New radio show for Northampton offers a fresh insight into pandemic

Date 2.02.2021

Health professionals at the sharp end of the pandemic have been brought together for a new radio show which sheds light on the issues surrounding Covid-19.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton (UON), Professor Nick Petford, kicks off his monthly show, Shout To The Top, on NLive Radio, on Wednesday 3 February.

The first episode focuses on the coronavirus pandemic, and offers local, national and international perspectives on the virus.

Former UON Nursing undergraduate and postgraduate student, Lucy Wightman, will talk about her high-profile role as Northamptonshire’s Director of Public Health. She’ll explain the factors behind last summer’s coronavirus outbreak at Northampton’s Greencore factory, the public response to the virus, while describing how keeping up to speed with Covid is sometimes like “building a plane while you’re flying it”.

Former Northampton GP, Dr David Smart, who retired last year, will talk about the pandemic’s impact on mental health and the importance of community resilience. Commenting on high-profile breaches of lockdown rules at Government level, Dr Smart said: “In a pandemic there is a need for clear messaging, and it has been good locally, here in Northamptonshire. But not so much nationally, where the confusion caused by prominent leaders not following their own advice is desperately unhelpful.”

The University’s Associate Professor (Biochemistry), Lee Machado, has also been invited to appear on Wednesday’s show. Dr Machado, who worked on vaccine development in the biotech sector before joining the University, will explain what a virus is; examine concerns around coronavirus mutations and explain why some countries have differing vaccination policies.

Dr Akeem Ali, will also be on the show. Based in Fiji, where he works as a team coordinator for the World Health Organisation, Dr Ali will provide a global view of the pandemic, and its impact on the Fiji islands.

Professor Petford said: “I’m excited to welcome such a great panel of guests to the first edition of Shout To The Top. I’m sure, like me, people are interested in looking behind the Covid-19 headlines to get a more personalised perspective.

“Wednesday’s programme provides fresh discussions about the pandemic, and will provide an easy-to-understand explanation of the science behind the virus; how those working in Public Health have had to make decisions quickly; the impact on mental health, and the global inequalities behind the pandemic.

He added: “The show is also a brilliant way to publicise the research expertise we have at the University, including PhD and student work, and to reconnect with alumni.”

The first edition of Shout To The Top will be broadcast at 7pm on Wednesday 3 February, on NLive radio – you can listen on the website or, if you are in Northampton, on 106.9FM. The show will also be available as a podcast on the website, following transmission.

Shout To The Top is a monthly programme, broadcast on the first Wednesday of every month. Future themes will include policing, sport, fashion and energy.