Blog posts

Ending the stigma this World Mental Health Day

By Dilkushi Poovendran, Research Assistant in Patient Experience and Patient Safety, Centre for Health Policy

The World Health Organisation recognises the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day.  The theme set for this year is on the delivery of psychological first aid, and the need to recognize and support individuals who are in distress.

At some point our lives, most of us will know someone experiencing a mental health issue or experience one ourselves, including stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement, or drug and alcohol problems. Yet the subject of mental illness continues to be taboo, and the stigma attached to it prevents many from speaking out and getting the attention that they need.  Worse is when someone finds the courage to seek help or advice, but are actually unable to access the treatment that they require.

World First: UN Decide to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

By guest bloggers Sarah Greaves, Katherine MacInnes and Alex Stockham, IN-PART

For the first time in history, antimicrobial resistance was addressed recently by the United Nations (UN). In New York at the 71st General Assembly of the UN, all 193 member states signed up to combat this ever growing problem.

To fight what is said to be one of the biggest threats to 21st Century society, world leaders committed to a global, coordinated and multi-sector plan of action to not only increase the regulation of antimicrobial drug use but also to increase awareness of antimicrobial resistance and promote the development of alternative antimicrobial drugs.

Learning from Chinese health reforms

By Alexander Carter, Health Economist, Centre for Health Policy, IGHI

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be invited to the ‘2016 Summit on China Hospital Development’, which also provided an opportunity to visit and learn first-hand about the health reforms there. My destination was Hangzhou – considered China’s most beautiful city – which is also where the recent G20 summit was held. Indeed, it is an enchanting place that seems to draw its energy from the Western lake and the surrounding mountains that cocoon the 9 million strong population in a relatively serene, yet commercially vibrant environment – exemplified by Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, which is based there.  This backdrop emphasises the contrast between China’s Maoist origins and its modern society, which has radically changed in recent decades due to the relaxation of anti-protectionist policies and expansion of internationalism.

A letter to…my buddy Sami*, who killed himself a year ago

The letter you always wanted to write…..

Anon

The day you killed yourself was a Wednesday and when my husband called to tell me I was at work.  I felt dizzy in the sunny and overheated hallway in the hospital where I work.  I sat down and cried right there, in the hallway on a radiator.  And I didn’t care that doctors, patients and colleagues were walking past me, looking away, probably feeling bad for me, but feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to help.

It couldn’t possibly have been you, I thought as I sat there.  You were so funny, so bubbly, so warm.  Your children, your wife, a thousand people whose hearts you’ve warmed; you have left such immense wreckage in your wake.  I know a bit about that wreckage.  Mine is not the same as yours, but when my father killed himself, he left a mess behind to clean up too.

FEAST – five years on

By Professor Kathryn Maitland, Director of the IGHI Centre of African Research and Engagement

First published by the Hippocratic Post on 22/8/16.

Professor Kathryn Maitland

‘Back in 2011, my research team published the results of the largest trial of critically ill children ever undertaken in Africa (FEAST trial), a trial that examined fluid resuscitation strategies in children with severe febrile illnesses (including malaria and bacterial sepsis). Contrary to expectation, the trial showed that fluid boluses were associated with an increased mortality compared to no-bolus (control), the greatest effect was in children with the most severe forms of shock. We were delighted when the FEAST trial won the prestigious 2011 BMJ Research Paper of the Year award and expected that doctors around the world would sit up and take notice – and guidelines for management of children suffering from shock due to sepsis would change.

Ara Darzi on the importance of patient data sharing

We asked our Director, Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, to explain the importance of patient data sharing, a topic we’ll be discussing during our annual Sowerby eHealth Symposium taking place 14th September at the Royal College of Physicians.

Confirmed topics and speakers include:

Pushing the boundaries of sharing patient data in the real world

  • Mustafa Suleyman, Co-founder, Google DeepMind

How to make data sharing policy work

  • Katie Farrington, Director of Digital and Data, Department of Health
  • Dr. Brian Fisher, Director of PAERs Ltd
  • Sharmila Nebhrajani, Director of External Affairs at MRC Human Tissue Authority
  • Fran Husson, Patient Representative

Developing a citizen science platform for data sharing: Understanding ‘real life’ patient benefits in Dementia

  • Hilary Doxford, Vice-Chair of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, Dementia Research Champion

Predictive modelling, Artificial Intelligence, Population Health, Genomics and Wearables: Applications of data sharing

  • Chris Laing, Consultant Nephrologist at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Paul Elliot, Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine Imperial College London
  • Irina Bolychevsky, Open data consultant and Director of Shevski Ltd
  • Jen Hyatt, Founder, Big White Wall

 Registration begins at 8:30AM, with talks from 9AM-1PM.

International Youth Day, plenty of reasons to celebrate

By Professor Beate Kampmann, Professor of Paediatrics and Director of IGHI’s Centre for International Child Health (CICH)

August 12 is International Youth Day.

This special day was created by the United Nations in 1999 to recognise efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society.

The theme of this year has been put forward by the UN as “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”.  In my opinion this theme sets out an over-ambitious agenda, and many of our International Youth might feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities it implies.  It represents a far-reaching goal, not only for “Youth”, defined as 15-24 year olds, but for people of all ages.

The global burden of viral hepatitis

By Dr Graham Cooke, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Infectious Diseases, Imperial College London

A couple of weeks ago we published our paper on the burden of viral hepatitis. We’d hoped that the Lancet would publish it in time for World Health Assembly in May and it might get a bit of attention. That couldn’t be done, so it came out on the 6th July. The same day as Chilcot. Not a brilliant piece of planning, it has to be said, and a reminder of how much I have to learn about PR.

With colleagues at Imperial, we have been studying and writing about hepatitis for some years.

World Blood Donor Day 2016: Blood connects us all

By Professor Kathryn Maitland, Professor of Tropical Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Director of Centre of African Research and Engagement, Imperial College London. 

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.