Alumni Innovators: Victor Ugo

Victor Ugo is Senior Campaign Officer at United for Global Mental Health and Founder of the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI).  He studied MSc Global Mental Health at LSHTM. We asked him about his experience of the School and how he uses innovation in his work.

Why did you decide to study at LSHTM?

For its international reputation, but more significantly, it is the leading institution in global mental health and one of few places that offer a Master’s in this field.

How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?

Prior to this MSc, I had the lived experience of a mental health issue, but this degree added a learned experience which has helped to shape the direction of my career and my goals.

Apart from the expertise, I am able to speak much more confidently in professional settings. I am equipped with the knowledge of understanding my condition as well as understanding the evidence surrounding the work I’ve done, that I’m doing and that I intend to do. I now have knowledge of mental health research which can help me in the design and implementation of new innovations.

And what does innovation mean to you?

For me, innovation means taking a problem that you are extremely passionate about, and one in your most immediate environment, learning what you can about it and doing everything you can to make it better. It’s a simple concept that, if applied by everyone, would rid the world of its many issues.

How can innovation solve challenges in global health?

Innovation in global health means applying contextually-relevant solutions to existing problems. It is a simple case of addressing challenges or problems where you find them, to ensure the solution is effective, appropriate and sustainable.

How do you use innovation in your work?

When I started my organisation, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI), I acknowledged how under-resourced the mental health space was in Nigeria, but I also understood that I had to do things differently if we were to make sustainable impact. So, I decided to make use of a model that allowed people to take ownership of the growth of the organisation and one that didn’t require a lot of financial resources.

It was also important to identify our target group and one that assured us of a faster and more impactful route towards sustained growth. I did some initial research to understand how influencers in Nigeria worked and learnt how they would all get on the same WhatsApp or Facebook group and on these groups, everyone is mandated to re-post a message or hashtag until it starts trending, regardless of who was paid to promote it. So, I used this influencer-based model to create an advocacy program that had people volunteering their social media pages, where they volunteered to share and retweet any post from our social media pages to reach a wider audience.

Over time, this became an organic process where people started to share our posts naturally. This helped us grow our presence on social media and kickstart our campaigns. Of course, the posts had to be quality but simple posts that could maintain the attention of readers.

Another example, of using innovation in my work is when we coordinated a one-month virtual summit in October 2018 for World Mental Health Day. This virtual summit was the biggest in Africa and had a reach on Twitter of more than 4.2 million, with 50 topics discussed every day for 5 days and more than 6,000 people in conversation over those five days. The budget for this, including promotion and flyers was 350 US Dollars, but the impact was resonating, with our volunteer base tripling.

What advice do you have for current students?

My advice for students is to work on developing transferable skills. I would encourage them to make efforts to build their network, to take risks and to expand their skillets. While academic skills are of utmost importance, it is also important to remember that these other skills will serve them well as they progress in their career.

CEHC staff meet HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace

On Tuesday 29th October 2019 members of the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) and eye health professionals from 28 countries were invited to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Her Majesty The Queen. This special event was a celebration to mark the achievements of ICEH project Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium and its funder, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, as well as the Trust’s other eye health programmes. The vice-patron of the Trust, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, gave a speech at the reception.

The Consortium was established in 2014 and has made a substantial contribution to the development of the eye health workforce and strengthening eye health systems. Commonwealth citizens have already benefited from improved services, brought about by training people, increasing and sharing knowledge, and developing new tools and technology. While the project’s focus is on Commonwealth low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the impact goes wider.

