NeuroID course to take place in Malawi in January 2020
(added on 10th December 2019)
The University of Liverpool's NeuroID course will take place outside of the UK for just the second time following the successful staging of the 2-day course in India in July. This next international edition will be held in Blantyre, Malawi on 13th & 14th January 2020. We are excited to announce that Dr Mac Mallewa of the Malawi College of Medicine will co-host the event with Prof Tom Solomon of Liverpool University and there will also be speakers from across the BIGlobal network including Dr Priscilla Rupali of the Christian Medicine College, India; Dr V Ravi of NIMHANS, India; Dr Lucia Brito from Brazil and Dr Benedict Michael from the UK.
Over 100 budding specialists in Neurological Infectious Diseases are expected to attend the course from across Malawi. The course aims to cover all the common and important logical infections, as well some rarer conditions, with the emphasis very much on practical approaches to the problems encountered on wards and in clinic. There is also the opportunity to find out about some of the latest brain infections research taking place in different countries. A summary of progress so far on the BIGlobal study in Malawi and Brazil will be given following the start of the study in these countries in late 2019.
Brain Infections Global study implementation begins in Blantyre, Malawi
(added 2nd December 2019)
November has been an exciting month for BIGlobal. With much anticipation, the Malawi team embarked on their first few days of training for the much awaited start of the study there. Dr Bhagteshwar Singh and Gareth Lipunga (the Malawi study coordinator) travelled to the district of Chiradzulu (one of the four study sites) where they met with the newly appointed Research Assistants- Dr Madalitso Kalima and Mr Blessings Kadzuwa. Together, they went through the data collecting tools; navigating their way through patient simulations and possible scenarios they may come across.
The team were given a tour of the Chiradzulu District Hospital laboratories and wards. Various locations for screening and enrolling patients were identified by the team which readily pre-ambled the discourse for the next couple of weeks. The BIGlobal team had a chance to meet with the new District Medical Officer of Chiradzulu (Dr Raphael) who shared his keen support. During their morning handover report, where clinicians and health workers of all cadres attend, Gareth Lipunga made a presentation of the study's protocol and what they hope to achieve at the various sites. The audience seemed very keen to be involved and gave helpful comments that may assist with the future effective implementation of the study.
During December, data collection will start in earnest at the Chiradzulu district hospital site. The whole team is excited and keen to get the BIGlobal project up and running with further district hospitals to follow in the coming weeks. Experiences and lessons learned will be shared with the whole BIGlobal team at the next consortium meeting which will take place on 16th & 17th January 2020 in Malawi.
Malawi announced as host for next Brain Infections Global annual meeting in January
(added 31st October 2019)
We are delighted to announce that the Brain Infections Global annual meeting will take place in Blantyre, Malawi on 9th and 10th January 2020. By then we will be at the half way point of our project. We will be joined by our partners from the UK, Brazil and India as well as from within Malawi. There will also be representatives from our Advisory Panels. The objectives of this meeting will be to review the progress made since the last meeting held in Liverpool and to share experiences between study sites as the implementation phase gathers pace. We will also discuss plans for data analysis and project outputs.
Following the meeting, we also plan to hold the University of Liverpool's very popular NeuroID training course at the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust, following the successful edition held in Vellore, India in July.
Brain Infections Global study begins in Recife, Brazil
(added 22nd October 2019)
On 10th October 2019, we were thrilled to start the implementation of the Brain Infections Study in Recife, Brazil led by our local partner, Fiocruz. We are currently working with two hospitals in the city, Correia Picanco and Hospital da Restauracao. We began with the recruitment of study staff at each hospital and we are pleased to have brought together a very talented team to support the initial data collection phase. We are fortunate that each hospital is a specialist in neurological infectious diseases and their expertise is most welcome as we aim to build on the foundations already in place.
Our staff at each hospital will now undertake some training on how to process the consent forms and how to ask patient's permission to be included in the study. We have also been piloting the questionnaires that will be used to collect the initial data. Any lessons learned from this process will be shared at the next BIGlobal consortium meeting due to take place in Malawi in January 2020.
