Tag Archives: TB

Phumeza has defeated drug resistant TB and now she will defeat the silence!

Phumeza and Aaron in Cape Town in Jan 2014

RESULTS Executive Director,  Aaron Oxley, shares the exciting news that thanks to generous global support, TB advocate Phumeza Tisile is scheduled for surgery to regain the hearing that she lost from taking toxic TB drugs. While these drugs did not cure her TB, thankfully other new drugs did. Phumeza has survived both the disease and the treatment to become one of the world’s most powerful voices in the fight against TB. 

In December I wrote a blog post about an inspirational woman called Phumeza Tisile. Phumeza, a long-standing friend of RESULTS, defeated XDR-TB (extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis), but the treatment, as it does for so many others, made her deaf.

This year she will be able to hear again, thanks to bilateral cochlear implants. This life-changing surgery is only possible thanks to incredible, generous donors from around the world, who gave USD $20,000 in just one month. To all of you reading who have helped this inspirational woman, thank you.

On her MSF TB blog, Phumeza talks about what defeating the silence and being able to hear again will mean to her. She says,

Phumeza calling to 'fix the patent laws' to enable more people to access life-saving Tb treatment around the world.

Hearing again would mean that life is back on ‘’play’’ again. I will resume everything that has been on hold for so long. The best thing would be to go back to University. I was studying Commerce (Human Resource Management) before, but I’m thinking hard about what I want to do with my future. I learned from this experience that you might plan for a certain future but the universe might have a different plan for you.

I will continue advocating for change in DR-TB, because not many patients want to talk about TB after they have been cured. They would rather forget, but that does not help at all. How will the world know that this disease is still a problem if no one is willing to speak about it? Deafness is not the only side effect of the drugs. When I was in Paris at the Union Conference I learned that other patients went blind from their treatment. Others suffered from permanent nerve damage. I didn’t just go deaf: I was vomiting every single day, I got skin rashes and my skin got darker and darker. I will keep on letting people, the government and world health leaders know that the current treatment is a nightmare until things change.”

Whilst we cannot hope to help every single person who has been negatively affected by TB medication, we can – and will – join Phumeza in advocating for a greater global commitment to ending the devastating TB epidemic once and for all. We can stand up and demand adequate funding for research and development of new treatments, and for TB programmes, so that no one else has to tell a story like Phumeza’s. We can call for governments to ensure that the three million people who are missed by TB diagnosis and treatment are found and cured.

We will do all that we can. We hope you will join us.

You can read more about Phumeza’s amazing journey on her Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) blog




Steady Progress in Cambodia: Report of a Parliamentary Delegation to Cambodia

Earlier this year, RESULTS UK led a cross party parliamentary delegation to Cambodia, and today we launch Steady Progress in Cambodia, a report which outlines our findings and recommendations from our experiences in South-East Asia.

The trip explored in detail some of the remaining health challenges in Cambodia’s, particularly its high rates of TB and under-five child mortality. The delegation was attended by Baroness Alison Suttie, Mark Pawsey MP, Michael Connarty MP and Nic Dakin MP, as well as RESULTS staff members Megan Wilson-Jones and Steve Lewis. Then Health Advocacy Officer Jess Kuehne and RESULTS board member Reg Davis also attended the delegation.


Cambodia is a nation that has made significant progress since its health system and infrastructure were devastated by Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s. From a workforce of 600 doctors, there remained only 50 after the fall of the regime. This report details how progress has been made, but also highlights that significant challenges remain.

The delegation visited a number of sites in connection with the health and education challenges faced in Cambodia, including community health centres working with TB patients through projects supported by TB REACH and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). The site visits illustrated Cambodia’s continuing struggle as one of 22 high burden TB countries and showed the importance of continuing the international aid that has seen 40,000 individuals diagnosed and treated for the disease since 2003. The report also details findings from the delegation’s visit to the Samdech Ov Hospital, where participants learned about the importance of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work in increasing rotine immunisation coverage from 60% to 95% in just 10 years (2002 to 2012). Despite this, there are still 14,000 children under the age of five in Cambodia who die from mostly preventable and treatable disease every year, a challenge that must be addressed.

