Health Care is the fight of the Millennial Generation

The current young generation, known as the Millennials, are oft discussed and at times maligned. Barbara Bush and Andrew Bentley say there is a slow building movement for global health equity that is lead by the Millennial generation. The two are a part of the founding group of the Global Health Corps (GHC). The most recent class of GHC fellows just finished up training at Yale University and are on their way to their new sites in the United States and Africa. "At GHC, we believe the poor, who are burdened the most by disease, deserve our highest quality of care," write Bush and Bentley for CNN. "We know many of the 1.7 million deaths from HIV/AIDS worldwide can be prevented with better access to antiretroviral medicine. We are motivated by the overwhelming costs of health care for the poor and the fact that more than 60% of bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by medical expenses." They outline the four principles that they call are vital to the success of the movement they and GHC are a part of in CNN. 1. Young people should be at the center of this cause More undergraduate students in North America are linking arms and demanding global health curricula while ... Read more

Barbara Bush: Technology and Innovation Supporting Global Health

Social entrepreneurs gathered this past December at the Social Innovation Summit to share lessons on how to create social good through technology and innovation. PSI Board Member and Global Health Corps co-founder Barbara Bush was one of the event’s featured speakers. Brian Sirgutz of the Huffington Post caught up with Barbara after the event to talk about technology and social good through the lens of global health.

Here is a selection of the discussion:

Brian: Your supporters include top names in information technology, like Cisco and Hewlett Packard. (Note: Cisco sponsors the ImpactX section). Can you talk a little about those relationships and how they add to your mission?

We’ve actively worked to build relationships with non-traditional partners that share our values — innovators like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Cisco who are leading the charge to build products and systems that connect communities, and increase information sharing.

Interestingly, global health organizations desperately need many of the skills employees at multi-national corporations like HP and Cisco have. Cisco employees who are experts in management information and technology systems have mentored some of our fellows working in Malawi with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation to build out stronger electronic medical records and data tracking systems.

Global Health Corps Accepting New Applicants

PSI Board Member Barbara Bush co-founded the Global Health Corps (GHC) through the 2008 aids2031 Young Leaders Summit hosted by UNAIDS and Google. In the four years since the summit, GHC has continued to send talented volunteers to work with organizations like Partners in Health and PSI in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, the United Sates and Malawi.

Applications are now open for new corps members. This year, applicants can apply for 3 positions that match their interests and skills, from project management to monitoring and evaluation, engineering, communications and more. GHC says they are  looking for people from a broad range of sectors and disciplines. No prior health experience is necessary! The only things we ask are that the applicants be 30 years old or younger, hold a university degree, and be proficient in English.

From the Field: I Talk About Condoms Too Much

By Hiba Iqteit, Global Health Corps member with PSI/Rwanda. This originally appeared in the GHC blog.

Of all the things I thought I would be doing in Rwanda, selling condoms was not one. Through my work with Population Services International (PSI), I’ve been engaged at the forefront of condom marketing and sales across the country.

As one of its major initiatives, PSI works to fill a crucial gap in the Rwandan market, by selling and promoting condoms as a method for preventing sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV. Before PSI launched its programs in Rwanda, Rwandans had three options to acquire condoms: receiving them for free at public clinics, paying for expensive foreign brands, or purchasing low-cost condoms smuggled in from neighboring countries. Through careful market analysis, PSI concluded that free condoms are neither valued nor utilized, while the alternative quality brands were prohibitively expensive or illegal. As a result, condom use in Rwanda was low at best.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby (Burundi Flash Mob)

By Leah Hazard, Communications Officer, Global Health Corps Fellow at PSI/Burundi

Burundi’s a tough place to talk about sex. That makes it an especially tough place to sell condoms. And that’s what my Global Health Corps co-fellow Dedo and I have been doing for the past six months with PSI/Burundi — working with their team on creative ways to market and improve the sales of Prudence Class condoms.

One of PSI/Burundi’s key target audiences is youth ages 15-24 years old. We reach youth through trainings, billboards, television spots, and radio shows to promote the correct use of condoms in order to prevent HIV and other STD’s, as well as unwanted pregnancies. But the challenges are pretty big. Sex is taboo, and people are generally embarrassed to talk – let alone touch – a condom. Youth frequently don’t know how to correctly use a condom, and are often too embarrassed to buy them at a local shop where parents or family may see them.

So, how do you connect with youth? How do you present a new face of your brand that’s cool, approachable and hip? How do you do it with pretty much zero resources? Dedo and I thought: flash mob. Definitely.

