Health Systems

GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY: INVESTING GLOBALLY MATTERS LOCALLY

This post was written by Anupama Varma, Communications Associate at Global Health Council.

The panel of speakers at the event.

A disease outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere.” – Dr. Tom Frieden, former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In today’s world, when diseases can reach American borders in less than twelve hours, it is more imperative than ever that the global health community open space for dialogue on global health security. The World Bank estimates that the United States could have a loss of $80 billion dollars each year due to a global health security risk. Hence, the country must be prepared. The latest initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), aims to improve transparency through Joint External Evaluations (JEE) and develop lasting multilateral relationships among WHO member nations in order to ensure a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

Global health security starts at home – making sure the United States has the tools to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats. It is also critical that efforts address building systems and capacity in low- and middle-income countries with weak health infrastructures that prevent them from adequately responding to disease outbreaks. As Amie Batson, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Strategy and Learning at PATH, reminds us, “We are only as strong as the weakest country in the system.”

Dr. David Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, delivers keynote speech.

In July, Global Health Council (GHC) partnered with one of its organizational members, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to host “Global Health Security: Investing Globally Matters Locally,” on Capitol Hill focused on current and future global health security efforts. Friends of the Global Fight also released a new brief highlighting how U.S. investments in bilateral health programs fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in coordination with strategic investments in The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), save millions of lives and protect the U.S. from future disease threats. Dr. David Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, delivered the keynote speech, and a panel of speakers from PATH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and CDC discussed how investments in global health prevent epidemics at their sources and reduce the likelihood that infectious diseases will undermine public health in the United States.

The key takeaways from the panel discussion include:

1.) Technical expertise for global health security exists, but designated leadership is required.

2.) Epidemic preparedness is critical in order to ensure economic, social, and political security, as well as the stability of all nations, including the U.S.  As Garrett Grigsby, Director of the Office of Global Affairs at HHS, reiterated, “We can pay now, or we can pay a lot more later.”

3.) According to Dr. Nancy Knight, Director of the Division of Global Health Protection at CDC, “The key to successful global health security efforts lies in community-based response.”

4.) The focus of global health security is on four core areas: improving surveillance systems, strengthening laboratory capacity and capability, developing a robust global health workforce, and building a strong emergency operations and response system.

5.) The GHSA has become a model for governments to emphasize ownership of their borders.

6.) It is critical to work not only with governments and international organizations, but also with the private sector to increase the impact of global health security efforts.

7.) According to Dr. Audrey Jackson, Senior Fellow at CSIS’s Global Health Policy Center, tuberculosis (TB) remains a primary health threat to the U.S., and multilateral relationships such as The Global Fund are critical to fight TB.

Ultimately, U.S. leadership is key to the global health security vision and mission, and could help save millions of American lives both here and abroad.

Download the Friends of the Global Fight brief.
View Dr. David Smith’s keynote speech.
Advocate for global health security using facts and figures and success stories from GHC’s Global Health Briefing Book.
Join GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable. The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide a space for NGOs, private sector organizations, and academia to work together to advance sound policy and advocate for robust investment in global health security. Learn more.

3
5 Reasons to Attend the Fall 2017 Global Health Practitioner Conference

This guest post has been provided by GHC-member CORE Group. CORE Group helps governments and NGOs effectively reach the community level, integrate community strategies into the national health plan, and respond to new and emerging health issues that arise. 

Panelists enjoy a light moment during the “Child Health Policy and Programming Transitions” plenary session at the Fall 2016 Global Health Practitioner Conference in Washington, DC.

In 2017, CORE Group is celebrating 20 years of strengthening global community health through collaboration. Together with our many members and partners, including Global Health Council, we have worked to foster collaboration and learning, strengthen technical capacity, develop innovative tools and resources, and scale up effective community-focused health approaches.

Participants collaborate in small group work during the “Multi-dimensional Programming: The Rubik’s Cube Challenge to Health Programming” plenary session at the Spring 2016 Global Health Practitioner Conference in Portland, OR.

Our bi-annual conferences have remained a key feature of our programming over the years. This fall, in honor of our anniversary, we are hosting an extra special conference to recognize our collective accomplishments from the last 20 years and look ahead to future opportunities.

The Fall 2017 Global Health Practitioner Conference will be held on September 25 – 29 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, MD, focusing on the theme of “Collaborating for Health Communities: Results, Realities, and Opportunities.”

