International lead poisoning prevention Week of action

Infographic courtesy: World Health Organization


This week, October 21 – 27, 2018, is International Lead Poisoning Awareness Week. Lead poisoning is preventable, yet the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated that, based on 2016 data, lead exposure accounted for 540 000 deaths and 13.9 million years lost to disability and death due to long-term health effects, with the highest burden in developing regions. Of particular concern is the role of lead exposure in the development of intellectual disability in children. An important source of domestic lead exposure, particularly in children, is paint containing high levels of lead. These paints are still widely available and used in many countries for decorative purposes, although good substitutes without lead are available.

To spread awareness of this urgent danger, World Health Organization, UN Environment, and the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint compiled a report on activities during this week. Check out the report. Spread the word on social using the hashtag #BanLeadPaint and if you or your organization is planning an event around this week, let World Health Organization know!

Looking Toward the Future: Innovation for Global Health Impact

This blog post was written by Emily Kiser, Program Manager, Triangle Global Health Consortium. The Triangle Global Health Consortium is a non-profit member organization representing institutions and individuals from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, the international health development NGO community, the faith community, and academia.  The Consortium’s mission is to establish North Carolina as an international center for research, training, education, advocacy and business dedicated to improving the health of the world’s communities. They are a 2018 Global Health Council member.

Image courtesy: Triangle Global Health Consortium

On September 27, more than 300 global health professionals and students gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina to explore innovation for global health impact at the 2018 Triangle Global Health Annual Conference, hosted by the Triangle Global Health Consortium (TGHC).  Each year, the Triangle Global Health Annual Conference highlights the incredible global health work taking place in North Carolina and its far-reaching impacts.

The day featured dynamic keynote addresses from Dr. Timothy Mastro, Chief Science Officer at FHI 360, and Dr. Ticora V. Jones, Director for the Center for Development Research and Division Chief for the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) within the US Global Development Lab at USAID.

Plenary panel discussions delved into embedding social innovation to drive gender equality and accelerating and scaling global health innovation. As TGHC’s Executive Director, Jacob Traverse, noted, “When you’re dealing with global health issues, particularly in developing regions, often the challenge isn’t so much [medical technology], but it’s how you integrate these layers of the community and deal with cultural dynamics that may go back generations. There’s always inspiration in these discussions.”  

Additional panel and workshop sessions throughout the day spanned a wide range of innovation topics including digital health, medical transport via drones, innovations in M&E, innovative funding models, and more. Participants had the opportunity to address hypothetical outbreak scenarios, explore and create new cervical screening methods, engage in ideation, and – most importantly – collaborate and connect with other participants across organizations and sectors.

As one 2018 conference participant shared, “[TGHC] brings together so many of the great organizations, people and knowledge that exist here in the Triangle, and taps into regional resources that extend beyond our immediate network. It is a gem in our global health community here and really brings to life a thriving, vibrant industry in North Carolina.”

Global Health Roundup~10/10/2018
Lookout for GHC members at the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR 2018)! 

Between October 8 and 12, several GHC members, including Frontline Health Workers CoalitionManagement Sciences for HealthIntraHealth InternationalIMA World HealthMedtronic Foundation, and John Snow Inc., will host booths and side events at the largest research conference in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Our members are getting ready to discuss health systems in fragile settings, strengthening the capacity of community health systems, engaging health workers, peer-to-peer learning to achieve UHC, and expanding access into the hardest-to-reach communities. This year, the HSR 2018 Conference is centered around innovative ways of financing health, delivering services, and engaging the health workforce. For more information about the Symposium and related side events, visit our events calendar.

Innovations for Global Health Impact: The 2018 Triangle Global Health Consortium Conference 
On September 27, GHC joined other actors from nonprofit, academia, and the private sector for the annual Triangle Global Health Consortium Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year’s theme – Innovations for Global Health Impact – covered a wide range of topics including digital health, epidemic preparedness, and transition of developing countries from donor health assistance. The event attracted 300 professionals and students who participated in panel discussions, poster presentations and an exhibition by event sponsors. Read more and view highlights from the event gallery.

