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As I’m on a (rather desperate) journey to help find accommodation for my son in a university city where the market seems to be ‘saturated’ – and yes, any resemblance with the global vaccine ‘market’ is purely “coincidental” ☹ ( even if, for the latter, some renewed hopes are pinned on Biden’s upcoming global Covid summit, and the German elections (for a TRIPS waiver breakthrough)), and so time is money, I’ll just offer a few quotes here to start this week’s newsletter.
The first one comes from the Global Fund’s Peter Sands: Vaccines Alone Won’t Defeat the Variants “…Vaccines are our best weapon against Covid-19. But Delta has demonstrated that vaccination is not a silver bullet, and the more we treat it like one, the less it will be. Beating Covid-19 will take a sustained and comprehensive response, combining vaccines, tests, treatments and PPE. We can’t let up on any front.” Agree. And while we’re at it, Peter, let’s also go for a post-capitalist system to make it actually all happen.
Over then to Global Citizen’s latest dumb & dystopian idea, a reality show on activists: “The Activist.” As Arwa Mahdawi put it eloquently in The Guardian, “…Perhaps the worst thing about The Activist, however, is the social justice capitalism it represents. Like feminism, activism has been consumed by the corporate world. It’s been given a glossy sheen; had its revolutionary edges removed. Corporate feminism undermines structural change by focusing on individual empowerment. Social justice capitalism – or “woke-washing” – is similar. It peddles the convenient lie that you can change the world without fundamentally changing your habits. It divorces individual “causes” from the exploitative structures underlying them. It pretends you can be a humanitarian while being apolitical.” After a backlash, the reality TV show is now being ‘reimagined’ as a documentary showcasing their “tireless work”.
But let’s end with a quote on Decolonizing Global Health from a while ago (by Seye Abimbola), still the one I can best relate to, when it comes to DGH. He talks about DGH movements (instead of one movement). “I say ‘movements’ because I don’t think it is possible or advisable to see ‘decolonizing global health’ as one movement. It is such a complex mission, a complex term; in fact, a combination of terms, each with several moving parts ‘decolonizing’ and ‘global health’ that it is impossible for people who use them to mean one or the same thing. …” Based on this, “…. regardless of one’s perspective, Abimbola encourages us to “think of ourselves as people storming a castle. Let’s all surround the castle, attack it from where we stand, continuously, forcefully, at the same time, weaken it, so that it comes crumbling all round. …”.
I agree. Woke and somewhat less woke (but also fighting for a fairer and more sustainable world), let’s unite! There are more than enough castles still waiting to be stormed in the 21st century, as far as I can tell.
Enjoy your reading.
This year’s UNGA has started, again in a hybrid format.
Policy brief on what’s in store this year.
J L Castro (CEO Vital Strategies) https://healthpolicy-watch.news/90089-2/
We’re pretty far removed from a ‘Grand Convergence’ these days, instead the mood is increasingly catastrophic for the reasons you know.
“… This year’s General Assembly session is considering multiple global catastrophes, from climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic to growing political instability exacerbated and highlighted by the inequitable burdens of the pandemic. For each, we must consider important technical responses, but we will fail across all of them if we cannot strengthen global cooperation and multilateralism….”
“Celebrating the UN’s 75th anniversary last year, prompted major internal discussion about its future, and a new direction away from the post-World War Two consensus of its early days. These reflections have resulted in Our Common Agenda, a landmark new report released on Friday by the UN Secretary-General, setting out his vision for the future of global cooperation.
“… Two contrasting futures are laid out in the report: one of breakdown and perpetual crisis, and another in which there is a breakthrough, to a greener, safer future.”
“… In order to achieve these aims, the Secretary-General recommends a Summit of the Future, which would “forge a new global consensus on what our future should look like, and how we can secure it”. ….. … One of those institutions [to be reformed] is, of course, the UN itself, which, says the report, is due an upgrade, with a more participatory and consultative approach, gender parity by 2028, the re-establishment of the Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board, and a policy that puts people at the centre of the UN System, taking into account age, gender and diversity.
