• Autism: Meaning & Maneuvers
    Achieving First Principles Healing

    Dr. Syed Haider
    Fire and movement - Wikipedia
    So many more people are on the autism spectrum every passing day.

    Maybe all of us are.

    How would we even know what normal is, if no one left alive is really normal compared to our ancestors?

    For one thing people used to be able to put up with a great deal more pain and discomfort. Quite naturally: as they were just hardened to it by a lifetime of what we would now consider constant suffering. Even in third world countries today all manner of dental and surgical procedures are commonly done without anesthesia, even on children (I’ve experienced this first hand and it became quite clear that the experience of pain is complicated, involving physical, social and psychological factors like the expectation of pain by both the inflicter of some injury, that would in many situations lead to it, and the one experiencing, or not experiencing it).

    In addition to their tolerance for discomfort our ancestors could sit with rapt attention through multi-hour debates and speak spontaneously at a level not found outside classical literature, let alone any contemporary off-the-cuff speech.

    Now, we’ll come back to discomfort tolerance and communication in a moment, but first I would like to submit that there is a deeper meaning to everything that happens in accord with the ancient aphorism: as above, so below.

    as above, so below — Deep Living
    If we find a problem at one level, like the mental, the same problem will be reflected at every other level great or small: physical (biochemical, epigenetic, hormonal), emotional, psychological, energetic, spiritual, societal, etc.

    As Above, So Below | Microcosm and Macrocosm | Technology of the Heart
    I know it seems I’m all over the place, but bear with me. After briefly introducing autism, we’ll combine all these seemingly disparate ideas:

    Autistic children cannot deal with even the most innocuous seeming stimuli. They cannot interpret incoming signals appropriately and they cannot communicate back to the world at large.

    They are hypersensitive and at the same time shut away so deep inside such a thick shell that they can’t be reached, or reach anyone else.

    What’s the connection between these two seemingly opposing symptoms and what might it all mean?

    Since the Industrial Revolution all of us in advanced societies (much more likely to be affected by autism) have experienced a dramatic increase in comfort and security (the myriad services now available at the touch of a button put to shame the luxuries of ancient emperors) along with a corresponding rise in distaste for any discomfort leading to society-wide anesthetic, bandaid approaches to every discomfort or dis-ease.

    The problem with a bandaid for a festering wound is that the wound keeps festering, in fact it worsens over time.

    Anyway, getting back to autism, the key to understanding the link between the two signal symptoms of hypersensitivity and the inability to communicate, is that pain/discomfort is itself a message without which we cannot safely navigate the world - just ask any diabetic with numb feet about the immense degree of self-care and vigilance required to still have feet every year.

    PAIN MESSAGING

    Lack of pain receptors would rapidly lead to progressive dis-ease and death as you could not avoid what is harming you, in fact you wouldn’t even know if something was harming you.

    Pain is meant to communicate the danger of continuing to do what is causing the pain, because it is damaging you. The instinctive response to pain is to flinch away from it, to somehow put a stop to the source of pain.

    Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) is a rare genetic disorder that illustrates the problem:

    “From an evolutionary perspective, one of the reasons scientists believe CIP is so rare is because so few individuals with the disorder reach adulthood. “We fear pain, but in developmental terms from being a child to being a young adult, pain is incredibly important to the process of learning how to modulate your physical activity without doing damage to your bodies, and in determining how much risk you take,” (Dr Ingo) Kurth (who studies CIP) explains.

    “Without the body’s natural warning mechanism, many with CIP exhibit self-destructive behaviour as children or young adults. Kurth tells the story of a young Pakistani boy who came to the attention of scientists through his reputation in his community as a street performer who walked on hot coals, and stuck knives in his arms without displaying any signs of pain. He later died in his early teens, after jumping from the roof of a house.

    ““Of the CIP patients I’ve worked with in the UK, so many of the males have killed themselves by their late 20s by doing ridiculously dangerous things, not restrained by pain,” says Geoff Woods, who researches pain at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. “Or they have such damaged joints that they are wheelchair-bound and end up committing suicide because they have no quality of life.””

    -The curse of the people who never feel pain, by David Cox


    CIP patient
    Modern industrialized people have become enabled to mirror CIP patients to a limited degree. We generally do not allow any pain or discomfort to arise without covering it up, or trying to (rather than dealing with the source itself).

    COMS DOWN

    Walk into any pharmacy and you’ll find bandaid remedies for: headaches, coughs, colds, rashes, pink eye, ear aches, reflux, allergies, tummy aches, constipation, diarrhea, period discomfort, and in the back, accessible only via prescription will be the bandaids applied to what comes of using the more accessible bandaids on the above laundry list of complaints: hypertension, heart disease, asthma, COPD, autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc.

    It only stands to reason we will experience some sort of negative consequences for interrupting the crucial, natural feedback loop of pain.

    The minor complaints most of us develop during childhood or shortly thereafter are just precursors to the more severe ones, the early warning signs if you will.

    Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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    And we don’t just paper over physical complaints but emotional, psychological, energetic and spiritual ones as well - all are covered up as soon as they arise. None are addressed at their deepest roots.

    Modern infrastructure and technology have allowed us to feel less and less of the natural world, to provide a greater and greater buffer between ourselves and our environments, both external and internal.

    As we’ve become accustomed to more and more comfort and convenience we have shied more and more away from any discomfort or inconvenience.

    Modern medicine does nothing so well as smother the bodies ability to communicate pain to us, at least for a time.

    Constant access to modern media and infrastructure in general (temperature control, pharmacies, restaurants, clubs, movie theaters, parks, so many things to buy and see and do to distract you) does nothing so well as allow us to smother our body’s, heart’s and mind’s abilities to communicate physical, emotional and mental/psychological pain to us, at least for a time.

    However, over time the pain not only comes back, but it comes back stronger and stronger yet again as it is constantly beaten back time and again, eventually overcoming our ability to muffle its message, or shifting to a new more painful message, in the form of some new more severe ailment.

    An “autism-lite” society is the outcome of a constant progression away from any experience of discomfort and the healthy communication it teaches.

    We are progressively more unable to withstand even the slightest discomforts and unable to communicate appropriately to the outside world in return because we are not used to listening to the feedback the world is sending us, including what’s coming from the other people in it.

    We are meant to be in communication with everything all the time.

    If it gets hot out our bodies respond by doing something that communicates to our brain to respond in some way to the environment at large: we feel the heat, we sweat, we seek shade, we rest more in the midday, we drink more. Those responses are a communication to the world and to ourselves. If the responses are natural and spontaneous we will be in a synchronized, healthy and balanced state. If unnatural or unnaturally automated (temperature control, or worse just ignoring how we feel) we will be out of sync, unhealthy, imbalanced.

    In the natural state if it gets dark, our entire physiology goes down with the sun and we sleep.

    If it gets light all our hormones rise with the sun and we wake up.

    If someone gets upset with us, we suffer emotional discomfort and address the way we interact with them that has led to their being upset, or if we’ve really done nothing wrong then assess and deal with why we feel guilty as though we have, or why we can’t stand up for ourselves as we should.

    The ability to communicate eloquently in so many ways is what makes us human.

    Speech is what separates us from the animals.

    Speech, like all communication is a two way street. If one way is always blocked the other way won’t properly develop.

    Even if only positive signals are accepted and not negative ones we’ll develop dysfunctional communication, but in practice numbing the negative also numbs the positive (one of the many unfortunate “side effects” of “anti-depressants”).

    When we can’t communicate properly we won’t be able to avoid harming ourselves in our “relationships” to everything in our environment since there will be no intact negative feedback system.

    And perhaps most importantly communication ability can continue to develop over time, regardless of age. We can always become more and more sensitive.

    When we start listening carefully and acting on what we learn, we will uncover deeper layers, learn more, and eventually develop subtle and not so subtle feedback loops that gently guide us away from what is harming us, and towards what benefits us.

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    Of course there’s also a lot going on mechanistically with autism, but maybe it all follows the same theme.

    Perhaps it all illustrates the idea that what’s present at one level is reflected at every other.

    Interestingly, the other things that naturopaths and functional medicine healers have noticed contribute to autism (and other modern chronic diseases) also disrupt a human beings incredibly complex, sophisticated, intricate, and oft-times delicate communications systems:

    Toxins like those found in vaccines, heavy metals, chronic infections/infestations, exogenous hormones, chemical laden water/air/food, light after dark, unnatural EMFs, inappropriate or excessive negative emotions and toxic relationships, etc.

    Also nutrient deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, sleep, sunlight, positive emotions and beliefs, healthy intimacy, a connection with the earths bioelectrical fields, nature in general, etc.

    So, in the modern world, in a number of ways (physical, mental, emotional, energetic), we have quite successfully shut ourselves down from feeling anything real. We’ve metaphorically plugged our ears from hearing the increasingly frantic and emphatic communications from our own bodies belying their discomfort with a constant toxic barrage and chronic nutrient deficiencies.

    4,900+ Hands Covering Ears Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free ...
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    The louder the messages get the more mightily we mute them, increasing our medications, ruminations, dissipations (could ADHD, OCD, panic disorder and more actually be somewhere on the “spectrum” too?).

    In place of Nature’s messages we have shut her out and covered her up, while we injected and affected ourselves with all manner of unnatural, alien and unintelligible messages that our bodies, hearts, minds and souls were never meant to be exposed to and cannot properly interpret or respond to.

    At a deeper level perhaps our discomforts reveal our very selves. What makes you uncomfortable says something about who you are (there is a spiritual maxim that teaches other people are a mirror for you. What annoys you about them points to your own imperfections).

    Pain is the great teacher.

    Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach Quote: “Pain is the great teacher of mankind. Beneath its breath souls
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    It teaches you about yourself and everything else.

    When I spent years covering up my headaches with painkillers I was little aware of why I got them, and had no pressing reason to figure it out.

    When I understood that pain is not bad, in fact it’s good, ie the headaches were there because my body was trying to protect me from harm, I swore off the painkillers and started to experience them without an easy out.

    I quickly came to understand many of the factors involved (hunger, stress, missed sleep, anger, constipation, etc) and was highly motivated to take care of them.

    I had struggled to control anger outbursts for years, but when I now finally made the connection that they often led to headaches that I just had to suffer my way through without a painkiller, the anger quickly became severely disincentivized and naturally began to dissipate.

    Similarly I became more careful about combining any of the factors involved in germinating headaches.

    Imagine my surprise when I later realized that NSAIDs like my goto high dose Motrin/ibuprofen actually contributed to two of my main triggers: anger and constipation (in addition to engendering in some people: depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis. By the way in case you’re wondering, Tylenol is no better).

    Everything is connected: numbing yourself out physically numbs you out emotionally, but rather than leaving you numb your body tries to amplify the signal, the emotions break through even stronger than before, until you stop fighting them and let them out naturally and learn to live with them and deal with them in the moment.

    Of course no one’s perfect, least of all me. Sometimes I miss sleep, but if I do I better make sure I don’t also skip a meal and let myself get too stressed out or angry the next day. Maintaining a relatively healthy balance keeps the headaches at bay. And over time I have become more resilient. I rarely get headaches anymore and when I do they are much less severe than they used to be when I regularly medicated them (that drop in severity happened relatively fast too, within a few weeks).

    I went from being numbed out and stumbling through life harming myself at every turn, completely unaware of important negative feedback loops, to waking up and realizing what was happening.

    Syed Haider has entered the chat.

    I had finally joined the conversation.

    has entered the chat Memes & GIFs - Imgflip
    The world is speaking all the time and no one is listening.

    The utter extremity of our societal condition is the autist whose parents, society and industrialized world have transferred their communication dysfunctions at every level to one particularly sensitive to them and because of that their epigenetic, biophysical, biochemical, emotional, psychological, energetic and perhaps even spiritual planes are all incomunicado.

    They are not just “neurodivergent”, they haven’t just veered onto another course, they are missing from the map.

    It’s not the only way to go missing, we all go missing all the time: into our phones, laptops, TVs, food, other people, pharmaceuticals, street drugs, you name it we can use it to check out and so we do.

    We’re all a little bit autistic nowadays.

    Because everything, everywhere, all at once is involved in creating autism.

    And all of us are all too human after all (how many “alls” can one fit into a sentence or three?).

    But it’s also all just a matter of cause and effect.

    There’s nothing inherently mysterious about it. We can list out all the likely causes as I’ve done. Basically whatever has changed for the worst in the last 70 or so years.

    And so it can be fixed.

    Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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    EXITING THE MAZE

    It’s complicated, time consuming, difficult; it takes a lot of commitment from patients and caregivers, but the results are astounding, life-changing and so well worth it.

    Natural, comprehensive autism (and other severe chronic disease) treatment is now available at mygotodoc (patients will be able to choose to see either me or Hakim Shabaz for the consults, but we will both work together on every case).

    In the past we’ve made our asynchronous consults available without charge for anyone who needed them and couldn’t pay our already low fees (our prescription fees plus partner pharmacy fees, when combined, are always the lowest in the industry).

    But now, for the first time ever, our 1 on 1 consults for comprehensive natural healing will be done on a pay what you can basis. And they will be longer than any consults we’ve offered before at 2+ hours for the intake. Because that’s the only way to get to the bottom of things in highly customized care plans, and convince patients of what needs to be done.


    However it’s important to realize that regardless of ability to pay or not, deep healing is always quite dear compared to a cheap bandaid (then again bandaids don’t work, so it doesn’t matter how cheap they are).

    You always get what you pay for, even when you can’t pay, because everyone who wants an unusual, outstanding result has to sacrifice something dear in the end, whether or not that includes money, it will usually include time, habits, beliefs, plans, comforts and whatever it takes to divert some resources towards enabling the natural protocols (though much less than most would expect given the results).

    If you or someone you know has autism, it’s OK.

    Roll up your sleeves, check your assumptions at the door, be ready to work, and you’ll not only help yourself, you’ll help many others by your example.

    If you’re reading this, it’s not too late, in fact you’re just in time to join the party, and get to know yourself and everyone else in ways you didn’t think possible.

    “…we've been able to assist (many) autistic children in achieving sustainable, long-term improvements. Additionally, many others grappling with conditions like ADD, ADHD, and similar challenges (depression, anxiety, panic disorder, psychosis) have benefited from our approach…

    “However, there was one particular case where we couldn't achieve the desired outcome. This was primarily due to the parents' expectation of immediate results within a couple of months. Regrettably, they lost hope prematurely, compounded by the fact that the patient was a teenager. As the child gets older, the challenges in treatment tend to intensify.

    “It's crucial to recognize that as autistic children mature, the complexities of treatment tend to heighten. Hence, it becomes even more imperative to uphold patience and perseverance in our pursuit of solutions.”

    -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed

    I know this all may sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo, but it’s grounded in reality, and proven by practical experience.

    Autistic children are the canaries in the coal mine warning us where we are all headed if we don’t stop this runaway bullet train in its tracks.

    It can seem as though there’s no choice, but you can get off that train even if no one else does.

    Again, it’s important to stress that there is a cause and effect relationship in autism as in all diseases, and there are only so many possible causes.

    Whatever those causes are they can be removed and the body and brain will right themselves over time.

    Some of those causes, like the anger triggering my headaches, may seem inconsequential to some people and yet they may be the most important pressure points available to us in fixing the problem.

    Yogi Berra quote: Little things are big.
    source
    What may help illustrate the point is a remarkable study done in the Northeastern United States on a town that had half the incidence of heart disease compared to age matched controls in the rest of the country.

    Half the people who should have had heart disease had none, but there was nothing apparently different about them or their environment compared to the rest of the country at large.

    They smoked and drank and ate and worked too much, were overly stressed, overweight, had bad air, bad water, bad genes, you name it, they had it or did it.

    So Harvard went there to study them and discovered their one saving grace was a much higher level of emotional intimacy amongst friends and family.

    Enough real healthy intimacy in the heart disease free cohort entirely overrode the negative impacts of everything else.

    And it’s not just heart disease where this matters.

    The number of intimate relationships someone has is the single greatest predictor of their longevity.

    If intimacy can prevent death it can prevent anything else, whether we realize it or not.

    And we are in the midst of an intimacy crisis of epic proportions. Over half of mothers of young children are lonely. Nearly two thirds of young people say they are chronically lonely. Small screens and social media won’t fix this, after all they’re partly to blame for causing it.

    5 Tips on How to Combat Loneliness and Depression
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    When it comes to kids, they are far more sensitive in every way and they have not dissociated themselves from their environment and those in it to the degree adults have.

    They are on a gradual slide starting at birth, taking them from experiencing everything and everyone as interconnected parts of a whole, to experiencing themselves as separate autonomous beings (this begins between 6-9 months of age, but its not an off-on switch, it’s on a spectrum, black to shades of grey to white).

    This means that all children, including the autistic ones, have a much deeper psycho-emotional association with their caregivers, especially their biological parents.

    When their parents have problems in their own relationship the child experiences this as a problem within themselves and the most sensitive children will shut down to escape the overwhelming emotional pain caused by that seemingly external conflict.

    The same actually happens at the other end of life too, just in a different way.

    Dementia can be the ultimate escape from mental pain, which was shunted into physical pain for years, until that became overwhelming and unbearable and the body in it’s fight for self preservation then shuts down the mind to protect against the untenable situation and remain alive as long as possible in a kind of comatose state.

    Hakim Shabaz had treated an entire family for various problems and so they asked him to help their mother with dementia. He warned them that the dementia was likely what was keeping her alive, and removing it would uncover something else, that if not properly dealt with could kill her.

    They insisted on treatment and her dementia did improve, however she developed cancer which killed her shortly thereafter.

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    Not everyone is capable of facing their demons and doing what it takes to deeply heal.

    Children though are far often far more resilient than the elderly.

    Still, treating a serious, intricate and delicate disorder like autism requires really expert guidance that can put together a deeply customized protocol to fit each situation and then navigate rapidly changing circumstances as that protocol is put into effect.

    “Autistic children resemble a delicate (house) of cards – any disruption to one aspect can cause the entire structure to falter. It's akin to solving a puzzle, where adjusting one piece may inadvertently affect another. Providing sustainable, long-term solutions for these children requires a physician with extensive experience, one who has navigated through all stages of treatment.”

    -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed

    Children need close monitoring with ongoing mental, emotional and nutritional support as they age to prevent regression of symptoms due to their predisposition. Some of the deeper causes take a longer time to fully eliminate, eg epigenetic changes that have often been carried down at this point through multiple generations.

    There are many people promising parents help for their autistic children. But most focus on simple one size fits all protocols.

    It is so appealing to believe that there is an easy way out, like just removing mercury (despite the anecdotes describing sudden onset autism after a shot, removing the final straw that breaks the camels back won’t usually allow healing without addressing all the other straws and more, like rehab).

    Sometimes these simple straightforward approaches work, but not always and they don’t always lead to sustained improvements, because the entire modern environment is constantly pushing those susceptible back towards expressing autism.

    Not to say that there will always be an epic struggle to maintain improvement.

    The deeper the detox and more thorough the support, the longer the remission, the more inertia and resilience will develop. It gets harder and harder over time to push someones being back off balance.

    It’s hard to move a boulder at first, but once you get it rolling downhill it will pick up its own speed and eventually become nearly impossible to stop.

    Everyone has two choices when healing: they can try pushing the boulder uphill or downhill. Every simplistic solution is an uphill battle against implacable gravity.

    Perseverance. Symbol and sisyphus symbol as a determined snail pushing a boulder , #spon, #determined, #snail, #pushin… | Perseverance, Perseverance symbol, Prayers
    SIMPLE {{{SHOCK}}} THERAPY

    I interviewed someone once who had seen a child’s autism disappear suddenly after a painful physical trauma.

    He was amazed to discover other stories of spontaneous improvements in autistic children, even complete remissions, after unexpected physical traumas like car accidents.

    This led to a theory of the cause of autism: certain crucial neurological reflex loops linked to autism symptoms require post birth stimulation to fully develop. When they remain un-triggered by significant pain during and after relatively easy births, this might explain all the typical symptoms.

    The therapeutic idea stemming from his theory was that measured application of uncomfortable stimulation might trigger the development of the very missing reflex loops that autistic children require to function normally.

    Despite an interesting theoretical framework, I’m not aware of any clinics or practitioners that have put this theory into practice, so there isn’t much real world proof of the efficacy of the proposed “treatment”.

    It’s also unlikely to gain much acceptance in a culture like ours that is so opposed to discomfort in any form, not least of all because it hearkens back to uncomfortable episodes in medical history like shock treatments.

    To be perfectly clear I’m not advocating shock treatment or anything like it as a general approach for people with autism (again complex chronic diseases like autism require a deeply personalized approach rather than one-size-fits-all).

    Regardless, what it does remind me of personally is cold plunging.

    If you’ve never gotten into literally freezing water before, you’re in for a tremendous nervous system shock the first time you do it.

    Cold Water Immersion: A HOT Recovery Tool? | Biolayne
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    If you don’t jump right back out, but try to stay in, your entire body is screaming at you, you’re hyperventilating and your brain rather than being frozen, is on fire. Pain is assaulting you from everywhere all at once.

