News from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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Embracing complexity in health and social systems

Contributed by Dina Balabanova and Fiona Campbell:  Our Faculty of Public Health and Policy held its annual research day on Monday 29 June, focused on the theme of 'Health and Social Systems'. Speakers from across the Faculty addressed the issue of how to make sense of health systems and explain why seemingly well-designed policies lead to unintended consequences.  Read more

Child survival in Tanzania soars but mothers and newborns left behind

Mother with baby in Tanzania  by Jordi Matas for Save the ChildrenTanzania has achieved Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 for child survival, but there has been insufficient progress in reducing maternal and newborn deaths in the country, according to a case study published in The Lancet Global Health to mark International Day of the African Child. The country was selected as a Countdown to 2015 case study, in which researchers collected and analysed the best available data from 1990 (MDG baseline) to 2014. They assessed changes in maternal, newborn and child mortality, looked at the reasons behind these changes, and identified which groups were being left behind. Read more

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Why do rates of partner violence vary between locations?

Intimate partner violence (physical or sexual harm by a current or former partner or spouse) affects nearly one in three women worldwide within their lifetime, but this can vary hugely between countries and even neighbourhoods. New research from the School and the University of Oslo has revealed underlying gender factors, which may help to explain this diverse geographical distribution and advise future prevention measures. Read more

Image Cookies Credit D Sharon Pruitt

Government must face ‘mounting evidence’ for taxes on unhealthy food

The UK Government must face growing evidence in support of taxes on unhealthy food and drinks, according to a new report co-authored by Dr Laura Cornelsen and Angela Carriedo from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The paper, published by the Food Research Collaboration (FRC), reviews the impact of taxes overseas and concludes that the growing obesity epidemic must be tackled by making unhealthy products with low nutritional value more expensive to reduce their consumption. Read more

Charlotte Watts elected to Fellowship of Academy of Medical Sciences

Professor Charlotte Watts has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, in recognition of her excellence in medical research. Prof Charlotte Watts This year, 48 new Fellows were elected for their contribution to the advancement of medical science. Prof Watts follows Prof Eleanor Riley, who was elected into the Fellowship this time last year. Professor Sir John Tooke PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said: “The Academy of Medical Sciences champions the excellence and diversity of medical science in the UK, and this is clearly demonstrated in this year’s cohort of new Fellows. Their election is a much deserved honour, and I know they will contribute greatly to the Academy. I am delighted to welcome them all to the Fellowship, and look forward to working with them in the future.” Read more

AIDS Between Science and Politics

AIDS Between Science and Politics coverThe School’s Director, Prof Peter Piot charts the social, political and human history of the AIDS epidemic in his newly released book, AIDS Between Science and Politics, which also looks at the ongoing challenges in tackling the disease. Prof Piot, who was the founding executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), recounts his experience as a clinician, scientist, and activist tackling the disease from its onset in the early 1980s to today. The AIDS pandemic was not only disruptive to the health of millions worldwide, but also fractured international relations, global access to new technologies, and public health policies in nations across the globe. As he struggled to get ahead of the disease, Prof Piot found science does little good when it operates independently of politics and economics, and politics is worthless if it rejects scientific evidence and respect for human rights. Read more

The key to finding and supporting children with disabilities

Cover of 'Using the Key Informant Method: A Working Guide'A new tool to help identify children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries and ensure they get the support they need has been published. The free resource from researchers at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provides an evidence-based guide and materials to identify children in an affordable and reliable way using community volunteers. Read more

Domestic violence deters contraception

Condoms-300 Women who are abused by their partner or ex-partner are much less likely to use contraception, exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases and leading to more frequent unplanned pregnancies and abortions, according to a study published in PLOS ONE. Read more

Food back sorting

Greater use of food banks linked to higher unemployment, sanctions and cuts in welfare spending

The mass expansion of food banks across the UK is associated with cuts in spending on local services, welfare benefits and higher unemployment rates, a new study published in the BMJ has found. The study was carried out by researchers from Oxford University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Liverpool University. They linked data covering 375 local authorities of official government data on welfare changes, sanction rates, and economic changes to food bank statistics from the Trussell Trust, the only source of routinely collected surveillance for the past decade. They found that food banks were more likely to open in local authorities with higher unemployment rates - and that greater welfare cuts increased the likelihood of a food bank opening. Read more

Image: Anne Mills lights the holy lamp at the launch of the CCCC in India. Credit: PHFI

First of its kind Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions launched in India

A new international partnership has launched in India to tackle the growing health crisis of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental illness. The Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions (CCCC) is a partnership between four leading institutions: the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi, Emory University, and the Public Health Foundation of India. The School’s Professor Vikram Patel is one of the Centre’s Directors. Read more