James Smith gives inaugural Edinburgh Infectious Diseases and Global Health Academy Winter Lecture

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases and the Global Health Academy were delighted to invite Professor James Smith, Chair of African and Development Studies and Assistant Principal of the Global Development Academy, to give their inaugural public Winter Lecture. 

The lecture was held on 12 November 2013 in the august surroundings of the Playfair Library in the Old College of the University of Edinburgh.  James discussed the “Controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases in the post-Millennium Development Goal Era”. 

About 150 guests heard James describe the global challenges of addressing neglected tropical diseases.  The audience ranged from school pupils, healthcare professionals, the members of the general public, and staff and students from across the University of Edinburgh. 

Despite over 1 billion people suffering from at least one of the 17 diseases that the World Health Organisation defines as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not specifically address the NTDs; the focus was directed towards combatting HIV / AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. 

In the context of analysing of the outputs from the MDGs, James discussed the activity within global agencies to develop ongoing strategies that will continue to reduce the enormous societal burdens caused by NTDs.   He also spoke about the need to collect meaningful data that can inform healthcare interventions in regions where this has historically been difficult; the importance of assessing whether any interventions made do indeed have the effect that was intended; and the urgency of increasing the institutional capacity of countries carrying a high NTD burden so that they become able to address their own problems, rather than relying on the input from outside assistance. 

James concluded his lecture with the message that the success of these endeavours depended on placing control these life-sapping diseases at the heart of the global development agenda.

After the lecture, Edinburgh Infectious Diseases  hosted a wine reception to which all were most welcome, and which further helped to build connections within the Edinburgh community of scientists, clinicians and social scientists pursuing solutions to these complex problems. 

If you are interested to read more about the Millennium Development Gaols and neglected tropical diseases James Smith and his co-worker Emma Michelle Taylor have just published a paper in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases:

Feedback from the audience about the lecture:

Thanks to organizers for putting together such an interesting and informative event in a beautiful historical setting. Will be interested in attending more events of this organisation.

Very well presented, with lots of different levels of information, factual, contextual, research, all nicely blended into one.

Enjoyed immensely!

Playfair library was ideal for post-lecture conversations.

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