World Hunger Day was founded by the Hunger Project in 2011 to call attention to the global food crisis. On May 28th each year the Hunger Project invites us as global citizens to highlight sustainable solutions to world hunger and declare our own role in making a hunger-free planet a reality.
The current food system is failing to meet the needs of nearly 2.4 billion people – almost a third of our planet. This level of dysfunction affects not only the current population but has the potential to devastate future generations.
Further information and statistics are available on the World Hunger Day website where you can also download global and local toolkits to enable your involvement.
The Library collections contain print and online resources on the topic of world hunger, nutrition and global food policy. Resources can be found by searching in the Library’s search tool, Discover. Print books on these subjects can be found in the Reading Room, shelf mark BEX. A selection of books from this section are on display in the Library’s Reading Room.
This illustration of a microcosm of the natural world in London’s water in 1854 was published in a book in the School’s Library, Report of the Medical Council … in relation to the cholera-epidemic of 1854 (General Board of Health. Medical Council 1855). It formed part of the evidence gathered for a government investigation at a time when the cause of cholera was unknown and the two main hypotheses for it’s mode of transmission were air pollution and contaminated drinking water. A Scientific Committee of Investigation was tasked with collecting and analyzing meteorological, chemical and microscopical evidence in London. The results were published in 1855.
The man leading the water-borne investigation was Arthur Hill Hassall (1817-1894), a public analyst, microscopist and author of A microscopical examination of the water supplied to the inhabitants of London and the suburban districts (Hassall 1850) which secured his appointment to the cholera enquiry.
Most of London’s water came from the Thames, either fetched directly or pumped out of the river and distributed by commercial water companies. Hassall collected water from the Thames, from the water companies, from residences supplied by the companies where someone had died of cholera, and from wells. Samples were set aside in flasks for several hours to allow solid particles to collect at the bottom. After which they were examined under the microscope and separated into dead and living organic matter, vegetable and animal. The living plants were many and varied including algae and fungi spores. The living animals were of many kinds – protozoans, worms of several species and their eggs, water-fleas and their eggs – which could be seen darting about with great rapidity – even in samples taken from people’s homes! Hassall wrote, “the presence of living organisms in water … is … evidence of impurity and as showing that the water contains constituents on which they can feed and grow” (Hassall 1893 : 61-66). The Thames, as well as supplying London’s drinking water, was also the repository for the discharge of its sewers, creating the ideal environment for micro-organisms to thrive. By contrast, Hassall’s samples taken from wells were mostly free of organic matter : Hassall wrote “… living productions are not contained in the very purest and best waters” (Hasall 1893 : 63).
Hassall’s scientific description of each sample was published in his “Report of the microscopical examination of different waters” (Hassall, 1855a), supplemented by hand-coloured plates of 25 water samples, lithographed by Tuffen West (1823-1891) (Dolan 2021) after drawings by Henry Miller, both of whom had the expertise to interpret and draw to scale organisms under a microscope at a magnification of 200-220 times their natural size. The organisms were identified by Hassall in a key printed below the figures.
Some samples contained micro-organisms which Hassall could not identify and he called them vibriones (Hassall 1855a: page 228, Plate 3). In a second study Hassall examined evacuations from cholera patients (Hassall, 1855b). Once again, Hassall was not able to identify everything and described : “myriads of vibriones … in every drop of every sample of rice-water discharge” (Hassall 1855b : page 289, Plate 26). The microscope was an invaluable tool in the discovery of pathogenic organisms in the 19th century. Using more sophisticated techniques than Hassall had done, involving staining samples and photomicrography, the bacterium Vibrio cholerae was discovered as the cause of cholera by the German bacteriologist Robert Koch (1843-1910). Koch was working in India in 1884 where patients used the same water for bathing, washing and household cleaning. Later, with the benefit of hindsight, Hassall recognized that he had seen “amongst the small organisms various bacilli, either single or in groups, but which in those days were not discriminated and studied to the extent they now are and the real importance of which was overlooked. However I did not fail to perceive them and to record their presence” (Hassall 1893 : 63). These vibriones, Paul Bingham asserts, were cholera bacteria. Had Hassall studied them thoroughly, he would have been first to discover the cholera bacillus (Bingham 2021 ; Paneth et al 1998 : 1547-1548, 1550).