Next Brain Infections Global Scientific Steering Group meeting to take place on 6th November 2019
(added 12th October 2019)
The 4th meeting of the Scientific Steering Group will take place on Wednesday 6th November via videoconference with participation from all partners in Brazil, India, Malawi and the UK. The main objectives of this meeting will be to review progress of the pre-study action plan following our previous meeting in Vellore, India in July and to discuss the start of the study in Brazil. We will also be discussing a timeline for publications and the upcoming annual meeting in Malawi that will take place in January.
Brain Infections Global social scientists meet in London to plan Theme 1
(added on 7th October 2019)
On 3rd and 4th October 2019, representatives from Brazil, India and Malawi came together at the University of Liverpool's office in London to review progress and draw-up an action plan for the social science theme of Brain Infections Global. The workshop was chaired by Dr Nicola Desmond of LSTM, who is the lead of Theme 1 and is based in Malawi. Dr Desmond was joined by Gareth Lipunga, the new Study Coordinator for BIGlobal in Malawi. We were also honoured to have Dr Kasi Sekar from NIMHANS share his experience together with his colleagues Dr Priya Thomas and Vasundharaa Nair. Our new social science team in Brazil, Camila Pimentel and Lorena Cronemberger ensured that we had invaluable contributions from all 3 countries.
Each team delivered presentations on the local context in each of their countries and discussions followed on how best to address the key socio-cultural challenges that we will face while implementing our study. To conclude the workshop, the group finalised the pre- and post-intervention schedules, adjusting them to the different local contexts, while also evaluating doctoral proposals that will be carried out in parallel with the study.
Meningitis and Septicaemia 2019 conference (5-6 Nov): Applications invited for travel bursaries
(added on 25th September 2019)
We are delighted to announce that the Wellcome Trust has awarded a bursary fund to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses for delegates from low and lower middle income countries wishing to attend the MRF conference on 5-6 November 2019 in London.
We are inviting expressions of interest from anyone interested in attending the conference who is a national of and resident for at least 60% of the year in a low-income or lower-middle-income country in accordance with the current World Bank classification .
To apply for a bursary, please send:
- a one-page summary of your CV, and
- a paragraph outlining how attending this conference will be relevant/important for you in your work and future career (for example, conducting research relevant to meningitis or the pathogens that cause it, implementing public health measures to prevent cases, undertaking surveillance, looking after patients affected by meningitis and associated infections, or actively participating in advocacy, programme implementation or networking efforts relevant to meningitis), and
- confirmation that other sources of support are not available.
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who meets the LMIC residence requirement may apply but preference will be given to early career researchers and health professionals.
We aim to award bursaries in time for visa applications and travel arrangements. Therefore the deadline for expressions of interest is 1st October 2019.
Please do pass this announcement on to any of your students, post-docs, trainees, colleagues or any research or professional groups you are connected with that includes members likely to meet the eligibility criteria.
The 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine takes place in Liverpool
(added on 20th September 2019)
The University of Liverpool, the Christian Medical College, the Encephalitis Society and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine were delighted to participate in the 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health held in Liverpool from 16th until 20th September.The ECTMIH brings together more than 1,500 scientists and experts from across the world every 2 years. The Congress provides a platform for sharing research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health. Contacts are made, networks are strengthened, and new partnerships are formed.
It also acts as a forum for reflection on the role of tropical medicine and global health, taking into account the biggest trends of the twenty-first century, such as human migration and climate change. The keynote address for this Congress was given by Dr Soumya Swaninathan who spoke about the ever changing global challenges we face in public health.
Pre-study workshop takes place at CMC Vellore
(added on 9th September 2019)
BIGlobal investigators at the Vellore centre gathered at CMC to press ahead with preparations to start the Brain Infections Global intervention study in November 2019. It was led by Dr Priscilla Rupali and Dr Bhagteshwar Singh with representatives from each hospital site in attendance. Some of the issues discussed included patient recruitment, staff training and strengthening lab capacity. At the end of the workshop, an action plan was drafted listing key activities for each hospital/department to work on in the coming weeks ahead of the start date.
