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GHC News Flash: Global Health Roundup – 01/15/2018

Georgia Global Health Alliance Secures Grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 
On December 18, GHC partner Georgia Global Health Alliance (GGHA) was awarded a $60,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to support new programming that develops global health as an economic sector within the state. GGHA recently launched a host of initiatives including a “Global to Local” program that is focused on utilizing lessons from the global health front to help address local public health issues. They are also currently working with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and other partners to understand the economic impact of the global health sector in the state. View the GGHA post.

Applications Now Open for University of Global Health Equity’s Master of Science in Global Health Delivery Class
The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), an initiative of GHC member Partners in Health, is a new university based in Rwanda that is focused on building the next generation of global health professionals through the Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) program. UGHE’s MGHD program provides one-of-a-kind learning experiences fundamentally rooted in the principles of global health, One Health, epidemiology, global health policy, management, finance, and leadership. Applications are now open for the full-time, one-year MGHD program. For more information, visit UGHE’s website. Deadline to apply is February 12.

PATH Promotes “Advocacy for Impact” Series Highlighting Global Advocates
In December, GHC member PATH celebrated the end of another successful year by promoting its “Advocacy for Impact” series, highlighting the works of dedicated advocates across the world, who helped improve health and well-being in the countries where they live and work. The series also includes detailed profiles of several advocates and their inspiration to work in the field and create change. You can find more profiles on Twitter using the hashtag #Advocacy4Impact.


1) December 20, 2017: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) discussed the need for continued U.S. leadership in global health security with PATH’s Carolyn Reynolds via the “Take As Directed” podcast series.
2) December 23, 2017: WHO welcomed the appointment of Henrietta H. Fore as the seventh Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Fore began her new role on January 1. View the WHO statement.
3) January 8: Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, articulated the private sector’s role in improving global health at J.P. Morgan’s 36th Annual Healthcare Conference. View his remarks.
4) January 11: WHO and the United Nations (UN) Environment agreed upon a new collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks. Explore the different ways that you can take action as an individual.

Advocacy Update ~ January 15, 2018

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager.

It’s a New Year but Still No Budget Deal

Congress returned to Capitol Hill at the start of the year to take up where they had left off: how to raise spending caps for defense and nondefense discretionary spending. Raising the spending caps is needed to avoid sequestration, or automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that are set to take effect later this month. Without the budget deal, appropriators have been unable to complete Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending bills. Just before recessing in December, Congress passed a fourth Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating; the current CR expires at midnight on January 19.

According to The Hill, at last week’s GOP conference meeting House leadership seemed “optimistic” that a budget agreement was within reach and that the chamber would consider another CR this week to avoid a government shutdown and give appropriators time to work on a final spending package. The exact length of the CR has not been determined but is expected to last until mid-February.

In early January The Hill featured an op-ed by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager at GHC, and Courtney Carson, Policy and Advocacy Officer at Global Health Technologies Coalition, on why investments in global health, as well as defense, are both critical to keeping Americans safe.

Meanwhile…Focus Turns to FY19

While we await the final spending package for FY18, the global health community is also turning its attention to the release of the President’s Budget for FY19, which is expected on February 5 or 6. Last year President Trump proposed drastic cuts to global health programs at the State Department, USAID, NIH and CDC, and it’s expected that the recommendations could be even lower for the coming fiscal year. The President’s Budget may also provide the first glimpse of the administration’s plans for “redesign,” or restructuring, of federal agencies. (Read more on the redesign process.)

When the President’s Budget is released, GHC will send out an advocacy update along with the recommending funding levels for key global health accounts. Read the recommendations and justifications for FY19 submitted by GHC to OMB.

Healthcare for All Means Investing in Community Health

This guest post was written by Crystal Lander, Director of Advocacy, Living Goods. Living Goods supports networks of ‘Avon-like’ health entrepreneurs who go door to door to teach families how to improve their health and wealth and sell life-changing products such as simple treatments for malaria and diarrhea, safe delivery kits, fortified foods, clean cookstoves, water filters, and solar lights. Living Goods is a Global Health Council member.

We live in an age of medical and technological miracles. Yet, six million children still die each year from preventable or readily treatable illnesses like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

We have the means and the medicines to save lives—they just aren’t reaching the families who need it most.

Living Goods community health promoter Janat visits a young mother who she supported throughout her pregnancy. Photo credit: Living Goods

To reach the 400 million people who currently lack access to essential health care—and work toward Universal Health Coverage—we need to put families first, reaching them when and where they need it. In areas where doctors and nurses are scarce and resources are limited, community health can be a critical linchpin connecting families in hard-to-reach areas with the formal health system.

