Guardian: World's donkeys being 'decimated' by demand for Chinese medicine (2)

23 November, 2019

Should that be:

Let's build a future where people *and animals* are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information?

The harm being done in the situation mentioned is not only the health risk to people using traditional remedies of unproven value. As professionals involved in promoting global heath, we should pay as much attention to the adverse impact of false health beliefs and unproven traditional medicines on animal species and the wider environment. It seems likely that the impact of this trade on the world's donkey population, and on the rural communities who depend on donkeys economically, is far worse than the impact on the users of ejiao who may be merely wasting their money. The case of rhinoceros horn also comes to mind, where a species is in danger of extinction at least partly because of belief in a traditional remedy.

While I am not seriously suggesting changing the slogan of HIFA, this article is a good reminder that health education and wider public health issues cannot be separated from the health of animal species, the economy and ecological matters.

HIFA profile: Myer Glickman is Head of Life Events Modernisation at the UK Office for National Statistics; National Coordinator of UK-Africa Health Partnership ( which is the UK group of the Afro-European Medical & Research Network, AEMRN (; and Consultant Statistician of AEMRN. He has been a consultant to the Department of Health (England) on several information development projects, and also has a visiting position as Associate Professor in Public Health at Chreso University, Lusaka, Zambia. His professional interests include health statistics/demography/population epidemiology generally, and specifically socio-economic health inequalities, community health improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, and improvement of health information systems. Contact myer.glickman AT