Here are the top five reasons to attend the conference:

  1. NETWORK

Bringing together over 350 of the world’s leading community health experts, the conference will feature a stimulating mix of NGO headquarters staff, civil society organizations, national leaders in global health, academics, advocates, donors, and private sector representatives.

We encourage conversations with old friends and new acquaintances throughout the conference, during breaks and lunch, in and out of sessions, and at our evening networking receptions.

The relationships you form at the conference will serve you for years to come, and with the family atmosphere our conferences are known for, you will be welcomed by all.

“I think this is an exceptional opportunity to bring people from very different backgrounds around the table in a setup that is very conducive for dialogue, and it has produced incredible discussion.”

– Emanuele Capobianco, Deputy Executive Director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH)

  1. LEARN

With the best minds in global community health all in one space, the possibilities are endless!

Dive into the conference theme throughout the week to identify and discuss results of collaborative action for community health; challenge realities of operations research, program approaches, and changing environments; and explore opportunities for new partnerships and emerging voices for building healthy communities worldwide.

Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • The Child Health Agenda in the Context of the SDGs
  • Collaborating with the Private Sector to Advance Non-Communicable Disease Service Delivery
  • Integrating Fertility Awareness Into Cross-Sectoral Programming
  • Innovations in Community-Based Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Malnutrition

The conference agenda is updated regularly online. View the latest version here.

  1. SHARE

Contribute your own expertise in breakout sessions, group discussions, and informal settings throughout the conference. With our signature participatory sessions, you will have numerous opportunities to share your experiences and gain valuable feedback from others.

To further increase the visibility of your organization or project, you can support the conference as a sponsor and highlight your work with an Expo Table during the conference.

  1. LEAD

With our focus on action, we don’t just talk about change at our conferences; we make change happen. You can influence future activities through involvement in our Working Groups, all of which will have a formal meeting time during the conference.

These groups include Child Health; Community-centered Health Systems Strengthening; Reproductive, Maternal, Adolescent and Newborn Health; Monitoring and Evaluation; Nutrition; Social and Behavior Change; and our new Humanitarian-Development Task Force.

“It’s a compounding draw that brings you back every year. It’s like-minded people getting together to discuss the latest issues, the emerging trends. It’s a great place to take stock, refresh, think about what you’ve done over the past year and what’s coming in the year ahead, and how you can connect your issues to the issues of other groups. There’s no other conference like it.

– Antony Duttine, Independent

  1. CELEBRATE

Join us for our 20th Anniversary Gala: An Evening of CORE Group Impact! On Thursday, September 28, at the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel, we will come together as a community to celebrate CORE Group’s community health impact over the last two decades and recognize all who have transformed CORE Group from an idea into the global force it is today.

The gala will be led by our Master of Ceremony Jackson Mvunganyi, youth advocate and host of Voice of America’s Upfront show. Additional honorees and special guests will be announced soon. Learn more and buy tickets here.

0
Why Global Health Security: GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable Relaunches

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager at Global Health Council.

A health care worker in Monrovia, Liberia, cares for a young Ebola patient. © 2014 Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post, Courtesy of Photoshare

We live in a highly interconnected world in which goods and people cross borders daily. We also live in a world in which infectious diseases know no borders, and in which they spread at a much faster rate than ever before. We saw this during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and we saw how weak health systems in the affected countries contributed to delayed detection and a slow and inadequate response to the outbreak.

Following the Ebola epidemic, there is a renewed focus on increasing global health security and building the capacity of countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other public health threats.

While the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has voiced support for U.S. leadership on global health security, President Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 does not reflect this priority. Budgets for CDC – a primary implementer of global health security-related programs – USAID, the State Department, and other agencies were slashed.

Protecting the health of Americans means investing in global health security around the world. That means supporting programs that increase the number of health care workers, build labs, and improve data sharing practices, all of which are critical to ensuring a faster and smarter response to an outbreak.

We have seen these investments work. At the start of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, it took more than 90 days from detection of the first Ebola cases to setting up a response. In May of this year, when 11 people died after attending a funeral, it took the Liberian government (with the help of CDC and other partners) less than 24 hours to launch an emergency response. That is an impressive improvement and it happened because of multi-stakeholder support.

