CGD Policy Blogs
Here are two pictures to help you get into the holiday spirit. The World Health Organization has data on global incidence of various diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. These are numbers aggregated from country reports to the organization, which are subject to considerable error. The WHO warns that reported disease incidence data usually represent only a fraction of actual cases of the disease. Nonetheless, the data is useful to monitor trends in prevalence, and a lot of those trend
This is a joint post with Kate McQueston
November 12th is fast approaching and with it comes world pneumonia day. Unfortunately, pneumococcal diseases still pose an enormous global threat--remaining the leading cause of death for children worldwide and taking the lives of 1.4 million children under five years annually. What’s more—a staggering 98% of these children live in developing countries.
News this month that an experimental vaccine cuts in half the risk of malaria in children in Africa is a welcome success story 20+ years in the making. It’s also a rare bright spot in the clinical trials labyrinth that stands between promising new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic techniques and the one billion people in the developing world who suffer from one or more neglected diseases. Ninety other drug and vaccine candidates for neglected diseases are waiting in the pipeline for late stage clinical development. Under current arrangements, they will face lengthy, inefficient reviews in countries where the regulatory capacity ranges from weak to non-existent.
While the developed world commits itself to austerity measures and slashes aid budgets across the board, emerging economies are increasingly using foreign aid and direct investment to increase their soft power and global clout. In two articles this week, The Economist reports that India plans to set up its own aid agency. Once the world’s biggest aid recipient, India now plans to give $11.3 billion in the next five to seven years. While most of this sum is expected to be in the form of foreign direct investment, it also covers capacity building and humanitarian assistance for the poorest countries.
They argue that vaccines which are developed for rich country markets should be available at the lowest possible price in developing countries:
This blog was co-authored with Orin Levine, Executive Director, International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and it will be cross-posted on his Huffington Post blog at www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-orin-levine
In low- and middle-income countries, children living in poverty are much less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to die or become ill from a vaccine-preventable disease than better-off children. An example comes from Nigeria, where less than 5% of children in the lowest quintile of the wealth distribution were fully vaccinated in 2003, as opposed to 40% of children in the wealthiest quintile. (For more on inequalities in health, see here)
Progressive development thinkers have welcomed the announcement of new money for the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), and support the partnership between governments and the private sector. A minority of NGOs have criticized GAVI on the grounds that it is too cozy with pharmaceutical companies. But we should be encouraging more, not less, engagement by pharmaceutical companies in the health needs of developing countries. Perhaps pharmaceutical companies have done more for the world’s poor than the aid industry?
My guest on this show is Amanda Glassman, research fellow and director of CGD’s Global Health Program. I recorded this Wonkcast with her last week, just ahead of the first pledging session for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).
One result of President Obama’s visit to the UK last month was a statement on the UK-US Partnership for Global Development in which the U.S. President and Prime Minister David Cameron “reaffirm [their] commitment to changing the lives of 1.2 billion poor people in the world today." In the statement they promise to work together on a range of important development issues: economic growth, conflict and fragile states, aid (accountability, transparency, results), global health, girls and women, and climate change.