Convergence of critical threats to malaria control will be difficult to overcome within current funding constraints
This year’s WHO World Malaria Report makes sobering reading and highlights the persistent challenges hindering further progress towards reducing the malaria burden.
And so another COVID-19 booster campaign begins in the UK. As winter approaches, and an under-pressure health system prepares to weather the storm ahead, our friends, loved ones, colleagues, and carers who are most vulnerable to the SARS-CoV-2 virus are being offered an additional vaccine dose – fortifying their protection against this unpredictable foe.
In many parts of the world where people have consistent access to safe water and improved sanitation, typhoid fever is a thing of the past. However, Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) still poses a major public health problem in many lower- to middle- income countries, with over 9 million cases and 110,000 deaths estimated in 2019.
The pathogen Shigella is the most common cause of bacterial diarrhoeal deaths globally. It is estimated to have caused 148,000 deaths in 2019, with 63% of these deaths in children under five years old.
Most women have periods for nearly 40 years. Over this time, women should be able to make choices to enable their own positive reproductive health and wellbeing, such as if and when to have children or how to access healthcare and treatment. Unfortunately, many areas of reproductive health, including abortion, miscarriages, infertility and menstrual issues, continue to be taboo topics and many women feel unheard, even when they have sought professional help.
The first time I visited an environmental surveillance (ES) site was back in 2015. It was hot, the sampled river was black and meandering between backyards of houses (see the photo above). The river had pipes where sewage was deposited, and the area was used to dispose of refuse. Further downstream women were washing clothes and kids were splashing around. But just a month before a river sample yielded poliovirus, related to cases elsewhere in the country. I was in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. At that time, and even now, ES is supplementing clinical surveillance to support polio eradication.
What is going on with the weather in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment? The main reason is a wind pattern in the upper atmosphere – known as the jet stream - which is blocked or rather stationary. This is causing very hot, dry conditions over southern Europe, as well as southern US, north Africa and parts of Asia. In the UK it’s bringing cooler, wetter weather. At the same time, El Nino – a weather phenomenon which brings warmer sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific roughly every 3-7 years – arrived in 2023.
As clinical researchers, we are motivated by knowing that the type of work and research we do can ultimately make a positive impact on our global health. We hope to contribute to scientific knowledge that will inform policy decisions on the introduction and use of vaccines. We also hope to improve their accessibility and affordability. This is crucial for reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumonia in low- and middle-income countries, and ensuring that vulnerable populations are not left behind.
Meat and dairy-reduction policies would help meet net zero targets and improve population health in the UK
To meet the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommended to reduce current meat and dairy intake by 20% by 2030. Compared to plant-based, animal products have significant higher carbon emissions and land and water footprints. A shift towards plant-based diets, rich in fruit and vegetables, nuts and wholegrains would also reduce the risk of mortality and chronic disease morbidity, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Today, World Environment Day 2023 is all about tackling plastic pollution. This is timely not least as countries around the world emerge from a week of international negotiations as part of the development of a global, legally binding, treaty to end plastic pollution. Plastic is now so pervasive in our environment as to constitute a new era: the Plasticene.