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Investing in TB Research: World Leaders Urged to Commit to End TB

This blog post was written by the Communications Team at the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance). TB Alliance is dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of better, faster-acting and affordable tuberculosis drugs that are available to those who need them. They are a 2018 Global Health Council Member.

A Lingering Epidemic

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of humanity’s oldest and most persistent plagues, dating back thousands of years. Despite being deemed a global health emergency in 1993, TB has since become the deadliest infectious disease in the world, killing more than 1.6 million people last year. Drug-resistant TB accounts for roughly a third of global deaths due to antimicrobial resistant infections and has tragically low survival rates, between 34% and 55% depending on how resistant the infection is to available drugs.

The absence of adequate tools – diagnostics, vaccines and drugs – to quickly and safely prevent and treat all forms of TB has allowed the pandemic to linger and spiral out of control.

                            Photo: One day of typical treatment for drug-resistant TB

Currently, treatment for drug-resistant TB is extremely complicated, expensive, and lengthy, involving a wide variety of medicines that can bring debilitating side-effects like deafness, include painful injectable drugs. These treatments are administered for nine months to two years or longer. Today, people with Multi Drug Resistant-TB (MDR-TB) often go untreated, and of those who do receive treatment only about half are cured. Innovation in TB treatment is urgently needed.

Investing in a New Generation of Cures

New drug combinations with the potential to more safely and rapidly cure all forms of TB are in late stages of development. If proven effective, transformative new cures could save millions of lives and help lift a heavy economic burden on people and governments alike. However, realizing these breakthroughs and reaching those in need is no small endeavor – true success will require a meaningful and sustained commitment to research and product development from all nations.

Breakthroughs on the Horizon

Last month,  TB Alliance announced the launch of the SimpliciTB trial, a pivotal clinical trial to determine whether the new BPaMZ drug regimen can treat TB and drug-resistant TB more quickly and effectively than currently-available treatments, reducing TB treatment by a third and MDR-TB treatment by as much as 18 months. With additional investments in research and development for new cures, we can further build out the evidence base for transformative new treatments and overcome the threat of TB.

It’s Time for World Leaders to Act

Major advances in TB treatment, prevention and diagnosis present game-changing new technologies that can save lives, keep families together and position communities and countries for success without the burdens of this ancient disease.

The first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (HLM) on September 26 is a landmark opportunity to marshal political will and resources to end TB and achieve this vision. Member states can defeat TB and overcome antimicrobial resistance by closing the funding gap for TB research and product development through equitable approaches, securing universal access to new medicines and fostering global collaboration.

In the years to come, we expect to look back at this meeting’s outcome as the moment when world leaders marshalled the political will and resources needed to finally end TB and leave no one behind.

Learn more about TB Alliance here.

Creating Shared Value in Global Health: Growing Markets, Making Progress

This blog post was written by Neeraja Bhavaraju, Director at  FSG. FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm for leaders in search of large-scale, lasting social change to help them unleash their full potential to re-imagine social change.’They are a 2018 Global Health Council Member.

Every pharmaceutical and medical device company is trying to explore new markets, grow their reach, and expand their impact – in other words, to create “shared value” by delivering business value for the company by improving access to quality healthcare products and services for people around the world.

While most business leaders know shared value opportunities in low-income or hard-to-reach markets exist, realizing their potential is a different story. To do so, companies must work in new ways, develop deep external partnerships, and grapple with some of the most complex, multi-faceted challenges we face as a global community. Fortunately, this complexity has not deterred a group of innovative companies who are actively working to create shared value in global health.

FSG first highlighted these innovative efforts in 2013 in a report titled Competing by Saving Lives: How Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies Create Shared Value in Global Health. At that time, companies were just starting to shift away from a reliance on product donation programs towards business-driven strategies to build and strengthen sustainable markets for their products.

Now, in a new interview series, we are checking-in with those we profiled to understand not just what they are doing, but how they are doing it. In these conversations, leading shared value practitioners share their successes, struggles, and hard-won lessons learned. Across the interviews, we explore how companies are starting new efforts and evolving long-standing initiatives, how they are establishing new partnerships and investing in internal innovation, and how they are expanding the definition of their core business to achieve greater access and impact.

