WHO HQ takes a look at men’s health
The World Health Organisation’s Gender, Equity and Human Rights Group organised a seminar on men’s health at WHO’s HQ in Geneva (Switzerland) on 19 November. This followed the adoption of a men’s health strategy by WHO Europe in September. PAHO, the WHO region for the Americas, is also working on a men’s health report which is expected to be published in the next few months.
The seminar, which was mainly attended by WHO staff, heard a series of short presentations on reaching men in Africa for HIV testing, treatment and prevention; reaching men for HIV testing through workplace programmes; why young men are dying; gender and tobacco control; men, masculinities and health; and masculinities, sexual and reproductive health and violence against women. Three speakers also talked about their personal experience of men’s health and wellbeing issues.
There was broad agreement from the speakers that men’s health is an issue that has been overlooked by global heath organisations, that the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’ is unhelpful, and that the structural determinants of men’s poor heath should be addressed. One speaker observed that gender norms are manufactured and distorted by industries such as tobacco and that public health has failed to catch up with its own gender-responsive strategies. Another speaker called for the introduction of more national men’s health policies.
The seminar heard that a forthcoming major review of interventions with men in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and violence prevention will report that the evidence of effectiveness is generally of low quality and based on self-reporting.
Several speakers made the point that it is important not to pit men’s health against women’s health; there is not a binary choice to be made in a zero sum game.
The seminar was followed by a smaller meeting to discuss possible next steps by WHO. The suggestions included a WHO report on men’s health data globally as well as risk-taking and help-seeking behaviours, a summary of evidence on effected interventions with men, and practical guidance to member states on what they can do. One participant said that in any such guidance it was important to avoid terms like ‘gender responsive’ and instead to recommend concrete actions (eg. extend primary care opening hours to make it easier for men to attend).
GAMH was represented at the seminar and the follow-up meeting by its Director, Peter Baker.
21 November 2018
Masculine Norms and Men’s Health: Making the Connections
What are the links between masculine norms and men’s health outcomes globally? What implications do these links have for efforts to improve men’s health – alongside efforts to improve the health of women and children – and as part of broader efforts to create healthier, thriving societies?
A new report from Promundo, partnered by GAMH and the Movember Foundation, provides an overview of the current state of men’s health globally and illustrates the direct connections between health-risk behaviors and salient masculine norms. Presenting a new analysis of men’s health using data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, the report outlines the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among men globally. It also presents evidence on the connections between hegemonic masculine norms and influential health-risk behaviours, including poor diet, substance use, occupational hazards, unsafe sex, and limited health-seeking behavior.
The report emphasizes that salient norms related to masculinities and the gendered nature of men’s lives are a driving force in men’s ill-health. While biological factors are involved in male-specific ill-health, the vast majority of men’s morbidities and excess mortality is related to health practices, and the social and cultural influences that shape them. In short, while some gender norms can be protective in terms of health outcomes, men’s poor health is most often driven by their efforts to live up to or adhere to restrictive societal norms related to manhood.
The Executive Summary of Masculine Norms and Men’s Health: Making the Connections was published on 19 November 2018 and the full report will be available by the end of the year.
21 November 2018
WHO Europe adopts men’s health strategy
WHO Europe has adopted its first-ever men’s health strategy. It was approved by all 53 member states at the Regional Committee meeting in Rome on 19 September 2018.
The men’s strategy complements WHO Europe’s women’s health strategy that was adopted in 2016. GAMH was involved in the consultation process for the strategy and the accompanying report on the state of men’s health in Europe. Our contribution included co-organising a consultative event for civil society stakeholders in Dublin, Ireland in March and publishing a report on the findings.
Commenting on the new strategy, GAMH Director Peter Baker said: ‘This is a landmark day in the history of men’s health in Europe and globally. Although the strategy is not binding on member states, we now want to see firm commitments to action from all of them and we are also calling on the other WHO regions and WHO centrally to develop a similar approach. We will do whatever we can to support implementation and to take full advantage of this opportunity. We thank WHO Europe for involving us in the development of the strategy and for bringing it to fruition.’
