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Global Health Roundup~07/16/2018

PMNCH Searching for Civil Society or Youth Representatives for the GFF Investors Group
The Global Financing Facility (GFF) Investors Group regularly brings together key investors in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and nutrition to strengthen partnerships and optimize country-level health financing. Investors include governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, UN agencies, Gavi, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A special selection committee, which includes the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), is calling for applications for civil society and youth representatives for the GFF Investors Group. These representatives will play a critical role in ensuring that civil society and youth voices are captured in the content of the work produced by the GFF. Applications are due July 22.

Voice Your View to WHO on Primary Health Care
WHO wants to hear your views on primary health care (PHC) and how it can be addressed to meet everyone’s needs, ahead of the Global Conference on Primary Health Care (October 25 – 26). PHC, usually the first level of contact people have with the healthcare system, aims to provide comprehensive, accessible, community-based care that is tailored to fit the needs of the individual seeking care. WHO’s Draft Declaration, an update on the 40-year-old Alma Ata Declaration underlines the importance of PHC to achieve Universal Health Coverage. It has now reopened for public consultation to ensure inclusion of views from a broad range of stakeholders. The comment period will be open until July 22.

GHTC Urges Increased Investment in Research and Development for the GHSA
The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) is calling upon the global health community to join them in urging world leaders to include commitments to Research and Development (R&D) in the new 2019-2024 Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) framework, which is now in development. The former framework did not include an action package dedicated to improving R&D capacities in GHSA member countries. R&D is needed, now more than ever, to ensure the availability of vaccines, treatments, and other tools needed to stop an outbreak from becoming a deadly epidemic. The petition would pave the way for civil society to press world leaders for change as they convene in Bali for the 5th GHSA Ministerial Meeting in November 2018.

NEWS BITES

July 5: joint report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), WHO and the World Bank highlight the cost of low-quality health care on illnesses and health across all income levels.

July 6: Although the last confirmed Ebola patient was discharged on June 12, WHO continues to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

July 9: The Bipartisan Policy Centre released a report highlighting the achievements of PEPFAR over the last 15 years in the arena of Strategic Health Diplomacy. You can follow more updates on Twitter at #PEPFAR15.

July 9: The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) shared potential assets developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to strengthen global disease outbreak prevention and control.

Advocacy Update ~ July 16, 2018

This post was written by the GHC Advocacy Team.

Senate and House Appropriations Committees Release LHHS Bills
Both the Senate and House Appropriations committees marked up their respective Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bills (LHHS) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which includes funding for global health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is possible that the LHHS bill will be rolled into a minibus, several appropriations bills bundled into one bill, although the timing of this is unknown.

Download the funding chart.

Highlights of the House LHHS bill
The House provided $178.9 billion overall for the bill. The CDC’s Center for Global Health received flat funding at $488.6 million, with Global Health Protection receiving $108.2 million. The National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Disease (NCEZID), also within CDC, received a $52 million decrease ($562.6 million in comparison to $614.6 million in FY 2018). The Fogarty International Center at NIH received a slight increase of $634,000 ($76.6 million in comparison to $75.7 million in FY 2018). The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) also received a slight increase ($5.4 billion in comparison to $5.3 billion in FY 2018).

Highlights of the Senate LHHS bill
The Senate provided $1.1 trillion overall for the bill. In the Senate bill, CDC’s Center for Global Health is flat funded at $488.6 million, of which $108.2 million is for the Global Public Health Protection. NCEZID received a $3 million increase ($617.5 million in comparison to $614.5 million in FY 2018). The Fogarty International Center received a little over $2 million increase ($78.2 million in comparison to $75.7 million in FY 2018). NIAID received an increase of about $200 million ($5.5 billion in comparison to $5.3 billion in FY 2018).

House Foreign Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on TB
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the State Department testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuberculosis (TB) in Southern Africa. Agency representatives provided updates on current TB programs and progress on interagency collaboration on the U.S. Global TB Strategy. Witnesses included: Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the Department of State; Irene Koek, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Global Health Bureau at USAID; and Dr. Rebecca Martin, Director of the Center for Global Health at CDC.

The hearing focused on the importance of collaboration among the three agencies and across other global health sectors, specifically in regards to TB/HIV coinfection. Dr. Martin discussed how CDC collaborates with the State Department through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to test TB patients for HIV, and provide treatment for people living with HIV/TB coinfections. Ambassador Birx emphasized the need to improve the scale of TB preventive therapy to help lower TB prevalence and reduce HIV coinfection. Both Dr. Martin and Ms. Koek stated that having U.S. government leadership present at the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting on TB provides opportunities for new political commitments to end TB and accelerate progress where it is needed the most.