Hassall’s evidence was not conclusive and the General Board of Health did not accept cholera was a water-borne disease (Paneth et al 1998 : 1549). Koch went on to prove that cholera was transmitted in drinking water contaminated with the faeces of cholera patients. From the work of Koch and others, countries which practice good hygiene, have proper sanitation and a supply of pure water have been able to eliminate cholera.
Arthur Hill Hassall (1817-1894) was born in Teddington, Middlesex and qualified as a physician in 1851. He ran general practices in London and was also a senior physician at the Royal Free Hospital. He wrote a study of British algae (Hassall 1845) and the first textbook in English on human histology (Hassall, 1849). Hassall’s most important contribution to public health was a forensic investigation into food adulteration (Hassall 1855). In 1866 ill-health prompted a move to the Isle of Wight, and in 1878 he moved to Switzerland. Hassall died in San Remo, Italy aged 77.
HASSALL, A.H., 1855b. Report on the microscopical examination of the blood and excretions of cholera patients. No. XI, pp. 289-307, 2 plates in General Board of Health. Medical Council. Appendix toReport of the Committee for Scientific Inquiries in relation to the Cholera-Epidemic of 1854. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. viii, 352 pp. (LSHTM Library *JZE 1855).
HASSALL, A.H., 1855c. Food and its adulterations. London : Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. (LSHTM *SFE 1855; https://archive.org/details/b2135554x);Expanded as Food : its adulterations and methods for their detection. London : Longmans, Green, 1876.
PANETH, Nigel, VINTEN-JOHANSEN, Peter, BRODY, Howard and RIP, Michael, 1998. A rivalry of foulness : official and unofficial investigations of the London Cholera Epidemic of 1854. American Journal of Public Health88 (10) : 1545-1553.
LSHTM Library Rare Books Collection Blogs is an occasional posting highlighting books that are landmarks in the understanding of tropical medicine and public health. The Rare Books Collection was initiated by Cyril Cuthbert Barnard (1894-1959), the first Librarian, from donations and purchases, assisted with grants from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. There are approximately 1600 historically important rare and antiquarian books in the Rare Books Collection.
Many of the LSHTM Library’s rare books were digitized as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library. This provides high-quality copyright-free downloads of over 200,000 books and pamphlets for the 19th and early 20th century. To help preserve the rare books, please consult the digital copy in the first instance.
If the book has not been digitized or if you need to consult the physical object, please request access on the Library’s Discover search service. Use the search function to find the book you would like to view. Click the title to view more information and then click ‘Request’. You can also email email@example.com with details of the item you wish to view. A librarian will get in touch to arrange a time for you to view the item.
Researchers wishing to view the physical rare books must abide by the Guidelines for using the archives and complete and sign a registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. More information is available on the Visiting Archives webpage.
This year the theme is loneliness. One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time, and the longer people feel lonely the more they are at risk of mental health problems. The Mental Health Foundation is raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on mental health and suggesting practical steps we can take to address it.
Help and advice are available on the Mental Health Foundation website. There are links to policy briefings, guides (including a student guide to loneliness), social media links, and other resources.
The Library collections contain print and online resources on the topic of mental health. Resources can be found by searching in the Library’s search tool, Discover. Print books on mental health can be found in the Barnard Room, shelf mark UJ. A selection of books from this section are on display in the Library’s Reading Room, alongside some MHF leaflets for readers to take.
In 2021, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) was awarded funding by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) for a new programme of studentships for training the next generation of health scientists. The programme – the London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – is run in partnership with St George’s, University of London (SGUL) and provides high-quality PhD training across the spectrum of biomedical and public health research.
Having recently completed its first round of recruiting to the studentships, we thought it would be a good time to ask more about the programme and especially how they are widening participation! So we spoke to Lara Crawford, Scholarships Manager (LSHTM), and MRC LID EDI Leads – Dr. Elizabeth Brickley (LSHTM) and Dr. Vanessa Ho (SGUL).