Despite its transformative potential, community health is often underfunded and underutilized in many parts of the world. Where they do exist, community health workers (CHWs) often receive minimal training and supervision, and don’t have access to the medicines they need to treat sick patients. It’s like asking a student to learn without schools, teachers, books, and supportive learning environment. Living Goods, and other like-minded organizations are seeking to change this by working with governments to strengthen community health care systems and help CHWs reach their full life-saving potential.

Living Goods partners with the governments of Kenya and Uganda to transform dedicated women and men into highly-effective CHWs. The CHWs go door to door supporting pregnant mothers and newborns, assessing and treating sick children, targeting early nutrition, offering family planning guidance, and selling health-focused products including fortified porridges and modern contraceptives.

We help CHWs operate at full throttle—giving them hands-on training and support, motivating performance-based pay, and building reliable supply chains for life-saving medicines. By blending best practices from business and public health, we’re working to overcome the biggest challenges in community health.

Living Goods community health worker Janat uses her mobile phone to test a sick child’s breathing patterns. Photo credit: Living Goods

Research shows that it’s working: a randomized controlled study demonstrated a 27 percent reduction in child mortality in areas where Living Goods CHWs were present. Families in the catchment area were five times more likely to receive a visit from a community health worker, and those with newborn babies were over 70 percent more likely to receive a home visit within the baby’s first critical week of life.

Our robust mobile platform, developed in collaboration with our tech partner Medic Mobile, helps drive performance and health impact across all levels of operation. It provides CHWs in the field with on-demand medical know-how, and gives supervisors access to real-time performance data that helps them pinpoint exactly where their support is needed.

The platform is the backbone of the Living Goods system—enabling real-time supervision, quality assurance and accuracy, and ensuring that every client has access to the compassionate, high-quality care that they deserve. As one Living Goods CHW puts it, “it’s like having a doctor in the palm of your hand!”

Integration of Frontline Health Workforce Will Determine Success of SDGs, Universal Health Coverage in 2018 and Beyond

Global Health Council will continue the conversations started at its 2017 Global Health Landscape Symposium (GHLS17) through a 2018 blog series focused on the four Symposium tracks: Integration, Investment, Partnerships, and Mobilization to Action. The post below is the first in our series. Follow the blog: If you would like to submit a blog post, please email us.

This guest post was written by Vince Blaser, Director, Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC), and Advocacy and Policy Advisor, IntraHealth International.  The post was originally published on the FHWC website. The Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) is an alliance of United States-based organizations working together to urge greater and more strategic U.S. investment in frontline health workers in developing countries as a cost-effective way to save lives and foster a healthier, safer and more prosperous world. FHWC is a Global Health Council member.

As 2018 begins with the clock already ticking on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals targets – the heroic, sometimes harrowing, and heartwarming stories of six frontline health workers from four continents delivered on a crisp November evening in Dublin reflect both the promise and the tangled reality of the policy planning and program implementation needed to fulfill the promise of unprecedented global consensus on health and development.

What I hope stuck in the minds of thousands of the top global health experts that had gathered in Dublin for the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was not the geographic diversity of these health workers’ stories, but rather their diversity of skills.

Intuitive though it may seem, ensuring access to a proper skill mix – represented in part by Mexican- American community health worker Maria ValenzuelaLiberian nurse Miatta GbanyaZambian nurse-midwife Marjorie Makukula, South African paramedic Rushaana GallowBurmese community doctor Hay Mar Khine, and Irish cardiac physiologist Paul Nolan at the “Lives in Their Hands” storytelling night in Dublin – is a complex yet fundamental equation for global health policy leaders to solve in 2018 and beyond.

Maria Valenzuela, a community health worker for Esperança in Phoenix, Arizona, speaks at the “Lives in Their Hands” storytelling night Nov. 13, 2017, co-sponsored by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, Global Health Workforce Network, Women in Global Health, and the World Health Organization. Photo courtesy Frontline Health Workers Coalition and IntraHealth International.

How do you move from policy to implementation to deliver “truly patient-centered” care?

How well this question – posed at a side session in Dublin led by Medtronic Foundation and IntraHealth International – is answered and acted upon will determine the success of SDG3 to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and the success of all disease- and health issue-specific compacts and targets under SDG3’s umbrella.

As borne out in several sessions in Dublin, community health workers (CHWs) are a key part of the answer, as they are already helping to deliver tremendous progress in dozens of countries around the world. At the Medtronic Foundation and IntraHealth session – Hafeez Ladha of the Financing Alliance for Health detailed a new analysis finding that in sub-Saharan Africa, about $1.1 billion is spent annually on community health programs. This spending has helped lead to major improvements on health indicators from HIV/AIDS to maternal and child survival in countries like Ethiopia. And, as Mallika Raghavan of Last Mile Health presented at the same session, CHWs are a central pillar of Liberia and other countries’ plans to ensure their entire populations receive patient-centered care and are protected from threats like Ebola in the years to come.

