January 2017 Newsletter

UCL Global Health

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Word from IGH Director
A happy new year to everyone in the UCL Global Health community and to all our partners!

The last year has been full of challenges and successes. Of the many recent successes, I am particularly pleased that Prof Sarah Hawkes has secured funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to support her work with partners in seven Asian and African countries on promoting evidence-based policies to address sugar, salt and trans-fats products, which are contributing to the global rise in non-communicable diseases.
Please join us on Thursday 16 February as we launch a new UCL centre on gender and global health to bring together multidisciplinary expertise in global health and gender.
Our centre for economics of global health and development has recently launched a new MSc course in health economics and decision science. I am delighted that we have appointed a new lecturer, Dr Neha Batura, to help run the course.
2017 will likely bring many challenges ranging from the global health policies of the Trump administration to the effects of BREXIT on UK universities. However, I remain optimistic and excited about the opportunities for the UCL Global Health community this year as we welcome the research department of infection and population health, and update our strategy for research, teaching and enterprise.

Professor Ibrahim Abubakar
Director, UCL Institute for Global Health
News & Activities

16 February 2017

UCL launches new Centre for Gender & Global Health

UCL will launch a new Centre for Gender and Global Health on Thursday 16 February 2017 at a one day event held in the university.

This exciting new centre comprises a multidisciplinary team that will conduct research and work alongside policy-makers and policy-influencers to address the complex relationships between gender norms and health status.

The launch event, which has received ESRC funding, runs from 10.00-19.00 will explore the many issues around gender as a health determinant and a key influence on health outcomes.

The event will have key note speeches in the morning, a series of panel discussions in the afternoon, and will end with a drinks reception.

Attend Centre for Gender & Global Health launch event
USA reinstates "Mexico City policy" & puts global health gains in family planning at risk
In his first week in office US President Trump has reinstated the so-called “global gag rule” also known as the Mexico City Policy, which forbids organisations that “provide or promote abortion” from receiving any US government funds.
“Promote” in this context includes providing women with information or advice on abortion in a country where it is legally available. It is not, as some claim, a ban on using US government monies to fund abortion services, as such as ban is already firmly in place since the 1970s.
Many NGOs which provide sexual and reproductive healthcare services to some of the world’s poorest women now face a difficult choice. If they agree to the US policy, then they risk failing women by not providing them with information about legal and safe abortion services, which could lead to unsafe backstreet abortions. If they refuse to go along with the policy, they risk losing significant funding used to provide much needed family planning services.
However, two countries have already responded in a positive manner to this development. The Dutch and Belgian governments have joined forces to set up an international safe abortion fund. Perhaps other countries may follow suit?

Spotlight on Pneumonia


Pneumonia, a serious infection of the lungs, is the second-leading cause of death of children aged under five worldwide (921,000 deaths per year), and a research area of IGH since 2011.
The childhood pneumonia research has been led by Dr Tim Colbourn, along with Dr Eric McCollum (now at Johns Hopkins University), Dr Carina King and Dr Bejoy Nambiar, and has received funding from the Gates Foundation and worked in collaboration with Parent and Child Health Initiative and the Ministry of Health in Malawi. Recently, this research team has published six articles on childhood pneumonia:

Impact of PCV vaccine on clinical and hypoxemic pneumonia  
A 30 month study of 30,630 cases of clinical pneumonia in various healthcare settings, which found that vaccination was associated with a decrease in the most serious forms of pneumonia and reduces hospital pneumonia mortality.

Pulse oximetry for children with pneumonia treated as outpatients

Using pulse oximetry at community health worker and first referral health centre levels can identify and refer more cases of hypoxemic pneumonia (a marker for increased mortality) than use of clinical signs alone.

Predicting child pneumonia mortality risk

In this study, a scoring system based on recorded signs and symptoms has been developed for Malawian hospitals to predict which children with pneumonia are at greatest risk of death.

Non treatment of children with fast-breathing pneumonia
Cases of community-diagnosed fast-breathing pneumonia in children in Malawi were less likely to recover without co-trimoxazole treatment, which has implications for community treatment guidelines.

Non-adherence to community antibiotic treatment

This analysis found that a concurrent infectious diagnosis, a longer illness duration, and younger age were likely to make children with fast-breathing pneumonia less adherent to community based antibiotic treatment.

