{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

At this week’s White House pandemic summit and beyond, all eyes are on the United States

This article was originally published by Think Global Health

by Neil M. Vora, Pasha Majdi, and Ashley Arabasadi

For too long, we have ignored how our actions—from deforestation to wildlife trade—drive infectious disease outbreaks. We also have not invested in controlling them. Global health security initiatives have been underfunded, even in the midst of epidemics, such as Zika virus in the Americas in 2016. COVID-19 is an opportunity to break free of this inertia, but the movement needs a leader—the United States must fund and coordinate pandemic prevention and preparedness.

{Photo credit: MSH staff, Democratic Republic of the Congo}Photo credit: MSH staff, Democratic Republic of the Congo

This blog was originally published on the MTaPS website

Written by Comfort Ogar, Andualem Oumer, and Jane Briggs

Many accounts of the history of pharmacovigilance take their root in the thalidomide disaster of the 1960s that led to thousands of babies born with phocolemia, a condition that adversely affects limbs. The babies’ mothers had used thalidomide to treat nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. Thanks to the vigilance of health care workers at the time, medical safety surveillance systems were birthed—60 years later, pharmacovigilance (detecting, assessing, understanding, and preventing adverse effects of medicines and other medicine-related problems) remains critical to ensuring the safety of medicines, including for mothers and newborns. 

{PMI-S Nigeria project staff work to ensure data validation and triangulation for health facilities in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. Photo credit: Kufre-Abasi C Ekanem/MSH}PMI-S Nigeria project staff work to ensure data validation and triangulation for health facilities in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. Photo credit: Kufre-Abasi C Ekanem/MSH

This article was originally published by Daily Trust

by Dr. Abba Zakari Umar

Nigeria is home to the world’s largest malaria burden: 27 percent of all malaria cases happen here, according to the 2020 World Malaria Report, as do 23 percent of the global malaria deaths.

A lot of work is underway to get the mosquito-borne parasite under control. The United States President’s Malaria Initiative has invested some $635 million in Nigeria since 2011. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has also committed significant resources, and so have many others. The Federal Government of Nigeria is doing its part: in 2019 it invested $261,799,700 towards malaria elimination efforts. Despite all these, more still need to be done.

Antibiotics are commonly used in animals to boost their growth and keep them from picking up infections.

Their consensus was inevitable. As the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) discussed a solution in May to contain the grave and growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one mandate emerged: any action must take a multisectoral One Health approach to human, animal, and environmental health. 

Antibiotics are commonly used in animals – often without the input of veterinarians – to boost their growth and keep them from picking up infections. Estimates indicate that more than 70% of the antimicrobials sold globally are used in animals, and in some countries up to 80%, mostly for growth promotion. This indiscriminate antimicrobial use fuels resistance. 

A health worker in Madagascar prepares to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

by Wade Warren and Marian W. Wentworth

This post originally appeared on the Next Billion website. 

As the world takes action to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), we are reminded of the effectiveness of vaccination for many routine childhood diseases. According to the World Health Organization, routine vaccination prevents 4 to 5 million deaths each year, a testament to the success of vaccine programs and the commitment of stakeholders, including GAVIUSAID and country governments.

Ugandan dairy farmer Tonny Kidega takes a keen interest in preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in his country. Photo credit: Tony Kidega.

This article was originally published by Health Policy Watch 

Dairy farmer Tonny Kidega is passionate about his cattle and his country’s health systems – and has been championing the importance of limiting the use of antibiotics to curb the development of drug-resistant “superbugs” and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Based in the Gulu district in northern Uganda, Kidega is a veterinarian and the Managing Director of the Gulu Uganda Country Dairy Limited.

He is also a firm supporter of Uganda’s new national action plan to eliminate the use of unnecessary antibiotics in livestock farming, which is the main driver of drug resistance – which could mean that common antibiotic medicines will no longer work on humans or animals.

“If I am reckless and I do not follow the procedures within my milk production value chain, and it gets antimicrobial residues, AMR will continue in the system,” said Kidega.

{Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

This blog was originally published on the MTaPS website 

by Dr. Lynn Lieberman Lawry, Senior Gender Advisor for the USAID Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program

Monitoring patients who are taking a new medicine, including vaccines, is critical for patient safety. This type of monitoring, also known as pharmacovigilance (PV), helps detect, assess, understand, and prevent adverse effects of a medicine-related problem. PV is critical for determining the true safety and efficacy of a product, including identification of good and bad effects. USAID MTaPS supports low- and middle-income countries in building or strengthening PV systems and developing capacity to generate, analyze, and use safety data to improve health outcomes and the quality of care.

As COVID-19 began to spread around the globe in March 2020, drug supplies — ironically — shrank, because of the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains. 

Chinese factories, which produce about 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that Indian drug manufacturers use, were shuttered during China’s severe lockdown early last year. Much of the world relies on India’s exports of 26 key generic drugs and drug ingredients, but without raw ingredients, India was forced to restrict its pharmaceutical exports, which account for one fifth (in volume) of the world’s exports of generics

{Photo Credit: Fabrice Duhal}Photo Credit: Fabrice Duhal

La résistance aux antimicrobiens (RAM) est une menace importante pour la Côte d’Ivoire et qui nécessite des mesures rapides pour la contenir. Pour ne citer qu’un exemple, la résistance moyenne à l’amoxicilline est passée de 73,7% en 2012 à 87,3% en 2017 , ce qui montre que la résistance à cet antibiotique fréquemment utilisé est importante et en augmentation dans le pays. Cependant, depuis plusieurs années et à la suite de l’évaluation externe conjointe de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS) en 2016, la Côte d’Ivoire a pris des mesures fortes afin de lutter contre la RAM. Dans cet entretien, Professeur Mireille Dosso, Présidente du Groupe de Coordination Multisectorielle pour la Résistance aux Antimicrobiens et Directrice de l’Institut Pasteur de Côte d’Ivoire parle des efforts effectués par la Côte d’Ivoire ainsi que les défis et les priorités pour contenir la RAM.

{Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

Read this story on USAID's Exposure page. 


Tsiraiky Abotono has never taken a vacation. 

Day after day, for 15 years, he has kept watch over his village, Andravindahy, in southwest Madagascar. Abotono, 56, is one of the thousands of community health volunteers who provide basic health care services to the country’s rural areas.

His absence would be missed. To reach a health center, people would have to walk for two hours across cactus fields under a burning sun. 

“It can be a challenge when I’m busy with personal duties and have to leave the village. The population relies on me entirely for health matters,” Abotono says.