Other UN-related proposals concern the improved participation of youth in the political process and efforts to cut youth unemployment. The reports recommends the appointment of a Special Envoy for Future Generations….”
PS: “… and, noting the ongoing health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the report calls for a $50 billion vaccination plan, to at least double vaccine production, ensuring that they reach at least 70 per cent of the global population in the first half of 2022….”
See also IISD – Secretary-General Unveils Vision for Future-Oriented UN
With ideas to take forward the 12 commitments included in the adopted political declaration.
And no, K-Pop is not one of them, as far as I am concerned. Even if dr. Tedros seems to be a fan : )
Coverage of the new (annual) (Gates Foundation) Goalkeepers report.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pushing for more long-term investments in health infrastructure worldwide — including vaccine research, development, and manufacturing capacity — in a new report, which highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. In the fifth annual Goalkeepers report, released Monday ahead of the United Nations’ General Assembly, the foundation said investments in building and expanding health systems can serve as “the foundation for emergency disease response” in low-income countries, where millions continue to be disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 and a lack of access to vaccines.”
“… The Goalkeepers report also provides data on 18 SDG indicators that the foundation is tracking. It found that COVID-19 also continues to upend progress on eradicating poverty, eliminating gender inequality, and vaccinating children against communicable diseases, furthering a backslide first identified in last year’s Goalkeepers report….”
PS: Gates Foundation Governance updates are expected soon: “…. The foundation is expected to announce new trustees early next year. When asked to share additional details during last week’s press call, Suzman did not provide any further updates on leadership changes. Instead, he highlighted that the foundation had committed more than $1.7 billion to the COVID-19 response in the past 18 months, in addition to its existing spending. Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates also recently added $15 billion to the endowment.”
· See also the Telegraph – Pandemic hit global development hard but worst fears failed to materialise
“Covid was a huge setback to improving the lives of the world's poorest but there is a silver lining, Gates Foundation report finds.”
“… Mark Suzman, chief executive of the Gates Foundation, told journalists that the pandemic hit the world after more than 20 years of steady gains. “Covid has caused the most dramatic setback to development momentum in a generation,” said Mr Suzman. “But on one level, the silver lining is that the consequences are not quite as they looked like they were going to be a year ago.”
“ …. … But the Goalkeepers report does highlight the disparity in recovery between richer and poorer countries. …. The hugely imbalanced global coronavirus vaccine rollout is likely to exacerbate this division ….”
· See also Stat News – A conversation with Bill Gates on how public health has fared in the midst of the pandemic
Excerpts: “The foundation’s 2021 Goalkeepers report, published late Monday, shows an additional 10 million children around the globe didn’t get key childhood vaccines this past year, because of public health service disruptions. Another 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic. And employment among women is expected to remain 13 million jobs lower around the world this year than it was in 2019. Covid-19 has deepened what was already a profound chasm between the rich and the poor, Bill Gates told STAT.”
“… The most concerning thing is the economic situation in low-income countries. … …. Up until the Delta variant came along, the low-income countries … were not having nearly as bad an epidemic as almost all the middle-income and rich countries, for a variety of reasons. Young age, outdoor work and … a lot of the populations are out there in the rural areas. Now, although it’s still not dire in most African locations, if you look at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation figures, they are forecast to have a fair number of deaths. So they’re going to get hit hardest at the tail.”
“… with the Delta wave, we have to acknowledge that we’re not at the end yet. And we fell short on getting vaccines out everywhere that we should have. There’s two big things that have made things less far along in getting to the end than I expected. One is that a number of the vaccines have just taken longer to ramp up big manufacturing — and that includes Novavax and Johnson & Johnson…. I was, in retrospect, over-optimistic about ramping up the volume of those vaccines. And the second thing is the Delta variant. Its transmissiveness, because of how well it replicates in the respiratory tract, is worse than I expected. And so those are two big things that have delayed having the supply side of vaccines fixed. But even once we get that solved, which we will in the next six months, we’ll still have the logistics of delivery, which are very tough in low-income countries….”
