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RESULTS’ Legacy of TB Advocacy

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most pressing global health challenges of our time. Despite being preventable and curable, TB kills approximately 250,000 people a year. What’s more, curing TB requires a lengthy treatment period, which is often interrupted by poor access and adherence to therapy. Moreover, multi-drug resistant strains of TB are emerging at alarming rates in several regions across the globe.

When RESULTS began advocating for TB funding in 1997, citing it as a critical health issue and key contributor to poverty, the U.S. provided less than $1 million in global TB funding. Since then, RESULTS has helped members of Congress realize that not only is TB a global epidemic, but the fight against HIV/AIDS will not succeed without an equally aggressive effort against TB. In 2015, U.S. agencies accelerated progress towards a TB-free world by focusing on 10 priority countries and providing treatments to over half a million people with multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). However, it has been six years since U.S. bilateral TB funding has seen a substantial increase, and only 7% of USAID’s global health funding goes to TB.

As we commemorate World TB Day 2017, RESULTS continues to lead advocacy efforts to urge Congress to increase funding for the Global Fund and USAID TB. On March 21, RESULTS will host a briefing, TB kills 5,000 people a day – what are the solutions?, with congressional staff on Capitol Hill. Visit GHC’s online calendar to view details of the event, and other activities happening in Washington, DC around World TB Day 2017. Also, read the TB brief in GHC’s Global Health Briefing Book for more information and key figures on the global impact of TB.


For 35 years, RESULTS has been changing government priorities and people’s lives by combining the powerful voices of citizen advocates with research and oversight of U.S. anti-poverty efforts to shine a light on effective solutions to end poverty.

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GHC NEWS FLASH: GLOBAL HEALTH ROUNDUP 3/20/2017

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Global Financing Facility Webinar Series Starts March 21

GHC and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNCH) will host the first webinar in a three-part series on March 21 at 10:00 AM EDT to discuss feedback received on the draft Global Financing Facility (GFF) Civil Society Engagement Strategy. The strategy, developed by PMNCH in partnership with the GFF Secretariat, is intended to enhance civil society engagement in the GFF, a multi-stakeholder initiative that supports country-led efforts to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. The webinar will also provide an opportunity for partners to provide any additional feedback and recommendations. The draft is currently available in English and en Français. Learn more and register for the webinar series.


The Lucky Specials: A Movie Demystifying TB
The Lucky Specials, a film which seeks to educate viewers about the risk, prevention, and treatment of tuberculosis (TB), commemorates World TB Day 2017 on March 24. The movie tells the story of an aspiring cover band from a small South African mining town. On the verge of a huge career break, the band’s hopes and futures are cast in doubt as its key members are infected by TB. The film’s plot expertly addresses several misconceptions, treatment barriers, and stigma related to the disease. The movie makers, Discovery Learning Alliance (DLA), intend to broadcast the film throughout sub-Saharan Africa over the next several months. In addition, DLA is partnering with governments, community health workers, NGOs, schools, and the private sector to reach target audiences. A free download of the movie will be made available to the public in mid-2017. View the movie trailer.


Health Care Crisis in Syria Continues as Conflict Enters Its 7th Year
Last week marked six years of war and turmoil in the Syrian Arab Republic. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, civil unrest and armed conflict in the country have resulted in a rapidly increasing number of people being displaced both within and outside of Syria. The situation has created serious public health concerns, including: widespread malnutrition, mental health challenges, and low vaccination rates in children under the age of 5. More than half of the country’s health care facilities have been destroyed or damaged during attacks, while two-thirds of its health workers have fled to other countries for safety. Invisible Wounds, a new global report by GHC member Save the Children, highlights the mental impacts and psychological scars the conflict has left on the children of Syria. Read the report and learn how you can get involved in the ongoing response to the crisis.


Workshop on Best Practices for Global Health Experiential Learning
NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Secondary Field in Global Health and Health Policy at Harvard University,  GHC member Child Family Health International, and GlobalSL will host a workshop at the CUGH conference on competencies, assessments, and other pedagogies of global health fieldwork on April 6 in Washington, DC. The workshop aims to build skills and resources to improve risk-management, optimize cross-cultural learning, deliver effective reflection, and create structures for program management and administration. It will bring together leaders in international and global health education to explore best practices to optimize global health experiential learning. View event and registration details.


Emerging NCD Crisis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit examines the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in developing countries. The report highlights cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer as some of the leading contributors to the global NCD epidemic. It calls on donors to revise allocation priorities and for governments to address the various shortfalls and capacity constraints in their health systems, which limit a patient’s ability to access quality care and treatment. With a shortage of diagnostic tools and trained personnel across the developing world, the report emphasizes the need for innovative solutions such as mobile phone technology to improve the consistency and frequency of routine checks and management of chronic conditions. Read full report.

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PQM Increases the Supply of, and Affordability of, Life-Saving Anti-TB Medication

This guest post was provided by GHC member United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) promotes and supports end-to-end quality assurance across health systems in partnership with regulatory authorities, policymakers, donors, and other key stakeholders. Through multiple programs, USP provides technical assistance, workforce development, and sets standards to improve access to quality-assured, life-saving medicines that protect patients. USP’s longstanding partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has led to significant advancements in medicine quality in priority regions, with key activities currently implemented through the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) program in 34 countries.