Furthermore, global health security is more than just stopping “scary” diseases, it also builds stronger health systems, with the resources and trained health workers that provide quality health services to meet the needs of local communities. We know that healthier communities create stronger economies, which in turn can invest in sustainable health systems.

To raise awareness of the importance of global health security, GHC is relaunching the Global Health Security Roundtable. The Roundtable will provide space for NGOs, private sector organizations, and academia to work to advance sound policy and advocate for robust investment in global health security.

To be added to the Global Health Security Roundtable list serve, email advocacy@globalhealth.org.

 

2
CDC Protects People from Disease Threats and Outbreaks in the U.S. and Around the World

This blog post was written by Carmen Villar, MPH, Deputy Director for Strategy, Policy and Communication, at the the Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opinion polls show that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the federal government’s most admired and trusted agencies.

Since its founding in 1946, CDC’s history as America’s premier public health agency has been tightly intertwined with its work abroad. CDC experts were on the frontlines in the efforts to eradicate smallpox, the only disease in history to be eliminated. Now CDC experts are actively engaged in current efforts to eradicate polio, a disease that once ravaged the United States and countries worldwide. Today wild polio virus remains active in only three countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan, and only five cases of wild polio virus have been reported this year, which is a record low number. These encouraging results reflect a novel partnership, the Global Polio Elimination Initiative (GPEI),that holds promise for future efforts to protect people’s health.

GPEI is a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. CDC, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – who have locked arms to defeat polio. CDC’s record and commitment to global health is also evidenced in its work combatting HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, neglected tropical diseases such as River Blindness, and its more recent, and widely reported, efforts to defeat Ebola in West Africa and Zika in numerous countries.

CDC has more than 1,700 staff stationed in more than 60 countries, including scientists, disease detectives, laboratory technicians, and other experts who are on the frontlines working to detect disease outbreaks at the earliest possible moment, to respond to them decisively, and to stop them from spreading. That mission is driven by the same principles CDC uses wherever it works – rigorous science, accurate data, quality training, and strong collaboration with partners.

Yet when it all works as designed, as it often does, the results can be hard to see. The best outcomes are an absence of disease outbreaks and the accompanying fear about their impact, an abundance of healthy people who contribute to U.S. interests by supporting more stable governments and more robust economies, and a lower chance of disease erupting and spreading.

CDC’s values and guiding principles are the same as they’ve been from the beginning – working to protect Americans by rapidly detecting and containing new health threats anywhere in the world before they can come to the United States. The focus is on providing strong, effective public health systems and on training healthcare professionals who can identify outbreaks in their own countries to prevent those threats from crossing borders.

For example, CDC’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), established in 1980, has trained more than 9,000 disease detectives to date in more than 70 countries. They provide critical frontline disease detection and surveillance, and, significantly, more than 80 percent of the FETP graduates continue working in their countries, with many moving into public health leadership positions. From 2009–2014, FETP graduates took part in more than 2,000 outbreak investigations, which kept their countries, and the world, safer and healthier.

It works with countries to immunize children and adults to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases. Preventing diseases such as polio and measles allow children and adults to live healthy and productive lives. It means laboratorians from CDC’s world class laboratories work together to provide training and technical expertise to laboratorians in other countries to upgrade and expand laboratory services. This results in accurate and reliable laboratory networks, which are essential to finding and understanding disease threats, and in using resources for maximum public health benefit.

CDC’s dedication to global health can be measured by outbreak response mobilizations, staff trained and ready for deployment, person-days of response support, ensuring that all people have access to safe water and sanitation around the world, and collaboration with global partners.

An example is CDC’s participation in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Formed in 2014 with key contributions by CDC, GHSA is designed to implement the tools and practices necessary to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks at the earliest possible moment in countries throughout the world. To date, 31 countries are participating, with each pledging to meet universal standards for quality disease surveillance, a well-trained workforce, rapid and accurate public health laboratory capacity, and emergency response via emergency operation centers.

Another example is CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team (GRRT), a “boots-on-the-ground” program ensuring that, from a pool of 400 trained experts, 50 are on-call to travel anywhere in the world within 48 hours to confront an outbreak at its outset. The GRRT was mobilized more than 230 times in one year after it was created in 2016, and provided 8,000 person-days of response support in more than 90 outbreaks worldwide, including cholera, yellow fever, Ebola, Zika, measles, polio, and natural disasters. The GRRT also has experts in global health logistics, laboratory management and training, communication, and disease detection.With the world more connected than ever through travel and commerce, GHSA is a systematic effort to provide universal and tested standards to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks worldwide and to close gaps in these areas that allow disease to cross borders.