19 September 2018
International Men’s Health Week (11-17 June) 2018
This year, Global Action of Men’s Health is highlighting how global health organisations have consistently overlooked men’s health. Our latest report, Hiding in Plain Sight: Men’s Health and the Response of Global Organisations, is being sent to a range of global organisations with a recommendation that they should now:
• Audit their existing policies and programmes to assess how they are addressing gender and men’s health in particular and undertake to make changes as and where appropriate
• Assess the needs of men in the communities they serve or with respect to the issues they address
• Include gender – defined in a manner consistent with global norms – in their policies and programmes
• Commit themselves to actions that benefit all genders (male, female, trans and non-binary) and contribute to gender equality
• Disaggregate their programme data by sex
• Deliver training programmes on men’s health to relevant staff
• Recognise that interventions that take account of gender differences are likely to achieve better outcomes
• Take actions that build on men’s strengths and positive aspects of masculinity rather than being based on negative views of men and their attitudes and behaviours
• Evaluate and disseminate their work on men’s health to improve the accessible evidence base
• If they are donors, fund research and programmes on men’s health
• Act as advocates for actions to improve men’s health on the widest possible scale
• Maintain and if possible increase their support for women’s health programmes – resources should not be diverted from women’s health to men’s health
Men’s Health Week 2018 also marks the launch of a major new publication, The International Journal of Men’s Social and Community Health. The editor-in-chief is GAMH member Prof Steve Robertson and several other GAMH members, as well as the Director, are members of the editorial board.
To find out what’s happening during the Week in individual countries, visit www.imhw.org.
11 June 2018
Report on symposium to discuss WHO-Europe’s forthcoming men’s health strategy
WHO-Europe, which covers 53 countries, is working on its first Men’s Health Report and Men’s Health Strategy. It plans to publish both in September.
For the first time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a strategy entirely focused on the health and well-being of men and boys. The strategy will be for the 53 countries in the WHO European region and will be supported by a report reviewing the evidence on topics such as addressing premature mortality, the intersection between masculinities and existing inequalities, health systems responses to men throughout the life-course, and the role of men in promoting gender equality in health. The report will provide a framework to guide and inform the development of country-specific policy responses to improve men’s health.
The report and strategy are expected to be presented to, and hopefully approved at, the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2018. WHO-Europe has been consulting a wide range of stakeholders about different aspects of the strategy and report. In response, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, Men’s Health Forum (Great Britain) and Global Action on Men’s Health, with the support of the Health Service Executive in Ireland and the participation of WHO-Europe, hosted a symposium in Dublin (Ireland) on 16 March 2018 with two principal aims:
- To seek the views of key stakeholders and experts working in the field of gender and men’s health on key elements of the draft strategy
- To develop a set of recommendations based on the outcomes of the symposium for consideration by WHO in the drafting of the final strategy.
The symposium was primarily aimed at non-governmental organisations across the WHO-Europe region who have a particular interest in the health and wellbeing of men and boys and/or the role of men in promoting gender equality. There were 33 attendees at the symposium from five countries .
A report on the symposium, published today, presents a summary of the key messages from the event.
7 June 2018
GAMH raises men’s health with WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs
GAMH has submitted a response to the consultation on the WHO Independent High-Level Commission’s preliminary draft report on non-communicable diseases. GAMH expressed its concern that gender issues were not mentioned even once in the draft report and argued that actions to address NCDs would
be particularly beneficial to the health of men and boys across the world but that they cannot be optimally effective without an approach that takes account of the specific health needs, attitudes and behaviours of men and boys and perceives addressing this area as a pathway to better wellbeing and equality for all.
17 May 2018
WHO-Europe takes on men’s health
WHO-Europe, which covers 53 countries, is working on its first Men’s Health Report and Men’s Health Strategy. It plans to publish both in September.
One key stimulus for this development is the Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) which cover gender equality (Goal 5), inequalities (10) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (3). NCDs clearly cannot be properly addressed without taking account of sex and gender. The Men’s Health Strategy will also complement a previous report by WHO-Europe on women’s health.
GAMH has been involved in the consultation process for this programme and has made numerous suggestions, many of which have been reflected in the various drafts produced by WHO-Europe so far.
Although the Strategy will not be binding on member countries, it is hoped it will have a catalytic effect on national governments in Europe and beyond. It will hopefully also influence other regional and global health organisations in the public, private and NGO sectors.
One early sign of the impact of the work on gender and men’s health can be found in the just-published draft outcome statement from the high-level WHO-Europe meeting on health systems responses to NCDs. Paragraph 5 states:
“We will integrate a gender‐based approach across the health system response to
NCDs to address the impact of gender norms and roles and the social determinants of
health on the differential exposure to risk factors between men and women, on their
health‐seeking behaviours and on the responses from health‐care providers. We will aim to
implement gender‐specific interventions to address the disproportionate morbidity among
women and disproportionately high mortality among men, and by building on the growing
knowledge provided by gender‐based medicine and research. We will seek to eliminate
gender stereotypes in health promotion interventions that may perpetuate harmful aspects
of masculinities and femininities, particularly among adolescent boys and girls. We will work
towards demonstrating leadership in health systems to promote gender equity in the health
sector workforce, and tackling the gender imbalance in unpaid care.”
