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BBC World Service - Health Check

Health Check

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Check

  • Chile’s vaccine roll out
    Claudia and guest Professor Matthew Fox from Boston University discuss the latest Covid-19 research this week – and there’s plenty of it! There’s new data on the variant first found in the UK, plus efficacy data just out comparing the immune responses to the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. And news from India of a so called ‘double mutant’ where two variants come together. Meanwhile the big vaccine news in the US is that they have temporarily suspended the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so much to discuss! Plus, despite an acclaimed vaccine roll out Chile is experiencing a second wave of Covid infections. This has led some to claim that vaccine roll outs aren’t making the difference we all hoped or that it’s the type of vaccine being used. Jane Chambers reports and finds that it’s more complicated – as ever! And David and Barbara got in touch with the BBC about a treatable condition that can be easily confused with dementia - Normal pressure Hydrocephalus. Finally, a study from Japan on the risk of dementia and – surprisingly - whether it has anything to do with whether there are pavements nearby. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Health workers give the Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19 at a vaccination centre in Santiago, Chile. Photo credit: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images.)

  • Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid
    Mental Health and Covid; Claudia examines a large new Lancet Psychiatry study showing that one in three people develop anxiety, depression or a neurological problem in the six months after they were ill with the virus. Ten years on from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Professor Jun Shigemura discusses whether the unseen threat of exposure to radiation can teach us anything about dealing with the hidden threat of the current Covid-19 virus. A report from Nigeria on how some people with fractures may turn to the traditional bonesetter to get their bones mended. Charles Mgbolu reports from Lagos. And diagnosing concussion: how a team at the University of Birmingham in the UK has developed a saliva test which can detect whether someone with a bang on the head during sport can safely return to the game. Professor Tony Belli explains the science behind the test. Plus Claudia’s studio guest is Graham Easton, Professor of Clinical Communication Skills at Barts and the London Medical School. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A traditional Japanese kite, bearing messages of hope by children living in Fukushima prefecture, is flown over the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba town on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the disaster. Photo credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.)

  • Can we eradicate leprosy?
    Despite the myths and fear which surround leprosy it can be treated and prevented with a short course of antibiotics. The disease is spread by a bacteria which is easily killed with these drugs. Although this stops the virus spreading it doesn’t help those who have been disfigured by the parasite, they are still viewed negatively even though they are no longer infectious. As Seydina Alioune Djigo reports, Senegal has embarked on a campaign to both treat Leprosy with drugs and educate more widely on the condition. They have also removed restrictions on those banished to former leper colonies. Also if you died would you donate your eyes to help some else see? Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha reports from Nigeria on an eye banking project there, which uses donated eyes to restore the sight of people affected by corneal blindness. However as with many forms of organ donation the practice is not widely accepted yet. Presented by Priscilla Ngethe.

  • Covid vaccines for children
    Vaccine hesitancy and Covid vaccines for Children. Claudia talks to paediatrician Dr Robert Jacobson of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA about issues of Covid vaccine hesitancy and why this issue may grow as Covid vaccines become available for children. As trials on children as young as 6 months get underway, and vaccination for children likely to be available, in some countries, from the summer/early autumn, why is vaccinating children against Covid important and what can be done to help parents overcome any hesitancy they might have? New Test to predict pre-term labour. Every year, around 15 million babies in the world are born too early. In countries such as Malawi, Pakistan and Indonesia, more than 15% of babies are premature. Not all survive and some of those that do have disabilities, which might have been preventable with simple care. The question is how to predict which pregnant women might go into labour too early. Reporter Madeleine Finlay investigates a new test using the vaginal microbiome to predict which mums might be most at risk. The first 1000 days. Claudia talks to Professor Monica Lakhanpaul about the critical first 1000 days of a baby's life and a new exhibition that hopes to highlight this key period in a child’s development. Claudia also talks to her about the idea of Reverse Innovation: lessons that richer countries can learn from poorer countries when it comes to health. We’re much more used to it being the other way round, but there are now many projects that are using techniques and ideas learnt from middle and lower income countries in providing health support to communities in the UK and other higher income countries. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Alexandra Feachem (Picture: A young boy who has just been vaccinated. Photo credit: D.Jiang/Getty Images.)

  • Working with disability
    In Senegal there are a range of measures to help people living with disabilities enter the workforce, however overcoming attitudes is still a major issue. And we look at the impact of shoes on our physical health, it’s not just feet but bones and joints in the legs and spine that can be affected by our footwear. With Khadidiatou Cisse, Saida Swaleh and Priscilla Ngethe.