The Consortium has delivered training to people, shared knowledge and/or provided tools to eye health professionals in every one of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

Professor Hannah Faal (Nigeria, left) and Marcia Zondervan (ICEH, second left) chat to HM The Queen

ICEH PhD fellow Dr Hillary Rono (second right, Kenya) and Dr Sucheta Kulkarni (right, ICEH Alumna, India) meeting HM The Queen

Mapa Prabhath Piyasena (ICEH PhD fellow, Sri Lanka – wearing spectacles) explains his PhD project to HM The Queen

Professor Nick Astbury (ICEH) and Professor Venkatesh Prajna (Aravind Eye Hospital, India) meet HM The Queen

Dr Stephen Gichuhi (post-doctoral research fellow, Kenya), Dr Ibrahim Matende (COECSA), Prof Matthew Burton, Abba Hydara (The Gambia National Eye Health Survey), Prof Dame Anne Mills

Sarah O’Regan, Cova Bascaran, Daksha Patel, Nick Astbury, Marcia Zondervan (ICEH)


Worldwide there are 253 million visually impaired people, of whom 36 million are blind. Of these, 82 million and 14 million are Commonwealth Citizens, respectively (2015 data). Yet, 75% of this blindness is either treatable or preventable. Loss of sight can have profound effects on health and wellbeing, increase poverty, impede learning, shorten life span and reduce quality of life. It contributes to national economic loss through lost productivity.

For much of the world, good quality eye care is a scarce resource. Often those in greatest need have the most limited access. The large majority (89%) of people needing sight-restoring services live in low-income or middle-income countries (LMIC). Eye health services are frequently underdeveloped, left out of mainstream health systems and financing, with major gaps in human resources and capacity that urgently need to be closed. Yet against this, the economic case for investing in eye health is very compelling. Many eye health interventions are highly cost-effective. Improving eye health will contribute to achieving Universal Health Coverage and several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To respond to these challenges, in 2014 The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust provided a £13.5 million, five-year grant to establish the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium. This is an international network of leading training institutions and four Colleges of Ophthalmology across the Commonwealth.

Our vision is a world in which no one is needlessly vision impaired, achieved by improved access to high quality services through strengthened health systems, so that no one is left behind.

We work together in partnership to deliver a coherent programme of (1) human capacity development for health systems strengthening; (2) knowledge generation and sharing; and (3) development and deployment of new affordable and accessible technology for eye care:

People – Knowledge – Tools

Together, we have made a substantial contribution to the development of the eye health workforce and strengthening of eye health systems. Citizens from at least 42 Commonwealth countries have already benefited from improved services, brought about by training people, increasing and sharing knowledge, and developing new tools and technology. While our focus is on low and middle-Income Commonwealth countries, our impact goes wider.


 Building Capacity in Eye Health Leadership and Research: 

  • Open Education for Eye Health: More than 23,000 people from 188 countries and territories have taken our free on-line courses. More than 7,000 are from Commonwealth countries, and two-thirds are from LMICs. This makes high quality, topic-focused eye health training widely available.
  • Public Health Training: We have trained 38 people from 15 countries to Masters level in public health for eye care at LSHTM and the University of Cape Town (UCT). These courses have a strong track record of producing the leaders in eye health in many countries.
  • Research and Research Capacity Development: Consortium support is leading to approximately a doubling of the number of research active clinicians trained to PhD level from the African region. They are conducting contextually relevant, public health-oriented eye health research, which is informing policy and practice.

Developing New Clinical Services: 

  • Sub-Specialty Clinical Training: We have provided sub-specialty clinical training for more than 140 ophthalmologists and related eye health workers, mostly from Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries spending a year in South Asia. These specialists are delivering much-needed but previously unavailable treatment for people with more complex eye problems. We estimate that this will approximately double the number of ophthalmologists with formal sub-specialty training in African Commonwealth countries.
  • Regional Sub-Specialty Training in Africa: This returning cadre is providing a critical mass of trained personnel to develop sub-specialty training within the African region, which has previously not been available in most of SSA. The Consortium is supporting the two main regional colleges covering west, east, central and southern Africa, the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern Central and Southern Africa (COECSA), to develop training programmes within their regions.
  • Eye Health Development Networks: coordinated by the VISION 2020 LINKS programme, Networks are an effective new approach in this sector to catalyse service development and delivery. They are supported by North-South and South-South partnerships.
    • Diabetic Retinopathy Network: is supporting 16 Commonwealth countries to develop national or regional frameworks and programmes for the detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease, integrated into the wider health system.
    • Retinoblastoma Network: brings together partners from four countries to improve treatment and outcomes for this childhood eye cancer. The network has led to a global collaboration to collect and share data on retinoblastoma from 153 countries.
    • Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP): Brings together partners through south-south collaboration in seven Commonwealth countries (four African and three Asian), and mentor institutions mostly in India. Two African countries have started ROP screening, others partners are scaling up services to other neonatal units, or are focusing on improving neonatal care to reduce the incidence of severe ROP.