To start with could you provide a bit of background to the doctoral training programme?
The programme builds on successes of a previous doctoral training partnership between LSHTM and SGUL which had administered 66 studentships between 2016 and 2022. Through the latest round of MRC funding confirmed in 2021, LSHTM and SGUL will be able to fund six PhD students a year for up to four years under the themes of global health, health data science, infectious disease and translational and implementation research. A further three PhD students a year will be funded by the two institutions. The studentship covers tuition fees, stipends, and annual funding for research training, travel, and conference. Students also have the opportunity to apply for competitive flexible funding for fieldwork, public engagement projects and a 3-month internship.
We are aware of working happening across the higher education sector to tackle gaps in access to studentship programmes. How have you approached this?
Embedding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and tackling the systemic barriers in postgraduate research degree programs was at the heart of LSHTM and SGUL’s submission to MRC and this was highlighted in the grant reviews as one of the strengths of the application. Of the nine studentships available per year, three will be ring-fenced for UK students from ethnic minority backgrounds and up to two additional studentships can be awarded to international students.
What are some of the EDI strategies you are using?
Our strategy adopts a proactive approach to EDI with a firm commitment to anti-racism and to decolonising global public health research. We have mandated training for all potential supervisors on ‘EDI and unconscious bias’ and on ‘Microaggressions and being an active bystander’ and asked supervisory teams to prepare a short written reflection on how they plan to operationalize the DTP EDI strategy in their interactions with prospective students. We have also worked to widen our recruitment strategy and strengthen our pre-acceptance support. Most notably, we have taken positive action to recruit and support historically underrepresented groups through a ring-fenced scheme. Additionally, with the aim of widening participation, we held an Applicant Workshop in December 2021 that included 10 sessions on topics, such as ‘What to expect and ask when you meet a potential supervisor’ and ‘How to write a PhD proposal.’ The well-attended workshop included an open Q&A with MRC board members and students as well as opportunities for individual mentorship meetings.
What is positive action and how does the ring-fenced scholarships work in terms of positive action?
As a specific positive action to tackle diversity gaps, the MRC LID programme includes three ring-fenced studentships for UK minority ethnic students.
Positive action is a term use for a range of measures, allowed under the Equality Act 2010, that can lawfully be taken to tackle or to overcome historic disadvantage or low participation within education, training, and welfare. A positive action might be to offer additional training or support to people from an underrepresented group (e.g., in response to a low rate of applications from women for academic roles in certain subjects, such as science, engineering, and technology). Positive action must not be confused with positive discrimination (e.g., through preferential treatment), which is unlawful.
Positive action must be evidence-based and a proportionate means to overcome a recognized disadvantage (e.g., low participation) from a group who share a protected characteristic, such as race, sex, or disability, under the Equality Act (2010).
At LSHTM and SGUL, recent data indicate diversity-related gaps in our doctoral applicant offer and acceptance rates. Analysis by race/ethnicity shows that white applicants are more likely to be offered a place and to accept than Black applicants. We observed similar disparities in past recruitment to the MRC LID programme.
We also drew on research across the Higher Education section, such as from the Leading Routes ‘The Broken Pipeline Report,’ which explored the low number of Black postgraduate research students in UK universities.
What are you doing to support prospective applicants from other groups? What about, for example, individuals with lower socioeconomic status?
While we recognize that socioeconomic position may influence opportunities to participate in doctoral training, socioeconomic status is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), which is a key prerequisite for positive action. Additionally, as our institutions have not historically collected data relating to socioeconomic status, we do not have the same evidence base to inform interventions.
Nevertheless, we recognise that diversity encompasses and goes beyond protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act (2010) and should include everything that makes us unique. Within our evolving widening participation work, we aim to develop strategies that consider and capture data related to socioeconomic status, caring responsibilities, or being a care leaver. As a first step, we have now included these within our application form in order to enable more contextualized assessment. In addition, we have aimed to promote flexibility in the programmes, such that accommodations including part-time study may be made available as possible.
What have been some of the hurdles in implementing your EDI strategy so far?
