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Expert opinion

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has a long and prestigious history of continuity and change in its mission to improve health worldwide. Changes are often in response to new challenges – as exemplified by our pivotal role in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which suddenly emerged in late 2019.
It is estimated that over 3% of the world’s population required humanitarian aid in 2020. As temperatures rise and weather patterns shift, one can only imagine the number of people and financial resources needed to provide services if we continue unabated on this current dangerous path. We lack accurate figures but hypothesize that the destruction of formal structures and social safety nets during natural disasters will likely lead to increases in violence against children.
On June 10 2011, a team of us launched the World report on disability at the United Nations in New York. The first of its kind, the report reviewed the global picture on the lives of people with disabilities and provided the best available evidence on what works to enable people with disabilities to flourish. I remember well the months of writing, preparation and checking. I also remember the films we made with women with disabilities, and the launch film I made with Professor Stephen Hawking.
Mark Twain said that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. I’m not so sure.