When historians look back, will this year mark a turning point in global health? Certainly some of the big issues on the agenda in 2019 might suggest that we are at a crossroads. We can expect to see an intensification of the push for universal health coverage (UHC), culminating with a first-ever high-level United Nations meeting, and a shift away from disease-specific interventions towards more integrated approaches. Health Policy Watch spoke with a range of leading global health policy experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), NGOs, industry and foundations to get their take on the top issues, and here is what they said to watch for in 2019 in five priority areas. Continue reading ->
The World Health Organization Executive Board is being asked this week to consider a steep budget increase to cover the ambitious new “Transformation Plan” of Director General Tedros Adhanom Gheyebresus, which aims to improve the health of at least 3 billion people by 2025. The 8 percent budget hike requested for 2020-2021 will be reviewed by the Board along with a range of critical policy issues when it meets for its 144th session from 24 January-1 February. Here's what you need to know to follow the action. Continue reading ->
The World Health Organization has released a new report showing that significant progress has been made to build national and global preparedness for future influenza pandemics. This progress resulted from the collaborative multi-sectoral implementation of a WHO plan, funded by the benefit-sharing contributions of industry partners, to strengthen global health security against pandemic influenza. Continue reading ->
More dedicated to scientific research and much more “colourful” than the World Health Summit were descriptions for the 14th Global Grand Challenges Meeting 2018 that ended last night in Berlin and brought together some top researchers, policymakers and civil society. Like the WHS, the Grand Challenges Meeting focused on antimicrobial resistances and pandemic pathogens. But it also talked a little more on the issue of how better to incentivize R&D to fulfil SDG3, the UN Sustainable Development Goal on health, according to participants. Continue reading ->
Panos Moumtzis, Assistant UN Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis (since September 2017) spoke to Health Policy Watch in an exclusive interview Thursday about the escalating crisis in the Syrian conflict, the continued attacks on health care facilities and the mounting international humanitarian and diplomatic efforts to try and avert another humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn nation. But he also warned he fears the worst might still be ahead of us over the looming battle for Idleb. Continue reading ->
Or they should be. That’s the conclusion of a recent study published in the medical journal Vaccine. The study focused on political views of parents in the state of California, who had chosen not to vaccinate their nursery-school aged children. And it tracked the number of parents who had filed personal belief exemptions (PBEs), applications for permission to avoid vaccinations over a 5-year period to 2015. A disproportionate number of parents filing such forms were from Republican or conservative neighbourhoods, according to researcher Kevin A Estep, from the health administration and policy program at the university. Continue reading ->
A hundred years ago, the Spanish flu infected a third of the world population, and killed more people than the two world wars combined. The World Health Organization is seeking to help the world prepare for the next pandemic, which they say, is only waiting to happen. The recent World Health Assembly agreed to ask the WHO to complete an analysis on the implications of including seasonal influenza virus and pandemic virus genetic information into its benefit-sharing mechanism to help the world face the next influenza pandemic. Separately, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) issued a study on how to handle virus genetic information, and voiced preference for publicly accessible databases for sharing this information, rather than public domain databases, as the latter raise issue of traceability of the information from originators and also from users. And a WHO official issued a call for WHO member states to become involved in activities of the CBD's Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing to ensure health priorities are put before environmental priorities on genetic resources. Continue reading ->