March 2017 Guest Speaker, Michael Moore

Michael Moore displays his new Vintage Reds mug.

Michael Moore, CEO of the Public Health Association (PHA), and current president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, began his talk by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people on whose land we meet, and especially Auntie Agnes Shea (a tireless worker for health).

Public health begins with clean water and sanitation. We heard about Dr John Snow and the Broad Street pump in 1854. Cholera was a scourge in unsewered London, but the medical world believed that the disease spread through the air. After one outbreak Snow mapped the cases and found that the outbreak centred on a public water pump in Soho.

Politics moves slowly and a catalyst is needed to make things happen. In London this was the 1858 “great stink”, when the growing problem of untreated sewerage and industrial waste, running straight into the Thames, became so bad that an engineer was brought in to find a solution.

The PHA has a number of policies that it focuses on, renewed every 3 years. Plain packaging for cigarettes was one: the catalyst for this was the Health minister Nicola Roxon’s father’s early death from cancer. Continue reading