Each year, World Blood Donor Day highlights the importance of blood donations as the transfusion of blood is a life-saving intervention. In any health system, the provision of adequate supplies of safe blood for transfusion is an essential undertaking.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the blood requirement for countries to be in the region of 10 – 20 units per 1000 population per year. Yet in many sub-Saharan African countries, donations are far lower, in some countries as low as 2 units/1000 population/year.
By guest blogger and Imperial alumnus Margaux Lesaffre
Stroke is the silent killer; there are no clear symptoms until people realise they can’t talk, move or even swallow. Annually, over 5 million deaths worldwide are caused by strokes, ranking this disease in the first ten leading cause of deaths. In developed countries, the incidence of stroke is dropping, but the outcome is still severe with some stroke victims left permanently disabled.
So what’s the way forward?
University researchers have developed remarkable innovations that could deliver significantly more reliable diagnostics and treatment. This blog looks at different ways university research can tackle this insidious disease.
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.