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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

Discovering the medicines of tomorrow: Four lessons from failed Alzheimer’s research

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

Even though drug development for Alzheimer’s Disease has a steep failure rate, the lessons learned from failed trials are of great benefit to future research.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia – the irreversible loss of memory and other cognitive functions which eventually makes daily tasks unmanageable.

As the life expectancy of the world’s population grows, the Alzheimer’s is becoming more common. Estimates suggest that  the number of affected US patients will climb from 5.3 million to almost 14 million by 2050.

In the fight against this disease many have dedicated their careers to revolutionise how the neurodegenerative disease is diagnosed and handled.

Using the value-based approach to overcome challenges facing healthcare systems in the U.K and Rwanda

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Systems under pressure

Rwanda and the developing world face even more acute pressure on frontline healthcare services.

Health systems around the world face the twin pressures of a rising demand for services, coupled with financial pressure on resources to deliver them. For publicly-funded universal health services in developed countries such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), new investment is at an all-time low. Funding for the NHS in England has seen a real-terms rise of 4.4% over 6 years, meaning that the average annual rise was just 0.7% per year.

How health and voluntary sector services can work together collaboratively to improve health and wellbeing in later life

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

In today’s fast moving world, we need to constantly adapt to keep up. But what about those people in later life who might struggle to do so?

We live in a world where society is ageing. Falling mortality rates, particularly in the over 65-year age group coupled with low fertility rates in the younger population are leading to a society which is growing older[i].It is also true that conventional care delivery is often based around admittance to institutionalised hospital care which is both costly and can be inefficient as professionals, bound by silo working, fail to achieve either best value or best care for patients[ii].

Hepatitis: Why early screening matters

By Professor Mark Thursz, Professor of Hepatology within the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

Five viruses, hepatitis A – E, specifically infect the liver and cause acute hepatitis or chronic hepatitis.

Over 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected and are therefore at risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus are together responsible for over a million deaths per year. The majority of infections and deaths related to these viruses occur in low and middle income countries. In 2010 the United Nations World Health Assembly passed a resolution which recognised the burden of disease imposed by these viruses and initiated a public health response to viral hepatitis which included the inception of World Hepatitis Day.

World Blood Donor Day: What can you do? Give blood, give now, give often

By Stella Nikolaou, Clinical Research Fellow, The Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial College London and Shahnawaz Rasheed, Consultant Surgeon, The Royal Marsden Hospital and Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London.

Worldwide, there are more than 5 million people who die from violence and injury1. Uncontrolled bleeding causes more than 40% of trauma-related deaths1. More than 530 000 women die each year during pregnancy, childbirth or post partum and 99% of these women are in low and middle-income countries with severe bleeding being the commonest cause of death1. Safe and affordable surgery, therefore relies on access to a sufficient volume of blood which can be safely transfused2.

Giving blood in Africa to aid medical emergencies, natural disasters and accidents

By guest bloggers Sophie Uyoga and Charles Kamau, Research Scientists in Kilifi, Kenya

Africa has the highest risk of road traffic accident globally.

Most blood prescribed for transfusion in the developing world is mainly in emergency care. According to the WHO 2015 Report on Road Safety, the African Region has the highest risk of road traffic accident, one of the greatest contributors of emergencies needing blood transfusions. However, hospitals in this region are constantly facing blood stock outs, greatly contributes to the poor outcome all forms of medical emergencies as well as among admissions with severe anaemia. A clinical trial in East Africa by Kiguli et al., demonstrated how timely access reduces the risk of mortality among children with severe anaemia with a high proportion of those not transfused dying within 2.5 hours post admission.

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.