Pregnancy. For millions of women and their partners, discovering that they are expecting a baby is a very exciting time. However, it can also be a quite stressful time; suddenly there are lots of things to think about. There’s the fun stuff – wondering whether you are having a boy or a girl, thinking about baby names and buying first items of tiny baby clothes. Then there’s the more serious stuff- thinking about a birth plan, and suddenly having to attend several doctor and hospital appointments.
By Dr Aubrey Cunnington, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Dr Jake Baum, Reader in Parasite Cell Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London
World Malaria Day is a good time to reflect on successes in the fight against malaria and the enormous challenges that still lie ahead. Malaria is a mosquito-transmitted parasitic disease, which causes illness ranging from severe flu-like symptoms to coma and death. Those at greatest risk are small children and pregnant women. It is an ancient enemy of mankind, and has exerted a powerful influence on our evolution.
Approximately 1200 African children are estimated to die from malaria every day, accounting for the vast majority of the global deaths from this disease. Over the past decade there has been an unprecedented increase in funding for malaria-control activities and vaccine development – the two major tools in ‘Roll back Malaria’ prevention and elimination programme. This has resulted in major scaling-up in the distribution of bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticides and public-private funding for late phase multi-site trials of the most promising anti-malaria vaccine candidate developed to date (RTS,S).
By Kitty Liao and Abellona U of Ideabatic, IGHI’s 2017 Student Challenges Competition winners
Each year, there are two to three million children who die of a vaccine-preventable disease and there are 19.4 million who are unable to receive basic immunisation. One of the main reasons behind these figures is that the carrier boxes currently used to carry vaccines during the last miles of the delivery journey are incapable of sustaining the vaccines at the required temperature range for the entire duration of the journey. This is an urgent global health issue and Ideabatic is developing a solution called SMILE— a smart last-mile cooling and delivery system to address these problems.
By Bianca Masuku, Eh!woza
Eh!woza is an evolving public engagement project focused on two infectious diseases (HIV and TB) that continue to burden communities within South Africa. The initiative is based at the recently awarded Wellcome Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Africa, and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. Previously described on this blog, this piece provides insights into an anthropological investigation of the work of Eh!woza, as well as the personal and lived experiences of persons affected by TB throughout South African communities.
By Dr Luis C. Berrocal-Almanza, Research Associate- Epidemiologist and Dr Alice Halliday, Research Associate, Imperial College London
World TB Day on 24 March commemorates the announcement by Dr Robert Koch in 1882 of his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) as the cause of tuberculosis (TB), a disease that still affects approximately 10 million people and causes 1.8 million death globally each year. The Royal Society of Medicine commemorates this day with an annual TB meeting to review the most relevant advances in clinical, public health and scientific aspects of TB, organised by Professor Ajit Lalvani of the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London.
Obesity is a growing global health problem that has received increasing attention in recent years. It has been estimated that over 700 million people in the world are classified as obese. In the UK, the obese population has more than triple in the last 25 years. Obesity has been identified as an escalating global epidemic health problem and is found to be associated with many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Although there is well-publicised guidance on recommended daily calories intake, very seldom people will comply with such guideline as recording of calorie intake is time consuming and inaccurate, as methods for dietary and daily activity assessments mostly rely on questionnaires or self-reporting.
By Emma Rose McGlone, RCS-funded research fellow, PhD student and bariatric surgery registrar, department of metabolic medicine, Hammersmith Hospital. Author of ‘Is bariatric surgery in patients following renal transplantation safe and effective? A best evidence topic’
Many patients undergoing renal transplant are overweight or obese. This is not surprising given that the two most common causes of long-term renal failure in this country are type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions often associated with obesity. After transplant, many patients gain further weight: on average 8-14kg during the year after transplant. There are several reasons for this, including the immunosuppressant drugs, such as steroids, given to patients after transplant to prevent kidney rejection.
It seems strange to me, that when women have shattered the proverbial glass ceiling in innumerable fields, the statistics of women in surgery are still so low. At an astonishing 11.1%, the only heartening news is that it was once as low as 3% in 1991.
Why isn’t the field of surgery evolving with the current shift in workplace demographics? Why aren’t women choosing to pursue the seemingly impossible journey that is surgical training?
Why are so few of us women, studying medicine, not drawn to a career that inspires such awe, pride and prestige in the single word, “surgeon?” Is it because of distorted perceptions that see this plum role more suited to agentic males that are perceived to be assertive, able, task-orientated and competitive, as opposed to women that are often thought of as only nurturing, sensitive and communal?