New BRIGHT Research Station in Ugu South Africa

After a generous donation  of buildings by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria we opened the new BRIGHT Rural Research Centre in the presence of dignitaries from the Ugu Department of Health, and University of KwaZulu-Natal – Public Health /  Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ugu Hospitals, Oslo University Hospital (Norway) and University of Agder (Norway). The BRIGHT Rural Research Centre will provide training for PhD and Masters Students who will contribute to the work rural health problems. BRIGHT will facilitate interaction between researchers and implementers (policy makers and local departments) to allow for research that can contribute to better health . BRIGHT members have been largely from the medical profession but BRIGHT will widen its scope to encompass laboratory, education and social anthropological research. The new facilities will ensure a sustainable site for specimen storage and scientific excellence and will be the beginning of a permanent presence in the rural community. Back row from the left: Dr Busisiwe Dlamini (CEO and Medical Manager  Port Shepstone Hospital), Professor  and medical doctor Svein Gunnar Gundersen (University of Agder, Norway), Mr Carmelo Pistilli (Logistician, BRIGHT), Mr Rob  Ferreira (CEO Margate Hospital), Mr Roy Farai Manyaira (Data manager/IT, BRIGHT) 7th row: Associate Professor and Psychologist Thirusha Naidu (University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)), Dr Frank Olav Pettersen (CEO Norwegian Centre for Imported and Tropical Diseases), 6th row: Dr O Dabibi (CEO Murchison Hospital), Dr Saloshni Naidoo (Head of Department, Disci pline of Public Health, UKZN), Ms Thulisile Mkhize (Field assistant and transport, BRIGHT), Ms Sarah McKaw (CEO Margate Hospital), Ms Andile Mtshali (PhD student), Mr Edmore Mazani (Masters Student) 5th row: Dr Nonhlanhla Mbatha (Senior Lecturer Durban University... read more

Female Genital Schistosomiasis at an HIV conference

Adolescent young women are still becoming HIV positive at an alarming rate and the HIV community has classified them as a so-called “key population”. It is crucial that the HIV community also tackles Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) and it was therefore a pleasure to see the World Health Organisation (WHO) at an HIV conference talking about FGS. Dr. Catherine Sozi, UNAIDS and Dr. Meg Doherty, the WHO Coordinator for HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care in Geneva, spoke at length about FGS as a risk factor for HIV. The ICASA 2017 presentation in Abidjan may bear tidings of a new era for young adolescents living in rural... read more

The first 1000 days

“The first 1000 days: from the mother’s womb to infanthood is an important but often forgotten period of the pathway to a healthy life”. In Lancet Infectious Diseases Dr Joseph Freer and colleagues today describe the effect of schistosomiasis during the first 1000 days-the period from conception to a child’s second birthday. These days can have lifelong effects on health, because this is a crucial phase of growth and development. There is increasing recognition of the burden and potential effects of schistosomiasis in women of reproductive age and young children. Exposure to schistosomes during pregnancy can modulate infant immune development and schistosomiasis can occur from early infancy, such that the high disease burden found in adolescents is often due to accumulation of infections with long-lived schistosomes from early life. Women of reproductive age and young children are largely neglected in mass drug administration programmes, but early treatment could avert subsequent disease. We evaluate the evidence that early schistosomiasis has adverse effects on birth, growth, and development. We also discuss the case for expanding public health interventions for schistosomiasis in women of reproductive age and preschool-age children, and the need for further research to evaluate the potential of treating women pre-conception to maximise health across the life course. The Lancet Infectious Diseases: DOI:... read more
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