Book Display: Dry January

Photograph of Dry January book display consisting of eight books, with bust of Sir Richard Doll on the right.

Dry January is a campaign run by Alcohol Change UK during which participants abstain from drinking alcohol for January. Alcohol Change UK is a British charity that works towards reducing harms caused by alcohol consumption. Since it started in 2012, Dry January has grown fast. It has been widely covered by British media outlets and was endorsed by Public Health England in a 2015 campaign

Alcohol Change UK’s website offers a variety of resources, including an app. It also provides a warning that those who are dependent on alcohol should not totally stop consuming it and should contact their GP instead for help with reducing drinking more safely. 

Also, the growing popularity of Dry January has attracted the attention of publAc health scholars: one 2017 paper concluded that participants were more likely to successfully refuse alcohol than those who tried to take part “unofficially.”* 

At LSHTM Library, we have a variety of resources covering alcohol and its relationships with health and society. This ranges from analyses of its effects on the body to histories of its regulation and consumption. The book display seeks to showcase this variety. It includes policy documents, historical works and resources on addiction and recovery. Books and pamphlets on alcohol typically have the shelf mark GFD. You can also find numerous books and journal articles online by searching Discover

*Full citation: Richard O. de Visser, Emily Robinson, Tom Smith, Gemma Cass, Matthew Walmsley, The growth of ‘Dry January’: promoting participation and the benefits of participation, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 27, Issue 5, October 2017, Pages 929–931, 

Books on display

  “An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Alcohol and Other Recreational Drugs: Conference Proceedings, Admiralty Arch, London, 15 July 2003.” Oxford: Beckley Foundation, 2003. 

Babor, Thomas. Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy. Second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. 

Berridge, Virginia. Demons: Our Changing Attitudes to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 

  Berridge, Virginia. Temperance: Its History and Impact on Current and Future Alcohol Policy. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005. 

  Blocker, Jack S., David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell. Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: an International Encyclopedia: Volume 1: A-L. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2003. 

  Butler, Shane. Alcohol, Drugs and Health Promotion in Modern Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 2002. 

Gerritsen, J.-W. (Jan-Willem). The Control of Fuddle and Flash: a Sociological History of the Regulation of Alcohol and Opiates. Leiden: Brill, 2000. 

  Gli italiani e l’alcool: consumi, tendenze ed atteggiamenti = The Italians and alcohol: consumption, trends and attitudes. 3rd Doxa National Survey. Italy: Vignola Editore, 1998. 

  Greenaway, John. Drink and British Politics Since 1930: a Study in Policy-Making. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 

  Kemm, J. R. Alcohol and the Public Health: a Study by a Working Party of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians on the Prevention of Harm Related to the Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs. Macmillan Education, 1991. 

  Kyvig, David E. Law, Alcohol, and Order: Perspectives on National Prohibition. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1985. 

  Lewis, Milton James. A Rum State: Alcohol and State Policy in Australia 1788-1988. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1992. 

  Nicholls, James. The Politics of Alcohol: a History of the Drink Question in England. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2012. 

  Regulating Lifestyle Risks: the EU, Alcohol, Tobacco and Unhealthy Diets. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 

  Robertson, Ian, and Nick. Heather. Let’s Drink to Your Health! A Self-Help Guide to Sensible Drinking. British Psychological Society, 1996. 

  Smart, Reginald G, Alan C Ogborne, and Alan C (Alan Charles) Ogborne. Northern Spirits: Drinking in Canada, Then and Now. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1986. 

  Trias Llimós, Sergi, F. Janssen, and L. J. G. van Wissen. “Alcohol-Attributable Mortality in Europe : Past Trends and Their Effects on Overall Mortality Variations”. University of Groningen, 2019. 

Using other libraries over the festive period

A decorated Christmas in front of the Enquiries Desk in the Library
Things are looking festive in the Library

Are you a London-based library user needing somewhere to study during the Christmas & New Year period? Read on…

The LSHTM Library at Keppel Street will be closed for the festive period, shutting at 8.30pm this Wednesday 22 December and opening again from 9am on Tuesday 3 January. If you’re going to be staying in the UK during this time and need another place to study, there are a range of options available to you. We’ve outlined some of these below:


SCONUL Access is a scheme enabling staff, researchers and postgraduate research students to join a wide selection of other academic libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Register to this scheme is now online, via the SCONUL Access website. Just tell the site what kind of user you are and it will display a map showing you the libraries you can access. You’ll need to complete an online application form, which will be sent through to the LSHTM Library for approval. When we have approved your application, you will receive an email confirmation – you just need to take a printed copy of this email and identification to the library you would like to visit. Please check with the library you plan to visit in advance to check their access requirements, including which ID you are required to take with you. Do bear in mind that their opening times may also change over the holiday period too and all libraries will likely be completely closed on the Christmas Day and Boxing Day bank holidays themselves.