The delegation’s visit to the Ang Suong Primary School in Cambodia’s Takei Province, an institution supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is also discussed in the report.  Cambodia has received $38 million of funding since 2006 from the GPE to improve the country’s education system, which has helped to reduce the number of out of school children in Cambodia by 60,000 in just five years (2006 to 2011). Again, progress has been remarkable, but challenges remain. In the case of education, it is not only about getting children into school, it is also critical that the quality of education is high.

The report highlights a number of key findings from the delegation and includes recommendations for both the UK Government and the Cambodian Government. It is vital that the progress seen in Cambodia does not stall and that investment in health spending, especially to address TB and under-five child mortality, remains a priority. The linked nature of health and education is also a key aspect of the report, and it is made clear that future progress in the health, well-being, and economic status of the people of Cambodia relies on a comprehensive and cross-cutting approach to development.

You can read the report here.

Follow Megan Wilson-Jones or Steve Lewis on Twitter.

Guest Blog: The Human Spirit

Today’s guest blog comes from Jonathan Smith, a longtime ally of RESULTS, who first partnered with us on his brilliant, challenging film on TB in minerworkers, They Go to Die, last year.

On Monday the 27th of October, as part of the 45th Union Conference on TB and Lung Health, we were delighted to once again hear from Jonathan Smith as he delivered a talk to launch “The Human Spirit: Our Hope in the Fight Against Drug Resistant TB”. The Human Spirit Project is a collection of individual stories that show the various battles fought against the TB epidemic.

We were so moved by Jonathan’s passionate articulation of why hearing real people’s voices is so important, we asked if we could share the text of his speech with you.

Before reading Jonathan’s speech, we suggest you watch this short video about Thembi Jakiwe. Entitled, the ‘Strength of a Woman’, the short video gives an insight into the life of 12-year-old Thembi Jakiwe who is suffering from MDR-TB. This empowering video shows how Thembi has become a leader among her peers, as well as her medical team, and  compliments Jonathan’s important message.

Continue reading

A Little Known Success Story: UK support for the EDCTP


Last week saw UK Parliamentarians gather with leading UK and international scientists and research managers to celebrate a seldom mentioned initiative: the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

Laura Boughey, Health Advocacy Co-ordinator at RESULTS UK, profiles how EDCTP is a brilliant example of co-operation and investment by donor and developing country partners that has brought incredible rewards for both.

Every year, over four million lives are wasted due to just three diseases: HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Worse, these diseases impact the poorest people around the world hardest, holding back communities as they fight to live healthy and productive lives. EDCTP was formed in 2003 to accelerate the development of new and improved tools in the fight against these global killer diseases, so it was fitting that last week’s event in Parliament for EDCTP was chaired by Baroness Suttie, a Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on TB, whose inquiry and recently released report Dying for a Cure examines the barriers and opportunities to better research and development (R&D) in the fight against these diseases.


Better diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are needed to control and eradicate killer diseases such as HIV, TB and Malaria

In the case of HIV/AIDS, our best efforts to scale up treatment have pushed us to a tipping point where, with new tools, we could win this fight. This would mean stopping the 2.3m new cases every year and the 1.6 million lives lost at the moment, and supporting the world’s 35million HIV positive people. For TB, of the 9 million people who will contract it every year, 3 million will not receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for their condition, and 1.5 million people will die from TB every year. We desperately need new tools to fight both the disease and the challenge posed by drug resistant strains, which at the moment requires drugs that cause disabling and permanent side effects including nerve pain, blindness and hearing loss.

Dr Mark Palmer, Chair of the EDCTP General Assembly (and UK representative to EDCTP as Director of International Strategy for the UK Medical Research Council) started off last week’s event. We heard how since its inception as a public-private partnership, EDCTP has brought together 16 European countries, 30 sub-Saharan African countries and 259 research institutions from across the world. It has seen 65 calls for proposals generate 246 projects worth over €380 million – split between work on HIV/AIDS (64 grants), Malaria (41 grants), TB (34 grants) and non-disease specific work, such as ethics strengthening (107 grants).