    Sometimes this shock therapy snaps people out of nervous system disorders rather quickly.

    I used it over the course of a couple months to end my own long COVID.

    But others tried and didn’t experience the same improvement or if they did they didn’t have lasting benefits.

    Shock therapy of various kinds do work sometimes, just like sometimes other things work: detoxing from heavy metals, treating Lyme and co-infections, resolving EBV, eliminating mold toxicity, balancing hormones and neurotransmitters, replacing missing nutrients, addressing methylation, rebalancing the microbiome, etc - all the functional medicine go-to’s could be listed out on a lengthy and quite expensive protocol document.

    I’ve seen people go through these step by step protocols, often involving hundreds of expensive tests and dozens of expensive supplements and radical lifestyle changes to boot. Many a time people do get better, often their problems seem to resolve, at least for a time.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with these approaches, but they are not always as fundamental or deep-rooted as people assume they are.

    TAP ROOTS

    Rarely do people address every level of their being that is contributing, and usually they miss out on the key emotional, psychological and deeper epigenetic/ancestral roots of their disease.

    “In my experience, the development of autism in children can stem from various (primary) factors. These include adverse epigenetic influences, the transfer of toxins and microbial burdens from the mother to the developing fetus, resulting in DNA alterations. Additionally, imbalances in neurotransmitters, the mental and emotional state of the mother during pregnancy, exposure to electromagnetic radiation, and a lack of interaction with nature all play significant roles.”

    “As the child grows, it becomes imperative to focus on teaching stress management, promoting healthy epigenetic expression, and addressing mental and emotional well-being. It's evident that the issue is far from straightforward, and simplistic solutions … are inadequate. Rather, a comprehensive approach that considers the multifaceted nature of ASD is essential for supporting individuals affected by the condition."

    -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed

    The subconscious mind and heart are usually more powerful instigators of illness than diet, physical toxins and infections (remember the heart disease and longevity examples).

    And as far as the mind goes, what we believe can make us healthy or unwell or even dead.

    In two studies the patients who believed themselves the healthiest had 6X lower chances of dying than those who believed themselves the least healthy.

    The even more shocking bit was that it didn’t matter what their own doctors believed about their health, only what they did.

    The patient’s belief trumped their doctor’s “knowledge”.

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    Another study was undertaken to understand the impact of belief on exercise outcomes.

    Hotel cleaners were split into two groups: one received counseling for half an hour on the importance and benefits of exercise, the second received a presentation of the same duration which explained to them that their daily cleaning activities for work met and exceeded the US Surgeon General’s recommendations for daily exercise.

    cleaning ladies.png
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    After a month the first group had not changed in any way.

    Neither had the second, at least not in anything they did: eg they didn’t change their exercise or eating habits.

    The only thing that had changed was what they believed about themselves.

    And that led to an average weight loss of half a pound a week (2 pounds over a month), smaller waist sizes and lower blood pressures in the second group.

    Without changing anything they did, they had lifted a nocebo effect, opposite of a placebo effect, that was entirely due to their underlying beliefs about themselves (eg I’m overweight/unhealthy since I don’t exercise) and their beliefs about the nature of reality (physical interventions are required for physical results).

    The Nocebo Effect Produces Physical Symptoms - The Pain PT
    The most powerful nocebo effects come from our own doctors, who really should be trying to placebo us, but they don’t know any better.

    The big shot with all the framed documents on the wall, the world expert on autism, will convince most people it can’t be cured.

    And yet all of us, somewhere deep inside, know this is not true, or maybe it’s just that hope spring’s eternal.

    And yet it is not a false hope. People have healed, and if they can do it so can you.

    TRUE AND FALSE

    “Maryam is doing well …

    “Her speech and comprehension is getting better. I'm actually able to have a 2 sided conversation with her. She has learned to give excuses for her actions, give reason for her behaviour, Communicate her needs. She is able to follow instructions. With some coercion she is also able to narrate incidents in bits and pieces and I can get the picture.

    “She is a lot more aware of her surroundings. Able to recall where things were kept.

    “She has become a lot more independent. Dress, bath, brush by herself. Now it's difficult for me to keep track of how many times she passes motion in a day, because she does it all by herself.”

    -Followup during treatment with Hiba A, mother of a recovering autistic daughter.

    False hope is what the pharmaceutical manufacturers peddle: feeding the perennial desire for an easy way out … there’s a pill to help and someday science will solve it.

    False perplexity is what the mainstream media peddles: that we just don’t know what’s causing it or how to fix it … at least not yet, it’s forever just around the corner, just out of reach.

    False despair is what the alternative media often peddles: that it’s all due to those shots you allowed, or the mercury in them, or a handful of other chemical toxins you can’t escape.

    The truth is that the stage is set by deeper influences that allow bit players like mercury to step in and meddle with a persons body and mind. Taking mercury out of the picture just allows another bit player to step into the same role. Taking out all those superficial actors, just allows another acting troupe to show up, because we have to survive in a toxic soup of chemicals, that’s just the way the world is: even in the deepest reaches of the Amazon jungle the toxic environmental chemicals have diffused their way there.

    But real solutions to real problems go deeper than that, and don’t necessarily depend for their efficacy on the complete elimination of superficial elements.

    Real solutions remove the stage itself so the play can’t go on.

    Life takes its place as you exit the darkened theater, blinded momentarily by the immediacy of the real world.

    The shock wears off soon enough and you get back to living.

    BEYOND HOLISTIC: FIRST PRINCIPLES HEALING

    Too often holistic health is not only not truly holistic, but also it’s parts are misapplied without a deep understanding of a patients context, or they’re not applied in the right sequence or they’re not delivered with deep wisdom springing from first principles and practical experiences that come not only from treating many patients successfully, but from realizing the underlying principles in the practitioners own life and health.

    This realization of underlying principles is not a destination, rather it’s an endless journey of physical, emotional, psychological, energetic, and spiritual progress.

    It takes a sage, a wise man, a Hakim (as they call them in the Greek medical tradition stemming from Hippocrates), to treat the whole person as they should be treated


    It takes a deep understanding of the source texts of all the great healing traditions and the ability to intuit what’s missing from them via sheer inspiration, allowing a reconstituting of what they truly were when their origin civilizations were ascendant.

    It takes a deep reverence for the inherent wisdom present inside each patient themselves, that is maneuvering around a punishingly toxic environment in order to save them from death or something worse.

    “My son encountered behavioral challenges, displaying traits associated with ADHD and autism. He faced difficulties with toilet training and exhibited highly challenging behaviors.

    “Despite receiving occupational therapy and speech therapy, his developmental progress was much below expectations.

    “Seeking further assistance, we consulted Dr. Shahbaz, who advised a strict dietary regimen, therapies and additional supplementation.

    “Remarkably, the implementation of this new regimen led to noticeable improvements. Within a month, my son achieved toilet training, and his behavioral issues began to diminish. After four months of following the regimen, his speech development showed significant progress.

    “Currently, he continues his therapies alongside the prescribed diet and regimen, and I'm thrilled to report that my son has made remarkable strides in closing the developmental gap.”

    -M. Majali, father of a recovering autistic child

    Pain is not your enemy, and neither is disease.

    Disease is both a message and a maneuver.

    The message is: get this junk out of your life, whatever it is.

    The maneuver is your body’s last ditch efforts to keep you as healthy as possible and ultimately to preserve your very life, no matter what, despite the pain and ongoing damage you’re exposed to.

    Your body is making the best of a very bad situation.

    Share

    Don’t blame your skin for hurting when you shove your hand in the fire, or burning if you leave it there.

    Don’t blame your reflexes for yanking your hand out of the fire.

    Blame the fire.

    Don’t just apply healing salves to your burning hand and a nerve bock to deaden your senses while leaving your hand to shrivel away in the flames.

    Put out the fire.

    It’s not easy, don’t believe anyone who says it is.

    But it is possible, so don’t believe anyone who says it isn’t.





