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Australia heat wave

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 16 January 2013

Extreme heat and the body
Central Australia is currently experiencing record high temperatures. Bush fires are the most visible sign of the heat wave, but there are also risks to public health. Heat waves can be just as dangerous as cold snaps and can kill people much faster, sometimes within one or two days of the heat wave starting. Dr Graham Bickler, the lead on heat waves for the Health Protection Agency in the UK, tells Health Check exactly what hot temperatures do to the body and how we can best cope with them.

Family planning in South Sudan
Cut off from development by five decades of civil war, the world’s newest nation South Sudan is reported to have the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. Many consider the option to use contraception to be a key factor if a country is to succeed in developing and now it is being introduced to many women in South Sudan for the first time. It is hoped that this will help the new generation’s survival. Hannah McNeish reports from the capital Juba.

US gun violence
This week President Obama is laying out his plans for gun control after the shootings of 26 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December. Every single day an average of 85 people are shot dead in the U.S. and the President wants to see stronger background checks on people buying firearms and a ban on assault weapons. But any strengthening of gun control will face fierce opposition. So three doctors in the States are proposing a rather different approach that they hope would be more acceptable to the public. In the Journal of the American Medical Association they write that we should we treat gun violence as a public health issue, rather than focussing on gun ownership and criminality. Claudia talks to Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist at Harvard School of Public Health.


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  1. Image for Health Check

    Health Check

    The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.

  2. Image for Science Hour

    Science Hour

    Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service. The Science Hour is a weekly…

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