Expert opinion

Even prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the question for scientists was not ‘if’ there would be another pandemic, but when. The spread of infectious diseases among populations in history is evident even outside of the pages of epidemiology textbooks – many great 19th and 20th century writers make it quite clear that their fictional characters were besieged by the likes of polio or TB.
Those working in tobacco control have much to celebrate. Rates of tobacco use globally have fallen. But the world’s population has grown, so today there are still 1.3 billion tobacco users, most of them wanting to quit. Yet, nicotine is addictive and, despite the tobacco industry’s efforts to portray itself as being part of the solution, it continues to actively promote nicotine and tobacco in an ever increasing variety of forms. One thing is clear – the tobacco industry wants to replace its users and maximize its profit by sustaining the use of these products. 
Progress was made here in areas such as financing and emissions reductions, and the conference emphasised the broad impact of climate change with themed days for topics including youth empowerment and transportation.
The global closure of schools due to COVID-19 has helped spotlight the value of school meals across the world. In the UK, the conversation between Marcus Rashford and the Prime Minister brought recognition to the role of school food as a social safety net. Meanwhile globally, the support of President Macron of France and President Kigame of Rwanda demonstrated that this was a crisis that affected rich and poor countries alike.
The Dutch famine caused by the Nazi blockade of the Netherlands in the Second World War ended over 70 years ago, but for survivors who were conceived during the famine, the health effects persist. Famine exposure during early fetal development has been associated with higher rates of mortality, obesity, diabetes, and schizophrenia.
Climate change is ‘unequivocal’ and ‘unprecedented’. Take home messages from a recent UN report dubbed ‘a code red for humanity’.
International travel is scaling back up, and academic researchers and the general public are advised to be aware of the risks posed by infectious diseases. This can involve serious preparation, at the very least checking your vaccinations.
Malaria may not be a health concern for parents and children in the UK, but for millions of others it's a very different story. In Africa, where 90% of cases are found, families face the risk of their children getting sick or dying from the disease on a daily basis. It’s the reason scientists are working so hard to find innovative solutions and why there were so many headlines heralding official endorsement of the first malaria vaccine for this very complex disease.
Astonished and angry. Emotions not normally associated with scanning an event agenda, but those were my feelings on first reading the COP26 UK Presidency Programme. Climate change is a global health emergency and yet – once again – its impact on our species looks set to be largely ignored on the biggest stage of all.  Sessions addressing the catastrophic effect of climate change on human health are few and far between.  After this COVID pandemic year of all years, how is this possible?
Acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) is still a major public health challenge around the world. It affects more than five million people globally each year, and kills approximately 250,000. Those who do survive are often left with a long-lasting disability, such as hearing or visual loss, brain injury, seizures or limb amputation. ABM does not discriminate – it’s effects are seen around the world and in all age groups.