JameelCast: Neil Ferguson - responding to epidemics

Neil Ferguson, director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics at Imperial College (Jameel Institute) speaks with Jameel Institute researcher Tom Rawson on the first episode of JameelCast, a podcast about the latest public health research, as told by the scientists.

Neil discusses his 30 years of experience in pandemic and disease outbreak response. He shares how the field has advanced during the time of his research, lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the intersectionality of disease and climate and global stakeholder cooperation.

Neil says, "In addition to all these emerging infectious disease outbreaks we've talked about, there's then a set of intersectional challenges just beyond that. So beyond just infectious diseases, there are other health crises happening all the time, associated most in the news; extreme weather events, heat waves, floods, everything else. And often there's an intersection between chronic diseases, noninfectious diseases and infectious diseases in that way. Primary example is that people in the COVID pandemic were much more likely to die from COVID if they had preexisting, what are called co-morbidities, like diabetes, than somebody who didn't. Things like climate change are affecting both types of disease and generate particular crises, in particularly associated with extreme climate events. Extreme flooding can be associated with cholera outbreaks, but can also be associated with heat related death. And so we wanted to create a capability for a much more multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary analysis capacity, which could look at the intersections between health systems, climate change, chronic and infectious diseases, and put that also importantly into an economic context or have health economics integrated as well. And so that's really the very general mission of Jameel Institute."