20 April 2018
New GAMH project on men and self care
GAMH has begun work on an important new project on Men and Self Care.
- Build on the successful work done on the Global Men’s Health Survey
- Develop a better understanding of the field of men and self care
- Demonstrate the potential for improvement in men and self care, including developing men’s use of pharmacy services
- Explain the rationale for policymakers and practitioners to take action on men and self care
- Identify relevant case studies illustrating good practice in the field
- Ultimately, improve men’s health outcomes through better self care
A report will be produced on men’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours concerning self care, examples of successful interventions by health and other organisations, the potential for improvement, and recommendations for action on research, policy and practice. The project will take a global perspective, take account of the diversity of men between and within countries and consider how self care can be improved for men with the poorest health outcomes in particular.
A survey of professionals working in the men’s health field will inform the project. To take part, please click here. The closing date for responses is 13 April 2018.
The project is supported by an advisory group comprising:
- Dr Austen El-Osta, Acting Director, The Self Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU), School of Public Health, Imperial College London
- Wayne Hartrick, President, Canadian Men’s Health Foundation
- Dr Matt Maycock, Learning and Development Researcher, Scottish Prison Service College
- Dr Chirk Jenn Ng, Malaysian Clearinghouse for Men’s Health and Professor, Department of Primary Care Medicine at University of Malaya
- Dr Gillian Prue, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland and lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast.
- Dr David Webber, President, International Self Care Foundation
The project has been funded by Sanofi.
12 March 2018
GAMH’s first Annual Report published
Writing in GAMH’s first Annual Report, which covers the period since the organisation’s launch in 2013, Chair Anthony Brown says:
This has been an exciting year for Global Action on Men’s Health. Our membership has grown and we are starting to see international agencies taking a greater interest in men’s and boys’ health.
The World Health Organisation’s European office is developing a men’s health strategy for the 53 counties in the European region. GAMH is working with WHO Europe to bring together men’s health organisations in Europe (many of whom are GAMH members) to inform this work. GAMH will continue to work with WHO and other agencies to encourage the development of men’s health policies regionally and globally.
While there is the start of interest in men’s health at a global and regional level there are still only 4 countries with specific national men’s health policies: Ireland, Australia, Brazil and Iran. Each of these countries have had some challenges in implementing these policies but each has reaffirmed its commitment to men’s health.
During 2018 we will be working to formally incorporate as an organisation this will make it easier to receive funds and formalise our relationships with members and other stakeholders. It will also involve drafting a new constitution. This will be a major piece of work for the new Executive Committee during 2018.
And, finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to Peter Baker, our hard-working Executive Officer. Peter continues to make new connections for GAMH and represent us at meetings and events. Thank you, Peter.
18 December 2017
Men’s health research centre under threat
The internationally-renowned Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Beckett University in the UK is at risk of closure because of funding cuts being imposed by the University.
GAMH has written to the university authorities urging them to keep the Centre open. GAMH Director Peter Baker and Chair Anthony Brown said:
We have heard that the University is proposing to close the Centre for Men’s Health. As Director and Chair of Global Action on Men’s Health, we would like to place on record our concern and to ask you to re-consider this short-sighted plan.
The Centre for Men’s Health is unique in the UK. There is no other academic body with its remit, skills, expertise and experience. In fact, it is one of only a handful of similar organisations around the world and is pre-eminent among them. The Centre has an excellent track record in terms not only of academic research but also of project evaluation and policy and practice development. The work for the European Commission on the state of men’s health in Europe, for the Premier League on its men’s health programme and for Leeds City Council on the challenges facing men and local services stand out as particularly important examples of its work. The Centre has also been instrumental in moving forward conceptual thinking around men, masculinity and health. The Centre’s staff have authored or co-authored several seminal texts in the field and receive many invitations to examine PhDs nationally and internationally.
Through its links with universities and health organisations in many countries in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and elsewhere, the Centre has global reach and influence. The work of Global Action on Men’s Health has certainly benefitted from the research, guidance and direct involvement of the Centre.