Congressmen Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) spoke about their families’ experiences with TB and the importance of this work both in the U.S. and abroad. Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) expressed interest in TB funding and the return on investment (ROI) TB-related programs yield. Congressman Garrett pushed further on the issue of funding, asking what he should tell his constituents regarding the ROI of TB-related programs. Dr. Martin responded, “Investments in TB are smart, as every U.S. dollar invested in TB yields $43 in return.”

NCD Advocacy Resources for Youth by Youth

As a follow-up to the Call to Action: Youth, NCDs, & 2018, NCD Child is sharing 2 new resources developed by youth advocates to help promote the inclusion of young people in policy-making and policy targets.  Over the past 6 months, young advocates have continued to be vocal about the need for policy makers, civil society, and others to walk the talk with regards to youth inclusion in the global NCD agenda. To maintain momentum and hold our governments accountable, youth champions encourage their colleagues, networks, and peers to reach out to their Ministers over the next several months in the lead-up to the 3rd UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs.

1) Template letters to government:  This letter was developed to be sent from young people to government officials and making our key asks – proposing intergenerational collaboration for NCD policies as well as include a young person in their official country delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs. We suggest that the letter be sent much in advance of the High-Level Meeting, since being included in the preparatory work for the meeting could offer great opportunities to learn and influence.

2) Talking points on NCDs & young people:  The talking points highlight key messages related to the prevention, treatment, and management of NCDs in young people.  The information can be used in a variety of platforms, including but not limited to, social media, advocacy at high-level meetings, outreach to government, and collaborations with important civil society partners.  We hope you incorporate the messages into your advocacy efforts in the lead-up to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs and beyond.  

Stay in the know on future resources made by youth advocates for youth advocates by joining the NCD Child Youth Voices Connect group on Facebook

Advancing Synergy: Laying the Foundation for Impactful Partnerships

This blog post was written by Dr Arti Patel Varanasi, Founder, President and CEO, and Dr Mychelle Farmer, Chief Medical Officer at Advancing Synergy. Advancing Synergy’s mission is to develop innovations that empower individuals and impact communities to achieve better health. They are a 2018 Global Health Council Member and actively engaged with the Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Roundtable.

At Advancing Synergy, we believe in the ability of diverse individuals and sectors coming together to leverage innovations that empower individuals to effect positive change and impact communities by making them healthier and stronger. Achieving health equity is central to our work and our mission. Our team believes in engaging all stakeholders, especially the end-users and youth leaders to ensure that the resulting technology-enabled solution will be useful to and accepted by the target audience. As a result, our initial efforts on addressing health disparities among cancer patients through technology-based interventions has extended to developing new partnerships to raise awareness about the needs of people worldwide for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Our partnerships have stemmed from our initial work in developing and evaluating our innovative digital health solution, POiNT℠ (point of need together℠) among low-income breast cancer patients. Through this project, we identified the importance of task-shifting and task-sharing as vehicles to promote adherence to NCDs care and treatment. Advancing Synergy set out to explore task-sharing through the use of digital health platforms and presented the work at the 2018 USAID Mini University and the 2018 Global Health and Innovation Conference. Additionally, recognizing the importance of developing solutions for diverse resources settings, Dr. Arti Varanasi, President & CEO of Advancing Synergy, was an invited speaker at the Chatham House research event on Harnessing New Technologies for Global Health Security in March 2018.

The NCD Child Workshop Group at the Global Health Practitioner Conference 2018. Image Courtesy: CORE Group DC

Advancing Synergy is now exploring new partnerships with civil society, academia, and the private and public sectors. Arti believes such partnerships allow each group to focus on their strengths and result in collective action to promote NCDs prevention and control. She is working closely with the CORE Group and was recently appointed the Chair of CORE Group’s NCDs Interest Group. Through careful consultation with members of CORE Group’s NCDs Interest Group, Advancing Synergy collaborated with NCD Child and CORE Group to conduct a half-day workshop on NCDs. This workshop, held in Bethesda, Maryland in June 2018, was attended by over 50 participants from diverse segments of civil society. Following the workshop, Advancing Synergy was also part of a Youth Delegation, organized under the leadership of Dr. Mychelle Farmer, Chief Medical Officer at Advancing Synergy and Chair of NCD Child, to visit UN Mission to share advocacy messaging around NCDs. Advancing Synergy will continue to collaborate with NCD Child and CORE Group, and the dialogue will continue through the NCDs Interest Group to find answers to difficult health challenges.