“Just ahead of the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly that opens on Tuesday, leaders of the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations — grant makers that have committed billions of dollars to fight the coronavirus — are warning that without larger government and philanthropic investments in the manufacture and delivery of vaccines to people in poor nations, the pandemic could set back global progress on education, public health, and gender equality for years.”
“…. Rockefeller’s president, Rajiv Shah, has called for a “COVID Charter,” in which rich countries would peg international development and climate assistance to 1% of their gross domestic product and require middle- and low-income nations to devote more money to public health and climate-change mitigation. His plan would tap funds from emergency accounts held by the International Monetary Fund and enlist philanthropy to increase its support for international development. Writing in the journal Foreign Affairs, Shah identified the impact of climate change and COVID-19 on vulnerable populations as a “near-term” threat to global stability. Failure to address the inequitable impact of those crises could have a lasting effect, according to Shah….” “…. The Rockefeller Foundation in October 2020 committed $1 billion over three years to respond to COVID and prevent future outbreaks. …”
PS: “… K Knight (Human Rights Watch) ... called the “ Gates Foundation’s focus on expanding local vaccine-manufacturing plants & distribution to medical centers disingenuous. Health ministries around the world have no reason to make those investments as long as large companies hold patents on the vaccines.”
“WHO has established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to advise on scientific, technical and strategic matters related to the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). The group is composed of 10 renowned experts with a diverse range of knowledge and expertise as clinicians and researchers working on COVID-19 health products; experts in access to medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and other health products; specialists of public health-oriented intellectual property; technology transfer experts; business development experts; experts in pricing, procurement, needs estimation and/or regulation of medicines….”
One of the (dire) reads of the week. “When international cooperation was needed, rich regions looked after their own. Poor countries have taken note.”
“Common Goods for Health (CGH) are the core population-based functions or interventions that are essential to the health and well-being of entire societies. They necessitate public financing and public action as they are public goods or have large social externalities, and thus will not arise through market forces alone. The objectives of this guidance document are to clearly define CGH, to discuss CGH’s connections with other critical health agendas to build more responsive and resilient health systems and to address financing issues associated with CGH at national, sub-national and community levels. This document delineates the relevant CGH categories, sub-categories and functions, which can aid in policy discussions, budget dialogues (including prioritization processes in countries) and health expenditure tracking processes as means of monitoring and accountability.”
“..The commitments made by the wealthiest countries to share vaccines and funding for international cooperation mechanisms are one crucial step. But they remain insufficient and reflect two structural problems. First, acts of charity are not enough to establish the foundations and institutions of international health solidarity. It is not a sustainable solution. In many ways, the behavior of powerful states reflects a form of capitalist philanthropy, with no incentive to change the global regime of intellectual property rights. Some would argue that the fundamental logic underlying COVAX does not challenge the relevance of patents even during health emergencies. Indeed, the claim of those who want to have vaccines recognized as global public goods goes deeply against the logic of economic profits that benefit the pharmaceutical giants and the countries that host them. Second, the vaccine race illustrates a form of health nationalism that reflects a particular phenomenon of the 21st century, the “securitization of health,” whereby states turn health issues into national security issues….”
The authors conclude: “….The mindset of capitalist philanthropy and the securitization of health in the name of national interest is fuelling current and future global public harms that will be impossible to overcome if we don’t shift paradigm in the name of global public goods and human rights without borders.”
