In his early days as India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi has shown remarkable leadership in all sectors, including health, for which he’s articulated his vision to create a Swasth Bharat, a Healthy India. Combined with two major policy windows—the proposed restructuring of the Planning Commission and the report of the 14th Finance Commission expected by the end of the year—the policy reforms under the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s mandate of “Universal Health Assurance for All” have the potential to be a game-changer for India’s neglected public health system.
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On World AIDS Day in 2003, WHO and UNAIDS launched a campaign called the “3 by 5 initiative,” with the objective to “treat three million people with HIV by 2005.” At that time, AIDS treatment was still prohibitively expensive for poor countries, where only a few thousand people had access to treatment. Thanks to President Bush’s creation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program that same year, the number of people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) began to rise dramatically. While the total number of people on ART reached only one million in 2005, the objective to reach three million people was attained in 2007, and the numbers have continued to climb. The numbers have now surpassed 11 million in low- and middle-income countries and 13 million worldwide. (See bottom trend line in figure 1.)
The Obama Administration has requested $6.18 billion in emergency funding to fight and contain Ebola. The ask is now in the hands of Congress, but given that Ebola incidence seems to be on the decline in many (not all) districts in West Africa, some leaders are losing steam on the response.
In the big federal countries where global disease burden is concentrated, most public money for health isn’t ultimately spent by the national ministry of health, the traditional counterpart for global health funders and technical agencies.
This is a joint post with Prashant Yadav, University of Michigan
The most valuable currency in global health programs today is accurate and reliable data, but such data—abundant in rich countries—does not exist for most low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
In November the World Health Organization will select its next regional director for Africa. As we wrote in a previous blog, this position is not posted publicly and is without an independent mechanism in place to recommend, interview, and evaluate the best qualified candidates.