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global health

Seth Berkley: The new priority in Syria is preventing epidemics

17 Jan, 17 | by BMJ

Regardless of how the current ceasefire agreement in Syria came about, it has—to a large extent—brought a welcome halt to hostilities in many parts of the country. But as one humanitarian crisis is suspended, another potentially hangs in the balance—the growing threat of epidemics. With no way of knowing how long the ceasefire will last, there is an urgent need to get vaccines into Syria before this much-needed opportunity slips away and before the suffering of people in Syria is made even worse by the growing threat of deadly infectious disease.


BMJ Christmas charity appeal: Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital—going places where other charities often can’t

11 Jan, 17 | by BMJ

Sanjay Saikia, Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Programme, Shenyang, China, September 2016

I think if I wasn’t an anaesthetist, I would have liked to have been a pilot. There are a lot of similarities between the two: in terms of responsibility, and that it’s a practical, science based role. My job and my interest in aviation combine perfectly through the charity I volunteer for, Orbis, which fights avoidable blindness across the world, with its in-country programmes and unique Flying Eye Hospital. I first became involved with them because I respect their ethos and their values. I like that they focus on education and building strength, not dependency.

Blindness is an area where people can make a real difference to the needless suffering of millions of people. more…

Richard Smith: The brutality of demography

10 Jan, 17 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014Many of us elite liberals like to think of ourselves as rational creatures trying to get by in a crazy world, but we know that we are prey to all sorts of cognitive and emotional malfunctions. What we don’t perhaps recognise so well is the power that demography exerts on us, just as it does on rats in a cage. I knew much of what David Willetts described in his BBC broadcast It’s the Demography, Stupid, but the excellent broadcast demonstrated well the brutal power of demography.

The seven billion people on the plant are distributed with one billion in each of Africa, the Americas, and Europe and four million in Asia. more…

Chris​ Simms: The Global Risk Report 2016—who listened?

5 Jan, 17 | by BMJ

Chris_simsWhat has the global community learnt from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risk Report released last January? The evidence suggests it has not learnt enough to prioritize and take effective steps to mediate risk and, instead, over the past 12 months we have seemed transfixed and bewildered by an onslaught of world events. As a new year begins, we’re confronted by what many are calling “a new world order.”

The 29 interconnected global risks (divided into five categories: economic, societal, geopolitical, environmental, and technological) cited by the report are portrayed in figure 1 of the report and include (to name a few) food crises, interstate conflict, and extreme weather events. Its authors warned that these risks are becoming more potent, more frequent, more probable, and more interconnected than ever before. more…

Adesoji Ademuyiwa: Improving child survival following emergency surgery

14 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

adesoji_ademuyiwAs a paediatric surgeon in Nigeria, my experience is that child survival following emergency surgery is lower compared to children in more developed countries. This is especially the case in the neonatal period. Studies in countries with a low to middle Human Development Index (HDI) have documented several challenges associated with this issue—delays in presentation to health facilities and in surgical intervention after patients present to the hospital, sepsis, and a lack of availability of parenteral nutrition and neonatal intensive care units. However, although globally many agree that effective provision of emergency essential surgery is a key priority for the global child health agenda, in practice nothing has been done. more…

Nitika Pant Pai: HIV self-testing can help end the AIDS epidemic

9 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

nitika-pant-pai-2012Although much progress has been made in tackling HIV, in 2015 there were over 36 million people living with HIV, and over 2 million people become newly infected with HIV each year.

But the ambition to end HIV is strong. Two years ago UNAIDS announced its 90-90-90 initiative. By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90% of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression. more…

BMJ Christmas appeal: Training eye teams is vital to producing change

9 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

orbis_vietnam2The BMJ has chosen Orbis for this year’s Christmas charity appeal. Orbis has been working in Vietnam since 1996, and over the past 20 years has helped to establish five paediatric ophthalmology centres and rural paediatric eye health services; helped develop Vietnam’s first national eye bank; and funded the first wet lab in Vietnam, in Hanoi, where ophthalmologists can practise surgical procedures.

The World Health Organization recommends one paediatric ophthalmology centre per 10 million citizens so, with a population of 90 million, there is still much to be done. Training eye teams is vital to producing long term change. Orbis volunteers share their skills with ophthalmologists, anaesthetists, nurses, and biomedical engineers to help build robust services that can help more people, treat more conditions, and tackle the 80% of blindness that is avoidable or treatable.  more…

Matthew Harris: Is this Brazil’s healthcare “Brexit” moment?

6 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

matthew_harrisI spoke at the Pan-American Health Organization symposium in Brasilia on the 11 November to senior officials from the Ministry of Health. The symposium was to guide and shape the Ministry of Health’s next National Primary Care Strategy, but there was talk of a real threat to the primary care system being dismantled, slowly and insidiously. more…

Students are the key to addressing the gap between academia and action in global health

2 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

abraarThe last decade has seen an unprecedented growth in the number of students from England, the United States, and other high-income countries involved in global health and development projects in emerging economies around the world. The barriers that traditionally created significant separation between the classroom and the field in global health and development, such as transportation and the lack of easy access to information, are no longer relevant today. more…

Daniel Whitney: Mental health has still not achieved “parity of esteem”—even among some medical professionals

1 Dec, 16 | by BMJ


It’s late morning; little piles of lists and notes from assessments carried out in the past 24 hours are littered between me and the PC. The assorted paraphernalia that seems to accumulate around me after a night on-call clutters my surroundings: a dictaphone, the British National Formulary, Maudsley guidelines, and the semi-completed audit I glance at guiltily every time I find something more urgent to do.

The medical students enter. I welcome them and realise that I had agreed one could present a history they had taken. I had felt guilty earlier; they had been struggling to find patients who met their tick box quota of “cases,” more…

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