Health Check



Health Check grapples with health issues on a global scale, investigates discoveries and solutions in healthcare, and looks at how to deliver a healthier world. Presented by Claudia Hammond.


  • Tanzanias new Covid prevention measures

    Tanzania's new Covid prevention measures

    05/05/2021 Duração: 26min

    As Tanzania announces new Covid prevention measures after the new president instigates a change in response to the pandemic, correspondent Rhoda Odhiambo discusses the implications for the country. And celebrating the Windrush generation in theatre - nurses who came to the UK from the Caribbean to work in the NHS share their memories in a new play. Plus Claudia talks to Mohsen Rajabi about his new research surveying Mental Health in Iran - both parents and children - after 16 months of school closures and hears from 18 year old Parnia Abharian about her first hand experience. And the science of a baby's first poo! Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: People come to wash their hands with chlorinated water in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in March 2020. Photo credit: Ericky Boniphace/AFP/Getty Images.)

  • India’s Covid-19 surge

    India’s Covid-19 surge

    28/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    As India surpasses 200,000 Covid deaths Claudia asks why the surge has been so steep and hears the latest from health reporter Anoo Bhuyan in Delhi. And there's good news of a new Malaria Vaccine showing 75% efficacy. Studio guest Tabitha Mwangi discusses this important breakthrough in the context of a new study from the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal with the first clinical evidence of drug-resistant malaria mutations gaining foothold in Africa. Plus Caroline Williams on her new book MOVE! which unpicks the science of how movement opens up a hotline to our minds changing the way we think and feel. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Photo: People wait to refill empty oxygen cylinders on 27 April 2021 in New Delhi, India. Credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)

  • Medical mysteries with neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan

    Medical mysteries with neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan

    21/04/2021 Duração: 33min

    Claudia Hammond hears stories of medical mysteries from author of Sleeping Beauties and consultant neurologist Suanne O’Sullivan. From the refugee children in Sweden who slept for months to the US Embassy staff in Cuba who fell ill with dizziness, what can cases like these and others from around the world reveal about the mind and body. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen

  • Chile’s vaccine roll out

    Chile’s vaccine roll out

    14/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    Claudia and guest Professor Matthew Fox from Boston University discuss the latest Covid-19 research this week – and there’s plenty of it! There’s new data on the variant first found in the UK, plus efficacy data just out comparing the immune responses to the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. And news from India of a so called ‘double mutant’ where two variants come together. Meanwhile the big vaccine news in the US is that they have temporarily suspended the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so much to discuss! Plus, despite an acclaimed vaccine roll out Chile is experiencing a second wave of Covid infections. This has led some to claim that vaccine roll outs aren’t making the difference we all hoped or that it’s the type of vaccine being used. Jane Chambers reports and finds that it’s more complicated – as ever! And David and Barbara got in touch with the BBC about a treatable condition that can be easily confused with dementia - Normal pressure Hydrocephalus. Finally, a study from Japan on the risk of dementia

  • Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid

    Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid

    07/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    Mental Health and Covid; Claudia examines a large new Lancet Psychiatry study showing that one in three people develop anxiety, depression or a neurological problem in the six months after they were ill with the virus. Ten years on from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Professor Jun Shigemura discusses whether the unseen threat of exposure to radiation can teach us anything about dealing with the hidden threat of the current Covid-19 virus. A report from Nigeria on how some people with fractures may turn to the traditional bonesetter to get their bones mended. Charles Mgbolu reports from Lagos. And diagnosing concussion: how a team at the University of Birmingham in the UK has developed a saliva test which can detect whether someone with a bang on the head during sport can safely return to the game. Professor Tony Belli explains the science behind the test. Plus Claudia’s studio guest is Graham Easton, Professor of Clinical Communication Skills at Barts and the London Medical School.

  • Can we eradicate leprosy?

    Can we eradicate leprosy?

    01/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    Despite the myths and fear which surround leprosy it can be treated and prevented with a short course of antibiotics. The disease is spread by a bacteria which is easily killed with these drugs. Although this stops the virus spreading it doesn’t help those who have been disfigured by the parasite, they are still viewed negatively even though they are no longer infectious. As Seydina Alioune Djigo reports, Senegal has embarked on a campaign to both treat Leprosy with drugs and educate more widely on the condition. They have also removed restrictions on those banished to former leper colonies. Also if you died would you donate your eyes to help some else see? Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha reports from Nigeria on an eye banking project there, which uses donated eyes to restore the sight of people affected by corneal blindness. However as with many forms of organ donation the practice is not widely accepted yet. Presented by Priscilla Ngethe.

  • Covid vaccines for children

    Covid vaccines for children

    31/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    Vaccine hesitancy and Covid vaccines for Children. Claudia talks to paediatrician Dr Robert Jacobson of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA about issues of Covid vaccine hesitancy and why this issue may grow as Covid vaccines become available for children. As trials on children as young as 6 months get underway, and vaccination for children likely to be available, in some countries, from the summer/early autumn, why is vaccinating children against Covid important and what can be done to help parents overcome any hesitancy they might have? New Test to predict pre-term labour. Every year, around 15 million babies in the world are born too early. In countries such as Malawi, Pakistan and Indonesia, more than 15% of babies are premature. Not all survive and some of those that do have disabilities, which might have been preventable with simple care. The question is how to predict which pregnant women might go into labour too early. Reporter Madeleine Finlay investigates a new test using the vaginal microbi

  • Working with disability

    Working with disability

    26/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    In Senegal there are a range of measures to help people living with disabilities enter the workforce, however overcoming attitudes is still a major issue. And we look at the impact of shoes on our physical health, it’s not just feet but bones and joints in the legs and spine that can be affected by our footwear. With Khadidiatou Cisse, Saida Swaleh and Priscilla Ngethe.

