Posts

Diseases in Guinea
Although experts thought Ebola had been eliminated in Guinea, there have been fears of the disease coming back after a few cases were documented in the past two years. People are still skeptical after the largest Ebola outbreak in March 2014 even though experts have claimed that the outbreak ended at the end of 2015. However, with the country still lacking in health resources, diseases in Guinea, which could otherwise be preventable and treatable in another developed nation, are rapidly distributed. Here are the top three diseases in Guinea.

  1. Malaria: According to the Center for Diseases Control, 10% of deaths in Guinea are caused by malaria. In 2015, tens of thousands of malaria cases went untreated. Because of the ebola outbreak, people avoided health clinics for fear of being sent to an isolated Ebola treatment center. People might have died from malaria more than Ebola, and the entire population is at risk for malaria. To try to control this disease, the President’s Malaria Initiative distributes insecticide-treated nets (ITNS) and supports malaria diagnostics, as well as treatments at health facilities.
  2. HIV/AIDS: AIDS plagues so many parts of Africa, and Guinea is no exception. Four percent of deaths are caused by HIV or AIDS, and almost 7,000 children are living with HIV. AIDS has been considered a death sentence since only 27% are receiving antiretroviral medication. Hopefully, treatment will come to more people. The countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia and Tanzania have been receiving antiretroviral treatment programs from the Global Fund since 2010.
  3. Lower Respiratory Infections: Currently, lower respiratory tract infections are the leading cause of death among children under the age of five. Forty-two percent of these deaths occur in Africa, and the infections can cause pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis.

Guinea has one of the poorest populations in West Africa. Little of its people have access to good healthcare. Diseases in Guinea can be curable and treatable if organizations continue to provide healthcare to treat these diseases.

Emma Majewski

Photo: Flickr

Annie Lennox _ The Globa
Activist and world-renowned musician, Annie Lennox, has become a powerful and influential voice for those suffering from malaria, HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis. Her dedication to the cause became even clearer at a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting in London where she spoke out in favor of the Global Fund and their efforts to reduce and treat disease in impoverished areas.

This is but one of the many ways in which Annie Lennox involves herself in issues of global poverty and disease. In the past, she has fundraised for the Treatment Action Campaign by donating the funds raised from her single, Sing. She is also a recipient of the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award.

At the APPG meeting, she continued her charity work, by vocally supporting the Global Fund and their many initiatives. The Global Fund is a financing institution with the goal of providing support to countries suffering from diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The organization has set a $13 billion funding target for the 2017-2019 period. This money will go toward saving eight million people and stopping 300 million new infections across the span of three years. In order to reach this goal, donor nations will have to increase their offerings by 20%. Multiple nations such as Japan and Canada have agreed to this increase. However, the U.K.’s contribution is crucial to reaching this goal.

In her keynote speech, Annie Lennox urged British members of parliament to invest further in the Global Fund and increase their disease-fighting efforts. She said: “With the upcoming replenishment of the Global Fund, the U.K. government has the opportunity to show that their continued leadership and dedication to saving and improving quality of life has not waned.”

Award-winning actress Emma Thompson supported the call for the U.K. to step up their funding. Other notable speakers, such as The ONE Campaign’s U.K. Director, Saira O’Mallie, spoke on the same subject. O’Mallie addressed the pertinent issue through her statement, “Amid the uncertainty over the U.K.’s position in the world following Brexit, the Government’s continued commitment to the Global Fund will offer reassurance to millions of vulnerable people.”

The Global Fund does wonders to improve health across the globe, and should be supported across all countries in addition to the U.K.

Jordan Little

Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in Angola
On Aug. 5, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund announced a $30 million grant to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Angola, as well as improve coverage of therapy and treatment.

In 2014, there were 300,000 people in Angola living with HIV and 26 percent of adults received antiretroviral treatment coverage. The grant for HIV/AIDS seeks to solve challenges like the elimination of mother-to-child transmission, adherence to antiretroviral treatment and prevention for young people.