    https://blog.mygotodoc.com/p/decoding-autisms-meaning-and-maneuvers
    Autism: Meaning & Maneuvers Achieving First Principles Healing Dr. Syed Haider Fire and movement - Wikipedia So many more people are on the autism spectrum every passing day. Maybe all of us are. How would we even know what normal is, if no one left alive is really normal compared to our ancestors? For one thing people used to be able to put up with a great deal more pain and discomfort. Quite naturally: as they were just hardened to it by a lifetime of what we would now consider constant suffering. Even in third world countries today all manner of dental and surgical procedures are commonly done without anesthesia, even on children (I’ve experienced this first hand and it became quite clear that the experience of pain is complicated, involving physical, social and psychological factors like the expectation of pain by both the inflicter of some injury, that would in many situations lead to it, and the one experiencing, or not experiencing it). In addition to their tolerance for discomfort our ancestors could sit with rapt attention through multi-hour debates and speak spontaneously at a level not found outside classical literature, let alone any contemporary off-the-cuff speech. Now, we’ll come back to discomfort tolerance and communication in a moment, but first I would like to submit that there is a deeper meaning to everything that happens in accord with the ancient aphorism: as above, so below. as above, so below — Deep Living If we find a problem at one level, like the mental, the same problem will be reflected at every other level great or small: physical (biochemical, epigenetic, hormonal), emotional, psychological, energetic, spiritual, societal, etc. As Above, So Below | Microcosm and Macrocosm | Technology of the Heart I know it seems I’m all over the place, but bear with me. After briefly introducing autism, we’ll combine all these seemingly disparate ideas: Autistic children cannot deal with even the most innocuous seeming stimuli. They cannot interpret incoming signals appropriately and they cannot communicate back to the world at large. They are hypersensitive and at the same time shut away so deep inside such a thick shell that they can’t be reached, or reach anyone else. What’s the connection between these two seemingly opposing symptoms and what might it all mean? Since the Industrial Revolution all of us in advanced societies (much more likely to be affected by autism) have experienced a dramatic increase in comfort and security (the myriad services now available at the touch of a button put to shame the luxuries of ancient emperors) along with a corresponding rise in distaste for any discomfort leading to society-wide anesthetic, bandaid approaches to every discomfort or dis-ease. The problem with a bandaid for a festering wound is that the wound keeps festering, in fact it worsens over time. Anyway, getting back to autism, the key to understanding the link between the two signal symptoms of hypersensitivity and the inability to communicate, is that pain/discomfort is itself a message without which we cannot safely navigate the world - just ask any diabetic with numb feet about the immense degree of self-care and vigilance required to still have feet every year. PAIN MESSAGING Lack of pain receptors would rapidly lead to progressive dis-ease and death as you could not avoid what is harming you, in fact you wouldn’t even know if something was harming you. Pain is meant to communicate the danger of continuing to do what is causing the pain, because it is damaging you. The instinctive response to pain is to flinch away from it, to somehow put a stop to the source of pain. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) is a rare genetic disorder that illustrates the problem: “From an evolutionary perspective, one of the reasons scientists believe CIP is so rare is because so few individuals with the disorder reach adulthood. “We fear pain, but in developmental terms from being a child to being a young adult, pain is incredibly important to the process of learning how to modulate your physical activity without doing damage to your bodies, and in determining how much risk you take,” (Dr Ingo) Kurth (who studies CIP) explains. “Without the body’s natural warning mechanism, many with CIP exhibit self-destructive behaviour as children or young adults. Kurth tells the story of a young Pakistani boy who came to the attention of scientists through his reputation in his community as a street performer who walked on hot coals, and stuck knives in his arms without displaying any signs of pain. He later died in his early teens, after jumping from the roof of a house. ““Of the CIP patients I’ve worked with in the UK, so many of the males have killed themselves by their late 20s by doing ridiculously dangerous things, not restrained by pain,” says Geoff Woods, who researches pain at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. “Or they have such damaged joints that they are wheelchair-bound and end up committing suicide because they have no quality of life.”” -The curse of the people who never feel pain, by David Cox CIP patient Modern industrialized people have become enabled to mirror CIP patients to a limited degree. We generally do not allow any pain or discomfort to arise without covering it up, or trying to (rather than dealing with the source itself). COMS DOWN Walk into any pharmacy and you’ll find bandaid remedies for: headaches, coughs, colds, rashes, pink eye, ear aches, reflux, allergies, tummy aches, constipation, diarrhea, period discomfort, and in the back, accessible only via prescription will be the bandaids applied to what comes of using the more accessible bandaids on the above laundry list of complaints: hypertension, heart disease, asthma, COPD, autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc. It only stands to reason we will experience some sort of negative consequences for interrupting the crucial, natural feedback loop of pain. The minor complaints most of us develop during childhood or shortly thereafter are just precursors to the more severe ones, the early warning signs if you will. Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it. Share And we don’t just paper over physical complaints but emotional, psychological, energetic and spiritual ones as well - all are covered up as soon as they arise. None are addressed at their deepest roots. Modern infrastructure and technology have allowed us to feel less and less of the natural world, to provide a greater and greater buffer between ourselves and our environments, both external and internal. As we’ve become accustomed to more and more comfort and convenience we have shied more and more away from any discomfort or inconvenience. Modern medicine does nothing so well as smother the bodies ability to communicate pain to us, at least for a time. Constant access to modern media and infrastructure in general (temperature control, pharmacies, restaurants, clubs, movie theaters, parks, so many things to buy and see and do to distract you) does nothing so well as allow us to smother our body’s, heart’s and mind’s abilities to communicate physical, emotional and mental/psychological pain to us, at least for a time. However, over time the pain not only comes back, but it comes back stronger and stronger yet again as it is constantly beaten back time and again, eventually overcoming our ability to muffle its message, or shifting to a new more painful message, in the form of some new more severe ailment. An “autism-lite” society is the outcome of a constant progression away from any experience of discomfort and the healthy communication it teaches. We are progressively more unable to withstand even the slightest discomforts and unable to communicate appropriately to the outside world in return because we are not used to listening to the feedback the world is sending us, including what’s coming from the other people in it. We are meant to be in communication with everything all the time. If it gets hot out our bodies respond by doing something that communicates to our brain to respond in some way to the environment at large: we feel the heat, we sweat, we seek shade, we rest more in the midday, we drink more. Those responses are a communication to the world and to ourselves. If the responses are natural and spontaneous we will be in a synchronized, healthy and balanced state. If unnatural or unnaturally automated (temperature control, or worse just ignoring how we feel) we will be out of sync, unhealthy, imbalanced. In the natural state if it gets dark, our entire physiology goes down with the sun and we sleep. If it gets light all our hormones rise with the sun and we wake up. If someone gets upset with us, we suffer emotional discomfort and address the way we interact with them that has led to their being upset, or if we’ve really done nothing wrong then assess and deal with why we feel guilty as though we have, or why we can’t stand up for ourselves as we should. The ability to communicate eloquently in so many ways is what makes us human. Speech is what separates us from the animals. Speech, like all communication is a two way street. If one way is always blocked the other way won’t properly develop. Even if only positive signals are accepted and not negative ones we’ll develop dysfunctional communication, but in practice numbing the negative also numbs the positive (one of the many unfortunate “side effects” of “anti-depressants”). When we can’t communicate properly we won’t be able to avoid harming ourselves in our “relationships” to everything in our environment since there will be no intact negative feedback system. And perhaps most importantly communication ability can continue to develop over time, regardless of age. We can always become more and more sensitive. When we start listening carefully and acting on what we learn, we will uncover deeper layers, learn more, and eventually develop subtle and not so subtle feedback loops that gently guide us away from what is harming us, and towards what benefits us. Share Of course there’s also a lot going on mechanistically with autism, but maybe it all follows the same theme. Perhaps it all illustrates the idea that what’s present at one level is reflected at every other. Interestingly, the other things that naturopaths and functional medicine healers have noticed contribute to autism (and other modern chronic diseases) also disrupt a human beings incredibly complex, sophisticated, intricate, and oft-times delicate communications systems: Toxins like those found in vaccines, heavy metals, chronic infections/infestations, exogenous hormones, chemical laden water/air/food, light after dark, unnatural EMFs, inappropriate or excessive negative emotions and toxic relationships, etc. Also nutrient deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, sleep, sunlight, positive emotions and beliefs, healthy intimacy, a connection with the earths bioelectrical fields, nature in general, etc. So, in the modern world, in a number of ways (physical, mental, emotional, energetic), we have quite successfully shut ourselves down from feeling anything real. We’ve metaphorically plugged our ears from hearing the increasingly frantic and emphatic communications from our own bodies belying their discomfort with a constant toxic barrage and chronic nutrient deficiencies. 4,900+ Hands Covering Ears Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free ... source The louder the messages get the more mightily we mute them, increasing our medications, ruminations, dissipations (could ADHD, OCD, panic disorder and more actually be somewhere on the “spectrum” too?). In place of Nature’s messages we have shut her out and covered her up, while we injected and affected ourselves with all manner of unnatural, alien and unintelligible messages that our bodies, hearts, minds and souls were never meant to be exposed to and cannot properly interpret or respond to. At a deeper level perhaps our discomforts reveal our very selves. What makes you uncomfortable says something about who you are (there is a spiritual maxim that teaches other people are a mirror for you. What annoys you about them points to your own imperfections). Pain is the great teacher. Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach Quote: “Pain is the great teacher of mankind. Beneath its breath souls source It teaches you about yourself and everything else. When I spent years covering up my headaches with painkillers I was little aware of why I got them, and had no pressing reason to figure it out. When I understood that pain is not bad, in fact it’s good, ie the headaches were there because my body was trying to protect me from harm, I swore off the painkillers and started to experience them without an easy out. I quickly came to understand many of the factors involved (hunger, stress, missed sleep, anger, constipation, etc) and was highly motivated to take care of them. I had struggled to control anger outbursts for years, but when I now finally made the connection that they often led to headaches that I just had to suffer my way through without a painkiller, the anger quickly became severely disincentivized and naturally began to dissipate. Similarly I became more careful about combining any of the factors involved in germinating headaches. Imagine my surprise when I later realized that NSAIDs like my goto high dose Motrin/ibuprofen actually contributed to two of my main triggers: anger and constipation (in addition to engendering in some people: depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis. By the way in case you’re wondering, Tylenol is no better). Everything is connected: numbing yourself out physically numbs you out emotionally, but rather than leaving you numb your body tries to amplify the signal, the emotions break through even stronger than before, until you stop fighting them and let them out naturally and learn to live with them and deal with them in the moment. Of course no one’s perfect, least of all me. Sometimes I miss sleep, but if I do I better make sure I don’t also skip a meal and let myself get too stressed out or angry the next day. Maintaining a relatively healthy balance keeps the headaches at bay. And over time I have become more resilient. I rarely get headaches anymore and when I do they are much less severe than they used to be when I regularly medicated them (that drop in severity happened relatively fast too, within a few weeks). I went from being numbed out and stumbling through life harming myself at every turn, completely unaware of important negative feedback loops, to waking up and realizing what was happening. Syed Haider has entered the chat. I had finally joined the conversation. has entered the chat Memes & GIFs - Imgflip The world is speaking all the time and no one is listening. The utter extremity of our societal condition is the autist whose parents, society and industrialized world have transferred their communication dysfunctions at every level to one particularly sensitive to them and because of that their epigenetic, biophysical, biochemical, emotional, psychological, energetic and perhaps even spiritual planes are all incomunicado. They are not just “neurodivergent”, they haven’t just veered onto another course, they are missing from the map. It’s not the only way to go missing, we all go missing all the time: into our phones, laptops, TVs, food, other people, pharmaceuticals, street drugs, you name it we can use it to check out and so we do. We’re all a little bit autistic nowadays. Because everything, everywhere, all at once is involved in creating autism. And all of us are all too human after all (how many “alls” can one fit into a sentence or three?). But it’s also all just a matter of cause and effect. There’s nothing inherently mysterious about it. We can list out all the likely causes as I’ve done. Basically whatever has changed for the worst in the last 70 or so years. And so it can be fixed. Thank you for reading Dr. Syed Haider. This post is public so feel free to share it. Share EXITING THE MAZE It’s complicated, time consuming, difficult; it takes a lot of commitment from patients and caregivers, but the results are astounding, life-changing and so well worth it. Natural, comprehensive autism (and other severe chronic disease) treatment is now available at mygotodoc (patients will be able to choose to see either me or Hakim Shabaz for the consults, but we will both work together on every case). In the past we’ve made our asynchronous consults available without charge for anyone who needed them and couldn’t pay our already low fees (our prescription fees plus partner pharmacy fees, when combined, are always the lowest in the industry). But now, for the first time ever, our 1 on 1 consults for comprehensive natural healing will be done on a pay what you can basis. And they will be longer than any consults we’ve offered before at 2+ hours for the intake. Because that’s the only way to get to the bottom of things in highly customized care plans, and convince patients of what needs to be done. However it’s important to realize that regardless of ability to pay or not, deep healing is always quite dear compared to a cheap bandaid (then again bandaids don’t work, so it doesn’t matter how cheap they are). You always get what you pay for, even when you can’t pay, because everyone who wants an unusual, outstanding result has to sacrifice something dear in the end, whether or not that includes money, it will usually include time, habits, beliefs, plans, comforts and whatever it takes to divert some resources towards enabling the natural protocols (though much less than most would expect given the results). If you or someone you know has autism, it’s OK. Roll up your sleeves, check your assumptions at the door, be ready to work, and you’ll not only help yourself, you’ll help many others by your example. If you’re reading this, it’s not too late, in fact you’re just in time to join the party, and get to know yourself and everyone else in ways you didn’t think possible. “…we've been able to assist (many) autistic children in achieving sustainable, long-term improvements. Additionally, many others grappling with conditions like ADD, ADHD, and similar challenges (depression, anxiety, panic disorder, psychosis) have benefited from our approach… “However, there was one particular case where we couldn't achieve the desired outcome. This was primarily due to the parents' expectation of immediate results within a couple of months. Regrettably, they lost hope prematurely, compounded by the fact that the patient was a teenager. As the child gets older, the challenges in treatment tend to intensify. “It's crucial to recognize that as autistic children mature, the complexities of treatment tend to heighten. Hence, it becomes even more imperative to uphold patience and perseverance in our pursuit of solutions.” -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed I know this all may sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo, but it’s grounded in reality, and proven by practical experience. Autistic children are the canaries in the coal mine warning us where we are all headed if we don’t stop this runaway bullet train in its tracks. It can seem as though there’s no choice, but you can get off that train even if no one else does. Again, it’s important to stress that there is a cause and effect relationship in autism as in all diseases, and there are only so many possible causes. Whatever those causes are they can be removed and the body and brain will right themselves over time. Some of those causes, like the anger triggering my headaches, may seem inconsequential to some people and yet they may be the most important pressure points available to us in fixing the problem. Yogi Berra quote: Little things are big. source What may help illustrate the point is a remarkable study done in the Northeastern United States on a town that had half the incidence of heart disease compared to age matched controls in the rest of the country. Half the people who should have had heart disease had none, but there was nothing apparently different about them or their environment compared to the rest of the country at large. They smoked and drank and ate and worked too much, were overly stressed, overweight, had bad air, bad water, bad genes, you name it, they had it or did it. So Harvard went there to study them and discovered their one saving grace was a much higher level of emotional intimacy amongst friends and family. Enough real healthy intimacy in the heart disease free cohort entirely overrode the negative impacts of everything else. And it’s not just heart disease where this matters. The number of intimate relationships someone has is the single greatest predictor of their longevity. If intimacy can prevent death it can prevent anything else, whether we realize it or not. And we are in the midst of an intimacy crisis of epic proportions. Over half of mothers of young children are lonely. Nearly two thirds of young people say they are chronically lonely. Small screens and social media won’t fix this, after all they’re partly to blame for causing it. 5 Tips on How to Combat Loneliness and Depression source When it comes to kids, they are far more sensitive in every way and they have not dissociated themselves from their environment and those in it to the degree adults have. They are on a gradual slide starting at birth, taking them from experiencing everything and everyone as interconnected parts of a whole, to experiencing themselves as separate autonomous beings (this begins between 6-9 months of age, but its not an off-on switch, it’s on a spectrum, black to shades of grey to white). This means that all children, including the autistic ones, have a much deeper psycho-emotional association with their caregivers, especially their biological parents. When their parents have problems in their own relationship the child experiences this as a problem within themselves and the most sensitive children will shut down to escape the overwhelming emotional pain caused by that seemingly external conflict. The same actually happens at the other end of life too, just in a different way. Dementia can be the ultimate escape from mental pain, which was shunted into physical pain for years, until that became overwhelming and unbearable and the body in it’s fight for self preservation then shuts down the mind to protect against the untenable situation and remain alive as long as possible in a kind of comatose state. Hakim Shabaz had treated an entire family for various problems and so they asked him to help their mother with dementia. He warned them that the dementia was likely what was keeping her alive, and removing it would uncover something else, that if not properly dealt with could kill her. They insisted on treatment and her dementia did improve, however she developed cancer which killed her shortly thereafter. Share Not everyone is capable of facing their demons and doing what it takes to deeply heal. Children though are far often far more resilient than the elderly. Still, treating a serious, intricate and delicate disorder like autism requires really expert guidance that can put together a deeply customized protocol to fit each situation and then navigate rapidly changing circumstances as that protocol is put into effect. “Autistic children resemble a delicate (house) of cards – any disruption to one aspect can cause the entire structure to falter. It's akin to solving a puzzle, where adjusting one piece may inadvertently affect another. Providing sustainable, long-term solutions for these children requires a physician with extensive experience, one who has navigated through all stages of treatment.” -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed Children need close monitoring with ongoing mental, emotional and nutritional support as they age to prevent regression of symptoms due to their predisposition. Some of the deeper causes take a longer time to fully eliminate, eg epigenetic changes that have often been carried down at this point through multiple generations. There are many people promising parents help for their autistic children. But most focus on simple one size fits all protocols. It is so appealing to believe that there is an easy way out, like just removing mercury (despite the anecdotes describing sudden onset autism after a shot, removing the final straw that breaks the camels back won’t usually allow healing without addressing all the other straws and more, like rehab). Sometimes these simple straightforward approaches work, but not always and they don’t always lead to sustained improvements, because the entire modern environment is constantly pushing those susceptible back towards expressing autism. Not to say that there will always be an epic struggle to maintain improvement. The deeper the detox and more thorough the support, the longer the remission, the more inertia and resilience will develop. It gets harder and harder over time to push someones being back off balance. It’s hard to move a boulder at first, but once you get it rolling downhill it will pick up its own speed and eventually become nearly impossible to stop. Everyone has two choices when healing: they can try pushing the boulder uphill or downhill. Every simplistic solution is an uphill battle against implacable gravity. Perseverance. Symbol and sisyphus symbol as a determined snail pushing a boulder , #spon, #determined, #snail, #pushin… | Perseverance, Perseverance symbol, Prayers SIMPLE {{{SHOCK}}} THERAPY I interviewed someone once who had seen a child’s autism disappear suddenly after a painful physical trauma. He was amazed to discover other stories of spontaneous improvements in autistic children, even complete remissions, after unexpected physical traumas like car accidents. This led to a theory of the cause of autism: certain crucial neurological reflex loops linked to autism symptoms require post birth stimulation to fully develop. When they remain un-triggered by significant pain during and after relatively easy births, this might explain all the typical symptoms. The therapeutic idea stemming from his theory was that measured application of uncomfortable stimulation might trigger the development of the very missing reflex loops that autistic children require to function normally. Despite an interesting theoretical framework, I’m not aware of any clinics or practitioners that have put this theory into practice, so there isn’t much real world proof of the efficacy of the proposed “treatment”. It’s also unlikely to gain much acceptance in a culture like ours that is so opposed to discomfort in any form, not least of all because it hearkens back to uncomfortable episodes in medical history like shock treatments. To be perfectly clear I’m not advocating shock treatment or anything like it as a general approach for people with autism (again complex chronic diseases like autism require a deeply personalized approach rather than one-size-fits-all). Regardless, what it does remind me of personally is cold plunging. If you’ve never gotten into literally freezing water before, you’re in for a tremendous nervous system shock the first time you do it. Cold Water Immersion: A HOT Recovery Tool? | Biolayne source If you don’t jump right back out, but try to stay in, your entire body is screaming at you, you’re hyperventilating and your brain rather than being frozen, is on fire. Pain is assaulting you from everywhere all at once. Sometimes this shock therapy snaps people out of nervous system disorders rather quickly. I used it over the course of a couple months to end my own long COVID. But others tried and didn’t experience the same improvement or if they did they didn’t have lasting benefits. Shock therapy of various kinds do work sometimes, just like sometimes other things work: detoxing from heavy metals, treating Lyme and co-infections, resolving EBV, eliminating mold toxicity, balancing hormones and neurotransmitters, replacing missing nutrients, addressing methylation, rebalancing the microbiome, etc - all the functional medicine go-to’s could be listed out on a lengthy and quite expensive protocol document. I’ve seen people go through these step by step protocols, often involving hundreds of expensive tests and dozens of expensive supplements and radical lifestyle changes to boot. Many a time people do get better, often their problems seem to resolve, at least for a time. There is nothing inherently wrong with these approaches, but they are not always as fundamental or deep-rooted as people assume they are. TAP ROOTS Rarely do people address every level of their being that is contributing, and usually they miss out on the key emotional, psychological and deeper epigenetic/ancestral roots of their disease. “In my experience, the development of autism in children can stem from various (primary) factors. These include adverse epigenetic influences, the transfer of toxins and microbial burdens from the mother to the developing fetus, resulting in DNA alterations. Additionally, imbalances in neurotransmitters, the mental and emotional state of the mother during pregnancy, exposure to electromagnetic radiation, and a lack of interaction with nature all play significant roles.” “As the child grows, it becomes imperative to focus on teaching stress management, promoting healthy epigenetic expression, and addressing mental and emotional well-being. It's evident that the issue is far from straightforward, and simplistic solutions … are inadequate. Rather, a comprehensive approach that considers the multifaceted nature of ASD is essential for supporting individuals affected by the condition." -Hakim Shabaz Ahmed The subconscious mind and heart are usually more powerful instigators of illness than diet, physical toxins and infections (remember the heart disease and longevity examples). And as far as the mind goes, what we believe can make us healthy or unwell or even dead. In two studies the patients who believed themselves the healthiest had 6X lower chances of dying than those who believed themselves the least healthy. The even more shocking bit was that it didn’t matter what their own doctors believed about their health, only what they did. The patient’s belief trumped their doctor’s “knowledge”. Share Another study was undertaken to understand the impact of belief on exercise outcomes. Hotel cleaners were split into two groups: one received counseling for half an hour on the importance and benefits of exercise, the second received a presentation of the same duration which explained to them that their daily cleaning activities for work met and exceeded the US Surgeon General’s recommendations for daily exercise. cleaning ladies.png source After a month the first group had not changed in any way. Neither had the second, at least not in anything they did: eg they didn’t change their exercise or eating habits. The only thing that had changed was what they believed about themselves. And that led to an average weight loss of half a pound a week (2 pounds over a month), smaller waist sizes and lower blood pressures in the second group. Without changing anything they did, they had lifted a nocebo effect, opposite of a placebo effect, that was entirely due to their underlying beliefs about themselves (eg I’m overweight/unhealthy since I don’t exercise) and their beliefs about the nature of reality (physical interventions are required for physical results). The Nocebo Effect Produces Physical Symptoms - The Pain PT The most powerful nocebo effects come from our own doctors, who really should be trying to placebo us, but they don’t know any better. The big shot with all the framed documents on the wall, the world expert on autism, will convince most people it can’t be cured. And yet all of us, somewhere deep inside, know this is not true, or maybe it’s just that hope spring’s eternal. And yet it is not a false hope. People have healed, and if they can do it so can you. TRUE AND FALSE “Maryam is doing well … “Her speech and comprehension is getting better. I'm actually able to have a 2 sided conversation with her. She has learned to give excuses for her actions, give reason for her behaviour, Communicate her needs. She is able to follow instructions. With some coercion she is also able to narrate incidents in bits and pieces and I can get the picture. “She is a lot more aware of her surroundings. Able to recall where things were kept. “She has become a lot more independent. Dress, bath, brush by herself. Now it's difficult for me to keep track of how many times she passes motion in a day, because she does it all by herself.” -Followup during treatment with Hiba A, mother of a recovering autistic daughter. False hope is what the pharmaceutical manufacturers peddle: feeding the perennial desire for an easy way out … there’s a pill to help and someday science will solve it. False perplexity is what the mainstream media peddles: that we just don’t know what’s causing it or how to fix it … at least not yet, it’s forever just around the corner, just out of reach. False despair is what the alternative media often peddles: that it’s all due to those shots you allowed, or the mercury in them, or a handful of other chemical toxins you can’t escape. The truth is that the stage is set by deeper influences that allow bit players like mercury to step in and meddle with a persons body and mind. Taking mercury out of the picture just allows another bit player to step into the same role. Taking out all those superficial actors, just allows another acting troupe to show up, because we have to survive in a toxic soup of chemicals, that’s just the way the world is: even in the deepest reaches of the Amazon jungle the toxic environmental chemicals have diffused their way there. But real solutions to real problems go deeper than that, and don’t necessarily depend for their efficacy on the complete elimination of superficial elements. Real solutions remove the stage itself so the play can’t go on. Life takes its place as you exit the darkened theater, blinded momentarily by the immediacy of the real world. The shock wears off soon enough and you get back to living. BEYOND HOLISTIC: FIRST PRINCIPLES HEALING Too often holistic health is not only not truly holistic, but also it’s parts are misapplied without a deep understanding of a patients context, or they’re not applied in the right sequence or they’re not delivered with deep wisdom springing from first principles and practical experiences that come not only from treating many patients successfully, but from realizing the underlying principles in the practitioners own life and health. This realization of underlying principles is not a destination, rather it’s an endless journey of physical, emotional, psychological, energetic, and spiritual progress. It takes a sage, a wise man, a Hakim (as they call them in the Greek medical tradition stemming from Hippocrates), to treat the whole person as they should be treated It takes a deep understanding of the source texts of all the great healing traditions and the ability to intuit what’s missing from them via sheer inspiration, allowing a reconstituting of what they truly were when their origin civilizations were ascendant. It takes a deep reverence for the inherent wisdom present inside each patient themselves, that is maneuvering around a punishingly toxic environment in order to save them from death or something worse. “My son encountered behavioral challenges, displaying traits associated with ADHD and autism. He faced difficulties with toilet training and exhibited highly challenging behaviors. “Despite receiving occupational therapy and speech therapy, his developmental progress was much below expectations. “Seeking further assistance, we consulted Dr. Shahbaz, who advised a strict dietary regimen, therapies and additional supplementation. “Remarkably, the implementation of this new regimen led to noticeable improvements. Within a month, my son achieved toilet training, and his behavioral issues began to diminish. After four months of following the regimen, his speech development showed significant progress. “Currently, he continues his therapies alongside the prescribed diet and regimen, and I'm thrilled to report that my son has made remarkable strides in closing the developmental gap.” -M. Majali, father of a recovering autistic child Pain is not your enemy, and neither is disease. Disease is both a message and a maneuver. The message is: get this junk out of your life, whatever it is. The maneuver is your body’s last ditch efforts to keep you as healthy as possible and ultimately to preserve your very life, no matter what, despite the pain and ongoing damage you’re exposed to. Your body is making the best of a very bad situation. Share Don’t blame your skin for hurting when you shove your hand in the fire, or burning if you leave it there. Don’t blame your reflexes for yanking your hand out of the fire. Blame the fire. Don’t just apply healing salves to your burning hand and a nerve bock to deaden your senses while leaving your hand to shrivel away in the flames. Put out the fire. It’s not easy, don’t believe anyone who says it is. But it is possible, so don’t believe anyone who says it isn’t. https://blog.mygotodoc.com/p/decoding-autisms-meaning-and-maneuvers
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    Autism: Meaning & Maneuvers
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  • Clarifying Defamation Against Master Peace Zeolites
    Dr. Ariyana Love (ND)
    Defamatory attacks are being waged against Master Peace, a company offering a new and effective zeolite supplement for detox.

    The defamatory content was posted by a woman named “Ria” to a Facebook page called “Ria No Moresilence”. The person running the page is an allopathic practitioner.


    You can see the Facebook page is connected to an online telehealth website called “Long Haulers” which is offering allopathic treatment for vaccine injured and “Covid long haulers”. Ria is a practitioner for Long Haulers.

    The website features Dr. Pierre Kory as the chief Medical Doctor their team is “working in collaboration with”.


    Ria appears to be attacking Master Peace which is a new company offering Clinoptilolite Zeolite infused with Marine Plasma nutrition.

    Ria has claimed that “Master Peace build the graphene oxide filaments".


    Ria goes on to attack the credibility of Master Peace leader, Caroline Mansfield.


    Next, the Long Hauler practitioner further claims that "Master Peace are the building blocks for nanotech and rubbery clots".

    She then references Ana Maria Mihalcea’s article entitled, “Zeolite Use In Nanotechnology Biosensor Applications, Enhancement Of Graphene Quantum Dots Capacity And Increase In Polymer Hydrogel Growth” which reveals a dark underbelly to modern health supplements.


    Ana Maria Mihalcea is not providing her readers with the complete picture of zeolites in her article. She’s using scare tactics to confuse her audience, which serves to deter them from trying more effective natural solutions for detox.

    Zeolites is one of the most effective heavy metal chelator that exist. That is, when this superior natural medicine is pure and unadulterated!

    Zeolites have long been used as a natural treatment to remove heavy radioactive metals from land, water and humans. If you knew that natural zeolites can effectively chelate heavy metals and other toxins, then you might reconsider using Ana Maria’s dangerous pharmaceutical EDTA Acid infusions.

    On the flip side, because natural zeolites are so effective at removing toxic metals from the human body, the market was flooded with contaminated zeolite products leading up to the Covid-19 vaccine democide.

    Already back in 2012, graphene oxide was being attached to the silicalite surface of zeolites, entraping GO nanosheets inside single crystals. In 2015, zeolite nanotechnology was already being tested for drug delivery.

    This patent indicates that aluminum is being mixed into zeolites. Another patent demonstrates that metallic “nanodots” of all kinds can be used in zeolite products.

    But what do these sinister patents have to do with Master Peace zeolites? The answer is absolutely nothing. Master Peace is a natural zeolite supplement that’s sourced from the sea. Master Peace zeolites are volcanic ash harvested from the sea floor bed which is structured and reduced by oxidation to a stabilized nanoparticle size. It’s known as oxygenated clinoptililite. There are no synthetic chemicals used in this process, so essentially, Master Peace is nano minerals, which is not to be confused with harmful nanotechnology.

    A 40-year veteran scientist, Dr. Robert Young, is doing the lab analysis for Master Peace. As the following study shows, the novel oxygenated clinoptilolite efficiently removes aluminum and graphene oxide.



    PLEASE READ: Oxygenated Zeolite (Clinoptilolite) Efficiently Removes Aluminum & Graphene Oxide


    Master Peace zeolites are then infused with sea plasma, which is another essential medicine beneficial for hydration and greater nutrient absorption. It’s a fascinating three-step process worth reading more about.

    So I wonder where Ria the allopathic practitioner got the idea that Master Peace supplement can build graphene oxide filaments and nanotech and promote the growth of rubbery clots? Is Dr. Pierre Kory aware of this defamation? Does Ana Maria have something to do with these false claims, I wonder?

    Listen to Dr. Robert Young on Master Peace and the hexagon via Human Consciousness Support (official channel).

    Follow me on Telegram @drloveariyana.

    Sign up and order Master Peace here



    https://open.substack.com/pub/drloveariyana/p/clarifying-defamation-against-master?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios
    Clarifying Defamation Against Master Peace Zeolites Dr. Ariyana Love (ND) Defamatory attacks are being waged against Master Peace, a company offering a new and effective zeolite supplement for detox. The defamatory content was posted by a woman named “Ria” to a Facebook page called “Ria No Moresilence”. The person running the page is an allopathic practitioner. You can see the Facebook page is connected to an online telehealth website called “Long Haulers” which is offering allopathic treatment for vaccine injured and “Covid long haulers”. Ria is a practitioner for Long Haulers. The website features Dr. Pierre Kory as the chief Medical Doctor their team is “working in collaboration with”. Ria appears to be attacking Master Peace which is a new company offering Clinoptilolite Zeolite infused with Marine Plasma nutrition. Ria has claimed that “Master Peace build the graphene oxide filaments". Ria goes on to attack the credibility of Master Peace leader, Caroline Mansfield. Next, the Long Hauler practitioner further claims that "Master Peace are the building blocks for nanotech and rubbery clots". She then references Ana Maria Mihalcea’s article entitled, “Zeolite Use In Nanotechnology Biosensor Applications, Enhancement Of Graphene Quantum Dots Capacity And Increase In Polymer Hydrogel Growth” which reveals a dark underbelly to modern health supplements. Ana Maria Mihalcea is not providing her readers with the complete picture of zeolites in her article. She’s using scare tactics to confuse her audience, which serves to deter them from trying more effective natural solutions for detox. Zeolites is one of the most effective heavy metal chelator that exist. That is, when this superior natural medicine is pure and unadulterated! Zeolites have long been used as a natural treatment to remove heavy radioactive metals from land, water and humans. If you knew that natural zeolites can effectively chelate heavy metals and other toxins, then you might reconsider using Ana Maria’s dangerous pharmaceutical EDTA Acid infusions. On the flip side, because natural zeolites are so effective at removing toxic metals from the human body, the market was flooded with contaminated zeolite products leading up to the Covid-19 vaccine democide. Already back in 2012, graphene oxide was being attached to the silicalite surface of zeolites, entraping GO nanosheets inside single crystals. In 2015, zeolite nanotechnology was already being tested for drug delivery. This patent indicates that aluminum is being mixed into zeolites. Another patent demonstrates that metallic “nanodots” of all kinds can be used in zeolite products. But what do these sinister patents have to do with Master Peace zeolites? The answer is absolutely nothing. Master Peace is a natural zeolite supplement that’s sourced from the sea. Master Peace zeolites are volcanic ash harvested from the sea floor bed which is structured and reduced by oxidation to a stabilized nanoparticle size. It’s known as oxygenated clinoptililite. There are no synthetic chemicals used in this process, so essentially, Master Peace is nano minerals, which is not to be confused with harmful nanotechnology. A 40-year veteran scientist, Dr. Robert Young, is doing the lab analysis for Master Peace. As the following study shows, the novel oxygenated clinoptilolite efficiently removes aluminum and graphene oxide. PLEASE READ: Oxygenated Zeolite (Clinoptilolite) Efficiently Removes Aluminum & Graphene Oxide Master Peace zeolites are then infused with sea plasma, which is another essential medicine beneficial for hydration and greater nutrient absorption. It’s a fascinating three-step process worth reading more about. So I wonder where Ria the allopathic practitioner got the idea that Master Peace supplement can build graphene oxide filaments and nanotech and promote the growth of rubbery clots? Is Dr. Pierre Kory aware of this defamation? Does Ana Maria have something to do with these false claims, I wonder? Listen to Dr. Robert Young on Master Peace and the hexagon via Human Consciousness Support (official channel). Follow me on Telegram @drloveariyana. Sign up and order Master Peace here https://open.substack.com/pub/drloveariyana/p/clarifying-defamation-against-master?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios
    OPEN.SUBSTACK.COM
    Clarifying Defamation Against Master Peace Zeolites
    Defamatory attacks are being waged against Master Peace, a company offering a new and effective zeolite supplement for detox. The defamatory content was posted by a woman named “Ria” to a Facebook page called “Ria No Moresilence”. The person running the page is an allopathic practitioner.
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  • Diabetes Freedom is a digital program designed to help individuals manage and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes through natural methods. Created by George Reilly, who himself overcame severe complications of type 2 diabetes, the program focuses on dietary and lifestyle changes to address the root causes of the disease.

