April 2021
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Note from Elizabeth (EJ) Ashbourne, PQMD Executive Director

During the week of April 27-29, PQMD held its first virtual PQMD Global Health Policy Forum. While meeting virtually presented some challenges, it also provided a tremendous opportunity to gather an extraordinary group of speakers and almost 300 participants to discuss critical issues affecting global health today.

On Day one, we discussed how ESG intersects with sustainable development and corporate purpose beyond profit. On the second day, we explored The New Normal, the challenges of financing global health in the midst of economic shifts, new strategies for delivering quality health services, the drive for equitable access to medicines, and the lessons we learned, or should have, from previous pandemics and epidemics. On the last day, we looked to the road ahead and what we have learned from COVID-19, implications of vaccine hesitancy, opportunities of the global focus on access to healthcare, the multisector and multidimensional requirements to build sustainable and resilient health systems, and how to turn the seemingly impossible into mission possible. We have included more in-depth summaries below.

Our virtual format also allowed for engaged and diverse breakout groups and networking to dive deeper into all the exciting topics and policy challenges that were discussed.

Thank you again, and again, to all the amazing speakers, contributors, sponsors, participants and the staff for making our first virtual GHPF engaging, thought-provoking and dynamic! If you missed it or would like to view the recordings and summaries, they are now available on PQMD’s website (link). To continue the conversation and access additional resources, I encourage you to join the CoP (link). We look forward to being all together in person, in Paris, in 2022.

On April 27-29, PQMD held its first virtual Global Health Policy Forum (GHPF) with expert panelists providing a broad spectrum of relevant content related to ESG, including the key risk and resiliency factors that impact the long-term sustainability of healthcare delivery and health system strengthening. Tailored to global and public health governance issues and topics, keynotes and panels discussed blended finance, innovation, access and equity, pandemics and global health in the new normal.

Recordings are now available on the PQMD website. There are summaries below and to continue the discussion, please join the CoP

We spent our first day on this virtual forum journey, looking closely at the ESG framework and its intersection with public demand for private sector accountability. We were challenged to consider how newly emerging relationships and partnership can give life to even farther-reaching impacts to the benefit of global health, and respond to the call for greater access, access, access.

We were each called on to consider how COVID, understanding how tragic the pandemic is today, has also been catalytic for new innovation, more inclusive business practices, new governance structures, and new possibilities to improve access to healthcare for the most under-served and marginalized.

Session recordings are now available on the PQMD website.

On day 2, we spent our time together talking about the “New Normal”. Muhammad Pate from the World Bank, told us that the amount of lost progress in international development, and the economic fallout due to COVID, cannot be underestimated in terms of loss of life, contractions of global economies, and the fragility of health systems, even those in our own backyards.

Similarly, the accelerated response in the global health and multilateral community is also unprecedented, with the standing up of global alliances like COVAX and others, World Bank operations approving billions of dollars at warp speed for both the public and private sectors, and the pulling forward of IDA replenishments that will help low and middle income countries, even while ODA levels are being reduced.

COVID certainly focused the mind of the global financial ecosystem on support to countries that are suffering from heavy interest rate burdens and those that have taken the largest hits to their GDP. However, we also heard from the CEOs of Malaria No More and the TB Alliance that the massive increase in development and blended finance funds have benefited, in some surprising ways, Malaria, TB, and other NTD and NCDs, in terms of research dollars, new therapeutics and new vaccines.

That said, the amount of lost progress in development due to COVID may be undeniable, and we truly miscalculated the fragility of our advancements and the potential consequences of a global pandemic. Yet, the crisis has put a light on some bare bone truths…we are completely interdependent, no matter how nationalistic or individualized our responses might be;

  • no one is safe unless we are all safe,
  • inequality is bad for everyone,
  • stability is only achieved through universal access and equity, and health equality is only achieved if populations in crisis have the resources they need, predictable, quality resources, to be healthy and productive.

Session recordings are now available on the PQMD website.

On day 3, we talked about what we know and charting our course for the future. We heard from an incredible group of experts and global health leaders on what we have learned from COVID, and how technology can lead to redefining success in access, equity and inclusion. We discussed the practical components of achieving a sustainable and resilient future for the most marginalized populations as well as perhaps our own communities.