During the first year of the programme, we have begun implementing our EDI strategy, and we look to share our lessons learned and best practices with the doctoral training communities more widely. We have particularly welcomed opportunities to collaborate closely and co-develop EDI strategies with the Wellcome Trust-supported Global Health Research in Africa Doctoral Training Programme.
Compared to previous years, we had fewer UK applications this year, and we look to understand why this was the case to improve our recruitment strategies. In particular, we will examine the way we advertise the DTP across different networks, the website that provides information on the application process, as well as the application materials and their accompanying documents.
Implementing the mandatory training sessions for all potential supervisory teams was a major undertaking, which was only possible with the amazing support of the EDI and TED teams at LSHTM. Overall, we were really pleased with the take up and engagement, as more than 140 potential supervisors completed the training. Nevertheless, we recognise that the EDI, unconscious bias, and microaggression trainings were, in many ways, the start of the conversation. Going forward, we are considering further training requirements linking to the wider work on this area at LSHTM and SGUL including case-based refreshers as well as training on anti-racism and on understanding contextualised assessment of applications.
We were pleased with the attendance by prospective students at the Applicant Workshop. While the online delivery created some challenges from a facilitation perspective that we hope to improve on next year, it also made the event more widely accessible, especially to our international applicants. We have collated questions from this year’s Q&A session that will allow us to continue to improve the pre-application support for next year.
How do you see the programme developing further?
To monitor and evaluate the impact of the EDI strategy, we will use an intersectional approach to examine our student recruitment data and also engage with our newly recruited students to listen to their experiences. We have also met with potential supervisors to learn from their perspective as partners in the development of this programme. On completion of the first round of recruitment to the studentships, this is good timing to learn from the last year and to ensure we are collecting appropriate data and feedback to be able to continue to improve our EDI strategy in future years. Another priority area for our team related to recruitment will be to expand our programme’s links with Post-’92 Universities. Finally, we want to see our students thrive in the programme, and we are continuing to refine our approaches for improving student mentorship and support. Our goal is for each of our students to have both world class scientific training as well as a positive and rewarding academic experience.
In a recently published Commentary in Health Policy and Planning, we discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences have raised questions about the availability, design, implementation, and accountability of external assistance for health. We argue that these questions have made urgent the need for a fundamental rethink of how to conceptualize and implement external assistance such that it better aligns with and strengthens domestic health systems. This in turn is key for external assistance that will enable rather than undermine efforts to sustain the coverage of services that are essential for countries to move closer towards universal health coverage (UHC). While noting opportunities to draw on experiences of countries that have transitioned away from external support we also reflect on the paucity of literature that can inform such a rethink and the need for more research in this area.
Responding to the need for more research, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO in collaboration with the WHO Health Financing Policy Unit and UHC 2030 is supporting the development of a supplement in Health Policy and Planning on Rethinking External Assistance for Health to be launched in November 2023.
Themes and topics
In line with the issues outlined in the commentary, we invite submissions related to the three thematic areas mentioned below. For each theme, we suggest research questions. However, authors should feel free to address other questions related to the identified thematic areas.
The impact and implications of COVID-19 on external assistance for health and related consequences for national health financing systems
What shifts has COVID-19 triggered in relation to the availability, focus, and models of external assistance for health in low- and-middle-income countries (LMICs)
What lessons have emerged from the COVID-19 experience in terms of the structure, content and level of external assistance for health?
How has external assistance for COVID-19-affected national health financing systems in countries? What are the policy responses that countries have implemented in the face of this impact and what impact have they had?
Sustaining Coverage in the face of transitions from external assistance
How has external assistance for health been designed and implemented to enable (or undermine) sustained coverage of priority services in the face of transition from external funds? What efforts have been made to increase national ownership and align with national reforms focused on enabling UHC and health security?
How has external assistance been designed and implemented to optimally complement and enable efficient use of domestic resources? What (if any) public financial management reforms have been spurred by external assistance? What have been the lessons and challenges in strengthening national institutions?
How have national and sub-national health systems adapted (or not) to maintain coverage of key interventions in the face of reductions in external assistance? What learning, if any, has there been in terms of practices around human resource management, service delivery, supply chain management, information systems and governance arrangements?
