X Close

Events

Home

UCL events news and reviews

Menu

UCL-Lancet Commission: Shaping Cities for Health

news editor6 June 2012

Jessica Lowrie, UCL Communications & Marketing intern.

By 2030, globally, three in five people will live in cities. Despite the perception that city living provides an ‘urban advantage’ over those who live in rural areas, those who live in poor urban areas can often have worse health outcomes than wealthier city residents, but also in comparison to rural dwellers.

Urban and economic growth will not automatically create an ‘urban advantage’ – public policy is needed to maintain and improve conditions to allow for such an advantage to exist.

Healthy cities
This concept was the foundation for an event held by the UCL-Lancet Commission on 30 May to launch their high-profile report on Healthy Cities, published on the same day.

The report was the second from the UCL-Lancet Commission, recognising the valued commitment from both organisations to UCL’s Grand Challenges (Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing).

The well-organised and insightful event began with introductions from Professor David Price (UCL Vice-Provost – Research) and Professor Richard Horton (Editor, the Lancet).

Professor Yvonne Rydin (UCL Bartlett School of Planning), lead author of the report, then embarked on a comprehensive overview of the report and its main findings.

Professor Rydin explained that the report aimed “to understand how better health outcomes can be delivered through interventions in urban environments in cities across the world”.

Certain components of a healthy city seem obvious: good water and sanitation infrastructures, clean air, uncontaminated land, safe homes, opportunities for safe and active mobility and effective green infrastructure.

(more…)

“Lives are on the line”: TB research can’t survive without the Global Fund

news editor2 April 2012

TB research has changed over the past 10 years. Growing collaborations have led to huge advancements in testing and treatment for a disease that kills every 20 seconds.

But this progress is threatened by reduced financing of health programmes by the Global Fund, which accounts for two-thirds of global TB funding, leaving money only for ‘essentials’.

“Lives are on the line,” said Simon Logan, a policy advisor from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Tuberculosis, who is now urging the public to engage in dialogue about the potential impact that Global Fund restrictions will have on the disease.

The challenge of TB
World TB Day, held on 24 March, marks 130 years since Robert Koch discovered the bacteria responsible for the disease. The ‘UCL ‘Local and global’ TB conference last week coincided with a TB supplement in the Journal of Infectious Diseases – this year, the focus is paediatric TB. There are major challenges to tackling the disease and many are particular to children. These include under-reporting of cases, diagnostic difficulties and the need for better quality drugs.

(more…)

A widening European health divide…it’s enough to drive you to drink

news editor28 February 2012

Far from ‘closing the gap’ in life expectancy, health inequalities in Europe have deepened further. Drawing upon his forthcoming review of health inequalities in Europe, Michael Marmotargued that social inequalities, with their impact on life expectancy, should be at the top of the public agenda and we should place fairness at the heart of decision-making for health.

Integral to Marmot’s work is the graded relationship between social deprivation and a multitude of health outcomes. He reports that male life expectancy in the Russian Federation is 20 years less than in Iceland, but also highlights “huge differences within countries” and that “the gradient is increasing”.

Alcohol use: a cause or consequence of inequality?
What is driving the social gradient in health? Panel member Christopher Gerry stressed that “Alcohol matters”, and quoting Richard Peto said: “More than half of all deaths of people of working age in Russia are caused by alcohol.” But importantly, Gerry identified alcohol as just the proximate cause: “What makes people drink in the way that they do is the real question.”

Marmot was quick to distinguish between immediate causes and the underlying psychosocial mechanisms that drive unhealthy behaviours. In the case of Russia: “Some people are utterly convinced that alcohol plays a role, the main role” in health inequalities. But he disagreed, while acknowledging its role in violent deaths.

(more…)