When you apply online, you’ll be asked to choose a specific library to access, but your email confirmation for this library will also allow you to access other libraries participating in the scheme. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you are unlikely to be able to access electronic resources from other libraries as these are usually restricted to use by each institution’s staff and students.


Access25 is a resource discovery tool which allows you to search the collections of over 50 well-known institutions within the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries in a single place. These resources are all located in London and the South East of England. This handy user guide explains how you can do this.

A wintry Keppel Street building (image: @LSHTM on Twitter)

Don’t forget that members of LSHTM are also entitled to join Senate House Library, which allows you to borrow material and access electronic resources – just complete a membership form via our Library Moodle pages and you can access their resources online, plus if you are in the London area you can also visit their physical library and borrow physical resources (their opening hours are here). You can also visit other University of London libraries via the reciprocal access scheme and don’t forget that British Library registration is available to you too (opening hours between Christmas and New Year can be found at the bottom of this page).

If you are a distance learner, you automatically have access to the University of London’s Online Library – just use your regular Moodle login details to get in and you’ll find a huge range of resources to explore.

If you have any questions about using any of these services, or are looking for other ways to access material in other libraries, let us know by emailing You can also get in touch via the Service Desk or via Twitter/Facebook.

2023 MeSH headings update

Each year, the National Library of Medicine updates the MeSH headings used to tag and index items added to the Medline or PubMed database. This is to update the terminology to keep up with changes in practice and also to edit any terms which have been found to be problematic in some way. This year we have examples of both.

Below i’ve listed the terms I think will be of interest to PubMed/Medline users from LSHTM. Remember, these are not retrospectively applied, they will only be added to any new papers. The new terms usually start being added in January. If you have saved searches in PubMed or Medline, it is good practice to update these every year to include new or edited MeSH terms or terminology.

As usual, thanks have to go to who first let her followers know that the 2023 terms were released, then wrote a great twitter thread about them.

There are quite a few changes to relevant terms under the social sciences. Relevant to work that’s being done across LSHTM are

  • Antiracism
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

There are terms covering socioeconomic disparities:

  • Socioeconomic disparitites in health
  • Resource-Limited Settings
  • Low socioeconomic status

More general public health terms include:

  • Collective efficacy
  • Group dynamics
  • Social group
  • Extended family
  • Family structure
  • Family support
  • Residential segregation
  • Psychological well-being
  • Suicide prevention
  • Access to primary care
  • Value-based health care
  • Working conditions
  • Tobacco control

There are a number of new terms in the fields of infectious diseases, their control and the human body’s response. These include:

  • Human papillomavirus viruses
  • Breakthrough infections
  • Post-Infectious Disorders
  • Post-Acute COVID-10 Syndrome
  • Tuberculosis, Extrapulmonary
  • Drug fever
  • T-Cell Exhaustion
  • Trained Immunity
  • Rapid diagnostic tests

For those interested in diet, food and nutrition, some new terms have been added.

  • Food, processed
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Elimination diets
  • FODMAP diet

Researchers interested in climate and environmental change may find the following useful:

  • Drought Resistance [in plants]
  • Ocean acidification

Those looking for methodological studies will be pleased to note there is now a term which differentiates between papers discussing methods involved in case reports, and actual case reports:

  • Case reports as topic

There are also a number of new terms to describe types of analysis

  • Information sources
  • Random forest
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
  • Document analysis
  • Evidence Gaps
  • Clinical Relevance
  • Information Motivation Behavioral Skills Model

There are some medical professions which are only now being added. Note that the speciality has been available – these terms will only be usedt to tag papers which talk about the profession or the professionals.

  • Gynecologists
  • Obstetricians
  • Paramedics
  • Traditional medicine practitioners

The largest change for 2023 are the updates made to terms describing groups of people native to different regions of the world. The previous terms had a number of problems. The NLM has done a lot of work with information professionals and others from these regions to try to rectify this. Again Tracy Shields ( has produced a fabulous twitter thread detailing the work that’s gone on to update these, as well as discussing the terms.

