One of the UK’s foremost advocates for greater awareness and further investigation of Long COVID is one of the most influential this year in the world.
Dr. Nisreen Alwan, Public Health Doctor and Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Southampton, is on this year’s BBC 100 Women. For this year, the theme of the list is « Women Who Led the Change in 2020 ». .
Dr. Alwan is known for her research into the health and wellbeing of women and children. It has spent most of 2020 dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, raising awareness that countries need to measure and combat long-term diseases from the virus – also known as Long COVID – and not just from mortality.
Dr. Alwan has effectively used social media, especially Twitter, to share her views on Long COVID, mental health and inequalities during the pandemic, and to share the experience of others who, like her, may have had COVID-19 earlier this year if widespread testing failed were available and therefore there could be a risk of long term conditions.
« I saw a huge gap in the way the COVID-19 pandemic was measured and addressed. We only saw deaths and counted laboratory confirmed cases. Nobody was tracking the disease from COVID-19. I combined my personal experiences with my expertise and emphasized the importance of counting Long COVID. ”
« I spent a lot of time communicating with people on my Twitter account all year, » she explains. “While I appreciate that social media has negatives, I’m really impressed with the amount of friendliness that really gives people a lot of support – especially in our current context where people don’t meet in person – so social media is has become an important medium to feel this social connection, compassion and empathy between people. ”
« We all have a role on social media to promote this positive side and that means people can be vulnerable there, including us as scientists and professionals because we are just normal people, » continues Dr. Alvan gone. « I’ve shown vulnerability on social media. In response, you will receive compassion, understanding, and sharing. Others see these interactions and believe that there is still good in this world and that is really great for the community solidarity we need to bring about during these troubled times. ”
Dr. Alwan’s frequent calls for more resources and research into the impact of Long COVID have been a predominant topic of her engagements on social media, mainstream media, webinars and magazine articles. While she appreciates that Long COVID is a complex issue, she stresses the need to define the disease more clearly and quickly in order to treat it more effectively.
« This is what I mainly focus on now, » emphasizes Dr. Alvan. “I started research to define how common Long COVID is and how we can characterize it in a clinical sense so that we can have some broad case definitions that can be used clinically and also used to monitor the Counting and estimating exposure to COVID problem. ”
Now in its eighth year, the BBC 100 Women list includes women from around the world who have made changes in STEM, art, media, business and education this year, including Sanna Marin, Finnish Prime Minister, NASA Astronaut Kathy Sullivan and British vaccination scientist Professor Sarah Gilbert from the Jenner Institute in Oxford.
100 Women, BBC
World News – AU – Leading Long COVID Activist among BBC 100 Women for 2020
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