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Welcome to our blog

Welcome to the blog pages of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London.

This site provides frequent blog posts from staff and students within the College relating to the various global health topics we are working on within the institute and Imperial.  It aims to be an arena for debate and discussion and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

We are always looking for guest bloggers (internal and external to the College).  If you would like to write for our blog, contact IGHI’s Communications and Events Assistant Nikita Rathod n.rathod@imperial.ac.uk tel 0207 594 8841.

My one WISH this Christmas – ending the stigma around mental health

It’s December, sweaters brandishing pompoms and sparkles are being obnoxiously paraded around offices, the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts oozes from street corners, and that nostalgic Coca-Cola advert is back on television. These can only mean one thing: Christmas is just around the corner.

For many of us, this is an exciting and eagerly-awaited time of year that brings happiness, closeness and reconciliation. While for others, the festive season and the stresses and strains that accompany it is a recipe for mental ill health, and can exacerbate conditions such as anxiety and depression.

So as feelings and festivities grow, we can use this time as an opportunity to reflect, consider others and think about what needs to be done to improve mental wellbeing.

Does access to electronic health records by patients improve quality and safety of care?

By Dr Ana Luisa Neves, Research Fellow at the Imperial NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Over the last decade, incentives to adopt electronic health records have spread worldwide. Electronic health records offer many advantages, including an easier access to centralised health information by healthcare providers, patients and researchers, ultimately leading to a better coordination of patient care, greater efficiency, and better health outcomes.

The drive towards digital data

Significant progress towards the development and adoption of electronic health records has now been seen in a number of countries including Australia, Estonia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Initially, care organisations had exclusive access to the data, which was primarily shared with other healthcare professionals for a person’s care.

A Marginal Call in Breast Cancer

By Mr Daniel Leff, Reader in Breast Surgery, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Faculty of Medicine  As we move towards the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, it is important to celebrate the many success of breast cancer research and treatment  – whilst breast cancer may be common, more women than ever before are surviving thanks to earlier diagnosis and an improved understanding of the biology of breast cancer leading to more personalised medicine. That said, we still face major challenges. The one that is on the forefront of my mind is the “margins problem” once called the ‘hidden epidemic of breast cancer’.

Eliminating Viral Hepatitis: ‘Missing Millions or Missing Billions’

By Professor Mark ThurszProfessor of Hepatology within the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

According to the World Health Organisation it is estimated that 250 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 70 million with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Untreated, these infections can lead to premature death from cirrhosis and liver cancer; recent statistics suggest that together HBV and HCV are responsible for more deaths than HIV.

Improving blood transfusion systems using an evidence-based approach

By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

Today mark’s World Blood Donor Day – an event to celebrate and thank volunteers the world over, who generously donate blood to support life-saving care and to raise awareness of the continued need for donations of blood and blood products to support high quality safe care for patients who need it most.

Towards safer and more equitable maternal health care

by Ana Luisa Neves, General Practitioner and Research Associate at Imperial NIHR PSTRC

Making motherhood safe is a human rights imperative. In the last 20 years, a steady decline has been observed in maternal mortality rates worldwide, but much more needs to be done: nearly 300,000 women still die every year because of pregnancy or childbirth-related complications (1). This means that a mother dies every two minutes.

From Flatbush New York to London, via Paris: Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes, a distinct form of diabetes we’re only beginning to understand

By Dr Shivani Misra, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

This Diabetes Week, it’s important to remember that there are more than just two types of diabetes and how global insights into ethnic-specific types can benefit local people with diabetes.

New asthma treatment candidate provides hope to millions

By IGHI guest blogger Chanice Henry, Pharma IQ

Researchers have uncovered a new drug candidate that could relieve millions of people who are under-served by current asthma treatments.  

Asthma is a relatively common disease that hinders the respiration of over 300 million individuals globally, leading to episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and other severe problems.

Limitations

Indeed inhalers and other medications exist to manage the disease. However, many of these manufactured treatments have critical side effects and fail to provide relief for around one-third of asthma suffers. Bronchodilator inhalers are used by the majority of asthma suffers and although effective in treating respiratory conditions there are still some gaps in understanding on how and why these inhalers work.

Launching the NHS Digital Academy

By Rachel Dunscombe, CEO, NHS Digital Academy

Standing in the Royal Society on the 16th of April waiting for the participants to arrive was both surreal and exciting. Surreal because of the rapid journey our wonderful team had taken to make the programme happen – this had become a reality so quickly. Exciting because I couldn’t wait to get started – this programme is important for the system and for me something I am hugely committed to.

The Digital Academy operational team, of which I am a part, are all keen to ensure that this programme is as grounded in digital leaders’ practice as much as possible rather than being too high end academic.