I think these will help us in public health differentiate between, people living in specific countries and the wider diaspora. It will be interesting to see how these are applied in practice. The new terms are:

  • African people
  • Asian American Netive Hawaiiian and Pacific Islander
  • Australasian People
  • Caribbean People
  • Central African People
  • Central American People
  • Central Asian People
  • East African People
  • Eastern European People
  • European People
  • Middle Eastern and North Africans
  • Middle Eastern People
  • Navajo People
  • North African People
  • North American People
  • North Asian People
  • Oceanians
  • Pacific Island People
  • Pima People
  • Population groups, US
  • Scandinavians and Nordic People
  • South American People
  • Southeast Asian People
  • Southern African People
  • Sub-Saharan African People
  • West African People
  • West Asian People
  • White

As the NLM note in the Scope note for ‘White’, “Race and ethnicity terms are self-identified social construct and may include terms outdate and offensive in MeSH to assist users who are interested in retrieving comprehensive search results for studies such as in longitudinal studies.”

If any member of LSHTM has any questions or comments about the new MeSH terms and how they might have an impact on your searches, please contact the LSHTM Library staff on for help.

The Pamphlet Collection: Retro Recipes

The Library’s Pamphlet Collection, housed in the gallery of the main Reading Room, comprises government reports, research papers, leaflets and circulars, and instructional manuals, to name but a few. A more surprising element of the collection is the twentieth-century pamphlets containing recipes. The shelf marks relating to Nutrition naturally furnish most of them, especially shelf marks BEXM, BEXN, BEXP and BEXY.  

They include British logistical pamphlets from WWII and the 1950s on how to feed armed forces, run a meals-on-wheels service, or cook under emergency conditions. 

The front cover of the pamphlet "RAF Manual of Cooking and Dietary," dated April 1942. It is a faded orange colour and stamped with several stamps relating to the LSHTM Centre for Nutrition.
Front cover of R.A.F. Manual of Cooking and Dietary: Promulgated for the Information and Guidance of All Concerned.

Recipe books

There are also recipe and diet pamphlets from public information campaigns by governments and research bodies. These date from the 1930s to the 1980s and show what authorities in different countries wanted people to eat. Several also lay out optimal daily menus: 

A scan of the publication 'An Economical Budget for the Family with Menus and Recipes' showing a sample menu of four meals. Breakfast is porridge, milk, toast, margarine, tea, sugar, oranges. Dinner is brown stew, mixed vegetables, potato, custard tart. Tea is grated cheese on toast, wholemeal bread, margarine, tea, sugar, vinegar cake. Supper is milk. The total weights of ingredients in pints and ounces is given in a column on the right.
An Economical Budget for the Family with Menus and Recipes, p. 9.
A scan of the publication 'Food for Health in Hawaii' showing a meal plan entitled 'Good diet for moderately active adults: Hawaiian.' Breakfast is papaya with lime, rolled oats with milk, wholewheat bread, butter, guava jelly, cocoa and evaporated milk. Lunch is canned salmon with tomatoes and green onions, limu, poi, sliced fresh pineapple. Dinner is beef stew with carrots and potatoes, brown or partially polisted rice, fresh watercress, soft custard on sliced bananas. It ends with the note that poi can be used to replace oats and brown rice at breakfast and dinner.
Food for Health in Hawaii: Notes on Choosing Food and Planning Meals, with Recipes and Menus, p. 17.

These were published a year apart in the UK and Hawaii. It seems like stew was an offering common to the two, though! 

Some of the covers are really evocative of the period: 

Front cover of 'Food for Health in Hawaii' with green-blue graphics depicting leaves, fruits, and eating implements, interspersed with the different words for 'food' in languages spoken in Hawaii.
Food for Health in Hawaii: Notes on Choosing Food and Planning Meals, with Recipes and Menus.
Front cover of 'South Pacific Cookery Book' with a woodcut-style brown graphic depicting different foods and cookery methods, including fish, pig, pineapple, frying pan, log fire, cooking pot.
South Pacific Cookery Book.

Aesthetic concerns aside, the content of each of these two books shows efforts by universities and colonial administrators to communicate their opinions on nutrition. For more on the South Pacific Health Service’s nutrition projects, see Sarah Hartley’s article on “Interweaving Ideas and Patchwork Programmes: Nutrition Projects in Colonial Fiji, 1945–60.” 

