8 episodes

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Check BBC

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7, 60 Ratings

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

    Women’s reproductive rights threatened by Covid

    Women’s reproductive rights threatened by Covid

    The Covid-19 pandemic is threatening to undermine 20 years of progress in improving women’s reproductive health and rights around the world, according to the Guttmacher Institute in New York. The Institute’s president Herminia Palacio explains the threats to Claudia Hammond, and also the benefits to female and child health of expanding the provision of modern contraception methods to the millions of women whose needs are currently not met.

    The BBC News Global Health Correspondent Naomi Grimley updates Claudia on the latest figures and developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

    Marijke Peters reports on the London medical student Malone Mukwende who is campaigning to improve the UK medical profession’s knowledge and appreciation of how different conditions manifest differently between different ethnic groups. It began when he found that his medical text books only described the appearance of skin diseases on white skin.

    Claudia’s guest this week is Boston University epidemiologist Professor Matthew Fox who talks about a rare epidemiological study on the risks of catching the coronavirus on flights, how the pandemic may undermine malaria control in sub Saharan Africa and a drug that may prevent influenza spreading in families.

    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker
    Editor: Deborah Cohen

    (Picture: A doctor shows women an IUD while educating them about their reproductive health and family planning options at a mobile clinic in Besakoa, Madagascar. Photo credit: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post/Getty Images.)

    • 27 min
    Choirs and Covid

    Choirs and Covid

    Choirs have been at the centre of several outbreaks of coronavirus, in Berlin and Washington for example. After the Amsterdam Mixed Choir in the Netherlands performed Bach's St John Passion in March, 102 out of the 130 choristers became ill, several needed intensive care and one died. We tend to assume it's the singing itself that's the problem, but do we know that for sure? Margaret McCartney explores that question with Professor Jackie Cassell, a specialist in sexually transmitted infections and public health, and keen singer.

    Deaths from Covid among children are extremely rare, but the numbers in Indonesia have been higher than in other countries. More than a hundred children have died. Callistasia Wijaya from the BBC Indonesia Service tells Claudia why some children seem to be a risk.

    BBC Medical Correspondent James Gallagher joins Claudia to discuss the global picture of the pandemic this week, including the number of cases in Iran, Mexico and US. James also talks about the Russian vaccine, faster testing for the virus and looking for it in sewage.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Editor: Deborah Cohen

    Main Image: People singing in a Choir. Credit: Getty Images

    • 27 min
    Covid testing cuts Apache death rate

    Covid testing cuts Apache death rate

    It’s six months since the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. There are now a quarter of a million new confirmed cases every day and the total now stands at more than 16.5 million. We hear from the WHO’s Dr Margaret Harris about how cases are still rising fast in the United States, Brazil and India – and that even where there has been a drop in cases, testing and tracing should still continue in case of a spike in the number of infections.

    The White Mountain Apache community in rural Arizona saw its first case of Covid on 1st April. Dr Ryan Close explains how 'test, track and trace' has resulted in 25% fewer deaths in tribal members than in other parts of the state, even though indigenous populations often have poorer health outcomes.

    In the Chilean capital Santiago many neighbourhoods have been in quarantine since mid-March, making it one of the longest lockdowns of the whole pandemic. Restrictions are now easing in some places, but many of the 16% of the population who have disabilities feel they have been overlooked during lockdown.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Paula McGrath

    (Picture: A sign warns against the Covid-19 virus near the Navajo Indian nation town of Tuba City, Arizona. Photo credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.)

    • 27 min
    What’s behind a drop in premature births during lockdown?

    What’s behind a drop in premature births during lockdown?

    Early results from potential vaccines against Covid-19 have shown that they do trigger an immune response. Astra Zeneca’s vaccine created by Oxford University and the Ad5 vaccine from China both adapt a harmless virus with a coronavirus “spike protein” which they hope will train the body’s immune system. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines both inject the coronavirus’s genetic code. The scientists in Oxford hope further trials in Brazil and the US where there are still high levels of infection could help to show if their vaccine could stop people from becoming infected.

    During lockdown a doctor in Limerick in Ireland noticed that the number of babies being born very early had dropped dramatically. A similar pattern was noticed in the Danish city of Copenhagen – where the number of babies born before 28 weeks fell by 90%. Now experts across the world want to see whether less stress, lower pollution or less exposure to infectious diseases could play a role.

    When did you last swim the sea or take a walk by a lake? Just being in a green space benefits our mental health. But psychologists are now discovering that there is something extra-special about being close to water.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Paula McGrath

    (Picture: A nurse carries a premature baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Burnley General Hospital, UK. Photo credit: Hannah McKay/Reuters.)

    • 27 min
    Incredible tale of Covid family survival in Spain

    Incredible tale of Covid family survival in Spain

    We hear how three generations of one Spanish family all survived Covid infections - including a 96 year old grandmother. 27-year-old Pau from Barcelona fell ill 3 months ago and he, his mother, father and grandmother all ended up in hospital - with only the cat left at home. The experience has had a huge impact on all of them and their recovery is slow.

    People are admitted to hospital with Covid mainly because they have difficulty breathing – and oxygen can help. But in many hospitals in low and middle income countries, oxygen is in short supply. The Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Malawi’s second city Blantyre, has just opened its own oxygen concentration plant which can produce a million litres a day.
    We hear from a doctor about the obstacles they overcame to install the oxygen plant.

    During the Cold War a non-toxic antiseptic was developed to clean Soviet spacecraft. These days Miramistin is only used in some parts of Russia and Ukraine. A partnership between scientists in Manchester and Kiev could help to focus efforts on promoting research into the substance which can be used on surfaces and directly on skin to combat bacteria, viruses and fungi.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Paula McGrath

    Main Image: A coronavirus (Covid 19) patient is seen at the COVID-19 IFEMA Hospital on April 23, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

    • 27 min
    Coronavirus update

    Coronavirus update

    As South Africa goes into lockdown what measures are they taking?

    Plus big data in Taiwan and a round-up of drug trials, antibody testing and low cost ventilators.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Geraldine Fitzgerald

    (Image: Microscopic view of influenza virus cells. Photo credit: Panorama Images/Getty Images.)

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
60 Ratings

60 Ratings

incognito82 ,

Great show

I love it

dettifoss ,

The world's health briefing

The podcast is very professionally presented, with reports on issues in world health - literally tackling issues and bringing news from every corner of the globe - followed by a studio discussion with a healthcare professional (usually a doctor, but occasionally a journalist specializing in health).
Note: this is serious journalism, not faddy health infotainment.
I am a better person for listening to Health Check: more knowledgeable and more thoughtful.

minarcik ,

Highly recommended

Claudia Hammond, you rock! Thank you for the awesome podcast :)

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