How have declines in external assistance been used (or not) as opportunities to realize efficiency gains with respect to these and other areas?
Repositioning external assistance- current targeting models and improving on them
What are the limitations of current external assistance models in different country income contexts? How can these best be addressed in the future to meet the challenges of COVID-19, future pandemics and other emerging threats as part of the overall SDG agenda? What differentiated approaches and models are needed for providing external assistance for health based on country context? What are the lessons that emerge from LICs and MICs?
Where has external assistance been most conducive to strengthening health systems (in terms of enabling system-wide, sustainable changes in policies and regulations, organizational structures, and relationships across the health system building blocks towards UHC)? What has enabled it to contribute to health system strengthening efforts? What have been some of the barriers to it being able to strengthen health systems for delivering on UHC?
What is the role of power asymmetries among donors and recipients in shaping external assistance for health? How have these been shaped by the legacy of colonialism? How can models of external assistance be improved to address these asymmetries as part of larger efforts to decolonize global health?
How do interactions between donors, national and sub-national actors influence how external assistance is designed and implemented in federal systems? What are the implications for sustained coverage within countries and differences in coverage across sub-national units?
Types of Submissions
Original research articles and innovation and practice reports are invited. Innovation and practice reports are narratives and/or reflections/experiences from the perspective of policymakers and practitioners operating at the national or sub-national level which focus on innovative approaches to health systems strengthening towards UHC. For original research articles, we are interested in a range of article types. These include mixed-methods research papers that systematically bring together quantitative and qualitative data to describe both what changes in external financing for health have occurred, but also why they have occurred and what responses have taken place. We are also interested in analytical studies of policy processes that explain how and why external assistance policies and practices were designed and implemented as they were, as well as analyses that delve deeper into the challenges presented by current models of external assistance and how these can be addressed. These include analyses that interrogate and challenge the role of power relationships between donors and recipients in shaping external assistance and strategies to address these. We are explicitly not looking for review papers including systematic reviews or scoping reviews. Papers should go beyond describing problems, and given HPP’s focus on applied research, emphasize and analyze evidence to inform effective policy responses.
Submission and Publication Process
Authors are invited to initially submit structured abstracts (of no more than 400 words) no later than June 3rd, 2022 at the link here. These abstracts will be reviewed by the supplement editors with the final selection of abstracts made based on their quality, originality as well as the diversity of issues raised, geographical focus, and methods used.
Selected abstracts will be invited to develop full papers. Authors can expect to be notified of this invitation by July 18th, 2022. Full papers will be due for submission to the journal by January 20th, 2023 with envisaged publication in November 2023. All papers will be subject to Health Policy and Planning’s regular peer review process. We plan to publish approximately 10 papers in the supplement. Authors from all countries are eligible to submit abstracts; however, we aim to ensure that at least 50% of the published papers come from a first author based in a low- and-middle income country. Manuscripts that clear the peer review process but for which space cannot be made for inclusion in the supplement will be treated as routine journal submissions and considered for publication in a regular issue of the journal.
 For the purposes of this research programme, we understand ‘transition’, as no longer being eligible to receive grants or highly concessional loans from major global health funders on account of countries having achieved pre-defined income and health thresholds
MSc students (both ‘intensive’ & ‘distance learning’ programmes) who did not have literature searching sessions scheduled in your MSc Programme timetable: please sign up these sessions.
MSc students who have already attended an Effective Literature Searching training session, and want to have a refresher session, you are also welcome to sign up.
NB: if you have attended a literature searching session as part of your MSc Programme, you might prefer to re-watch the recording of that session on your Programme’s Moodle page, or the MSc Public Health recording on the Library Moodle page.
These sessions are repeated on each day listed above. Just choose whichever session works best for your timetable / timezone.
The Refresher Sessions cover:
Constructing a Literature Search Strategy. Part 1: search concepts, search terms & building your search:
Selecting search concepts & keywords/search terms
Choosing the right resources to search (OVID Medline will be the main database used in these sessions)
Using Boolean logic to structure an effective search
How to use search tools (including truncation, wildcards and proximity searching)
Constructing a Literature Search Strategy. Part 2: subject headings, filters, transferring your search:
Subject headings: what are they? Why do you need to use them? How do you include them in your search strategy?
