1970s illustration of two heads facing each other with cut out section showing cogs

Post-normal pandemics: Why COVID-19 requires a new approach to science

Guest post by David Waltner-Toews1, Annibale Biggeri2, Bruna De Marchi3, Silvio Funtowicz3, Mario Giampietro4,5, Martin O’Connor6,7, Jerome R. Ravetz8, Andrea Saltelli3,9 and Jeroen P. van der Sluijs3,10 READ THIS ARTICLE IN SPANISH: See alternative translations published by Democracia Sur and our partners Bioleft. In addressing pandemics, science has never seemed more needed and useful, while…

UK press conference

Science, uncertainty and the COVID-19 response

One of the abiding images of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK has been the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, looking nervous and uncomfortable, flanked by his scientific advisors at the regular press conferences. With three white men in suits in a wood-panelled room, the aim presumably was to project a sense of control and…

Going deeper with value chain analysis: understanding power relations for animal disease control in Myanmar

Value chain analysis is already praised as a powerful tool for animal disease control. International organisations such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) routinely conduct value chain analyses to understand where animals are distributed, and who is involved in managing, moving, processing and purchasing them. In this way, policymakers and practitioners can track…

Poster with text: Eradicate Measles

Measles, MMR and vaccines: where do vaccine anxieties come from?

Measles and vaccines are back in the news. The UK has lost its measles-free status, according to Public Health England. The Guardian reports that about 30,000 children are starting primary school next month with no protection against measles, mumps and rubella, while 90,000 have had only the first of the two vaccines necessary for protection….

Butcher in Arusha, Tanzania

Enhancing red meat safety through ‘street-level diplomacy’ in Tanzania

Rising meat consumption in Tanzania – and indeed across low- and middle-income countries – presents new challenges and opportunities for health and development and we have been considering these as part of our social science input into the ZELS-funded ‘Hazards Associated with Zoonotic enteric pathogens in Emerging Livestock’ (HAZEL) meat pathways project, part of the…

Choreographed Consensus: The stifling of dissent at CRISPRcon 2019

by Saurabh Arora (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Barbara van Dyck (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Alejandro Argumedo (Asociación ANDES) and Tom Wakeford (ETC Group) Last week, we attended the annual CRISPRcon hosted by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. The conference was marketed as a not-for-profit event offering ‘a unique forum in which a broad selection of diverse voices…

Antimicrobial resistance and behaviour: an interview with Ayako Ebata

Agricultural economist Dr Ayako Ebata was interviewed in The AMR Studio, a podcast dedicated to interdisciplinary research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR) produced by Uppsala  University. Dr Ebata specialises in value chain analysis and as part of her work for the Myanmar Pig Partnership she is considering value chains in the context of antimicrobial resistance and…

Learning from crises: state-citizen relations in the time of cholera

The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2008 was the worst ever recorded in Africa. There were nearly 100,000 infections and some 4,300 deaths. The disease swept through the crowded urban areas in particular, and spilled across the borders to neighbouring countries. The deadly bacterium caused illness and death, but also new forms of politics in…

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Democratizing public health and urban sustainability: how can nexus framings be useful?

By Saurabh Arora (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK) and Leandro Giatti (SPH, USP, Brazil) Public health and urban sustainability are inextricably linked. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized this, drawing attention to the critical interdependence of the UN’s third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – ‘good health and well-being’ – with ‘sustainable cities and communities’ and…

People praying in

Why politics has to be at the heart of any response to zoonoses

World Zoonoses Day, on July 6 every year, is a reminder of the continuing problem of emerging diseases, particularly those originating in animals. Zoonoses have dominated policy debates in the past years – from SARS to avian influenza to Ebola. There have been calls to control ‘at source’ and stamp out such diseases through a…