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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 26 October 2011

Why are some poor countries able to provide much better healthcare than others, despite having similar levels of income? Professor Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is one of a group of authors who has recently published a book, Good Health At Low Cost, looking at Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Kyrgyztan and Tamil Nadu. He tells Claudia Hammond which factors were the keys to success.

This week's health myth - if you're waiting to give birth is it true that eating a hot curry or having sex can bring on labour? Patrick O’Brien, consultant obstetrician at University College Hospital, London, provides the answer.

The most common infection in the world is caused by intestinal worms. De-worming programmes are proving successful. Although this rids people of the symptoms like diarrhoea, intestinal pain and even anaemia, there's a curious flipside to the absence of these worms - a rise in allergies and eczema. So is there a way of harnessing the beneficial, protective effects of these worms, while minimising the harm they cause? Meera Senthilingam reports on the latest efforts on cutting worm infections in East Africa. Claudia Hammond discusses ways of using worms to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease with Graham Rook, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at University College London.


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  1. Image for Health Check

    Health Check

    The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.

  2. Image for Science Hour

    Science Hour

    Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service. The Science Hour is a weekly…

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