Month: July 2018

Finding and treating hepatitis C in vulnerable groups

World Hepatitis Alliance/NOHep Viral Hepatitis is a major cause of mortality worldwide, with an estimated 1.3 million deaths each year. While effective vaccines exist for Hepatitis A and B, such a vaccine has yet to be developed for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV); instead treatment of the disease relies on antiviral medication. A major challenge, then, is ensuring the patients who need these antivirals are identified. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of people with HCV do not know they are infected. Even if patients are found, they are often among the most marginalized and...

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The crystal ball: predicting the next outbreak

Hollywood films and TV programs have somewhat glamorized and perhaps even trivialized the impact of disease outbreaks, often implying a simple serum put together in the space of the film could cure all cases of a disease. In reality, infectious diseases such as malaria, bubonic plague and flu have beleaguered humanity all through our history, stretching the resources of often the poorest regions and are certainly not so easy to contain or cure. In this modern age, with medical advances and technology, we would expect to be seeing a decrease in disease outbreaks. Indeed elimination programs, better public understanding...

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From competition to collaboration: a global NHS

The NHS is synonymous with Britain, yet almost 15% of its workforce are originally from outside of the UK. It has always been so. In 1949, during its first full year of operating, the NHS launched a mass recruitment of health workers in the Caribbean. By 1962, over 10,000 medical students had been recruited from abroad. Quintessentially British the NHS may be, but it is profoundly shaped by the contribution made by overseas health workers and don’t we know it. When the government temporarily imposed visa restrictions on the recruitment of doctors from India last month everyone, from The...

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Risk and hardship on the way to Europe: what makes women migrants vulnerable in EU borderlands?

This blog has been cross-posted from the SpringerOpen blog. The recent diplomatic battle over the ship Aquarius, carrying over 600 migrants rescued from drowning off the Libyan coast in early June 2018 only to be denied disembarkation in both Malta and Italy, is a stark reminder of how, several years into the so-called European crisis of migration, political battles centered on numbers take the focus away from the concrete reality of desperate crossings into southern Europe. The data we gathered on their daily life and their struggle to continue their journeys document the circumstances that rendered them vulnerable to...

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Quo vadis blockchain in health and healthcare?

The last couple of years have seen a growing interest in blockchain technologies among the health and healthcare research and practice communities. Blockchain is the core distributed ledger technology powering the well-known bitcoin cryptocurrency. However, the interest of our communities in blockchain goes far beyond bitcoin. In March 2018, a consortium of scholarly publishers, including Springer Nature, launched Phase 1 of Blockchain for Peer Review “to make the peer review process more transparent, recognisable and trustworthy.” Earlier, in 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started experimenting with blockchain for sharing public health data to help...

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