You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our site.

global health

Helen Bygrave: More people, more time, better data—what we need to “treat all” with HIV

1 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

msflogoOn World AIDS Day and with the ICASA conference ongoing, Helen Bygrave discusses the implications of the recently announced World Health Organization (WHO) “treat all” policy.

On the back of the headline studies Temprano, START, and new data from HPTN 052, the WHO recently announced the “treat all” policy: everyone diagnosed with HIV should start antiretroviral therapy (ART), regardless of their immunological status. So no more hanging around waiting for people to get sick and transmit the virus, we now crack right on and start the right medication for the right disease. Great news, we all say, as pre-ART follow-up was an undeniable disaster and the new policy may further simplify how we get treatment to those in need, especially in low coverage or unstable settings. But what are the implications of a policy that increases the number of people now eligible for ART to 37 million? more…

Chris Ham: Learning from others—devolved governance in the Australian state of Victoria

30 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

I spent a week working in Australia earlier this month and it made me reflect on similarities and differences with the NHS in England.

The funding context feels quite different, with healthcare spending in Australia having risen by 5% per year in real terms over the past decade. On the day I departed, a report in The Australian warned that this level of spending increase was unsustainable at a time of reduced economic growth and falling government revenues (the Chinese downturn being a key factor here). more…

Terence Gibson: Pulling through an Ebola outbreak

26 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Terry GibsonThe King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) aims to strengthen Sierra Leone’s health system by working with local partners to improve training, clinical services, policy, and research. Following on from Colin Brown’s (KSLP’s infectious diseases lead) blog post in November 2014, consultant physician Terence Gibson shares his experiences in Sierra Leone before, during, and after the Ebola outbreak and highlights the need for continued support in the post-Ebola response. more…

Sarah Walpole: Health through peace—mixing stories and science, and grabbing rays of hope

19 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

health through peace“We were deployed to attack civilians in their homes.” He stood in front of our 700 strong audience, bared the horrors of his experiences, and shared the pain of his realisation, all with brutal honesty. He described a standard operation carried out by British soldiers in Iraq: waking a family from their sleep with an explosion of the front of their house, holding them at gun point, separating men from women and children, bagging their heads and tying their wrists, smashing their belongings, stealing their documents, and leaving. He estimated that 95% of those on the receiving end of this procedure had no links to terrorism or militarism.  more…

Alisha Patel and Emma Pearson: Volunteering in rural South Africa

18 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Alisha-Patel_picemma_pearsonAfter two years of medical school and miserable weather, we decided it was time to take our newly found skills to a warmer climate. In summer 2015, we spent three weeks volunteering in Underberg, a rural town in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. Our time there consisted of school outreach for children from the ages of 4-16 in the local school, community work, and research. It was a great opportunity to throw ourselves into the local culture and learn more about healthcare in South Africa. more…

Tom Jefferson: Happy birthday Ombudsman

13 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Tom Jefferson with Emily O'ReillyThe institution of the European Ombudsman celebrated its first 20 years of activity with a party for staff and all those who have and still are contributing to its work. The shindig was held in the European Parliament.

In the words of the current Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, the Ombudsman’s function “was born out of the debate on the emerging European citizenship in the early 1990s, and its purpose precisely is to enable those European citizens to hold the ever more powerful EU institutions to account, as the direct effect of what they do impacts more and more on the daily lives of the people. It acts in a complementary way to the courts and to the parliament, as a check on EU institutional power.”

In the current climate, O’Reilly’s words may seem like a wish rather than reality. Except that the office’s record in the matter of access to secret clinical data is exemplary. more…

Mihail Călin: Protests on the streets of Bucharest—”We want hospitals, not cathedrals!

11 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Mihail_CălinTwelve days have passed since fireworks lit the soundproofing at the Colectiv club in Bucharest, unleashing a deadly combination of fire and toxic fumes over hundreds of concert goers. The death toll has now reached 48, mostly young people, and is likely to increase, given that around 20 others are in critical condition in hospitals. Despite direct warnings from doctors in previous days, the rapid succession of the 16 most recent deaths has shocked the nation. more…

DFID should put long term research at the heart of development

10 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

The 2015 autumn spending review launched by the chancellor George Osborne, aims to find ways to reduce the UK government budget by a further £20 billion. While the UK aid budget is protected from such cuts, heightened public awareness of fiscal tightening, and scrutiny from the likes of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), mean it has never been more important to demonstrate the value for money that development assistance represents. In this climate, it can be particularly difficult to defend investments in long-term research initiatives. Unlike spending on vaccines, for example, where the results may be immediate and obvious, the benefits of long term research can be difficult to trace or quantify. more…

The WHO financing dialogue: global health leadership needs to be paid for

9 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

MohgaWHO must re-establish it’s pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health; this will require significant changes throughout WHO with the understanding that this includes both the Secretariat and the Member States.” [1]

Since the Ebola outbreak shocked the world the functioning of WHO has been the subject of much attention. The director general has acknowledged WHO’s disastrous delay in declaring the emergency. Enquiries have examined finances, but have not adequately exposed the impact of a long-term financial squeeze on WHO; in particular they have failed to recognise the skewed nature of its budget on its ability to work optimally. more…

Rebecca Stout: Refugees and their right to access healthcare in the UK

30 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

rebecca_stoutOver the past few months it would be very difficult to have missed the news stories reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis. Civil war has now continued in the country for more than four years and the World Health Organization states that there are currently “12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with more than 7.6 million of them internally displaced.” Moreover, over 4 million Syrian people are registered outside the country as refugees.

The UK has agreed to take 20 000 of these refugees over the next five years. As doctors, it is important to educate ourselves about what to do should someone present whose legal status we are unsure about. more…

BMJ blogs homepage


Helping doctors make better decisions. Visit site

Creative Comms logo

Latest from The BMJ

Latest from The BMJ

Latest from BMJ podcasts

Latest from BMJ podcasts

Blogs linking here

Blogs linking here