Climate change is not just a matter of melting ice caps and baking heat - it is also a major threat to our health. And it is a threat that will have far-reaching impacts for our children and for all future generations.
Globally, malaria deaths halved between 2000 and 2015. This was primarily achieved through the mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets. However, according to the most recent World Health Organization global report mosquitoes have developed resistance to the four main classes of insecticides commonly used for their control across all WHO regions with ongoing malaria transmission.
The impact of violence against women is considerable. Women often have low self-esteem and low self-confidence. They feel inferior to others in their community, including their own children, who witness them being beaten by their partner. Other women feel angry and have vented their anger on their children. But talking about violence has given women hope that things can change.
Toilets are more than a household necessity - they save lives, protect dignity and create economic opportunity. However, some half a billion people on the planet are still waiting for the toilet. World Toilet Day’s “Leave no one behind” theme emphasises the importance of expanding sanitation access to all people having to live without safely managed sanitation.
Disease outbreak forecasting, like weather or commodity market forecasting, can be a powerful tool that makes our lives easier. Knowing the magnitude and timing of an outbreak helps public health decision makers plan interventions on many levels, from vaccination campaigns to human resource allocation at hospitals.
Current treatments are able to cure hepatitis C at a relatively low cost to the NHS. This provides a great opportunity to find and treat those currently infected, curing the infection before the onset of liver failure or liver cancer. Testing is currently offered to those who are identified as being at high risk of infection. However, the way in which testing is provided needs to change in order to increase the number of people diagnosed and receiving treatment. Testing needs to be expanded to reach more people that it currently does.
Building confidence, improving healthcare – how short course training helped tackle the West Africa Ebola outbreak
With this short message on March 22, 2014, the missionary doctor in the small hospital where I worked part-time informed the medical team of eight about the outbreak of a strange and deadly disease in a village in Guinea, just across the border from Liberia.
People always ask me when I’m deploying out to Ebola outbreaks, “Aren’t you scared?” and the answer is usually, “No, not really, I’m pretty good at this”. Which I know must sound a bit strange: it’s odd to be good at a viral haemorrhagic fever. But after working for nine months on the big West African outbreak back in 2014 and 2015, and then doing my doctoral study on reproductive health during outbreaks of Ebola, it’s now very much my speciality.
It took time to realise that there was an outbreak happening, and then to work out that it was due to anthrax. We needed to urgently arrange treatment and cattle vaccinations, alert human and animal health authorities, and warn communities and advise them how to deal with cases and prevent more occurring. More recently many of us were part of the international response to the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa. This was a huge complex operation but brought the same feelings of nervousness, exhilaration, sadness and achievement.
An argument I often hear when I talk about including people with disabilities in health services goes something like this - “Yes, that would be good/nice/worthwhile, but it is too expensive/impractical/unrealistic”. Essentially, there is a widespread belief that providing good healthcare for people with disabilities is a luxury, which we will get to once services are provided for the majority. Let me try to dispel this myth.