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GHC NEWS FLASH: GLOBAL HEALTH ROUNDUP 7/10/2017

Join GHC at the Global Health Security Roundtable and Faith and Global Health Caucus
GHC is relaunching its Global Health Security Roundtable, which will be meeting today, July 10, at 3 pm EDT in Washington, DC. Read more about the Roundtable and learn how to join the listserv.

A small group of members is relaunching the Faith and Global Health Caucus. Open to all faiths, the Caucus will meet quarterly to share best practices and provide a fellowship-centered space. The first meeting is onJuly 17 at 5 pm EDT in Washington, DC. Learn more and RSVP.


Powerful Discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals
On July 17, Global Compact Network USA will host an event on the role of the private sector in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2017 Symposium will bring together companies, nonprofits, and United Nations entities to explore practical actions that we can all take to advance the SDGs. The event will take place at Pfizer Headquarters in New York City, on the heels of the High-Level Political Forum on SDGs (HLPF 2017). View registration details for this event and visit GHC’s special events calendar for more information on health-related side-events at HLPF 2017.


Reducing Global Inequities in Maternal and Child Health
A recent study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that the number of lives saved by investing in the most deprived populations is almost twice as high as the number saved by equivalent investment in less deprived groups. Study findings show that increased access to key interventions reduced under-five mortality in 51 countries that are collectively home to 400 million children under age five. The report analyzes six critical indicators: antenatal care visits, skilled birth attendants, early initiation of breastfeeding, malaria prevention, full immunization, and care-seeking for sick children. View the report and interactive data site.


Global Development Alliance Annual Program Statement Deadline Extended
The Global Development Alliance (GDA) Annual Program Statement (APS) deadline has been extended until February 23, 2018. The GDA APS is USAID’s open invitation to the private sector to co-create and implement transformational partnerships to tackle both business and global development challenges that have a sustainable development impact. Through leveraging expertise, resources, and capabilities from various stakeholders, GDA APS addresses critical business and development challenges using market-based approaches. Learn more.

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Fighting Big Diseases with Little Computers

Treatments for diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and HIV are lengthy and complex. Medications need to be taken regularly and for extended periods. Interruptions come at a high cost for patients, their families, and the health systems that treat them.

Over the past several years, professionals across a range of disciplines have focused on creating solutions at all levels of the health system. From a tool that helps governments calculate the economic cost of medicine stock-outs to a piece of software that allows doctors across Ukraine to follow a patient’s complex TB treatment, technology can play a critical role in bringing solutions to scale and making significant progress in the age-old fight against deadly diseases.

Here are two examples of how MSH is helping health workers use computers to fight back.

A DIGITAL HEALTH INNOVATION TO IMPROVE TB CARE AND PREVENTION: E-TB MANAGER

To appreciate the importance of having these tools, you might need to be reminded of two things. First, that curing a patient of TB requires a months-long course of antibiotics whose dose and type often need adjusting over the life of the treatment. Even then, success is not guaranteed. Second, if a patient does not finish the complete course of antibiotics, he or she may develop resistance to the medicine. That “stronger” form of the illness—called multidrug-resistant, or MDR-TB—is harder to treat, and is also more contagious. This is, in part, how MDR-TB came to be, and why we’re running out of medicines to treat certain types of TB.

To deal with TB effectively, we need systems to identify it early and treat it appropriately with an uninterrupted course of medicine.

Enter the innovators from Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS)—a USAID-funded program implemented by Management Sciences for Health that bolsters pharmaceutical management for better health outcomes. They built a web-based digital health technology called e-TB Manager that allows a country’s health system to manage all the information needed for tuberculosis control. The tool enables health workers to monitor in real time the status of TB treatment and flow of medicines by integrating data across key aspects of TB control (presumptive cases, patients, medicines, laboratory testing, diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes). e-TB Manager has been adopted by national TB control programs in 10 countries.

But they didn’t just build the technology. They worked with health ministries across those countries to train users and test, implement, and institutionalize the tool. At the end of it all, they studied user adoption and satisfaction.

Take Ukraine, where TB is among the leading cause of death among infectious diseases. According to a study by SIAPS’s Niranjan Konduri, whose research findings appear in the European Respiratory Journal Open Research, since its implementation in 2008, e-TB Manager has shown strong results: 90% of users, including doctors, nurses, and laboratory professionals, agree that it has improved patient care, and 82% say it enhances productivity.

“I once encountered a situation in the office of a Ukrainian doctor who had to approve for a hospital maternity ward to release a newborn to his TB-positive mother,” says Konduri. “Instead of making time-consuming phone calls to the patient’s district health facility, the doctor was able to swiftly review the mother’s treatment history in e-TB Manager and discover that she had developed multidrug-resistant TB. That information had not been communicated to the maternity hospital. Eventually, the doctor decided to withhold releasing the newborn to the mother until she finished her treatment to protect the baby.”

Seeing such tangible benefits, Konduri explains, goes a long way toward reducing any reluctance doctors and health workers may feel toward adopting a digital health technology.

 

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Working with Employers in India to Fight the Diabetes Epidemic

This guest post has been provided by GHC-member Arogya World. Arogya World is an award-winning global health non-profit working to address noncommunicable diseases by promoting healthy living.

A Group Photo of Arogya World’s Platinum Winners

Vijay Sharma* was walking to his car from work one day when he started to experience shortness of breath. He had experienced it two days before, but brushed it off. Before he knew it, he was strapped to a hospital bed awaiting a quadruple bypass surgery.

