Coney Island

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

A quirky playground of sights and sounds,

where the subway ends and the city meets the beach

with vibrant, tattered streets. 

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Yosemite

Photography, Travel

Wilderness consumed by granite giants and ancient sequoia groves. A natural wonder sweeping the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

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Spring in NYC

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

Visions from life on foot in a city that never sleeps.

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NYC

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

Where geometry meets industry

CHINATOWN

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MANHATTAN

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South Street Seaport

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SAN FRANCISCO

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

A city of jagged hills sprayed with colors of pastel from the eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. An evolving cultural scene, from the height of the hippie movement and 90’s grunge to the technological revolution of today.

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Maternal Mortality

Advocacy, Editorial, Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Travel

 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth each day around the world.

99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

(World Health Organization)

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united-nations

Photo by: United Nations

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD), offers a great opportunity for people to champion gender equality as they celebrate the historical achievements of women in the social, economic, cultural and political fields (1,2).

For over a century, IWD has been recognized as a time when governments, industry, and NGOs collectively act to better women’s rights through rich and diverse activities, such as political rallies, business conferences, networking events and artistic performances. Today, we need this involvement more than ever as we move forward on a foundation of past historical success.

As we celebrate the past, we must look towards the future and continue to fight for women’s equality. There is still progress to be made, especially in regards to education, health, positions of power in business and politics, and the prevention of violence against women. The truth is clear: every girl deserves a future that is equal, safe and rewarding.

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bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation

Photo by: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

medium

Photo by: Medium

WOMEN’S EQUALITY AND HEALTH 

One way to close the gender inequality gap is to focus on reducing preventable maternal deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth each day around the world (3). Nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are due to delivery complications, severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy and unsafe abortions (5). In 2015, approximately 303,000 women died from maternal health complications, most of which could have been prevented (3).

Solutions to avoid or treat pregnancy complications are well known. It is vital that women receive prenatal and postpartum care, as well as skilled care during childbirth. However, women are unlikely to receive adequate care in remote areas and in regions with minimal skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, only 40% of pregnant women in low-income countries had received the four recommended antenatal care visits (3). Other factors that inhibit women from seeking or receiving care include poverty, distance, inadequate services, cultural practices and lack of information. These barriers must be addressed at all levels of the health system in order to tackle maternal mortality. The timely diagnosis and management of pregnancy related complications is a matter of life or death for the mother and baby.

erin-goodrow-mh-india

Photo by: Erin Goodrow

 

new-security-beat

Photo by: New Security Beat

THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS 

On September 25th, 2015, member states of the WHO adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 15-year targets to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all (4). One objective is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to less than 70 per 100,000 births (3). However, 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, reflecting the inequities in access to health services. For example, the MMR in 2015 was 239 per 100,000 live births in developing countries versus 12 per 100,000 live births in developed countries. Additionally, over half of the global maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among rural and low-income communities. Overall, women in developing countries have many more pregnancies and have a higher risk of death due to pregnancy. The probability that a 15-year-old woman will die from a maternal cause is 1 in 180 in developing countries versus 1 in 4,900 in developed countries (3). In order to achieve the SDGs, women need greater access to reproductive health services, especially those in low-resource settings.

PRIORITIZING MATERNAL HEALTH 

WHO and numerous organizations have been working to reduce maternal mortality rates by increasing research, providing evidence-based clinical guidance, setting global standards and delivering technical support. During the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) was launched as a road map for the post-2015 agenda presented in the SDGs. The aim is to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents, as well as provide an environment for health to thrive. In order to implement this strategy, WHO and partners are working on the following regarding reproductive, maternal and newborn health care: addressing inequalities in access to services, ensuring universal health coverage, addressing causes of maternal mortality and morbidities, strengthening health systems and ensuring accountability for quality care.

For efforts to succeed, the world must unite in prioritizing maternal health. Advocates, organizations, and governments need to take a stand against women’s inequality and provide greater agency, support and resources towards tackling maternal mortality.


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REFERENCES

  1. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About
  2. http://wd2016.org/speaker/jill-sheffield/
  3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/
  4. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
  5. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(14)70227-X/fulltext

* Cover photo: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Tobacco

Advocacy, Editorial, Travel, Uncategorized, Video

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The Rising Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Developing Countries

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TOBACCO & MORTALITY

“Tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users when used exactly as intended by manufacturers” (15).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use is responsible for six million deaths each year (15). This includes an estimated 600,000 people who die from second-hand smoke. Health outcomes include death and/or disability from chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke and chronic respiratory diseases. Additionally, smoking increases the risk of death from infectious diseases.

Overwhelming evidence suggests that tobacco marketing greatly influences tobacco use and initiation (3-5). As such, bans on tobacco marketing can greatly reduce individual tobacco use.

GLOBAL TRENDS IN TOBACCO USE

↓ Developed Countries   ↑ Developing Countries

Tobacco use in many high income countries is decreasing rapidly. This is due to government marketing bans and increased public education about the harms of smoking. In contrast, the prevalence of smoking is increasing in many middle- and low-income countries. According to the WHO global report on trends in tobacco smoking 2000-2025, males are more likely to smoke than females, and the prevalence is rising most dramatically in the African Region and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (13).

smoking-kid-indonesia

Photo by: Merinews

Table 1. Age-standardized prevalence of current tobacco smoking among persons aged 15 years and older (14,16).