 Increasing Access through Technology 

  • Peek Vision: The Consortium has supported the development and “spinout” of Peek Vision, utilising smartphone-based tools, integrated systems and incentive-based financing to identify and organise the treatment of populations with visual impairment.
  • Peek School Eye Health System: Demonstrated to more than double the uptake of services by visually impaired school children in a large randomised controlled trial. This is now being taken to a national level programme in a partnership between the Government of Botswana and Peek Vision. Botswana will become the first country worldwide to have a nationwide programme.
  • Peek Acuity App: This app has been downloaded and used by about 50,000 people in 160 countries. This simple-to-use smartphone-based test allows the user to reliably test eye sight. In 2017 it was nominated the “Best Social Impact Application” by Google.
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31 October-13 November

Peter Piot writes in Scientific American about how human innovation shapes global health, highlighting the vital role of frontline workers. Peter said: “Innovation is so much more than the discovery or launching of new therapies, vaccines and/or apps. It is first and foremost about finding better ways of reaching people.”

Peter is also a guest on the Global Dispatches podcast, discussing epidemics and what can be done to avert and contain them. He also records a podcast with Nature on the hurdles that must be overcome to ensure we’re not turning the clock back on immunisation, saying ‘20 million children aren’t covered by basic vaccines. We must reach them’.

Peter speaks to BBC Global Health about the approval of the Merck Ebola vaccine and the introduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the DRC through a large-clinical trial, sponsored by LSHTM. Peter said: “We finally have something to offer to people but now we must make sure that they have access to them.” The package runs in the evening and overnight on BBC World TV.

Director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team Daniel Bausch and co-pi of the trial tells BBC Online: “That the J&J vaccine may provide longer-term immunity, and may be associated with fewer side-effects than a live virus vaccine.”

David Leon’s research on falling life expectancy gains is covered in the i, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and elsewhere. Speaking to the i, David said: “These trends represent a real reversal of the situation in England and Wales in the 1970s and 1980s… Further work is urgently required to understand what the reasons are for this reversal since 2000.”

Beate Kampmann speaks to NPR about issues facing vaccination programmes in middle-income countries. Beate said: “The middle-income countries are in a tricky situation because they don’t qualify for support, yet they don’t necessarily have the financial resources and stability to purchase the vaccines.”

Rachel Scott speaks to the BBC World Service about how women’s networks have helped other women access healthcare in The History Hour’s exploration of the ‘Jane’ abortion service in 1960s Chicago. Rachel said: “Especially when abortion is very restricted, the ways that people find out about it are through word of mouth.”

James Logan talks to the Telegraph about cases of Zika virus in France. James said: “It’s one thing for travellers to come back to a country with a disease, that happens all the time. It’s another thing completely when a disease is transmitted locally… In many ways this is a bit of a wake up call for the continent.”

Jimmy Whitworth provides expert comment in the Telegraph about the worldwide rise of tick-borne diseases, following the discovery of the first case of tick-borne encephalitis in the UK. Jimmy said: “Perhaps one of the key factors here is that milder winters allow ticks to move into more northerly ranges.”

Jimmy also speaks with NPR News about the likelihood of further Zika transmission in 2019, saying: “It’s getting cold, and the mosquitoes are going to be dying off, so I’d be surprised if there was any more transmission that occurred this year.” Jimmy’s comments were widely syndicated by local US radio stations.

Julian Eaton speaks to the Telegraph following a Human Rights Watch report revealing widespread mistreatment of mental health patients in Nigeria. Julian said: “Mental health is a very, very low priority. We need to have a radical shift of the entire budget [from] being spent on centralised services to broader community care.”