The grant for HIV/AIDS in Angola will also increase coverage in several areas like antiretroviral therapy, testing and counseling and the promise of long-term treatment. Antiretroviral therapy recently proved itself to be an effective way to suppress the HIV Virus and prevent the disease from progression and transmission to more people.

This course of treatment is particularly effective at reducing death and infections when performed in a regimen.

The grant also seeks to include key populations into its strategy for HIV/AIDS in Angola. The grant has a strong focus on sex and reproductive health education and rights including HIV for adolescents, youth and girls. According to the WHO, the strategy is to increase the amount of “HIV-positive pregnant women on antiretroviral therapy.”

The national strategic plan for key populations in Angola also includes “sex workers and men who have sex with men.” The grant includes funds for a legal environment assessment and will propose steps for strengthening the human rights environment to create a more effective HIV response. According to the UNDP, training is provided for “health workers, prison workers and police to reduce stigma and discrimination” towards these key populations.

The grant for HIV/AIDS in Angola will run from July 2016 to June 2018 with a focus on preventing future spread of the disease within the country and lowering the numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Taameen Mohammad

Photo: UNDP

Bill Gates Donate World Economic Forum

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave (RED), an organization that fights AIDS, the best 10th-anniversary gift ever: a $50 million match for all Global Fund donations in 2016.

The foundation announced its pledge at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Switzerland according to Look to the Stars.

(RED) and the Fight Against Aids

“Over the past decade, (RED) has enrolled millions of people and dozens of brands in the global fight against AIDS,” said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in a statement at the 2016 World Economic Forum.

“Today’s match will provide the Global Fund with up to $100 million to help save 60,000 lives, prevent 2.3 million new infections and generate more than $2 billion in economic gains for developing countries,” he said. “That’s an amazing return on investment.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the (RED) campaign has actively supported the Global Fund over the years.

Since its inception in 2006, (RED) has raised $350 million thanks to partners, events and products sold according to the organization’s website.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to all the companies, the creative collaborators and the activists who step-up to fight AIDS with (RED),” said (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan in a statement in January 2016.

A portion of the profits from (RED) branded products, like Beats by Dr. Dre Solo 2 headphones, Apple iPods and GAP clothing, benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Gates and the Global Fund

The Global Fund was established in 2002 to end AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as epidemics through government, civil society and private sector partnerships according to its website.

To date, the Gates Foundation has contributed a total of $1.4 billion to the Global Fund, which includes the issuance of the long term promissory note of $750 million according to the Global Fund’s website.

“The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money in every year,” said Bill Gates at the 2012 World Economic Forum. “By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world. I can’t think of more important work.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the (RED) campaign even partnered together through Snapchat in honor of World AIDS Day 2015.

Every time a user sent a Snapchat message using a (RED) filter, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to donate $3 to the organization’s fight against AIDS according to Re/code.

Summer Jackson

Photo: CNN

Ghana
The president of Ghana announced at a ceremony earlier this month that the West African nation’s government has signed new grants with Global Fund, an international financing organization that invests around $4 billion a year to support programs fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB).

The seven new grants, totaling $248 million, come from many supporters, including the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the U.K. Department for International Effort, the European Union, Denmark, Korea, UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO, among others.

The primary objective of the grants is to increase how many people receive protection and treatment for HIV, malaria and TB. Specifically, the key targets address certain aspects of prevention and treatment and aim to complete the goals by 2017.

Among the goals of the grants are for 140,448 people to be assured antiretroviral treatment to control HIV, as well as increase coverage for an additional 32,246 pregnant women.

The funds will also aim to expand services to protect key affected populations from HIV, including 65 percent of female sex workers, 88 percent of homosexual men, and 80 percent of inmates, in addition to providing annual testing services for 20 percent of the general population.

In terms of malaria, the funds will be used to secure treatment for 80 percent of children under five, as well as have mosquito nets in 70 percent of households.

For TB, the goal is to double case notification rates to 103 per 100,000 and make sure 100 percent of drug-resistant patients on second-line treatment are covered for treatment, up from 42 percent in 2013.