NeuroID course takes place outside of UK for first time
(added on 31st July 2019)
The University of Liverpool's NeuroID course took place overseas for the very first time on 11th & 12th July in India at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. The 2-day course was hosted by Prof Tom Solomon of Liverpool University and Dr Priscilla Rupali of the Christian Medicine College. There were also presentations from our BIGlobal participants inlcuding Dr V Ravi of NIMHANS, India; Dr Lucia Brito from Brazil; Dr Benedict Michael from the UK and Dr Mac Mallewa from Malawi.
Over 100 budding specialists in Neurological Infectious Diseases attended the course which aims to cover all the common and important logical infections, as well some rarer conditions, with the emphasis very much on practical approaches to the problems encountered on wards and in clinic. There is also the opportunity to find out about some of the latest brain infections research taking place in different countries.
Brain Infections Global Consortium Meeting held in India
(added on 12th July 2019)
The Brain Infections Global Annual Meeting took place on 9th & 10th July in India at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. Representatives from all partners were in attendance coming from Brazil, Malawi and the UK as well as a large local contingent. The meeting was hosted by Prof Tom Solomon of the Univeristy of Liverpool and Dr Priscilla Ruplali of CMC. We enjoyed 2 days of dynamic discussions to review progress made since our last meeting in Liverpool 6 months ago. Presentations included updates on research evidence in the fields of diagnostics, health economics and social science and there were also numerous breakout sessions by cluster location to discuss the current context in partner countries and potential obstacles to implementation. We were delighted to welcome members of the Patient & Public Involvement Panel and the External Advisory Panel to take a closer look at the work we have been doing. We were also very fortunate to have Prof Richard Lilford from the University of Warwick and Dr Nicola Desmond from MLW both join us via video link to answer questions from the group on their respective themes.
The Christian Medical College were amazing hosts and organised cultural visits and events for the group including a trip to the old fort of Vellore.
Thembi Katangwe writes exclusively for BIGlobal on her time at the NeuroID course
(added 21st June 2019)
Thembi Katangwe is a peadiatric neurologist from Blantyre, Malawi and currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She came to the UK earlier this month to attend the University of Liverpool's NeuroID course funded by B I Global's capacity building programme. B I Global also funded participants from other partners based in India, Brazil and Malawi. Thembi has kindly written a short blog on her experience:
Having travelled all the way from South Africa, the 11-hour flight to the UK was really worth it in the end. The course was very well organized. The attendance was brilliant with lots of delegates, both local and international. Sharing work experiences with these colleagues was extremely interesting and eye-opening. As a newly qualified paediatric neurologist, I had the privilege to sit down with and learn from senior neurologists as well as brain infections disease experts.
Interesting discussion points for me were the following:
- The radiology of cerebral infectious disease talk by Kumar Das. It was a good overview on indications, imaging sequences and differential diagnoses.
- The case of suspected infantile botulism was also nicely packaged and presented with a broad differential diagnoses list as a “delicious diagnosis” by Rachel Kneen.
- The Richard T Johnson lecture that was delivered by Prof Tom Solomon was outstanding. It gave a broad picture of neuro infectious disease highlighting specific infections in different geographic parts of the world.
- The encephalitis lecture by Benedict Michael was also very insightful! It was up to date and full of tips on identification and management of autoimmune mediated disorders.
- Kayal Vijayakuma presented a beautiful case of enterovirus 71 encephalitis which stirred up a lot of discussion as there are more and more cases being identified world-wide.
- Dr Priscilla Rupali also presented a case of opsoclonus myoclonus from India and it was interesting to get a perspective on this from a more tropical setting.
Overall, it was an outstanding course and definitely worth attending.