WHO’s First Investment Case can Save up to 30 Million Lives
On September 19, the World Health Organization (WHO) laid out the potentially broad impact of global health and development through their first investment case. According to WHO, if an investment of $14.1 billion from 2019 to 2023 is made, up to 30 million lives could be saved. This could add up to 100 million years of healthy living to the world’s population and add up to 4 percent of economic growth in low and middle-income countries by 2023. Such an investment would also help achieve the “triple billion” targets of WHO’s General Programme of Work: 1 billion more people benefiting from universal health coverage; 1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and wellbeing. View more details.


1.) August 14Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, a new book authored by Thomas J. Bollyky, Director of the Global Health Program and Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development at the Council on Foreign Relations, explores the intersection between epidemics and human development and the possible unintended consequences of a rising new trend..
2.) September 28: PATH and Johnson & Johnson announced their new joint partnership to strengthen pediatric TB response strategies in Vietnam. The Breathe for Life project has greatly expanded the number of young kids diagnosed with TB and aims to train public and private health care workers to better diagnose, treat, care, and prevent TB in children younger than five.
3.) September 28: WHO stepped up its goals to end childhood cancer by kicking off a global initiative during UNGA week, which will help raise awareness at national and global levels as well as increase capacity to deliver high-quality care for pediatric cancer patients.
4.) October 2: PathFinder International released a new campaign,#ByHerSide, which will ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is part of the renewed commitment to primary health care and the movement towards health for all leading up to the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC in 2019. Read the Devex op-ed from PathFinder’s President and CEO Lois Quam.
5.) October 5: Ebola Update: WHO enhanced the risk of the Ebola virus transmission in national and regional areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo to “very high” but reaffirmed that the chances of the disease spreading globally remain low. View the latest update.
Advocacy Update ~ October 9, 2018

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

Appropriations Update

Determined to get the appropriations process back on track this year, Congress passed and the President signed five of the 12 appropriations bills before the end of the Fiscal Year (FY) on September 30. On September 28, the President signed an appropriations minibus that includes the Labor, Health and Human Services and Defense spending bills, as well as a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds remaining appropriations bills, including the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) bill, until December 7. The differences in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2019 SFOPS appropriations bill, which funds global health programs at USAID and the State Department, will be worked out in conference during the next few months. Votes on the remaining appropriations bills are expected to occur in a lame duck session after the midterm elections.

BUILD Act on the Move

The FAA Reauthorization Act, which includes the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (H.R. 5105/S. 2463), also known as the BUILD Act, passed in the House and Senate.

The BUILD Act is aimed to assist economic growth in developing countries through U.S. business investments and will create the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), assuming the activities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID’s Development Credit Authority, USAID’s Enterprise Funds, and other programs.

The IDFC will have broad authority to perform multiple tasks, some of which include issuing direct loans, providing technical assistance, and assisting in making limited grants to unlock larger investments. Under the BUILD Act, the IDFC will prioritize projects in low- and lower-middle-income countries where it furthers U.S. national security and economic interests.

In a joint press statement released by the Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), cosponsors of the Senate bill, Senator Corker stated, “Our legislation will advance American interests for stability abroad by using the free-market to help countries become more self-reliant and put U.S. foreign aid programs out of business.” Senator Coons added, “The bipartisan BUILD Act will create a 21st century development finance institution with the full suite of tools to bring U.S. private sector investment to low income countries around the world. These new investments will reduce poverty in countries that are critical to our national security while helping U.S. businesses grow and succeed.”

The President is expected to sign the FAA reauthorization and BUILD Act bill in the next few days.

PEPFAR Reauthorization Passes Out of Committees

In late September, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) passed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Reauthorization bill (S. 3476/H.R. 6651), which will extend programmatic funding until 2023. During markup, HFAC amended its bill to address the omission of the set aside for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) impacted by HIV/AIDS, which had been included in PEPFAR law since 2003. Floor votes on the bill are anticipated to occur after midterm elections in November.

On September 27, during the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary Pompeo announced the release of 2018 Progress Report on the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020).