    Key Components of the Program:
    Two-Month Nutrition Plan: This plan emphasizes meal timing and specific nutritional strategies aimed at reducing fat deposits around the pancreas, improving insulin sensitivity, and stabilizing blood glucose levels. It includes a detailed guide on what to eat and when to eat, helping users manage their blood sugar more effectively​.

    7 Fat-Boosting Metabolic Rules: These rules are designed to enhance metabolism and increase brown fat levels, which help reduce harmful white fat. The guidelines include practical advice on food choices, exercise, and daily habits to promote better health and diabetes management.​

    Meal-Timing Strategies: The program teaches optimal times to consume various food groups to maintain stable blood sugar levels. This component helps users feel more energized, sleep better, and manage their weight effectively.

    Additional Resources:
    Exercise and Meal Preparation Guides: Diabetes Freedom includes exercise routines and meal preparation guides that offer diabetes-friendly recipes, ingredient lists, and step-by-step instructions for preparing healthy meals​.

    Quick Start Accelerator: This guide provides a fast-track version of the program with an 8-week plan to develop healthy habits, manage blood sugar levels, and incorporate physical activity into daily routines​.

    Bonus Content: The program also comes with various bonuses, such as guides on anti-diabetic drinks, dessert recipes, and tips for improving blood circulation in the feet to prevent common diabetic complications.

    Pros:
    Natural and Non-Invasive: The program relies on natural dietary and lifestyle changes rather than medication, reducing the risk of side effects​.
    Comprehensive Support: Users receive extensive support through detailed manuals, videos, and additional resources, making the program easy to follow.

    Overall, Diabetes Freedom presents a well-rounded approach to managing and potentially reversing type 2 diabetes through scientifically-backed dietary and lifestyle modifications. It offers a promising alternative for those looking to reduce their dependence on medication and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

    Prefer to Read More: https://tinyurl.com/yhanzdr7

    #diabetes, #freedom, #​type2diabetes, #nutritionplan, #healthyhabits
    Diabetes Freedom is a digital program designed to help individuals manage and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes through natural methods. Created by George Reilly, who himself overcame severe complications of type 2 diabetes, the program focuses on dietary and lifestyle changes to address the root causes of the disease. Key Components of the Program: Two-Month Nutrition Plan: This plan emphasizes meal timing and specific nutritional strategies aimed at reducing fat deposits around the pancreas, improving insulin sensitivity, and stabilizing blood glucose levels. It includes a detailed guide on what to eat and when to eat, helping users manage their blood sugar more effectively​. 7 Fat-Boosting Metabolic Rules: These rules are designed to enhance metabolism and increase brown fat levels, which help reduce harmful white fat. The guidelines include practical advice on food choices, exercise, and daily habits to promote better health and diabetes management.​ Meal-Timing Strategies: The program teaches optimal times to consume various food groups to maintain stable blood sugar levels. This component helps users feel more energized, sleep better, and manage their weight effectively. Additional Resources: Exercise and Meal Preparation Guides: Diabetes Freedom includes exercise routines and meal preparation guides that offer diabetes-friendly recipes, ingredient lists, and step-by-step instructions for preparing healthy meals​. Quick Start Accelerator: This guide provides a fast-track version of the program with an 8-week plan to develop healthy habits, manage blood sugar levels, and incorporate physical activity into daily routines​. Bonus Content: The program also comes with various bonuses, such as guides on anti-diabetic drinks, dessert recipes, and tips for improving blood circulation in the feet to prevent common diabetic complications. Pros: Natural and Non-Invasive: The program relies on natural dietary and lifestyle changes rather than medication, reducing the risk of side effects​. Comprehensive Support: Users receive extensive support through detailed manuals, videos, and additional resources, making the program easy to follow. Overall, Diabetes Freedom presents a well-rounded approach to managing and potentially reversing type 2 diabetes through scientifically-backed dietary and lifestyle modifications. It offers a promising alternative for those looking to reduce their dependence on medication and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Prefer to Read More: https://tinyurl.com/yhanzdr7 #diabetes, #freedom, #​type2diabetes, #nutritionplan, #healthyhabits
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  • The Parkinson’s Disease Protocol is an alternative approach to managing Parkinson’s disease, emphasizing natural remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. While traditional treatment primarily relies on medication and sometimes surgical interventions to manage symptoms, this protocol advocates a more holistic approach. Here’s a summary of its main components:

    1. Diet and Nutrition:
    Anti-inflammatory Foods: Emphasizes consuming foods that reduce inflammation, such as leafy greens, berries, and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
    Antioxidants: Encourages eating foods high in antioxidants, like fruits (especially berries), vegetables, nuts, and seeds, to combat oxidative stress.
    Whole Foods: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods, avoiding refined sugars and processed foods.
    Hydration: Importance of staying well-hydrated.
    2. Detoxification:
    Reduce Toxins: Suggests minimizing exposure to environmental toxins (pesticides, pollutants) and avoiding processed foods with artificial additives.
    Detox Foods: Incorporating foods known for their detoxifying properties, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), garlic, and green tea.
    3. Supplements and Natural Remedies:
    Vitamins and Minerals: Recommends supplements like Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and CoQ10, which may support neurological health.
    Herbal Supplements: Use of herbs like turmeric (curcumin), ginkgo biloba, and others purported to have neuroprotective benefits.
    Essential Oils: Aromatherapy with essential oils like frankincense and lavender for their calming effects.
    4. Exercise and Physical Therapy:
    Regular Exercise: Encourages engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, to improve mobility and reduce symptoms.
    Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise program that focuses on balance, strength, and flexibility.

    Scientific Evidence
    While there is some evidence supporting the benefits of lifestyle and dietary changes in managing Parkinson's disease symptoms, more research is needed to fully validate the efficacy of the Parkinson’s Disease Protocol. It is always advisable to consider both traditional and alternative methods under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

    Diet and Exercise: There is supportive evidence suggesting that a healthy diet and regular exercise can improve symptoms and quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
    Supplements and Herbs: Research is ongoing, and while some studies show potential benefits, more comprehensive clinical trials are needed.

    This holistic approach aims to support overall health and improve the quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease through natural and lifestyle interventions. It’s essential to tailor these recommendations to individual needs and to work closely with healthcare professionals when implementing these changes.

    Visit Here for More Information: https://tinyurl.com/yyr2ju6t

    #parkinson, #disease, #dietandexercise, #physicaltherapy, #naturalremedies
    The Parkinson’s Disease Protocol is an alternative approach to managing Parkinson’s disease, emphasizing natural remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. While traditional treatment primarily relies on medication and sometimes surgical interventions to manage symptoms, this protocol advocates a more holistic approach. Here’s a summary of its main components: 1. Diet and Nutrition: Anti-inflammatory Foods: Emphasizes consuming foods that reduce inflammation, such as leafy greens, berries, and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Antioxidants: Encourages eating foods high in antioxidants, like fruits (especially berries), vegetables, nuts, and seeds, to combat oxidative stress. Whole Foods: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods, avoiding refined sugars and processed foods. Hydration: Importance of staying well-hydrated. 2. Detoxification: Reduce Toxins: Suggests minimizing exposure to environmental toxins (pesticides, pollutants) and avoiding processed foods with artificial additives. Detox Foods: Incorporating foods known for their detoxifying properties, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), garlic, and green tea. 3. Supplements and Natural Remedies: Vitamins and Minerals: Recommends supplements like Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and CoQ10, which may support neurological health. Herbal Supplements: Use of herbs like turmeric (curcumin), ginkgo biloba, and others purported to have neuroprotective benefits. Essential Oils: Aromatherapy with essential oils like frankincense and lavender for their calming effects. 4. Exercise and Physical Therapy: Regular Exercise: Encourages engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, to improve mobility and reduce symptoms. Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise program that focuses on balance, strength, and flexibility. Scientific Evidence While there is some evidence supporting the benefits of lifestyle and dietary changes in managing Parkinson's disease symptoms, more research is needed to fully validate the efficacy of the Parkinson’s Disease Protocol. It is always advisable to consider both traditional and alternative methods under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Diet and Exercise: There is supportive evidence suggesting that a healthy diet and regular exercise can improve symptoms and quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Supplements and Herbs: Research is ongoing, and while some studies show potential benefits, more comprehensive clinical trials are needed. This holistic approach aims to support overall health and improve the quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease through natural and lifestyle interventions. It’s essential to tailor these recommendations to individual needs and to work closely with healthcare professionals when implementing these changes. Visit Here for More Information: https://tinyurl.com/yyr2ju6t #parkinson, #disease, #dietandexercise, #physicaltherapy, #naturalremedies
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  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long-term condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. While there's no cure for CKD, management and treatment strategies aim to slow its progression, manage symptoms, and reduce complications. Here are some comprehensive strategies and approaches for managing CKD:

    Medical Management
    Blood Pressure Control:

    Use of antihypertensive medications such as ACE inhibitors or ARBs, which can also protect kidney function.
    Regular monitoring and maintaining blood pressure within target ranges.
    Blood Sugar Control (for Diabetic Patients):

    Tight control of blood glucose levels to prevent further kidney damage.
    Use of medications like SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists that have renal benefits.
    Cholesterol Management:

    Use of statins or other lipid-lowering agents to reduce cardiovascular risk.
    Anemia Management:

    Use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and iron supplements to manage anemia commonly associated with CKD.
    Phosphate and Calcium Balance:

    Use of phosphate binders and vitamin D supplements to maintain bone health and prevent mineral and bone disorder in CKD.
    Lifestyle Modifications
    Dietary Adjustments:

    Low-sodium diet to help control blood pressure.
    Low-protein diet to reduce the kidneys' workload.
    Avoiding high-phosphorus foods to prevent mineral imbalance.
    Maintaining a healthy weight through balanced nutrition.
    Fluid Management:

    Proper hydration while avoiding overconsumption of fluids to prevent swelling and high blood pressure.
    Smoking Cessation:

    Quitting smoking to improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce further kidney damage.
    Regular Exercise:

    Engaging in moderate physical activity to improve cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy weight.

    Monitoring and Follow-Up
    Regular Check-Ups:

    Frequent monitoring of kidney function (e.g., serum creatinine, GFR) and other relevant parameters.
    Regular visits to a nephrologist for specialized care.
    Monitoring for Complications:

    Keeping an eye on signs of worsening kidney function or complications such as fluid overload, electrolyte imbalances, and heart disease.
    Advanced Treatments
    Dialysis:

    Hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis for advanced CKD when the kidneys can no longer function adequately on their own.
    Kidney Transplant:

    Considering kidney transplantation as a long-term solution for end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
    Education and Support
    Patient Education:

    Providing information on CKD and its management to empower patients to take an active role in their care.
    Educating about the importance of medication adherence and lifestyle changes.
    Support Groups:

    Encouraging participation in support groups for emotional and psychological support.

    Preventive Measures
    Screening for At-Risk Populations:

    Regular screening for individuals with risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and family history of kidney disease.
    Early Detection and Intervention:

    Early identification of CKD through routine health checks to initiate timely management and prevent progression.
    Combining these approaches can help manage CKD effectively, improve quality of life, and delay the progression to more advanced stages of the disease. It is essential for patients to work closely with their healthcare providers to tailor a management plan specific to their individual needs and conditions.
    Click Here for More Information: https://tinyurl.com/bd42n8a7

    #kidneydisease #solution #kidneyfunction #CholesterolManagement #bloodsugarcontrol
    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long-term condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. While there's no cure for CKD, management and treatment strategies aim to slow its progression, manage symptoms, and reduce complications. Here are some comprehensive strategies and approaches for managing CKD: Medical Management Blood Pressure Control: Use of antihypertensive medications such as ACE inhibitors or ARBs, which can also protect kidney function. Regular monitoring and maintaining blood pressure within target ranges. Blood Sugar Control (for Diabetic Patients): Tight control of blood glucose levels to prevent further kidney damage. Use of medications like SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists that have renal benefits. Cholesterol Management: Use of statins or other lipid-lowering agents to reduce cardiovascular risk. Anemia Management: Use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and iron supplements to manage anemia commonly associated with CKD. Phosphate and Calcium Balance: Use of phosphate binders and vitamin D supplements to maintain bone health and prevent mineral and bone disorder in CKD. Lifestyle Modifications Dietary Adjustments: Low-sodium diet to help control blood pressure. Low-protein diet to reduce the kidneys' workload. Avoiding high-phosphorus foods to prevent mineral imbalance. Maintaining a healthy weight through balanced nutrition. Fluid Management: Proper hydration while avoiding overconsumption of fluids to prevent swelling and high blood pressure. Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking to improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce further kidney damage. Regular Exercise: Engaging in moderate physical activity to improve cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy weight. Monitoring and Follow-Up Regular Check-Ups: Frequent monitoring of kidney function (e.g., serum creatinine, GFR) and other relevant parameters. Regular visits to a nephrologist for specialized care. Monitoring for Complications: Keeping an eye on signs of worsening kidney function or complications such as fluid overload, electrolyte imbalances, and heart disease. Advanced Treatments Dialysis: Hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis for advanced CKD when the kidneys can no longer function adequately on their own. Kidney Transplant: Considering kidney transplantation as a long-term solution for end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Education and Support Patient Education: Providing information on CKD and its management to empower patients to take an active role in their care. Educating about the importance of medication adherence and lifestyle changes. Support Groups: Encouraging participation in support groups for emotional and psychological support. Preventive Measures Screening for At-Risk Populations: Regular screening for individuals with risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and family history of kidney disease. Early Detection and Intervention: Early identification of CKD through routine health checks to initiate timely management and prevent progression. Combining these approaches can help manage CKD effectively, improve quality of life, and delay the progression to more advanced stages of the disease. It is essential for patients to work closely with their healthcare providers to tailor a management plan specific to their individual needs and conditions. Click Here for More Information: https://tinyurl.com/bd42n8a7 #kidneydisease #solution #kidneyfunction #CholesterolManagement #bloodsugarcontrol
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  • Eliminating knee pain involves a combination of lifestyle changes, exercises, and possibly medical interventions. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you achieve "ageless knees":

    Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight puts additional strain on your knees. Losing weight can significantly reduce knee pain and prevent further damage.

    Stay Active: Low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and walking can strengthen the muscles around your knees without putting too much stress on them. Strengthening these muscles can provide better support and stability for your knees.

    Stretch and Flexibility Exercises: Incorporate stretching exercises to improve flexibility in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. This helps in reducing stiffness and increasing the range of motion in your knees.

    Strengthening Exercises: Focus on strengthening exercises for the muscles around your knees, including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This can help stabilize the knee joint and reduce pain.

    Proper Footwear: Wear supportive and comfortable shoes that provide adequate cushioning and stability. Good footwear can reduce stress on your knees, especially during physical activities.

    Correct Posture: Maintain proper posture while sitting, standing, and walking to prevent unnecessary strain on your knees. Avoid activities or positions that put excessive pressure on your knees.

    Avoid High-Impact Activities: Minimize activities that involve repetitive high-impact movements, such as running on hard surfaces or jumping, as these can exacerbate knee pain.

    Use Knee Braces or Supports: Consider using knee braces or supports during physical activities to provide additional stability and reduce strain on your knees.

    Warm-up Before Exercise: Always warm up before starting any physical activity to prepare your muscles and joints for movement. This can help prevent injuries and reduce knee pain.

    Cold Therapy: Apply ice packs to your knees after physical activity or when experiencing pain to reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing temporary relief.

    Maintain Proper Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support overall joint health. Consider incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

    Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your joints well-lubricated and prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate knee pain.

    Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's signals. If you experience pain or discomfort during any activity, stop and rest. Pushing through pain can lead to further injury.

    Consult a Healthcare Professional: If knee pain persists or worsens despite home remedies and lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include physical therapy, medications, injections, or surgery in severe cases.

    Remember, consistency is key when it comes to managing knee pain. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and be patient with your progress. Click to Read More: https://tinyurl.com/2w7xnxut
    #jointpain #kneepain #agelessknees #fitness #exercise
    Eliminating knee pain involves a combination of lifestyle changes, exercises, and possibly medical interventions. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you achieve "ageless knees": Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight puts additional strain on your knees. Losing weight can significantly reduce knee pain and prevent further damage. Stay Active: Low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and walking can strengthen the muscles around your knees without putting too much stress on them. Strengthening these muscles can provide better support and stability for your knees. Stretch and Flexibility Exercises: Incorporate stretching exercises to improve flexibility in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. This helps in reducing stiffness and increasing the range of motion in your knees. Strengthening Exercises: Focus on strengthening exercises for the muscles around your knees, including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This can help stabilize the knee joint and reduce pain. Proper Footwear: Wear supportive and comfortable shoes that provide adequate cushioning and stability. Good footwear can reduce stress on your knees, especially during physical activities. Correct Posture: Maintain proper posture while sitting, standing, and walking to prevent unnecessary strain on your knees. Avoid activities or positions that put excessive pressure on your knees. Avoid High-Impact Activities: Minimize activities that involve repetitive high-impact movements, such as running on hard surfaces or jumping, as these can exacerbate knee pain. Use Knee Braces or Supports: Consider using knee braces or supports during physical activities to provide additional stability and reduce strain on your knees. Warm-up Before Exercise: Always warm up before starting any physical activity to prepare your muscles and joints for movement. This can help prevent injuries and reduce knee pain. Cold Therapy: Apply ice packs to your knees after physical activity or when experiencing pain to reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing temporary relief. Maintain Proper Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support overall joint health. Consider incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your joints well-lubricated and prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate knee pain. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's signals. If you experience pain or discomfort during any activity, stop and rest. Pushing through pain can lead to further injury. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If knee pain persists or worsens despite home remedies and lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include physical therapy, medications, injections, or surgery in severe cases. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to managing knee pain. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and be patient with your progress. Click to Read More: https://tinyurl.com/2w7xnxut #jointpain #kneepain #agelessknees #fitness #exercise
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  • Simple and nutritious smoothie diet plan recipe:
    Morning Kickstart Smoothie: Ingredients:
    1 cup spinach,1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup almond
    milk.
    Instructions:
    Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
    Enjoy as a refreshing breakfast or morning snack.

    Midday Boost Smoothie: Ingredients:
    1 cup kale, 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 avocadoJuice of , 1/2 lime, 1/2 cup coconut water.
    Instructions:
    Blend all ingredients until smooth.
    Pour into a glass and savor the rejuvenating flavors.

    Afternoon Refuel Smoothie: Ingredients:

    1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup mango chunks, 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 cup water or coconut water.

    Instructions:Combine all ingredients in a blender.
    Blend until creamy and enjoy as a healthy pick-me-up.

    Evening Relaxation Smoothie: Ingredients:

    1/2 cup kale, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, A dash of cinnamon (optional).

    Instructions:Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
    Pour into a glass, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and unwind with this nourishing treat.

    Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and listen to your body's hunger cues. Enjoy your smoothie journey!