Lukas Engelmann; https://www.epidemy.sps.ed.ac.uk/intelligence-is-not-a-science/
Quote: “Sure, recent developments in data science and AI hold the potential to improve aspects of epidemiological data collection and analysis, but epidemiology has not and will never be a purely numeric exercise. Epidemics are, after all, not governed solely by mechanical forces. While the HUB is not the only global epidemiological initiative emerging at this normalisation phase of the pandemic, it still comes as a surprise that such a narrowly conceived data project presents itself as the WHO’s potential means of resolution, and the culmination of presumed lessons learned from this pandemic….”
Interview with Björn Kümmel. Well worth a read.
“… the WHO created the Working Group on Sustainable Financing (WGSF), which is tasked with finding long term solutions to the body's financial troubles. … … Kümmel notes that although finances remain a popular topic amongst the organisation’s members, this is the first time a “sustainability” lens is being adopted. He adds that everyone shares the view that a stronger WHO is needed, which requires more stable sources of long-term funding. The alternative, continuing with the status quo, poses a threat to global health security and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals….”
PS: “… Adopting the Global Fund’s so-called replenishment model, for example, would mean raising funds in multi-year cycles. Kümmel says the WHO budget could at least be partially funded this way….”
“This policy brief explores key issues and poses questions regarding PEPFAR’s future, providing a roadmap for the major decisions ahead for the program. It identifies eight key, interrelated issues facing the administration, Congress, and other PEPFAR stakeholders….”
Jayati Ghosh et al ; Project Syndicate;
“As long as the World Bank's International Development Association can be an important source of recovery funds for the poorest economies, those resources must be used effectively. This will require closing the IDA's Private Sector Window and instead providing resources directly to governments.”
“Data isn’t everything, even for the world’s most powerful charity.”
… Initially the thought was that the foundation would use its resources for innovation to come up with “breakthroughs”, and leave it to others to ensure they reached the right people, says Mark Suzman, its chief executive. “The wake-up call which hits a lot of people who come into philanthropy is that that doesn’t necessarily work.” … …. Instead the foundation is now focusing on making sure that its innovations work in the real world. This involves messy social changes that are difficult to track….”
“The unmeasurable side to philanthropy has drawn on the temperament and insights of Ms French Gates. Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, a British medical journal, says she takes a “more holistic approach” to development, encompassing women’s rights and the capacity of health systems. “She humanised the foundation in a remarkable way,” he continues…. … The question now is whether Ms French Gates’s influence will outlast the pair’s divorce. If in two years they no longer want to work together, she will resign as a trustee and receive a payout from him to continue her philanthropic work elsewhere. That would require the foundation to find a new way to get the most out of Mr Gates’s data-driven method.”
PS: “…An analysis of the foundation’s grants database by The Economist and David McCoy, a professor of global public health at Queen Mary University of London, suggests that grantees with headquarters in Africa and Asia have received just 5.3% and 5.6% of its grants respectively since 1999, though their share has risen (see chart 2)….”
“Founded in 2006, Unitaid has changed the treatment of major infectious diseases in low-income countries. What will the next 15 years bring? Udani Samarasekera reports.”
“…. Officially launched on Sept 19, 2006, at the UN General Assembly, by the Governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway, and the UK, Unitaid's aim was to accelerate the availability of high-quality drugs and diagnostics for patients with HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in LMICs. Funds for the initiative would be generated from innovative financing mechanisms, mainly a new tax on air travel. But as the global health landscape evolved, so did Unitaid's focuses and funding streams. HIV co-infections were encompassed into its scope and its current strategy for 2017–21 made women and children's health an additional priority area. Now, Unitaid is developing its new strategy for 2022–26. How has it done and what should it do next?...”
“….Unitaid's main activity is providing financial grants to global health partners to accelerate access to more effective medicines, technologies, and systems. Half of the organisation's core funds come from France and the rest from the other founding governments plus Spain, South Korea, Japan, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It currently manages a portfolio of 50 grants with a value of around $1·3 billion covering HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria as well as hepatitis C, cervical cancer, and childhood fever management…..”
