outcome.   Here are a few story updates.  

Gambling remains an emerging public health issue. DrPHealth October 2012 reviewed some of the more recent trends. Two stories of note that are worth updating.  First, that the Toronto Board of Health, on recommendation from Dr. David McKeown recommended against the expansion of gambling in the city.  Read the excellent background information at Board of health materials.  These resources will be beneficial for all public health workers going into the future and mandatory reading for students of public health.    

Regrettably the federal government House of Commons moved in the opposite direction by approving a bill that will open single sport betting in Canada.  That the sports industry and health professionals alike may object has raised the possibility that the bill will be defeated in the senate CTV coverage of sports betting issue.   There is no doubt that this form of gambling that is uniquely not permitted in Canada, is fuelled by illegal gaming operations.  

Just weeks after his inflaming comments about the Toronto Medical Officer of Health political intimidation of public health workers , Mayor Ford has become the centre of one of Canada’s largest political fiascos.  He has had the judiciary rule him in conflict and requiring him to vacate the mayorality seat.  Follow the story at CBC on Mayor Ford 

Toronto’s Shouldice Clinic was on the verge of sale to the private sector Shouldice clinic and privatization of health care.  The offer for purchase expired without approval or denial from the Minister of Health – effectively killing the transaction in a no context situation Shouldice clinic sale abandoned.

The Calgary dioceses has been the central point for controversy over the HPV vaccine for many years, refusing to permit vaccination of girls in their schools.  While Bishop Henry has not changed his position, the school board is reconsidering its position HPV vaccine and Calgary Board of Health.  There was a recent study released showing HPV transmission occurring amongst girls prior to sexual intercourse.
November 29th - apparently just last evening, the school board reversed its 4 year old decision and will permit HPV vaccination - story at Calgary Herald Story

As the influenza season rapidly approaches, and the first outbreaks are being reported from H3N2, another story out of Ontario that pharmacists will be given the scope of practice to immunize against influenza and prescribe tobacco reduction aids amongst other preventive measures.  Based on experience in a few other provinces, this is a positive move.  Ontario pharmacists gain right to immunize. 

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