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News and events - 2023

BSMS > Research > Global health and Infection > GHI news and events

News and events 2023

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Dr Papreen Nahar presenting at an event in front of a microphone and sign. The photo is black and white. Photo credit Mr Ruhul Joy

March 2023

Using folktales for female wellbeing

Dr Papreen Nahar, Senior Research Fellow at BSMS, presented a seminar on ‘Women characters in Bengali folklore’ organised by Sharothi, a London-based cultural organisation. In the run-up to International Women’s Day, Papreen decided to focus her talk on how looking back at folktales can help increase the self-esteem and wellbeing of British Bangladeshi women. Papreen said: “One of the main ideas of contemporary feminist theories include how women use their ‘agency’, everyday form of ‘resistance’, ‘resilience’ or ‘negotiation’ to protect their existence. By analysing characterisation of women in Bengali folktales in the light of these theories, I tried to see how marginalised women position themselves in reference to adverse patriarchal environment.” In my talk, I referred six Bengali folk stories based on women as central characters. None of these characters were crafted focusing women as just victims, rather as agents against patriarchal oppression. I elaborated on the character of Mahua from the story, Mohua Shundori (which can be traced as back as 1650), and showed how she did not take the social oppression for granted, instead actively reacted against it. In the story, Mahua has been characterised an adopted daughter of a snack charmer, who constantly using ‘everyday’ form of women’s agency against social oppression. As the story goes, Mohua overcomes the enormous hurdle by using ‘strategies’, ‘tricks’,  love as a power, and  being not ‘fearful’, and a ‘negotiator’. Instead of taking the role of vulnerable, victim or oppressed, she has taken all these ‘acts’ to bring changes in her situation in life and can be considered as ‘power’ to fight against patriarchal suppression. The last point I made is that Bangladeshi migrant women do not need to seek food for thoughts only from the western feminist movement, the elements are available in their own culture, and one just needs to learn how to gather or extract from them. If they ask others; grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters about the old folk stories, they will be enriched as these stories are inspiring. There are various indications in Bengali folktales (folktales from other cultures as well)  of how women exercise their ‘power’ in a hostile environment. How women's 'power’ can be or should be acknowledged differently than the men."

BSMS HIV team present in Seattle

Members of the HIV research team at BSMS attended the prestigious Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, USA, from 19-23 February. CROI was established in 1993 and has facilitated the presentation of important discoveries in the field of HIV, hepatitis viruses, SARS-CoV-2, monkeypox, and other viral infections and their related conditions. Prof Jaime Vera gave an oral presentation on ‘(Neuro) inflammatory biomarkers mediate the association between HIV and depression’ and Harriet Daultrey (PhD student and soon to be a member of the HIV team) gave a poster presentation on ‘Agreement between HbA1c and interstitial glucose in people living with HIV’.

New paper: Global Health alumnus

Geeta Hitch, alumnus on the Global Health MSc at BSMS, has published a paper from her dissertation work, titled ‘Covid-19 pandemic experiences of students from BAME and White ethnic groups pursuing higher education in the UK: A qualitative comparative exploration’. The paper is co-authored with her supervisor, Shahaduz Zaman, Professor in Medical Anthropology and Global Health at BSMS.

Read it here >

New paper: mental health and asylum

Dr Mei Trueba, from the Department of Global Health and Infection, has recently published a paper looking into whether asylum seekers and refugees are provided with appropriate mental health support in the UK, using data from Brighton & Hove. The paper is published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Read it here > 

Successful Grant

Professor Jaime Vera has been awarded a KE Policy Fellowship to establish a multidisciplinary action research and policy network that will design and implement policy-influencing interventions in STIs and sexual and reproductive healthcare that are acceptable to the community. This work will strengthen the existing partnership between the BSMS Centre of Global Health Research and the University of Hawassa in Southern Ethiopia by engaging with policymakers to continue increasing capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in sexual health and HIV.

Global Health Summer School

The new global health summer school module is now open for registration. The three-week module Critical Reflections on Global Health is suitable for undergraduate students, professionals interested in global health and anyone interested in engaging with important discourses on global health inequities. It is delivered with our collaborators from Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, allowing us to engage with different concepts such as the Latin American theoretical construct of ‘determination of health’ (vs determinants of health). If you are interested please register for the course here or for more information please email Anne Gatuguta. 

Email Anne here >

5S Foundation film wins award

Agony of the Night, a film made as part of the 5S Foundation’s work, has won the film award at the annual Festival of the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases. The awarded documentary, created by independent Ethiopian filmmaker Eyerusalem Kassahun and Dereje Wonde, a PhD researcher from BSMS, shares the stories of people in north-western Ethiopia affected by scabies and the health workers treating them. The Social Sciences for Severe Stigmatising Skin Conditions (5S) Foundation was established in 2019 at BSMS as part of Global Health and Infection.