Additionally, Ghanaian officials want to use the funds to better integrate treatment for HIV and TB in community health clinics.

The government of Ghana also plans to use domestic funds to cover the expenses for antiretroviral drugs for 22,000 current patients and 11,000 new patients.

The nation was the first to sign a grant with Global Fund, doing so in 2002, seeing advances in overall health as a result.

Since 2010, there has been a 43 percent decrease in new HIV infections, and between 2009 and 2014, there was a 51 percent drop in new infections in children. The percentage of coverage dealing with preventing mother-to-child transmission is now at 81 percent, up from 32 percent.

Successes have also been seen in preventing and treating malaria and TB, as government officials and other organizations have distributed a combined 19 million mosquito nets, as well as detected and treated 76,000 new TB cases and having 88,000 people currently in antiretroviral therapy.

Matt Wotus

Sources: AllAfrica, The Global Fund
Photo: Pixabay

foreign_aid
The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the top international agency for global health data collection and analysis, has provided a new report which scores the impact of foreign aid investments made over the past fifteen years.

The study, recently published in the Lancet Medical Journal, determined that between 2000 and 2014, low and middle-income nations invested $133 billion US into child health initiatives. These investments are estimated to have saved the lives of 20 million infants and children.

An additional $73.6 billion US of foreign aid investments provided by donors, both governmental and privatized, accounted for the saving of an additional 14 million infant and child lives, the IHME estimates.

In total, an estimated 34 million children’s lives have been saved in the past 15 years. The report estimates that US foreign aid investments saved the largest number of children under-five, with 3.3 million lives saved. The UK was also noted as a significant factor in this progress and is estimated to have saved 1.7 million lives through their own development funding. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation proved to be the largest privatized donor, having saved an estimated 1.5 million lives.

Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and Malaria, collaborated with the IHME to produce this report and hopes to use this form of analysis in the future to track the success of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Chambers said in an interview about the new score, “We know that despite the efforts of governments and donors to improve health in low-income and middle-income countries, too many children die before the age of five. Without a way to monitor and publicly share progress regularly, we will miss the opportunity to build on the momentum we have seen since the millennium declaration.”

The IHME estimates that within the most impoverished nations, the cost to save a child’s life is about $4,000 US. The organization stated in its report that within countries such as Tanzania and Haiti, the costs are $4,205. They estimate within nations such as Botswana and Thailand, where economies are more developed, that the costs to save a child’s life are above $10,000 US due to high health care costs.

The Director of the IHME, Dr. Christopher Murray, said in a recent interview, “You can spend $4,000 on many different things, but there are very few places where the money would deliver the kind of impact you get by investing it in child health.” He continued in reasoning, “If you invest in the poorest countries, you will see the biggest impact in child health because the costs of things like nutrition programmes, vaccines and primary care are lower.”

The report analyzed both governmental and privatized donors and included internationally renowned agencies such the Global Fund, World Bank, UNICEF, USAid and Gavi. The study concluded that the efforts and financial support of Gavi, a global non-profit organization focused on vaccination, has saved over 2.2 million lives.

Looking towards future development initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Murray said, “We have seen such incredible success in saving children’s lives over the past 15 years. We need to take what we have learned from that experience and push for more progress and more accountability as we enter the era of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.”

The Sustainable Development Goals were developed at the UN Rio+20 Conference in 2012 and are designed to build upon the progress of the Millennium Development Goals in the coming years.

James Thornton

Sources: The Guardian, News-Medical
Photo: The Guardian

Myanmar HIV AIDS prevention Global Fund
Along both the rural countryside and urban zones of Myanmar, HIV/AIDS ravages many people who are unable to access proper treatment. Fortunately, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria will disburse a US$160 million funding package to Myanmar to specifically combat HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund, an organization working towards the eradication of the three major pandemics of our generation-AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria-will be distributing US$160 million over the course of 2013-2016, according to the Myanmar’s Ministry of Health.