    And more click here to know
    https://bit.ly/3UkMKHo

    #weightloss #weightlossjourney #fitness #healthylifestyle #motivation #health #healthy #workout #diet #fitnessmotivation #healthyfood #weightlosstransformation #gym #fit #nutrition #fitfam #fatloss #healthyeating #exercise #slimmingworld #weightlossmotivation #transformation #keto #bodybuilding #healthyliving #personaltrainer #lifestyle #food #fitnessjourney #training #smootheidietplan


    Simple and nutritious smoothie diet plan recipe: Morning Kickstart Smoothie: Ingredients: 1 cup spinach,1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup almond milk. Instructions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy as a refreshing breakfast or morning snack. Midday Boost Smoothie: Ingredients: 1 cup kale, 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 avocadoJuice of , 1/2 lime, 1/2 cup coconut water. Instructions: Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a glass and savor the rejuvenating flavors. Afternoon Refuel Smoothie: Ingredients: 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup mango chunks, 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 cup water or coconut water. Instructions:Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy and enjoy as a healthy pick-me-up. Evening Relaxation Smoothie: Ingredients: 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, A dash of cinnamon (optional). Instructions:Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and unwind with this nourishing treat. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and listen to your body's hunger cues. Enjoy your smoothie journey! And more click here to know 👇 https://bit.ly/3UkMKHo #weightloss #weightlossjourney #fitness #healthylifestyle #motivation #health #healthy #workout #diet #fitnessmotivation #healthyfood #weightlosstransformation #gym #fit #nutrition #fitfam #fatloss #healthyeating #exercise #slimmingworld #weightlossmotivation #transformation #keto #bodybuilding #healthyliving #personaltrainer #lifestyle #food #fitnessjourney #training #smootheidietplan
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  • Meanwhile, the WHO’s spokesperson, Margaret Harris, said that the deaths of newborn Palestinian babies in the Strip are increasing.

    Harris noted that 15 newborn babies enter the phase of starvation daily in the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza due to malnutrition. Harris stressed that medical needs have now increased more than in any other time.

    Harris also said that the WHO has difficulty documenting the exact number of child deaths in the Strip due to the large-scale destruction and the fact that many people don’t even go to the remaining hospitals, where deaths are recorded.


    http://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-181-deaths.html https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-181-deaths.html?m=1
    Meanwhile, the WHO’s spokesperson, Margaret Harris, said that the deaths of newborn Palestinian babies in the Strip are increasing. Harris noted that 15 newborn babies enter the phase of starvation daily in the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza due to malnutrition. Harris stressed that medical needs have now increased more than in any other time. Harris also said that the WHO has difficulty documenting the exact number of child deaths in the Strip due to the large-scale destruction and the fact that many people don’t even go to the remaining hospitals, where deaths are recorded. http://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-181-deaths.html https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/04/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-181-deaths.html?m=1
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  • The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide
    By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read
    The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed.

    One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva.

    A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB).

    Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella.

    The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant.

    Historical Perspective

    These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing.

    In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others.

    The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat.

    With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations.

    As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context.

    Why May 2024?

    The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place.

    They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years..

    A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions.

    The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations.

    This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO.

    The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva.

    Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent.

    Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different.

    The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm.

    To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below.

    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement.

    REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024

    Preamble

    Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.

    This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm.

    Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

    This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed.

    Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness.

    In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes.

    Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services,

    As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations.

    These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective.

    Chapter I. Introduction

    Article 1. Use of terms

    (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern.

    This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022.

    (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality.

    This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response.

    “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

    While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people.

    Article 2. Objective

    This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern.

    Article 3. Principles

    2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation

    The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary.

    3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people.

    This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda).

    Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact.

    5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics

    As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes.

    The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity.

    Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these.

    In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events.

    Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance

    2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate:

    (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential.

    (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.]

    The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations.

    The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work.

    6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article.

    Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs.

    Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?)

    Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new).

    Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery

    2. Each Party commits…[to] :

    (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations

    (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure

    (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies

    (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems

    This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking.

    (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

    This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision.

    Article 7. Health and care workforce

    This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for:

    4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment…

    Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so.

    Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews

    1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system.

    2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels.

    Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries.

    Article 9. Research and development

    Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?).

    Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production

    Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations.

    Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how

    This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc.

    Article 12. Access and benefit sharing

    This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials.

    3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]:

    (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party;

    (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs),

    Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this.

    The article then becomes yet more concerning:

    6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer:

    (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties;

    (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, …

    It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight.

    The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment.

    8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible.

    The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit.

    10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality.

    The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine.

    The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products.

    It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity.

    Article 13. Supply chain and logistics

    The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products.

    Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it).

    For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase.

    Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions

    While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing.

    Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening

    This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort.

    Article 15. Liability and compensation management

    1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms…

    2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations.

    This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does.

    This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm.

    Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk.

    These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation

    A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement.

    Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches

    A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries).

    However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed).

    Article 18. Communication and public awareness

    1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation…

    2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies.

    The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss.

    As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement.

    Article 19. Implementation and support

    3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005).

    As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other.

    Article 20. Sustainable financing

    1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall:

    (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);…

    This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it.

    3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005)

    This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva.

    It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking.

    Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions

    Article 21. Conference of the Parties

    1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established.

    2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

    This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion.

    Articles 22 – 37

    These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues.

    Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU).

    The WHO will provide the secretariat.

    Under Article 24 is noted:

    3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns.

    These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement.

    As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.”

    Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public.

    Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time.

    Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it.

    Further reading:

    WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website:

    https://inb.who.int/

    International Health Regulations Working Group website:

    https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html

    On background to the WHO texts:

    Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide
    An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations
    On urgency and burden of pandemics:

    https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic

    Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy
    Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk
    Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement:

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
    For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

    Authors

    David Bell
    David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA.

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    Thi Thuy Van Dinh
    Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings.

    View all posts
    Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/

    https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed. One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva. A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella. The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant. Historical Perspective These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing. In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others. The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat. With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations. As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context. Why May 2024? The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place. They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years.. A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions. The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations. This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO. The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva. Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent. Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different. The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm. To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below. The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement. REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024 Preamble Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm. Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed. Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness. In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes. Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services, As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations. These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective. Chapter I. Introduction Article 1. Use of terms (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern. This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022. (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality. This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response. “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people. Article 2. Objective This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern. Article 3. Principles 2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary. 3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people. This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda). Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact. 5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes. The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity. Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these. In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events. Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance 2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate: (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential. (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.] The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations. The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work. 6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article. Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs. Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?) Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new). Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery 2. Each Party commits…[to] : (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking. (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision. Article 7. Health and care workforce This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for: 4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment… Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so. Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews 1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system. 2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels. Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries. Article 9. Research and development Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?). Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations. Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc. Article 12. Access and benefit sharing This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials. 3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]: (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party; (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs), Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this. The article then becomes yet more concerning: 6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer: (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties; (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, … It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight. The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment. 8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible. The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit. 10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality. The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine. The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products. It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity. Article 13. Supply chain and logistics The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products. Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it). For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase. Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing. Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort. Article 15. Liability and compensation management 1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms… 2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations. This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does. This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm. Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk. These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak. Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement. Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries). However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed). Article 18. Communication and public awareness 1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation… 2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies. The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss. As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement. Article 19. Implementation and support 3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005). As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other. Article 20. Sustainable financing 1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall: (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);… This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it. 3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005) This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva. It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking. Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions Article 21. Conference of the Parties 1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established. 2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion. Articles 22 – 37 These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues. Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU). The WHO will provide the secretariat. Under Article 24 is noted: 3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns. These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement. As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.” Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public. Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time. Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it. Further reading: WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website: https://inb.who.int/ International Health Regulations Working Group website: https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html On background to the WHO texts: Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations On urgency and burden of pandemics: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement: Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Authors David Bell David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA. View all posts Thi Thuy Van Dinh Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/ https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
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    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide ⋆ Brownstone Institute
    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic.
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  • The Silent Shame of Health Institutions
    J.R. Bruning
    For how much longer will health policy ignore multimorbidity, that looming, giant elephant in the room, that propagates and amplifies suffering? For how much longer will the ‘trend’ of increasing diagnoses of multiple health conditions, at younger and younger ages be rendered down by government agencies to better and more efficient services, screening modalities, and drug choices?

    Multimorbidity, the presence of many chronic conditions, is the silent shame of health policy.

    All too often chronic conditions overlap and accumulate. From cancer, to diabetes, to digestive system diseases, to high blood pressure, to skin conditions in cascades of suffering. Heartbreakingly, these conditions commonly overlap with mental illnesses or disorders. It’s increasingly common for people to be diagnosed with multiple mental conditions, such as having anxiety and depression, or anxiety and schizophrenia.

    Calls for equity tend to revolve around medical treatment, even as absurdities and injustices accrue.

    Multimorbidity occurs a decade earlier in socioeconomically deprived communities. Doctors are diagnosing multimorbidity at younger and younger ages.

    Treatment regimens for people with multiple conditions necessarily entail a polypharmacy approach – the prescribing of multiple medications. One condition may require multiple medications. Thus, with multimorbidity comes increased risk of adverse outcomes and polyiatrogenesis – ‘medical harm caused by medical treatments on multiple fronts simultaneously and in conjunction with one another.’

    Side effects, whether short-term or patients’ concerns about long-term harm, are the main reason for non-adherence to prescribed medications.

    So ‘equity’ which only implies drug treatment doesn’t involve equity at all.

    Poor diets may be foundational to the Western world’s health crisis. But are governments considering this?

    The antinomies are piling up.

    We are amid a global epidemic of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance, obesity, elevated triglyceride levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure haunt the people queuing up to see doctors.

    Research, from individual cases to clinical trials, consistently show that diets containing high levels of ultra-processed foods and carbohydrates amplify inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. What researchers and scientists are also identifying, at the cellular level, in clinical and medical practice, and at the global level – is that insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from poor diets not only drive metabolic illness, but mental illnesses, compounding suffering.

    There is also ample evidence that the metabolic and mental health epidemic that is driving years lost due to disease, reducing productivity, and creating mayhem in personal lives – may be preventable and reversible.

    Doctors generally recognise that poor diets are a problem. Ultra-processed foods are strongly associated with adult and childhood ill health. Ultra-processed foods are

    ‘formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes (hence ‘ultra-processed’).’

    In the USA young people under age 19 consume on average 67% of their diet, while adults consume around 60% of their diet in ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed food contributes 60% of UK children’s calories; 42% of Australian children’s calories and over half the dietary calories for children and adolescents in Canada. In New Zealand in 2009-2010, ultra-processed foods contributed to the 45% (12 months), 42% (24 months), and 51% (60 months) of energy intake to the diets of children.

    All too frequently, doctors are diagnosing both metabolic and mental illnesses.

    What may be predictable is that a person is likely to develop insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from chronic exposure to ultra-processed food. How this will manifest in a disease or syndrome condition is reflective of a human equivalent of quantum entanglement.

    Cascades, feedback loops, and other interdependencies often leave doctors and patients bouncing from one condition to another, and managing medicine side effects and drug-drug relationships as they go.

    In New Zealand it is more common to have multiple conditions than a single condition. The costs of having two NCDs simultaneously is typically superadditive and ‘more so for younger adults.’

    This information is outside the ‘work programme’ of the top echelons in the Ministry of Health:

    Official Information Act (OIA) requests confirm that the Ministries’ Directors General who are responsible for setting policy and long-term strategy aren’t considering these issues. The problem of multimorbidity and the overlapping, entangled relationship with ultra-processed food is outside of the scope of the work programme of the top directorates in our health agency.

    New Zealand’s Ministry of Health’s top deputy directors general might be earning a quarter of a million dollars each, but they are ignorant of the relationship of dietary nutrition and mental health. Nor are they seemingly aware of the extent of multimorbidity and the overlap between metabolic and mental illnesses.

    Neither the Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General – Dr Andrew Old, nor the Deputy Director-General Evidence, Research and Innovation, Dean Rutherford, nor the Deputy Director-General of Strategy Policy and Legislation, Maree Roberts, nor the Clinical, Community and Mental Health Deputy Director-General Robyn Shearer have been briefed on these relationships.

    If they’re not being briefed, policy won’t be developed to address dietary nutrition. Diet will be lower-order.

    The OIA request revealed that New Zealand’s Ministry of Health ‘does not widely use the metabolic syndrome classification.’ When I asked ‘How do you classify, or what term do you use to classify the cluster of symptoms characterised by central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance?’, they responded:

    ‘The conditions referred to are considered either on their own or as part of a broader cardiovascular disease risk calculation.’

    This is interesting. What if governments should be calculating insulin resistance first, in order to then calculate a broader cardiovascular risk? What if insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress are appearing at younger and younger ages, and ultra-processed food is the major driver?

    Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are driven by too much blood glucose. Type 1 diabetics can’t make insulin, while Type 2 diabetics can’t make enough to compensate for their dietary intake of carbohydrates. One of insulin’s (many) jobs is to tuck away that blood glucose into cells (as fat) but when there are too many dietary carbohydrates pumping up blood glucose, the body can’t keep up. New Zealand practitioners use the HbA1c blood test, which measures the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. In New Zealand, doctors diagnose pre-diabetes if HbA1c levels are 41-49 nmol/mol, and diabetes at levels of 50 nmol/mol and above.

    Type 2 diabetes management guidelines recommend that sugar intake should be reduced, while people should aim for consistent carbohydrates across the day. The New Zealand government does not recommend paleo or low-carbohydrate diets.

    If you have diabetes you are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and at a younger age. Prediabetes, which apparently 20% of Kiwis have, is also high-risk due to, as the Ministry of Health states: ‘increased risk of macrovascular complications and early death.’

    The question might become – should we be looking at insulin levels, to more sensitively gauge risk at an early stage?

    Without more sensitive screens at younger ages these opportunities to repivot to avoid chronic disease are likely to be missed. Currently, Ministry of Health policies are unlikely to justify the funding of tests for insulin resistance by using three simple blood tests: fasting insulin, fasting lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and fasting glucose – to estimate where children, young people, and adults stand on the insulin resistance spectrum when other diagnoses pop up.

    Yet insulin plays a powerful role in brain health.

    Insulin supports neurotransmitter function and brain energy, directly impacting mood and behaviours. Insulin resistance might arrive before mental illness. Harvard-based psychiatrist Chris Palmer recounts in the book Brain Energy, a large 15,000-participant study of young people from age 0-24:

    ‘Children who had persistently high insulin levels (a sign of insulin resistance) beginning at age nine were five times more likely to be at risk for psychosis, meaning they were showing at least some worrisome signs, and they were three times for likely to already be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia by the time they turned twenty-four. This study clearly demonstrated that insulin resistance comes first, then psychosis.’

    Psychiatrist Georgia Ede suggests that high blood glucose and high insulin levels act like a ‘deadly one-two punch’ for the brain, triggering waves of inflammation and oxidative stress. The blood-brain barrier becomes increasingly resistant to chronic high insulin levels. Even though the body might have higher blood insulin, the same may not be true for the brain. As Ede maintains, ‘cells deprived of adequate insulin ‘sputter and struggle to maintain normal operations.’

    Looking at the relationship between brain health and high blood glucose and high insulin simply might not be on the programme for strategists looking at long-term planning.

    Nor are Directors General in a position to assess the role of food addiction. Ultra-processed food has addictive qualities designed into the product formulations. Food addiction is increasingly recognised as pervasive and difficult to manage as any substance addiction.

    But how many children and young people have insulin resistance and are showing markers for inflammation and oxidative stress – in the body and in the brain? To what extent do young people have both insulin resistance and depression resistance or ADHD or bipolar disorder?

    This kind of thinking is completely outside the work programme. But insulin levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress may not only be driving chronic illness – but driving the global mental health tsunami.

    Metabolic disorders are involved in complex pathways and feedback loops across body systems, and doctors learn this at medical school. Patterns and relationships between hormones, the brain, the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver; as well as problems with joints and bone health, autoimmunity, nerves, and sensory conditions evolve from and revolve around metabolic health.

    Nutrition and diet are downplayed in medical school. What doctors don’t learn so much – the cognitive dissonance that they must accept throughout their training – is that metabolic health is commonly (except for some instances) shaped by the quality of dietary nutrition. The aetiology of a given condition can be very different, while the evidence that common chronic and mental illnesses are accompanied by oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance are primarily driven by diet – is growing stronger and stronger.

    But without recognising the overlapping relationships, policy to support healthy diets will remain limp.

    What we witness are notions of equity that support pharmaceutical delivery – not health delivery.

    What also inevitably happens is that ‘equity’ focuses on medical treatment. When the Ministry of Health prefers to atomise the different conditions or associate them with heart disease – they become single conditions to treat with single drugs. They’re lots of small problems, not one big problem, and insulin resistance is downplayed.

    But just as insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress send cascading impacts across body systems, systemic ignorance sends cascading effects across government departments tasked with ‘improving, promoting, and protecting health.’

    It’s an injustice. The literature solidly points to lower socio-economic status driving much poorer diets and increased exposures to ultra-processed food, but the treatments exclusively involve drugs and therapy.

    Briefings to Incoming Ministers with the election of new Governments show how ignorance cascades across responsible authorities.

    Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora’s November 2023 Briefing to the new government outlined the agency’s obligations. However, the ‘health’ targets are medical, and the agency’s focus is on infrastructure, staff, and servicing. The promotion of health, and health equity, which can only be addressed by addressing the determinants of health, is not addressed.

    The Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Joint Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Mental Health does not address the role of diet and nutrition as a driver of mental illness and disorder in New Zealand. The issue of multimorbidity, the related problem of commensurate metabolic illness, and diet as a driver is outside scope. When the Briefing states that it is important to address the ‘social, cultural, environmental and economic determinants of mental health,’ without any sound policy footing, real movement to address diet will not happen, or will only happen ad hoc.

    The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Te Hiringa Mahara’s November 2023 Briefing to Incoming Ministers that went to the Ministers for Health and Mental Health might use the term ‘well-being’ over 120 times – but was silent on the related and overlapping drivers of mental illness which include metabolic or multimorbidity, nutrition, or diet.

    Five years earlier, He Ara Ora, New Zealand’s 2018 Mental Health and Addiction enquiry had recognised that tāngata whaiora, people seeking wellness, or service users, also tend to have multiple health conditions. The enquiry recommended that a whole of government approach to well-being, prevention, and social determinants was required. Vague nods were made to diet and nutrition, but this was not sufficiently emphasised as to be a priority.

    He Ara Ora was followed by 2020 Long-term pathway to mental well-being viewed nutrition as being one of a range of factors. No policy framework strategically prioritised diet, nutrition, and healthy food. No governmental obligation or commitment was built into policy to improve access to healthy food or nutrition education.

    Understanding the science, the relationships, and the drivers of the global epidemic, is ‘outside the work programmes’ of New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and outside the scope of all the related authorities. There is an extraordinary amount of data in the scientific literature, so many case studies, cohort studies, and clinical trials. Popular books are being written, however government agencies remain ignorant.

    In the meantime, doctors must deal with the suffering in front of them without an adequate toolkit.

    Doctors and pharmacists are faced with a Hobson’s choice of managing multiple chronic conditions and complex drug cocktails, in patients at younger and younger ages. Ultimately, they are treating a patient whom they recognise will only become sicker, cost the health system more, and suffer more.

    Currently there is little support for New Zealand medical doctors (known as general practitioners, or GPs) in changing practices and recommendations to support non-pharmaceutical drug treatment approaches. Their medical education does not equip them to recognise the extent to which multiple co-existing conditions may be alleviated or reversed. Doctors are paid to prescribe, to inject, and to screen, not to ameliorate or reverse disease and lessen prescribing. The prescribing of nutrients is discouraged and as doctors do not have nutritional training, they hesitate to prescribe nutrients.

    Many do not want to risk going outside treatment guidelines. Recent surges in protocols and guidelines for medical doctors reduce flexibility and narrow treatment choices for doctors. If they were to be reported to the Medical Council of New Zealand, they would risk losing their medical license. They would then be unable to practice.

    Inevitably, without Ministry of Health leadership, medical doctors in New Zealand are unlikely to voluntarily prescribe non-drug modalities such as nutritional options to any meaningful extent, for fear of being reported.

    Yet some doctors are proactive, such as Dr Glen Davies in Taupo, New Zealand. Some doctors are in a better ‘place’ to work to alleviate and reverse long-term conditions. They may be later in their career, with 10-20 years of research into metabolism, dietary nutrition, and patient care, and motivated to guide a patient through a personal care regime which might alleviate or reverse a patient’s suffering.

    Barriers include resourcing. Doctors aren’t paid for reversing disease and taking patients off medications.

    Doctors witness daily the hopelessness felt by their patients in dealing with chronic conditions in their short 15-minute consultations, and the vigilance required for dealing with adverse drug effects. Drug non-compliance is associated with adverse effects suffered by patients. Yet without wrap-around support changing treatments, even if it has potential to alleviate multiple conditions, to reduce symptoms, lower prescribing and therefore lessen side effects, is just too uncertain.

    They saw what happened to disobedient doctors during Covid-19.

    Given such context, what are we to do?

    Have open public discussions about doctor-patient relationships and trust. Inform and overlay such conversations by drawing attention to the foundational Hippocratic Oath made by doctors, to first do no harm.