Gangandeep Kang becomes first Indian woman to be elected as Royal Society Fellow
(added 17th June 2019)
The Royal Society of London has announced that Dr Gangandeep Kang has been elected to its fellowship for 2019. Dr Kang is the first Indian woman to be awarded this prestigious accolade. She is known for her inter-disciplinary research studying the transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children in India. In order to develop practical approaches to support pubic health, she has also built national rotavirus and typhoid surveillance networks, established laboratoires to support vaccine trials. Her phase 1-3 clinical trials of vaccines has supported two WHO pre-qualified vaccines, made by two Indian companies. Dr Kang is currently investigating the complex relationships between infection, gut function and physical and cognitive development, while seeking to build a stronger human immunology research in India. We look forward to working more closely with her on B I Global as the implementation of the study in India gathers pace.
NeuroID course begins in Liverpool
(added 3rd June 2019)
The 2-day Liverpool Neurological Infectious Diseases Course (NeuroID) begins on 6th June 2019 for clinicians of all grades (including medical students) working in Adult and Paediatric Neurology, Infectious Diseases, Acute Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Medical Microbiology who want to update their knowledge and improve their skills.
The course aims to cover all the common and important logical infections, as well some rarer conditions, with the emphasis very much on practical approaches to the problems encountered on wards and in clinic. There is also the opportunity to find out about some of the latest brain infections research taking place in the UK.
It will be hosted at the historic Liverpool Medical Institution and will feature presentations from BIGlobal's Tom Solomon and Benedict Michael. There will also be 2 participants from each of our partners based in Brazil, Malawi and India as part of our capacity building programme.
Exclusive interview with Dr Ava Easton, Chair of B I Global's Patient & Public Involvement Panel
(added 13th May 2019)
We sat down with Dr Ava Easton to discuss her role as Chair of the Patient & Public Involvement Panel for the Brain Infections Global project. Dr Easton is also Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society and you can follow her on Twitter: @encephalitisava
Q: What is the role of the PPIP within the Brain Infections Global Study?
A: The role of the Patient & Public Involvement panel is to ensure that the study outcomes are related to patient benefit, in this case reducing death and disability for those suffering from brain infections. In particular, the panel will be joining in-country meetings and will liaise outside of these meetings virtually and via email. Some of the activities the panel might be involved in include:
- Providing a patient or public perspective on discussions; - Responding to written or verbal communication about the study between meetings; - Exploring and gathering feedback from patients/families in our respective organisations; - Providing feedback on study materials and information; - Helping with dissemination of study findings and any new materials/information for public policy and practice.
Q: Why is patient & public engagement so crucial for a study of this nature?
A: The Patient & Public Involvement Panel is a multi-disciplinary team that includes patients, family members, and professionals acting as patient advocates, each bringing different perspectives, experience and knowledge to the study. The group has an external overview and can bring perspectives that complement the professionals and researchers at the heart of the study. We want research to be informed by inclusion and a diversity of experience and insight so that it leads to treatments and services which reflect the needs of patients and the public. We also deliver better research when we work together, embracing and respecting differing perspectives. Sometimes as researchers we can be so entrenched in the work we do that we can forget the basics or what might be important to patients and their families. Often patient and family members can provide insight into what is important to them during a period of illness or disability and this can sometimes be quite at odds with what, as professionals, we think is important to them. I guess if we are conducting research with a view to improving pathways and outcomes for patients it stands to reason we should include them and take into consideration their feedback.
Q: Why did you want to get involved in this study as Chair of the PPIP and what are your objectives?
A: I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to Chair the Panel. Having nearly 20 years' experience in encephalitis and having probably worked with more encephalitis patients than anyone else in the world, I think Professor Tom Solomon felt I was a natural fit to head up a patient panel for this global study. The study is so important and will reduce death and disability in a range of countries throughout Africa, Asia and South America - to be part of this is a true honour and an opportunity to make a real difference. I was also attracted to the challenges that chairing the panel presented. Patient and public involvement is becoming more common in the western world however it is a new and emerging concept in many countries and so to participate in a study that promotes the benefits of having patients involved in your research is really exciting.
Q: The membership of the panel reflects the international scope of the study, can you tell us a bit more about the background of its members?
