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Welcome to our blog

Welcome to the blog pages of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London.

This site provides frequent blog posts from staff and students within the College relating to the various global health topics we are working on within the institute and Imperial.  It aims to be an arena for debate and discussion and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

We are always looking for guest bloggers (internal and external to the College).  If you would like to write for our blog, contact IGHI’s Communications Manager, Jo Seed j.seed@imperial.ac.uk tel 0207 594 1484

Supporting midwives in The Gambia to save the lives of mothers and children

5 May 2017 marked the International Day of the Midwife. Recognising the important role that midwives play to families and mothers, the day was first established in 1992. Midwives endure rigorous training to ensure that they can provide quality care for those in need. The level of skills amongst midwives however, can vary across the world.

March 2017 saw the arrival of Dr Beverly Donaldson, her midwifery colleagues Maggie Welch and Judith Robbins and paediatrician Dr Anna Battersby from Imperial College London/Imperial NHS Trust to facilitate the third midwifery training programme at the MRC Fajara The Gambia. The aim of the training was to support local midwives in their clinical practice by teaching them the necessary skills to manage basic obstetric emergencies in order to save the lives of mothers and babies in their care.

Peer-delivered mental health interventions – a pragmatic solution to scaling-up access to mental healthcare?

By Dr Kike Olajide, Wellcome Global Health Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Psychiatry, Imperial College London.

Globally, the number of people with depression and anxiety is on the rise – up from 416 million in 1990 to 615 million in 2013. The World Health Organisation estimates that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for over 15% of years lost due to disability (YLD). In addition to disability, common mental illnesses such as depression can lead to suicide. If you are aged 15 to 29 and living in Europe, the thing most likely to kill you, is you – suicide is the leading cause of death in this age group.

Mums step up to make vaccines work at all ages – even before their babies are born!

By Dr Beth Holder and Professor Beate Kampmann Paediatrics, Centre for International Child Health, Imperial College London

The great success of vaccination during pregnancy

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.

Combining diverse expertise – Imperial College Network of Excellence in Malaria

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 

WHO/S. Hollyman

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.

Malaria in 2017 – “It is too soon to be complacent”

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

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).

SMILE – a smart vaccine cooling system for the last-mile journey in developing countries

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.

Engaging with a public engagement project: Understanding TB from the experiences of the ill

By Bianca Masuku, Eh!woza

Students on a shoot day, interviewing a local resident in the neighbourhood of Nkanini.

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.

Tuberculosis in England: How research at Imperial is supporting the national strategy

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.

ActiveMiles – an intelligent food intake and energy expenditure mobile application

By Dr Daniele Ravi, Research Associate, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Computing, Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Institute of Global Health Innovation

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.