Reduction of childhood mortality in Sustainable Development era

This commentary in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine summarises the state of the art and future directions for reducing global mortality from childhood pneumonia.

Ongoing and future pneumonia research

On-going childhood pneumonia work includes: The research team also hopes to undertake a trial of community health worker use of pulse oximetry to improve overall child mortality.



Metabolism and Society at UCL

A symposium on Food, Culture and Metabolic Health

Please join us for a day of presentations and discussions of our research and the ways we can collaborate to solve the metabolic issues facing our society and our planet. The Symposium takes place on Thursday, 16 February 2017, 09:00-18.30 at  the UCL Institute for Child Health, Kennedy Lecture Theatre, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH.
Register to attend


Royal Society of Medicine

Global health partnerships - buzzword or breakthrough?

The UK government wants to boost health partnerships between the UK institutions and their developing country counterparts, but do they really work, and if so how? Come and find out at this evening event on Wednesday 22 February at the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE.

Register to attend

UCL Centre for Behaviour Change & UCL Institute of Digital Health

Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change

This third conference on behaviour change and digital health takes place on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February 2017 in Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SN.  The two day conference will look at many topics including gaming, young people, physical activity, engagement, human centred design and wearable technology.

Register to attend



Institute for Global Health

HIV/AIDS NGOs transforming gender relations in South Africa

IGH’s Dr Jenevieve Mannell recently published findings from an ethnographic study of how NGOs are trying to advance gender inequalities in order to improve HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa.

The study identified 108 diverse gender-related activities and highlighted environmental factors that influence programming approaches and the vital importance of stable funding for gender and HIV prevention programmes.

NGOs transforming gender relations in South Africa

UCL Biochemical Engineering

UCL receives £14m from Gates Foundation for research into innovative vaccine manufacturing

Dr Tarit Mukhopadhyay from the Department of Biochemical Engineering is leading an innovative research project called Ultra-low cost, Transferable Automated Platform for Vaccine Manufacture (ULTRA)", which aims to make next generation vaccines for less than 15¢ a dose. UCL will be working with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Kansas and the Indian vaccine manufacturer BiologicalE. 

Innovation in vaccine manufacturing research project

Study at UCL

Learn Health Economics at UCL 


Applications are now being accepted for the new Master of Science in Health Economics and Decision Science being offered by UCL's Institute for Global Health. The course can be studied full time over one year or part time over two years. 

Listen to MSc Health Economics Course Director Dr Skordis-Worrall

This new programme spans economics, statistics and epidemiology and trains students in a field with a serious skills shortages. MSc graduates can therefore expect good employment opportunities in a number of sectors including the pharmaceutical industry, local or national government, international organisations, think tanks, consultancies or academia.

Find out more about MSc in Health Economics & Decision Science


Funding calls


UCL/Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards

The Global Engagement Office and Santander Universities are offering Research Catalyst awards for UCL academic (lecturer, senior lecturer, reader or professor) or research staff (research associate or above) to foster collaboration between UCL and universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
Awards of up to £2,500 are available to fund the cost (travel, accommodation, subsistence) of focused visits to potential research collaborators in the aforementioned Latin American countries. The visits must be organised with a specific future outcome that will support research in mind, such as a joint seminar or workshop or a collaborative funding application.
The closing date for applications is Monday 13 February at 10.00.

UCL Latin America Research Catalyst Awards

GACD call on mental health

The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) has opened its fourth research call on mental health.

The call seeks research proposals on child, adolescent and adult onset mental disorders including, but not limited to, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, alcohol and drug use disorders, etc., in low and middle income countries and/or in vulnerable populations in high income countries.

For the first time, many funding agencies will be accepting applications through a common submissions portal. The deadline is 11 April 2017.

More info on GACD mental health call


Grand Challenges/Hong Kong University Strategic Partnerships Fund

A new Strategic Partnerships Fund between UCL Grand Challenges and Hong Kong University seeks cross-disciplinary research proposals to tackle pressing issues identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or "global goals"), which cover a number of global health issues.

The Fund invites cross-disciplinary research proposals involving UCL and HKU researchers and offers awards of up to £20,000/HK$200,000. It is expected that awards will be used chiefly to support brief pilot studies, joint workshops, symposia, and travel of researchers and research students between collaborating research groups. The next deadline for proposals is 31 August 2017. 

More info on Grand Challenges/HKU Strategic Partnerships Fund
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