    Questions can be asked. If patients were to understand that diet may be an underlying driver of multiple conditions, and a change in diet and improvement in micronutrient status might alleviate suffering – would patients be more likely to change?

    Economically, if wrap-around services were provided in clinics to support dietary change, would less harm occur to patients from worsening conditions that accompany many diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes) and the ever-present problem of drug side-effects? Would education and wrap-around services in early childhood and youth delay or prevent the onset of multimorbid diagnoses?

    Is it more ethical to give young people a choice of treatment? Could doctors prescribe dietary changes and multinutrients and support change with wrap-around support when children and young people are first diagnosed with a mental health condition – from the clinic, to school, to after school? If that doesn’t work, then prescribe pharmaceutical drugs.

    Should children and young people be educated to appreciate the extent to which their consumption of ultra-processed food likely drives their metabolic and mental health conditions? Not just in a blithe ‘eat healthy’ fashion that patently avoids discussing addiction. Through deeper policy mechanisms, including cooking classes and nutritional biology by the implementation of nourishing, low-carbohydrate cooked school lunches.

    With officials uninformed, it’s easy to see why funding for Green Prescriptions that would support dietary changes have sputtered out. It’s easy to understand why neither the Ministry of Health nor Pharmac have proactively sourced multi-nutrient treatments that improve resilience to stress and trauma for low-income young people. Why there’s no discussion on a lower side-effect risk for multinutrient treatments. Why are there no policies in the education curriculum diving into the relationship between ultra-processed food and mental and physical health? It’s not in the work programme.

    There’s another surfacing dilemma.

    Currently, if doctors tell their patients that there is very good evidence that their disease or syndrome could be reversed, and this information is not held as factual information by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health – do doctors risk being accused of spreading misinformation?

    Government agencies have pivoted in the past 5 years to focus intensively on the problem of dis- and misinformation. New Zealand’s disinformation project states that

    Disinformation is false or modified information knowingly and deliberately shared to cause harm or achieve a broader aim.
    Misinformation is information that is false or misleading, though not created or shared with the direct intention of causing harm.
    Unfortunately, as we see, there is no division inside the Ministry of Health that reviews the latest evidence in the scientific literature, to ensure that policy decisions correctly reflect the latest evidence.

    There is no scientific agency outside the Ministry of Health that has flexibility and the capacity to undertake autonomous, long-term monitoring and research in nutrition, diet, and health. There is no independent, autonomous, public health research facility with sufficient long-term funding to translate dietary and nutritional evidence into policy, particularly if it contradicted current policy positions.

    Despite excellent research being undertaken, it is highly controlled, ad hoc, and frequently short-term. Problematically, there is no resourcing for those scientists to meaningfully feedback that information to either the Ministry of Health or to Members of Parliament and government Ministers.

    Dietary guidelines can become locked in, and contradictions can fail to be chewed over. Without the capacity to address errors, information can become outdated and misleading. Government agencies and elected members – from local councils all the way up to government Ministers, are dependent on being informed by the Ministry of Health, when it comes to government policy.

    When it comes to complex health conditions, and alleviating and reversing metabolic or mental illness, based on different patient capacity – from socio-economic, to cultural, to social, and taking into account capacity for change, what is sound, evidence-based information and what is misinformation?

    In the impasse, who can we trust?

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
    For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

    Author

    J.R. Bruning is a consultant sociologist (B.Bus.Agribusiness; MA Sociology) based in New Zealand. Her work explores governance cultures, policy and the production of scientific and technical knowledge. Her Master’s thesis explored the ways science policy creates barriers to funding, stymying scientists’ efforts to explore upstream drivers of harm. Bruning is a trustee of Physicians & Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSGR.org.nz). Papers and writing can be found at TalkingRisk.NZ and at JRBruning.Substack.com and at Talking Risk on Rumble.

    View all posts
    Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-silent-shame-of-health-institutions/
    The Silent Shame of Health Institutions J.R. Bruning For how much longer will health policy ignore multimorbidity, that looming, giant elephant in the room, that propagates and amplifies suffering? For how much longer will the ‘trend’ of increasing diagnoses of multiple health conditions, at younger and younger ages be rendered down by government agencies to better and more efficient services, screening modalities, and drug choices? Multimorbidity, the presence of many chronic conditions, is the silent shame of health policy. All too often chronic conditions overlap and accumulate. From cancer, to diabetes, to digestive system diseases, to high blood pressure, to skin conditions in cascades of suffering. Heartbreakingly, these conditions commonly overlap with mental illnesses or disorders. It’s increasingly common for people to be diagnosed with multiple mental conditions, such as having anxiety and depression, or anxiety and schizophrenia. Calls for equity tend to revolve around medical treatment, even as absurdities and injustices accrue. Multimorbidity occurs a decade earlier in socioeconomically deprived communities. Doctors are diagnosing multimorbidity at younger and younger ages. Treatment regimens for people with multiple conditions necessarily entail a polypharmacy approach – the prescribing of multiple medications. One condition may require multiple medications. Thus, with multimorbidity comes increased risk of adverse outcomes and polyiatrogenesis – ‘medical harm caused by medical treatments on multiple fronts simultaneously and in conjunction with one another.’ Side effects, whether short-term or patients’ concerns about long-term harm, are the main reason for non-adherence to prescribed medications. So ‘equity’ which only implies drug treatment doesn’t involve equity at all. Poor diets may be foundational to the Western world’s health crisis. But are governments considering this? The antinomies are piling up. We are amid a global epidemic of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance, obesity, elevated triglyceride levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure haunt the people queuing up to see doctors. Research, from individual cases to clinical trials, consistently show that diets containing high levels of ultra-processed foods and carbohydrates amplify inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. What researchers and scientists are also identifying, at the cellular level, in clinical and medical practice, and at the global level – is that insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from poor diets not only drive metabolic illness, but mental illnesses, compounding suffering. There is also ample evidence that the metabolic and mental health epidemic that is driving years lost due to disease, reducing productivity, and creating mayhem in personal lives – may be preventable and reversible. Doctors generally recognise that poor diets are a problem. Ultra-processed foods are strongly associated with adult and childhood ill health. Ultra-processed foods are ‘formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes (hence ‘ultra-processed’).’ In the USA young people under age 19 consume on average 67% of their diet, while adults consume around 60% of their diet in ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed food contributes 60% of UK children’s calories; 42% of Australian children’s calories and over half the dietary calories for children and adolescents in Canada. In New Zealand in 2009-2010, ultra-processed foods contributed to the 45% (12 months), 42% (24 months), and 51% (60 months) of energy intake to the diets of children. All too frequently, doctors are diagnosing both metabolic and mental illnesses. What may be predictable is that a person is likely to develop insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies from chronic exposure to ultra-processed food. How this will manifest in a disease or syndrome condition is reflective of a human equivalent of quantum entanglement. Cascades, feedback loops, and other interdependencies often leave doctors and patients bouncing from one condition to another, and managing medicine side effects and drug-drug relationships as they go. In New Zealand it is more common to have multiple conditions than a single condition. The costs of having two NCDs simultaneously is typically superadditive and ‘more so for younger adults.’ This information is outside the ‘work programme’ of the top echelons in the Ministry of Health: Official Information Act (OIA) requests confirm that the Ministries’ Directors General who are responsible for setting policy and long-term strategy aren’t considering these issues. The problem of multimorbidity and the overlapping, entangled relationship with ultra-processed food is outside of the scope of the work programme of the top directorates in our health agency. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health’s top deputy directors general might be earning a quarter of a million dollars each, but they are ignorant of the relationship of dietary nutrition and mental health. Nor are they seemingly aware of the extent of multimorbidity and the overlap between metabolic and mental illnesses. Neither the Public Health Agency Deputy Director-General – Dr Andrew Old, nor the Deputy Director-General Evidence, Research and Innovation, Dean Rutherford, nor the Deputy Director-General of Strategy Policy and Legislation, Maree Roberts, nor the Clinical, Community and Mental Health Deputy Director-General Robyn Shearer have been briefed on these relationships. If they’re not being briefed, policy won’t be developed to address dietary nutrition. Diet will be lower-order. The OIA request revealed that New Zealand’s Ministry of Health ‘does not widely use the metabolic syndrome classification.’ When I asked ‘How do you classify, or what term do you use to classify the cluster of symptoms characterised by central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance?’, they responded: ‘The conditions referred to are considered either on their own or as part of a broader cardiovascular disease risk calculation.’ This is interesting. What if governments should be calculating insulin resistance first, in order to then calculate a broader cardiovascular risk? What if insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress are appearing at younger and younger ages, and ultra-processed food is the major driver? Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are driven by too much blood glucose. Type 1 diabetics can’t make insulin, while Type 2 diabetics can’t make enough to compensate for their dietary intake of carbohydrates. One of insulin’s (many) jobs is to tuck away that blood glucose into cells (as fat) but when there are too many dietary carbohydrates pumping up blood glucose, the body can’t keep up. New Zealand practitioners use the HbA1c blood test, which measures the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. In New Zealand, doctors diagnose pre-diabetes if HbA1c levels are 41-49 nmol/mol, and diabetes at levels of 50 nmol/mol and above. Type 2 diabetes management guidelines recommend that sugar intake should be reduced, while people should aim for consistent carbohydrates across the day. The New Zealand government does not recommend paleo or low-carbohydrate diets. If you have diabetes you are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and at a younger age. Prediabetes, which apparently 20% of Kiwis have, is also high-risk due to, as the Ministry of Health states: ‘increased risk of macrovascular complications and early death.’ The question might become – should we be looking at insulin levels, to more sensitively gauge risk at an early stage? Without more sensitive screens at younger ages these opportunities to repivot to avoid chronic disease are likely to be missed. Currently, Ministry of Health policies are unlikely to justify the funding of tests for insulin resistance by using three simple blood tests: fasting insulin, fasting lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and fasting glucose – to estimate where children, young people, and adults stand on the insulin resistance spectrum when other diagnoses pop up. Yet insulin plays a powerful role in brain health. Insulin supports neurotransmitter function and brain energy, directly impacting mood and behaviours. Insulin resistance might arrive before mental illness. Harvard-based psychiatrist Chris Palmer recounts in the book Brain Energy, a large 15,000-participant study of young people from age 0-24: ‘Children who had persistently high insulin levels (a sign of insulin resistance) beginning at age nine were five times more likely to be at risk for psychosis, meaning they were showing at least some worrisome signs, and they were three times for likely to already be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia by the time they turned twenty-four. This study clearly demonstrated that insulin resistance comes first, then psychosis.’ Psychiatrist Georgia Ede suggests that high blood glucose and high insulin levels act like a ‘deadly one-two punch’ for the brain, triggering waves of inflammation and oxidative stress. The blood-brain barrier becomes increasingly resistant to chronic high insulin levels. Even though the body might have higher blood insulin, the same may not be true for the brain. As Ede maintains, ‘cells deprived of adequate insulin ‘sputter and struggle to maintain normal operations.’ Looking at the relationship between brain health and high blood glucose and high insulin simply might not be on the programme for strategists looking at long-term planning. Nor are Directors General in a position to assess the role of food addiction. Ultra-processed food has addictive qualities designed into the product formulations. Food addiction is increasingly recognised as pervasive and difficult to manage as any substance addiction. But how many children and young people have insulin resistance and are showing markers for inflammation and oxidative stress – in the body and in the brain? To what extent do young people have both insulin resistance and depression resistance or ADHD or bipolar disorder? This kind of thinking is completely outside the work programme. But insulin levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress may not only be driving chronic illness – but driving the global mental health tsunami. Metabolic disorders are involved in complex pathways and feedback loops across body systems, and doctors learn this at medical school. Patterns and relationships between hormones, the brain, the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver; as well as problems with joints and bone health, autoimmunity, nerves, and sensory conditions evolve from and revolve around metabolic health. Nutrition and diet are downplayed in medical school. What doctors don’t learn so much – the cognitive dissonance that they must accept throughout their training – is that metabolic health is commonly (except for some instances) shaped by the quality of dietary nutrition. The aetiology of a given condition can be very different, while the evidence that common chronic and mental illnesses are accompanied by oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance are primarily driven by diet – is growing stronger and stronger. But without recognising the overlapping relationships, policy to support healthy diets will remain limp. What we witness are notions of equity that support pharmaceutical delivery – not health delivery. What also inevitably happens is that ‘equity’ focuses on medical treatment. When the Ministry of Health prefers to atomise the different conditions or associate them with heart disease – they become single conditions to treat with single drugs. They’re lots of small problems, not one big problem, and insulin resistance is downplayed. But just as insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress send cascading impacts across body systems, systemic ignorance sends cascading effects across government departments tasked with ‘improving, promoting, and protecting health.’ It’s an injustice. The literature solidly points to lower socio-economic status driving much poorer diets and increased exposures to ultra-processed food, but the treatments exclusively involve drugs and therapy. Briefings to Incoming Ministers with the election of new Governments show how ignorance cascades across responsible authorities. Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora’s November 2023 Briefing to the new government outlined the agency’s obligations. However, the ‘health’ targets are medical, and the agency’s focus is on infrastructure, staff, and servicing. The promotion of health, and health equity, which can only be addressed by addressing the determinants of health, is not addressed. The Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Joint Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Mental Health does not address the role of diet and nutrition as a driver of mental illness and disorder in New Zealand. The issue of multimorbidity, the related problem of commensurate metabolic illness, and diet as a driver is outside scope. When the Briefing states that it is important to address the ‘social, cultural, environmental and economic determinants of mental health,’ without any sound policy footing, real movement to address diet will not happen, or will only happen ad hoc. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Te Hiringa Mahara’s November 2023 Briefing to Incoming Ministers that went to the Ministers for Health and Mental Health might use the term ‘well-being’ over 120 times – but was silent on the related and overlapping drivers of mental illness which include metabolic or multimorbidity, nutrition, or diet. Five years earlier, He Ara Ora, New Zealand’s 2018 Mental Health and Addiction enquiry had recognised that tāngata whaiora, people seeking wellness, or service users, also tend to have multiple health conditions. The enquiry recommended that a whole of government approach to well-being, prevention, and social determinants was required. Vague nods were made to diet and nutrition, but this was not sufficiently emphasised as to be a priority. He Ara Ora was followed by 2020 Long-term pathway to mental well-being viewed nutrition as being one of a range of factors. No policy framework strategically prioritised diet, nutrition, and healthy food. No governmental obligation or commitment was built into policy to improve access to healthy food or nutrition education. Understanding the science, the relationships, and the drivers of the global epidemic, is ‘outside the work programmes’ of New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and outside the scope of all the related authorities. There is an extraordinary amount of data in the scientific literature, so many case studies, cohort studies, and clinical trials. Popular books are being written, however government agencies remain ignorant. In the meantime, doctors must deal with the suffering in front of them without an adequate toolkit. Doctors and pharmacists are faced with a Hobson’s choice of managing multiple chronic conditions and complex drug cocktails, in patients at younger and younger ages. Ultimately, they are treating a patient whom they recognise will only become sicker, cost the health system more, and suffer more. Currently there is little support for New Zealand medical doctors (known as general practitioners, or GPs) in changing practices and recommendations to support non-pharmaceutical drug treatment approaches. Their medical education does not equip them to recognise the extent to which multiple co-existing conditions may be alleviated or reversed. Doctors are paid to prescribe, to inject, and to screen, not to ameliorate or reverse disease and lessen prescribing. The prescribing of nutrients is discouraged and as doctors do not have nutritional training, they hesitate to prescribe nutrients. Many do not want to risk going outside treatment guidelines. Recent surges in protocols and guidelines for medical doctors reduce flexibility and narrow treatment choices for doctors. If they were to be reported to the Medical Council of New Zealand, they would risk losing their medical license. They would then be unable to practice. Inevitably, without Ministry of Health leadership, medical doctors in New Zealand are unlikely to voluntarily prescribe non-drug modalities such as nutritional options to any meaningful extent, for fear of being reported. Yet some doctors are proactive, such as Dr Glen Davies in Taupo, New Zealand. Some doctors are in a better ‘place’ to work to alleviate and reverse long-term conditions. They may be later in their career, with 10-20 years of research into metabolism, dietary nutrition, and patient care, and motivated to guide a patient through a personal care regime which might alleviate or reverse a patient’s suffering. Barriers include resourcing. Doctors aren’t paid for reversing disease and taking patients off medications. Doctors witness daily the hopelessness felt by their patients in dealing with chronic conditions in their short 15-minute consultations, and the vigilance required for dealing with adverse drug effects. Drug non-compliance is associated with adverse effects suffered by patients. Yet without wrap-around support changing treatments, even if it has potential to alleviate multiple conditions, to reduce symptoms, lower prescribing and therefore lessen side effects, is just too uncertain. They saw what happened to disobedient doctors during Covid-19. Given such context, what are we to do? Have open public discussions about doctor-patient relationships and trust. Inform and overlay such conversations by drawing attention to the foundational Hippocratic Oath made by doctors, to first do no harm. Questions can be asked. If patients were to understand that diet may be an underlying driver of multiple conditions, and a change in diet and improvement in micronutrient status might alleviate suffering – would patients be more likely to change? Economically, if wrap-around services were provided in clinics to support dietary change, would less harm occur to patients from worsening conditions that accompany many diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes) and the ever-present problem of drug side-effects? Would education and wrap-around services in early childhood and youth delay or prevent the onset of multimorbid diagnoses? Is it more ethical to give young people a choice of treatment? Could doctors prescribe dietary changes and multinutrients and support change with wrap-around support when children and young people are first diagnosed with a mental health condition – from the clinic, to school, to after school? If that doesn’t work, then prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. Should children and young people be educated to appreciate the extent to which their consumption of ultra-processed food likely drives their metabolic and mental health conditions? Not just in a blithe ‘eat healthy’ fashion that patently avoids discussing addiction. Through deeper policy mechanisms, including cooking classes and nutritional biology by the implementation of nourishing, low-carbohydrate cooked school lunches. With officials uninformed, it’s easy to see why funding for Green Prescriptions that would support dietary changes have sputtered out. It’s easy to understand why neither the Ministry of Health nor Pharmac have proactively sourced multi-nutrient treatments that improve resilience to stress and trauma for low-income young people. Why there’s no discussion on a lower side-effect risk for multinutrient treatments. Why are there no policies in the education curriculum diving into the relationship between ultra-processed food and mental and physical health? It’s not in the work programme. There’s another surfacing dilemma. Currently, if doctors tell their patients that there is very good evidence that their disease or syndrome could be reversed, and this information is not held as factual information by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health – do doctors risk being accused of spreading misinformation? Government agencies have pivoted in the past 5 years to focus intensively on the problem of dis- and misinformation. New Zealand’s disinformation project states that Disinformation is false or modified information knowingly and deliberately shared to cause harm or achieve a broader aim. Misinformation is information that is false or misleading, though not created or shared with the direct intention of causing harm. Unfortunately, as we see, there is no division inside the Ministry of Health that reviews the latest evidence in the scientific literature, to ensure that policy decisions correctly reflect the latest evidence. There is no scientific agency outside the Ministry of Health that has flexibility and the capacity to undertake autonomous, long-term monitoring and research in nutrition, diet, and health. There is no independent, autonomous, public health research facility with sufficient long-term funding to translate dietary and nutritional evidence into policy, particularly if it contradicted current policy positions. Despite excellent research being undertaken, it is highly controlled, ad hoc, and frequently short-term. Problematically, there is no resourcing for those scientists to meaningfully feedback that information to either the Ministry of Health or to Members of Parliament and government Ministers. Dietary guidelines can become locked in, and contradictions can fail to be chewed over. Without the capacity to address errors, information can become outdated and misleading. Government agencies and elected members – from local councils all the way up to government Ministers, are dependent on being informed by the Ministry of Health, when it comes to government policy. When it comes to complex health conditions, and alleviating and reversing metabolic or mental illness, based on different patient capacity – from socio-economic, to cultural, to social, and taking into account capacity for change, what is sound, evidence-based information and what is misinformation? In the impasse, who can we trust? Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Author J.R. Bruning is a consultant sociologist (B.Bus.Agribusiness; MA Sociology) based in New Zealand. Her work explores governance cultures, policy and the production of scientific and technical knowledge. Her Master’s thesis explored the ways science policy creates barriers to funding, stymying scientists’ efforts to explore upstream drivers of harm. Bruning is a trustee of Physicians & Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSGR.org.nz). Papers and writing can be found at TalkingRisk.NZ and at JRBruning.Substack.com and at Talking Risk on Rumble. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-silent-shame-of-health-institutions/
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    There is no scientific agency outside the Ministry of Health that has flexibility and the capacity to undertake autonomous, long-term monitoring and research in nutrition, diet and health.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals
    Leila WarahMarch 25, 2024
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)
    Casualties

    32,333 + killed* and at least 74,694 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    UNRWA: Israel says no more UNRWA food convoys to north Gaza.
    UNRWA chief: Israeli decision to deny all UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza is “obstruct[ing] lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine.”
    Doctors Without Borders “deeply concerned” after medical staff arrested at al-Shifa Hospital amid “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” nearby.
    Tanks crushed bodies, ambulances at al-Shifa Hospital, reports AP News, citing witnesses.
    Footage emerges of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinian boy
    Casualties in Israeli attack on aid distributors at Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza City, reports Al Jazeera.
    Israeli forces raid Al Aqsa mosque during nightly prayers, assault and expel worshipers, reports Al Jazeera journalist.
    WHO Chief: Israel must reverse decision on blocking north Gaza aid.
    Israeli war cabinet minister threatens to quit if bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from conscription passes
    UNRWA: U.S. funding cut will ‘compromise access to food’ in Gaza.
    UN special rapporteurs decry underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians.
    Israel blocks access to Jerusalem for West Bank Christians on Palm Sunday, reports Wafa.
    PRCS says it has lost radio contact with staff at al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.
    Euro-Med: Israel’s attacks on academics in line with Gaza ‘genocide’
    WAFA correspondent killed along with son Israeli airstrike on Gaza
    MAP report: Doctor says conditions inside European Gaza Hospital ‘unimaginable’
    Gaza: Three Hospitals under military siege

    The Israeli military has imposed ongoing sieges on at least three medical facilities in the besieged enclave, terrorizing, injuring, and killing thousands of civilians in the process.

    Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has entered its seventh day under siege, and the civilians able to flee are reporting ruthless massacres in and around the medical complex.

    A teenage Palestinian boy, Farouk Mohammed Hamd, told Al Jazeera he witnessed Israeli soldiers executing a group of eight people, including his father and brother, inside al-Shifa Hospital.

    He said he and the others were stripped of their clothing and moved several times inside the al-Shifa Hospital building in central Gaza over the course of hours before being taken to the top floor of the facility.

    “They left us for about three hours, then said, ‘You are safe. You can go south.”

    “We stood up, but then they opened fire. We all laid down on the floor again. Then, the snipers entertained themselves by shooting us one after the other.”

    Hamad said his father told him before being killed to run away if he could, and he managed to run, but not before seeing the unresponsive bodies of the executed group.

    On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff have reported “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital, “endangering patients, medical staff and people trapped inside with very few supplies.”

    Jameel al-Ayoubi, one of the thousands of Palestinians sheltering at the hospital, saw Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers drive over at least four bodies in the hospital courtyard, AP News reports. Ambulances were also crushed, he says.

    Kareem Ayman Hathat, who lived in a five-story building about 100 meters (328 feet) from the hospital, told AP he hid in his kitchen for days waiting as explosions shook the building.

    “From time to time, the tank would fire a shell,” he said. “It was to terrorise us.”

    MSF added that Israeli forces have carried out a mass-arrest campaign of medical staff and other people and that the organization is “deeply concerned” for the safety of those detained.

    Meanwhile, another two hospitals in Khan Younis have been under Israeli military siege for the last 24 hours: al-Amal and Nasser hospitals, reports Al Jazeera correspondent Hani Mahmoud from Gaza.

    “Military vehicles, tanks and attack drones are encircling these two facilities. They’re also blocking the entrance with piles of sand, preventing medical staff, patients and injured people inside from leaving safely and constantly failing to provide a safe corridor for people and evacuees trapped inside the hospital,” Mahmoud said.

    Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) gave their latest update on the situation in al Amal hospital on Sunday afternoon, saying Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have completely surrounded all entrances to the hospital and control any movement in and out.

    Israeli forces attacked the hospital earlier on Sunday, surrounding it with tanks and forcing nearly everyone inside, from patients to displaced Palestinians sheltering there, to evacuate.

    “What we’re getting confirmed from al-Amal Hospital is that not only has it been under constant bombing and tank shells, but loudspeakers are ordering people inside the hospital to come out only with their underwear on. And that has been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses on the ground, those who managed to flee the harrowing situation,” Mahmoud added.

    On Sunday evening, the PRCS announced that they lost radio contact with their staff at the hospital.

    While all displaced Palestinians and patients who could move independently were evacuated towards the al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis, hospital staff remain, along with nine patients and their ten companions and a displaced family with children who have disabilities. PCRS says all of them need to be safely evacuated.

    PRCS added that staff member Amir Abu Aisha and a wounded individual who was being treated at the hospital after being shot in the head by the Israeli military were both killed, and their bodies need to be removed.

    In a statement, Hamas said the Israeli military is systematically targeting hospitals across Gaza with the goal of displacing all Palestinians from their lands, showing Israel wants to continue its “war of extermination” against Palestinians and forcibly displace them from their land “by destroying all means of life in the Gaza Strip, especially hospitals,” reported Al Jazeera.

    Underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians

    Witnesses at al-Shifa hospital have reported that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.”

    Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said in a post on X that it is “abhorrent” that reports of rape by Israeli forces keep coming out without any consequences.

    “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop!”

    Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, similarly said, “I lost count of how many renowned journalists interviewed me on the alleged mistreatment of/sexual abuse against Palestinian women by Israeli forces, and never published any article on this.”

    “What we can see on the ground is a systematic creation of a corrosive environment in which Israel, with its destruction of neighborhoods and hospitals, is making Gaza unliveable for the majority of Palestinians,” said Al Jazeera co-respondent, Tareq Abu Azzoum from Gaza while reporting on the besieged hospitals.

    “Horrific scenes” at European Hospital

    Meanwhile, at Gaza’s European Hospital near Khan Younis, one of the last functioning medical facilities, medical staff report “horrific scenes” at the hospital with patients “dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition,” reported Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

    Husam Basheer, an orthopedic surgeon working at the hospital, says he and his staff are “managing with the bare minimum of resources” at the medical facility due to Israeli restrictions on medical aid entering the besieged enclave.

    “One day we wanted to do a plate and screw, which is a standard procedure for bone fixation, but we didn’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we’ve also lacked gauze which is a basic supply for surgery. We worked around the challenges we faced and managed in a different way, but the staff here are overwhelmed,” he said.

    Similarly, Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist, described the situation inside the medical facility as “unimaginable.”

    “This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds. Now, it has expanded to 1,000 beds,” she said.

    “There are around 22,000 displaced people sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.”

    Israel bars UNRWA from northern Gaza

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Sunday that Israel has officially barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.

    “This is outrageous [and] makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine. These restrictions must be lifted,” the head of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, wrote in an X post.

    Famine is likely to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July, according to the world’s hunger watchdog, Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC), said last week.

    Lazzarini warned that Israel’s decision would speed up the coming of famine in the north of the Strip and said that “many more will die of hunger, dehydration.”

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), says Israel must “urgently reverse” its decision to block the entry of food convoys organized by UNRWA into northern Gaza, where humanitarian needs are most urgent.

    “The levels of hunger are acute. All efforts to deliver food should not only be permitted but there should be an immediate acceleration of food deliveries,” Ghebreyesus said in a post on X.

    Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN, says he repeatedly urged Israel to lift all its restrictions on aid to Gaza. Still, it has now done the exact opposite.

    “UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” Griffiths said on X , “The decision to block its food convoys to the north only pushes thousands closer to famine. It must be revoked.”

    No other agency is able to provide lifesaving assistance in Gaza in the same way as UNRWA, Natalie Boucly, the deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency, has said on X.

    Boucly added that attempts to “isolate” UNRWA will result in more people dying, “UNRWA is part of the UN and it was given a specific mandate by the General Assembly.”

    In January, several countries cut funding to UNRWA following unverified Israeli allegations that less than a dozen employees participated in Hamas’s operation on October 7.

    While some countries, including Canada and Sweden, have since reinstated their funding, several countries, including the US, have yet to follow suit, which will have severe implications for Palestinians in Gaza and the region.

    Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera.
    “In Gaza, the humanitarian community is racing against the clock to avert famine. As the backbone of the humanitarian response, any gap in funding to UNRWA will compromise access to food, shelter, primary health care & education at a time of deep trauma,” the organization’s chief, Lazzarini, wrote on X.

    “Palestine Refugees are counting on the international community to step up support to meet their basic needs.”

    Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera.

    The “dream” of many far-right politicians in Israel is to make Gaza “uninhabitable” for Palestinians, with the goal of re-establishing settlements for the Israelis, Ghafar continued.

    “The destruction of schools, hospitals, infrastructure [is making Gaza] almost unlivable and it will force the international community to take further refugees and thin out the population of Gaza,” he said.

    “I think Israel wants to have a big chunk of the population leave and become refugees elsewhere.”

    UN Resolution for ceasefire

    On Monday, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on yet another resolution regarding Israel’s war on Gaza. Since October seven, only two of eight resolutions have been accepted, with both mainly dealing with humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave.

    Guterres says the most recent UN Security Council resolution does not link a ceasefire in Gaza to the release of Israeli captives, reported Al Jazeera.

    In the resolution, “a ceasefire is required together with, but not in a linkage with, the unconditional release of all hostages,” he said. “And we have also claimed the need for that release.”

    Diplomats told the AFP news agency that the resolution had been worked on with the U.S. to avoid a veto, reported France 24. The U.S. has vetoed three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

    “We expect, barring a last-minute twist, that the resolution will be adopted and that the US will not vote against it,” one diplomat told AFP.

    Last Friday, the Security Council voted on a draft submitted by the U.S. that called for an “immediate” ceasefire linked to the release of captives. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, criticizing it for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel halt its campaign.

    No progress on negotiations.

    Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas have continued negotiations mediated by Qatar with little progress.

    Hamas’s political bureau official Basem Naim says a lot of “misinformation” has recently been circulated through the media regarding the ongoing truce talks in Doha, reported Al Jazeera.

    Naim said the Israelis are focusing on only one aspect of the negotiations, the release of captives, and are unwilling to discuss Hamas’s three demands – a permanent end to the war, “total withdrawal” from Gaza, and the return of displaced people to their homes.

    Hamas had proposed the release of some 100 Israeli captives in phases in exchange for a permanent end to the war, total withdrawal of Israeli troops, and the return of displaced people to their homes; however, according to Al Jazeera, Israel rejected the demand to end the war and withdraw troops from Gaza.

    Al Jazeera added that Israeli negotiators said they would allow only 2,000 Palestinians to return to their homes each day, meaning it would take more than two years for all displaced Palestinians to leave Rafah.

    Meanwhile, Israel wants all Israeli captives released immediately. Hamas has indicated it will only release women and children in the first phase.

    As negotiations continue, Yossi Amrosi, an ex-senior official of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as admitting that the Israeli army does not have the means to return all captives currently held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

    Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said at the start of the war that it had taken 250 captives during its October 7 incursion into Israel.

    According to the Qassam Brigades, 50 captives have been killed in Israeli air raids. Israeli intelligence officers say 30 captives have died in Gaza so far since they were taken to the enclave.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-171-horrific-eyewitness-accounts-continue-to-emerge-from-israels-siege-on-gazas-hospitals/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals Leila WarahMarch 25, 2024 Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Injured Palestinians, including children, are brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment following the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images) Casualties 32,333 + killed* and at least 74,694 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments UNRWA: Israel says no more UNRWA food convoys to north Gaza. UNRWA chief: Israeli decision to deny all UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza is “obstruct[ing] lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine.” Doctors Without Borders “deeply concerned” after medical staff arrested at al-Shifa Hospital amid “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” nearby. Tanks crushed bodies, ambulances at al-Shifa Hospital, reports AP News, citing witnesses. Footage emerges of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinian boy Casualties in Israeli attack on aid distributors at Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza City, reports Al Jazeera. Israeli forces raid Al Aqsa mosque during nightly prayers, assault and expel worshipers, reports Al Jazeera journalist. WHO Chief: Israel must reverse decision on blocking north Gaza aid. Israeli war cabinet minister threatens to quit if bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from conscription passes UNRWA: U.S. funding cut will ‘compromise access to food’ in Gaza. UN special rapporteurs decry underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians. Israel blocks access to Jerusalem for West Bank Christians on Palm Sunday, reports Wafa. PRCS says it has lost radio contact with staff at al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis. Euro-Med: Israel’s attacks on academics in line with Gaza ‘genocide’ WAFA correspondent killed along with son Israeli airstrike on Gaza MAP report: Doctor says conditions inside European Gaza Hospital ‘unimaginable’ Gaza: Three Hospitals under military siege The Israeli military has imposed ongoing sieges on at least three medical facilities in the besieged enclave, terrorizing, injuring, and killing thousands of civilians in the process. Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has entered its seventh day under siege, and the civilians able to flee are reporting ruthless massacres in and around the medical complex. A teenage Palestinian boy, Farouk Mohammed Hamd, told Al Jazeera he witnessed Israeli soldiers executing a group of eight people, including his father and brother, inside al-Shifa Hospital. He said he and the others were stripped of their clothing and moved several times inside the al-Shifa Hospital building in central Gaza over the course of hours before being taken to the top floor of the facility. “They left us for about three hours, then said, ‘You are safe. You can go south.” “We stood up, but then they opened fire. We all laid down on the floor again. Then, the snipers entertained themselves by shooting us one after the other.” Hamad said his father told him before being killed to run away if he could, and he managed to run, but not before seeing the unresponsive bodies of the executed group. On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its staff have reported “heavy air strikes by Israeli forces and fierce fighting” in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital, “endangering patients, medical staff and people trapped inside with very few supplies.” Jameel al-Ayoubi, one of the thousands of Palestinians sheltering at the hospital, saw Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers drive over at least four bodies in the hospital courtyard, AP News reports. Ambulances were also crushed, he says. Kareem Ayman Hathat, who lived in a five-story building about 100 meters (328 feet) from the hospital, told AP he hid in his kitchen for days waiting as explosions shook the building. “From time to time, the tank would fire a shell,” he said. “It was to terrorise us.” MSF added that Israeli forces have carried out a mass-arrest campaign of medical staff and other people and that the organization is “deeply concerned” for the safety of those detained. Meanwhile, another two hospitals in Khan Younis have been under Israeli military siege for the last 24 hours: al-Amal and Nasser hospitals, reports Al Jazeera correspondent Hani Mahmoud from Gaza. “Military vehicles, tanks and attack drones are encircling these two facilities. They’re also blocking the entrance with piles of sand, preventing medical staff, patients and injured people inside from leaving safely and constantly failing to provide a safe corridor for people and evacuees trapped inside the hospital,” Mahmoud said. Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) gave their latest update on the situation in al Amal hospital on Sunday afternoon, saying Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have completely surrounded all entrances to the hospital and control any movement in and out. Israeli forces attacked the hospital earlier on Sunday, surrounding it with tanks and forcing nearly everyone inside, from patients to displaced Palestinians sheltering there, to evacuate. “What we’re getting confirmed from al-Amal Hospital is that not only has it been under constant bombing and tank shells, but loudspeakers are ordering people inside the hospital to come out only with their underwear on. And that has been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses on the ground, those who managed to flee the harrowing situation,” Mahmoud added. On Sunday evening, the PRCS announced that they lost radio contact with their staff at the hospital. While all displaced Palestinians and patients who could move independently were evacuated towards the al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis, hospital staff remain, along with nine patients and their ten companions and a displaced family with children who have disabilities. PCRS says all of them need to be safely evacuated. PRCS added that staff member Amir Abu Aisha and a wounded individual who was being treated at the hospital after being shot in the head by the Israeli military were both killed, and their bodies need to be removed. In a statement, Hamas said the Israeli military is systematically targeting hospitals across Gaza with the goal of displacing all Palestinians from their lands, showing Israel wants to continue its “war of extermination” against Palestinians and forcibly displace them from their land “by destroying all means of life in the Gaza Strip, especially hospitals,” reported Al Jazeera. Underreporting of sexual violence against Palestinians Witnesses at al-Shifa hospital have reported that “Palestinian women have been subjected to rape, torture, and execution by Israeli forces.” Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said in a post on X that it is “abhorrent” that reports of rape by Israeli forces keep coming out without any consequences. “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop!” Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, similarly said, “I lost count of how many renowned journalists interviewed me on the alleged mistreatment of/sexual abuse against Palestinian women by Israeli forces, and never published any article on this.” “What we can see on the ground is a systematic creation of a corrosive environment in which Israel, with its destruction of neighborhoods and hospitals, is making Gaza unliveable for the majority of Palestinians,” said Al Jazeera co-respondent, Tareq Abu Azzoum from Gaza while reporting on the besieged hospitals. “Horrific scenes” at European Hospital Meanwhile, at Gaza’s European Hospital near Khan Younis, one of the last functioning medical facilities, medical staff report “horrific scenes” at the hospital with patients “dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition,” reported Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Husam Basheer, an orthopedic surgeon working at the hospital, says he and his staff are “managing with the bare minimum of resources” at the medical facility due to Israeli restrictions on medical aid entering the besieged enclave. “One day we wanted to do a plate and screw, which is a standard procedure for bone fixation, but we didn’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we’ve also lacked gauze which is a basic supply for surgery. We worked around the challenges we faced and managed in a different way, but the staff here are overwhelmed,” he said. Similarly, Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist, described the situation inside the medical facility as “unimaginable.” “This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds. Now, it has expanded to 1,000 beds,” she said. “There are around 22,000 displaced people sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.” Israel bars UNRWA from northern Gaza The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Sunday that Israel has officially barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest. “This is outrageous [and] makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine. These restrictions must be lifted,” the head of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, wrote in an X post. Famine is likely to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July, according to the world’s hunger watchdog, Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC), said last week. Lazzarini warned that Israel’s decision would speed up the coming of famine in the north of the Strip and said that “many more will die of hunger, dehydration.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), says Israel must “urgently reverse” its decision to block the entry of food convoys organized by UNRWA into northern Gaza, where humanitarian needs are most urgent. “The levels of hunger are acute. All efforts to deliver food should not only be permitted but there should be an immediate acceleration of food deliveries,” Ghebreyesus said in a post on X. Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN, says he repeatedly urged Israel to lift all its restrictions on aid to Gaza. Still, it has now done the exact opposite. “UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” Griffiths said on X , “The decision to block its food convoys to the north only pushes thousands closer to famine. It must be revoked.” No other agency is able to provide lifesaving assistance in Gaza in the same way as UNRWA, Natalie Boucly, the deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency, has said on X. Boucly added that attempts to “isolate” UNRWA will result in more people dying, “UNRWA is part of the UN and it was given a specific mandate by the General Assembly.” In January, several countries cut funding to UNRWA following unverified Israeli allegations that less than a dozen employees participated in Hamas’s operation on October 7. While some countries, including Canada and Sweden, have since reinstated their funding, several countries, including the US, have yet to follow suit, which will have severe implications for Palestinians in Gaza and the region. Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera. “In Gaza, the humanitarian community is racing against the clock to avert famine. As the backbone of the humanitarian response, any gap in funding to UNRWA will compromise access to food, shelter, primary health care & education at a time of deep trauma,” the organization’s chief, Lazzarini, wrote on X. “Palestine Refugees are counting on the international community to step up support to meet their basic needs.” Israel is using famine as a “weapon of war” in Gaza to put pressure on the Palestinian people to leave the besieged enclave, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an analyst at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera. The “dream” of many far-right politicians in Israel is to make Gaza “uninhabitable” for Palestinians, with the goal of re-establishing settlements for the Israelis, Ghafar continued. “The destruction of schools, hospitals, infrastructure [is making Gaza] almost unlivable and it will force the international community to take further refugees and thin out the population of Gaza,” he said. “I think Israel wants to have a big chunk of the population leave and become refugees elsewhere.” UN Resolution for ceasefire On Monday, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on yet another resolution regarding Israel’s war on Gaza. Since October seven, only two of eight resolutions have been accepted, with both mainly dealing with humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave. Guterres says the most recent UN Security Council resolution does not link a ceasefire in Gaza to the release of Israeli captives, reported Al Jazeera. In the resolution, “a ceasefire is required together with, but not in a linkage with, the unconditional release of all hostages,” he said. “And we have also claimed the need for that release.” Diplomats told the AFP news agency that the resolution had been worked on with the U.S. to avoid a veto, reported France 24. The U.S. has vetoed three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. “We expect, barring a last-minute twist, that the resolution will be adopted and that the US will not vote against it,” one diplomat told AFP. Last Friday, the Security Council voted on a draft submitted by the U.S. that called for an “immediate” ceasefire linked to the release of captives. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, criticizing it for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel halt its campaign. No progress on negotiations. Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas have continued negotiations mediated by Qatar with little progress. Hamas’s political bureau official Basem Naim says a lot of “misinformation” has recently been circulated through the media regarding the ongoing truce talks in Doha, reported Al Jazeera. Naim said the Israelis are focusing on only one aspect of the negotiations, the release of captives, and are unwilling to discuss Hamas’s three demands – a permanent end to the war, “total withdrawal” from Gaza, and the return of displaced people to their homes. Hamas had proposed the release of some 100 Israeli captives in phases in exchange for a permanent end to the war, total withdrawal of Israeli troops, and the return of displaced people to their homes; however, according to Al Jazeera, Israel rejected the demand to end the war and withdraw troops from Gaza. Al Jazeera added that Israeli negotiators said they would allow only 2,000 Palestinians to return to their homes each day, meaning it would take more than two years for all displaced Palestinians to leave Rafah. Meanwhile, Israel wants all Israeli captives released immediately. Hamas has indicated it will only release women and children in the first phase. As negotiations continue, Yossi Amrosi, an ex-senior official of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as admitting that the Israeli army does not have the means to return all captives currently held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said at the start of the war that it had taken 250 captives during its October 7 incursion into Israel. According to the Qassam Brigades, 50 captives have been killed in Israeli air raids. Israeli intelligence officers say 30 captives have died in Gaza so far since they were taken to the enclave. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-171-horrific-eyewitness-accounts-continue-to-emerge-from-israels-siege-on-gazas-hospitals/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 171: ‘Horrific’ eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Israel’s siege on Gaza’s hospitals
    Eyewitness accounts continue to emerge from Gaza’s hospitals, including rape, torture, mass executions, and soldiers crushing Palestinian bodies with tanks. Hamas says Israel’s systematic attack on hospitals is central to its “war of extermination.”
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  • The story of Yazan Kafarneh, the boy who starved to death in Gaza
    Tareq S. HajjajMarch 25, 2024
    Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee' Abu Naqirah)
    Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee’ Abu Naqirah)
    This is not a photo of a mummy or an embalmed body retrieved from one of Gaza’s ancient cemeteries. This is a photo of Yazan Kafarneh, a child who died of severe malnutrition during Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip.