Promotional material

Finally, we have several pamphlets circulated by various marketing bodies from the US and the UK related to specific foodstuffs. They feature some especially delightful illustrations and photographs: 

A colour photograph from American Rice: My Home Cook Book depicting rice-stuffed green peppers. The rice is brownish in colour and the peppers are sitting in a gravy on the plate.
American Rice: My Home Cook Book, p. 3
A black-and-white photograph from American Rice: My Home Cook Book depicting egg rice salad with the recipe printed below. It consists of 8oz medium grain rice, 1/4 pint mayonnaise, 2 tbsp cream, 1/2 small onion, finely chopped, 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced, 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced, 2oz seedless raisins, seasoning, lettuce, chopped parsley.
American Rice: My Home Cook Book, p. 9.

The rice dishes above come courtesy of American Rice: My Home Cook Book. This and “Miss Fluffy Rice” (pictured below) were produced by the US Rice Export Development Association in the 1960s. 

The cover of Miss Fluffy Rice depicts, in black, white, and red, a spoon with a human face and rice for hair wearing an apron and throwing more rice on to a bride and groom, who have their backs turned to her.
Let Miss Fluffy Rice haunt your wedding (and cook for two, four, or many more). From Miss Fluffy Rice: Recipes.
A zoomed-in crop of Miss Fluffy Rice and the unwitting bride and groom she is throwing rice at.
They probably shouldn’t look behind them. 

Rice is not the only foodstuff in the Pamphlet Collection, either. Both cheese and dry milk also get their time in the spotlight. The celery gratin pictured below was perhaps never going to be a looker, but the Cheese Bureau was undeterred. The Oxford English Dictionary credits the Cheese Bureau with coining the term “ploughman’s lunch” in the 1950s. Some schools of thought attribute it instead to a campaign by the Milk Marketing Board and the English Country Cheese Council in the 1960s (see the Encyclopedia Britannica). 

A black-and-white photograph of celery au gratin from the pamphlet 'Cheese on the Menu.' The recipe, printed below, consists of the ingredients 25 heads celery, 5lb grated cheese, 8 pints bechamel sauce, 2lb breadcrumbs, seasoning, and bacon rolls to garnish.
Unclear why the Cheese Bureau didn’t go for The Cheese Board. From Cheese on the Menu: Costed Recipes for Fixed Budget Caterers, p. 12.

Often collected by the Library not long after they were first published, these pamphlets and the recipes they contain now offer a fascinating – and sometimes bizarre – glimpse into how institutions across the world imagined an ideal diet. 

The LSHTM Archives hold wartime leaflets from the Ministry of Food, including Christmas recipes. The Library catalogue is searchable for titles and authors of articles from several domestic science publications from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. These include Good Housekeeping and Harper’s Bazaar, hosted by Cornell University Library. The full repository is accessible free here for those who prefer to browse. 


If you’d like to take a look for yourself at some recipe pamphlets, below is a bibliography including direct links to the Library catalogue:

Cookbook pamphlets: 

  Rational Diet with Local Recipes. Bathurst: Gambia Nutrition Committee, 1939. BEXN.146 1939 

  Wijnhoven, A.T.E., and K. Ezekoye. Recipes Used for Nutrition Education in the Home Gardens Project Ilesha, Nigeria. 2nd ed. Amsterdam, 1970. BEXN.149 1970 

  Good Food Recipes in Child Nutrition. Entebbe: Mwanamugimu Nutrition Services, 1987. UXR 1987 

  Sister Prisca. Preparing Food: 100 Gold Coast Recipes. 2nd ed. Cape Coast: Catholic Mission Press, 1948. BEXN.148 1948 

  Miller, Carey D. (Carey Dunlap), and Helen Yonge. Lind. Food for Health in Hawaii: Notes on Choosing Food and Planning Meals, with Recipes and Menus. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1942. 

  Hoar, June W. South Pacific Cookery Book. Suva, Fiji: South Pacific Health Service, Nutrition Section, 1961. 

  Cathcart, Ed. P. An Economical Budget for the Family with Menus and Recipes … London: University of London Press, n.d. BEXP.46 ? 

  Ridgway, U.A., and E.A. Webb. From the Farm and Garden to the Kitchen and Store Cupboard. Leicester: Leicestershire and Rutland Federation of Women’s Institutes, 1938. BEXN 1939  

Wartime and emergency: 

  R.A.F. Manual of Cooking and Dietary: Promulgated for the Information and Guidance of All Concerned. S.l: s.n., n.d. BEXN (p.) 1942 

  A Companion to Emergency Cooking. London: W.V.S., 1957. BEXN 1957 

  Handbook on Meals-on-Wheels. London: H.M.S.O., 1958. BEXN 1958 

Promotional material: 

  American Rice: My Home Cook Book. S.l: My Home, 1960. BEXN 1960  

  Cheese on the Menu: Costed Recipes for Fixed Budget Caterers. London: The Cheese Bureau, 1960. BEXN 1960s?    

