BBC World Service

News & Politics

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.


Should Hillary Tell All About Her Health?

September 14th, 2016

Episode 113 of 158 episodes

American presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was forced to disclose the fact that she has pneumonia, after appearing to collapse on the campaign trail this week. But should she have to reveal all about her health? Mrs Clinton’s infection appears to be a case of “walking pneumonia” - much milder than the cases where people have to be hospitalised and even put onto ventilators to get oxygen into their body. World leaders with other more serious health problems appear to have not been held back. John F Kennedy had Addison’s disease, Winston Churchill had depression, a heart attack and a stroke and Francois Mitterand had cancer. Health Check hears from Lord David Owen, who started out as a doctor and then spent his career in senior positions in British politics. In his book “In Sickness and In Power” he ponders over the question of whether all world leaders, in business and in politics, should be more open about their health. The impact of HIV/Aids has been so dramatic in Swaziland it became known as a nation of orphans. But things have got better. Women are now tested during pregnancy – and if they are HIV positive are given anti-retroviral drugs to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to their baby. But a lot of men are still reluctant to go to clinics, which are often filled with women and children and are staffed mainly by female health workers. The BBC’s Hannah McNeish has been to the southern African country to look the latest efforts to encourage more men to get screened for HIV – by going to where they gather. In ancient cultures mental ill health was blamed on everything from the wrath of the gods to an imbalance of bodily fluids. Treatments varied from magic spells to blood-letting. People with mental health problems often had no choice but to seek refuge in churches and temples – but eventually institutions were created especially for them. One of the oldest, London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital – often mis-prounced as Bedlam - was founded in 1247 to shelter and care for homeless people, but gradually began to focus on those considered ‘mad’. Modelled on a French Royal Palace, a stream of visitors would visit to view those labelled insane. A new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection examines “Bedlam: the asylum and beyond” and Claudia has been for a preview, with co-curators Mike Jay and Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz. (Photo: Hillary Clinton pauses to take a drink of water to help soothe a cough during a campaign rally. Credit: Getty Images)

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