Men’s health remains unnecessarily poor. Male life expectancy lags well behind women’s globally, in Europe and the UK. There are, within the UK, marked variations in men’s health outcomes by geographic area and socio-economic status with outcomes adversely affected by deprivation. Men’s risk-taking behaviours (e.g. alcohol, smoking, diet) are significantly implicated in poor male health. Sub-optimal use of primary care services is also a factor, especially for mental health problems. There has not been a systematic national or local response to men’s health inequalities and, despite the work of the Centre and others, there is still a dearth of academic work in this field.
This is what makes the work of the Centre so important and necessary. It has already contributed significantly to the evidence base used by those of us working in men’s health policy and practice. But more such work is urgently needed. If the Centre is closed, the still largely undeveloped field of men’s health would receive a major setback and, ultimately, men’s lives will suffer as a result.
We very much hope you will think again and find a way of keeping the Centre for Men’s Health alive.
A petition against the closure of the Centre has now been launched by researchers. GAMH urges you to you add your name. If you would like to do so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and also email@example.com.
As of 3 July, the petition has attracted about 120 signatories. They can be viewed here.
A second online petition has also been launched by Leeds Beckett UCU which has over 320 signatories. This is open to both researchers and non-researchers.
3 July 2017
GAMH welcomes new WHO Director-General
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus starts work as the new Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 July. GAMH has taken the opportunity presented by Men’s Health Week (12-18 June 2017) to write to Dr Tedros wishing him every success and asking for a new approach by WHO to the issue of men’s health. We have offered to work with Dr Tedros and his staff to develop a work programme on gender that takes the needs of both men and women fully into account. As a first step, we have suggested that WHO convenes an expert symposium on men’s health followed by a report analysing the problems and recommending a range of solutions at the global as well as the national levels. GAMH’s letter to Dr Tedros can be read here.
1 June 2017.
The Sexuality of Men – new report
The German Men’s Health Foundation (Stiftung Männergesundheit) last week published its Third German Men’s Health Report on the issue of male sexuality. Developed in collaboration with the Institute for Applied Sexual Science at the University of Merseburg, the report provides an up-to-date and comprehensive view of the sexuality of men in Germany. The first report in Europe on this subject, it takes an inter-disciplinary approach, outlines recommendations for action and has international relevance.
8 May 2017
Men’s Health: time for a new approach to policy and practice – important new Journal of Global Health article
If the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on health and well-being is to be met, significant improvements in men’s health will be needed, according to Peter Baker and Tim Shand in a Viewpoint article published on 7 March 2017 in The Journal of Global Health.
SDG Goal 3 important commitments to reducing by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), promoting mental health and well-being, strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol, and halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. The Goal also aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and to improve the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Globally, male life expectancy at birth, at 68 years, currently lags five years behind female life expectancy and the global ‘gap’ is predicted to increase over the next 15 years. Men are more likely than women to die prematurely from NCDs, to die from suicide, to smoke, to drink at hazardous levels and to die on the roads. Their use of sexual and reproductive health services, including for HIV and contraception, is often poor. The SDG commitments, if successfully implemented, would therefore particularly beneficial to the health of men and boys across the world; equally, they cannot be optimally realised without an approach that takes account of the specific health needs, attitudes and behaviours of men and boys, and perceives addressing this area as a pathway to better wellbeing and equality for all.
At present, argue Baker and Shand, such an approach is not reflected in policy and practice. Only four national governments (Australia, Brazil, Iran and Ireland) have developed national men’s health policies and the issue is almost entirely absent from the agendas of international public organisations, including the WHO.
The article does not suggest that tackling men’s health is more important than addressing women’s health. There is, in reality, not a binary choice to be made nor is this a zero sum game. In specific areas of health, women’s outcomes are worse than men’s. Moreover, in many countries, women are denied equal access to health services, and gender power dynamics mean they often lack autonomy in health-related decision-making. It is right that women should be regarded as a priority for action by global and national health organisations. However, men also face a wide range of serious health problems which require a complementary approach.
Baker and Shand believe that addressing men’s health would, in fact, benefit women’s health as well as reduce the costs to health systems and the wider economy of care, treatments and lost productivity. The authors also believe that increasing men’s ability to lead healthy and fulfilling lives is an ethical imperative.
For progress to be made, Baker and Shand consider that global health organizations and national governments should, as part of a comprehensive approach to gender and health, address the health and well-being needs of men and boys in all relevant policies (e.g. on obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer) and through the introduction of specific men’s health policies in more countries.