Focusing on the diverse health needs of poor and marginalized people, Advancing Synergy is laying a foundation for practical, low-cost solutions to practical problems related to NCDs that will help to answers questions, like: How can we learn from the experiences of others as we integrate NCDs into existing community health platforms? How can we transfer digital technology to low resource settings, so we can address complex health issues like NCDs? Central to finding answers to these questions is harnessing the talent, energy, and insight of young persons and empowering them as advocates for themselves and their communities. Dr. Mychelle Farmer brings her expertise in global health at the intersection of child and adolescent health, youth leadership, and noncommunicable diseases to lead Advancing Synergy’s youth advocacy initiatives.

Dr. Arti Varanasi presenting the GHC-NCD Roundtable joint statement at the Interactive Civil Society Hearing on NCDs. Image: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Advancing Synergy will take the message of task shifting and youth advocacy to a diverse population in need. As a representative of the Global Health Council and the NCD Roundtable at the United Nations Interactive Hearing on NCDs, Dr. Varanasi addressed the health needs of youth and the elderly. Digital solutions can link families including young and older family members struggling with NCDs, so they can identify local, age-appropriate solutions to the prevention and control of NCDs.

Advancing Synergy’s desire to extend cost-effective solutions to all in need will be supported by new partnerships. Informed by Advancing Synergy’s role as a member of NCD Roundtable’s steering committee, Dr. Varanasi’s leadership within CORE Group’s NCDs Interest Group, and through active participation in global health forums like the NCD Alliance and the Global NCD Forum, Advancing Synergy will spread the message of health for all, using practical, novel solutions to the world’s biggest health threat.

 

World Health Organization: Building a Healthier Future for Tomorrow

This post originally appeared on the Better World Campaign website, and was written by Kelli Meyer. The Better World Campaign (BWC) works to foster a strong, effective relationship between the United States and the United Nations to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. They are a 2018 Global Health Council member.

The United Nations system is comprised of the UN, which is headquartered in New York, and more than 30 affiliated organizations—known as programs, funds, and specialized agencies—with their own membership, leadership, and budget processes.In our “Meet the (UN) Family” series, we’re taking a look at the UN entities that might not always make the headlines but play an integral part of the UN’s mission to promote global peace and prosperity.

Up next: the World Health Organization.

As the global guardian of public health, the primary goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. But don’t let the word “World” in the name fool you—WHO makes an enormous impact in the U.S., too.

So what is it that WHO does that is so important to Americans? Let us explain.

WHO helps orchestrate international collaboration and develop solutions to confront global health risks, which help to protect and advance U.S. interests at home and abroad.

For example, after the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, a partnership was formed under the Global Health Security Agenda with participation from governments in the region, WHO and other UN agencies, plus the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other U.S. agencies.

This innovative partnership played a key role in stopping an outbreak of the disease from reaching the same devastation in 2016. It also helped rebuild fragile health systems decimated by Ebola, and spearheaded vaccination campaigns to protect kids who missed out on basic vaccines during these Ebola outbreaks. And with the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), WHO is on the frontlines of the response, facilitating the delivery of the new Ebola vaccine.

While this work might seem (literally) thousands of miles away from our shores, it protects Americans because it strengthens a country’s ability to stop to disease threats at their source, before they can spread regionally and globally. This in turn saves lives abroad, protects U.S. troops stationed far from home, and promotes economic and political stability in those areas.

WHO’s leadership has also driven forward global partnerships that impact our lives closer to home. The organization is a founding member of the Measles &Rubella Initiative (M&RI), which is helping protect Americans from a highly infectious disease that still causes outbreaks here in the U.S. Globally between 2000 and 2016, M&RI has driven an 84% reduction in measles deaths, saving 20.4 million lives.

WHO is also a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), founded in 1988. At its peak in the 1950s, polio caused over 15,000 cases of paralysis in the United States alone. Since 1988, GPEI and WHO have reduced global polio cases by 99.9%, from 350,000 cases to just 22 in 2017. These investments in polio eradication have in turn strengthened country health systems to better identify and respond to other disease threats before they become global risks.

Another area where WHO’s expertise comes into play is addressing environmental and public health issues, such as air quality, water and sanitation. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with WHO to support reductions in air pollution generated in developing countries, which has the potential to travel across borders. Collaborations such as these means that U.S. agencies like the EPA can rely on the extensive networks and technical expertise of WHO to safeguard the health and security of Americans at home and abroad.

As we said earlier, don’t let the word “World” fool you; WHO works to make sure all people of all ages, no matter where they were born, can live healthy lives. Their work keeps us safe, healthy and protected from health threats here at home, and equips our public health officials with the tools, resources and partnerships they need to solve issues on U.S. soil.

To learn more about WHO, click here.