By Dr Michael Templeton, Reader in Public Health Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London
Wednesday, May 25th 2016 marks Africa Day, the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of the African Union. There have been so many wonderful developments in Africa in the last 53 years, but sadly the quality of life of many of the poorest people in Africa continues to be limited by the burden of a group of debilitating diseases known collectively as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which have afflicted millions of Africans since ancient times.
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.
Across large parts of sub-Saharan Africa the major rains have got underway; which typically means that in a few weeks, hospitals will witness a seasonal upsurge of admissions into the children’s wards. Most of these will be children suffering a new bout of malaria, with around ten percent of these malaria admissions having life-threatening complications such a coma (cerebral malaria), severe anaemia (requiring urgent life-saving transfusion) and rapid breathing (to try to compensate for the build up of acids in their bodies).
By final year Imperial Medical PhD student Harriet Gliddon – winner of our Student Challenges Competition 2015/16
World TB Day (24th March) commemorates the anniversary of Robert Koch’s 1882 discovery of the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB). Since then, it has been the subject of intense research, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on TB research and development every year. Despite this, we still lack the antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostic tests needed to control the disease properly, and TB therefore remains a major public health challenge, particularly in developing settings like much of sub-Saharan Africa. As of last year, TB is the leading cause of death worldwide due to an infection.
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.
By Imperial medical students Thomas Hughes and Thomas O’Connor
Today, 17th February 2016, marks the first ever World Cholangiocarcinoma Day.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a primary liver cancer, usually formed from glandular structures in the epithelial tissue (adenocarcinomatous). It occurs in the bile ducts and is classed as being either intra-hepatic (IHCC) or extra-hepatic (EHCC) depending on whether the tumour forms inside or outside of the liver.
CCA is the second most common form of primary hepatic malignancies in the world, with survival beyond a year of diagnosis being <5%. It represents 30% of primary hepatic malignancies with a mean survival rate of 3-6 months after diagnosis, due mostly to the late presentation of symptoms which massively reduces treatment success rates.
By Centre for Health Policy Intern Natasha Chainani
A few days ago, the American Cancer Society reported an incidence of 4.3 million cancer cases in China in 2015 alone along with 2.8 million deaths due to cancer.
A few years ago, during my early teens, when I was just learning the ways of the world, I was told I had lost family members to cancer. Throat cancer and pancreatic cancer to be precise.
A few decades ago, the scientific and clinical world was just discovering what cancer was and its capabilities.
And today, 4th February 2016 is World Cancer Day.
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.
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.