Half of the beauty of EDCTP is its co-ordination. An initial lack of studies progressing promising concepts from laboratory and small scale tests (Pre- and Phase I trials) to testing for safety and efficacy with large numbers of volunteers (Phase II and III) has been rectified through EDCTP’s commissioning. Such co-operation also ensures duplication can be avoided and knowledge is shared, and has seen potential products moved closer to registration and the final goal of bringing products to market.

Clinician using state of the art technology for point-of-care TB diagnoses

Clinician using state of the art technology for point-of-care TB diagnoses

Numerous successes have included HIV treatment guidelines and fixed dose formulations for weight-banded children, and the acceptance of microbicides (products absorbed via the vagina or rectum) as effective methods. Other studies have shown the MVVC malaria vaccine to be safe and efficacious, and have allowed the control of malaria in pregnancy; and for TB, trials of REMoxTB have confirmed the safety of moxifloxacin for use, and allowed the evaluation of simple, cheap point-of-care diagnostics.

The second secret of EDCTP’s success is its focus on the long term; prioritising African capacity-building and South-South collaboration, and pushing for an effective – and therefore global – response to global health issues.

World class clinics built through EDCTP in Khaylatia (Cape Town, S.Africa)

World class clinics built through EDCTP in Khayelitsha (Cape Town, S.Africa)

EDCTP has created world-class research facilities across Africa, which will generate value far beyond the specific trials for which they were created. We heard from Professor Helen McShane, Principal Investigator at the Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines at Oxford University, whose team is now undertaking data analysis on results from a TB vaccine trial among 650 HIV-positive volunteers over two sites in Khayelitsha (Cape Town) and Dakar. Her pride was evident in the fact that both of these sites now house clinical grade laboratories and trained staff.

Team Meeting at Chu Le Dentec, Dakar

Team photo at Chu Le Dentec, Dakar

Professor Charles Mgone, Executive Director of EDCTP, talked about the four Regional Networks of Excellence (NoE) spanning each of Central, East, West and Southern Africa and involving 64 institutions across 21 countries. The NoE scheme has now offered training to 1,000 African researchers, and has leveraged an additional €24m to upgrade infrastructure and laboratories, strengthen ethics bodies and south-south collaboration, and respond to local needs. EDCTP has directly trained 406 African PhDs or MScs, and 56 African Senior and Career Fellowships; over 40% of these candidates have been female. 28% of EDCTP Project Leaders have been female – an impressive achievement in an African clinical research context in 2014, and a strong basis for continuing championing of women African scientists.

Some may ask whether HIV, TB or Malaria should concern the UK; again, one needs only to look to the future. In the medium term, tackling diseases in emerging economies matters when the UK’s population is increasingly linked to theirs through trade, travel and tourism. And in the longer term, a healthy, productive world will provide greater stability and opportunities for prosperity for the UK. For developing countries, the role of donor countries here is less one of crutch as of catalyst; every $1 invested by donors into TB treatment for example generates a $30 return for households and governments seeking to escape crippling healthcare costs and lost productivity. Investing in global health R&D is investing in future global prosperity.

Back in the UK, EDCTP is already saving the NHS money in the long-run and impacting on the prevalence of disease, as technologies such as the GeneXpert rapid TB diagnosis machine, and ARV treatments for children, are implemented in UK hospitals and clinics. Such products will also help control the threat of drug-resistance in the UK, as new tools make completing treatment much less painful and difficult.

Ongoing volunteer recruitment as part of EDCTP trials

Ongoing volunteer recruitment as part of EDCTP trials

The UK Government is by far the leading funder of EDCTP, providing €214 million to 82 projects during the first phase, involving 100 UK collaborators. (Our contributions break down as €31.2m in direct ‘cash’ contributions through the MRC and DfID, plus €182.8m of indirect, ‘in kind’ contributions of facilities and expertise; this puts us ahead of Italy on €115m, the Netherlands on €87m, and Germany on €76m.) The UK is also the only country to link so closely the work of our Medical Research Council (MRC) and Department for International Development (DfID). During the next phase, the MRC and DfID have already agreed to jointly commit €4.5m in cash and £40m in kind every year, totalling €445m over the next ten years.