Win an iPad 2 By Playing the “What’s your Poo IQ?” Advocacy Challenge

Today marks the second day of the Global Health Council’s 38th annual International Conference in Washington, DC and events are in full swing. Spanning the entire week, global health professionals and organizations from all over the world gather to be a part of an exciting health conversation. This year, the Health/WaSH Coalition decided to do something different—something new to engage conference attendees in an innovative and interactive conversation about an issue that needs some healthy attention. There is nothing sexy about diarrhea and diarrheal disease and that is often reflected by the lack of interest in clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs (WaSH). Despite some progress over the last decade, more than 1.5 million children died from diarrheal diseases in 2010. As a part of the global community, we are still far from reaching the Millennium Development Goals for access to clean water and sanitation. However with the combined efforts from active partners, larger public support, and sustained (or even increased!) funding and globally aware advocates like you, we can see that number fall drastically—and quickly. So you want to get involved? You can. Together, WaSH Advocacy Initiative, UNC Water Institute, WaterAid, PSI, WSSCC, PATH, and JSI have teamed up to sponsor ... Read more

At Least One World Leader is Trying to Keep Focus on Global Health at the G-8

Global health might not be central to the agenda of the G8 meeting this week in France, but one world leader is trying to wave the flag. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the French resort of Deauville today to participate in the summit of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries and speak on issues such as the pro-democracy movement in the Arab world, crises in Africa and women’s and children’s health. Mr. Ban is due to participate in sessions of the so-called G8 Outreach Programme, where he is expected to continue to advocate for sustained attention to women’s and children’s health as a cornerstone of the global development agenda.At the G8 summit in Canada last year, industrialized countries adopted an initiative to boost efforts to improve maternal and child health in poorer countries, urging the world to ensure that no woman died while giving birth. Earlier in the week, the Secretary General visited Ethiopia and Nigeria to visit programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality and improving the health of women and children. “We have seen so many women and children dying needlessly from preventable diseases,” Mr. Ban told reporters at the Ambo Mesk health post in Bahir Dar, in Ethiopia’s northern state of ... Read more

As the G8 Meets in Deauville Global Health is Missing from the Agenda

The Global Health Council's David Olson is supremely disappointed that global health is missing from the G8 agenda this week in Deauville, France. The heads of state are arriving as I write this — Russia and Canada arrived last night and the rest are on their way now — and global health is nowhere visible on the agenda, neither in the French presidency’s official agenda on the website, or in the more detailed agenda we are now seeing here in Deauville.We have heard that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the champion of the 2010 Muskoka Initiative and the co-chair of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, plans a presentation on the commission’s newly-released report “Keeping Promises, Measuring Results,” but we have no details yet on where and when this will be done. Last week, the G8 itself released its much-anticipated Deauville Accountability Report on G8 commitments on health and food security but the NGO reaction to it was universally negative. Oxfam International and the ONE Campaign both called it a “whitewash,” Action Aid said it was “deeply embarrassing” and Malaria No More UK was disappointed at the lack of clear information. Member organisations of Global Call to Action Against ... Read more

World Health Assembly: Focus on Maternal and Child Health

Writing on the Global Health Council's blog,  David J Olson is pleased that maternal and child health has made inroads in the larger global health agenda. He argues that this can be further accelerated by making maternal and child health a lead topic at the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva this week. From our friends at the Global Health Council: 2010 was the year when maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) finally got some of the attention it deserves. It was the signature issue of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at his G8 Summit in Muskoka where a $7.3 billion, five-year commitment was made through the Muskoka Initiative. It was a major focus of the U.N. Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), culminating in a $40 billion Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. And it was touted as a principal element of the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative (GHI). A lot of things have changed in a year. Not much has happened with GHI since last year, least of all in MNCH. U.S. congressional Republicans almost succeeded in turning back many of the gains made in recent years through the Fiscal Year 2011 budget wrangling but ultimately failed in reinstating ... Read more

Dreams at Risk – Anna Dirksen, Senior Manager Communications, PSI

I had the great pleasure of sitting in on the Global Health Council's evening session on Dreams at Risk: Overcoming Barriers to Better AIDS Policy for Most at Risk Populations in Eastern Europe. The session explored the struggles of marginalized communities in Eastern Europe in shaping public policy around HIV and AIDS -- struggles that were brought to life through panelists who came from throughout the region. In Eastern Europe the overall prevalence of people living with HIV/AIDS is relatively low, but that somewhat positive statistic masks the fact that those low rates are on the rise. Since 2001, the prevalence rate in Eastern Europe has increased by an astonishing 66 percent. One of the panelists, Vladimir Hotineaunu Minister of Health from the Republic of Moldova, described the situation in his country that mirrored much of what had happened across the region. In the late 1990s, a wave of infections spread throughout Moldova, with a significant portion of these new infections involving some of the most at risk and vulnerable populations: injecting drug users, commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners. I thought Jeffrey Sturchio, Global Health Council President and CEO, put it well when he said that "the ... Read more