Global Health

Toying with the pandemic, UNGA takeaways and the Nobel: Global Health Initiative newsletter – 3

By Megha Kaveri

This week, we are opening with the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo was announced winner of the coveted prize for his work in ancient DNA research. Known for his work on sequencing a complete genome of a neanderthal, Dr Pääbo’s research offers insights into the genetic composition of the modern human. Read the story here

The 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) just concluded in New York. In the first in-person gathering of high-level diplomats in a few years due to the pandemic, several key issues were discussed. What’s in it for global health? Here are five important takeaways for global health from UNGA2022. 

Next up is a story of how a trust fund, expected to fight the global fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs), is awaiting funding.  

NCDs – Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, diabetes and cancer – are the top causes for death and disability in the world. The annual death toll due to these diseases stands at 41 million people, which is around 74% of all deaths globally.  

It is to tackle this monster of a global health issue that the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and UNDP together established the Health4Life Fund in May 2021. The fund intends to raise $250million in five years and 25 countries have expressed their interest in accessing these funds to fight NCDs in their respective countries, according to this Devex story.  

Covid-19 might be over for some, however, the virus seems to be gearing up to cause another wave starting this autumn. According to this article, the newest wave is expected to “swell in late October, and peak in late December or January (sic).” A French health department official, on October 3, said that the country is facing its eighth wave of Covid-19 and it is gaining intensity, which only strengthens the argument for repeated waves of the virus. 

Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has entered into a voluntary licensing agreement with Shionogi, a Japanese pharma company, to enable generic manufacturing companies to produce its Covid-19 anti-viral drug. The pill is still in its clinical trial stage. This agreement will enable MPP to sign manufacturing agreements with generic companies in 117 low and middle-income countries. Read more here.   

And finally, at the recently concluded WTO Public Forum, advocates argued for the global trade body to set up a new framework for distribution of ‘public goods’ – investments, know-how etc – to protect the world from the devastating effects of future pandemics. “The idea, says James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), is to create a new framework for recognizing ‘public goods’ within the WTO trade rules, whereby governments can make voluntary, but binding, offers to supply such goods to other WTO trading partners – including, but not limited to public health products, investments and know-how.” Read the story here

Here’s a list of events, podcasts and papers to check out in the discipline of global health:  


The Long-term View: How to sustain local vaccine production for pandemics? Oct 10, 12.30pm to 1.45pm (CEST). Geneva Graduate Institute. Register here.

The Future of TRIPS agreement: Open webinar – Oct 11, 10am to 11.30am (CEST), South Centre. Register here

TB Diagnostics: Where do we go from here? Oct 11, 2pm (CEST). UNITAID. Register here.  


How to ensure that refugees and migrants have access to healthcare? Listen to this episode of ‘Global Health Matters’ on YouTube and Spotify

Climate and health are intertwined such that climate-based disasters almost always cause public health concern in the region. The floods that ravaged Pakistan brought with it a set of water-borne diseases which experts now are struggling to tackle in the area. Listen to this  episode of ‘BBC Health Check’ here.

In this episode of ‘Pandemic planet’, IAVI’s President and CEO Mark Feinberg speaks about the need for innovation and novel partnerships to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 


Inequalities in COVID-19 mortality: defining a global research agenda (Open access)

The feudal structure of global health and its implications for decolonisation (Open access)

The impact of cash transfers on mental health in children and young people in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Open access)

Call for papers: BMJ Global Health is inviting submissions for articles – original research, analysis and practice articles – on health taxes. Read the call 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 

Photo by Jose Castillo on Unsplash (URL:

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