USAID Administrator Power hosts development ministers, announcing new initiative to accelerate global COVID-19 vaccine access and delivery
On December 6, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power hosted a meeting of development ministers to discuss the global COVID-19 response. At the meeting, Power announced a new U.S. government-wide effort to accelerate global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, known as GlobalVAX. The announcement included $315 million to support vaccine delivery in low- and middle-income countries, $10 million to support in-country vaccine manufacturing, and $75 million for USAID’s Rapid Response Surge Support.
Atul Gawande confirmed as USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health
After his confirmation was held up for months, the Senate voted 48-31 to confirm Dr. Atul Gawande to be Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health for USAID.
Gayle Smith departs State Department and role as Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Health Security
On November 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement thanking Gayle Smith for serving in her temporary service as Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Health Security at the State Department as she heads back to the ONE Campaign. Mary Beth Goodman will now serve as Acting Coordinator.
Global COVID-19 Vaccination Caucus leads on supplemental funding for the global COVID-19 response
On December 17, the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus led a bicameral letter signed by more than 80 of their colleagues to appropriations leaders calling for at least $17 billion for global COVID-19 response efforts in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations omnibus.
End TB Now Act of 2021 introduced
On December 14, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the End Tuberculosis Now Act of 2021 to strengthen the U.S. approach to combating the global TB crisis. This bipartisan legislation is the first to address the impact of COVID-19 on TB control and directs USAID to boost its bilateral TB programs to account for new goals set by the international community.
WHA Special Session adopts decision to negotiate new global accord for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response
On December 1, the virtual World Health Assembly Special Session (WHASS) culminated in a consensus decision to begin negotiating a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. Negotiators will hold their first meeting by March 1, 2022 to agree on ways of working and timelines, and hold its second meeting by August 1, 2022 to review progress on a draft of the agreement and decide the provision of the WHO Constitution under which the agreement should be adopted. To inform deliberations, negotiators will hold public hearings in between meetings. The decision also requests that the WHO Director-General support negotiators by facilitating the participation of other UN bodies, non-state actors in official relations with WHO, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a successful outcome. Negotiators will deliver a progress report to the 76th WHA in 2023 and its outcome for consideration by the 77th WHA in 2024.
The Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit, or N4G, was held earlier this month. This international conference is held by the host country of the Olympics, and the Results Overview from this year’s Summit can be found on their website. Notably, WHO used the opportunity to announce six new commitments towards the 2025 nutrition targets.
UNICEF announces new Executive Director Catherine Russell
UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ announced on December 10 that Catherine M. Russell will succeed Henrietta H. Fore as UNICEF Executive Director. Ms. Russell currently serves as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and, from 2013 to 2017, she served as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State.
WHO appoints Dr. Ayoade Alakija as Special Envoy to ACT-A
On December 16, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros appointed Dr. Ayoade Alakija as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). Dr Alakija is joined by former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, WHO’s current Special Envoy for ACT-A, in this position. As Special Envoy, Dr. Alakija will help lead advocacy for the ACT-A and mobilize support and resources, among other duties.
WHO releases World Malaria Report 2021
The WHO World Malaria Report 2021 reveals the impact of COVID-19 on malaria services with a notable increase in both cases and deaths. While initial projections by WHO had higher levels of disruptions and deaths, this report shows that “approximately two-thirds of these additional deaths (47,000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.” The WHO has also released an accompanying toolkit on the report, including both global and regional briefing kits as well as a press release and presentation section.
New report from Global Fund and WHO on the state of equity in AIDS, TB and malaria
On December 9, WHO, jointly with Global Fund, released the report State of inequality; HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, which draws upon two decades of global data to provide the “first systematic global analysis of the state of inequality in HIV, TB and malaria.” The report assesses the past and current state of inequality across a variety of disease indicators tailoring results within the context of each disease. Among many key topics, the report highlights the importance of disaggregated data and the impact of addressing inequality.
2021 World AIDS Day report released
UNIADS released the 2021 World AIDS Day report, which lays out why bold action to combat inequalities is needed to end the AIDS crisis, stop COVID-19, and prepare for future pandemics. The report examines five elements of the Global AIDS Strategy that must be prioritized.
2021 Global Health Security Index
The Nuclear Threat Initiative and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security released the 2021 Global Health Security Index, assessing the health security capabilities of 195 countries. Through the GHS Index website, you can read the report, explore the data, and review country rankings in terms of preparedness.