2020 has been a challenging year. Some of us had to get used to a new home office, and all the 'perks'  that come with it. Others were on the front lines of the pandemic, facing the consequences of the virus professionally and/or personally. 

The final Uniting Streams newsletter is a bit different than our previous editions. We have composed a 2020 recap with the major events of the past year, but also some positive moments that may or may not have reached world news. 
  Novel coronavirus

January 8th

Early January, the WHO noted that the spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, China could have been caused by a novel coronavirus. Thus far, 59 cases had been reported. 

Link to STAT artice here
Trump Impeachment

February 5th

2020 started off a tumultuous final (!) year for Trump's presidency. Trump's impeachment trial began on January 16th on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He remains the third US president in history to be impeached, following Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson. On February 5th however, Trump was acquitted of the charges.

 End of Australia's fire season

March 2nd - 4th

After 240 days, New South Wales was declared free of bushfires. The fire season, also known as Black Summer, began in september 2019 and has burnt over 13.6 million acres of land. While not the sole cause, experts state that climate change has heavily impacted the frequency and intensity of (Australian) bushfires.  

  Dolly's Donation 


Country legend, Dolly Parton, known by many for her song "Jolene" donated 1 million USD to Vanderbilt University, funding coronavirus research. The donation helped fund the development of Moderna's vaccine, which would (spoiler alert!) show a 94.5% efficacy according to the preliminary analyses. According to CNN, Parton only found out after her name appeared among the sponsors in the preliminary report. 

Find the report here
The murder of George Floyd

Photo via Getty Images

May 25th

The violent murder of a 46-year old man in Minneapolis ignited a series of protests against racism and police brutality. A national, and later international response resulted in large demonstrations in major cities worldwide. The slogan 'I can't breathe' was used by protesters, referring to Floyd's last words. 

Sir Captain Thomas Moore

17th July

Captain Sir Thomas Moore was invested as a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II. On the sixth of April, he started walking laps in his garden, aiming to raise 1000 pounds by his hundredth birthday on April 30th for  NHS Charities Together. The campaign gained a lot of media attention worldwide. When the campaign closed at the end of the 30th, he had raised over 32 million pounds.

Source of Photo: The Times, July 18 2020
Major explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

August 4th

In August, the Lebanese capital was rocked by a massive explosion in its harbour area at a storage facility of ammonium nitrate. The explosion, considered one of the largest in modern history resulted in 200 casualties, 7000 injured and internally displaced over 300,000 people. The Lebanese health care system was overwhelmed, raising questions about how to be better prepared (and prevent) future similar situations.

Read more about the issues raised here in an editorial in BMC Health Services.
Moria in Flames

September 8th

The overcrowded Moria camp on the Greek island Lesbos housed approximately  11.000 people, including many children. Due to a major fire, the camp became uninhabitable, displacing its residents and forcing the island to declare a state of emergency. 

Many doctors and public health professionals called for action from their respective EU authorities to help the residents of Moria.. SOS Moria was set up (link here), an action also supported bij Uniting Streams. Almost 7.000 doctors and 50.000 EU citizens have signed the call.

Read the Guardian's photo essay of the events here.
Photo source: Cordaid
Biden & Harris win US elections 

November 7th

On November 7th it was officially announced that Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States, with Kamala Harris as his Vice=President. In his celebratory speech he spoke of unity, and hope. He also spoke of making sure to take definitive actions to kerb the spread of COVID-19, a contrast to Trump's less clear stance on the pandemic. As of now, he has criticised the current vaccine roll-out for its lack of efficiency, and promises to streamline the process when he is in office. Read more on his plans in this NY Times article

The launch of the ANTICOV trial

24th November

The ANTICOV trial  involves 3,000 patients across 13 African countries and tests multiple treatment options for COVID-19. The trial brings together African researchers and scientists involved in the COVID-19 response. 

More information can be found here
Moving victims of domestic violence

29th November

The pandemic has led to an increase in calls to domestic violence help lines in various countries. A moving company in Tampa, announced a new initiative, helping victims of domestic violence move to a safe place free of charge. Since the start of the initiative, the company called 'College H.U.N.K.S. moving junk', has moved over 100 victims. 

Image from: Tampa Bay Times

First COVID-19 vaccination

8th December

With COVID-19 still in full swing, the year (and this recap) is ending on a hopeful note, with the first batches of the new vaccine being rolled out. 
Margaret Keenan (91) was the first person in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, was the first of 800,000 doses to be dispensed in the upcoming weeks, according to the BBC. 

NVTG symposium:
We are looking for your turbo talk!


This years Virtual NVTG Symposium is looking for researchers to present their research. 

Submit your research summary now and get the chance to pitch your research during the annual NVTG (The Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health) symposium. The Uniting Streams session will be held virtually as part of the online NVTG symposium that will take place on 22 January 2021 (2.00 - 5.00pm).

This year’s theme is: Global Mental Health, with a particular interest in psychosocial support in LMICs, including conflict situations. We especially encourage submissions related to the theme of Global Mental Health, but other global health-related abstracts are allowed too.
Selected research summaries will be invited to pitch their research in 3 minutes during the Uniting Streams session. The best pitch(es) will be awarded a prize. Summaries should be submitted in English, and should consist of no more than 200 words.

Applications can be submitted here. Closing date is January 15th, 9 AM

TU Delft x LUMC Global Diagnostic Symposium

The TU Delft and LUMC are offering a joined symposium on global diagnostics on the 13th of January 2021. 
Sign up to join in here

Global Health Knowledge center 

The Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) awarded the NVTG a subsidy on The Global Health knowledge center. This newly formed Global Health knowledge center is looking for an office manager and director!

More information here.

B E S T    W I S H E S

On behalf of the Uniting Streams Board, a very happy and healthy New Year to you and yours. We hope to see you in 2021. 

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