Features

Humanitarian diagnostics for sleeping sickness in Uganda

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Map of sleeping sickness RDT availability (red dots) in the north-western region of Uganda hosting refugees from South Sudan. In 2015, the majority of refugees in this region lived in Adjumani district, where RDTs were selectively withdrawn (blue dots) because the government’s surveillance strategy was not identifying cases. Partly this was because of the social complexity of getting the RDTs

Features

Diagnostics without diagnosis: RDTs for Sleeping Sickness in Uganda

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Diagnosing sleeping sickness (also known as human African trypanosomiasis (HAT)) is complicated, requiring the alignment of clinical suspicion with serological, parasitological, and molecular confirmation to determine appropriate treatment. Previously, diagnosis was carried out by mobile lab teams which confirmed cases in village screenings and transported patients for treatment. Since cases have declined however, expensive active screening campaigns have been phased …

Books

Andrew Lakoff’s Unprepared: Global Health in a Time of Emergency

Unprepared: Global Health in a Time of Emergency

Andrew Lakoff

University of California Press, 2017. 240 pages.

 

Let us be frank: it is hard to think preparedness in the medical humanities without thinking of Andrew Lakoff. Over the ten years since the publication of his first piece on the subject (2007), Lakoff has developed, expanded and refined the critical …

Features

Diagnosing trachoma for elimination

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WHO simplified grading system for trachoma diagnosis. These photographs are reproduced with permission from the WHO Programme for the Prevention of Blindness and Deafness

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide, caused by ocular infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Trachoma is targeted for elimination as a public health problem by the year 2020. The treatment …

Features

Laboratory capacity building and the open hardware movement

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Through my work in African laboratories I am regularly made aware of the challenging equipment shortages faced by research laboratories in many low/middle-income countries (LMICs). This extends far beyond the absence of “state-of-the-art” equipment and shiny, new models regularly produced by commercial companies. These shortages include the availability of what would normally be considered ubiquitous laboratory equipment – PCR machines, …

Features

ReEBOV: Developing an Ebola rapid diagnostic test at research ground zero

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Expired ReEBOV tests in a hospital laboratory in Sierra Leone. Photograph by Ann Kelly

In June 2015, as Sierra Leone and Guinea was experiencing new surges in clusters of Ebola virus cases, Nature published a news article asking why an inexpensive test that “could save lives” was not being deployed to the field. Indeed, while it seemed obvious to many …