It is crucial that the UK maintain its leading role in EDCTP, not only to fund this vital work but also to bring other European countries closer to our own commitment level. Running from 2014 to 2023, EDCTP2 aims to raise €1.3 billion to take on further challenges: research into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and other common killer diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, and emerging infections such as Ebola. Under Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s €80bn research and innovation framework, EDCTP2 will also expand to cover all clinical trial phases including implementation, and bring sub-Saharan African partners into the General Assembly.

The UK’s leadership of EDCTP further cements our role as a worldwide leader on global health and in the wider Post2015 development discussions. The consensus at the event unsurprisingly held that the UK Government should continue to recognise EDCTP as a key investment with proven success and, as the leading funder and Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly, should encourage other states to increase their cash contributions to EDCTP. Insightful questions from Baroness Barker of the APPG HIV reminded us of the need to ensure that any new products reach the market at a cost that is accessible to the citizens of developing countries (an issue explored in the APPG HIV’s soon to be released report). And RESULTS UK’s Steve Lewis both thanked and laid down the challenge for UK Parliamentarians and citizens – to maintain your support for the UK’s leadership in Global Health R&D, and see these incredible products reach the market and the people who need them.

For more information on RESULTS UK’s work to support citizens and Parliamentarians to champion Global Health R&D, please contact:

Laura Boughey, UK Health Advocacy Co-ordinator laura.boughey@results.org.uk

Bruce Warwick, EU Health Advocacy Officer bruce.warwich@results.org.uk

Felix Jakens, Grassroots Campaigns Manager felix.jakens@results.org.uk


RESULTS welcomes Sveta to the Team

Hello everybody, my name is Sveta McGill and I have just joined RESULTS UK as Health Advocacy Officer. I originally come from Kiev, Ukraine, but have been in the UK since 2010 doing a PhD at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. My PhD thesis researched the impact of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) on HIV prevention policies and services in Ukraine which has the leading HIV rates in the European region.

svetaMy job of is now more focused on TB, and I am contributing to the Russian-language activities of the TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) – a network of activists and CSOs formed to increase the level of awareness, commitment and political will within the European Union and European Commission to fight TB. I bring to the job 15 + years of experience of working in the ex-Soviet region in public health, HIV/AIDS, TB, as well as gender policy and NGO development. I have also published a Russian-language journal “Aktualnye Infekcii” from 2007 to 2012 based in Kiev that focused on health care policy in HIV and TB, as well as programmes implemented by international donors in the region.

I am generally easy going and responsive, and try to stay positive at all times, work as a team and have an effect in everything I do. I like travel, music and musicals, walking, cooking, and spending quality time with family and friends. My favourite book is ‘Master and Margarita’ by Mikhail Bulgakov and my favourite composer is Tchaikovsky.

RESULTS remembers and honours the life and work of Glenn Thomas

RESULTS UK offers its deepest sympathy to the friends and families of all those whose lives were lost in the MH17 crash. Our director, Aaron Oxley, remembers and honours the life and work of Glenn Thomas, a longstanding friend of RESULTS.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a week since the shooting down of flight MH17 above Ukraine. There are almost no words to fully express the senseless loss of those 298 people. Among those on the airplane was Glenn Thomas , who worked for the WHO Communications Department, and who has been an ally of RESULTS UK for many years.

Our history with Glenn goes back well over a decade. At my first ever RESULTS National Conference as a grassroots attendee back in 1998, Glenn was one of the keynote speakers. He spoke passionately about TB, then, as now, one of his communication priorities. This was back when RESULTS UK was just starting our journey of understanding TB and its impact in the world, and Glenn was full of important insights that meant we could speak with confidence about what can sometimes be a very complex disease.

Glenn Thomas

Part of that RESULTS conference was a gala fundraising auction, and Glenn had volunteered a lot: “A weekend break in my flat in Geneva”. I was the one who bid, and won.