Using search filters and limits
Running your search & transferring it across databases
Finding full text – what if LSHTM library doesn’t have what I need?
Planning & managing your information – get organised & save time!
Comments from previous years’ attendees:
“really great course”
“very good and very helpful”
If you cannot attend any of the above sessions, a recording of one session will me made available on the Library Moodle page, where you will also find:
recordings of full Literature Searching sessions
presentations on grey literature and other aspects of the searching process
plus self-teach mini-modules that you can work through in your own time.
The theme of World Malaria Day 2022 is: “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria burden and save lives.” The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that no single tool available today will solve the problem and is calling for significant investment and a multi-sector approach.
In 2020 there were an estimated 241 million new cases of malaria and 627 000 malaria related deaths in 85 countries. Two-thirds of these deaths were among children aged 5 and under living in the WHO African Region. (1)
The World Health Organization’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 is available as a free download from:
To mark the day we have put together a display of books from our Collections which may be viewed in the Reading Room. The topics include parasitological, serological, sociological, and historical aspects of this major parasitic disease.
Good luck to all LSHTM students, researchers and staff this term. Based on feedback we’ve received from our Library users so far this year, we’ve made some important changes to our physical Library services this term:
We’re pleased to announce that the Library is now open until 8.25pm on weekdays, so our regular physical opening hours are 9am-8.25pm Monday to Friday.
Our online enquiries service is also available 9am-11pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 12-8pm and Sunday 11am-8pm. (Look out for any changes to advertised hours via Twitter.)
UPDATE: In response to demand during the busy exam revision period, we’ll also be physically open on the UK bank holidays on Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd June. We’ll be available from 11am-8pm on both days.
We’re adding power sockets to some of our tables in both the main Reading Room and the Barnard Room. Laptop loans and portable chargers are also still available as alternative options.
Those studying or working in other universities are also now welcome to visit LSHTM Library once again. See our membership pages (linked above) for more details. Please contact your home institution first if you are a visitor seeking access to our Library.
Don’t forget that if you’re at LSHTM but not based in London, you can still access our online resources via our Discover search tool and many of our services are available via Moodle and on the Service Desk.
This year is ICEH’s 40th anniversary. Our centre started from humble beginnings: a single ophthalmologist committed to improving eye health worldwide through a new concept of ‘community eye health’. From a small team working on a shoestring to improve infectious diseases and share knowledge globally, our centre has evolved to where we are today: a team of 50 with a global network of partners working across all areas of eye health.
On the 31st March 2022 our team came together with current and former staff, alumni, friends and supporters in the field for a day of talks at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Speeches discussed our history before moving onto our current activities across research, education and capacity sharing. Attendees were able to experience how integral ICEH has been to global eye health, including that two out of three of all ophthalmologists in Africa with a PhD are ICEH alumni.
We are grateful for everyone who came and for all who have continued to support us over the years, whether through partnership or financially. We look forward to sharing the next 40 years with you.
As we enter April and look forward to an Easter break, it is worth noting that this month is Stress Awareness Month.
Stress “can influence our physical and psychological health, or more simply, too much stress can make you ill.” (1)
It is important to recognise when everyday stresses build up and manifest themselves physically. When the situation I am facing becomes stressful, I get piercing headaches, my heart palpitates and I feel nauseous. I also feel helpless and vulnerable not just emotionally but physically.
It is also important to recognise that some stress is environmentally and societally imposed, e.g. being bullied, facing discrimination in your everyday life, and peer and/or establishment pressure to succeed and deliver.
There are of course simple and practical ways to help reduce stress like immersing yourself in a creative hobby, listening to music, and going for a walk. But all these individual responses may only be possible if the wider community and society as a whole create positive and sustainable environments where inequality, violence, discrimination and bullying are forever discouraged, and practical safety nets are in place.
There are a selection of books on display about stress in the Reading Room.
For more information about Stress Awareness Month, go to:
Bartlett, Dean. Stress : perspectives and processes – Buckingham : Open University Press, 1988.