“Women are supposed to be under men’s superiority in everything … you cannot respond when he says anything. You only have to do what he says”. That’s what one young woman told staff at Raising Voices, a Ugandan violence prevention charity, that she used to think before she became a community activist. Sadly, throughout many parts of the world, such views are still common.
From climate change and GM foods, to saturated fats and vitamin supplements, academic debates played out through the media are nothing new. The UK is fortunate to have so many excellent health and science reporters, and we know their stories can communicate important health messages and have the power to influence the public. However, what is less clear is how much of an impact high profile health stories can have on public health.
The private sector in low- and middle-income countries is extremely diverse. It includes large scale corporate hospitals, independent sole practitioners and retail sellers of drugs. Private providers often contribute a substantial share of health services. For example, in Nigeria where there is a large retail pharmaceutical sector, more than 90% of antimalarial drugs are sold through private drug shops. They provide a significant share of care for priority health conditions such as diarrhoea and fever in children.
Blame has always been the key note of the HIV epidemic among gay men. In the 1980s the self-righteous blamed gay people, the promiscuous and sex workers. They in turn blamed the government and the churches. The old blamed the young and the young blamed the old. The natives blamed the foreigners, the British blamed the Americans and the humans blamed the monkeys. No one wanted to be seen as part of the problem.
Dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell, making them great at nosing out illegal drugs or prohibited imports. However, it’s not just crime fighting these dog detectives assist us with. They can also turn their paws to healthcare, as their noses are able to pick up on the subtle odour changes in humans when some diseases cause slight biochemical changes in our bodies.
Throughout history, gamblers have turned to science in their search for profitable betting strategies. But gambling has also had a huge impact on scientific research, shaping everything from probability to game theory, and chaos theory to artificial intelligence.
In the sugarcane fields of Nicaragua, young men work in the scorching heat for 8-12 hours a day cutting down lofty canes with a machete. It’s backbreaking work – in a typical shift they may lose more than 2kg in body weight. The men drink water or electrolyte drinks and take respite in the shade when they can, but this is often not possible. Such physically demanding work can be expected to have a toll. But increasingly worrying numbers of them are being struck down with chronic kidney disease of unknown cause, a long-term condition which will eventually take many of their lives.
Are we facing an epidemic of harmful anal sex, brought on only because of the availability of online porn? This is what you’d think from reading a recent policy note (PDF) from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in support of the government’s aim to require all pornographic websites to use age verification by default.
ResearchGate: What were your experiences publishing research during the Ebola outbreak in 1976?
Tuberculosis (TB) should be a disease of the past, sadly it is very much a disease of the present. We’ve known about it since ancient times yet it is the leading cause of death through a single infectious disease in the world today, causing 1.5 million deaths every year.