Gail appointed President Elect for RSTMH
Gail Davey, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology has been appointed as the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s new President Elect this week. Commenting on her appointment, Gail said: "I am delighted to serve as President-Elect of the RSTMH, following in the footsteps of many great leaders and innovators in global health over the past century. I look forward to expanding the cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach that is already a hallmark of RSTMH, and to bringing academic and implementer perspectives to bear on the vital global health issues of our time."
Jaime awarded grant for HIV project
Dr Jaime Vera, Senior Lecturer in HIV Medicine, has been awarded a grant for a new project, 'The challenge of ageing with HIV in Africa: developing capability, partnerships and research in ageing and HIV in Zambia'. The number of people ageing with HIV in Sub Saharan Africa is increasing as a result of improved access to antiretroviral therapy. In high income settings ageing people living with HIV have disproportionately high incidence of major non-communicable diseases and reduced health-related quality of life. Evidence of this situation happening in Zambia is lacking. This proposal aims to establish a multidisciplinary research partnership to increase research capacity and capability in ageing and HIV in Zambia. Jaime has been awarded more than £19k by the University of Sussex's International Development Challenge Fund and Sussex Sustainability Research Programme for this project.
Dr Thandi Milton shares her experience as the first European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Exchange programme fellow at BSMS
Thandi is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing stream of researchers coming to do an HIV-related clinical exchange at BSMS and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust via the EACS Short Clinical Exchange Programme. Below you can read an interview with Thandi conducted by Esther Garibay from the Global Health and Infection department at BSMS.
Read the interview from the EACS exchange programme >
Solidarity palpable around the globe
Around the world, many academic institutions are shifting their day-to-day operations to assist their local health systems to combat COVID-19. An example of this came to the Global Health and Infection team at BSMS from CDT Africa, one of the partners of the NIHR Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) at BSMS, which is normally dedicated to the development for novel therapeutic discoveries supported by clinical trials. As a response to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health's request for support, they are now helping on the following:
Natural antiseptic: they have developed a natural-ingredients-based antiseptic and are working to scale up the production to assist with the control of the virus, given the global shortage of hand sanitiser.
Knowledge synthesis: recognising the overwhelming amount of information emerging, they have established a knowledge translation team to collate the key facts about COVID-19 for the Ethiopian Ministry of Health via daily knowledge synthesis updates.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): although this is not the specialty of CDT-Africa, because of the dire need and the large number of partners they have, they are now collaborating with STEMpower to produce PPE locally.
New global health papers
Dr Kebede Deribe, Research Fellow in Global Health and Infection, has recently published two papers. The first, published by Biomedical Central Infectious Diseases, is titled 'Mapping lymphatic filariasis in Loa loa endemic health districts naïve for ivermectin mass administration and situated in the forested zone of Cameroon'. The second, published in the Oxford Academic's International Journal for Quality in Health Care, is titled 'Health system capacity for tuberculosis care in Ethiopia: evidence from national representative survey.' Read it here >
HIV project given Frontiers award
Dr Collins Iwuji, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, has been given a Frontiers Follow-on Funding Award for a multi-partnership project that will explore optimised electronic patient records to improve clinical monitoring of HIV-positive patients. The study will be conducted in partnership with colleagues from the Africa Health Research Institute, the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine and the University of Cape Town in South Africa, as well as the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Collins, who is the project lead, said: "I am very excited about this project which aims to evaluate a quality improvement package to improve the care of HIV-positive individuals on antiretroviral therapy. We envisage that the project will result in improvement in viral load monitoring, prompt identification of virological failure and appropriate clinical management."
BSMS colleagues join meeting on NTDs
BSMS was well represented at a 50-strong Zoom meeting this week for the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) and Disease Management, Disability and Inclusion (DMDI) spring meeting. The DMDI group, one of the cross-cutting groups within the NNN, meets twice a year; once in Spring and once as part of the NNN conference in Autumn. The DMDI contains several working groups, which work and collaborate on different issues around DMDI. Dr Maya Semrau, Research Fellow in Implementation Research in Global Health and Infection at BSMS, co-convenes the Working Group on Mental Wellbeing and Stigma (together with Samhita Kumar from The Carter Center), the aim of which is to work towards reducing social exclusion and stigma, promoting mental wellbeing and improving access to appropriate mental health care for people affected by neglected tropical diseases. The group does this by sharing announcements around calls for proposals and facilitating intra-group discussions to foster collaboration among members and avoid duplication. Maya's role as co-convenor is to facilitate dialogue and information sharing among members to promote the integration of mental wellbeing and anti-stigma efforts within NTD care. The above slide was shown by Dr Neerja Chowdhary at the DMDI meeting as part of her presentation about a World Health Organization manual on mental wellbeing and NTDs that is currently being developed. Maya is one of the reviewers for this document and was acknowledged on the slide.
Dr Shahaduz Zaman, Reader in Medical Anthropology and Global Health at BSMS, shares his reflections during the lockdown period.
More about Dr Shahaduz Zaman's reflections on Lockdown >
Footwork secures funding from IZUMI Foundation
Footwork, the international podoconiosis initiative, has secured new funding from IZUMI Foundation. Footwork will receive $250,000, which will be allocated for the following programmes; Next Steps for Podoconiosis Patients in Amhara Region, Ethiopia ($150k) and Elimination of Podoconiosis in Rwanda: Phase 1, 2020-2023 ($100k). Since 2016, IZUMI Foundation has provided support for patient services, training of health workers and community awareness-raising activities in Amhara Region, one of the three most heavily affected geopolitical regions of Ethiopia, where podoconiosis affects 4% of the adult population. The service delivery model used in these IZUMI Foundation-supported projects has been endorsed by the Ministry of Health, forming the basis of a guideline for lymphoedema management. The award will also enable the first steps toward eliminating this disease in Rwanda, a country that recently acknowledged the prevalence of the disease thanks to the work of Dr Kebede Deribe, Research Fellow at BSMS. He said: "Our data provides information on where the disease is prevalent and quantifies the number of cases. Having found podoconiosis across all districts in Rwanda, we need to now focus on ensuring that those suffering from it have access to treatment and preventing the occurrence of new disease."