Category: Global health

On this Africa Day, we need to talk about nutrition

By Alice Marks, Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College London

As we celebrate Africa Day 2016, it’s time to reflect on the state of nutrition in Africa and the weighty effect malnutrition has on the continent’s ability to prosper. Progress has been made over the past decades, for example through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to reduce extreme hunger and starvation. However, it is the quality of food that people consume and a lack of variety that is of increasing concern. A few weeks ago, Roger Thurow, a Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, released a new book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World.

From women’s health to women empowerment

By Guest blogger Natasha Chainani 

With it being International Womens Day this week, I thought it would be apt to recognise breakthrough innovations in women’s hygiene that have been doing the rounds of social media lately. Even more so, it would be apt to recognise that women’s health need not be pioneered by women alone by highlighting the efforts of a common man turned social entrepreneur and frugal innovator in rural India taking the feminine hygiene industry by storm.

In a country where sanitary products remain a luxury and accessible to those who can afford to buy pricier, international brands, women still resort to traditional methods – often unhygienic and at risk of disease[1].

Introducing HarvardX’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Practical Improvement Science in Healthcare: A Roadmap for Getting Results

Developed through a collaboration between HarvardX and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, ‘Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A roadmap for getting results’ is a free online course, which starts 20th January and lasts for 6 weeks.  It aims to provide learners with the valuable skills and simple, well-tested tools they need to translate promising innovations or evidence into practice.

Learners will dive into short, engaging lectures and have access to additional materials and resources. They also will have full access to the social network provided by the edX platform, which provides immediate peer-to-peer feedback and facilitates shared learning.

The course is designed so that learners will begin building and applying basic practical improvement skills right away, regardless of their role in health or health care, and regardless of previous improvement experience.

Part 4: The future of Universal Health Coverage and how we can achieve it globally

To mark Universal Health Coverage Day on 12th December, we interviewed former CEO of the NHS and Adjunct Professor at IGHI, Sir David Nicholson.

Universal health coverage (UHC) improves how health care is financed and delivered – so it is more accessible, more equitable and more effective.

In the final video of our series below, Sir David talks about how the key to obtaining and maintaining UHC across the world is to get the support required from leadership and politicians in order to make it happen.

He provides examples of countries that are already working towards UHC and addresses how IGHI are contributing towards the UHC system in order to make quality and safe healthcare a reality for all.  This includes our work for the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) forum on Universal Health Coverage, of which Sir David was chair.  The WISH report ‘Delivering Universal Health Coverage: A guide for policy makers’ focuses on how to create a robust, yet accessible framework laying out the key questions that senior policymakers should consider when attempting the implementation of UHC.

Part 1: The importance of Universal Health Coverage Day

Ensuring universal access to effective, quality and safe health care services, without the fear of financial hardship, is a basic human right.

Universal Health Coverage Day, commemorated each 12 December, is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.

The United Nations has adopted 17 sustainable development goals for eliminating poverty and building a more resilient planet. One of those goals includes providing universal health coverage.

Universal health coverage improves how health care is financed and delivered – so it is more accessible, more equitable and more effective.

Celebrating the first ever Universal Health Coverage Day: 12.12.14

Today, the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) will join 500+ organisations around the world to launch the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day. This historic coalition will mark the anniversary of a landmark UN resolution urging all countries to provide universal access to healthcare without financial hardship.

We believe that no one should fall into poverty because they get sick and need healthcare. Universal health coverage (UHC) is essential for making progress against challenges like HIV, cancer, Ebola, dementia, diabetes and mental health issues – and for creating a fairer, more resilient society.

Universal healthcare coverage is one of the seven forums at 2015’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), which takes place in Doha from 17-18th February and launched by the Qatar Foundation.

Prevention of Liver Fibrosis and Cancer in Africa

By Professor Simon Taylor-Robinson and Professor Mark Thursz

The problem

Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, with an estimated annual mortality rate of 500,000 with a survival rate of less than 5%.

Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver as a result of continuous, long-term liver damage) is the main risk factor for the development of liver cancer in developing countries, such as in West Africa, where viral hepatitis B is the major cause of cirrhosis.

Generally, late presentation of patients with liver cancer results in poor prognosis, due mainly to insufficient and lack of affordable screening tools for early tumour detection.

A tidal wave of cancer

By Jeremy Laurance

Looked at in one way, the warning from the World Health Organisation of a tidal wave of cancer sweeping the globe over the next 20 years is good news. Cancer is a disease of old age – it means more of the world’s peoples are surviving long enough to get it.

But while it is good to grow old (rather than die young) no one wants to die of cancer. Many cancers still kill people before their time. And cancer imposes an immense and growing burden on families, health systems and states. Hence the WHO’s alarm call.

The organisation estimates the worldwide burden will rise by 70 per cent from 14 million cases in 2012 to 24 million in 2035, much of it borne by poorer countries.

Moving from global heath 3.0 to global health 4.0

Richard Smith of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative and Adjunct Professor at IGHI talks about our NCD event at the Royal Society on 4th October and how we can make progress in global health as a whole.

Global health 1.0 was called tropical medicine and was primarily concerned with keeping white men alive in the tropics. Global health 2.0 was called international health and comprised clever people in rich countries doing something to help people in poor countries. It had Cold War overtones. Global health 3.0, which is still the main manifestation of global health, is about researchers from rich countries leading research programmes in poor countries.

Richard Smith: “I’m the minister of health in a poor country”

Richard Smith of UnitedHealth and Adjunct Professor at IGHI, writes for the BMJ about our upcoming NCD event at the Royal Society on 4th October.  

I’m the minister of health in a poor country. Until last year I was a urologist. I was the president’s urologist and took out his prostate. To be honest, I don’t think it needed to come out, but he insisted. You don’t resist the president. He was delighted with the result and rewarded me by making me minister of health.

It doesn’t feel like a reward. Everybody wants something from me, but I’m very low in the hierarchy.