Findings for left behind children

Around one in seven people are migrants – the majority of which are labour migrants from low- and middle-income countries. Migrants are often separated from their families for long periods of time. In a recent systematic review published in the Lancet, our team of international researchers investigated the effects of parental migration on children
left-behind and adolescents living in low- and middle-income countries.  

We searched the literature for studies looking at the effects of parental migration on nutrition, mental health, unintentional injuries, infectious disease, substance use, unprotected sex, early pregnancy and physical abuse amongst children and adolescents aged 0-19 years, living in low- and middle-income countries. We found 111 relevant studies, including 264, 967 children and adolescents.

Left behind children

91 of these studies were made in China and focused on effects of labour migration within China. Compared to children of non-migrants, left-behind children:

  • had worse mental health, with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, conduct disorder and substance use.
  • were more likely to be acutely and chronically malnourished compared to children of non-migrant parents.

We didn’t find any differences between left-behind children and children of non-migrants for unintentional injury, abuse, or diarrhoea. No studies looked at other infectious diseases, self-harm, unprotected sex, or early pregnancy.

Though the quality of studies varied, and most were from China, we concluded that left-behind children and adolescents had worse health compared to their peers, especially in terms of mental health and nutrition. We didn’t find any benefits of parental migration for their health, despite the potential economic advantages of having parents working abroad. Our study highlights a gap in global health policy and practice to improve the health of this group of young people.

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The Reality Behind Cancer in India: “Twenty-four Stills” photography exhibition at Bush House until February 18th

twenty-four-stills-photography-exhibitionIndia is reported to have over one million new cancer patients each year. On-going research seeks to improve cancer care for patients.

Cancer does not discriminate. India is reported to have over one million new cancer patients each year. This number is expected to almost double by 2035, with cancer set to become one of the country’s biggest public health challenges.

The chronic nature of the disease, the severe side effects of the drugs, the long waiting times in hospitals and the expensive costs of therapies make cancer a difficult challenge for all those affected by it.

In 2012, India’s flagship cancer hospital, Tata Memorial in Mumbai responded to the rapidly growing number of patients and launched a network of cancer centres. The National Cancer Grid of India was established to decentralise, standardise and digitalise oncology, and to develop new forms of treatment relevant for low- and middle-income countries.

Dr Carlo Caduff from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London has recently received a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award to continue his research in India, which seeks to work in conjunction with local oncologists to improve cancer care for patients.

“I will be leading a team of researchers to analyse the emergence of the grid as a powerful new actor that seeks to redraw the map of cancer care,” said Dr Caduff.

“We’ll use social science research methods to show how a new agenda for global oncology is taking shape today in India.”

Previously, Dr Caduff researched the history of cancer in order to address the challenges of the non-communicable disease in the Global South. His work, also funded by the Wellcome Trust, examined the accessibility and affordability of oncology care in public cancer centres, particularly in India.

By chance, he came upon a local India street photographer, Soumyendra Saha and introduced him to a cancer centre in Kolkata. The result was 80 black and white photographs, capturing the life of the wards – from the pain to the mundane.

Despite their struggle to survive, the people in the photographs are shown to be waiting, thinking, reading and watching – showing the everydayness behind the deadly disease.

“Cancer often comes with voyeuristic images of shock and horror. In this project, we wanted to show another image. If there’s an intensity in the pictures, it comes from the people and their faces; from the ways in which they face the disease,” said Dr Caduff.

24 stills from the collection are currently being exhibited at The Exchange, King’s College London.

“The photographs invite you to inhabit the reality of the people in the cancer centre,” said Professor Bronwyn Parry, Head of the School of Global Affairs, King’s College London, who opened the exhibition last week.

“It provides you with an opportunity to connect, viscerally, with their and your feelings about their experience of health and disease, and to reflect on how that is shaped by social and economic circumstance – in often profound ways.”

Twenty-Four Stills photography exhibition, The Exchange, Bush House North East Wing | until 18 February

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BIOS Lecture – Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation

BIOS Lecture
Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation
Nadine Ehlers Thursday, 21 March 2019, 4.30 – 6.30 pm
King’s College London, Virginia Woolfe Building, Room 3.01
22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LE

The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and the Biotechnology and Society Research Group (BioS, King’s College London) kindly invite you to this afternoon lecture on Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation by Nadine Ehlers.

