The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent years and in some countries this is still occurring. The increase applies mainly to type 2 diabetes but there are indications that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes is also rising. Diabetes of either type has major personal and societal implications, being associated with an inevitable requirement for some modification of lifestyle, living in the shadow of serious complications such as circulatory disorders and disease of the eyes and kidneys, and ultimately reduced life expectancy.
The last week has been very busy in Mzuzu, northern Malawi. Scientists there have been packing blood and urine samples collected from 506 children with pneumonia in preparation for shipment to Dublin, Ireland. These samples will travel 12,000km at -80oC with constant monitoring of their temperature and dry ice being packed around them at stops along the journey to ensure they remain frozen in the warm heat of Africa as they travel across the African and European continents.
Over the past twelve months the researchers from the gHealth Research group based in University College Dublin, Queens University Belfast & Imperial College London have been working with colleagues in Malawi to collect these samples.
By Harriet Gliddon, winner of the IGHI Student Challenges Competition 2015-16
During March 2016, I blogged for IGHI on World TB Day about my experiences of entering the Student Challenges Competition.
The intervening six months have been busier than I could have imagined, and filled with things like delivering an invited talk at the Biosensors Summit in Sweden, submitting my PhD thesis and completing an internship at the World Health Organization.
Despite the chaos, I’ve managed to make some exciting advances with the nanomaterial-based diagnostic test for TB that I presented at the Student Challenges Competition. One component of this work has focused on validating the genetic markers that are the biological targets, or biomarkers, of the test.
By Hamdi Issa, PhD Candidate, Institute of Global Health Innovation
On the 20th and 21st October 2016, the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) hosted their annual conference: ‘Evidence, Effectiveness and Impact’. This two day conference brought together academics, health care professionals, policy makers, government officials and students from all over the world, to celebrate and perhaps more importantly, learn how different health partnerships are changing the face of development.
Day one of the conference explored various elements of health partnerships, notably: the UK’s contribution to health globally and how the UK can best respond to the challenges thrown down by the Sustainable Development Goals.
On the 8th and 9th October, I had the opportunity to attend the Open Data Science Conference in London. In addition to the United Kingdom, the ODSC also occurs on both the East and West Coast of the US, as well as Tokyo. The 2-day conference had an array of speakers presenting problems and solutions they have worked on as data scientists. It was an opportunity to meet some of the leaders in the field of data science such as Gael Varoquaux. Gael is a core contributor to the popular Python machine learning resource scikit-learn and he spoke about the new and existing features of this package which help ensure rapid development in data science.
The 6th October marked a rather sad day for me and for my little family. On this day in 2015, I was admitted to hospital for a procedure called ERPC which stands for Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception and means a surgical removal of the remains of a pregnancy. It was a day that I had never thought I would ever have to experience and yet it happened to us. Just as it happens to more than one in five pregnancies in the UK every year – around a quarter of a million each year…
This second pregnancy started off wonderfully well, just as the first one.
There are five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which are the scourge of Africa, the Indian sub-continent, the Far East and South America. Onchocerciasis is one of these 5 and until the late 20th century caused millions of people to gradually lose their sight and eventually go blind. The parasite is spread by infected Simulium blackflies which when they bite a human, transfer microscopic larvae to the human host, where they develop into adult worms and females produce millions of new larvae during their lifetime. It is these larvae that are the cause of irreversible blindness in as many as 25% of the adult population in several countries in Africa.
The World Health Organisation recognises the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day. The theme set for this year is on the delivery of psychological first aid, and the need to recognize and support individuals who are in distress.
At some point our lives, most of us will know someone experiencing a mental health issue or experience one ourselves, including stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement, or drug and alcohol problems. Yet the subject of mental illness continues to be taboo, and the stigma attached to it prevents many from speaking out and getting the attention that they need.
By guest bloggers Sarah Greaves, Katherine MacInnes and Alex Stockham, IN-PART
For the first time in history, antimicrobial resistance was addressed recently by the United Nations (UN). In New York at the 71st General Assembly of the UN, all 193 member states signed up to combat this ever growing problem.
To fight what is said to be one of the biggest threats to 21st Century society, world leaders committed to a global, coordinated and multi-sector plan of action to not only increase the regulation of antimicrobial drug use but also to increase awareness of antimicrobial resistance and promote the development of alternative antimicrobial drugs.
By Alexander Carter, Health Economist, Centre for Health Policy, IGHI
Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be invited to the ‘2016 Summit on China Hospital Development’, which also provided an opportunity to visit and learn first-hand about the health reforms there. My destination was Hangzhou – considered China’s most beautiful city – which is also where the recent G20 summit was held. Indeed, it is an enchanting place that seems to draw its energy from the Western lake and the surrounding mountains that cocoon the 9 million strong population in a relatively serene, yet commercially vibrant environment – exemplified by Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, which is based there.