Highlights from the interviews include:

  • Addressing the global unmet need for vision correction and eyeglasses through a sustainable, scalable business model with Essilor
  • Leveraging the unique power of generics manufacturers to address the biggest global health challenges with Mylan
  • Finding new ways to expand access to care and treatment in emerging markets with Eli Lilly
  • Tackling the cancer challenge in sub-Saharan Africa with Pfizer.
  • Innovating new business models and making the shift from products to services with Medtronic.

We will continue to add new interviews over the coming months with other leading companies effectively addressing global health challenges, including UPS, Merck, Abbott Labs, and Novartis among others. You can subscribe on the site to receive updates as we continue to engage in an exciting dialogue about how companies can best contribute to solving global health challenges.

You can learn more about FSG here.

Global Health Roundup~09/10/2018

Poor Quality Health Services Are Claiming More Lives Than Ever Before

The Lancet Global Health Commission on High-Quality Health Systems launched a report showing that increased access to care is not enough to save lives, especially if that health care is of poor quality. The Commission goes on to share that efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage will be wasted if poor quality health systems are not addressed, especially because poor quality health care claims more lives than lack of access to health care. Ultimately, the Commission calls for a renewed focus on people-centered quality health service delivery.

How Physically Active Are You?

A new study shows that more than 1 in 4 adults globally are physically inactive, putting them at risk for NCDs and diminishing their mental health and quality of life. The report, authored by four World Health Organization (WHO) experts and published by the Lancet Global Health, indicates that if this trend continues, the 2025 global target to reduce insufficient physical activity by 10 percent will not be met. WHO, in its Let’s Be Active Campaign, is calling upon all countries to provide environments that support physical activity and increase opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to be active every day.

Have an Amazing Story on Global Health? Share it Now!

NPR’s “Goats and Soda”, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), and Global Health NOW (GHN) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have announced the 2019 Untold Stories of Global Health Contest. The contest is meant to give a platform to important, but underreported global health stories. NPR and GHN will each select one winning story to cover and publish, and the winner will be announced publicly in March 2019 at the CUGH conference. The deadline for submission is September 30.

 

NEWS BITES

August 16: To commemorate World Mosquito Day, Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) shared tools to help end diseases caused by various mosquitoes, including the employment of mosquito altering technologies.

August 24: Emmy-winning filmmaker and creative arts curator Lisa Russell announced a workshop bringing the immersive storytelling and global development communities together for the global good. The workshop is slated for October 13-14 in New York City.

August 31: The latest update from WHO on the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests that control measures are working. However, WHO cautions that the trend should be monitored closely since more cases are being reported from the city of Beni.

September 3: This year’s World Water Week took place in Stockholm, Sweden at the end of August. Devex reports on the key takeaways from the conference ranging from innovative financing to cross-sector collaboration.

September 4: Global Health NOW published an exclusive two-part interview with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the challenges he faces including Universal Health Coverage, health equity and WHO’s work with civil society.

September 5: The Government of India will host the Global Fund’s Preparatory Meeting of the Sixth Replenishment in February 2019 to mobilize funds aimed at accelerating the end of AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics and building stronger health systems.

Advocacy Update ~ September 10, 2018

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy, and Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate.

OMB Rescinds Prospective Rescissions Package

After considerable push-back, the administration did not send a newly proposed rescissions package to Congress. The package was expected to target appropriated but unobligated funding from the International Affairs budget. Although global health programs were not expected to be targeted, the proposed cuts to other development areas, including UN programs, would have had an impact across the development community. If the rescissions package had been sent to Congress, it was unclear if the administration had legal authority to do so, as it would have been released with fewer than 45 days remaining in the fiscal year. While it seems that there will not be another push to rescind funding in the remaining days of this fiscal year, we should expect the administration to continue to target the International Affairs budget.