Most tuberculosis (TB) cases can be treated with first line, or preferred, medicines. However, bacteria that cause TB can become resistant to first line medicines, which causes a condition known as multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that of the 580,000 people requiring multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment, only 20% were enrolled in therapy. For individual patients, this form of TB can mean longer, less effective, and more expensive treatment, which is inhibited further if the medicine provided is not quality-assured. Therefore, increasing supply of and access to quality-assured second line MDR-TB medicines is a high priority in treatment efforts.

Kanamycin is one of the key second line medicines used for treatment of MDR-TB. In 2016, to help increase the availability of quality-assured kanamycin, PQM negotiated the purchasing price with manufacturers based on the costs incurred by the producer in exchange for technical assistance. This intervention had two significant results: the price of quality-assured kanamycin fell, becoming available in liquid form for widespread distribution for the first time to the Global Drug Facility, WHO’s procurement mechanism. The price of 1-g kanamycin solution made available through PQM’s intervention is 73% less than the same product from other suppliers; the intervention also set the lowest price benchmark for 0.5-g and 1-g kanamycin injection solutions on the global public health market, which is expected to drive down the price of kanamycin produced by other manufacturers as well. Ultimately this will enable donors and national TB programs to save millions in public health funding, allowing more efficient and widespread service delivery.

 

 

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Global health is good business — Trump should get in the prosperity

This guest post was written by Chris Collins, President and CEO of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It originally appeared on The Hill website.

From Getty Images

From Getty Images

As President-elect Trump considers submitting a fiscal year 2018 budget request to Congress, scores of government funding issues will be intensely debated. America’s investment in global health is one area that should stand outside the political fray.

There are few issues that have won such consistent bipartisan support or, at a fraction of 1 percent of the federal budget, have produced such concrete economic, security and humanitarian gains for the country and the world.

 Global health programming has expanded significantly over the last two decades, with the U.S. playing a leadership role. As Vice President-elect Pence said during the 2008 reauthorization of the U.S. global AIDS program: “The United States has a moral obligation to lead the world in confronting the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.”

The impact of these investments has been startling. Since 1990, the number of annual child deaths has been cut by more than one half. More than 18.2 million people are now receiving life-saving AIDS treatment. The malaria death rate among children under age 5 is down 69 percent since 2000. Efforts to diagnose and treat tuberculosis (TB), a disease that has plagued humanity for centuries, have saved millions of lives in the same period.

This is an impressive track record, but the job is far from done. In fact, continued and increased investment in global health provides an important opportunity to build on bipartisan support, end major epidemics, and realize enormous humanitarian and economic benefits. There are four points to consider as the new President and Congress begin their work.

First, it is important to maintain the bipartisan support for global health established over eight Congresses and two presidential administrations.

Republican and Democratic policymakers agree that, together, investments in public-private partnerships like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and bilateral programs like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) are among our greatest foreign policy successes.

These programs reinforce each other’s work across the globe, achieving steadily increasing transparency and financial efficiency, scaling up effective programs and complementing each other’s efforts to ensure that U.S. resources are deployed for maximum impact.

Second, while the primary goal of global health programs is to save lives, investing in ending epidemics has considerable economic return on investment.

Malaria-free countries have five times greater economic growth than countries with malaria. Every dollar spent on TB generates $30 through improved health and increased productivity.

Just maintaining the current U.S. commitment to the Global Fund alone could support at least $96.7 billion in economic gains. U.S. investment in the Global Fund leverages resources — requiring a two-thirds match from other donors, and incentivizing countries receiving grants to increase ownership of their disease programs over time.

When people are healthy, they have more capacity to purchase American goods and services.

The 20 million people whose lives have been saved through Global Fund-supported programs live mainly in developing countries which are increasingly critical to the U.S. economy. U.S. exports to developing countries have grown by more than 400 percent over the last 20 years. Today, they total more than $600 billion annually and are greater than U.S. exports to China, Europe and Japan combined.

Third, we have been reminded repeatedly by outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola that disease knows no borders. Containment, prevention and evidence-based treatment of epidemics are national security matters that we cannot afford to underestimate or underfund. U.S. investments in disease programs support strengthened health infrastructure to help prevent future deadly threats from spreading.

Finally, investing in global health is an essential part of U.S. diplomacy and national security.

A 2015 Bipartisan Policy Center case study found that American efforts to support global health also have key secondary effects on state stability, public opinion of the U.S., and socio-economic development.

By helping to build more stable and capable partners, global health efforts in turn boost U.S. national security objectives. But our efforts against deadly epidemics remain underfunded. U.S. investment in global health represents just 0.25 percent of the federal budget, and has remained flat for four years.

Amid the many controversies today, global health investment stands alone. It saves the lives of millions of men, women and children every year, and is also one of the best strategic investments we can make in American security and prosperity.

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