Martin McKee provides expert comment on a study on the safety of vaping on the BBC News at Nine, the Evening Standard and the Metro, with his comments also appearing widely in local news outlets. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Martin called the study “an excellent piece of detective work… This should be a wake-up call for those who, despite growing evidence to the contrary, continue to promote these products.”

Heidi Larson speaks to the Mirror about vaccine hesitancy in a story on the falling rate of MMR vaccination in London. Heidi said: “The reasons [for hesitancy] are complex. Some have religious objections. Others want freedom from government control, big business or big pharma.” But she stresses that serious reactions to vaccination are very uncommon: “It is far safer to vaccinate than not.”

Sally Bloomfield discusses the health risks of flying in Which?, following a survey of airline cleanliness. Sally said: “You’re in an environment where you’re more likely to catch something – in a closed space, surrounded by hundreds of people.”


On social media:

Our social media highlight comes from Instagram, where we proved that even Halloween pumpkins could be LSHTM-themed:



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SUPPLEMENT LAUNCH! Advancing health systems for all in an SDG era

Health Systems Global and Health Policy and Planning are pleased to announce the publication of a special supplement – Advancing health systems for all in an SDG era. How did this supplement arise? The Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2018), hosted by Health Systems Global (HSG) and organized in partnership with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) and a consortium of UK organizations led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine took place between 8-12 October 2018 with the theme of Advancing health systems for all in an SDG era.

There were a total of 125 parallel sessions, 82 satellite and skills-building sessions, and 451 poster presentations. As was the case after the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, Health Systems Global and Health Policy and Planning have collaborated to distil the work of HSR2018 into a supplement to give a flavour of the rich debates and discussions which took place there. A year on from the HSR2018 Symposium, we are pleased to announce the launch of this special issue, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Global Ideas Fund at CAF America. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of CAF America or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This supplement consists of:

  • 12 papers presenting original research and one commentary, accompanied by one editorial
  • Papers presenting global level, cross-country analysis, as well as studies from the national and local levels
  • Studies relating service-specific concerns – such as antibiotic use and medicine adherence for HIV and hypertension, but also cross-cutting system-level issues such as quality of care and health worker performance
  • Papers applying a variety of methods including quantitative analysis of large datasets, systematic literature review and qualitative methods such as focus groups, semi-structured interviews and document review.

Edited by co-editor of Health Policy and Planning, Dr Virginia Wiseman, the collection of papers in this supplement demonstrate the tremendous diversity of topics, disciplinary perspectives and research approaches that make up the field of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR). The papers provide useful entry points to the broader discussions and debates which are shaping the field, and signal some of the directions in which the field of HPSR is likely to evolve in the future.


  • Editorial: 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research
  • Commentary: Advancing a Culture of Health
  • Original manuscript: Methodological gaps and opportunities for studying multisectoral collaboration for health in low and middle income countries
  • Original manuscript: Global aid for nutrition specific and sensitive interventions and proportion of stunted children across low and middle-income countries: does aid matter?
  • Original manuscript: Is ‘Health for All’ synonymous with ‘antibiotics for all’: changes in antibiotic prescribing in a Performance-based Financing pilot in Zanzibar
  • Original manuscript: “Blood pressure can kill you tomorrow, but HIV gives you time”: Illness perceptions and treatment experiences among Malawian individuals living with HIV and hypertension
  • Original manuscript: Diabetes epidemics: inequalities increase the burden on the healthcare system
  • Original manuscript: Impact of integrated health care: Taiwan’s Family Doctor Plan
  • Original manuscript: Assessing health system performance: Effective coverage at the Mexican Institute of Social Security
  • Original manuscript: Going operational with health systems governance: supervision and incentives to health workers for increased quality of care in Tanzania
  • Original manuscript: Are people-centred mental health services acceptable and feasible in Timor-Leste? A qualitative study
  • Original manuscript: Use of evidence and negotiation in the review of national Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List: experience from Ghana
  • Original manuscript: Can institutional entrepreneurship strengthen clinical governance and quality improvement: A case study of a District-based Clinical Specialist Team in South Africa
  • Original manuscript: Health Systems for All in the SDG Era: Key reflections based on the Liverpool Statement for the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Image credit: Toby Phillips Photography

The Community Eye Health Journal is now available via App

The Community Eye Health Journal is now available via a Mobile App!

