Originally published in Think Global HealthThe colossal undertaking that is the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is facing another gargantuan challenge: monitoring their safety over time.The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials. Yet as with the rollout of any new medicine or treatment, it takes time to see the bigger picture. Clinical trials, including those for the COVID-19 vaccines, follow thousands of volunteers from a limited population for several months.
This story was originally published by STAT.The bubonic plague — also known as the Black Death — killed as many as 200 million people in the mid-14th century, about one-third of the population of Europe. It was the deadliest epidemic in history, yet it gave birth to public health initiatives that survive today, including quarantines and checkpoints to stop the spread of disease.In the wake of World War II, a wave of international collaboration created the World Health Organization.
OPINION: The pandemic may be interfering with our fight against drug-resistant bacteria. Luckily, the same tactics can beat back both scourges. As health-care systems around the world fight to contain Covid-19, they may be inadvertently opening the door wider to another killer that is just as dangerous.I’m talking about the spread of pathogens that are resistant to treatment, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The death toll from Covid is staggering, but so is that from antibiotic resistance: Nasty superbugs such as Clostridium difficile, or C.
Madagascar reported its first cases of COVID-19 in March 2020. It was not long before the outbreak spread throughout multiple regions, including some of the country’s most remote communities. The Government of Madagascar quickly mobilized response activities to minimize the outbreak’s spread and impact on the population, including coordinating activities with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) ACCESS program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), and other partners and stakeholders.
Originally published in The Hill By Marian W. Wentworth and Wade Warren On Dec. 14, the United States crossed a grisly milestone of 300,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic. That same week, we saw the first glimmer of light in this long, dark tunnel of a year as frontline health care workers began to receive an effective vaccine. Public health experts say we will be in a much better place come late summer of 2021.
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for long-term investments in regulatory systems to secure faster access to medical products. During a recent Livestream hosted by MSH and Deloitte, Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), emphasized the role regulatory agencies play in ensuring pharmaceutical system impact now and beyond the pandemic. One such breakthrough─local manufacturing─requires agencies shore up regulatory capacities and address challenges now. Prof. Adeyeye discusses how her agency supports the local manufacturing of medicines and prepares for the roll-out of vaccines against COVID-19.
COVID-19 will impact the prevention and treatment of many diseases, and there are particularly grim possibilities for tuberculosis (TB), which could set back our progress toward its elimination. Fortunately, our emphasis on strengthening local health systems is helping to build resilience against this kind of shock. We reached out to MSH technical experts leading three new global and national TB programs to learn what’s on their minds as their teams begin implementation under a COVID-19 reality. They all agree: COVID-19 reminds us why we cannot become complacent, and when it comes to the global fight to eliminate TB, it is no longer business as usual. Read what Ersin Topcuoglu, Daniel Gemechu, and Ehsanullah Darwish had to say about how we can fundamentally improve the way countries fight TB.
Health workers not only need water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to prevent the spread of COVID-19 right now but also to provide safe essential health services every day. But 25% of health facilities around the world lack basic water services. One in six facilities doesn’t have hand hygiene services, such as soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, available at points of care. And health workers in facilities in sub-Saharan Africa face even greater WASH challenges.Two frontline health workers—Margaret Odera and Dr. Ann Phoya—recently called for improved WASH services during an event alongside the 75th United Nations General Assembly. Read on to find out what it’s like to be a health worker on the frontlines without WASH and the steps they are taking to access and improve WASH in Kenya and Malawi.
Originally published in Think Global HealthAs COVID-19 spreads across the world, falsified medicines for the novel coronavirus are leaking into Africa, where almost 19 percent of medicines are already substandard and where a number of countries are promoting untested treatments for the virus.
Until recently, “PPE” was an obscure acronym for many people, but now it has become a vital global commodity. Today, with the realities of COVID-19, health workers around the world are experiencing a troubling shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)—a mix of items including gloves, mask, aprons, and goggles that can help prevent disease transmission in health care settings. This shortage puts health workers in harm's way while trying to respond to the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic.
Swift and effective action to address the COVID-19 pandemic has required countries to engage in an all hands on deck approach. We recently asked our colleagues on the frontlines in Malawi and Kenya, Dr. Ann Phoya and Dr. Ndinda Kusu, to share how their teams are working with all sectors of society to scale up preparedness and response measures, strengthen capacities and systems to meet the challenge of COVID-19, and help maintain uninterrupted essential health services.
