Category Archives: Guest contribution

Digital Health Platforms to Improve Health of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Authors: Sara Hanafy, Ayah Nayfeh

Increasing conflict and political fragility in Syria has forced the large-scale displacement of millions of Syrians into neighbouring countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Nearly one in every four people in Lebanon is a refugee, many of whom are women and children whose medical needs are not being met [1]. The influx of refugees from Syria over the past five years has moved Lebanon from the 69th largest refugee-hosting country to the third largest.

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Saturated Fat: Friend or Foe?

Saturated fat has long been demonized by public health experts due to its established effect on raising cholesterol and, by proxy, association with increased cardiovascular disease. However, a recent editorial by Malhotra et al. (2016) [1], claiming that reduced saturated fat has no effect on coronary heart disease, has caught the attention of the media and the public, many of whom are now wondering if they can consume all of the butter and bacon they want without worrying about the health of their hearts.

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Sexual and Reproductive Heath and Rights: A Global Obligation

Authors: Kassandra Messier, Ayah Nayfeh

Universal access to sexual and reproductive health care is at the forefront of human rights issues of the 21st century. Every year in developing countries, there are 74 million unintended pregnancies leading to approximately 36 million abortions. Of these abortions, 21 million are unsafe which makes up nearly 13% of all maternal deaths globally [1]. The global advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights are susceptible to change in 2017, as new international aid agendas are set.

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Statistics in the Service of Health

Author: Constantine DASKALAKIS

Professor Constantine Daskalakis is Associate Professor at the Division of Biostatistics, Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA), and Chair, Section on Teaching of Statistics in the Health Sciences at the American Statistical Association.


The word statistics was first used to describe a set of aggregated data (commonly demographic observations, such as births and deaths), and later came to also denote the mathematical body of science that pertains to the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data and uncertainty (Davidian & Louis, 2002; Dodge, 2006; Moses, 1986). For those interested in the historical developments in probability and statistics, there are many excellent books and reviews (Fienberg, 1992; Gigerenzer et al., 1989; Stigler, 1986). However, as John Tukey once said, “the best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone else’s backyard” (Leonhardt, 2000). Yet, there has been little systematic work on the impact of the application of statistics in various scientific disciplines.

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Education and Health: Building Indicators in International Comparison

Author: Patrice DE BROUCKER

Patrice de Broucker is Chair, OECD Network on Labour Market, Economic and Social Outcomes of Learning.


Nowadays, we often analyze the benefits of education as a sesame to access employment – the higher your level of education and better your field of study, the better your chances of getting quickly a stable, well paid and rewarding job. Surely this is important and it is a consideration that nobody can ignore when it comes to making a choice of a pathway through school and a career. But it would be inappropriate to think of education and its role in life only in such terms. Education is a source of many other benefits both for the individual and for society.

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Objectivity, Subjectivity and Statistical Evidence

Author: Michael EVANS

Professor Michael Evans is President, Statistical Society of Canada, and Professor at the Department of Statistics, University of Toronto.


Statistics has applications in many fields. The point behind all of these applications is that there are questions for which there is no obvious way that we can obtain definitive answers. The reason for this lies in variation, which can arise for many reasons, and this leads to uncertainty. The health sciences provides an excellent example of this as the variation among patients, such as physical, genetic and lifestyle characteristics, lead to different responses to a treatment for a health problem. We are then left with the questions of whether or not a treatment works and, if so, how well.

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Letter from the Royal Statistical Society

We are very pleased to receive the support of the renown Royal Statistical Society (United Kingdom) for our upcoming special issue on Statistics and Health. The Royal Statistical Society takes an active role in the discussions around open access and the availability of data, especially in the context of health systems. The organization also promotes initiatives to help develop statistical literacy and numeracy skills.

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