Expert opinion

Dr Ajay Aggarwal
The management of the cancer backlog following the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the UK’s major political and clinical issues. Figures for September 2022 show for example that only 61.7% of patients are receiving treatment within 62 days of a referral, compared to 82.3% in the period between April 2017 and March 2018. Short-term public health solutions are urgently required to address current delays in treatment.
Dr Tracey Smythe
Children with disabilities, especially in low-and middle-income countries, face challenges in getting a good education and having opportunities to grow. Even though the United Nations has set goals for inclusive education for all, progress has been slow and planning often doesn't take into account the unique needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Prof Rebecca Sear
In 2022, global population reached eight billion people. This milestone represents a hugely positive story of human achievement in reducing mortality rates worldwide. A couple of centuries ago, life expectancy at birth for the average global citizen would have been in the 30s or below; so low because high proportions of children died in their first few years of life. Child mortality has since plummeted, meaning far fewer families have to grieve children lost in childhood, and far more children grow up to achieve their full adult potential.
Dr Alexandra Richards
Globally, tuberculosis (TB) still causes 1.6 million deaths a year, with another 10 million people developing the disease. We know that half of those with infectious TB do not report symptoms, and that the disease exists on a spectrum that can progress and regress over time if left untreated. 
Prof Donald Bundy
Even before the war broke out in Ukraine, global food prices had reached a record high. Supply chains that had already been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic were almost pushed to breaking point by the climate-related extreme weather events of 2021. Then, when the conflict began, the price of key commodity crops, fuel, and fertiliser skyrocketed overnight.
Where did the idea of inoculation against disease come from? Before vaccination, there was the technique of inoculation by variolation, in which scabs and pus were taken from someone suffering from smallpox would be inserted into cuts in the skin of a healthy person. This could induce a mild infection that offered protection against the more virulent form of the disease.
Prof Martin McKee
Concerns about the prices of medicines have grown over recent years. British legislators will this year renegotiate the terms of the pricing and access scheme for branded medicines between the Government and the pharmaceutical industry, seeking to control growth in prices.
Now bird flu (H5N1) has been detected in mammals are we at greater risk of a human pandemic? No one can predict whether we’re at low risk or high risk of an H5N1 human pandemic at the moment. While H5N1 can infect humans who come into close contact with birds with the disease – for example poultry workers – so far no strain has emerged that sustains transmission between humans in the way that would be needed to create a pandemic.
Prof Sinead Langan
Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema) is a big problem globally, which affects about one in five children and one in ten adults. The major problems it causes relate to persisting severe itch, sleeping issues (which can last for years), and stigma around having visible rashes. These issues lead to major adverse effects on quality of life.
Dr Jackie Cook
Dr Samuel Wassmer
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released their annual report chronicling the latest statistics in the global fight against malaria. Thanks to the incredible work of governments and implementing organisations, the estimated number of malaria deaths has fallen from 625,000 in 2020 to 619,000 in 2021.