Gail Davey, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at BSMS, gave a presentation at Small Batch Coffee’s Jubilee Street store in Brighton on Thursday 13 July to raise awareness and money to combat podoconiosis.
The event featured an array of Ethiopian specialities including Ethiopian food and a DJ playing Ethiopian tunes, with all proceeds going towards Preventing Podo, the initiative led by Prof Davey with the support of the Alumnus Relations Office at the University of Sussex.
Small Batch Coffee is run by University of Sussex alumni Alan Tomlins and Nick Barlow, who hosted the event to raise awareness of the notable effects of podo. The disease is caused by a reaction to the volcanic soils unique to these regions and symptoms include swelling and disfigurement of the feet and lower legs. It is most prevalent in the subsistence farming communities who spend the majority of their time working barefoot in these irritant soils. Years of exposure can result in debilitating mobility issues, affecting a person's earning ability and local stigmatisation of the disease results in individuals, and even whole families, being ostracised from their communities.
Podo is prevalent in the tropical, highland areas of Africa, central America and Asia. However, it is Ethiopia, a country that is synonymous with some of the world’s finest coffee beans, which has more recorded cases than anywhere else in the world.
Commenting on the event, Prof Davey said: “It was fantastic to see so many people come along to support the Preventing Podo initiative. It is through events such as this that we are able to raise awareness of podo and its prevalence in countries such as Ethiopia. The money raised will help us with our long-term aim of finding a way to eliminate it globally.”
Find out more about Preventing Podo here >