“A key focus of the organisation now is COVID-19. Unitaid is a co-convenor of the therapeutics arm and a co-lead of the diagnostics partnership of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. Under the therapeutics pillar, the organisation has been working on increasing access to emergency oxygen and dexamethasone in LMICs….”
“…As for the future, Unitaid expects to finalise its new strategy by mid-2022. Duneton says it will continue to focus on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and women and children's health. “I think one of the lessons learned, and I think it will be a priority in our next strategy, is to have more attention on the decentralisation of care...We will put more attention on what [a product] means for primary health care”, he adds. And, unsurprisingly perhaps, he notes that Unitaid is likely to expand its scope to pandemic preparedness in the future….”
For the summary, see here.
“….taking inspiration from the Sustainable Development Goals, we propose to develop a set of Pandemic Preparedness Goals (PPGs), with Targets and Indicators to facilitate constant evaluation and stimulate improvement…..”
See also last week’s IHP news. “An expert group consulted by the World Health Organization on how Europe and the world can better prepare for the next health emergency has proposed the creation of several new entities while resisting calls to merge existing ones. Among the recommendations from the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, chaired by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, was the creation of a global health board, a Pan-European network for disease control, and a Pan-European health threats council. The proposed global health board is intended to work under the G-20 group of nations to coordinate health, economic, and financial policies within governments and internationally…”
“… The commission backed a global pandemic treaty … the commission stopped short of recommending a merger of some of these institutions (WHO, FAO, …) …”
“Health Systems Global (HSG) is embarking on a comprehensive strategic planning process, the aim of which is to develop a 5-year strategic framework that positions our organization at the forefront of health systems policy and research within the changing landscape of global health. Efforts will be focused on refreshing and re-energizing strategic objectives – a set of commitments that align with our mission and values – and the measurable actions that need to be taken in their pursuit. The process is being led by the HSG Board Strategic Planning Working Group (SPWG), facilitated by the HSG Secretariat; the consulting firm ‘hera – Right to health and development’ was selected to work with HSG to develop the plan following a highly competitive tendering process. The finalization of the Strategic Plan is targeted for the end of 2021…..”
Finally, some links re (another 😊) HERA, announced by Ursula von der Leyen in her SOTU.
On HERA. The new body will be housed inside the Commission, and work on both steering investments in preparing for public health emergencies as well as coordinating responses to crises.
“The new agency — known as the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, or HERA — would aim to “make sure that no virus will ever turn a local epidemic again into a global pandemic.” It is set to receive 50 billion euros (about $59 billion) in funding by 2027 and will function alongside the E.U.’s existing health agencies, the European Center for Disease Control and the European Medicines Agency. But its exact role remains unclear, as E.U. members each run their own health policies. …”
“President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, according to a list of targets obtained by The Washington Post.”
“The goals were shared with global health leaders ahead of a virtual summit the White House is scheduled to convene next week, positioning the event as an opportunity to set worldwide objectives to end the pandemic. The targets, which draw on similar goals laid out by the World Health Organization and other global health experts, include providing billions of dollars in tests, oxygen and other supplies to developing countries, and setting up a financing system to pay for the global health response by next year. … … “During the Summit, President Biden will call on chiefs of state, heads of government and international organizations, business, philanthropic, and non-governmental leaders to come together to commit to ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a copy of one invitation reviewed by The Post. “… … Biden also plans to ask private sector and nongovernmental organizations to commit to solving “one or more specific complex challenges … such as addressing the world’s oxygen crisis” as part of the event. “
“The event — the Global COVID-19 Summit: Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better — is slated to be held Sept. 22, during ongoing meetings convened by the U.N. General Assembly, and would kick off a series of planned summits….”
See also the Guardian - Joe Biden to propose target of vaccinating 70% of world in a year
“The US president’s target, by the New York Times, is in line with ambitions set jointly by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) but is more ambitious than current performance and the targets set at the chaired by the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson. The G7 agreed to donate 870m doses of Covid-19 vaccines directly, with an aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021.”