However, CHWs’ potential is still largely underreported, untapped, disaggregated, and severely underfinanced. The Financing Alliance for Health estimates about $3.1 billion is needed annually to implement sustainable community health programs in sub-Saharan Africa, about $2 billion less than what is being spent now. New efforts – such as USAID and UNICEF’s partnership on community health program integration in 7 low- and middle-income countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work to improve primary health care (PHC) performance – are aiming to address this gap.

Skill mix, teamwork key to successful community health

For a surge in community and primary health programs to be effective, we must learn from the past. As pointed out by IntraHealth’s Laura Hoemeke during the Medtronic Foundation-IntraHealth session in Dublin, CHW and PHC programs of all shapes and methods have been tried since the Alma Ata Declaration of universal primary health care in 1978 to widely different outcomes.

Critical components of success – as noted in first-ever Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 – is a “collaborative primary care approach built on team-based care” that reflects “a more diverse skills mix …  to harness the potential contribution of all health workers for a more responsive and cost-effective composition of health-care teams.”

Less than 40% of current spending in sub-Saharan Africa is supporting integrated CHW programs, according to the Financing Alliance for Health – underscoring a need for disease-specific programs to more effectively integrate their health workforce strengthening efforts, as well as a need to better integrate CHW programs into national HRH plans. The Frontline Health Workers Coalition in 2013 worked with several donor agencies and partners on a CHW Harmonization Framework to improve integration of CHW programs – an essential ongoing effort our members continue, that must be firmly embedded in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first-ever guidelines on CHW programs, expected to be finalized in 2018.

As recent reports like Midwives Realities, Midwives Voices and labor disputes such as the doctors’ strike in Kenya remind us – ensuring a resilient health workforce able to deliver universal health coverage (UHC) and meet global health targets requires that we listen and meaningfully include frontline health workers of every cadre in the policymaking and advocacy process. By doing so, we can chip away at any misperceptions and apprehensions between cadres and health workforce delivery models to better answer and act on the question of how to implement truly patient-centered care.

And as new and better health workforce data starts to be collected via the National Health Workforce Accounts, the WHO-ILO-OECD Working for Health data collaborative and other sources, we as advocates in 2018 and beyond must do all we can to ensure the interest, momentum, and enthusiasm to improve access to primary, essential services is harnessed to country-led, sustainably financed approaches that deliver a team of connected frontline health workers with the passion and skills shown on that stage in Dublin to enable their communities to thrive.

GHC News Flash: Global Health Roundup – 12/18/2017

Join GHC in APHA’s 2018 “1 Billion Steps” Challenge

From January 1 to April 8, 2018, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is hosting its 1 Billion Steps Challenge, a walking challenge designed for the neighborhood, workplace, or congregation, in buildup to National Public Health Week (April 2 – April 8, 2018). The goal is to reach one billion collective steps by the end of the first week of April. GHC is excited to be a part of this joint effort to promote good health and well-being in the community and we would like to invite our members, partners, and friends to join Team Global Health Council. Feel free to follow the prompts provided in the link, and if you have any questions or concerns, contact us.

Calling the Next Generation of Global Health Leaders

Global Health Corps is seeking young leaders to join their team as 2018-2019 fellows. Applications for one-year paid fellowship positions in the U.S. and East and Southern Africa (including with Global Health Council in Washington, DC) are open through January 17, 2018. Positions are available in data analysis, health informatics, monitoring & evaluation, social work, communications, policy, fundraising, design, architecture, business, and more. Learn more about this health equity movement and make sure to check the Advocacy Associate and Communications Associate positions available at Global Health Council.

UHC Day Honored as an Official Day by the United Nations

On December 12, the world marked the first-ever Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day by promoting Health For All messages among the masses. The importance of UHC was reinforced by the United Nations (UN) when it formally recognized the day as an annual event. This same day, a new report identifying insights on community health worker implementation programs was released by six organizations – Hope Through Health, Last Mile Health, Living Goods, Muso, Partners In Health, and Possible. Also, WHO acknowledged the day through a global report summarizing health data spending trends between 2000 and 2015. Finally, the 2018 UHC Financing Forum has announced a call for breakout session proposals, which should be submitted by January 12, 2018.


1) December 5: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) issued a call for case studies to show inspiring examples of multi-sectoral collaboration designed to improve women, children, and adolescent health. Deadline to submit is January 21, 2018.
2) December 11: Aidsfonds and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance announced a call for proposals on regional activities for their PITCH program in Southern Africa. Deadline to submit is January 8, 2018.
3) December 13: International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM)’s three-month HIV prevention vaginal ring (dapivirine microbicide ring) commenced clinical trials last week.
4) December 14: The Government of Japan will invest $50 million USD in the Global Financing Facility (GFF) to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage.
5) December 14: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its first report on the severe health and developmental challenges of children with microcephaly and evidence of congenital Zika virus infection in northeastern Brazil.