Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: November 2016
November 2, 2016
Welcome to the November newsletter from the Global Health Policy Center (GHPC) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)! We invite you to catch up on our latest content:
- October 6: We held a by-invitation meeting with Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, on his candidacy to be the next Director-General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Nabarro touched on several topics throughout the course of his presentation, including the importance of aligning global health policy and programs with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advancing people-centered health policies. He also stated that as DG, key priorities would include transforming WHO to be more prepared, resilient, and responsive to future infectious disease outbreaks and health emergencies as well as building up trust with member states. Sara Allinder, CSIS GHPC Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, moderated the discussion.
- October 13: We held a public screening of our groundbreaking documentary, “Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear,” at the Newseum. A panel discussion on how Americans experienced Ebola in 2014 and the news media’s critical role in that health crisis, both good and bad, followed the screening. Panelists included: Helene Cooper, The New York Times; Ray Suarez,former “PBS NewsHour” Correspondent; and myself. Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer of the Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center, moderated the conversation.
- October 20: We hosted an event highlighting a new Lancet series on maternal health and its implications for U.S. policy. The session featured series author Margaret Kruk, Associate Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, who spoke to the major findings of “Maternal Health 2016.” She painted a picture of remarkable progress made over the past two decades, but cautioned about continued challenges in access to quality care, and a divergence in outcomes among women in low- and high-income countries. Her remarks were followed by a discussion featuring Elizabeth Fox, Director of the Office of Infectious Diseases and Deputy Coordinator for Maternal and Child Survival at USAID; Mariam Claeson, Director of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child at the World Bank; and Ryan Kaldahl, Foreign Policy Advisor for Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). The conversation focused largely around sustainable financing, the need for heightened political commitment and accountability measures, and how the administration and Congress can continue to advance maternal health. Janet Fleischman, CSIS Senior Associate, moderated the conversation and summarized the discussion in a new blog.
- A Significant First Step, as UN Member States Declare Antimicrobial Resistance a Global Priority: Audrey Jackson, CSIS Senior Fellow, was invited to attend the UN High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) held in September, only the fourth time that the UN General Assembly has held a high-level meeting on a health issue. The president of the General Assembly presided over the meeting, with opening statements from the UN Secretary-General and Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Ministers from low- and middle-income countries cited concerns about: rising rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV/AIDS; the potential impact of AMR on livestock and food security; and the need for health system capacity building as a requirement for preventing the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. The meeting culminated in the adoption of a political declaration by all 193 Member States, signaling a commitment to combating AMR. Member States agreed on three concrete actions: 1) develop and mobilize resources to implement national action plans on AMR; 2) WHO to finalize a framework to support the development and distribution of new antimicrobials, diagnostics, and vaccines; and 3) the Secretary-General to establish an interagency coordination group to ensure sustained effective global action to address AMR. The UN High-level Meeting on AMR did not break new substantive ground but did succeed in bringing high-level political attention to AMR for the first time at a major global forum. Adoption of the declaration is a significant achievement that, it is hoped, will motivate government officials to seek additional resources and implement necessary actions.
- Health Care, Support for Migrants is a Global Responsibility: As world leaders grapple with the flood of displaced people in Europe and elsewhere, migration and health experts urge provision of adequate health care and humane resettlement, both for the sake of refugees and in the national interest, writes Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol. Speakers at the World Health Summit in Berlin in October advocated for policies that would aid migration, but many countries, fearing terrorism, financial strain, and culture clashes are instead becoming more restrictive. While the U.S. not facing a crisis on the same scale as Europe’s, President Obama has shown significant leadership, vowing to resettle more refugees in the U.S. and working toward a global migration strategy. Obama surpassed his goal of resettling 10,000 Syrians in the U.S. in fiscal year 2016 and raised the total number of refugees admitted from 70,000 to 85,000.
- Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol joined panelists at the World Health Summit in Berlin on October 11 to discuss actions needed to achieve and sustain polio eradication. Participants included: Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Director of the World Health Organization Africa Office; Ambassador Suraya Dalil, of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations Office, Switzerland; and Dr. Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. While the number of reported wild poliovirus cases is at a record low, insecurity continues to seriously impede vaccination efforts in the three remaining endemic countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Panelists discussed the importance of disseminating lessons learned from the polio program and ensuring continued political will for the effort.
- Senior Fellow Audrey Jackson and Deen Garba, Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, traveled to Nigeria in early October to examine tuberculosis and malaria control programs, particularly activities supported by the U.S. government. In addition to meeting with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and U.S. agencies in Abuja, they conducted site visits in southwest and central Nigeria―in Oyo, Osun, and Nasarawa States. Nigeria’s major challenge in TB control is identifying and diagnosing TB patients, a result of multiple failures in the health system. Innovative community outreach efforts are being implemented to increase awareness of TB signs and symptoms, but progress is slow. Malaria control programs have enjoyed greater success, due to the systematic roll-out of evidence-based interventions. Nigeria has set its sights on malaria elimination, but progress toward elimination can only be achieved through increased resource mobilization from domestic government, private sector, and other sources. A trip report and blog are forthcoming.
- December 1: CSIS will host its annual Global Security Forum—an all-day event with multiple expert panels addressing the top challenges facing U.S. and global security. The forum will feature two sessions devoted to global health issues. The first, taking place at 9:30 am, will focus on the increased frequency of intentional, violent assaults upon health workers and the deliberate destruction of essential health infrastructure in conflict zones, particularly throughout much of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Rebecca Hersman, Director of the Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Adviser for the International Security Program at CSIS, will moderate the discussion. Panelists will include Zaher Sahloul, Senior Advisor to the Syrian American Medical Society; administration officials; and representatives of operational NGOs. The session will also include a teaser trailer for our forthcoming documentary, “The New Barbarianism,” which explores in detail this disturbing trend of increased attacks on health workers and facilities. The second session will take place at 11:00 am and feature a keynote address on the Global Health Security Agenda by Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following his prepared remarks, the session will then pivot to a one-on-one conversation between Dr. Frieden and myself.
UPCOMING NEW CONTENT:
- The Task Force on Women’s and Family Health has conducted background studies in: family planning and reproductive health; maternal and child health; nutrition; immunizations; integration, and the global refugee crisis; and produced a trip report focused on nutrition in Myanmar. This new content will be posted to the Task Force website over the next month.
- The GHPC will be launching a podcast series featuring leading voices in global health. We are currently crowdsourcing ideas for the podcast name. Send us your ideas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments.
J. Stephen Morrison
Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center
Center for Strategic and International Studies