Blog posts

TB or not TB?

By final year Imperial Medical PhD student Harriet Gliddon – winner of our Student Challenges Competition 2015/16 

TB is a major public health challenge in developing countries

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.

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].

Cholangiocarcinoma: What is it and why is it so prevalent In Thailand?

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%.[1] 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.

Search for an immortal cure: The urgent need for global cancer care

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[1].

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.

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 3: Universal Health Coverage in the UK

In the third of our video series with Sir David Nicholson, former CEO of the NHS and Adjunct Professor here at IGHI, Sir David talks about how the delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) took route in the UK.

The current UHC model has been serving us well for over 60 years.  However, there is still room for improvement and there are challenges ahead which we must face in order to sustain UHC in the UK.

To mark Universal Health Coverage Day (12.12.15), Sir David Nicholson provides a few suggestions on how we can achieve and maintain a safer, robust and resilient model for UHC, which will allow us to sustain the current model of care for generations to come.

Part 2: The economic and political case for Universal Health Coverage

By Dr. Matthew Harris, Senior Policy Fellow in Public Health, Institute of Global Health Innovation

I never really stopped to think why there was a need for a Universal Health Coverage Day.  Who could argue against the need for healthcare?  Who could argue against the common sense policy of equal access to health care, for equal need – irrespective of ability to pay?  However, despite many advances around the world in providing universal health care for whole populations, there are still many places where people suffer catastrophic financial burden as a result of relatively simple healthcare needs.

There have been many successes, but there is still a long way to go.

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.

World Toilet Day 2015: Making sanitation sustainable and safe

By Dr Michael Templeton, Reader in Public Health Engineering

Today, Thursday 19th November, is World Toilet Day. Sadly, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world still lack access to an adequate toilet. Many others rely on only basic pit latrines which eventually fill up and can become unsanitary. Many countries failed to meet their Millennium Development Goal target for access to improved sanitation, and the recently stated Sustainable Development Goals continue to emphasise improving sanitation as a key objective towards global development.

Research at Imperial College London by the group of Dr Michael Templeton in the Environmental and Water Resource Engineering section of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is investigating ways to make sanitation more sustainable and safer.