“… The US draft also calls for countries “with relevant capabilities” to either purchase or donate 1bn additional doses of coronavirus vaccines, beyond the 2bn that have already been pledged by wealthy nations; and for world leaders to ensure that $3bn (£2.2bn) is made available in 2021 and $7bn in 2022 in financing “for vaccine readiness and administration, combating , and procuring ancillary supplies.”…”
“After months of frustrated efforts to unlock global vaccine supplies for the African continent, WHO and African Union leaders are now pinning their hopes on US President Joe Biden’s reported plan to call heads of state to a “Global Pandemic Summit” on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, which opened today, as a way out of the current deadlock. “
“… But speaking at Tuesday’s press conference following two days of meetings in Geneva, African Union and African Centers for Disease officials stressed that the era of “pledges” for vaccine donations to Africa, needs to end and investments in African vaccine manufacturing to begin, as part of any ‘New Deal’ on pandemic response in low- and middle-income (LMICs) countries.
… This should involve the creation of a new, and permanent African vaccine facility, supported by the African Union, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank. … … While “thanking” COVAX for the role it has played in facilitating global COVID vaccine supplies, “going forward, we need the IMF to do the vaccine facility – to make it possible for countries to now access these vaccines through the structures put in place,” said Oramah. “
“… Speaking at the close of a two-day Geneva meeting, which also included Dr John Nkengasong, Africa CDC director, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and African Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO and AU officials said that in they had reviewed in painstaking detail the various obstacles standing in the way of African vaccine access – and ways to overcome them. The challenges have included export bans, including the interruption of supplies from India in March 2020 when the subcontinent experienced its own COVID surge, but also barriers on the exports of vaccines and their inputs to a complex supply chain, they noted. But the African officials also repeated longstanding complaints against rich countries for vaccine hoarding, as well as against pharma for preferential sales to high income countries of huge vaccine quantities – in excess of actual population needs. “
“…. Masiyiwa also appealed to India to resume its deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, produced by the Serum Institute – noting that the countries’ embargo on the export of vaccines, remains the most outstanding example of restrictions fouling distribution plans. …”
With a WTO TRIPS Council Informal Meeting on 14 September, discussions have restarted on this tricky (diplomatic) issue, in which some states (and the EC) just love to engage in ‘double speak’.
Let’s kick off with a few related tweets to this meeting:
Thiru Balasubramaniam: “ Politico reports that with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, as well as China openly supporting the #TRIPSwaiver - the EU, U.K. and Switzerland are increasingly isolated at the @WTO TRIPS Council.”
Geneva Health Files: “members reiterated their previously stated positions at the TRIPS Council meeting today. UK, Switzerland, EU continued to stick to their opposition to the waiver proposal. China, Australia sided with the proponents on the waiver proposal: sources…”
“Upcoming small-group meetings on 23rd and 29th September to discuss scope, implementation, regulatory data and undisclosed info. General Council meeting early October. Next TRIPS Council formal meeting on 4th October to agree on "status" of discussions on the waiver proposal”
“Amid the groundswell of international support for the TRIPS waiver at the WTO coupled with more countries, including Malaysia, joining as co-sponsors of the waiver, three members – the European Union led by Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom – seem determined to undermine an expeditious decision on the temporary waiver for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, said people familiar with the development…..”
“Global health advocates say a patent waiver would ease access to Covid vaccines, but the U.S. declined to support as-is a proposal to greenlight the waiver, a summary of a September 14 WTO meeting shows.”
“On September 14, the United States declined to support as-is a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO), put forward by South Africa and India in October 2020, to suspend key intellectual property rules that relate to the Covid-19 vaccine. While the United States expressed frustration about “lost momentum” around negotiations over the intellectual property waiver, global health advocates say they are disappointed that the Biden administration has declined to take an active role in pushing such negotiations forward….”