Educational programmes in schools and male-targeted health information can be used to encourage and support boys and men to take better care of their own health. Health practitioners must inform themselves about the psychosocial aspects of men’s health, as well as male-specific clinical issues, and medical training programmes should cover gender and other social determinants of health. Workplaces also have a key role, in terms of not only reducing exposure to hazards but also providing a setting for health promotion.
Commenting on the article, Baker said: ‘Men’s health problems are beginning to achieve greater recognition nationally and globally and the very welcome publication of this article by the Journal of Global Health provides further evidence of this. But there is still a very long way to go before health organisations at all levels take gender, which includes men as well as women, as seriously as they should. Hopefully, this article will help to push the issue further up the agenda and to ensure that men’s health no longer remains a problem hiding in plain sight.’
Peter Baker is Director of Global Action on Men’s Health. Tim Shand is Deputy Director of the Passages Project at the Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington DC.
The article includes the following evidence for the problems in men’s health:
- Male life expectancy at birth, at 68 years, lags five years behind female life expectancy. By 2030, male life expectancy could be seven years shorter than female life expectancy.
- WHO data shows that, globally in 2012, 52% of all deaths from NCDs were male.
- Males were more likely than females to die prematurely (under 70 years) from NCDs in almost every country (females were more likely to die prematurely from NCDs in just four countries).
- The proportion of premature NCD deaths in males was twice or more that in females in 11 countries, including Russia where 52% of male NCD deaths were premature compared to 24% of female NCD deaths.
- Data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 shows that, in that year, 55% of deaths from dietary risk factors were male as were 72% of deaths from tobacco smoking and 65% of deaths from alcohol.
- There was a particularly large sex difference for deaths caused by occupational risks: 88% of deaths from this cause were male in 2010.
- Males accounted for 82% of all homicide victims in 2012 and have estimated rates of homicide that are more than four times those of females (10.8 and 2.5, respectively, per 100,000), according to WHO data.
- Males were also almost twice as likely to die by suicide as women. In high–income countries, men were three times more likely to die by suicide.
8 March 2017
Ireland publishes new Men’s Health Action Plan
A new National Men’s Health Action Plan, Healthy Ireland Men 2017-2021, was launched on 30 November 2016 by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The plan was launched today at a Men’s Health Symposium in Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, which showcased a broad range of men’s health research and provided a platform for examples of effective practice.
Ireland was the first country in the world to adopt a Men’s Health Policy and other countries are now building upon the pioneering spirit and practical learning from the Irish experience. The term of the original Men’s Health Policy ended in 2013 and was followed by an extensive review of its impact.
The review recommended that the momentum and progress which had already been achieved should be continued, and that future work should align to the ‘Healthy Ireland’ framework for action.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Cate Hartigan, HSE Head of Health Promotion and Improvement credited the many partners with the progress across a broad range of men’s health work that has been achieved to date: ‘We are delighted in the HSE to have partner organisations such as the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Heart Foundation, the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland and the Men’s Development Network, among others, with whom we can continue to work to develop and expand the reach and awareness of men’s health actions’. The Men’s Health Forum in Ireland and the Men’s Development Network are members of Global Action on Men’s Health.
Dr Noel Richardson, Director, National Centre for Men’s Health, IT Carlow commented: ‘There is a strong rationale for maintaining a specific focus on men’s health, with issues such as sex differences in life expectancy and mortality, health inequalities between sub populations of men and a significant body of evidence that supports the need for a gender-specific approach across a diverse range of topics, settings and target male population groups. Initiatives such as Men’s Health Week, ENGAGE (National Men’s Health Training Programme), Mojo, the Irish Men’s Sheds ‘Sheds for Life’ Programme, the Engaging Young Men Project, Farmers Have Hearts and Men on the Move, are examples of on-going best practice approaches to engaging men.’
The Plan works in tandem with existing structures and programmes within the HSE and is designed to contribute to more effective implementation of programmes and services by mainstreaming men’s health across a broad spectrum of policy areas. Four Themes and twenty eight Actions have been identified under Healthy Ireland Men 2017-2021. These Themes and Actions have been framed with due regard to the key health topics and themes under the Framework of Actions highlighted in Healthy Ireland and the HSE priority areas.
5 December 2016
Major new global survey debunks the myth that men often ignore their health
One of the most comprehensive global surveys ever undertaken into men’s perceptions of their health reveals that the overwhelming majority of men want to take greater control of their health and well-being. They are also just as confident as women that they can do so.
