Expert opinion

Working in the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team Olivier le Polain is the senior epidemiologist and deputy director for operations of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST).
Prof Francesco Checchi
The man spurred his horse towards the centre of the camp: his gun dangled ominously towards women, children and men. They pretended to ignore him and be busy around their miniature cardboard-and-thatch shelters. We traded a long stare: he bore no visible trace of fear or contrition. He rode up and down the camp three times, circled round its borders and was gone.
Recent reports from the world’s leading climate science experts and global environmental organisations make pretty grim reading.  Unchecked rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, dramatic increases in global temperatures and sea levels, evermore unpredictable rainfall and precipitous decline in global biodiversity.  We humans are clearly doing something to the planet… and it’s not good.
How can Queen Cersei ensure the survival of the Seven Kingdoms? Perhaps not the opening line you might expect to read on the website of a leading global health institution…but bear with us!
A recent spate of youth-on-youth knife stabbings has prompted renewed public and policy interest in the problem of youth violence in England.
By 2050, researchers have projected that climate change may cause 600,000 deaths a year and slash world GDP by 10%. Meanwhile, a report commissioned by the UK government predicts that, by the same year, antimicrobial-resistant infections could kill 10 million people yearly and suck 100 trillion USD out of the global economy.
From my experience of working on the ground in Latin America for many years, it is clear there is a shared experience of corrupt parties, political coups and toxic politics. Venezuela’s health crisis is ultimately the sum of accumulated tragedies affecting different sectors of society, which has resulted in the collapse of its health system.
As a doctor, I work with newly diagnosed leprosy patients who go online and find images of people with severe consequences of disease. Part of my job is to reassure them that leprosy is now a 21st century curable disease, not the ancient stigmatising disease it once was.
Globally, complications around the time of birth leading to ‘birth asphyxia’ is the third leading cause of deaths in children under five years of age, and developmental disability amongst survivors is common. However, they are rarely mentioned in the media or the global health agenda.
Mrs Brown, a 50 year old woman attended her local A&E with flu-like symptoms and fever. Following some simple investigations she was discharged home with a diagnosis of viral illness. As the symptoms continued she re-presented 48 hours later and this time her blood tests showed evidence of a bacterial infection. Delays in instigating antibiotic and fluid treatment culminated in a cardiac arrest on the ward eight hours later and subsequent death from sepsis related to a perforated appendix. Could her death have been avoided?