To our GHS Friends and Colleagues –
I hope this note finds you well. As the GHS global team prepares for the UN General Assembly in New York, I wanted to share some updates about issues we work on.
UNGA Guide – Your Guide to the World’s Most Important Meeting
GHS is once again publishing UNGA Guide, your guide to what is happening during the two weeks of the UN General Assembly. You can search listings for 300 (and counting!) official and unofficial events, browse events by issue area and check out daily UNGA Guide Top Picks. GHS will also be publishing WHA Guide for the 2019 World Health Assembly.
The Road to Universal Health Coverage
Access to basic, affordable health care for every person is one of the great global issues of our time. As World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros has said, “all roads in health lead to universal health coverage.” At GHS, we are encouraged by the new commitments countries are beginning to make to UHC.
This year’s UNGA will kick off a year-long campaign for UHC leading to the first-ever UN high-level meeting on UHC in 2019. GHS is supporting multiple parts of this global campaign:
- UHC Leaves No One Behind: UHC2030 is co-hosting this event at UNGA on 26 September.
- Global Conference on Primary Health Care: World leaders will mark the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration on primary health care, and reaffirm that primary health care is an essential step toward UHC. WHO, UNICEF and the Government of Kazakhstan will co-host the conference on 25-26 October in Astana, Kazakhstan (for updates, sign up here).
- International Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December: This is the first year that UHC Day will be a formal UN day, following its creation by The Rockefeller Foundation and GHS five years ago.
- UHC in Fragile States: GHS is working with Dr. Richard Sezibera, former minister of health of Rwanda, and a range of partners to identify strategies to expand immunization and other basic health services in conflict zones.
India, South Africa Lead on TB
With the UN high-level meeting on tuberculosis this month, GHS is helping raise attention to growing country leadership to stop the TB epidemic. Earlier this year in India, Prime Minister Modi held the first-ever national summit on TB, unveiling a comprehensive plan to end the disease in India by 2025. South Africa’s Department of Health continues to step out in front on TB, introducing new treatments for drug-resistant TB ahead of WHO, which last month revised its own TB treatment guidelines.
Making Mental Health a Global Priority
While mental health conditions make up 10% of the global burden of disease, less than 1% of global health aid goes to mental health. That is why GHS Europe is supporting a global campaign to raise awareness and funding for mental health. At UNGA on 26 September, United for Global Mental Health, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Governments of Canada, Belgium, Bahrain and the Netherlands will co-host Time to Act on Global Mental Health. In October, the UK will host the first-ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit, which will feature the launch of a Lancet Commission report on global mental health.
Eliminating Malaria in the Western Hemisphere
Efforts to eliminate malaria in the Western Hemisphere are gaining momentum. GHS Brazil is working in collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Venture, PATH and the Gates Foundation to prepare for accelerated uptake of tafenoquine, the first new drug to prevent the relapse of P. vivax malaria to be approved in 60 years. Tafenoquine and G6PD testing, which must be delivered together, will be introduced as part of a pilot feasibility study in two malaria-endemic areas of the Brazilian Amazon, providing a pathway for other endemic areas around the world.
Supporting Vulnerable Populations
GHS’s early roots are in HIV/AIDS advocacy and sexual and reproductive health and rights. We are proud to have brought these communities together for Our Bodies, Our Fight at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam in July. Later this month, South Africa’s influential Treatment Action Group is partnering with GHS to organize a march for access to safe abortion care in that country. It is estimated that 97% of unsafe abortions are in developing countries.
We are also inspired by the recent ruling by India’s Supreme Court overturning Section 377 and advancing equal rights for LGBT individuals. The ruling will have significant implications in India and around the world.
Looking for Extraordinary People
GHS is always looking for great people who want to make a difference in global health. If you know of talented individuals who want to change the world, please introduce them to us.
Among the recent additions to our global team is Dr. Zied Mhirsi who joined GHS as a Director to lead our work in the Middle East and North Africa. Zied co-founded Tunisia Live, the first Tunisian English-speaking news website.
In India, Dr. Rajeev Gera is joining our team as a Vice President. Rajeev started his career with the polio campaign in India, and also provided technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria on polio.
Key Upcoming Global Health Meetings
- Grand Challenges Annual Meeting and World Health Summit (Berlin, October)
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting (New Orleans, October)
- Healthier Longer Lives for People with Serious Mental Illness International Conference (co-sponsored by Fountain House; New York City, November)
- International Conference on Family Planning (Kigali, November)
- Partners’ Forum (co-hosted by the Government of India, Every Woman Every Child and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; New Delhi, December)
- Africa Health Agenda International Conference (sponsored by Amref; Kigali, March 2019)
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We deeply appreciate your interest in GHS and the opportunities to work together. In challenging times such as these, we are grateful to have partners such as you who are committed to changing the world for the better.
Chief Executive Officer
Global Health Strategies