The survey – Men’s Health: Perceptions from Around the Globe – shows that almost 9 out of 10 men want to take a more proactive role in managing their health, which is in sharp contrast to the commonly-held beliefs that men don’t look after themselves and often ignore health problems. The findings indicate significant opportunities for policymakers around the world who are looking for ways to improve men’s health and well-being as part of more efficient and effective healthcare services.
Read GAMH Director Peter Baker’s presentation to the report launch event in Brussels.
16 November 2016
American Public Health Association (APHA) conference, Denver USA (29 Oct – 2 Nov 2016)
GAMH Director Peter Baker will be presenting a paper on the role of national men’s health policies to the Men’s Health Caucus on 31 Oct. (The presentation can be viewed here; the abstract can be viewed here; and an article covering many of the issues referred to in the talk here.) Peter will also be leading a discussion at a roundtable event – “Men’s Health – A Global Inequality Hiding in Plain Sight” – which will also take place on 31 Oct (see here for a copy of the presentation). If you’re at the conference, please register to come to the roundtable; alternatively, please circulate the details to others who might be interested.
13 October 2016
Men’s Health Week blog
The Altarum Institute has published a blog on Men’s Health Week. It can be read here.
16 June 2016
Men’s Health Week Twitterchat reaches almost 3m
A Twitterchat on global men’s health hosted by Men’s Health Network on 9 June 2016 reached almost 3m users and trended on Twitter. The tweets can be read here. It’s well worth a look whether you were able to take part or not.
13 June 2016
New blog on global men’s health
IHP (International Health Policies) has published a blog by GAMH Director Peter Baker on the eve of International Men’s Health Week. It can be viewed here.
10 June 2016
INTERNATIONAL MEN’S HEALTH WEEK – NEWS RELEASE: For immediate use.
TACKLE MEN’S HEALTH PROBLEMS IN EVERY COUNTRY, SAYS GLOBAL MEN’S HEALTH ORGANISATION ON EVE OF MEN’S HEALTH WEEK (13-19 June 2016)
For more information, contact: Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men’s Health. firstname.lastname@example.org
Men’s health is worse than women’s in every part of the world. Recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows that, globally, male life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 69 years; for females, it was 74 years.
This gender gap is replicated in every WHO region. In Africa, male life expectancy is 58 years, 3.5 years fewer than female life expectancy; in the Americas, men can expect to live to 74, 6 years fewer than women; in Europe, the male figure is 73 (7 years fewer).
There are also some very marked gaps between men in different countries. Men live longest in Switzerland where their life expectancy is now 81 years, 32 years longer than for men in Sierra Leone.
Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) data follows a similar pattern: globally, male and female HLEs are 61.5 and 64.6 years respectively with the largest difference in Europe where women can expect 5 more healthy life years than men.
There are some health problems that affect men particularly. Worldwide, men are twice as likely as women to die from suicide, for example. There are some 475,000 deaths from murder each year, of which 80% are male; the number of male deaths from murder (380,000 pa) actually exceeds the number of women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth (303,000 pa). Cancer also affects significantly more men – there are 126 cancer deaths for every 100,000 men in the world, and 83 for every 100,000 females.
Over 1.1 billion people smoke worldwide and the vast majority of smokers are male; men are also more likely to drink alcohol at unhealthy levels, use illegal drugs and have a poor diet. They are more likely than women to be exposed to occupational health hazards. Many men are also unaware of some of the main symptoms of potentially serious diseases and are less likely to seek medical help at the most appropriate time, especially for mental health problems.
But men’s health problems have as yet received little national, regional or global attention from health policymakers or healthcare providers. At the start of International Men’s Health Week 2016 (13-19th June) and with the backing of 12 organisations based in four continents, Global Action on Men’s Health (GAMH) wants the World Health Organisation and other international public health bodies, as well as individual governments, to acknowledge the scale of the problems facing men and boys and to take sustained action to tackle them. This work should sit alongside continuing action to improve the health of women and girls.
Dr Anthony Brown, GAMH Chair and Secretary of the Australian Men’s Health Forum, said: “Any serious effort to improve public health must pay attention to the health needs of both sexes and take account of the differences between them. Tackling men’s health problems needs to be part of the response to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which include calls for action on tobacco, alcohol and drug use, non-communicable diseases, mental health and road traffic accidents,
“Today, at the start of International Men’s Health Week 2016[iii], GAMH is urging the WHO and other leading global public health organisations to develop policies and deliver services that take full account of men as well as women. We also want national governments to act now to tackle the problems facing men.”