  Reynolds, Mary. Miss Fluffy Rice: Recipes. London: U.S. Rice Export Development Association, 1963. BEXN 1963  

  How to Use Whole and Nonfat Dry Milk. Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1949. BEXN 1949 

International Migrants Day. 18 December 2022

On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day (resolution A/RES/55/93). The day is intended to mark the 1990 adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (A/RES/45/158) ¹

Background information may be found on:

The topic of migration forms a key element both of taught courses and of research at LSHTM.

For the days leading up to this year’s event, we have prepared a display of books from the collection which address different aspects of migration, including economic, social and public health aspects, and works which discuss the impacts of both internal and external migration, forced migration and so forth. These are on display in the Reading Room.

Please note that apart from one title marked “reference only” these titles may be borrowed in the normal way.


  1., accessed 05/12/2022.

Image: © International Organization for Migration 2022

 International Day of People with Disabilities 2022

December 3rd 2022 will be International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day was first celebrated back in 1992 and set up by the United Nations to celebrate and recognize the achievements of people living with disabilities, but also to raise awareness of the various issues such as inequality and accessibility problems faced by people on a daily basis and promote understanding.

The library will be displaying a number of books around disability, including hidden disabilities, from the collection to recognise International Day of People with Disabilities 2022.

This year the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities “Transformative solutions for inclusive development”. The Library will be promoting the day by highlighting a number of books from the collection will be on display and also highlighting invisible disabilities which many live with.

2022 IDPWD is themed around “Transformative solutions for inclusive development”

This year London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will be marking International Day of Person’s With Disabilities with an event titled “Towards disability inclusive development: A Journey on What Works”, more information on this free webinar event can be found here:

For more information on International day of people with disabilities, please visit

What is IDPWD for?

What is IDPWD for?” – taken from International Day of People with Disabilities | About the Movement (

  • Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community, and to cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities; 
  • Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people with living with a disability;
  • It is a day for optimism – to look towards the future and the creation of a world where a person is not characterised by their disabilities, but by their abilities;
  • Action – where all people, organisations, agencies and charities not only show their support for International Day of People with Disabilities, but take on a commitment to create a world characterised by equal human rights
The library holds a number of print books around disabilities in its collection.

The Library Collection holds many items available in print and online on the various topics and challenges around disabilities.  Print books can be found under various classmarks in the library but as a guide: UEFW: care and rehabilitation for people with disabilities , SQJC: children with disabilities, UIEC: Neurodevelopmental disorders, SOZ: adults with disabilities, UY: diseases and disabilities in older adults, UJD: a large variety of hidden disabilities, UJK: ME/CFS and many more.  You can search for items via the library catalogue: Discover

Celebrating World Diabetes Day

Health professionals from all over the world came together to mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2022 through an online workshop celebrating progress in development of diabetic retinopathy (DR) services in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The Diabetic Retinopathy Network (DR-NET) is a knowledge-sharing and education network of health professionals delivering DR services in LMICs. Through a programme of activities, including regular online workshops, the DR-NET fosters the development of DR services and their integration into diabetes services to make them more accessible for patients.

This year’s theme for World Diabetes Day is ‘Education to protect tomorrow’ and the online workshop highlighted the need for education for health professionals and the community on the danger of DR and the need for regular screening of the eyes of people living with diabetes.

Facilitated by ICEH, the DR-NET workshop highlighted the vital importance of change at all levels of the health system to provide comprehensive services to people with diabetes which include prevention and treatment of complications such as DR, which can result in visual impairment and blindness.

Increased awareness amongst primary health care workers and people living with diabetes is essential, as is improved access to high-quality screening and treatment services. At national level, inclusion of DR screening and treatment in NCD and diabetes policies and guidelines is essential to promote integration into health services so that eyes are not left out when planning for the care of people living with diabetes.

Presentations from Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria highlighted the vital role of multidisciplinary collaboration and involvement of all stakeholders to tackle the increasing number of people who are losing their sight unnecessarily due to DR in LMICs. As the tide of diabetes, much of it undiagnosed, continues to grow, it is essential that health services work together to ensure that diabetes services include offering people with diabetes regular eye screening, education and counselling, and timely treatment when needed.

