How to prevent epidemics: an optimist’s blog

  “The optimist is someone who believes the future is uncertain.” Leo Szilard   When I first studied epidemiology several decades ago, a story made the rounds that was supposed to make us feel that we were smart. If an old man came into a medical clinic with diarrhoea, the doctor would treat it. If…

Ebola: identifying the true game-changers

Compared to this time last year, news about Ebola is hugely more encouraging. Although not over, the number of new cases per week tends to be in single figures instead of the hundreds. Out of the tragedy there have been some awe-inspiring achievements, such as the recent news that a vaccine had proven 100% effective…

Reports on climate change and health forecast gloomy future but ‘no-regret’ options may save the day

Ever since climate change became an issue of concern there have been questions about the possible impacts on health. This month, two landmark reports have been released, both of which emphasise that a warmer, wetter world may well be a sicker one. Together with Victor Galaz, professor of politics at the Stockholm Resilience Institute and…

Addressing Resistance to Antibiotics

There is growing international concern about the threat to public health of the emergence and spread of bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics. An effective response must invest in both the development of new drugs and measures to slow the emergence of resistance. A new Working Paper from the STEPS Centre and Future Health Systems, Addressing…

A new tool to prepare for zoonotic surprise

A new website from the STEPS-led Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium illustrates how scenarios modelling can provide a new and vital new tool in the global health community’s toolkit. The site, at www.diseasescenarios.org, explores how this multidisciplinary approach can help shed light on the complex processes at play in determining disease risk – and…

Watch video: ‘India’s Risks’ book launch

You can now watch video of the launch event of the book ‘India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values’. The video features contributions from Professor M V Rajeev Gowda, Honorable Member of Parliament and Prof Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director. The launch event was held at the British Council in…

Major new research project on animal-to-human disease transmission

The ESRC STEPS Centre has begun work on a major, international research project exploring the factors that drive animal-to-human (‘zoonotic’) disease transmission in Tanzania, with the aim of informing new strategies for disease control and elimination. Anthropologist Dr. Linda Waldman, a member of the STEPS Centre, will be undertaking the social science element, including participatory…

Melissa Leach on Ebola & inequality – lecture text & audio

Some materials are now available from the recent Sussex Development Lecture on Equality, Sustainability, Security: Interlaced challenges in a global development era by former STEPS Director Melissa Leach. The text is available to download below as a PDF, and you can listen to Melissa’s lecture online, courtesy of the Institute of Development Studies. In the…

Ebola: difficult questions for development

As the horrific Ebola crisis unfolds across West Africa, and the international community belatedly responds, there are some bigger questions that arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. These are worth raising and discussing, as they challenge our understanding of ‘development’ as framed and practised over the last few decades in fundamental ways. The…

Complex Adaptive Systems & health: new resources

In June 2014, Future Health Systems (FHS) and the STEPS Centre co-hosted a workshop exploring Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) approaches to health systems strengthening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). FHS and STEPS are particularly concerned with policies, programs, and individual level interventions promote and protect people’s health and wellbeing, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. The…