Nwando Mba is the Director of Public Health Laboratory Services at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a sub-recipient to the Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH) project, funded by the Global Fund and managed by MSH. A medical laboratory scientist by profession, Mba started her career over 30 years ago in Nigeria’s Vaccine Production Laboratory at Yaba, Lagos. Mba discusses Nigeria’s efforts to increase the country’s testing capacity for coronavirus.
A conversation with Dr. Bernard Nahlen, Director of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame and member of the MSH Board of Directors Dr. Bernard NahlenSome countries are entering peak malaria transmission season over the next few months, overlapping with the COVID-19 pandemic. How might the crisis affect ongoing malaria eradication efforts? One issue is case management. As a reminder, there were more deaths due to malaria than to Ebola in West Africa in 2014, because people were reluctant to go to clinics for treatment for fevers and aches.
Raian Amzad, a technical advisor with the DFID-funded Better Health in Bangladesh (BHB) project, and her colleagues took time away from their regular work to help Bangladesh’s central response to COVID-19. Here’s how the project and the country are handling the pandemic threat. Can you tell me about your recent work assignment related to COVID-19? What did your typical day look like?On March 17, the Directorate General of Health Services opened a temporary Integrated Control Room for COVID-19 response. Fifteen different groups are working there.
This blog was originally published by MSH's LeaderNetMarch 2020 is unique in that it is both Women’s History Month and the month when WHO declared the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic. Lessons learned from previous disease outbreaks of other coronaviruses (MERS and SARS), Ebola, and Zika, have highlighted the lack of gender considerations in epidemic preparedness and responses, and its consequences.
Originally published by Scientific American“Rise of the superbugs.” “Global crisis.” “Nightmare bacteria.” “Deadly fungus.”The media has caught on to the dire threat that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) presents, and it has certainly captured the urgency of the situation.Global health professionals know this crisis has been years in the making and have been acting accordingly.
This op-ed was originally published in The Hill.
Along with the Ebola outbreak that’s already infected more than 1,600 people, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is fighting another battle: An epidemic of fear and mistrust. Community members are afraid to seek treatment, including a promising experimental vaccine.
This op-ed was originally published by Devex.
Multidrug-resistant germs are spreading. A number of antibiotics and other antimicrobials already don’t work as they should, and as many as 700,000 people die each year because of it.
MSH at the 2018 Health Systems Research Symposium
Last week, at the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Liverpool, MSH presented on the approach and lessons learned during the community-level response to the 2017 plague outbreak in Madagascar.
This story was originally published by STAT News.
As the Democratic Republic of Congo works to contain the latest outbreak of Ebola, in what could be a test of the world’s ability to contain the disease since the calamitous outbreak in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, it’s a good time to think about the global infectious disease pandemic that happened in May.
This story was originally published by The Hill.
During the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, scientists, policymakers, healthcare workers, advocates, and civil society shed light on the relationship between HIV and other urgent health crises, such as Tuberculosis (TB).
A less known, but critically important fact: TB is one of the leading causes of death among people with HIV/AIDS worldwide. To effectively address HIV, budget and policy responses must reflect the challenge of HIV-TB co-infection.
This story was originally published by The Hill.
No sooner had one outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) been declared over than another broke out. The latest outbreak is particularly threatening as it is in North Kivu province, an area beset with violence between rival militia groups. On top of struggling with violent conflict that has lasted, in some areas, for more than 20 years, the DRC is one of the world’s poorest countries and lacks a well-developed infrastructure.
This story was originally published on Global Health NOW’s website.
It’s a public health nightmare: 250,000 doses of substandard vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus administered to children through a government health program. While China has had scandals over tainted food or drugs before, this recent debacle threatens to destroy already shaky public confidence in the country’s growing pharmaceutical industry.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when a microorganism becomes resistant to a drug that was originally effective for treating the infections it caused. It is one of the world’s most pressing global health threats and could erode progress made thus far in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and many other infectious diseases.
Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) role in combatting AMR was recently featured in the peer-reviewed journal, Global Public Health.
As the globe marks World Water Day on March 22, the Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s Health (ONSE) Activity has been supporting the Government of Malawi in responding to a months-long cholera epidemic.ONSE, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), works in Malawi to reduce maternal, newborn, and child morbidity and mortality by focusing on health system strengthening; family planning and reproductive health; maternal, newborn, and child health; malaria; and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).The
This story was originally published by STAT News.
Ashley Arabasadi, Global Health Security Policy Adviser for Management Sciences for Health, describes the negative consequences of scaling back investments in CDC and USAID global health programs in this op-ed for STAT First Opinion.
