In this post in the Health Affairs blog, Martha Kwataine, executive director for the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) and head of the Access to Medicines Campaign in Malawi, examines the role of local advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country’s health system. She writes, “Amidst [Malawi's health] challenges, the role of civil society, especially advocates, cannot be overemphasized. Civil society organizations are the ‘watchdogs’ of government. Historically, they have played a critical role, not just by influencing policy formulation, but also by providing checks and balances to government power.”
In this TIME “Ideas” opinion piece, David Bowen, CEO of Malaria No More, writes that with the right resources and political will, an end to malaria is possible. He recounts progress made against the disease, citing a report by the WHO released Tuesday that shows “deaths from malaria have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000 — and by more than five percent in the last year alone,” and writes, “Despite these gains, much more needs to be done. The unacceptable fact still remains that malaria claims a child’s life in Africa every minute. The world has begun to mobilize the skills, resources and innovative genius needed to end this terrible death toll.”
In this post in the Hill’s “Congress Blog,” John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, reports on how biopharmaceutical exports benefit the U.S. economy and global health, writing, “Leadership is needed to help keep U.S. biopharmaceutical research companies competitive in the global export market.” He continues, “According to the Administration, if we increased exports by just five percent, we would create hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs. … Among the ways that they can advance this effort is by knocking down foreign barriers and promoting strong intellectual property (IP) protections that allow biopharmaceutical companies to bring their medicines into other markets and, importantly, to the patients who need them.”
In this Africa.com opinion piece, Ana Ruth Luis, medical director of the Southern Africa Strategic Business Unit at Chevron Africa and Latin America Ex in Angola, discusses what she calls “the important role Chevron has in driving down the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.” She writes, “Chevron was able to drop new infections to zero among our employees and their babies by educating our employees, establishing a culture of voluntary, confidential testing and treatment, addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace, and providing comprehensive medical care for expectant mothers.”
“We welcome the Obama administration’s announcement of a farsighted effort to treat millions more [people living with HIV] abroad, especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” a New York Times editorial writes. “The administration expects that the expanded treatments can be paid for with existing resources, by pushing for greater efficiencies and more financing from recipient nations. But if that effort stalls, the administration should re-evaluate quickly whether to ask Congress for money,” the editorial states.
In this post in the Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Kaitlin Christenson, the coalition director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition; Jim Connolly, president and CEO of Aeras; and Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of the TB Alliance, respond to a recently released G-FINDER report that shows “overall global investment in the research and development (R&D) of [new global health technologies] has declined for the first time since 2007, when the tracking of such funding began,” writing, “This decline is especially troubling given that there are more than 100 products in [the Product Development Partnerships' (PDPs)] pipelines.”
In order for Rwanda to reach its HIV prevention goals, the country “need[s] to reach two million men in two years to benefit from the protective effect of [voluntary medical male circumcision] in order to achieve this as part of a comprehensive, combination HIV prevention strategy,” Agnes Binagwahois, Rwanda’s minister of health, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. However, “the only method widely approved for funding is the surgical method, which is expensive and impractical for countries lacking physicians and surgical infrastructure,” and it would take more than 12 years to reach the country’s goal, she says.
In this post in Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine of the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) recounts recent progress in expanding vaccine access to the world’s poor, writing, “From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries [to] introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet. To appreciate how far we’ve come you need to remember where we started.”
In this Toronto Star opinion piece, Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Nicci Stein, executive director of the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, discuss how progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years “is in peril, due to governments reneging on repeated promises to fund the fight against the pandemic.”
“[S]topping the AIDS pandemic requires sustained engagement from both donor and developing countries, political commitments that are backed by dollars. … Yet many donor countries have chosen precisely this moment to abandon their promises,” they write. They discuss the cancellation of Round 11 grants by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and ask the Canadian government to deliver on its HIV/AIDS funding pledges. Elliott and Stein conclude, “We can turn the tide on the spread of HIV — victory has never been closer. But we need to make sure that those with the power and the money use it toward achieving the goal of an end to AIDS” (12/7).
Women “bea[r] the brunt” of weather-related disasters, but they also are “the key to stopping global warming, and to helping communities around the world adapt to the damage that has already been done,” Mary Pittman, president and CEO of the Public Health Institute (PHI), and Kavita Ramdas, executive director of…