IHSJ Reader June 2012 Issue 25
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Child Survival Call to Action: Ending Preventable Childhood Deaths (UNICEF, USAID, Save the Children, et al., June 14, 2012)
On June 14 and 15, world leaders convened a Child Survival Call to Action in Washington, D.C., to build a global road map for ending preventable childhood deaths. Though significant progress has been made in recent decades, it is inconceivable that nearly 20,000 children still die every day from treatable and preventable diseases. The time has come for political leaders everywhere to devote the attention and the resources necessary to eliminate this global health injustice.
Outcomes of Comprehensive Care for Children Empirically Treated for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis in a Setting of High HIV Prevalence (Hind Satti, Megan M. McLaughlin, David B. Omotayo, Salmaan Keshavjee, Mercedes C. Becerra, Joia S. Mukherjee, Kwonjune J. Seung, PLoS One, May 22, 2012)
In this recent study, Partners In Health researchers demonstrate that pediatric MDR-TB treatment programs can be extremely successful, even in a setting like the country of Lesotho with high rates of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and poverty. Though little is known about the burden of MDR-TB among children, PIH Lesotho’s MDR-TB program achieved an 88% treatment success rate. These remarkable outcomes show that rapid initiation of individualized treatment and strong community health worker accompaniment can ensure the right to health for pediatric patients with MDR-TB.
GLOBAL HEALTH ADVOCACY & POLICY
HRH Policy Advocacy Leaders In Action Interview: Donna Barry (HRH, May 2012)
Donna Barry, Policy and Advocacy Director at Partners In Health, discusses the importance of strategic advocacy in solidarity with patients, health workers, and governments operating in settings of poverty. By working in coalitions to educate decision-makers about policies that advance global health equity—and fight policies that do not—advocates can influence the ways in which resources, power, and ideas are distributed so that people in the Global South have a more realistic chance at determining their own health and development.
HEALTH SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING
Universal Coverage is the Ultimate Expression of Fairness (Margaret Chan, World Health Organization, May 23, 2012)
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), began her second five-year term with a bold call for universal health coverage based on need, and not on an ability to pay. In her acceptance speech to health ministers and other government officials, Dr. Chan pledged to advance comprehensive health services for the poor, and warned that today’s unprecedented momentum for equitable coverage and integrated health systems must not be compromised by the economic crisis.
Foreign Aid Works – It Saves Lives (Jeffrey Sachs, The Guardian, May 30, 2012)
Since the year 2000—when all 189 United Nations member states adopted the Millennium Development Goals, the World Health Organization issued a call for increased assistance, and African leaders hosted a landmark summit on HIV/AIDS—the world has seen a vital scale-up of development assistance for health. Increased support for global public health continues to face critics, despite the incredible improvements in global health attributable to having more resources available. Economist Jeffrey Sachs applauds and outlines the progress that has been made over the past decade; continuing to save and improve lives depends on sustained support for global health programs.
***Oral Cholera Vaccine and Integrated Cholera Control in Haiti (Louise Ivers, Paul Farmer, William Pape, The Lancet, June 2, 2012)
In Haiti, the worst cholera epidemic of the post-antibiotic, post-vaccine era has been raging for over eighteen months. Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante, in collaboration with GHESKIO, rolled out a vaccination campaign for 100,000 Haitians. Ending the epidemic requires comprehensive measures; the vaccination is one step in this response. Critics of this action in a comprehensive plan to reduce the spread of cholera based their resistance on the logistical constraints of delivering a vaccine in a resource-poor setting, the fear that inequities would result in social unrest, and concern that the vaccine would encourage Haitians to neglect other methods of prevention. Today, both doses of the vaccine have been successfully delivered, and the authors call for improvements to health, water, and sanitation infrastructure to bring the epidemic to an end.
Achieving High Coverage in Rwanda's National Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Programme (Agnes Binagwaho, Claire Wagner, Maurice Gatera, Corine Karema, Cameron Nutt, Fidele Ngabo, WHO Bulletin, May 23, 2012)
Every year, 275,000 women die from cervical cancer; 88 percent of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Before 2011, screenings for cervical cancer or the human papillomavirus (HPV) were not available in public health facilities in Rwanda. The development of a public-private partnership between Merck and the Rwandan Ministry of Health led to a nationwide vaccination and education campaign targeting school-aged girls. With all three rounds of vaccine doses delivered, Rwanda’s HPV vaccination program reached over 93 percent of sixth grade girls. Rwanda’s example should encourage other countries and partners to explore universal HPV vaccine coverage.
A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in Global Health (Secretary Clinton, U.S. Department of State, June 1, 2012)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a compelling speech in Oslo, Norway, where she stressed the role of “country ownership” in achieving real gains in maternal and global health. Implementing country-led planning and delivery is critical to the success of foreign assistance for health in building integrated and sustainable health systems and eventually breaking the cycle of disease and poverty.
The Global Fund Reorganization: What are the Implications? (Kaiser Family Foundation, June 13, 2012)
Global health experts discuss recent organizational changes at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) and the implications for U.S. global health policy and financing. The GFATM is one of the most successful efforts in the history of public health, and donors must take urgent and coordinated action to address 2012-2013 funding gaps.
ODA 2011 Figures From a Different Perspective (Marco Simonelli and Joachim Rueppel, Action for Global Health, May 2012)
In response to the announcement in April that the amount of foreign assistance from members of the Development Assistance Committee decreased last year, Action for Global Health, ActionAid, and Medical Mission Institute provide additional analysis of the decline in funding. The authors argue that the current method of calculating official development assistance provides a distorted picture of performance by including payments for debt relief, student costs, expenditures for refugees, and administrative costs and loans. Adjusting for these expenses results in an even greater deficit for health and development financing.