This excerpt was originally published on Global Health Now's website.
In his newly released book, The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It, Jonathan D. Quick, MD analyzes local and global efforts to contain diseases like influenza, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Quick proposes a new set of actions, coined “The Power of Seven,” to end epidemics before they can begin.
The Ebola epidemic was raging in West Africa. Management Sciences for Health’s staff in Liberia relayed that “treatment facilities are overrun with cases” and “whole parts of the health system are at a standstill.” Things got much worse before the epidemic was finally defeated. Over 11,000 people died horribly from the disease, leaving more than 16,000 children orphaned.
On November 13, approximately 100 global health security and development experts, public health practitioners, private sector representatives, academics, researchers, NGO staff members, scientists and students gathered at Harvard Medical School for the Ready Together Conference on Epidemic Preparedness. The day-long event was co-hosted by No More Epidemics, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Harvard Global Health Institute, and Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security with support from the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation.
Irrational medicine use and poor pharmaceutical management are widespread problems throughout all levels of Sierra Leone’s health system. Misuse, underuse, and overuse of medicines are particularly worrying because they contribute to the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and threaten the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
In 2014, an Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea and quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone threatened health systems across West Africa. During the crisis, the Côte d’Ivoire National Institute of Public Health (INSP) mobilized a One Health cross-sectoral collaboration in the country’s western regions bordering the Ebola-affected countries and established committees to address the epidemic.
At the 4th Global Health Security High-Level Ministerial Meeting held in Uganda on October 25-27, “Health Security for All: Engaging Communities, Non-governmental Organizations, and the Private Sector,” more than 600 participants including ministers from 41 countries recommitted to and eagerly embraced the agreements made under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.
This article was first published on the Brookings Institute Future Development Blog, found here.
When epidemics or pandemics hit, they usually hit the poor first and worst. We have known this for a while. The German pathologist Rudolf Virchow described this link between poverty and vulnerability to outbreaks in his 1848 study of a typhus epidemic in Upper Silesia: "For there can now no longer be any doubt that such an epidemic dissemination of typhus had only been possible under the wretched conditions of life that poverty and lack of culture had created in Upper Silesia."
Last week, the World Health Organization elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its next Director General. Amid his controversial campaign, I coauthored an open letter to the next Director General to prioritize factory farming, an eminent threat to global health. This letter, signed by over 200 experts in relevant fields, attracted a large degree of media attention in the New York Times, Lancet, Guardian, Huffington Post, and elsewhere.
Abstract: Although the risk of onset in the next year, or in the next decade, cannot be quantified, a severe pandemic involving person-to-person transmission of a novel respiratory virus is considered by leading organizations to be a substantial global threat. The ongoing threat posed by the H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses, and by the MERS coronavirus, should serve to remind us of the continuing importance of pandemic preparedness. In a severe pandemic from a rapidly spreading novel respiratory virus, when all countries and all responding organizations will themselves b
To mitigate the cross-border and national impacts of infectious disease threats, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched in 2014 to foster a collaborative approach to improve nations’ capacities to detect, prevent and respond to threats whether occurring naturally, deliberately or by accident. Law itself is not an explicit part of the overall GHSA, except in one package, Respond 2, that links public health with law and a multi-sectoral rapid response.
Global health advocates are urging G20 leaders to emphasize global health security by strengthening health systems in the poorest countries, reported Andrew Green in Devex December 21, 2016. Previous G-20 summits have addressed individual epidemics, but public health professionals and advocates are urging the forum to widen its lens to include health systems, which form the first line of defense in emergencies. They hope the effort might ultimately help advance universal health coverage, which campaigners argue would provide the best guard against future epidemics.
The July 2014 arrival of Ebola virus in Nigeria could have been yet another tragic chapter in the spread of a deadly wave of disease that swept across West Africa. Many in the global health world credit Nigeria’s ability to quickly set up a public health emergency operation center (PHEOC) as key to preventing the emergence of Ebola virus across the country. The Nigeria public health emergency operation center effectively mobilized the expertise, infrastructure, and partner organizations from its polio eradication campaign to prevent the emergence of Ebola.
In 2012, I had the privilege of working with Taiwan’s Department of Health, assessing its public health emergency preparedness programs. It quickly became obvious that preparedness for epidemics was a top priority for good reason: In 2003,Taiwan was hit hard by the global SARS epidemic, suffering nearly 700 infections and 200 deaths—and losing nearly half a percentage point of its Gross Domestic Product. Since SARS, Taiwan has worked hard to develop its preparedness capacities.