This lecture considers how IVF donor insemination technologies can open the possibilities for the denial of black life. It asks: how might the birth of black child to a white mother—by way of donor insemination—be conceived as a “wrongful birth,” as it was in the 2014 Illinois Northern District Court case of Cramblett v. Midwest Sperm Bank? How is it that someone’s race—in this case the blackness of a newborn—can be viewed and used as a measure of injury (against a white parent) for which compensation or legal reparation was demanded? And, lastly, what does this case reflect about the perceived value—or lack thereof—of black life in America and the possibilities of and for racial futurity, understood as the guarantee of life’s continuation? Cramblett squarely placed the question of the valuation of black life before the law, which was used here to adjudicate the personal rights of the mother against her child. In this assessment of biolegality, fundamental questions of the intersections of law, biology, and society are brought into stark relief, highlighting the challenges presented through bioscientific-technological interventions into ‘life itself.’

NADINE EHLERS is based in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Racial Imperatives: Discipline, Performativity, and Struggles against Subjection (Indiana University Press, 2012), co-editor (with Leslie Hinkson) of Subprime Health: Debt and Race in U.S. Medicine (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), and co-author (with Shiloh Krupar) of the forthcoming Deadly Biocultures: The Ethics of Life-making (University of Minnesota Press, 2019).

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Book Launch – Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings, and Life in the Lab

Book Launch Event
Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings, and Life in the Lab
Deboleena Roy
Tuesday 26th March, 4:30pm
River Room, King’s College London
King’s Building 2nd Floor, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

molfemThe Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and the Biotechnology and Society Research Group (BioS, King’s College London) kindly invite you to the London book launch of “Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings and Life in the Lab” by Professor Deboleena Roy. The book will be introduced by Professor Anne Pollock (KCL), followed by invited responses by Professor Charis Thompson (LSE), Associate Professor Jennifer Hamilton (Hampshire College), Professor Joyce Harper (UCL), Associate Professor Sonja Van Wichelen (University of Sydney) and by the author. The audience will be encouraged to join in the discussion, and to continue the conversation over drinks and nibbles.

“Should feminists clone?” “What do neurons think about?” “How can we learn from bacterial writing?” These and other provocative questions have long preoccupied neuroscientist, molecular biologist, and intrepid feminist theorist Deboleena Roy, who takes seriously the capabilities of lab “objects”-bacteria and other human, nonhuman, organic, and inorganic actants-in order to understand processes of becoming. In Molecular Feminisms, Roy investigates science as feminism at the lab bench, engaging in an interdisciplinary conversation between molecular biology, Deleuzian philosophies, posthumanism, and postcolonial and decolonial studies. She brings insights from feminist theory together with lessons learned from bacteria, subcloning, and synthetic biology, arguing that renewed interest in matter and materiality must be accompanied by a feminist rethinking of scientific research methods and techniques.

DEBOLEENA ROY is associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and holds a joint appointment in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program at Emory University.

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Aanisah Khanzada on landing her dream role at Cancer Research UK

graduationI currently work with Cancer Research UK as an International Tobacco Control Intern. Working for CRUK has always been a dream of mine. I had previously applied for a policy internship with CRUK during my third year of university and I was surprised to have even made it through to the interview stage. Unfortunately, I was rejected and felt extremely demotivated and upset that I didn’t prepare well enough.

Fast forward to October 2018, I’d seen that the CRUK internships were open again, so I thought to reapply, even though a small voice in my head was telling me I would never make it to the interview stage if I was unsuccessful the first-time round. I was wrong. I had been invited to the interview a second time round. However, on the same day as my CRUK interview, I had two other interviews. I was overwhelmed by this because I’d never had three interviews in one day.

A week later I received an email from CRUK offering me the internship role and I could not believe it. I was extremely ecstatic that I had been successful. My role includes contributing to supporting the delivery of the Cancer Prevention Department’s International Tobacco Control Programme, that supports evidence-based tobacco control policy development in Low and Middle-Income Countries. This stream of work links in with all the knowledge I have obtained from my degree in Global Health and Social Medicine, which I am very grateful for. Additionally, I will be supporting a three-day workshop that will be held in March 2019 for tobacco control researchers from around the world.

All in all, after graduating in the summer of 2018 it has definitely taught me to stay positive and never give up, even after rejection!

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