Screenshot of CEHJ app/ Story: The Community Eye Health Journal is now available via App

Free access to articles in community eye health: ophthalmology, optometry, eye nursing and eye care delivery

The Community Eye Health Journal (CEHJ) is now available as an app for smartphones and tablets. The CEHJ app can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store (iOS devices) and Google Play. The app provides free online and offline access to peer-reviewed articles in community eye health: ophthalmology, optometry, eye nursing, and eye care delivery. Users with intermittent internet access or expensive mobile data charges will really benefit from the app’s features, such as offline access, bookmarking and a personal library where users can store and organise content.

 The Community Eye Health Journal has been sent free of charge to eye health workers with eye care responsibilities around the world for the last 30 years. It is published by the International Centre for Eye Health, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and brings information, education and insight to thousands of eye care and public health professionals in 126 countries. Eye health workers in low- and middle-income countries often have inadequate access to continuing professional development, sometimes relying on course notes which can quickly become outdated. The journal has been a key source of the latest thinking and ideas in eye health for such professionals, and the CEHJ app makes this content more accessible and available.

“With the CEHJ app, we can provide relevant and up-to-date information on eye health to eye care workers in places where good internet access is still a challenge,” said Allen Foster, Co-director, International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“We’ve listened to our users and have made an app that is easy to navigate but also full of helpful features,” said Elmien Wolvaardt, the editor of the Community Eye Health Journal. “While online, users can browse the entire app which includes all of CEHJ’s issues since 2009. Any available issues and articles can be bookmarked and downloaded for offline reading. This means that once an article is downloaded, users can read it whether they are connected or not.”

In the Library section, users can organise the content they have downloaded into their own set of bespoke folders, e.g. for outreach, patient education or research. To access this unique feature, users create a free Library account which ensures that their content will always be accessible, even if they change devices or use multiple devices. All user data is held in accordance with GDPR.

Users can also search the journal, share articles with others via email or social media and adjust the font size and background colour to improve accessibility for those with visual impairment.

We welcome feedback and suggestions for future development. Email:


To download the app, search for ‘CEHJ’ on Google Play  (Android devices) or on the App Store (iOS devices). The app is free to download and there are no in-app purchases. The app is also available on any tablet or smartphone device at

 The cost of the app development was supported by Tijssen Foundation and the Peek Foundation. The Community Eye Health Journal is supported by the Conrad Hilton Foundation, Sightsavers, CBM, Orbis, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Tijssen Foundation, Seva Foundation, BHVI and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control.


About the Community Eye Health Journal

The Community Eye Health Journal (international edition) is a quarterly publication sent free to over 22,000 health care providers worldwide, mainly in low and middle-income countries. The aim of the journal is to ensure that up‐to‐date and relevant information reaches eye care workers of all levels in the countries where the burden of eye disease and blindness is greatest. Journal readers often have little access to other sources of information. Our peer reviewed articles are written by experts in the field and combine clinical issues with public health approaches, such as research, planning, management, training, technology, sustainability and advocacy.

About ICEH

The International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) is a research and education group based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). We work to improve eye health and eliminate avoidable visual impairment and blindness, with a focus on low-income populations.

About the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health.