Administration Transferred Crucial HHS Funds

In September, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sent a letter to Congress detailing his intention to transfer up to $266 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accounts that support health, education, and research programs—some of which include programs led by the CDC and NIH—to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to cover costs associated with caring for unaccompanied children crossing the border.

Accounts that we know are affected include:

1.) $16.7 million from CDC overall

 a. )$1.9 million from NCEZID
b.) $1.286 million from CDC Global Health

i. $436,000 Global HIV/AIDS
ii. $597,000 polio
iii. $170,000 measles
iv. $83,000 parasitic diseases and malaria

2.) $87.269 million from NIH overall

a.) $12.123 million from NIAID, incl. $235,000 universal flu vaccine
b.) $178,000 from Fogarty
c.) $1.744 million from NCATS

While the transfer is fait accompli, GHC is circulating an organizational sign on letter to Secretary Azar expressing our concerns about the precedent set by these transfers, and the impacts they have on global health long term.

If you are interested in signing on, please email for a copy of the letter. Deadline is Wednesday, October 10.



#UNGA73: Making the UN Relevant to all People

This post was written by Victoria Rodriguez, Advocacy Associate at Global Health Council.

This year marked the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). UNGA73 focused on making the UN relevant to all people through shared responsibilities for peaceful and equitable global leadership. In conjunction, the third high-level meeting (HLM) on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and the first HLM on tuberculosis (TB) convened members states, experts from the field, and civil society to discuss ways to better support each community.

HLMs on TB and NCDs

Heads of State, government officials, and civil society members gathered to discuss capacity building around addressing TB, which in 2017 alone, attributed to 1.6 million deaths and NCDs, which account for 70% of deaths globally.

Mike Bloomberg, World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries, addresses the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs during UNGA.

During the HLM on TB, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, Mark Green, called on the global community to accelerate shared responsibility to address and end TB via the Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis initiative. The initiative will leverage resources from countries, the private sector, and community organizations in order to meet the UN target of treating 40 million people by 2022, with a focus on countries with the highest burden of TB. USAID will work directly with nearly 50 communities within TB priority countries to provide accessible services, resulting in increased diagnosis and treatment success rates.

Additionally, USAID made a $30 million commitment to strengthen and accelerate India’s efforts to end TB via the USAID-India End TB Alliance initiative. The initiative will convene leading experts in the public and private sectors to offer innovative approaches to combating TB in India.

Patient Advocate Hannah Amora speaking at a #UNGA side-event in NY.

The next day, the focus shifted to how the global community can come together to address NCDs. While the U.S. did not make any financial commitments to tackle NCDs, commitments to leverage innovation and partnerships to address this disease burden did arise.

A joint statement from GHC and the NCD Roundtable, a diverse coalition of over 60 organizations, commended efforts to bring forth discussion on NCDs with the recognition of mental health as a large contributor to the global burden of disease. The statement reiterated the importance of consistently engaging civil society in conversations that directly impact them, adopting a life-course approach that includes young people facing NCDs, and developing concrete targets with mechanisms for government accountability to push the conversation around NCDs forward.

GHC hopes to see the discussion come to fruition through tangible actions. Recognizing the importance of TB and NCDs was well noted, but concrete actions and financial commitments are necessary to truly address the burdens these diseases pose, and we need to ensure that these discussions are carried into next year’s HLM on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC cannot be achieved without addressing these burdens.

Global Health Council (GHC) Participation

GHC had the privilege of inviting Hannah Amora, an advocate standing up for solutions to address congenital heart disease (CHD) and the mother of a child living with CHD, to UNGA73. As principal of her own consultancy company, she was thrown into the world of CHD with the birth of her second son. That journey led her to becoming a champion advocate and establishing her organization, Let it ECHO, to raise awareness of CHD and develop programs in her country of the Philippines.

Learn more about Hannah’s story, or read her contributor blog post.

Also, read the Devex Op-Ed penned by Hannah Amora, Patient Advocate, and Loyce Pace, GHC President and Executive Director advocating  for patient voices to be an important part of beating NCDs.