Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: November 2018
November 1, 2018
Welcome to the November 2018 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.
On October 29, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security, a major initiative of GHPC, released its new 19-minute film, "The Gathering Health Storm Inside North Korea". The film highlights the bleak health realities of North Korea, which are an understudied part of the larger problem of potential instability on the Korean peninsula. North Korea has an exceptionally high rate of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), an estimated 42 percent of its population is undernourished, and at least 3 in 10 North Korean citizens are stunted. These are just a few of the health issues that can pose an immediate threat to the surrounding region, especially through the possibility that conflict in North Korea could ignite a mass exodus of North Korean refugees carrying infectious diseases such as MDR-TB into South Korea and China. The film also notes the dramatically decreased ability of U.S. agencies and NGOs to operate in North Korea, part of the collateral damage of sanctions. Watch the film here.
In the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is an urgent need for high-level political attention focused on generating an updated game plan to improve security, train and deploy community health workers and Congolese public health experts, and win community trust and cooperation. The United States—vitally important to the international response in West Africa 2014-2016—has chosen thus far, out of security concerns, to limit its engagement to the periphery of the outbreak. Quick action is needed to affirm U.S. leadership in eastern Congo, better understand the specific security threats at play, and come up with practical solutions that permit the safe deployment of a small U.S. expert contingent into the center of the outbreak, where seasoned U.S. talent is most needed. Download my latest brief, which I co-authored with CSIS Africa Director Judd Devermont, here.
The first-ever United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Tuberculosis (TB) was held on September 26 on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York City—only the fifth such meeting on a health topic in the history of the UN. While there is a need for innovation across the spectrum of tools and programmatic approaches to defeat TB, there is clear consensus that a point-of-care, non-sputum rapid diagnostic test will be essential, not only for primary diagnosis of active tuberculosis but also for monitoring response to treatment. Read the full analysis of this historic meeting, written by GHPC Senior Associate Robert Newman, here.
In Robert Newman’s analysis of the UN high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases, he writes “Although there has been a definite increase in attention to the issue of NCDs since the first HLM in 2011, this has not translated into dramatic increases in funding or action to prevent or manage the four major groups of NCDs: cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. Perhaps it is therefore not surprising that the political declaration contains no data regarding what progress (or lack thereof) has been made over the past seven years. The NCD Alliance letter chastises leaders ‘that their failure to date to deliver on their commitments at the 2011 and 2014 UN High-Level Meetings is not just statistics and economic losses, it is unnecessary suffering and preventable death in every country.’” Read the full commentary here.
October 29: Health Security and North Korea
The CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security hosted a screening of its new film, The Gathering Health Storm Inside North Korea, followed by a roundtable discussion with regional experts and providers of humanitarian assistance. As the film’s co-director, I moderated the roundtable discussion with Shanelle Hall, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; Jon Brause, Washington Office Director, World Food Programme; Kee B. Park, Paul Farmer Global Surgery Scholar, Harvard Medical School;Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow, CSIS Korea Chair; Nancy Lindborg, President, United States Institute of Peace; and Victor Cha, Senior Adviser and Korea Chair, CSIS. Speakers remarked on the collateral damage of sanctions and the dramatically decreased ability of U.S. agencies and NGOs to operate in North Korea. The roundtable also examined what more could be done if humanitarian channels expand, how to plan strategically for a future when it may become possible to do more inside North Korea—and how realistic it is to expect expanded access and engagement. Watch a video of the event here.
On October 25, the CSIS Global Health Policy Center hosted a conversation with Thomas J. Bollyky on his new book, Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways. Bollyky noted that recent improvements in health outcomes have not been matched by advances in broader economic development. The book argues for expanding global health priorities to include noncommunicable diseases and integrating global health more effectively into broader development strategies that invest in the future of growing youth populations. This was part of a series of conversations intended to spotlight new thinking on health security, presented by the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security. Event video can be viewed here.
Left: Thomas J. Bollyky, Right: J. Stephen Morrison. Photo courtesy of CSIS.
New Take as Directed Podcast Episode:
In this episode of Take as Directed, Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, reflects on his first 7 months in that post, takeaways from the UNGA high-level meeting on tuberculosis, as well as his expectations for the lead-up to the 2019 Global Fund replenishment conference, set to take place in France. He also discusses the importance of creative financing needed to achieve The Global Fund’s goal of investing resources to end the pandemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Hosted by Sara Allinder.
Upcoming episodes include: Dr. Robert Mwadime, an experienced nutrition expert and Chief of Party based in Uganda; Michael Merson, Professor of Global Health at Duke University; Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson, Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation, Pakistan.
November 13: Innovations to Improve Vaccine Equity
The CSIS Global Health Policy Center is hosting a half-day conference on November 13 focusing on novel approaches and innovative ideas for achieving more equitable vaccine delivery worldwide. Speakers will focus on specific strategies, technologies, and data needed to narrow disparities in vaccine coverage and overcome barriers to access in disordered and fragile settings. The conference will provide a forum for robust conversation around the need for continued U.S. and multilateral engagement through vaccine purchases and additional investments, to improve immunization rates and strengthen immunization systems globally. Additionally, the conference will highlight how immunizations fit within a priority area of the newly launched CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security. Register to attend in person here.
November 14: North Kivu’s Ebola Outbreak at Day 105: What’s Next?
On November 14 from 9:00am-11:00am, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security and the CSIS Africa Program will host a panel discussion on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The discussion follows the publication of a new Commission Issue Brief on the crisis. This week, Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, is on a delegation to the epicenter of the outbreak in the DRC with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix to examine the state of outbreak response, including the security environment, community mobilization, strengthening programmatic response, and what additional action needs to be taken to contain the crisis. Dr. Salama will join our November 14 panel discussion by live video as the featured speaker. Registration details to follow.
December 12: Advancing Women’s Health and Leadership in Global Health
In global health policy and program debates, the gender dimensions are front and center, yet women are in few of the top leadership positions in the relevant national or multilateral organizations. Following the Women Leader’s in Global Health conference, taking place November 8-9 in London, GHPC will convene a panel discussion to explore key aspects of advancing the role of women in global health policy setting and decision making. The event will be held at CSIS on Wednesday, December 12, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Registration details to follow.
November 28 event postponement: Our public event originally scheduled for November 28 on the Lessons Learned and Policy Implications from the Bihar State Technical Support Programme has been postponed. Details to follow.
Stay up to date on all of our events by visiting the Global Health Policy Center program page.
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