 

Appropriations Update

Last week, the House returned from August recess and in the short time remaining before the end of the fiscal year (FY), Congress will continue work on FY 2019 appropriation bills. Congress hopes to pass nine of the 12 spending bills as “minibuses” – several spending bills packaged together – this month. It will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the remaining agencies open. A CR is expected to last until after the midterm elections, but could go until December. . While President Trump has threatened to shut down the government over funding for a border wall, he has backed off on carrying out this threat until after the elections. The State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations bill, which funds global health programs at USAID and the State Department, is not expected to pass this month.

In late August, the Senate passed a minibus that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill – which contains funding for programs at NIH and CDC– and Defense. The bill is now in the House of Representatives for a vote, and GOP conferees who will participate in the conference committee to negotiate any differences have recently been announced.

 

Community sign on letter to Congress supporting FY 2019 funding levels

While FY 2019 appropriations are being finalized, GHC is working with the global health advocacy community to complete funding recommendations for FY 2020 for review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The global health advocacy community is urging the U.S. to remain committed to investing in and supporting critical, cost-effective global health programs.

 

Looking Ahead to the 116th Congress

With the midterm elections just around the corner, GHC has started preparations for the 116th Congress and the new members and staff expected to arrive on Capitol Hill in January. GHC, in coordination with the global health advocacy community, is working on the next version of the Global Health Briefing Book, which will launch at an event on Capitol Hill early next year. More details will be forthcoming, and we hope you will join us for the Hill Day and global health expo planned for the launch. For more information: advocacy@globalhealth.org.

How an action tank can catalyze issues and change the world

This blog post was written by Gabrielle Fitzgerald, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Panorama. Panorama’s mission is working to solve global problems through audacious thinking and bold action. They are a 2018 Global Health Council Member.

I launched Panorama in early 2017 with a new vision for how to solve complicated problems. We call ourselves an action tank because we engage deeply with our partners to develop and execute solutions together. This is a unique, entrepreneurial model that drives action on local and global social issues by influencing people and policy. We are now a team of more than 20 strategists, advocates, analysts, and storytellers, all with a passion for changing the world.

An action tank aligns the critical components we know are needed to make progress on any issue, whether it’s malaria or neglected tropical diseases or violence against children. These components include:

  • Insight that comes from systems thinking and analysis of an issue, leadership, or organization.
  • Influence enabled by the right combination of advocacy, stakeholder engagement, communications, and resource mobilization.
  • Incubation & Infrastructure through such services as fiscal sponsorship, grant making and management, organizational design, and fund management and administration.

Our fiscal sponsorship program, for example, is a way for Panorama to support other organizations pursuing charitable activities that are aligned with our mission. Current projects include TogetHER, a group fighting to end cervical cancer in developing countries.

One of the most exciting elements of an action tank is that we initiate projects when we see gaps that need filling, such as our menstrual health work to fight the stigma that can limit women and girls, or our collaboration with Rockefeller Foundation to unite the health and environment sectors around the emerging concept of Planetary Health.

A high priority for us is to rally decision makers around the need to prepare for the next global pandemic. I recently co-authored an article in the British Medical JournalGlobal epidemics: How well can we cope? We reviewed the many initiatives and organizations set up after the 2014-15 West Africa Ebola outbreak and concluded that serious gaps remain in terms of leadership, funding, and monitoring. Despite the rapid response and excellent work by WHO in recent outbreaks, I fear we are woefully unprepared for a global outbreak, especially one caused by an unknown virus.

To help push the conversation forward with key decision makers, we are co-hosting with the United Nations Foundation and PATH a panel alongside the UN General Assembly to celebrate the global community’s success in stemming recent outbreaks while highlighting what still needs to be done to ensure the world is prepared for a major outbreak.

Panorama works on a wide range of global health issues, but we think big and bring the energy, scope, and conviction of an action tank to every partnership we build.

Learn more about Panorama.

(Image courtesy of Panorama: Gabrielle Fitzgerald speaking with staff at the national 115 Call Center in Conakry, Guinea, during the Ebola outbreak in 2015)