A: We currently have representation from Brazil in the form of a public health official and the sister of a patient affected by encephalitis; in India we have a patient affected by encephalitis, the sister of a patient affected by encephalitis and two professionals involved in the recovery and rehabilitiation of patients affected by neurological conditions; in Malawi we have an academic from the University of Malawi and we are currently recruiting for a patient representative there; in the UK we have a parent of a child affected by the condition, the research officer from the Meningitis Research Foundation and also a patient affected by meningitis and sepsis.
Q: What do you hope the Brain Infections Global project can acheive?
A: I hope that we can identify barriers to good practice in diagnosis and management of patients affected by brain infections and that we can provide tools for people to address them, resulting in a reduction in death and disability of patients affected by brain infections in the low and middle-income countries in which we are focusing. I hope we can also introduce the notion and benefits from having patients and public involvement in research studies, in countries that are currently not familiar with the concept.
Brain Infections Global Profile - Dr Linda Nyondo-Mipando
(added 1st May 2019)
As part of our B I Global profile of the month feature, for May 2019 we would like to highlight the work of Dr Linda Nyondo-Mipando who is based at the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. She has kindly answered some questions about her role as part of B I Global.
Q: You are currently working at the Malawi College of Medicine, what is your role there?
A: I am a lecturer in Health Systems and Policy and I also serve as Deputy Dean of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine.
Q: What is the best thing about working in this field?
A: Ability to improve service delivery of the various evidence based interventions. I also really enjoy carrying out quality improvement projects with my students.
Q: Can you briefly explain your role on the B I Global project?
A: I am a Co Investigator for the study on the component that the College of Medicine will manage. I will specifically oversee the implementation of the project in the three District Hospitals and will be the contact person for these Hospitals.
Q: What do you hope the Brain Infections Global project can achieve in Malawi?
A: It will strengthen the health system, specifically labs, and improve timely diagnosis and management of Brain Infections. I also believe that the skills learnt in this specific area will easily be applied in other settings of the Facility.
Q: What are your three most favourite things about Malawi?
A: Our beautiful Lake Malawi, the island in the sky "Mulanje Mountain" and the Tea Plantations.
Twitter account: @NanelindaNm
Next Brain Infections Global Scientific Steering Group meeting to take place on 26th April 2019
(added 12th April 2019)
The 2nd meeting of the Scientific Steering Group will take place on Friday 26th April via videoconference with participation from all partners in Brazil, India, Malawi and the UK. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has kindly offered to host the call. The main objective of this meeting is to review progress of the pre-study against the action plan following the previous meeting in Liverpool in January and prioritise activities. We will also be discussing a timeline for publications and the upcoming annual meeting at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India that will take in July.
Christian Medical College in Vellore, India to host Brain Infections Global annual meeting
(added 22nd March 2019)
We are delighted to announce that the Brain Infections Global annual meeting will take place at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India on 9th and 10th July 2019. By then we will be at the half way point of our project. We will be joined by our partners from the UK, Brazil and Malawi as well as from within India. There will also be representatives from our Advisory Panels. The objectives of this meeting will be to review the progress made since the last meeting held in Liverpool and to share experiences between study sites as the implementation phase gathers pace. We will also discuss plans for data analysis and project outputs.
Following the meeting, we also plan to hold the University of Liverpool's very popular NeuroID training course at CMC, the first time it has been held outside Liverpool!
Brain Infections Global takes centre stage at British Consulate event
(added 18th March 2019)
Brain Infections Global marks World Encephalitis Day 2019
(added 25th February 2019)
On 22nd February, Brain Infections Global partners joined forces to raise awareness of Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) for World Encephalitis Day. At NIMHANS in India, our clinical research fellow, Bhagteshwar Singh, played games with local school children and discussed with them how important it was to make sure that those affected get speedy diagnosis and treatment.
Brain Infections Global Study launches in Liverpool
(added on 24th January 2019)
The Brain Infections Global launch meeting was held at the Liverpool Medical Institution on 15th and 16th January 2019. Our partners from India, Malawi and Brazil came together for a dynamic 2 days of discussions to review progress made since the study was conceived and to refine project implementation plans. Presentations included the current context in partner countries followed by updates on research evidence in the fields of diagnostics, health economics and social science.