In this post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Madhukar Pai, a professor and tuberculosis (TB) researcher based at McGill University, co-chair of the Stop TB Partnership’s New Diagnostics Working Group, and a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, describes a recent conference on TB diagnostics at…
Private Sector Involvement
New York Times 'Small Fixes' Section Examines Multiple Low-Cost Interventions For Global Health Problems
The New York Times on Monday published a special section, titled “Small Fixes,” containing several articles examining how low-cost innovations could help save thousands of lives. The articles examine issues as diverse as using circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV infection among men to a water-filtering straw that can provide one person with clean drinking water for up to one year. Other articles examine paper diagnostic tests for liver damage, using vinegar to diagnose precancerous cervical lesions, nectar poisons to kill disease-carrying mosquitos, a wetsuit-like compression suit that can save a woman experiencing hemorrhaging after giving birth, and scratch-off labels on medicines that allow a user to text message a code and discover whether the drugs are counterfeit, among others (Various authors, 9/26).
The Geneva-based GAVI Alliance, a fund backed by governments, the World Bank, the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that it will purchase more than $1 billion in vaccines against rotavirus, pneumococcal and other diseases through deals made with GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. to immunize children in 37 of the poorest nations, Bloomberg reports. “Wealthy nations donated $4.3 billion to purchase the vaccines as part of a plan to immunize 250 million children by 2015,” the news service notes (Bennett, 9/27).
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a growing interest in global health throughout the U.S. and how Jaime Sepulveda, who served as head of epidemiology in Mexico in the early 1980s and who took over the Global Health Sciences division at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) earlier this month, “hopes to make the Bay Area a powerhouse in research and development of global health policies worldwide.” The newspaper writes, “In the past five years, global health has taken off at the Bay Area’s top research institutions,” adding, “Both UCSF and Stanford have opened new global health centers, and Kaiser Permanente — the Bay Area’s largest health care provider — has formalized a program to send its doctors and nurses overseas.”
USAID, the Aspen Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, IBM, Hyatt Hotels and many other private sector donors on Thursday announced a commitment of more than $3.5 million “to provide assistance to address the challenges of the disabled in Vietnam, without regard to cause,” according to an Aspen Institute press release. The program,…
PepsiCo, WFP, USAID Announce Partnership To Increase Chickpea Production, Address Hunger In Ethiopia
PepsiCo on Wednesday announced a public-private partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and USAID to increase chickpea production in Ethiopia in order to secure access to the legume, which “play[s] an increasing role in its food products,” the New York Times reports. If the project is successful in working with small farmers to increase chickpea production, the “increased yield would exceed PepsiCo’s needs,” therefore “some of the additional crops will be used to make a new, ready-to-eat food product that the World Food Programme has used to address famine in Pakistan,” according to the newspaper (Strom, 9/20).
“The Mayo Clinic, Johnson & Johnson and others are joining forces to try to snuff out smoking in the workplace throughout the world,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Health Blog” writes, adding, “Their global smoke-free worksite challenge, announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, calls on employers to ban smoking at offices and facilities worldwide.” The blog notes, “Smoky offices seem like a thing of the past in much of the U.S. … But globally, only about 11 percent of people are protected by comprehensive national smoke-free laws, the WHO says.”
The Washington Post examines the influence of commercial interests on the “political declaration” that emerged from this week’s U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York. NCDs “are the globe’s biggest health problem, responsible for 63 percent of all deaths each year, with incidence growing steeply in the low-income, rapidly urbanizing nations of the world,” but they “are deeply entangled with important global industries, not only tobacco but also food, pharmaceuticals, advertising, transportation and construction,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The bigger issue in preparing the document, however, was how much to invoke the … World Trade Organization’s agreement on intellectual property, known informally as TRIPS” (Brown, 9/20).
World leaders attending the first-ever U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) kicked off the summit on Monday by “unanimously approving a ‘political declaration’ meant to stem a rising tide of [NCDs], now the world’s leading killer,” CNN reports (Ariosto, 9/19). The declaration “call[s] for a multi-pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to set up by 2013 the plans needed to curb the risk factors behind the four groups of NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes,” according to the U.N. News Centre.
Foreign Affairs on Tuesday published an analysis examining the history of negotiations behind the political declaration approved on Monday by leaders attending the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).