25 episodes

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Chec‪k‬ BBC

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 62 Ratings

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

    Africa’s blood shortage

    Africa’s blood shortage

    We’re looking at why levels of blood donation in Africa are so low compared with other parts of the world. From Nigeria we hear about hospitals having to ask patients and family members to give blood to ensure there is enough for their relatives if they require treatment. From Somalia we look at how the continuing violence and unrest has brought into sharp focus the need for an organised system of blood donation – currently there is only one donor centre – for the whole country, run by volunteers. And in Kenya we meet people who refuse blood transfusions, believing they might take on the characteristics of the person donating the blood. Health workers and religious leaders are coming together to try to change these beliefs.
    Presented by Priscilla Ngethe with contributions from Bella Sheegow, Charles Mgbolu and Dayo Yusuf.
    (Picture: People donating blood in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 26 min
    Long Covid: solving the mysteries

    Long Covid: solving the mysteries

    Health Check discusses Long Covid with Nishi Chaturvedi, professor clinical epidemiology at University College London, and Dr Shamil Haroon, family doctor and public health researcher at the University of Birmingham. They’ve both begun big research projects on what Long Covid is, what causes it and how best to treat patients. We also hear from two people whose lives have transformed for the worse by the syndrome.

    Claudia talks to Professor Gagandeep Kang who has delivered a keynote talk at this week’s Commonwealth Science Conference. Her theme was how the world’s scientists were able to develop multiple coronavirus vaccines so quickly. She says the global health community were determined to learn the lessons from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 to 2016. Professor Kang is one of India’s leading vaccinologists, based at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. Claudia also asks her about the latest coronavirus infection rate in India and why the mortality rate has been much lower there than in many other countries.

    Dr Ann Robinson is Claudia’s guest of the week, talking about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, how research on Long Covid may benefit many more than those who have it, and a ketamine nasal spray for the treatment of severe depression.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

    (Picture: Ill woman with purple face mask coughing, lying down and resting. Photo credit: Ruslan Dashinsky/Getty Images.)

    • 35 min
    Sexual health, Covid-19 vaccines

    Sexual health, Covid-19 vaccines

    We’re looking at a health issue that disproportionately affects black women - Uterine fibroids. These are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. There is little research on what causes fibroids or how to prevent them.
    Azeezat Olaoluwa, BBC News Women’s Affairs journalist based in Lagos, has been investigating.

    And the findings from a small study in South Africa on a leading Covid-19 vaccine have led to questions over its effectiveness. This one offers the most promise for Africa as it doesn’t need to be kept at super low temperatures. There are still plans to roll out this vaccine across Africa, though South Africa is now looking for alternatives. Rhoda Odhiambo has been looking into what it all means.
    Presented by Priscilla Ngethe.

    • 26 min
    Covid surge in Mozambique

    Covid surge in Mozambique

    Claudia talks to Dr Lucia Chambal at the Central Hospital of Maputo in Mozambique. She is helping to coordinate the response of the country’s largest hospital to an ongoing surge in new Covid patients. In the last three weeks, they’ve had to create more than new 150 beds to accommodate these patients, including erecting large tents to act as Covid wards in the hospital grounds. Dr Chambal talks about the pressures, saying they’ve admitted many more patients since January than during the entire period between last March and December.

    A study at New York hospital has revealed the substantial benefits of giving mobilising physiotherapy to hospitalised Covid-19 patients. In the first months of the pandemic at the Montefiore Medical Center when patient numbers dramatically increased, some patients received physiotherapy while others didn’t because of a lack of PPE for therapists. Looking back at the fate of both groups of patients, the hospital has now found that the survival rate of those getting the therapy was twice that of those who didn’t. What makes that result particularly interesting is the people who were given physical therapy were on average older and more likely to have risky health conditions. Yet their chances of survival were higher because of the therapy.

    Is coconut oil an amazing superfood or an overhyped food fad? Africa Life Clinic’s Dayo Yusif reports from coconut heaven on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast.

    BBC Health and Science correspondent James Gallagher is Claudia’s studio guest, talking about evidence from Israel that the vaccination programme there is reducing the spread of the coronavirus in the population: whether the drug Budesonide in asthma inhalers prevents Covid illness development: and whether there is such a thing as a superfood.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker


    (Picture: A woman walks with her daughter in Maputo, Mozambique in February 2021. Photo credit: Alfredo Zuniga/AFP/Getty Images.)

    • 32 min
    Superbugs and superfoods

    Superbugs and superfoods

    Infections caused by germs which have become resistant to the medicines used to treat them pose a great threat to people’s health, as curable diseases become untreatable. Unregulated medicine dispensation and improper cleaning and sanitation at hospitals can all contribute to the spread of resistant germs. Overuse of antibiotics in animal rearing can also contribute, although this is less prevalent in Africa. Professor Joachim Osur and Dr John Kiiru explain.

    Many claims have been made about the potential health benefits of coconut oil. The oil is used widely in cooking and for hair, skin and healthcare. Dayo Yusuf travelled to Mombasa, Kenya, to investigate how coconut oil is produced and explore the nutritional facts and fiction.

    Priscilla Ngethe discusses these issues with BBC Africa Health Editor Anne Mawathe and reporter Dayo Yusuf.

    • 26 min
    Covid vaccines: bad news, good news

    Covid vaccines: bad news, good news

    The South African government has decided to pause its roll-out of the Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccine because of disappointing results of the vaccine’s effectiveness against the most common variant in the country in a trial of young people. And is there any good evidence from trials elsewhere that this vaccine reduces the chances of people spreading the coronavirus to others, as well as preventing severe illness and death? How do you test whether a vaccine prevents or reduces transmission of the coronavirus? Claudia’s regular guest epidemiologist Professor Matt Fox of Boston University discusses the issues.

    Claudia talks to two ovarian cancer specialists, Dorothy Lombe in Zambia and Georgia Funtes Cintra in Brazil about the challenges and success stories in providing treatment and care for women with this kind of cancer. The Global Cancer Coalition Network has released a report documenting the worsening situation in cancer care in 104 countries because of the coronavirus pandemic. Dorothy and Georgia tell us how the disruption has affected their patients.

    As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial gets underway, reporter Alison van Diggelen looks at social science research on political polarisation in US society, and an experiment run by Stanford University to heal divisions.

    Does a frequent intake of spicy food influence a person’s risk of developing cancers of the gut? Studies to date have been inconclusive but now a massive study following 500,000 people comes out of China, finding that spicy food is protective. Spicy food appears to lower the risk of getting cancer of the oesophagus and, to a lesser extent, the stomach as well.

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker


    (Picture: A doctor walks in the Respiratory & Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa in July 2020. Photo credit: Luca Sola/AFP/Getty Images.)

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 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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