Previously one of the most isolated and oppressive states in the world, Myanmar now has begun reform efforts and started to open up to Western influences. When it was uncooperative with the international community, it received limited funds and relied heavily on organizations like Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to carry out health care treatment and other assumed government functions.

Despite continuing to rely on MSF, Myanmar has been receiving incremental increases in funds, most notably from 2009 onward. A correlation between recent reform efforts and funding as total disbursements can be seen in the jump from over US$10 million in 2009 to more than $47 million in 2010. This increase has risen steadily up to nearly $161 million in the following three years, growing over 16 times its budget from just four years prior. The sudden jump in funding for Myanmar’s HIV victims comes from the Global Fund’s pull-out in 2005 after government restrictions and its resumption in 2010 following an easement on restrictions.

This influx of HIV/AIDS funding in Myanmar is more than welcome as only 43 percent of the population that needs treatment received it in 2012. To truly understand how low this is, Myanmar’s regional neighbor, Cambodia, has properly provided antiretroviral therapy (ART) for over 94 percent of its citizens eligible for the treatment. The most effective response, ART, is provided by MSF and other healthcare organizations and consists of a minimum of three antiretroviral medications that will suppress and stop the spread and progression of the HIV virus.

While some claim this funding will help Myanmar treat all of its citizens affected by the virus, the head of MSF’s mission in Myanmar, Peter Paul de Groote views it through a more realistic lens. According to de Groote, despite Global Fund’s money improving financial capabilities, “the overall availability and capacity for enrollment needs to improve – by looking into better treatment models and implementing increased, decentralized care and treatment.”

– Michael Carney

Sources: Al Jazeera, The Global Fund, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
Photo: Cody Romano

wh4
March 24th will be World TB Day, a day to raise awareness of tuberculosis and the numerous TB deaths each year. As the day of awareness approaches, the World Health Organization, along with The Global Fund, have sent out a plea for more funding into medicine research and distribution.

The WHO claims that $1.3 billion is the annual funding required to effectively combat the disease. In 2011 only $0.5 billion was made available for TB research to find a cure. As TB has historically changed to become vaccine-resistant, it is critical that funding continues to come in and grows in volume. Dr. Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organization (WHO), is worried by the shortcoming in research funding at a time when the number of medicine-resistant examples of the disease are increasing.

Along with working to increase funding to TB research, the WHO and The Global Fund are trying to make existing TB medications more easily available in the developing countries that are most often effected by the disease. They continue to work with big pharmacy companies like AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Otsuka to lower the cost of medications for people who currently can’t afford them. They are also allying with Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, to help address the many issues that surround the efficient distribution of such medicine. Learn more about the efforts of MSF.

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: PM Live
Photo: Top News

Senator Bill Frist Calls For Global InvestmentBill Frist, a former Republican senator and majority leader from Tennessee, recently called on America and Congress to “continue our legacy of saving lives.” Less than 1 percent of the US federal budget goes to improving global health, an investment that results in changing the lives of hundreds of thousands every year. “It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment,” said Frist.

In a lengthy article, he recaps the history and precedent that has made America a global leader in developing, supporting and administering life-saving medicines and healthcare practices. Under President George W. Bush, congress made a founding pledge of $300 million to the international initiative – Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Bush, with bipartisan support from Congress, also established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest program ever to combat a single disease. President Barack Obama has likewise embraced this program and America’s role in eradicating AIDS/HIV.

2013 is the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR, and since its founding the number of people on life-saving treatment has increased more than twenty-fold. HIV infection rates are down, the number of malaria cases is down by more than 50%, and tuberculosis mortality rates are consistently falling. Working in more than 150 countries, the Global Fund is saving an estimated hundred thousand lives each month.

Frist goes on to say what a critical time we are in right now. He emphasizes the importance of continuing on the path of involvement and aid in order to make sure our gains are not lost. The momentum must not be jeopardized or diseases may spread in new ways, mutate and reclaim the lives of people whom medicines have previously made healthy. Frist stated that investment in global health is “good for national security, economically prudent and – most importantly, is the right thing to do.”

– Mary Purcell
Source: Roll Call
Photo: Fastdarfur.org