For many reasons it took until 2013 – 15 years later – for me to claim that lot when I visited Geneva for the World Health Assembly. While I was there, Glenn and I went out to dinner. The conversation revolved around how to get the press to pay more attention to TB and other neglected global health issues: as usual, Glenn had ideas to test out and ideas to explore.

That it took 15 years for me to collect on my fundraising auction lot, and that Glenn still so enthusiastically honoured it, tells you everything you need to know about the kind of person he was and his lifelong commitment to leaving the world a better place than he found it.

Besides the conversation, what I remember most of that evening was Glenn’s huge smile, one that started in his eyes and overtook his whole face. It was impossible not to get caught up in that smile.

That bright smile brings to mind Glenn’s great help in putting on a special screening of the Jane Campion film “Bright Star”, about the life, and early death from TB of the Romantic poet John Keats. Besides making sure that many high-level media representatives attended, Glenn was photographed with many others holding a sign that read “No More Bright Stars Lost to TB.” 

Glenn was needlessly taken from us far too soon, along with far too many others aboard MH17, and countless more by the diseases he fought so hard to end.

He will be missed.

‘Why isn’t my life worth anything to Romanian authorities?’ – Cristina reflects on surviving MDR-TB in Romania

This is our second blog from Cristina in Romania which she has written following a visit from UK parliamentarians back in May. You can find her first post and other voices from those affected by TB on the  TB Europe Coalition website.

‘Why isn’t my life worth anything to Romanian authorities?’ – Cristina reflects on surviving MDR-TB in Romania

“- Cristina?!!”  I can still hear the deep voice of my grandfather.

“-Come here! Do you want to hear a story?”

“-Yes, grandpa! Tell me the one with the mountains and the rivers, the birds and the green pastures, the hills and the planes and the deep blue sea.”

“-There was once this beautiful country called Romania. God had blessed it with tall mountains, and green valleys, wavy hills, and vast planes and oh…yes..the deep blue sea…”

View from Bisercani Hospital, Romania. Credit: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

View from Bisercani Hospital, Romania. Credit: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

I would close my eyes and imagine all these beauty. A feeling of great happiness warmed my chest. I’d often fall asleep dreaming of tall mountains, great lush planes, courageous kings and warm hearted inhabitants of this magnificent land, protected by my grandpa’s strong hands.

When I would wake up he’ll look at me with his deep blue eyes, all of a sudden very serious: “-You have to love your country, you know! This is your home! This is where your kind live! Great acts of courage were written with blood on this soil.” and he’d make me touch the ground and I’d feel a part of a whole. I’d feel that all these brave people before me were my roots to this land and I’ll be the roots for the ones coming after me.

I was taught to love my country. To think that for better or worst I belong to this land. I’ll protect it and it’ll protect me.

Since I got sick, I don’t know anymore. My country betrayed me. I no longer felt protected. The people I entrusted my vote, that vowed to care for our people no longer considered my life important. Where are the brave kings and knights that once ruled our land? They disappeared into fog, like my grandpa did.

At first I was shocked. No! It can’t be! You can’t just ignore a contagious disease with the potential to kill thousands. Wasn’t it enough that great minds of our world were already forever lost to this horrible disease? Anne and Emily Bronte, Albert Camus, Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Paul Gauguin, Modigliani and the black list goes on, and on.

But it was true. They are ignoring it, consciously putting in danger innocent people.

And then it became obvious. I was all alone in this battle. And the more I read, the more I found out the more disappointed I was.

Not long ago I met this group of English members of Parliament. They made me feel envious…Envious that they care about their people. They made me think. Why isn’t my life worth anything to Romanian authorities? Why aren’t we looking after our people? The “whys” will always keep spinning in my head.

This is the question I’d ask the politicians from all over the world: Why? Why die uselessly?

So you think TB doesn’t affect people in Europe?

Jessica Kuehne, Health Advocacy Officer at RESULTS, presents some key facts about the scale of the TB epidemic in Europe and what RESULTS and partners are doing to help get rates down.

We talk a lot about how many people think TB is a disease of the past when in fact it still kills 1.3 million people every year. Yes, more than 90 percent of all the people who get sick with TB live in developing countries. But – Europe is not immune from the one disease that has killed more people than any other in history.

