TOWARDS A GLOBAL HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
Brief summary of an event to report progress on the development of this institute and to share ideas about its development.
(The event was held in the afternoon of Thursday, 16th October, 2014, at the Turner Simms Hall, Southampton)
Introduced by Prof. Judith Petts, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, the proposed institute was seen as building on the interdisciplinary working engendered by the Population Health University of Southampton Research Group.
The Professor of Global Health, Prof. Marie-Louise Newell, could see how the physical entity of an institute would help to pull together the many pieces of research being carried out by the university, provide visibility for global health research, enable it to develop its own distinct research portfolio and generally bring together the expertise that there is across the university and the hospital. It would also provide a base for the new MSc in Global Health which might begin in 2015. There is still a considerable amount to be organised, but the aim is to have a firm proposal together for the University Strategic Investment Fund by the end of March, 2015.
Vignettes of current work being carried out included :
HIV/AIDS : 35.3 million adults and children have this disease worldwide, but prevalence varies between countries ranging fro 0.1% to 28%. Most of the disease is in Sub-Saharan Africa. The effectiveness of interventions focused on couples rather than individuals was described. (Prof. Nuala McGrath)
TB : Is a disease of poverty with 1.4 million people globally being killed by it each year with a growing problem of drug resistance. The disease behaves differently in people with HIV with less cavity formation, probably related to enzyme differences. It is hoped that it will be possible to develop near patient testing for TB in the near future. (Dr Paul Edington)
Spacial Geography : With the growth in computer capacity and the ability to use many more data sources (including those from mobile phones), special geography has become a powerful tool in displaying epidemiological information. This is particularly important with the volume and speed of travel across the world, with increased ability to identify likely sources of imported infections and increased ability to focus resources. (Dr Andy Tatum).
Ethics : Global health is to do with the organised global efforts to improve the health of the population. Associated issues raised by this include answers to questions like “What makes my behaviour your business?” and thus what the role of states is in the health of their populations and what responsibility do private unelected institutions e.g. the food industry have for the health of populations (Dr John Coggan).
A panel made up of many who would be involved in developing the thinking for the new institute gave its perceptions of the benefits of an institute and comments were contributed from the audience.
In his closing remarks, Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice Chancellor for the University, saw a very positive future for the Global Health Research Institute. It was important that the whole became more than the sum of its parts and he could see how it could play an important contribution to fulfilling the mission of the university, which is to “Change the World for the Better”.
Back to Wessex Universities