Country CURRENT TOBACCO SMOKING (%)
  Year 2000 Year 2015
Men Women Both sexes Men Women Both sexes
High-income
Canada 29.3 27.5 27.5 17.7 12.2 14.3
Sweden 32.8 32.9 32.9 20.4 20.8 20.6
Upper-middle-income
China 56.2 3.3 30.4 47.6 1.8 26.3
Lower-middle-income
India 33.8 5.7 20.2 20.4 1.9 11.0
Pakistan 35.2  7.5 21.8 41.9 3 22.9
Low-income
Zimbabwe 29.8 2.7 16.1 31.2 2.1 16.65


TOBACCO MARKETING TRENDS

Tobacco marketing is 81 times greater in Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe than in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Sweden (7). 

In 2003, member states of the World Health Assembly adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) (6). This agreement provided 180 nations with evidenced-based steps to minimize tobacco sales and ban tobacco marketing. This legally binding treaty even provided agricultural alternatives to those growing tobacco, so as to minimize the economic hardships faced by local producers. Nearly 13 years later, what is the present state of tobacco marketing trends?

A recent study led by the World Health Organization examined the global tobacco marketing environment by comparing 462 communities located in 16 low-, middle- and high-income countries (1). Researchers found that exposure to tobacco marketing is 81 times greater in Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe than in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Sweden (7). Additionally, the tobacco industry is targeting poor urban youth in developing countries (10-12). This is due to cheaper marketing costs and the greater potential to reach more people in densely populated regions. Furthermore, according to the WHO study (1), high levels of tobacco marketing (e.g. posters, print media and cinema) was even found in 14 middle- and low-income countries that had ratified the FCTC. Countries that ratified this agreement were required to implement a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. However, many developing countries are lacking in agency and governmental capacity to fully implement the recommendations of FCTC (2). This is worsened by the alarming influence of the tobacco industry in lobbying their interests (8,9).

Governments, NGOs, and other key stakeholders need to take a stand against the tobacco companies. Media and advocacy work must continue to focus on the populations currently being abused by corporate greed. Urban youth in developing countries are the greatest target of the tobacco industry, and therefore, should become a major focus for public education initiatives about the harmful effects of tobacco use. Nations across the globe have already taken a positive step forward by agreeing to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. People must now take the next step by supporting fellow nations in implementing this agreement to ban tobacco marketing. Financial resources, capacity building and continued media attention are needed now more than ever. A healthier and more equitable world is possible in the future, but there is a long way to go.


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REFERENCES

1) http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/93/12/15-155846.pdf

2) http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/12/developing-countries-targeted-tobacco-marketing/

3) The role of the media in promoting and reducing tobacco use. NCI Tobacco Control Monograph No.19. Bethesda: National Institutes of Health; 2008.

4) DiFranza JR, Wellman RJ, Sargent JD, Weitzman M, Hipple BJ, Winickoff JP; Tobacco Consortium, Center for Child Health Research of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Tobacco promotion and the initiation of tobacco use: assessing the evidence for causality. Pediatrics. 2006 June ;117(6):e1237–48. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2005-1817 PMID: 16740823

5). Pierce JP, Choi WS, Gilpin EA, Farkas AJ, Berry CC. Tobacco industry promotion of cigarettes and adolescent smoking. JAMA. 1998 Feb 18;279(7):511–5. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.279.7.511 PMID: 9480360

6) World Health Organization. Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  Updated 26 July 2016. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/fctc/signatories_parties/en/

7) Gilmore, Anna. Big tobacco targets the young in poor countries – with deadly consequences. The Guardian. 1 December 2015. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/dec/01/big-tobacco-industry-targets-young-people-poor-countries-smoking

8) AMESCA regional plan 1999-2001. London: British American Tobacco: 1999. Available from: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kiz13a99/pdf [cited 2014 Jul 15].

9) Lee S, Ling PM, Glantz SA. The vector of the tobacco epidemic: tobacco industry practices in low and middle-income countries. Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Mar;23(1) Suppl 1:117–29. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/ s10552-012-9914-0 PMID: 22370696

10) Perlman F, Bobak M, Gilmore A, McKee M. Trends in the prevalence of smoking in Russia during the transition to a market economy. Tob Control. 2007 Oct;16(5):299–305. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/tc.2006.019455 PMID: 17897987

11) Gilmore AB, Radu-Loghin C, Zatushevski I, McKee M. Pushing up smoking incidence: plans for a privatised tobacco industry in Moldova. Lancet. 2005 Apr 9-15;365(9467):1354–9. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140- 6736(05)61035-5 PMID: 15823388

12) Neuwirth B. Marketing channel strategies in rural emerging markets: unlocking business potential. [Internet]. Evanston: Kellogg School of Management; 2012. Available from: http://www.kellogg.northwestern. edu/~/media/files/research/crti/marketing%20channel%20strategy%20 in%20rural%20emerging%20markets%20ben%20neuwirth.ashx [cited 2013 Aug 15].

13) World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory (GHO) data: Prevalence of tobacco smoking. Accessed 1 December 2016. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/gho/tobacco/use/en/.

14) World Health Organization. Prevalence of tobacco smoking. Accessed 1 December 2016. Retrieved from http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/tobacco/use/atlas.html

15) World Health Organization. WHO global report on trends in tobacco smoking 2000 – 2025. Updated 2016. Accessed 1 December 2016. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/surveillance/reportontrendstobaccosmoking/en

16) World Health Organization. WHO global reports on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2015. (2015). Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/156262/1/9789241564922_eng.pdf?ua=1

Pegasus

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

Sights from the Pegasus building in downtown Los Angeles.

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Joshua Tree

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

Rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes.

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Tel Aviv

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

A modern city in Israel on the Mediterranean coast.20160827-dsc02679-edit

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