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The cramped Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are the perfect environment for the transmission of respiratory infections such as diphtheria. It’s no surprise that the disease, which can cause airway obstruction, damage the heart and sometimes cause death, has been sweeping through these camps for a few months now.
In 19th century England, goitres – or swollen thyroid glands – were prevalent in Derbyshire and the condition became known as ‘Derbyshire neck’. Goitres are disfiguring and can impede breathing; more significantly, a poorly functioning thyroid can lead to severely stunted physical and mental growth. In 1886, Dr William Webb noted that goitres were mainly found “in women belonging to the working classes”, but the local environmental causes were not understood.
As a result, investment in community-based interventions to prevent forced labour and trafficking in women has vastly increased over the past decade. Many interventions have invested in empowerment strategies under the assumption that greater knowledge of risks, regulation and rights could make women less vulnerable to exploitation. However, there is limited evidence about how effective these strategies actually are.
World AIDS Day is an important milestone each year allowing the ongoing pandemic of HIV/AIDS to be the focus of global attention. It provides an opportunity to advocate for political will, to reflect on our efforts, and to redouble our resolve to make a difference in fighting HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, today tell us that there are 26 million people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, that progress has been made in reducing the treatment gap, and that the number of new infections each year is slowing.
The elevated HIV risk of men who have sex with men (MSM) is well known – globally, they are 19 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population – a shocking statistic. However, there is another group that evidence suggests is a staggering 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than other adults - trans women.
My computer, my mug of coffee, my cotton t-shirt and my sneakers. As I write this, I can't help but think about the costs of these items. Simultaneously so little to me and so costly to others…those in the factories, plantations and bending over sewing machines.
Hospital-based care, including outpatient consultations with specialists and inpatient admissions, accounts for by far the greatest proportion of National Health Service (NHS) expenditure in England. With ever increasing healthcare costs, a longstanding goal of recent governments has been to shift more care away from hospitals and into the community.
Similar to a number of other conflict-affected countries, Afghanistan developed its basic package of health services (BPHS) in 2003 with the intention of delivering effective, targeted, equitable, and sustainable health interventions to the Afghan population. The BPHS is implemented by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Afghanistan and currently outsourced to 40 national and international NGOs, who are mandated with delivering BPHS services in 31 provinces.
I will never forget the sight of a middle-aged paramedic in charge of “patient monitoring and data management” sitting in a room surrounded by stacks of paper records with a hand-drawn keyboard on his desk. Tun Aung (not his real name) explained that he is practising for when a computer arrives, which he had been hoping for years was imminent. This would allow him to computerise patient data and track whether patients in Yangon, Myanmar, are completing their drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) medication over the lengthy two-year course of treatment.
When it comes to stigma, mental health is the biggest elephant in the room. I am no stranger to the phenomenon, having dedicated many years to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The rejection, blame, stereotyping and discrimination of individuals affected by a stigmatised health condition is often likened by those who suffer as being worse than the disease itself, but is a major hindrance to public health efforts to address the condition.