Here are a  facts about TB in Europe that might surprise you. They are:

  • TB is the top infectious disease killer in Europe. Of all deaths caused by communicable diseases (diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites etc.), more than 40 percent are still due to TB.
  • Europe is a hot bed for drug-resistant TB. Although the European region only accounts for 13 percent of the world’s population, it makes up nearly a quarter of all drug-resistant TB cases.
  • The European Union has some of the worst treatment outcomes for drug-resistant TB. Of all people who are diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB worldwide, only about half are able to successfully complete their treatment. In the EU this number is even lower – only one third of patients with multidrug-resistant TB successfully complete their treatment.

So the answer is yes, TB does still matter. And with drug resistance on the rise, TB in Europe REALLY matters.

Treatment for drug-resistant TB is tough – patients have to have daily injections at the start of treatment followed by two years of swallowing fists full of pills. On top of this come the side effects – vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, depression, suicidal thoughts and even deafness.

Credit: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

Credit: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

Want to know what it’s like to have to go through that treatment? Read Marina’s account of going through TB diagnosis and treatment in three different EU countries.

Marina said that during those two years, one of the things that kept her going was a quote by Martin Luther King who said:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Marina said she tried to focus on whatever she could to take her forward.

TB is often forgotten in Europe. Even amongst the TB community, little attention is paid to a region where people think TB isn’t actually a problem or, when it comes to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, people don’t know very much about.

But it’s not all bleak news. Last week, the TB Europe Coalition brought together 24 TB advocates from 13 countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to build a network of individuals raising the issue of TB and to work out ways of getting Governments to allocate more funding for TB in the region. RESULTS is supporting the coalition to build stronger ties in the region and find ways advocates can support each other and work together to respond to TB in Europe.

It was also encouraging to see that Public Health England, when welcoming the World Health Organisation’s new report on antimicrobial resistance, specifically identified TB as an area of antibiotic resistance we need to be paying attention to.

TB still kills an estimated 40,000 people in the European region every year, and the rise in drug resistance is nothing to be scoffed at. This is a disease we should be responding to with a global approach. And when I say global, that includes Europe, too.

World Health Worker Week: no health without health workers

To mark World Health Workers Week, Jessica Kuehne, health advocacy officer at RESULTS, discusses the critical role health workers play in delivering healthcare around the world.

ResultsUK140220-7705How many times have you come into contact with a health worker in the last year? If you’re like me, this would amount to multiple times – I see an optometrist to get my eyes checked, I went to the dentist when I had a tooth ache, I made multiple visits to my local GP when I tore my calf muscle playing volleyball. If you’re like my friend, who avoids doctors at all costs, you may not see a health worker of any kind regularly, but even he eventually needed the help of doctors and nurses when he developed tonsillitis and had to be admitted to A&E.

It’s easy to forget that our health system has health workers who immunise us against serious childhood illnesses, that we have midwives who safely deliver babies to the benefit of both mother and child, and that we have doctors and surgeons who can provide emergency care when needed. Yet 57 countries around the world are facing a severe human resources for health crisis and 83 countries don’t have enough health workers to provide even basic health services:

  • The world is short 7.2 million health workers needed in order to provide essential health services.
  • Africa has 11 percent of the world’s population but makes up a quarter of the global disease burden. At the same time, it has just 3 percent of the global health workforce.
  • 51 percent of births in Africa 41 percent of births in Asia are not attended by a midwife or other trained health worker.
  • Eleven countries in Sub-Saharan African do not have any medical schools, and a further 24 countries only have one.

A country example of how this plays out:

DSCN4799Ethiopia is a country with a population of over 90 million. It has just over 2,000 physicians and fewer than 3,000 nurses.  In contrast the UK, with a population of roughly 60 million, has over 170,000 physicians and nearly 600,000 nurses.

The UK has a nurse to patient ratio of 1:8. In contrast, India needs another 2.4 million nurses just to reach a nurse to patient ratio of 1:500.

