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From fundraising conferences to declarations of ‘Pandemic is over’: Global Health Initiative Newsletter – 2

The last two weeks have been rather busy in the global health sector. Here, I try to put together some of the ‘must read’ stories on the topic and also curate a few ICYMI pieces and events for you! 

By: Megha Kaveri

It is common knowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the world’s capacity to fight against age-old diseases that are still active and alive, like tuberculosis and HIV. It is towards this cause that world leaders gathered at New York on Wednesday to pledge large sums of money. 

The Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference saw wealthy countries like the US, Canada, France and Germany pledging large sums of money towards fighting Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV for the next three years. What is, perhaps, heartwarming and inspiring is the show of global commitment and solidarity of Burkina Faso, Malawi, Côte d’Ivoire and several other African countries, who themselves are facing several humanitarian and financial challenges due to the onslaught of Covid-19, by upping their contribution to the global fight against Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV. 

The Global Fund had set a target of raising 18 billion USD of which it managed to get commitments towards 14.25 billion USD. 

Italy and the United Kingdom are yet to make their pledges towards the Fund, raising the eyebrows of global health advocates and other stakeholders. Read more about the pledges here. 

Canada’s ‘Safer supply’ program to combat opioid overdose has experts divided on the concept. Is this the right way to go about the chronic overdosing problem? Or is it merely advocating towards maintaining the status quo, albeit in a slightly different form? Will other countries be comfortable in adopting a similar approach to address their growing drug abuse problem? This STATNews piece opens it up for us. 

Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola earlier this week. This strain of the virus called the ‘Sudan strain’, is making its presence felt after nearly 10 years and the worst part is that there is no approved vaccine to combat the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Uganda’s national health authorities are investigating the source of the outbreak. Read more here in this Devex article. 

In what can look like a step into the past, poliovirus made a scary comeback a few weeks ago in countries like the UK, US and Israel. Experts have stated that this variant of the virus is not the strain that, in the past, wiped out several thousand children. This variant of virus is vaccine-derived. 

Staying true to the recent trend of paying attention to a global health issue only when it reaches the shores of wealthier countries, polio has managed to capture a lot of media attention. According to a story on Politico, vaccine-derived poliovirus is not new. It has been reported in countries like Afghanistan and Chad, in Africa. Read this wonderful story to know more about this outbreak. 

While Moderna and Pfizer are fighting their Covid-19 vaccine patent woes out, Moderna has agreed to offer some help to WHO to develop its own mRNA vaccine through its hub in Africa. Moderna, as this piece in Bloomberg says, has allowed France to share some vaccines to the WHO-led endeavour, after the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) requested it. Pfizer has, however, snubbed the request. Read more about this here

And finally, US President Joe Biden made waves recently when he declared that the pandemic was over. Is it really though? If yes, who is it over for? His team, however, says that the statement is not as simplistic as it was made out to be by the leader. Read this Politico piece to know how the US government officials are scrambling to make sense of his declaration. 

This week, I have also curated some ICYMI pieces and events on global health and related issues: 

Does performance-based financing help in improving healthcare coverage rates and health outcomes in LMICS? Read this paper to know more about this type of policy reform. (Open access)

What does obesity cost for the countries? Health economists have finally arrived at a number! Read the story here. (Health Policy-Watch)

Global health is more about collaboration and sharing than protectionism. This paper brings to light the lessons the world can learn through Nigeria’s experience dealing with Covid-19 and Lassa fever. (Open access)

How does the Global Health Governance regime fare when it comes to its goal of improving health? Read this piece to know more about this key question. (Open access)  

The European Health Forum is organising a conference (hybrid) from September 26 to September 29, 2022. The event is offered free online for registered participants. Register here

STATNews is hosting an event related to the barriers newer medicines face in manufacturing and scaling up. The event is on September 28, 2022 and is offered online for free. Register here

We hope you liked our curation of selected news pieces for you. We aim to improve our choices in the coming days. Global Health Initiative is a student initiative at Geneva Graduate Institute where students passionate about global health policy meet and network. For more information about us, check us out on Instagram @graduateinstitute_ghi

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