Read the full story here >

A group of people sat around a table in a grand room in parliament to discuss neglected tropical diseases

February 2023

Global Health aim to increase awareness of NTDs at Parliament

Colleagues from the Global Health and Infection Department at BSMS were part of the organising team behind a week-long exhibition at Parliament, Westminster to highlight the need for more investment to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The inauguration event took place on 30 January, World NTD Day, and was attended by parliamentarians, healthcare professionals, civil servants and members of the public. The exhibition included six images from partners across the 5S Foundation and the Global Health Research Unit on NTDs at BSMS, as well as two films from the 5S Ethiopia and 5S Rwanda team on podoconiosis and scabies respectively.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and Chair of the APPG on Malaria and NTDs, hosted the event, which included recorded statements from Dr Socé Fall, the newly appointed Director for NTDs at the World Health Organization, and Professor Getnet Tadele from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and Co-Investigator of the 5S Foundation project, run by BSMS. Dr Fall stated that NTD programmes are vehicles for greater social justice and called for greater investment in these programmes.  

Professor Tadele highlighted the importance of valuing indigenous knowledge, stating: “We are mutually interdependent - those from the global north have better technical expertise or competence and resources, while we, living and working in NTD-endemic countries, have deeper understanding of the context of the country. These must be valued equally.” You can watch Prof. Tadele’s full talk here.  

As well as a collection of scabies garments highlighting the presence of this neglected disease in the UK. The knitted items stem from a collaboration between Dr. Vikki Haffenden from the Department of Fashion Textiles at the University of Brighton and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School Public Health team who have been investigating scabies in care homes in the South East of England.

On the occasion of World NTD Day, Professor Gail Davey Head of the Global Health and Infection Department, wrote a blog for the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on the theme of “Act now. Act together. Invest in tackling neglected tropical diseases for health equity and social justice.”

Read it here >

New paper: One health

Dr Papreen Nahar, Senior Research Fellow (Medical Anthropology and Global Health), is the co-author of a new paper published in BMC Public Health last week. The ‘One health’ approach study used structured observation with 580 samples in Bangladesh, which revealed antibiotic stewardship initiatives in the community need to consider gender and urban-rural dimensions of drug shop uptake and prescription use for antibiotics in both human and animal medicine. Such initiatives could strengthen antimicrobial resistance national action plans in low- and middle-income countries.

Read it here >

Global Health researchers from BSMS meet Ugandan MPs to discuss collaboration 

Prof Gail Davey, Dr Chi Eziefula and Dr Ali Chakera travelled to the Ugandan High Commission in London to meet a delegation of MPs who were visiting the UK on a health-focused trip. HE Nirmala J Madhvani (High Commissioner) hosted the meeting. Hon Dr Batuwa Timothy Lusala (MP Jinja West, Shadow Minister of Health and Chair Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria) mentioned that Neglected Tropical Diseases have recently been added to the Forum, and Forum members are seeking to develop an expertise in this area. Prof Davey shared with the group that BSMS is currently supporting the Ugandan Ministry of Health, Makerere University and IFOTRODE in mapping podoconiosis across Uganda. The group agreed to schedule a meeting with policymakers once the mapping had been completed. Dr Eziefula shared her work on menstrual health in the region, Hon MP Rose Obigah who was at the meeting had an interest in human rights and recognised the importance of menstrual health in relation to school attendance and alleviation of poverty.  A relevant forum was identified to pursue collaboration, the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association. Dr Ali Chakera shared his interest in the diagnosis and support of people with rarer forms of diabetes that was developed when working as a clinician in in Mbarara, Uganda. The meeting was a good opportunity to strengthen the links between research and policymaking, and it was agreed that more opportunities for interaction and sharing of knowledge is vital to creating legislative responses to health issues.

A doctor treating podoconiosis in Ethiopia

January 2023

New paper: Global Pharmacy alumnus

Global Pharmacy alumnus Tim Meadows, together with his supervisor Prof Gail Davey, has published his dissertation research. Tim’s paper is a systematic review of adherence and non-adherence to multi-drug therapy for leprosy within the World Health Organization Southeast Asia region, which is one of the most affected regions. The paper was published in Leprosy Review journal and can be read below.

Read the paper here >

New staff member

Dr Sohail Jannesari joined the MSc Global Health teaching team in January. He previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at King's College London and his research interests are in migration, decolonisation, mental health, human trafficking and modern slavery.

BSMS group photo at the House of Commons