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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

Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

By Dr Timothy Rawson, Clinical Research Fellow, Esmita Charani, Senior Lead Pharmacist and Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez, Academic Research Nurse all from the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Antibiotics are a powerful resource that allows us to safely perform surgery, treat cancer with chemotherapy, and recover from infections that over 100 years ago would have killed even the fittest among us.

We are seeing however, a dramatic increase in infections with bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics (termed drug-resistant infections). These are antibiotics that until recently used to be effective. These resistant bacteria make many infections more and more difficult to treat – in some cases causing patients to die because we no longer have antibiotics that are able to manage the infection.

Using the evidence-based approach to better antibiotic stewardship

By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

This week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the theme of which is to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development in our world today. Antibiotic resistance leads to high medical costs, prolonged hospital stays and increased mortality.

It’s a subject brought home to me as I was lucky enough to study my MSc in the very same historic buildings at St Mary’s Hospital where Alexander Fleming first discovered the miracle of penicillin.

Antibiotic resistance is a true global health issue

By guest blogger, Paul Kiet Tang, Senior Assistant Editor at The Lancet*

Since its discovery and widespread use, antibiotics have been marvelled as a panacea that has revolutionised modern day medicine. Routine surgical procedures, childbirth, and open wounds are no longer associated with high risks of mortality from infections. However, the overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to increased concerns of antibiotic resistance worldwide, with up to 700,000 people dying globally from antibiotic-resistant infections. In the final 2016 report of The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance from the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, this incidence was projected to increase to 10 million people per year by 2050, costing the global economy up to 100 trillion US dollars and pushing about 28.3 million people into extreme poverty.

Pharmacists – the new guardians of breast cancer care?

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

In the fight against one of the world’s most widespread diseases, new research has found that pharmacists are key in the optimisation of medical treatment for breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that occurs in women. In 2012 there were 1.7 million new diagnoses ­– which equated to 12% of all new cancer cases. Less than one per cent of breast cancer develops in males.

Despite its prevalence, death rates from this form of cancer have been consistently declining over the past 25 years due to better awareness and advancing treatment options.

The state of mental health in the UK: Where are we going wrong?

By Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations, Imperial College Business School  

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Every year on 10 October healthcare professionals, advocates, patients and other stakeholders come together to raise awareness of global mental health issues and encourage efforts in support of mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health has set this year’s theme as mental health inthe workplace.  

Advancing patient outcomes through technological innovation – from science fiction to science fact

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

At a recent conference I was lucky to listen to a guest lecture by Dr Kevin Fong. Kevin has a long standing interest in human space exploration and space medicine and has worked with NASA’s Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Office at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston. He’s travelled the world to meet medical innovators and has produced interesting documentaries for television showing the extreme scenarios in which healthcare and technology can be applied to further human survival.

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].