To combat the surge in air pollution choking the city, London will require that drivers of older, dirtier cars pay an additional charge to drive in central London. The Toxicity charge, or “T-Charge,” will be rolled out in the fall of 2017 and will require that owners pay an extra £10 fee for entering the congestion charge zone of the city. The city estimates that up to 10,000 vehicles every weekday will be liable for the new levy and has provided a free online checker to let drivers know whether they will be affected.
Since 2015, Jersey City, New Jersey, in partnership with Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health has trained a team of citizen volunteers to participate in what is believed to be the country’s first community-based response program. Based on an Israeli model, the citizen-responders are there to supplement the city’s professional ambulance corps, arriving at scenes if they are nearby to treat and stabilize people before the EMTs arrive. The citizen-responders are equipped with defibrillators, oxygen, certain first aid medications, and naloxone, an antidote for opioid overdose. The program has trained over 150 people since its launch who have been sent out on thousands of calls.
The city of Manchester will open the UK’s first retirement community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Prejudice and discrimination can be a problem facing older LGBT persons, and the project aims to provide assisted accommodation for this population where they can be open about their identity. The development will be open to people over 55 and will have specially trained staff on site. While over half the accommodation will be reserved for this population, other residents will also be welcome. It is estimated that there are more than 7,000 LGBT people over the age of 50 in Manchester, and the number is expected to increase.
For the past 10 years, the Finland government has administered Mental Health Hub, an online therapy program that has provided information, support, and treatment on mental health and psychological wellbeing to the country’s citizens. Particularly geared to those rural areas of the country with inadequate access to mental health resources, the portal offers therapy with qualified mental health professionals for those with mild to moderate mood disorders, computer-assisted therapy, self-help tools for those who do not need professional help, guidance on where to go if further help is needed, various tools for measuring mental health, and education and training for professionals. The Hub has become popular, with the equivalent of 10 percent of the Finnish population as measured in unique users logging on in 2016. Other countries are taking a look at the success of the Hub.
In the Iwate Prefecture of Tokyo, hospitals, doctors, and midwives are partnering with a taxi company to provide services for prenatal care and birth-related trips for women en route to medical facilities. While Japan has hosted maternity services taxis since 2012, the taxi drivers under this arrangement are trained by midwives in different ways to make the ride more comfortable for pregnant passengers and cars will be equipped with packs containing items like waterproof sheets and towels, in the event labor commences during the trip. City officials note that costs are saved from freeing up ambulances while making services to citizens more accessible and helping to ensure that women arrive at the hospital safely.