  • Can the common cold prevent Covid?

    Can the common cold prevent Covid?

    24/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    Claudia talks to her guest Dr Ann Robinson about a new study from the University of Glasgow in the UK that suggests the virus that causes the common cold can effectively boot the Covid virus out of the body's cells. Some viruses are known to compete in order to be the one that causes an infection and researchers have discovered that it appears cold-causing rhinovirus trumps coronavirus. The benefits might be short-lived but rhinovirus is so widespread it could still help to suppress Covid. Mental Health in Covid frontline health and social care workers. Claudia hears from Dr Talya Greene about a new study showing that nearly 60% of health and social care workers working in the UK during the first wave of Covid have suffered from either anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder. What can we learn from the impact of Covid on the mental health of hospital and social care staff in order to help build resilience for future traumas. Azeezat Olaoluwa reports from Nigeria looking at something that

  • Combatting mental illness

    Combatting mental illness

    19/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    In Nigeria we meet someone who finds that swimming can help alleviate her depression and we discuss how self-esteem as well as diet can impact a new mothers’ ability to breastfeed. With Pricilla Ngethe, Milly Akeyo and Charles Mgbolu.

  • Vaccine and blood clots

    Vaccine and blood clots

    17/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    As further European countries announce precautionary suspension of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine over fears it may have caused blood clots in a very small number of people, Claudia talks to BBC Health Editor James Gallagher about what the data really tells us about the safety of this vaccine. Tanzania and Covid. Claudia talks to BBC Africa Correspondent Leila Nathoo about Covid in Tanzania. President Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent Covid-19 sceptics, and is now rumoured to have died of the disease himself. Last year he said the disease had been eradicated from Tanzania by three days of national prayer but does Tanzania have a hidden epidemic? Vaccine Side Effects. Claudia discovers why there seems to be such a difference in how people have reacted to the vaccine, from no side effects at all, to mild flu like symptoms. She looks at how the vaccine triggers an immune response, and why it can’t give you Covid. Haitians in Chile. Chile has long been a destination for immigrants from other countri

  • Covid-19 vaccination in Africa

    Covid-19 vaccination in Africa

    12/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    As the roll out of vaccines across Africa gathers pace we look to the future, how vaccination may help ease travel restrictions and ways to convince those still reluctant to get vaccinated. We also look at diabetes, the disease is more common than we might think affecting a wide range of people. With Rhoda Odhiambo, Anne Mawathe and Priscilla Ngethe.

  • Do vaccines cure Long Covid?

    Do vaccines cure Long Covid?

    10/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    A significant proportion of sufferers of Long Covid are reporting that their symptoms lessen or disappear completely after receiving a coronavirus vaccination. At the moment, the evidence is just anecdotal but doctors and researchers are intrigued. Claudia talks to New York infectious disease doctor Daniel Griffin who estimates that more than a third of his patients are getting some relief following vaccination and Prof Janet Lord, professor of immunology at Birmingham University, runs through the possible explanations. Dangerous myths about blood transfusions. Dayo Yusuf reports from eastern Kenya on the myths about them in some pastoralist communities and meets the parents who rejected the option of a life-saving blood transfusion for their son who has chronic anaemia. They feared bad character traits of the donor would be passed onto him. Monica Lakhanpaul, professor of paediatrics, discusses other damaging health myths that she has studied in South Asia and how these false beliefs about the body and mode

  • Modern medicine versus the spirits

    Modern medicine versus the spirits

    05/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    When it comes to mending broken bones or rectifying the eye problems caused by the disease Trachoma, what place does traditional medicine have? Many people would choose traditional medicine practitioners over conventional doctors and hospitals. However herbalism and spiritual belief are poor substitutes when surgery is needed. Can these two very different approaches be reconciled for the benefit of patients? Priscila Ngethe, Khadidiatou Cisse, and Charles Mgbolu discuss the conflict and potential for collaboration between the opposing forces of traditional and orthodox medicine.

  • Pregnancy and Covid-19 vaccination

    Pregnancy and Covid-19 vaccination

    03/03/2021 Duração: 30min

    Health Check looks into issues around Covid-19 vaccination and pregnant women. Harvard researcher Julia Wu has just done a global survey of attitudes of pregnant women about being vaccinated against Covid-19. Acceptance is highest in low and middle income countries such as India and Latin America. The greatest levels of reluctance were in the US and Russia. Pfizer has started the first trial of a Covid-19 vaccine in pregnant women, which will ultimately involve 4000 women in ten countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Should we have waited this long for the first trial in this group of people, seeing that pregnant women are at greater risk of hospitalisation, death and premature birth if they become infected? Claudia discusses the unknowns and risk/benefit considerations around vaccinating pregnant women against the virus, with Johns Hopkins medical ethicist Ruth Faden and maternal immunisation researcher Acuzena Bardiji, who works in Mozambique. Matt Fox in Boston is our guest of the week, talkin

  • Africa’s blood shortage

    Africa’s blood shortage

    26/02/2021 Duração: 26min

    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)

  • Long Covid: solving the mysteries

    Long Covid: solving the mysteries

    24/02/2021 Duração: 35min

    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 ra

  • Sexual health, Covid-19 vaccines

    Sexual health, Covid-19 vaccines

    19/02/2021 Duração: 26min

    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.

  • Covid surge in Mozambique

    Covid surge in Mozambique

    17/02/2021 Duração: 32min

    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

  • Superbugs and superfoods

    Superbugs and superfoods

    15/02/2021 Duração: 26min

    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.

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