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Recent Releases In Global Health

Main Take-Aways From GHME: Reflections on last week’s Global Health Metrics & Evaluation (GHME) conference in Seattle, Washington appeared in several blogs and a Lancet column:

Additional commentary about

World Water Day

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Changing African Health Care: “Although logistical difficulties lie ahead for both MEPI [Medical Education Partnership Initiative] and ASLM [African Society for Laboratory Medicine], their foundation should be celebrated as efforts to provide African solutions to health care within Africa,” a Lancet editorial states, continuing, “Indeed, March, 2011, has the potential to be an inflexion point in the history of African health-care provision. Hopefully those responsible for change can continue to ride the wave of enthusiasm, which will often not be easy, and work together towards an African future in which good health care is the norm for all” (3/26).

World TB Day Updates And Developments: The Kaiser Family Foundation released a fact sheet explaining the U.S. government’s role in addressing the global tuberculosis epidemic, including the history of U.S. involvement and funding trends (3/24).

The International Scientific Exchange Foundation of China and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create the Global Health R&D Center of China (GHRC), which aims to develop “new treatments for public health diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS,” according to a TB Alliance press release. The GHRC will be the first Chinese not-for-profit Product Development Partnership (PDP), according to the release. The MOU was announced on World TB Day “in recognition of the growing problem of tuberculosis” (3/24).

ONE’s blog features an interview with Paul Nunn, coordinator of TB operations and coordination for WHO’s Stop TB Department (Hohlfelder, 3/24).

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog published a guest post by Cherise Scott, secretariat of the Stop TB Partnership Working Group on New TB Drugs (3/21); a commentary by Carol Dukes Hamilton, senior scientist of Health and Developmental Sciences at FHI and associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center (3/24); and another guest blog post by Ernesto Jaramillo, Paul Nunn and Mario Raviglione of the Stop TB Department at the WHO (3/24).

Global Health Council CEO and President Jeffrey Sturchio and Becton, Dickinson, and Company COO and President Vince Forlenza co-authored a Huffington Post piece about TB diagnostics (3/24).

“As we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, it is important for all of us to recognize that Eastern Europe and Eurasia continue to have the highest rates of MDR-TB and XDR-TB infections in the world,” Jonathan Hale, USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia, writes on the agency’s “Impact” blog (3/24).

Proposed Foreign Aid Cuts’ Impact On Global Health: “Paying to fight malaria almost surely saves more lives, at less cost, than paying to fight [Libyan leader Moammar] Qaddafi,” Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at the New Republic, writes in his blog. “[W]hether or not the value of malaria nets is a good argument against buying cruise missiles, it is surely a good argument for buying malaria nets – not to mention tuberculosis drugs, HIV screening, and all of the other global health treatments that the federal government purchases.” He concludes that proposed “substantial reductions in global health spending would dramatically increase disease, suffering, and death” (3/24).

A Strategy For Curbing Tobacco Use In Developing Countries: “While anti-smoking efforts gather momentum in the USA, those efforts are far less effective in developing countries,” international public health consultant Cesar Chelala writes in a post on the “WIP Talk” blog. Chelala describes the challenges involved with curbing tobacco use, saying, “Such countries’ policies will not be as effective unless transnational tobacco firms are made to limit their aggressive advertisements. … As things stand now, only a multidisciplinary strategy including education, taxation, legislation, and regulation of trade practices of transnational corporations will be able to control this pandemic” (3/24).

Creating A Global Health Strategy For Healthy Development: The Global Health Initiative (GHI) “targets problems that impede development in the poorest countries. But even there, new health threats are arising with economic growth,” Jean-Paul Chretien of the U.S. Navy and Truman National Security Project writes in a JAMA Commentary, where he describes the rise of noncommunicable diseases and other public health issues facing the growing “global middle class.” Chretien writes, “The United States needs a global health strategy that averts these emerging impediments to development. Substantial new funding is unrealistic, but modest investment, leveraging existing programs, could accomplish much.” He outlines several approaches to a “global health strategy for healthy development” (3/23).

Event Sheds Light On GHI Implementation: In a post on CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the Center for Global Development, writes that a recent event featuring Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted how “two key GHI principles – country ownership and integration – are taking shape in Ethiopia.” Oomman writes, “Regular documentation and sharing about different integration models and their outcomes as they develop in different countries is a MUST for a learning agenda for the GHI” (3/23).

Good Government And Global Health: In a post on the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases “End the Neglect” blog, health consultant and writer Alanna Shaikh notes that even though the recent natural disasters in Japan were “100 times stronger than the earthquake in Haiti,” there were many more fatalities in Haiti. “What made the difference? Why did Japan fare so much better? Building codes. Well, not just building codes – although that is a big part of it – but also earthquake preparedness, prompt emergency response, and good infrastructure. In other words, government,” she writes. Shaikh concludes that “good governments are an important element in good health, and we need to find a way to develop good governments” (3/18).

Symposium Examines Role Of Innovation In Global Health: U.S. officials recently talked about expanding public-private partnerships and “highlighted the central role science diplomacy plays in U.S. foreign policy,” according to a document from the State Department. “Industry executives provided an overview of pharmaceutical industry strategies for promoting innovation, including the use of voluntary licensing and open labs to develop medicines for neglected tropical diseases” (3/18).

Four Recommendations Ahead Of NCD Summit: In a post on the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog, Devi Sridhar, a research fellow at the University of Oxford, offers four recommendations for health experts to contemplate ahead of the U.N. General Assembly on Non-Communicable Diseases in September. Among these, Sridhar stresses the importance of clearly defining what falls under the topic of NCDs and the need to come up with “clear, specific, and measurable goals … before the Meeting focused around awareness, national planning, innovative finance, regulation and cross-sectoral coordination” (3/17).

How USAID Is Assisting Kenya’s Fight On HIV/AIDS: Though “grateful for all that PEPFAR and the Global Fund have done to make antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) accessible and affordable” in Kenya, “the existing prevention, treatment, and care available are simply not enough to stop the epidemic,” Omu Anzala, program director of the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI), writes in a post on USAID’s “Impact blog.” Anzala continues, “What USAID invests in building country-led health systems can produce not just extraordinary breakthroughs in health research but also independence, sustainable capacity, and opportunity in the world’s poorest countries. Administrator [Rajiv] Shah’s commitment to ‘advancing science, technology and innovation aimed directly at improving human welfare’ will yield a healthier, more secure world” (3/17).

Critical Need For U.S. Leadership On Global Reproductive Health Issues: An article in the latest Guttmacher Policy Review states: “Indeed, the U.S international family planning and reproductive health program stands out as one of the country’s flagship foreign aid investments. … Even now, in this fiscally austere climate where foreign aid seems to have become a budgetary pinata and social conservatives are piling on to target family planning specifically, policymakers would do well to bear in mind what would be lost by forcing the United States to step back from helping women move forward” (Cohen, Winter 2011).