This past week, the UN General Assembly featured a high-level meeting on the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)—by far the most high-profile gathering ever on this topic, and just the fourth ever such meeting on a health-related issue following HIV (2001), non-communicable diseases (2011), and Ebola (2014).
CGD Policy Blogs
In its opening days, the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen has bestowed praise and congratulations on the women’s rights advocacy community writ large—and appropriately so. Some of the panelists have risked their lives and livelihoods to create a better world for women and girls; recognition of their accomplishments is truly the least we can do. Many others have dedicated their distinguished careers to this cause, trailblazing the path for later generations. But there’s a lot we still have to accomplish.
Five thousand researchers, practitioners, advocates and others are descending on Copenhagen for Women Deliver, the largest conference focused on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Much of what will be discussed aligns with CGD’s own work through our global health policy and gender and development programs, so we’re pleased to be attending and below, we’re pleased to share with you a few of the conference areas where we can add our voice.
Over the past decade we’ve seen major progress in fighting some of the world’s worst health scourges: AIDS deaths are on the decline, polio has been eliminated in all but two countries, more people have access to healthcare. This is cause for optimism.
Last week, more than 3,000 policymakers, practitioners, researchers, donors, and advocates descended upon Nusa Dua, Indonesia, for the 4th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). From the opening gong to the closing plenary, Nusa Dua hummed with experience, learning, and new ideas, originating in 100-plus countries and converging in a single conference center.
This week, the Global Fund partnership will meet in Tokyo to plan for its fifth voluntary replenishment, covering the period 2017-2019. The stakes are high: in an austere budget climate, the Global Fund’s ability to raise the needed resources—and then to spend them effectively over the subsequent three years—will have outsize importance in determining the trajectory of the historic fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Imagine a world in which children in Zambia, Bolivia, and Laos have the same chance to survive, grow, and thrive as their peers in Canada or Europe. Such a world sounds nice, to be sure, but probably quite far out of reach. Yet according to the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health, that “grand convergence” between poor and rich countries is achievable within our lifetimes. This is a remarkable and unique opportunity, one unprecedented in human history.
You’ve probably already heard about the pharma outrage du jour. In short: start-up Turing Pharmaceuticals, led by combative ex-hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, recently acquired Daraprim, a 60+ year-old drug to treat a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis – the only available treatment for this rare infection – which can become deadly for HIV+ individuals and others with weakened immune systems. Turing then promptly raised the price by more than 5000%, from $13.50 to $750 per tablet, such that a single individual’s treatment can now cost up to $634,000.
As we gear up for the 2016 election, we’re thinking critically about how the next US president can increase the impact and efficiency of America’s taxpayer-funded global health investments. The US lacks a government-wide strategy on global health engagement, and it shows—most recently in the slow and messy response to the Ebola crisis. But we think it doesn’t have to be this way.
While the numbers coming out of side events at Addis were hardly worth the single shake of a string-free pom-pom, and the launch of a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data raised a lot of questions, there were some bright spots in the US commitments to that partnership.