Sharma was a diabetes patient, which made him one of many millions of people worldwide living with one or more non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. In India, 20% of the population has one NCD, 10% more than one, and 50% dies from NCDs. More than 66 million Indians have diabetes. And Indians get diabetes on average at least 10 years earlier than Americans—typically in their 30s and 40s, when they are most productive. The public health crisis from NCDs in India is therefore genuinely alarming.

It is because of stories like Sharma’s that Arogya World, an award-winning global health nonprofit, has sought to address the diabetes epidemic in India, taking prevention to where people live, work, and learn. One of our flagship programs is Healthy Workplaces, which recognizes employers leading the way in creating health and wellness programs for their employees. With long work days and commute times, Indians often neglect healthier physical habits out of devotion to their work. Addressing NCD prevention in the workplace is smart, and part of our commitment to helping Indians lead healthy lives.

Healthy Workplaces came about after a 2012 meeting in Bangalore between corporate representatives and medical experts, who developed workplace criteria for encouraging healthier lifestyles amongst employees. Arogya World’s Healthy Workplace program is direct, robust and transparent, with formal in-person Assessments and site visits. The program was recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment in 2013, with the stated goal of recognizing 100 companies who have met the criteria, and helping one million of those who work at these places lead healthy lives.

To date, the Healthy Workplace program has produced solid results. Thirty-two new workplaces were recognized at Arogya World’s annual Healthy Workplace Conference and Award Event last November, which means there are now 79 Healthy Workplaces in the network, spanning 2 million employees. We are pleased some very large employers, including Indian Railways (1.3 million employees), Reliance Industries, and Wipro have joined us. In 2016, Arogya World introduced a Platinum Healthy Workplace category, and seven companies were recognized as having reached Platinum for tracking workplace health metrics. The Platinum companies reported encouraging data: nearly 25,000 people quit using tobacco, and nearly 9,000 people across these companies reduced alcohol use. An increase in exercise was also evident; more than 53,000 employees (about 1 in 8) increased exercise and 5,000 people lost weight across the Platinum companies.

In 2017, Arogya World started a Tobacco-free Worksite Challenge. The Challenge is designed to encourage employees who use tobacco to quit, to protect employees from secondhand smoke and to ban tobacco use in the workplace overall. Smoking is a well-known cause of NCDs such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which makes this a great step for NCD prevention.

In addition, Arogya World has initiated Health Talks at Healthy Workplaces, is introducing lifestyle coach-led behavior change training for the first time in the corporate setting in India, and is offering its app myArogya, designed to help working Indians prevent NCDs, to Healthy Workplaces.

Arogya World hopes that the success of programs like Healthy Workplaces will motivate governments to use and incentivize the workplace platform for NCD prevention. The next annual Healthy Workplace Conference & Awards will be held in Bangalore on November 9, 2017, where additional companies will earn recognition for their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles in the workplace. Several new partners and service providers have joined as well, helping to build an ecosystem for NCD prevention in the workplace.

*name changed to protect privacy


ABOUT AROGYA WORLD: Arogya World is a U.S.-based 501(c)3 organization striving to change the course of chronic disease through healthy living.  To further advance this work an affiliate organization, Arogya World India Trust, was set up in Bangalore, India. As a result of impactful prevention programs, Arogya World was a finalist for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation (2014) and won the mBillionth Award in 2013. Arogya World is backed by organizations like Ashoka, Lions Clubs, Emory University, and companies including Cigna, Merck, Novartis, J&J, and Aon. The organization is active with MIT’s Solve, the Alliance for Food & Health, Taskforce on Women & NCDs, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Arogya World leverages these global platforms to make a difference on the ground, improving the health and lives of people in India and beyond.

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GHC NEWS FLASH: GLOBAL HEALTH ROUNDUP 6/19/2017

GHC Participates in Delegation to CDC
Last week, Global Health Council (GHC) co-led a small delegation of 15 members and partners to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the course of two days, delegates met with CDC leadership, participated in discussions with division directors, and toured the laboratories to learn more about CDC’s global health work and priorities. Read more about CDC’s accomplishments over the last several decades as well as the agency’s current activities.


Johnson & Johnson Launches New Social Venture Competition
Today at the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Congress in Toronto, Canada, Johnson & Johnson will officially open the GenH Challenge, a global social venture competition designed to seek out and incentivize novel, breakthrough solutions to persistent health challenges. The GenH Challenge builds on a legacy of innovating and developing solutions for people on the front lines of care. With 1 million USD in prizes, winning teams will receive not only financial resources, but technical assistance from Johnson & Johnson to ensure that they are able to turn ideas and vision into reality. Learn more.


Stakeholders Renew Commitments to Eradicate Polio
Since 1985, global incidence of polio has plummeted from 350,000 cases annually to just 37 new infections reported in 2016. As of June 2017, transmission of the highly contagious virus has been eliminated in all but four countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last week, at the Rotary International Convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, global leaders and international foundations pledged 1.2 billion USD to wipe out polio. These contributions will go towards funding surveillance and immunizations in 70 at-risk countries, under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Learn more.


The Global Inequality of Blood Supplies
On June 14World Blood Donor DayThe Economist published a new chart which brings to light the staggeringly low rates of blood donation in low- and middle-income countries, compared to wealthier nations. The data analyzed reveals that nearly 30% of global blood donations occur in Europe, which contains about a tenth of the world’s population. Sub-Saharan Africa, home to nearly a billion people, accounts for less than 5% of global blood supplies. World Blood Donor Day, officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), is commemorated each year to encourage and foster a global culture of voluntary blood donation. View the chart.

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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

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