Thursday, 19 December 2013

Stay Away From Scabby Whores.

Now you may think that this is a deliberately provocative headline, intended to attract you in much the same way as one might use tags like 'Monica Bellucci Naked' to draw attention to an article about horse riding in Huntingdonshire, for example. But there is a genuine reason for it.
The Belgian press is carrying a couple of interesting stories today concerning health. There are two areas of concern - STDs are on the rise (especially Chlamydia), and there is also a bit of a problem with scabies, particularly in Flanders.

This comes in the same week that I learn of a drastic rise in Rickets in Southwark. This is associated with vitamin D deficiency, and as many as 40% of children in the borough may be potentially affected. Is that the result of a poor diet as a result of poverty, or an inability by some parents to understand that chips are not a breakfast cereal? I suspect its a bit of both.

Southwark has always been an area with acute health problems, and it would have been even worse if it were not for the work of health reformer Dr Alfred Salter, one of my greatest heroes. Salter transformed Bermondsey and its surrounds, but as time moves on, the area is becoming a problem again.

A wee extract here from what is now becoming the longest research project in the history of the galaxy, but which I hope to publish this side of my 80th birthday...

"The National Health Service tells us that even now, at the beginning of the 21st century, child mortality rates in Southwark remain higher than the average for England and Wales. A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, published in August 1997, showed that Bethnal Green also remains blighted by high, indeed rising, mortality rates. Interestingly, the same report also highlights the fact that men between the ages of 15-44 are still twice as likely to die in Southwark as the national average for their age group. In 2001, four academics from Bristol and Leeds universities, in a critical paper on health inequalities, cited Southwark, and Bermondsey in particular, as being amongst the very worst places in the UK for premature deaths. Indeed, in June 2011, the Southwark News reported that "There have been more cot deaths in Southwark in the last five years than anywhere else in London".

Figures also suggested that teenage mothers are four times more likely to have a cot death than older mums, leading experts to link the terrifying record to the borough’s high rates of teen pregnancy."
What am I saying here? In Flanders, and in Southwark, we are seeing frightening rises in instances of health issues related to poverty (as well as to poor education).
The Southwark News also reports an increase in the number of women turning to prostitution in order to pay their bills. Will we also see STD rates rise in the borough, as in Flanders, as a result?

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