    Yazan’s family now lives in the Rab’a School in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah City. His father, Sharif Kafarneh, along with his mother, Marwa, and his three younger brothers, had fled Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza early on in the war.

    Yazan Kafarneh died at the age of nine, the eldest of four brothers — Mouin, 6, Ramzi, 4, and Muhammad, born during the war in a shelter four months ago.

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    Living in conditions not fit for human habitation, the grieving family had witnessed Yazan’s death before their eyes. It didn’t happen all at once but unfolded gradually over time, his frail body wasting away one day after another until there was nothing left of Yazan but skin and bones.

    Sharif was unable to do anything for his son. He died due to a congenital illness that required a special dietary regimen to keep him healthy. Israel’s systematic prevention of food from reaching the civilian population in Gaza meant that severe malnutrition — suffered by most children in the besieged enclave — in the case of Yazan meant death.

    “We first left from Beit Hanoun to Jabalia refugee camp,” Sharif told Mondoweiss. “Then the occupation called us again and warned us against staying where we were. So we left for Gaza City. Then, the occupation forced us to flee further south, and we did.”

    Yazan Kafarneh's parents and three brothers in their shelter in Rafah. (Photo: Tareq Hajjaj/Mondoweiss)
    Sharif Kafarneh’ (left), his wife Marwa (right), and their three surviving sons (center) in their shelter in Rafah. (Photo: Tareq Hajjaj/Mondoweiss)
    “If it weren’t for Yazan, I would have never left my home,” Sharif maintained. “Yazan required special care and nutrition.”

    Yazan suffered from a congenital form of muscular atrophy that made movement and speech difficult, but Sharif said that it never caused him much grief in his nine short years before the war.

    “He just had advanced nutritional needs,” Sharif explained. “But getting that food for him was never an issue before the war.”

    It was a point of pride for Sharif that he, a taxi driver, had never left his child wanting or deprived.

    “That changed in the war. The specific foods that he needed were cut off,” he said. “For instance, Yazan had to have milk and bananas for dinner every day. He can’t go a day without it, and sometimes he can have only bananas. This is what the doctors told us.”

    “After the war, I couldn’t get a single banana,” Sharif continued. “And for lunch, he had to have boiled vegetables and fruits that were pureed in a blender. We had no electricity for the blender, and there were no fruits or vegetables anymore.”

    As for breakfast, Yazan’s regimen demanded that he eat eggs. “Of course, there aren’t any more eggs in Rafah City,” Sharif said. “No fruits, no vegetables, no eggs, no bananas, nothing.”

    “But our child’s needs were never a problem for us,” Sharif rushed to add. “We loved taking care of him. He was the spoiled child of the family, and his younger brothers loved him and took care of him, too. God gave me a living so I could take care of him.”

    Due to his special needs, charitable societies used to visit Yazan’s home in Beit Hanoun before the war, providing various treatments such as physical therapy and speech therapy. All in all, Yazan had a functional, happy childhood.

    ‘He got thinner and thinner’

    The family continued to take care of Yazan throughout the war. They tried to make do with what they could find, trying as much as possible to find alternatives to the foods Yazan required. “I replaced bananas with halawa [a tahini-based confection], and I replaced eggs with bread soaked in tea,” Sharif said. “But these foods did not contain the nutrients that Yazan needed.”

    In addition to his nutritional needs, Yazan had specific medicines to take. Sharif used to bring him brain and muscle stimulants that helped him stay alive and mobile, allowing him to move around and crawl throughout their home. Those medicines ran out during the second week of the war.

    With the lack of nutrition and medication, his health took a turn for the worse. “I noticed him getting sick, and his body was becoming emaciated,” Sharif recounts. “He got thinner and thinner.”

    His family took him to al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, where his health continued to deteriorate over the course of eleven days.

    “Even after we took him to the hospital, they couldn’t do anything for him,” Sharif continued. “All they were able to give him were IV fluids, and when his situation got worse, the hospital staff placed a feeding tube in his nose.”

    “My son required a tube with a 14-unit measurement, but all the hospital had was an 8-unit,” he added.

    When asked what was the most important factor that led to the deterioration of his son’s condition, Sharif said that it was the environment he lived in. “Before the war, he was in the right environment. After, everything was wrong. He was in his own home, but then he was uprooted to a shelter in Rafah.”

    “The situation we’re living in isn’t fit for humans, let alone a sick child,” Sharif explained. “In the camps, people would light fires to keep themselves warm, but the smoke would cause Yazan to cough and suffocate, and we weren’t able to tell them to turn their fires off because everyone was so cold.”

    Dr. Muhammad al-Sabe’, a pediatric surgeon in Rafah who works at the al-Awda, al-Najjar, and al-Kuwaiti hospitals, took a special interest in Yazan’s case.

    “The harsh conditions Yazan had to endure, including malnutrition, were the main factors contributing to the deterioration of his health and his ultimate death,” Dr. al-Sabe’ told Mondoweiss. “This is a genetic and congenital illness, and it requires special care every day, including specific proteins, IV medicines, and daily physical therapy, which isn’t available at Rafah.”

    “If things don’t change, if they stay the way they are, we’re going to witness mass death among children.”
    Dr. Muhammad al-Sabe’normal
    Dr. al-Sabe’ said that most foods administered to patients who cannot feed themselves through feeding tubes are unavailable in Gaza. “The occupation prevents these specific foods and medicines from coming in,” he explained. “Including a medicine called Ensure.”

    Ensure is a special nutritional supplement used in medical settings for what is called “enteral nutrition” — feeding patients through a nasal tube.

    “Special treatment for patients, especially children, is nonexistent,” Dr. al-Sabe’ added. “We don’t even have diapers, let alone baby formula and nutritional supplements.”

    “If things don’t change, if they stay the way they are, we’re going to witness mass death among children,” he stressed. “If any child doesn’t receive nutrition for an entire week, that child will eventually die. And even if malnourished children are eventually provided with nutrition, they will likely suffer lifelong health consequences.”

    “If medicine is cut off from children who need it for one week, this will also likely lead to their death,” he continued.

    Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee' Abu Naqirah)
    Images of Yazan Kafarneh’s emaciated body circulated widely on social media. (Photo: Rabee’ Abu Naqirah)
    Children disproportionately affected by famine

    According to a UNICEF humanitarian situation report on March 22, 2.23 million people in Gaza suffer at least from “acute food insecurity,” while half of that population (1.1 million people) suffers from “catastrophic food insecurity,” meaning that “famine is imminent for half of the population.”

    An earlier report in December 2023 had already concluded that all children in Gaza under five years old (estimated to be 335,000 children) are “at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death.” UNICEF’s most recent March 22 report estimates that the famine threshold for “acute food insecurity” has already been “far exceeded,” while it is highly likely that the famine threshold for “acute malnutrition” has also been exceeded. Moreover, UNICEF said that the Famine Review Committee predicted that famine would manifest in Gaza anywhere between March and May of this year.

    Dr. al-Sabe’ stresses that such dire conditions disproportionately affect children, who have advanced nutritional needs compared to adults.

    “Their bodies are weak, and they don’t have large stores of muscle and fat,” he explained. “Even one day of no food for a young child will lead to consequences that are difficult to control in the future.”

    “An adult male may go a week without food before signs of malnutrition begin to show,” he continued. “Not so with children. Their muscle mass increases whenever they eat, which in turn leads to a greater need for nutrients.”

    The lack of nutrients means that children will grow weak, the pediatric surgeon said, and that they will quickly begin to exhibit symptoms such as fatigue, sleepiness, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, sunken eyes, and joint pains. For the same reason, Dr. al-Sabe maintained, children also respond to treatment fairly quickly — but “on the condition that they have not experienced malnutrition for more than a week.”

    After one week, reversing the effects of malnutrition becomes much more difficult. Al-Sabe’ asserts that children’s digestive tracts will slow down, they might begin to suffer from kidney failure, and their bellies can swell with fluids.

    That is what is particularly devastating for Gaza — over 335,000 children have undergone varying degrees of extreme malnutrition for months on end. The consequences are difficult to fathom on a population-wide level and for future generations. As of the time of writing, over 30 children have already died due to malnutrition in northern Gaza, but the real number is likely much higher given the lack of reporting in many areas in the north.

    ‘He didn’t need a miracle to save him’

    Yazan’s mother, Marwa Kafarneh, could barely contain her tears as she spoke of her son.

    “He was a normal boy despite his illness,” she told Mondoweiss. “He played with his brothers. He crawled and moved about, and he could open closets and use the phone, and he would watch things on it for hours.”

    “He could have lived a long life, a normal life,” she continued. “His father would have brought him everything that he needed. He wouldn’t have had to feel hungry for even a single day.”

    When she saw that the images of her son’s emaciated body had gone viral on social media, Marwa said that she preferred death over looking at the photos. “My eldest son died in front of my eyes, in front of all of our eyes,” she said. “We weren’t able to save him. And he didn’t need a miracle to save him either. All he needed was the food that we’ve always been able to provide for him.”

    Reflecting as she cried, she added: “But finding that food in Gaza today takes nothing less than a miracle.”

    Tareq S. Hajjaj
    Tareq S. Hajjaj is the Mondoweiss Gaza Correspondent and a member of the Palestinian Writers Union. He studied English Literature at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. He started his career in journalism in 2015, working as a news writer and translator for the local newspaper Donia al-Watan. He has reported for Elbadi, Middle East Eye, and Al-Monitor. Follow him on Twitter at @Tareqshajjaj.

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    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/the-story-of-yazan-kafarneh-the-boy-who-starved-to-death-in-gaza/
    The story of Yazan Kafarneh, the boy who starved to death in Gaza Tareq S. HajjajMarch 25, 2024 Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee' Abu Naqirah) Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee’ Abu Naqirah) This is not a photo of a mummy or an embalmed body retrieved from one of Gaza’s ancient cemeteries. This is a photo of Yazan Kafarneh, a child who died of severe malnutrition during Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip. Yazan’s family now lives in the Rab’a School in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah City. His father, Sharif Kafarneh, along with his mother, Marwa, and his three younger brothers, had fled Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza early on in the war. Yazan Kafarneh died at the age of nine, the eldest of four brothers — Mouin, 6, Ramzi, 4, and Muhammad, born during the war in a shelter four months ago. Advertisement Watch now: ANGELA DAVIS on Witnessing Palestine with Frank Barat Living in conditions not fit for human habitation, the grieving family had witnessed Yazan’s death before their eyes. It didn’t happen all at once but unfolded gradually over time, his frail body wasting away one day after another until there was nothing left of Yazan but skin and bones. Sharif was unable to do anything for his son. He died due to a congenital illness that required a special dietary regimen to keep him healthy. Israel’s systematic prevention of food from reaching the civilian population in Gaza meant that severe malnutrition — suffered by most children in the besieged enclave — in the case of Yazan meant death. “We first left from Beit Hanoun to Jabalia refugee camp,” Sharif told Mondoweiss. “Then the occupation called us again and warned us against staying where we were. So we left for Gaza City. Then, the occupation forced us to flee further south, and we did.” Yazan Kafarneh's parents and three brothers in their shelter in Rafah. (Photo: Tareq Hajjaj/Mondoweiss) Sharif Kafarneh’ (left), his wife Marwa (right), and their three surviving sons (center) in their shelter in Rafah. (Photo: Tareq Hajjaj/Mondoweiss) “If it weren’t for Yazan, I would have never left my home,” Sharif maintained. “Yazan required special care and nutrition.” Yazan suffered from a congenital form of muscular atrophy that made movement and speech difficult, but Sharif said that it never caused him much grief in his nine short years before the war. “He just had advanced nutritional needs,” Sharif explained. “But getting that food for him was never an issue before the war.” It was a point of pride for Sharif that he, a taxi driver, had never left his child wanting or deprived. “That changed in the war. The specific foods that he needed were cut off,” he said. “For instance, Yazan had to have milk and bananas for dinner every day. He can’t go a day without it, and sometimes he can have only bananas. This is what the doctors told us.” “After the war, I couldn’t get a single banana,” Sharif continued. “And for lunch, he had to have boiled vegetables and fruits that were pureed in a blender. We had no electricity for the blender, and there were no fruits or vegetables anymore.” As for breakfast, Yazan’s regimen demanded that he eat eggs. “Of course, there aren’t any more eggs in Rafah City,” Sharif said. “No fruits, no vegetables, no eggs, no bananas, nothing.” “But our child’s needs were never a problem for us,” Sharif rushed to add. “We loved taking care of him. He was the spoiled child of the family, and his younger brothers loved him and took care of him, too. God gave me a living so I could take care of him.” Due to his special needs, charitable societies used to visit Yazan’s home in Beit Hanoun before the war, providing various treatments such as physical therapy and speech therapy. All in all, Yazan had a functional, happy childhood. ‘He got thinner and thinner’ The family continued to take care of Yazan throughout the war. They tried to make do with what they could find, trying as much as possible to find alternatives to the foods Yazan required. “I replaced bananas with halawa [a tahini-based confection], and I replaced eggs with bread soaked in tea,” Sharif said. “But these foods did not contain the nutrients that Yazan needed.” In addition to his nutritional needs, Yazan had specific medicines to take. Sharif used to bring him brain and muscle stimulants that helped him stay alive and mobile, allowing him to move around and crawl throughout their home. Those medicines ran out during the second week of the war. With the lack of nutrition and medication, his health took a turn for the worse. “I noticed him getting sick, and his body was becoming emaciated,” Sharif recounts. “He got thinner and thinner.” His family took him to al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, where his health continued to deteriorate over the course of eleven days. “Even after we took him to the hospital, they couldn’t do anything for him,” Sharif continued. “All they were able to give him were IV fluids, and when his situation got worse, the hospital staff placed a feeding tube in his nose.” “My son required a tube with a 14-unit measurement, but all the hospital had was an 8-unit,” he added. When asked what was the most important factor that led to the deterioration of his son’s condition, Sharif said that it was the environment he lived in. “Before the war, he was in the right environment. After, everything was wrong. He was in his own home, but then he was uprooted to a shelter in Rafah.” “The situation we’re living in isn’t fit for humans, let alone a sick child,” Sharif explained. “In the camps, people would light fires to keep themselves warm, but the smoke would cause Yazan to cough and suffocate, and we weren’t able to tell them to turn their fires off because everyone was so cold.” Dr. Muhammad al-Sabe’, a pediatric surgeon in Rafah who works at the al-Awda, al-Najjar, and al-Kuwaiti hospitals, took a special interest in Yazan’s case. “The harsh conditions Yazan had to endure, including malnutrition, were the main factors contributing to the deterioration of his health and his ultimate death,” Dr. al-Sabe’ told Mondoweiss. “This is a genetic and congenital illness, and it requires special care every day, including specific proteins, IV medicines, and daily physical therapy, which isn’t available at Rafah.” “If things don’t change, if they stay the way they are, we’re going to witness mass death among children.” Dr. Muhammad al-Sabe’normal Dr. al-Sabe’ said that most foods administered to patients who cannot feed themselves through feeding tubes are unavailable in Gaza. “The occupation prevents these specific foods and medicines from coming in,” he explained. “Including a medicine called Ensure.” Ensure is a special nutritional supplement used in medical settings for what is called “enteral nutrition” — feeding patients through a nasal tube. “Special treatment for patients, especially children, is nonexistent,” Dr. al-Sabe’ added. “We don’t even have diapers, let alone baby formula and nutritional supplements.” “If things don’t change, if they stay the way they are, we’re going to witness mass death among children,” he stressed. “If any child doesn’t receive nutrition for an entire week, that child will eventually die. And even if malnourished children are eventually provided with nutrition, they will likely suffer lifelong health consequences.” “If medicine is cut off from children who need it for one week, this will also likely lead to their death,” he continued. Yazan Kafarneh after dying of starvation. (Photo: Rabee' Abu Naqirah) Images of Yazan Kafarneh’s emaciated body circulated widely on social media. (Photo: Rabee’ Abu Naqirah) Children disproportionately affected by famine According to a UNICEF humanitarian situation report on March 22, 2.23 million people in Gaza suffer at least from “acute food insecurity,” while half of that population (1.1 million people) suffers from “catastrophic food insecurity,” meaning that “famine is imminent for half of the population.” An earlier report in December 2023 had already concluded that all children in Gaza under five years old (estimated to be 335,000 children) are “at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death.” UNICEF’s most recent March 22 report estimates that the famine threshold for “acute food insecurity” has already been “far exceeded,” while it is highly likely that the famine threshold for “acute malnutrition” has also been exceeded. Moreover, UNICEF said that the Famine Review Committee predicted that famine would manifest in Gaza anywhere between March and May of this year. Dr. al-Sabe’ stresses that such dire conditions disproportionately affect children, who have advanced nutritional needs compared to adults. “Their bodies are weak, and they don’t have large stores of muscle and fat,” he explained. “Even one day of no food for a young child will lead to consequences that are difficult to control in the future.” “An adult male may go a week without food before signs of malnutrition begin to show,” he continued. “Not so with children. Their muscle mass increases whenever they eat, which in turn leads to a greater need for nutrients.” The lack of nutrients means that children will grow weak, the pediatric surgeon said, and that they will quickly begin to exhibit symptoms such as fatigue, sleepiness, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, sunken eyes, and joint pains. For the same reason, Dr. al-Sabe maintained, children also respond to treatment fairly quickly — but “on the condition that they have not experienced malnutrition for more than a week.” After one week, reversing the effects of malnutrition becomes much more difficult. Al-Sabe’ asserts that children’s digestive tracts will slow down, they might begin to suffer from kidney failure, and their bellies can swell with fluids. That is what is particularly devastating for Gaza — over 335,000 children have undergone varying degrees of extreme malnutrition for months on end. The consequences are difficult to fathom on a population-wide level and for future generations. As of the time of writing, over 30 children have already died due to malnutrition in northern Gaza, but the real number is likely much higher given the lack of reporting in many areas in the north. ‘He didn’t need a miracle to save him’ Yazan’s mother, Marwa Kafarneh, could barely contain her tears as she spoke of her son. “He was a normal boy despite his illness,” she told Mondoweiss. “He played with his brothers. He crawled and moved about, and he could open closets and use the phone, and he would watch things on it for hours.” “He could have lived a long life, a normal life,” she continued. “His father would have brought him everything that he needed. He wouldn’t have had to feel hungry for even a single day.” When she saw that the images of her son’s emaciated body had gone viral on social media, Marwa said that she preferred death over looking at the photos. “My eldest son died in front of my eyes, in front of all of our eyes,” she said. “We weren’t able to save him. And he didn’t need a miracle to save him either. All he needed was the food that we’ve always been able to provide for him.” Reflecting as she cried, she added: “But finding that food in Gaza today takes nothing less than a miracle.” Tareq S. Hajjaj Tareq S. Hajjaj is the Mondoweiss Gaza Correspondent and a member of the Palestinian Writers Union. He studied English Literature at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. He started his career in journalism in 2015, working as a news writer and translator for the local newspaper Donia al-Watan. He has reported for Elbadi, Middle East Eye, and Al-Monitor. Follow him on Twitter at @Tareqshajjaj. BEFORE YOU GO – At Mondoweiss, we understand the power of telling Palestinian stories. For 17 years, we have pushed back when the mainstream media published lies or echoed politicians’ hateful rhetoric. Now, Palestinian voices are more important than ever. Our traffic has increased ten times since October 7, and we need your help to cover our increased expenses. Support our journalists with a donation today. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/the-story-of-yazan-kafarneh-the-boy-who-starved-to-death-in-gaza/
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    The story of Yazan Kafarneh, the boy who starved to death in Gaza
    9-year-old Yazan Kafarneh died of a congenital illness turned deadly by severe malnutrition under Israel’s genocidal siege. “He didn’t need a miracle to save him,” cries his mother. “All he needed was the food we’ve always been able to provide him.”
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