Examples included the impact of national guidelines for DR services, introduced in Kenya in 2017, at promoting and standardising DR screening and treatment services and their integration into diabetes services so that people with diabetes can easily access them. A case study from the Diabetes Clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital, illustrated the success of the “one-stop” approach to delivering diabetes services that include screening for complications including DR in the same place. This facilitates access for the patients and minimizes their visits to the clinic.

Presentations revealed how, in Malawi, VISION 2020 LINKS health partnerships underway since 2007 had contributed to the gradual improvement in DR services and the unification of the tertiary hospitals to provide standardised DR services across the country. A recent workshop in Malawi convened by the Ministry of Health highlighted progress to date. This included preparation of national DR guidelines for Malawi and the commitment of a wide range of diabetes stakeholders to work together to implement them over the coming years.

The participants congratulated the Ministry of Health in Nigeria on its progress towards DR national guidelines, recognising the impact that improved, integrated DR services will have on its population.

Closing the workshop, DR-NET eye health professionals worldwide were encouraged to work alongside the international diabetes community to promote World Diabetes Day on 14 November by undertaking three key actions:

  1. Take part in the World Diabetes Day survey for health professionals and patients:
  2. Lobby Ministries of Health and policymakers to improve diabetes education to help achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) diabetes coverage targets by 2030:
  3. Join the IDF World Diabetes Congress from 5-8 December 2022. IDF offers free online access to the Congress for healthcare professionals from, or living in, low-income countries:

See further resources from the DR-NET:

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World Diabetes Day 14/11/22

World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.

WDD is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.

The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to be the:

  • Platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year.
  • Global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue

The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.

Every year, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is Access to Diabetes Care.

Access more information at the website

The Library collections contain print and online resources on the topic of diabetes. 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 UQI. A selection of books from this section are on display in the Library’s Reading Room.   


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Pamphlet Collection: Fumifugium, by John Evelyn

While working on the book display about London the other month, I came across a fairly curious-looking bound volume in the Pamphlet Collection. So, today’s trip into the pamphlet collection will investigate it a bit! Fumifugium, written by John Evelyn and first published in 1661, is now considered one of the earliest works on air pollution. This is not the original 1661 edition, rather a version reprinted some 300 years later in 1961 by the National Society for Clean Air. 

We have two of the 1961 reprinted editions. One, the bound volume I mentioned above, has a dedication on the flyleaf to a Dr Charles Wilcocks from A. Meiklijohn. Wilcocks (b. 1896, d. 1977) was a doctor who worked in Tanzania for the British colonial medical service and later for the Bureau of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases, before contracting tuberculosis and moving back to England to continue work for the Bureau there. The Archives hold Wilcocks’ correspondence, which has been described in another blogpost on this site. 

The pamphlet’s full title is Fumifugium, or, The inconveniencie of the aer and smoak of London dissipated together with some remedies humbly proposed by J.E. esq. to His Sacred Majestie, and to the Parliament now assembled. Not short on verbosity, the title sets out the subject: the issue of noxious air and smoke in London. 

The pamphlet is addressed to the king of England at the time, Charles II. Its argument comes in three parts. First, Evelyn describes the good qualities of London’s air and land, outlines his worries about the smoke, and blames it on industry burning “sea-coal.” Second, he proposes a fix: that trades using sea-coal, chandlers, and butchers move downriver. No further burials should take place within the walls. Third, he suggests improving the scent by planting shrubs around the edges of the city. 

The 1961 Foreword praises Evelyn’s supposed clear-sightedness. It claims, “if there had been more men of his kind, then the problems of polluted air would have ended long ago.” This reading might not tell the whole story. Mark Jenner noted how Evelyn’s focus on smoke, stink, and cleansing resembles the metaphors used in contemporary discourse about the Restoration. Though he thinks it is a serious proposal, he argues that Evelyn’s scheme also aligns with the language of Charles’ supporters. It’s also notable that earlier kings had also engaged with the problem of air pollution: William M. Calvert argues Charles I, not forty years previously, had tried to curtail some industrial coal burning in London. 

