Leading global health organizations are joining with the WHO and UNICEF to take on the diseases that cause 2 million child deaths a year. The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) provides a blueprint for deploying the strategies that will prevent deaths caused by diarrhea and pneumonia.
“Simple, affordable solutions exist to save children’s lives,” said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI. “I’m very happy to see that the new Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea prioritizes these proven strategies and ensures that we tackle these critical diseases in an integrated and coordinated way to reach the most vulnerable children.”
The plan sets out steps for key partners, namely governments, the private sector and the two UN organizations. Private sector recommendations include:
- Committing to producing quality, affordable treatments and vaccines in child-friendly formulations that are easy-to-administer and to improving distribution to ensure these products reach the most vulnerable children;
- Developing and delivering improved water treatment, sanitation products and clean-cooking technologies and supporting accessible and affordable service delivery for all; and
- Conducting communications campaigns to reach families and health providers about best practices.
By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI
Private capital is needed to test and develop proof that existing health solutions can be adapted to a developing world context. Once this proof is established, the solution has the power to unlock the large-scale government funding needed to dramatically improve health across the developing world.
As demonstrated in a new report released this week by PSI’s Impact magazine and Devex, in partnership with Fenton Communications, the landscape for global health financing has changed dramatically. High-income governments that provide foreign aid for health have steadily increased their support over the last decade. That support is now leveling or shrinking due to budget constraints. Governments are under increased pressure to reduce risk and ensure that all public funds for foreign aid are invested in solutions that guarantee results.
As a result, corporations, foundations and philanthropists are now taking an active role to help protect the progress already made against serious threats to health and economies like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning, which remain as urgent as ever. They are providing private capital to fund the type of innovation that governments cannot afford to advance on their own.
PSI CEO Karl Hofmann both joined the board and was elected to the position of President of the TB Alliance‘s Stakeholders Association (SHA) this week. The SHA is made up of representatives from developing nations, government, non-governmental organizations, professional organizations, academia, foundations and industry. It represents a support mechanism for the TB Alliance, where Karl will also serve as a board member.
“I’ve seen how today’s suboptimal TB therapies contribute to a cycle of disease and poverty in some of the least developed countries in the world,” said Mr. Hofmann in a press release. “Now with improved TB drugs on the horizon, I look forward to working with the TB Alliance through my role on the Board and in leading the SHA, to help speed the delivery of promising new regimens to those who need them most.”
The rise of hundreds of millions of people out of poverty during the past 50 years is a story of tremendous, unprecedented human progress. A significant factor in this success has been the global community’s coordinated effort to tackle serious health and economic barriers, like HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning.
During the last two decades, the number of deaths of children under 5 has fallen by about half. The conversation about eradicating polio is now focused on only three countries and seems within reach. Even regarding HIV and AIDS, the scourge of a generation, we may be seeing the beginning of the end. The call for an “AIDS-free generation” seems more plausible now than it did only a few years ago.
Much work still remains to be done in these areas, but the foundation of multi-sector collaboration around the issues is an encouraging sign. It is imperative that we apply this same degree of coordination and sense of urgency to the growing burden of cancer in the developing world — a health and economic crisis that is going largely unaddressed.
Women around the world continue to face an uneven playing field in education, employment, earnings and decision-making power. A World Bank report from 2012 presented evidence that ensuring that the world’s 3.5 billion women have equal opportunities can be global economic boon. The Seattle Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID) is partnering with the SID Washington, DC Chapter for a special bi-coastal event that will discuss the intersection between health and women’s economic empowerment. A video feed will link the audiences and two speakers in each location. PSI President and CEO Karl Hofmann is scheduled to join the conversation from Washington DC with other global health experts and activists.
Click below for further details on the event if you want to attend the even to see how global health initiatives are working together with increase economic opportunities to both improve the well being of and empower women.
PSI President and CEO Karl Hofmann shared the following analysis on the question of developing health systems and universal healthcare that was discussed by a panel of experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. Above, you can watch the panel’s discussion.
Is universal health coverage a pipe dream, the fevered aim of Geneva bureaucrats,and beyond the reach of real world health systems? This session attempted to tackle this tough question. What are the practical steps we can take now and for the coming decades so that by 2040 we have achieved universal health coverage, or healthcare for all that is sustainable because it is available, affordable and of high quality?
Fifty participants considered three general approaches:
- How to build healthy communities and cities
- How to leverage technology and data
- How to deliver healthcare innovatively
Coming from many different perspectives, consensus emerged around a few key points. Universal coverage by 2040 passes through recognition that healthcare requires holistic, multisectoral approaches.”Health is not just the province of the minister of health,” said one minister of health in the session.
We need to collectively move from disease treatment to health promotion and wellness. The social determinants of health may vary greatly, as one participant noted, but an embrace of health promotion in all circumstances will lift all health boats.
2012 may be remembered for many things good and bad, but one undeniably positive story is the way in which family planning and women’s reproductive choices and rights came back into the sunlight after too many years in the shadows of the global health and development agenda.
The July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning featured pledges of new resources to help some of the 220 million women in the world who want the means to plan the timing and size of their families, but aren’t able. But even more crucial than new money was new advocacy. Presidents Kikwete of Tanzania, Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda took the podium personally to embrace the cause of saving women’s lives through access to modern contraception, as did Melinda Gates, whose powerful leadership voice will resonate for years on this topic.
PSI believes that everyone – no matter where they are born – should be able to live a healthy, productive life. It’s a philosophy that has defined our work around the world for the past 40 years.
With your invaluable support to us last year, you showed us that we’re on the same page. Together, we added more than 15 million years of healthy life in 2012. This New Year, we can do even more.
To those who partnered actively with us in 2012, thank you.
Karl Hofmann, PSI President & CEO
By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI. This originally appeared in Devex.
Each year, billions of dollars in foreign aid are earmarked for various global health priorities. The process by which any given health area ascends to priority status may vary with context, but as a global health community, we shoulder a collective responsibility to target our efforts based on reliable data that point to where the need is greatest.
Think of global health spending as denominated in different “currencies” — not dollars, pounds or euros, but impact based on disease burdens. Is there higher mortality from respiratory infection and pneumonia than, say, diarrhea in your country? Then interventions against pneumonia will have a higher value in terms of saving lives. When the United States uncoupled the dollar from the gold standard in the 1970s, global currencies floated free and had to find their own relative value against one another. In global health, we are on the cusp of a periodic revaluing moment, one in which our standard unit of measure is being reset.
PSI’s office in Cameroon, Association Camerounaise pour le Marketing Social (ACMS), made a video to welcome PSI President and CEO Karl Hofmann for his visit to the country in October 2012. This video showcases the diversity of cultures in Cameroon with staff wearing the clothing of their ethnic groups and speaking in their native languages.
Give it a watch!