This year, the Global Health Policy Centre will be lobbying for change in three key areas: public access to adrenaline auto-injectors (EpiPens), socio-economic links to pollution-related ill health, and effective access to mental health education for primary school-aged children.
Studies show that the prevalence of food allergies is increasing. Peanut allergies alone have increased five-fold in the UK between 1995 and 2016. Severe allergic reactions result in anaphylaxis, at which point the drug found in EpiPens, epinephrine, is the only effective treatment. If administered promptly after the onset of an allergic reaction, they can significantly reduce the risk of fatality; therefore, individuals with serious allergies are encouraged to carry an EpiPen at all times. However, a single dose is not always sufficient in bridging the treatment gap before a person reaches the hospital and a second or third dose may be required. Furthermore, individuals with severe allergies may not always carry an EpiPen or carry enough to sufficiently combat their reaction before they can receive proper treatment. To address this, we will campaign for easy access to epinephrine auto-injectors in public spaces in a similar mode to defibrillators and endeavour to increase public knowledge on identifying and helping individuals suffering from anaphylaxis.
Throughout the year, we will also research the correlation between air pollution, poor ventilation, and respiratory problems, with an emphasis on the ways in which these issues intersect with socio-economic factors. Responding to evidence that the most vulnerable in society are also those living in the most polluted areas and in housing with poor ventilation, we will research and evaluate the ways in which we can minimise further entrenchment of health inequality in modern society.
Lastly, in response to growing concerns for child mental health, we will evaluate the accessibility of mental health resources and education for children ages 6-12. The Mental Health Foundation has found that 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health problems. Yet, 70% of these children have not had appropriate interventions at an early enough age. Studies by the Centre for Mental Health have found that a lack of mental health support before secondary school can have a long-term impact on a person’s mental health and affect his or her ability to succeed in the future. In order to mitigate this issue, we will propose the creation of a Mental Health Toolkit that will easily translate into a series of lessons for primary school age children. Alongside Physical Education, these lessons will educate children on mental wellbeing and better equip them to manage their own mental health. These lessons will not only destigmatise mental illness, but also offer a safe space in which children can learn about risk factors and coping strategies. With the World Health Organisation finding that 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems in their lifetime, educating children at a young age should be a priority, and this year we will address this and attempt to affect real change to better support children’s health.
At the Global Health Policy Centre we welcome any ideas or contributions you may have and would like to encourage you to join the debate on these topics. If you are interested in participating in our work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Director, Global Health Policy Centre
Our Policy Centre:
I am a final stage graduate medical student and a practicing clinical pharmacist with a strong interest in global health. I am particularly invested in the path towards an equitable distribution of resources worldwide and the policy changes required to achieve this, on both national and international levels.
I am a second year Business Management student from Singapore, passionate about the destigmatisation of mental illnesses around the world. I believe societal changes driven by active policy making can help improve the holistic wellbeing of the population at large.
I am a final stage medical student with an iBSC in Regenerative Medicine and Innovation Technology, as well as project managing a novel medical device fully funded by the NIHR over three years. One of my interests lies in how medical research can translate into guideline or policy changes influencing patient care globally.
Pedra Rabiee is final year medical student at King’s College London, interested in health systems and medical education. She has previously interned at WHO East Mediterranean Regional Office.
Our Working Group:
I’m a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral and Craniofacial Sciences. Aside from stem cells and dental research, I have a keen interest in Global Health Policy. I believe that access to health education can dramatically improve health and wellness in a larger number of communities across different geographies. This is more relevant now than ever before, with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective global policies for health education/awareness and equitable distribution of healthcare resources are paramount to our tackling this unprecedented crisis.
I am a second year International Development student. I am particularly interested in global health as I have conducted research regarding HIV/AIDS in Uganda in the past. Additionally, I am working on ongoing research projects in this field.
Lhachi Kunzang Seldon
I am a third year Political Economy student from Bhutan. I am interested in issues of sanitation and disease control in developing and underdeveloped nations and how wealth inequalities affect resource availability to combat these problems.
I am a final year graduate medical student with an active interest in global health and health policy. I am particularly interested in vaccine hesitancy and communicable diseases.