Feb 1, 2021
Though unplanned it was exactly 9 months to the day that lockdown began in the UK that I spoke to Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton at his home in Dorset on 16 December 2020.
Expert in Global Health, frequent Media commentator on Covid-19 he was someone I had been tracking down for some time ever since I spotted him on Linkedin with his Covid microbe toy.
* What it was like to watch the creep of Covid across the world for the academics.
* What did the UK Govt response look like from a public health expert.
*Pandemic planning and the ill-fated Cygnus experiment back in 2016.
* Vaccines! The who, what, where, how, why. What are the candidates and what are their limitations? Incredibly informative and down to the week spot on on when the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine would get approval.
* The damage done by anti vaxxers and what it means to be vaccine hesitant.
* What his predictions are for 2021 and can we be optimistic?
* what does this all mean for Christmas in the UK ...and how other countries have approached similar large scale celebrations (clue=fascinating and quite differently).
Dr Michael Head is a Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton.
He previously spent 11 years at UCL in the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and the Farr Institute for Health Informatics. He has research interests in research investments analyses, global health, health systems and digital health, with a public health focus on neglected tropical diseases (including scabies and onchocerciasis) and pneumonia. He has communicated extensively with the UK and international media around the COVID-19 outbreak.
Michael graduated from his PhD by published works (Amsterdam Institute in Global Health, University of Amsterdam) in May 2016, and he completed postgraduate study in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.
Michael has numerous interests across global health, and predominantly focusing on infectious diseases. He co-created and leads on the Research Investments in Global Health study (ResIn). This project systematically maps the global landscape of research funding, comparing levels of investment with burden of disease, and giving valuable insight to policymakers, funders and researchers on areas of research strength, knowledge gaps and future priorities. He has been invited to present findings at the World Health Organisation (Geneva), Wellcome Trust (London) and to the European Commission in Brussels. ResIn has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and has published numerous papers and reports, including across (for example) Lancet and BMJ journals.
He is also leading on Neglected Tropical Disease research, covering scabies and onchocerciasis. Research links are predominantly in West Africa, particularly Ghana and emerging links with Togo, but also east Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia) and in South-East Asia (Papua New Guinea) and South America (Brazil).
Michael also has research interests in pneumonia, is part of the 'Every Breath Counts' coalition and awarded the title of 'Pneumonia Fighter 2018' by global advocacy group Just Actions.
Alongside his Covid-19 media work, Michael is exceptionally skilled in science communication has given many public talks on vaccination and anti-vaccination activists.
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