Our keynote speakers, Dr. Peter Hotez and Professor Don Bundy spoke about the challenges of vaccine hesitancy in relation to controlling the pandemic, not only with respect to coverage, but also in relation to a dangerous spread of misinformation. It seems ever more important to delink good public health policies from national politics.

A multisector panel considered the potential of the vast efforts being made to make vaccines available, through COVAX, with multisectoral funding partners and the prediction of highly accelerated rates of access in the coming months.

We discussed the idea that until we identify those beyond the last mile, the world’s poorest, and consider their health needs through an equitable lens, we will not have a clear vision of the true scope of global health disparaties, nor will we be able to accurately measure our collective progress.

We considered that although vast resources have been mobilized at lightening speeds for technology and funding...bolstering systems, shoring up partnerships and securing sustainable funds for resilience is still a marathon rather than a sprint.

Our Capstone Keynote speaker Francois Bompart from DNDi assured us that access is a fragile and never-ending target, one that needs the constant attention of the global health community. Francois reminded us again, that partnerships are essential. He also gave us a framework to continue the conversation in the coming year. His comments on the way forward certainly will help to light our way to a road best traveled together.

Session recordings are now available on the PQMD website.

Register Today for
PQMD's Global Health & Development Essential Course

Next session begins June 2nd

Space is limited. Register Now! 

PQMD has condensed key elements of a Master’s in Public Health curriculum to create a comprehensive Executive Survey Course on global health, for professionals or students working in the space but lacking relevant formal education.

The course compresses much of the MPH curriculum with an emphasis on global concerns; participants gain an improved understanding of health disparities around the world and how they’re measured, health systems in low and lower-middle income countries, the global frameworks and key players providing sustained humanitarian assistance for global health development, and the dynamics and coordination of international disaster response.

Learn more on our website and watch our new Course Highlight Video!

Register Now

Join the Discussion on Our Community of Practice! 

If you haven't joined the CoP yet, this is a great time to do so! The CoP includes curated resources, news articles, events, and opportunities. You can also find videos and summaries from PQMD's GHPF.  Check out this video below for more information about the CoP and how to join! 

Watch our new CoP Intro video!

GHPF Resources Now Available on the CoP

Summaries, videos and resources from the Global Health Policy Forum: The Planet, Pandemics and Possibilities (GHPF) are now available on the Community of Practice (CoP). You will find articles relevant and mentioned during the meeting and PowerPoint slides. To view these resources, visit the CoP here.

Operation Smile's Global Essential Surgery Project

Though we remain committed to providing people with the cleft surgery they deserve, we’re also working toward a day when everyone can receive the safe, timely and effective care they need closer to their communities. 

Financially supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation and in collaboration with ministries of health, NGO partners and local stakeholders, health workers, and hospitals, our Global Essential Surgery project addresses the root causes that prevent hospitals from treating more people living with conditions that can be healed by surgery.

Learn more about the project at https://www.operationsmile.org/annual-report-2020#part8 and more in our fiscal year 2020 annual report. 

Photo caption: General surgeons Drs. José Silva and Tyrone Valle perform surgery at Hospital Carlos Centeno in Siuna, Nicaragua. Operation Smile photo: Jörgen Hildebrandt.

Abbott Helps India Fight Covid-19

To help address urgent needs in India, Abbott and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, are providing new grants to support relief efforts. This adds to the funding and products donated to support COVID-19 relief efforts in 2020. Working with longstanding non-profit partner organizations CARE, Americares India, and the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), this aid aims to help address key needs, including strengthening existing health services, establishing new temporary health facilities, and conducting community outreach.

To help support health systems and health workers, we are working together with CARE in Bihar and Americares India in Maharashtra to:

Activate temporary COVID-19 facilities with medical staff, beds, testing labs and life-saving equipment such as oxygen and ventilators

Provide life-saving equipment, personal protective equipment and supplies to hospitals, healthcare workers, first responders and community members

Provide coronavirus health education to community members through a mobile health center program

Support the roll out of vaccines

Read the full article on Abbott's website here 

Does your organization have news to share?
 Beth Haynes for placement in future newsletters.
Next Month's Theme: Health Systems Strengthening

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