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LSHTM and the First World War

Today is Armistice Day, a day where we remember those who fought and died in the First World War. Many of the staff and students of the School joined the war effort and to commemorate their efforts we have created this post to show what staff from the School did during the conflict. Below we have selected four members of staff and outlined their actions during the First World War:

Sir Andrew Balfour

Sir Andrew Balfour

Born and educated in Edinburgh, Balfour was heavily influenced by Patrick Manson in his choice of career, making the study of tropical medicine his life’s work. At the outbreak of WWI he was in uniform in France and later as Lieutenant Colonel, a member of the Medical Advisory Committee on various war fronts. This Committee, known as ‘Balfour’s Travelling Circus’, visited Mudros, Salonica Egypt and Iraq – where in the valley of the Tigris he worked for a year. He was then appointed Inspector General to East African Command and spent many arduous months visiting field hospitals and field ambulances in Tanganyika Territory and with the forces chasing Von Lettow-Vorbeck. He eventually reached Egypt in the early days of 1918. Here he immediately undertook the reorganisation of the health services of that country. His services there were very great and he did an enormous amount of good work in coordinating scientific effort. He constituted himself ‘Enemy No 1’ of the house-fly in Egypt and devised the new traps and baits for the destruction of these insects using the propaganda slogan ‘The filthy feet of faecal-feeding flies’. His last services of the Great War were in Palestine, which he visited to report upon antimalarial measures on that front. After the war, he continued his work on sanitation and in 1923 became the Director of the LSHTM. He died tragically in 1931 after helping to shape and perfect the school in its formative years.

Professor Robert Thomson Leiper


Professor Robert Leiper

Acknowledged as having put helminthology on the map, Leiper was connected with the School for 64 years until his death in 1969. He was greatly affected at the age of 14 by the death of his father from tuberculosis and credited this to his interest in medical science. In 1905, Patrick Manson recruited him as helminthologist at the School. He travelled extensively during his studies of helminths and in 1915 as Lieutenant Colonel, RAMC, he was in Egypt with J. Gordon Thomson as leader of the Bilharzia Mission. There his investigations were crowned with success and he was able to devise methods for the prevention of schistosomiasis in troops in Egypt that were notably successful. In 1917, he was engaged by Board of Agriculture to investigate the mode of spread and control of “gapes” in poultry and of “eel-worm” in roots and crops – a matter of significant economic importance. After the war he continued to teach and even helped to shape the policies and direction of the School.

Dr Francis W O’Connor

Dr O'Connor

Dr O’Connor

Born in Cork, O’Connor studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and took the course at the School after meeting eminent helminthologists during a tour of Formosa. O’Connor became a demonstrator and assistant entomologist at the School in 1911 until 1914. In 1915, he went to Alexandria as Captain, R.A.M.C., where he was associated with work describing several new species of intestinal protozoa. Unfortunately, during this time he accidentally infected himself. In 1917 he accompanied Sir Ronald Ross to Salonika to research the malarious swamps and to advise on treatment of the disease. After the war, he continued his foreign studies for both Manson and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1933, O’Connor was trying to prove that an outbreak of amoebic dysentery in a Chicago hotel caused by contaminated tap water. His proof came by his own drinking of the water and his subsequent development of dysentery three weeks later. In 1937, he sadly died with two large amoebic abscesses in his liver.

Florence Hanbury

Florence Hanbury

Florence Hanbury

Florence Hanbury was the first library assistant to the School when she joined in November 1915. At the time, the library was managed by Dr Leiper and not by a qualified librarian. Hanbury noted  in her memoir of ‘War time’ that, ‘an investigation of the bookcases in the library proper gives no idea of proper order’, and ‘the library has been looked after in someone’s spare time’, she had a great task to manage the School’s library especially considering she only worked 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. Hanbury concluded her memoir recounting the Silvertown explosion, where an explosion from the munitions factory in 1917 killed 73 people, ‘the Silvertown explosion shattered the windows in the Printing Room, but did not damage the Library’, and noted that she was able to ‘hear the distant firing in Flanders and sometimes see the “dazzled” ships in the Dock’. Although Florence was not directly involved in the conflict, her account highlights that the war was never far from the minds of those at the home front.

Earning their keep? Fostering, education and work in Tanzania

Sophie Hedges was asked to write up one of her PhD papers for the IUSSP online magazine, N-IUSSP. Here’s a summary: “Fostering is common throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but the motivations for fostering and consequences for fostered children remain unclear. In northern Tanzania, Sophie Hedges, Rebecca Sear, Jim Todd, Mark Urassa, and David W. Lawson find that fostered children suffer minimal educational disadvantages, even when orphaned, and argue that strong family networks and children’s work contributions make fostering beneficial for foster carers and children alike.”