The relationship between air quality and imperial power preoccupies Evelyn. A major part of his argument is that it is unfitting for a city “which commands the Proud Ocean to the Indies, and reaches the farthest Antipodes” to be filled with smoke. He compares the natural air of London favourably with that of Asia, more northerly nations, and “Aethiopia,” a Greek and Latin-influenced term for northern Africa. He claims that those other climates produce worse temperaments, listing their problems as indolence, anger, and tendency towards sickness respectively. The introduction to the 1772 edition, reprinted at the end of the 1961 edition, takes a similar view. It cites the practice of exposure in ancient Greece and Rome and (allegedly) contemporary China, arguing that the deaths of children from smoke pollution should be equally shocking to the reader. In both cases, negative assumptions about other cultures, climates, and practices underpin the rhetoric. Moreover, these are assumptions that the contemporary reader is supposed to share and which support comparisons the reader is to be motivated by in order to improve living conditions in London. The sense of English exceptionalism therefore runs alongside the desire to become even ‘better’ and less like other nations. 

This was not the first reprint of Fumifugium by the Society, who had first produced a version in 1933. There was also a separate reprint by the Royal Society in 1930, a copy of which has been digitised by the Wellcome Collection. The preface to this reprint says it was made “in accordance with a general desire reported in The Times for November 29, 1929, when an extension of power stations emitting ‘presumptuous Smoake’ in London was under discussion.”  Also, it declares that the Old Ashmolean (a University of Oxford building now housing the History of Science Museum) was no longer fit for purpose due to structural damage from chimney smoke. At the time, it was a laboratory and library. It concludes, “Both books and furnace-flue should be removed from the Old Ashmolean.” 

Overall, then, many of the reprints and new editions might have been responses to contemporary debates over air quality. That leads me to wonder whether debate and discussion over air pollution in 1960s Britain contributed to the pamphlet’s reissuing. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1956, four years after the ‘Great Smog’ covered London for five days and was later found to have killed thousands. Though air quality was gradually improving, problems still occurred: this pamphlet was published the year before the 1962 London smog again caused fatalities in the city. 

The 1961 volume also includes several evocative printed illustrations. These are absent from other editions, so were perhaps produced for the Society for Clean Air. They include this copy of a portrait of Evelyn, presumably based on either the portrait by Godfrey Kneller, now owned by the Royal Society, or the line engraving after it by Thomas Bragg, a copy of which is now at the National Portrait Gallery

There are also two illustrations of the city of London, as the artist imagined it was during Evelyn’s time. I’m particularly fond of the little human figures seen scurrying along the street in the second image. 

The pamphlet can now be found in the gallery upstairs at the Library at SCL.43 1961. Books on air pollution can be found at the shelf marks SCI-SCP. 

Further reading on Evelyn, Fumifugium, and early modern air pollution:  

  Brimblecombe, Peter. “Interest in Air Pollution Among Early Fellows of the Royal Society.” Notes and records of the Royal Society of London 32, no. 2 (1978): 123–129. 

  Cavert, William M. “The Environmental Policy of Charles I: Coal Smoke and the English Monarchy, 1624–40.” The Journal of British studies 53, no. 2 (2014): 310–333. 

  Foster, John Bellamy. “INTRODUCTION TO JOHN EVELYN’S ‘FUMIFUGIUM.’” Organization & environment 12, no. 2 (1999): 184–186. 

  Hartley, Beryl. “Exploring and Communicating Knowledge of Trees in the Early Royal Society.” Notes and records of the Royal Society of London 64, no. 3 (2010): 229–250. 

  Jenner, Mark. “The Politics of London Air. John Evelyn’s Fumifugium and the Restoration.” The Historical journal 38, no. 3 (1995): 535–551. 

  Jones, Gwilym. “Environmental Renaissance Studies.” Literature compass 14, no. 10 (2017). 

  Sherbo, Arthur. “THOMAS HOLT WHITE AND THE 1772 REPRINT OF JOHN EVELYN’S FUMIFUGIUM.Notes and queries 27, no. 1 (1980): 57–59. 

Other pamphlets on air quality in late 19th and early 20th century London: 

  Berridge, Virginia, and Suzanne. Taylor. “The Big Smoke: Fifty Years after the 1952 London Smog. Seminar Chaired by Professor Peter Brimblecombe, Held 10 December 2002 at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London”. London: Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine [and] Centre for Contemporary British History, 2005. 

  Carpenter, Alfred. On London Fogs: Addressed to All Whom They Concern, and Respectfully Dedicated to the London County Council. Croydon: Roffey & Clarke, 1890.  

  Mortality and Morbidity During the London Fog of December 1952. London, 1954.  

