The contribution of faith-based organizations (FBOs) to health services and in reaching poor communities around the world has long been the subject of debate among public health experts and policymakers. To explore the nexus between faith and health, the CSIS Global Health Policy Center convened two recent events. The first focused on faith-based organizations and family planning in Kenya, and the second, timed for the release of the new Lancet series on faith-based health care, examined the contributions of faith organizations to global health efforts, and implications for U.S. policy.
July 24 marks a significant milestone in the global effort to eradicate polio: Nigeria, one of the countries where wild poliovirus has proven hardest to extinguish, has reported no cases of the disease for a year. While the success should be celebrated, it also should be viewed with a note of caution. The country’s polio program needs continued political attention and sufficient resources to achieve official polio-free certification, a determination made formally by the World Health Organization only after three full years with no cases.
A highlight of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was the launch of a new Global Financing Facility (GFF) to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030. This partnership will bring together countries, UN agencies, multilateral groups, private sector investors, and civil society organizations in order to close the $33 billion annual funding gap for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH).
The world is celebrating a giant milestone in the fight against HIV: 15 million people are now on lifesaving treatment using highly effective antiretroviral drugs! It’s a huge win for global health, and of course for the millions whose lives have been saved.
Over the past decade, the South African government has made progress in tackling HIV, and now provides over three million patients with access to life-saving antiretroviral therapies (ARTs).
Ensuring health information systems are standardized and well-coordinated is essential to improving health outcomes across a range of countries and realizing many of the health goals laid out by the international community. Indeed, timely and accurate data is required to build political will for domestic investments into health systems; make evidence-based decisions to respond to inequities in health; measure progress in achieving national and subnational goals; identify and prepare for potential health threats; and progressively realize universal health coverage and global health security.
The President could cement a lasting legacy by explicitly linking U.S. Africa policy to the health and empowerment of women and girls, arguably the continent’s most dynamic and underdeveloped resource and an indispensable component of any successful economic and security program.
For weeks South Korean health officials have been working to contain the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an acute respiratory illness characterized by fever, cough, shortness of breath, and, in past outbreaks, a 30-40% fatality rate. The underlying virus, MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), is relatively difficult to transmit, requiring close contact, although the precise mechanism is not well understood.
Where Yemen will rank in terms of all-time disasters will be a matter for debate. What is far less debatable, however, is whether Yemen is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian catastrophe.
Despite concerns about costs, vaccine supply, and tight deadlines, country health leaders have reaffirmed support for highly ambitious polio vaccine plans considered necessary to achieve full global polio eradication. Delegates to the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva approved a resolution last month that urges member states to prepare for a worldwide transfer in 2016 from widely used trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) to a bivalent version that withdraws the type 2 component of the vaccine.
While polio eradication efforts currently are showing hopeful successes, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) warned in its May 2015 report that sufficient funding and attention should be guaranteed to guard against backsliding. The initiative has thought it was nearing the end before, only to be afflicted with disease outbreaks that set it back, sometimes for years.
The United States and South Africa have a longstanding relationship around health. As one of the countries most deeply impacted by the AIDS epidemic, South Africa has been a major recipient of U.S. financial and technical assistance through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. HIV/AIDS remains a significant burden to the country, requiring ongoing attention and resources from the national government and its international partners.