GAMH specifically wants to see:
- Global health organizations and national governments addressing the health and well-being needs of men and boys in all relevant policies and through the introduction of overarching national men’s health policies.
- Men and boys being encouraged and supported to take better care of their own health as well as the health of their partners and children.
- Health practitioners taking greater account of the specific needs of men and boys in service delivery, health promotion, and clinical practice. Improving men’s access to primary care is a particular priority, especially for mental health problems.
- Other agencies and organizations, such as schools and workplaces, becoming more aware of their significant potential role in improving the health of men and boys.
- Sustained multidisciplinary research into the health of men and boy
For more information, contact: Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men’s Health. email@example.com
Global Action on Men’s Health, c/o Men’s Health Forum, 32/36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH, UK
6 June 2016
International Men’s Health Week Twitterchat – 9 June 2016
6 June 2016
International Men’s Health Week 2016
International Men’s Health Week 2016 kicks off on 13 June. More information about the Week can be found here.
20 May 2016
New article on global men’s health
A new article, Men’s Health: A global problem requiring global solutions, has been published by Trends in Urology and Men’s Health (May/June 2016). Written by GAMH Director Peter Baker, the article makes the case for action and also explains GAMH’s role.
The article contains this diagram on global life expectancy, 1970-2030:
20 May 2016
GAMH announces its new Executive and Chair
GAMH’s full members have recently elected a new Executive Committee (EC):
Australian Men’s Health Forum (Anthony Brown)
Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (Wayne Hartrick)
Men’s Health Forum (England and Wales) (Martin Tod)
Men’s Health Network (USA) (Ana Fadich)
Prostate Conditions Education Council/Men’s Health Education Council (USA) (Wendy Poage)
The EC has in turn elected a Chair and Vice Chair: respectively, Anthony Brown from the Australian Men’s Health Forum and Wendy Poage from Prostate Conditions Education Council/Men’s Health Education Council (USA).
More information about all GAMH’s current members can be found here.
15 April 2016
Two new blogs on global men’s health
The Altarum Institute in the USA has published a new blog, Men’s Health: A Global Problem Hiding in Plain Sight; it can be viewed here.
Health Systems Global has published a blog on the inter-relationship of men’s and women’s health; it can be viewed here.
5 April 2016.
GAMH urges WHO to act on men’s health
The Gender, Equity and Human Rights Unit at the World Health Organisation is preparing an integrated framework of gender, human rights, equity and social determinants. GAMH understands that men’s issues will be addressed in the framework, a very significant and much-needed development. GAMH has sent the Unit a briefing paper about its views on how men’s health issues could be addressed within the new framework.
The briefing paper is available here.
17 February 2016.
GAMH in the news
Several articles and blogs highlighting GAMH’s work and views have recently been published:
What gravestones can tell us about global men’s health in Global Health Hub.
The shocking facts behind men’s declining health in The Good Men Project.
Men: a new global health challenge in Global Health NOW.
Men’s health: a problem hiding in plain sight in Health Matters.
The need for a greater policy focus on men’s health in RSPH’s guest blog.
A blog will be published soon by RinGs (Research in Gender and Ethics) on the inter-relationship of men’s and women’s health and an article on global men’s health will be appearing in the next issue of Trends in Urology and Men’s Health.
17 February 2016.
Global Health NOW article on global men’s health
There is not a single country in which men outlive women. In fact, men can expect to live 5 years less than women across the world. In this commentary, Peter Baker, the director of Global Action on Men’s Health, details the factors behind this, including cancer, suicide, addiction and traffic crashes. But men’s health is often overlooked. Peter explains why this might be – and what action is now needed to tackle the problem.
The article in Global Health NOW is available here.
17 November 2015.
GAMH welcomes new members
GAMH has recently been joined by two new full members – the Movember Foundation and the Men’s Health Network (USA). We also have our first individual associate members – Tim Shand and Steve Robertson. They are all very welcome. More details about our new – and ‘old’ – members can be found here.
Information about how to join GAMH is available here.
19 August 2015
New Global Health and Wellbeing Survey from Movember
Movember has launched its inaugural Global Health and Wellbeing Survey. It’s at: www.globalhwsurvey.com.
The Survey is designed to gather insights and ultimately help change the way the world thinks about men’s health and wellbeing. It’s being conducted for Movember by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre and the Brain & Mind Research Institute (University of Sydney). Men and women (aged 16 years and over) across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States can participate.