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Tips for good practice in peer review

Rebecca Sear was asked to write up some ‘tips for good practice in peer review’ for the Royal Society website for peer review week: “The theme of Peer Review Week 2019 is ‘Quality in peer review’. We spoke to Dr Rebecca Sear, Head of the Department of Population Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and member of the Editorial Board of our journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, about this topic. Rebecca has developed a training course on ‘Good practice in peer review,’ which she presents to students at her institution.”

Tips for good practice in peer review

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Alumni Innovators: Dr Ibrahim Audu Salisu

Dr Ibrahim Audu Salisu studied MSc Public Health at LSHTM, graduating in 2011. He is an award-winning public health physician who is currently the Public Health Officer and Sub-national Health Sector Coordinator for World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria. He was recently awarded the very prestigious CUGH Hall-Sewankambo Mid-Career Leadership Award in Global Health 2019 by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) in Washington D.C.

“I decided to study at the LSHTM because of its prestige and international standing as one of the best public health Universities in the world. Studying with a top-ranked institution, I knew from the start that I would be equipped with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills to address some of the most pressing public health problems in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Studying at LSHTM provided me with a unique opportunity to develop my technical and leadership skills, and build positive relationships with some of the world’s most influential public health experts and students. After completing my MSc Public Health, I was selected in 2012 to become the technical lead for a DFID (UK)-funded Maternal and Child programme in northern Nigeria where I worked to strengthen PHC system governance (through the Primary Health Care Under One Roof Policy) and improve service delivery in a fragile setting. This project helped lead to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates in northern Nigeria. This work set the pace for the subsequent professional milestones that I have continued achieving up to this moment.
It is a truly remarkable and humbling experience to be recognised by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) in Washington D.C. This inspires me to do more. The CUGH awards aim to recognise the accomplishments and commitment of outstanding individuals who contribute to the advancement of global health worldwide through research, policy and advocacy, and service.

Before receiving this award, I was granted the Joan Durcan Award by the Centre for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Institute of Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University, New York, where I studied an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) in 2018. In 2017, I was recognised and designated Public Health and Development Champion by a popular Nigerian magazine. In 2016, I was recognised by UK and US governments for making significant contributions to health services and system strengthening in complex humanitarian emergency settings, and granted President Obama’s Mandela Washington Young Africa Leaders award. I have also received numerous academic awards including Professor Benjamin O. Osuntokun Prize and MKO Abiola for graduating as the overall best in general medicine and neuropsychiatry from the University of Maiduguri Medical School.
I hope to continue contributing to achieving universal health coverage, strengthening public health emergency preparedness and response, and health systems development in LMIC.”

Do you have any advice for current students?

“I would like to advise students to work hard, explore their environment and develop lasting positive relationships with their colleagues and faculty members.”

“I would like to deeply thank Dr. Kirsten Mitchell, my dissertation supervisor at LSHTM for her invaluable support and guidance during my studies. I sincerely thank Dr. Collins Owili, Emergency Manager, WHO Nigeria, and Dr. Jorge Martinez, who immensely supported my health sector coordination work to tackle some of the most catastrophic public health emergencies in Northeast Nigeria. My sincere gratitude also to Piet Devries and Stephen Farshing of FHI 360, who greatly supported my work in conjunction with Borno State Ministry of Health (MOH) to rebuild health centres and re-establish primary and secondary health services in many local government areas affected by conflict. Finally, I wish to once again express my deepest gratitude to Keith Martin, MD, PC, CUGH Executive Director, and Professor Anne Kurth, the Chair, CUGH Board of Directors, for recognizing my contributions to Global Health and granting me the prestigious CUGH Mid-Career Leadership Award.”

For more information on the CUGH Hall-Sewankambo Mid-Career Leadership in Global Health Awards please visit