Taken together, all of CDC’s work abroad contributes to making the world and all Americans safer and more secure, healthier and more confident that threats to their health will be identified and resolved no matter where they live and travel.

Follow CDC Global on Twitter @CDCGlobal

2
Health For All: What’s Next for a Movement Hitting its Stride?

This blog was written by Michael Myers, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation and originally appeared on the organization’s website.

uhc-day

If the events of 2016 have taught us anything, it’s that we cannot know for sure what tomorrow will bring. But change has a way of illuminating those things about which we are certain. As a new year dawns, my conviction that every country can and must accelerate progress toward universal health coverage has never been stronger.

We can because political momentum and grassroots demand for universal health coverage (UHC) is growing, finally catching up to the evidence that universal health coverage is a smart investment and achievable goal everywhere.

We must because health system gaps jeopardize the lives and finances of hundreds of millions of people. That is true everywhere—especially where conflict, climate shocks, and disease outbreaks persist.

This time last year, I asked you to keep an eye on three things that could shape the health for all movement in 2016: (1) Japan’s G7 presidency; (2) the Sustainable Development Goal indicators for universal health coverage; and (3) country leadership.

Encouragingly, we’ve seen victories and positive steps forward across all three fronts:

But that wasn’t all. The Elders — a group of influential leaders convened by Nelson Mandela—launched a UHC campaign. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, formally announced the establishment of the International Health Partnership for UHC 2030, a new global mechanism to drive UHC coordination, advocacy, and accountability. The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to announce a new grant to this mechanism, to ensure that the vision of health for all is met with equally ambitious action.

And today, on the third annual Universal Health Coverage Day, a coalition of 864 organizations in 117 countries took up the rallying cry of ‘Act with Ambition’ to show the world that we’re just getting started. UHC Day 2016 has already broken records, with 80 events in 33 countries, and more than 120 million calls for ‘Health For All’ on Twitter.

These wins were not guaranteed. They were hard-fought and hard-won by health and development advocates who don’t know the meaning of complacency.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Having made the case for universal health coverage, the question is no longer “if” but “when.”

As countries roll up their sleeves and advance new policies to achieve universal health coverage, I can’t deny that the problems they face will become more tactical and complex, the nuances more important. Doubts that we can achieve our goal may even grow.

What can be done?

Build Country Capacity: We’ve entered a new era of health and development where countries that were traditionally recipients of aid are creating their own paths toward universal health coverage. If we’re serious about achieving UHC and reducing out-of-pocket payments in the long run, we need to support countries at every income level to find ways to increase domestic public health budgets. An example of work at this level is the Joint Learning Network for UHC, which The Rockefeller Foundation helped establish, in which today 27 countries are working together in the hard work of building and strengthening their health systems to assist all of their citizens.  And more countries are joining each year.

Focus on the Intersections: Universal health coverage is inherently cross-cutting—it impacts (and is impacted by) economic opportunity, the environment, gender equity and so much more. That’s why we need to place a greater emphasis on the intersections of UHC: how it builds resilience against climate threats, how the private sector can contribute, how overlapping efforts—like work to expand access to primary health care—can be harnessed to help us achieve our shared goal.

Get Serious about Accountability: We’ve set the stage for meaningful UHC measurement by advocating for a strong SDG indicator 3.8.2 and the establishment of the International Health Partnership for UHC 2030. Now we need to execute. This starts by asking the tough questions: Are we truly reaching everyone, everywhere, with the quality, affordable health services they need and deserve? Are we keeping people healthy in the first place? If not, what can we do to change course? Strong measurement tools and communication across efforts will allow us to expand basic, essential health services to the 400 million people who currently lack them. We can and must do better.

We cannot know for sure what tomorrow brings. But we do know that money spent on health is an investment, not a cost. So let’s make good on our promise to the hundreds of millions of people who are depending on us to make health care accessible and affordable. Let us stand together and affirm that universal health coverage is achievable, that health is a human right, and that we can reach our goal of ‘Health for All’ if we continue to act with ambition, together.

0