  Pamphlets on Smoke Pollution, Vol.1, 1885. 

  Poore, George Vivian. London Fogs, and the Lessons to Be Learnt from Them. London: Sanitary Institute, 1893. 

Mental health cannot wait. Nor does it need to.

By Courtney Sabey (School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa)

“They say that mental health doesn’t kill [a] person. But if someone suffer[s] from physical disease, they respond directly. But about mental health? Oh, can wait. Everyone still thinks that mental health can wait” -Rwandan NGO representative


Mental health is gaining traction in global health policy, as evidenced by its inclusion in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (Goal 3, target 3.4), and is currently one of the most significant and pressing issues in global public health. Despite this, physical health continues to be at the forefront of many public health policies and primary health care services while mental health remains underfunded. Notably, the World Health Organization recently reported a global shortfall in investment in mental health at a time where there is an ever-increasing need for mental health services and support. This failure by policy and decision makers to prioritize mental health sends the message that mental health needs can wait. This message is often relayed in countries that have experienced violent conflict, as rebuilding the country and taking care of physical injuries generally takes precedence. In response to this, I pose two questions: 1) Can mental health wait? and 2) Does it really need to?

Rwanda, a small landlocked country located in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa, has proven that mental health does not need to wait and that it does not need to be an “either/or”  decision between physical and mental health. Rwanda experienced a devastating genocide in 1994 in parallel to a civil war that began in the early 1990s. One year following the conclusion of the genocide and the coinciding civil war, the country began implementing a national mental health policy. My recently published study researched the implementation of the country’s revised 2012 mental health policy to analyze the process of mental health reform in a post-conflict, post-genocide, and low-income country. While the research does not evaluate the results of the policy, it provides an inside look at the dynamics of mental health reform in a complex setting.

Managing an emergency in post-genocide Rwanda

Rwanda’s mental health policy was developed in response to what some local research participants referred to as a “mental health emergency”, as the extensive violence led to widespread trauma and other mental health challenges among the population. The policy was based primarily on the strategies of decentralization and integration of mental health care into the primary health care system and relied on the training of generalists.

My study found that as a result of the policy, today nearly every health centre and hospital in the country offers some degree of mental health care, with the costs of most services covered for enrolled members by the national community-based health insurance scheme. In addition, the majority of community health workers are trained in mental health and the national university has a thriving clinical psychology program. The Rwandan government also conducted a national epidemiological survey on the prevalence rates of mental illness and mental health service utilization in the country in order to inform policy implementation. These efforts are complimented by specialized hospitals, private practices, and non-governmental organizations who offer various services and programs.

Rwanda was able to reach these successes and implement integrated mental health care throughout the country without sacrificing physical health nor any of its other post-conflict development goals. However, this is not to say that this was an easy feat or that the country has not faced any challenges or criticisms throughout implementation.

Challenges of mental health policy implementation in Rwanda: Efficiency vs Efficacy

In addition to challenges such as stigma and lack of human and financial resources, my research found one of the greatest gaps to be that the implementation of the mental health policy focuses on individualized and institutionalized treatment. This was not considered suitable in a community-based culture. Stakeholders also pointed to a lack of collaboration between government implementers and those working on the ground level, with many feeing that the implementation was siloed and top-down. This finding raises questions about how to successfully implement a progressive health policy in an authoritarian country.

In many ways, authoritarianism appears to have aided implementation in that the government can quickly and efficiently enact change and carry out orders. However, that change is not always what the population wants or needs, and in the case of institutionalization, can also infringe on the basic human rights of ordinary people. Despite this, numerous non-governmental organizations appeared to be filling in a gap by providing community-based programs and advocating for more community-based care from the government side. Whether or not the government will adapt its approach based on this feedback remains to be seen.


Indeed, Rwanda has come a long way since the days where people suffering from mental health conditions were chained by their families or placed in prisons and treated as criminals – practices that still take place throughout the world. However, the country still has a long way to go, and while authoritarianism may speed up the process, it’s unlikely to produce better results. Despite this, its early successes have shown that it is possible to prioritize mental health in a complex setting, even with scarce resources and other urgent national priorities.

Previous studies have already demonstrated that addressing mental health cannot wait if we want to promote healthy and thriving societies. The case of post-genocide Rwanda, as showcased through this process tracing study, proves that it does not need to wait. The challenges Rwanda has faced, as well as its successes, can also provide many valuable lessons for other countries looking to prioritize mental health.

Image credit: Courtney Sabey