“Pressure is mounting on US President Joe Biden to provide global leadership to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the face of the European Commission’s refusal to support a waiver on intellectual property rights. … Negotiations over the suspension of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, the TRIPS waiver, have stalled at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the face of opposition from the European Union. But if the US put forward a text on waiver, this would reinvigorate the talks, appealed South African trade ministry advisor Zane Dangor on Tuesday. South Africa and India are co-sponsors of the waiver. …… “The European Union would like to kick the discussions further down the road,” said Dangor, adding that the EU had made it known this week that it was not in favour of a decision on the TRIPS waiver being made at the upcoming WTO Ministerial on 30 November….”
This HPW article also covers the High-Level dialogue on the TRIPS waiver (webinar) from Monday.
Quote: “… Belgian Green Sarah Matthieu, a Member of the European Parliament, believes that the European Commission’s opposition to the waiver is “economic”, based on lobbying and financial support from the pharmaceutical companies. BioNTech is a particularly big donor of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union Party, she added. “We continue to see the Commission really putting big pharma over people’s health. It continues to push its own proposal, that is, if I can say it bluntly, big air. It’s not going to change anything,” Matthieu told a media briefing on Monday organised by Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF)….”
The recording of the abovementioned HL-dialogue (among others with J Stiglitz) from Monday is well worth (re-) watching, as countries reconvene for a new round of discussions on the TRIPS waiver proposal. With some brilliant interventions.
Advocacy. “As countries reconvene tomorrow for another round of discussions on the “TRIPS Waiver” proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO), after a gap of over two months, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) calls on the European Union (EU), strongly backed by Germany, and the UK, Norway, and Switzerland to stop blocking this initiative on lifting the monopolies on lifesaving COVID-19 medical tools….”
Interesting viewpoint on South-Korea’s stance on the Trips waiver.
“Korea’s position in the debate on the TRIPS intellectual property (IP) waiver before the World Trade Organization (WTO) may seem at first glance, surprising. Supporters of the proposal, which would see IP rights on COVID-19 technologies put to one side for the duration of the pandemic and potentially open up for multiple manufacturers to increase supplies, include the US, a country with which Korea is often keen to align its diplomatic positions. And yet Korea has not spoken up in favor of the waiver — in fact, rumors are that Korea remains as one of the passive opponents to the waiver. When the Biden Administration first expressed its support for the waiver back in May this year, many thought South Korea would soon move too to back the proposal and shift from its previous opposing stance. To many people’s surprise, however, this hope has not yet materialized. Some wonder why South Korea does not support the waiver, when it appears to be one of the countries whose industry might benefit the most from the implementation of the waiver where companies can proceed with research and development (R&D) without fear of IP breach or trade retaliation…..”
For the Belgians among you: including Yves Leterme. And trust me, he comes from a region known for its ‘common sense’ : )
Must-read overview of current situation. “Drug companies and wealthy countries are facing increased pressure to partner with firms in the global south but are reluctant to relinquish control.”
“Africa needs around 470 million doses to accomplish the global of fully vaccinating 40 per cent of its population by the end of the year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. The international COVAX initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to the vaccines, recently announced that it was being forced to slash planned deliveries to Africa, by around 150 million doses this year. The scheme is now expected to deliver 470 million doses through the end of December. These will be enough to protect just 17 per cent of the continent, far below the 40 per cent target. To reach the end-year target, that 470 million figure needs to double, even if all planned shipments via COVAX and the African Union are delivered…..”
“A lack of exported doses from India is a key factor—and booster shot plans could add to woes for low-income nations.” Good overview piece on Covax’ scaled back forecast from last week.