Organisations are invited to promote the Survey in the relevant countries.
8 July 2015
International Journal of Men’s Health – Special Issue: Policy Responses to Men’s Health Inequalities. Call for Papers
To inform next steps in the development of health and related policies that lead to improved outcomes in the health and wellbeing of men and boys, the International Journal of Men’s Health will be publishing a special issue on “Policy responses to men’s health inequalities” in 2017. (The planned publication date is around International Men’s Health Week in June.) IJMH would be interested in analyses of existing national men’s health policies, other health policies that have explicitly sought to include men and boys, the impact of gender mainstreaming policies, the role of international and global health organisations (e.g. WHO and NGOs) in men’s and boys’ health, barriers to the development of men’s health policies, and other relevant issues.
Guest Editors for this special issue are Dr. Anthony Brown (University of Western Sydney and Chair, Global Action on Men’s Health) and Peter Baker (Director, Global Action on Men’s Health) and they particularly welcome papers that relate to Eastern Europe and the Global South. Papers that include qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods are welcomed; and papers that discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of policy interventions are encouraged. An important aspect of every manuscript selected for inclusion in the special issue will be the focus on practical solutions and relevance to policymakers and advocates for men’s and boys’ health. Commentaries and literature reviews will also be considered.
If you are interested in submitting a paper for this IJMH special issue, please submit an abstract for the proposed paper no later than 31 July 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Abstract for IJMH Special Issue” in the subject line of your email. Invitations for full-article submissions will be sent by 18 September 2015 with full manuscripts due 31 January 2016. The abstract should be no more than 250 words and a title page (that includes the title of the paper and each author’s name, institutional affiliation, and complete contact information) should precede it. The abstract, and full manuscript, must be submitted in English.
More information about IJMH, including a guide for authors, can be found here.
International Men’s Health Week 2015
International Men’s Health Week 2015 takes place from 15-21 June. For more information about what will be happening around the world, click here.
BMJ blog on men’s health – 2 March 2015
The BMJ has published a blog, Men’s Health: A problem hidden in plain sight, by Peter Baker, Director of Global Action on Men’s Health.
Peter said: ‘The poor state of men’s health must be one of the biggest health issues routinely not talked about. It is ignored or sidelined by virtually all national governments and by global public health organisations, such as the World Health Organization. It is barely addressed by policymakers, professional organisations, public health non-governmental organisations, researchers, or practitioners.’ To read more, click here.
WHO Bulletin publishes article on ‘The Men’s Health Gap’ – 1 August 2014
The WHO Bulletin has published an important perspectives article which makes a strong and compelling case for men to be included in the global health equity agenda.
In most parts of the world, says the article, ‘health outcomes among men and boys continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women, yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or health-care providers’.
The article argues that ‘including both women and men in efforts to reduce gender inequalities in health as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda would improve everyone’s health and well-being …. Given the robust evidence of a “men’s health gap” and the emerging evidence on how to close it, the next step is to move the issue higher up on the agenda of national governments and global health institutions without diminishing efforts to improve women’s health.’
The article’s authors are: Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men’s Health; Shari Dworkin, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco; Sengfah Tong, Department of Family Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur; Ian Banks, European Men’s Health Forum, Brussels; Tim Shand, Sonke Gender Justice, Cape Town; and Gavin Yamey, Evidence to Policy initiative (E2Pi), Global Health Group, University of California.
GAMH launched – 9 June 2014
Global Action on Men’s Health was publicly launched on 9 June 2014, the first day of International Men’s Health Week.
Dr Anthony Brown, GAMH Chair and Secretary of the Australian Men’s Health Forum, said: “Any serious effort to improve public health must pay attention to the health needs of both sexes and take account of the differences between them. Tackling men’s health problems needs to be part of the response to the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which affect more men than women and at a younger age.
“Today, at the start of International Men’s Health Week 2014, GAMH is urging the WHO and other leading global public health organisations to develop policies and deliver services that take full account of men as well as women. We also want national governments to act now to tackle the problems facing men.”
Specifically, GAMH has called for :
- Action by WHO, starting with an expert symposium on men’s health followed by a report analysing the problems and recommending a range of solutions.
- The inclusion of both women and men in efforts to reduce gender inequalities in health as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
- Commitments by significantly more national governments to improve the health of men and boys followed by concrete and sustained action.
GAMH has written to the Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, urging action to improve men’s health. The text of the letter to Dr Chan can be downloaded here.
The press release issued for GMAH’s launch can be downloaded here.