Across large parts of sub-Saharan Africa the major rains have got underway; which typically means that in a few weeks, hospitals will witness a seasonal upsurge of admissions into the children’s wards. Most of these will be children suffering a new bout of malaria, with around ten percent of these malaria admissions having life-threatening complications such a coma (cerebral malaria), severe anaemia (requiring urgent life-saving transfusion) and rapid breathing (to try to compensate for the build up of acids in their bodies).
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.
A hundred and eighteen years later this transmission still continues, to some extent unabated. There have been huge successes in malaria control, most notably in recent years, though a child still dies every minute from a disease which continues to ravage large swathes of Africa and Asia. Importantly these deaths are completely avoidable, as we have effective tools to treat malaria and stop people dying.
By Professor Robert Wilkinson, Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Director of the University of Cape Town Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) and Professor in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London
Today, 1st December, is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with the disease and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million people have died of HIV.
Today 36 prominent international health and development experts including representatives from WaterAid, The World Medical Association, the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Amref Health Africa, Bangladesh Medical Association, British Medical Association, Commonwealth Medical Association, Global Health Council, Indian Medical Association, International Confederation of Midwifes, Nigerian Medical Association, and the Royal College of General Practitioners amongst many others, have called for an end to a crisis that has claimed the lives of over 10 million children under the age of five since the year 2000.
In an Open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, the signatories, representing over 620,000 health professionals globally, highlight the desperate waste of life caused by people not having access to a basic toilet.