All of the health issues that RESULTS works on – tuberculosis, child survival and nutrition – depend on having trained, supported, employed and motivated health workers who can provide health services. Health workers are essential to vaccinating children to give them life-long protection against disease, they are vital to diagnosing people with TB and supporting them during their long and arduous treatment, and they are crucial to providing care to acutely malnourished children.

This week, let’s celebrate the critical role health workers play in delivering healthcare, and let’s take this opportunity to call on the UK Government to help developing countries scale up their health spending and use these funds to strengthen its health workforce. Because there can be no health without health workers.

Some health worker highlights:

One week to go (*gulp*) – Please support!

Dan Jones, our Campaigns Manager, on the final weeks of training for the London Marathon. Dan is running for RESULTS UK, and you can support him here

London Marathon programme

The London Marathon final programme lands on my doorstep – no going back now.

It’s official – there’s only one week left before I’ll be (without any doubt whatsoever) out-pacing Mo Farah, Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Mutai et al as I triumph over the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon, in support of RESULTS UK. And I’m definitely feeling *The Fear*.

Training has been hard. The lowest point was at about 7am one Saturday morning, when after a long week at work I woke, put on my trainers and prepared for my longest training run of 22 miles. It took me just under four hours which, frankly, is just a ridiculous amount of time to spend running.

It has to be said though that as I’ve trained for my second ever marathon, it’s been a lot better than last time around. Two years ago, I was training for the Kilimanjaro marathon in Tanzania. At the time, I was living in Nairobi, Kenya where training runs were particularly challenging for a number of reasons. Firstly, we had to get up at about 6am in order to finish training runs before it got too hot (not really a problem in old blighty). Then, there was the lack of pavements and crazy traffic in Nairobi. I became adept at leaping pot holes, dodging through unpredictable traffic jams and purple exhaust fumes.  On one occasion, I took a wrong  turn through a slum, much to the bemusement of onlookers.Yeah, not really the same as running on the suburban streets of Hertfordshire. And then of course there was the fact that the marathon itself was mainly uphill – the clue, I suppose, was in the title. At least this time I know it’s fairly flat.

Dan running in Berkhamsted Half Marathon

Feeling the pain during the recent Berkhamsted Half Marathon (just a “light” training run)

Last time around, I was raising money for a small Kenyan NGO Special Education Professionals that I worked with in Nairobi, who brought together disability specialists including special needs teachers, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to support children with disabilities and their parents in low income areas like the informal settlements.

This time, I’m raising money for RESULTS! But it’s great to feel that our work is still changing the lives of those same marginalised children. As a concrete example, I’ve been proud to be part of RESULTS’ campaigning to strengthen the focus of UK aid on supporting education for children with disabilities. We have been campaigning literally for years on this issue. Our amazing network of grassroots advocates have written to their MPs, been to Parliament and engaged Team GB’s famous Paralympians on this issue. We’ve worked with hundreds of other organisations, organised events for MPs, gained media coverage and submitted evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry. It can sometimes be hard to see the tangible results that RESULTS achieves, but on this issue, we have seen huge progress. Last year DFID Minister Lynne Featherstone MP announced new commitments including that all new schools built with direct UK support in developing countries would be built accessible to children with disabilities. She then visited Uganda with Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan to raise the profile of the issue further. Later this week, Parliament’s inquiry on disability and development will publish its report and we sincerely hope that that will go further and include strong recommendations for DFID to do more to ensure UK aid is inclusive of people with disabilities.

That’s an example of our impact that I’m particularly proud of, but I could just as easily have talked about our role in securing millions of pounds for life-saving global programmes to find and treat tuberculosis or to tackle under-nutrition in developing countries, or our current advocacy to ensure a successful replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, which will deliver a quality education for millions of children.

So I’m feeling proud to be running the London Marathon for RESULTS. With one week to go, I’m excited, nervous, fairly injury-free and, well, terrified. But that’s normal isn’t it?!

Please support this crazy endeavour and help me reach my fundraising target of £1,000 for RESULTS UK. You can donate online at http://www.everyclick.com/danrunslondon.

(also, if anyone is in London for the marathon on Sunday, do cheer me on – I’ll be grimacing and wearing a RESULTS T-shirt)