“The Biden administration is quietly pressuring India to restart vaccine exports with plans to offer a higher-profile role for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an upcoming COVID-19 global summit in New York if he agrees to release vaccines soon, sources with direct knowledge of the high-level discussions told Axios. Why it matters: India is the world's biggest vaccine maker. In March, Modi halted exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine — one of the cheapest on the market — because the virus was ravaging his own population. Convincing Modi to renew his vaccine supply to the world — through the global vaccination organization COVAX — is an important part of the Biden administration's strategy to mitigate the international spread of the virus.”
Just remember from this piece that the Biden administration might indeed be quietly pressuring the Modi administration to restart vaccine exports. The rest is speculation 😊.
But, via Twitter: “India won’t supply jabs to Covax until all adults are vaccinated”. So far at least that’s the official stance.
“The United States is communicating regularly with India in bilateral and multilateral channels to discuss the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and inquire about its timeline for restarting vaccine exports, a senior Biden administration official said.”
“The global pandemic will be a key topic on Sept. 24, when U.S. President Joe Biden will host the first in-person summit of leaders of the "Quad" countries - Australia, India, Japan and the United States…”
P Patnaik; Geneva Health Files
Last Friday’s Deep dive analyzed global vaccine production numbers and why these doses will not flow into the COVAX Facility.
A few quotes:
Dose donations trumps queue-swapping ? « For all the promise of pooled procurement, and negotiating affordable prices, COVAX continues to depend on dose donations as its immediate strategy to make good on commitments made to low- and middle-income countries. …”
On the optimistic supply figures (which IFPMA jumped on): “… The timing of the launch of these [Airfinity] production numbers is lost on no one. Next week, countries meet to resume discussions on the TRIPS waiver at WTO. Already there are murmurs questioning the need for a waiver, if the world is expected to see a glut in vaccines. But this is oversimplifying complex challenges and plainly underestimating the need for COVID-19 medical products….”
Cfr tweet Max Roser: “We've added charts on country-by-country donations to COVAX: … Donations are broken down by whether they have been only announced, actually donated, or delivered to the recipient countries. Chart 1 shows absolute numbers; chart 2 shows donations by GDP.”
See above. “Analysis suggests just 16 %c of 554 million jabs promised by wealthy countries to the Covax vaccine scheme have been distributed.”
“ The UK has delivered less than seven per cent of the vaccines it has promised to developing countries, coming near the bottom in what critics are calling a “league table of shame”. Data compiled by Our World in Data, a research hub based at the University of Oxford, show the world's major economies have promised to donate many more doses of vaccine to poor countries than they have delivered. The data looks at donations to Covax, the initiative to share vaccines globally, and finds that of the 554 million doses promised by the world's richest nations, only 90.8 million, or 16 per cent, have been delivered….”
With some key trends, some more key messages by WHO, …
“For the first time in more than 2 months, weekly global COVID-19 cases dropped substantially, as cases decline in recent hot spots, including India and Japan, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its latest update. All of the world's regions saw declines, but nearly 4 million new cases and more than 62,000 deaths were reported. ….… The Americas region reported the steepest decline in cases, followed by Southeast Asia and the Middle East. And though deaths dropped overall, the fatality level rose last week in the African region, up 7% over the week before…..”
After a two-day meeting in Geneva, “WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and a group of global health leaders [today] issued an urgent call for vaccine equity globally and in Africa in particular. The leaders stressed that the worst pandemic in the last hundred years will not end unless and until, there is genuine global cooperation on vaccine supply and access. They also reiterated the WHO’s global vaccination target for 70% of the population of all countries to be vaccinated by mid- 2022. …”
See also UN News - Only 2% of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa
“More than 5.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of them in Africa, said World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday. At a press conference on COVID-19 and vaccine equity in Africa, which is home to more than 1.2 billion people, Mr. Ghebreyesus informed that, so far, just two countries in Africa have reached the 40% target, the lowest of any region. …
The AU has revised its vaccination goal, from 60 % of the population by next year, to 70 %.
“While the African Union originally aimed to vaccinate 60% of the population across Africa by next year to reach herd immunity against COVID-19, this goal might need to be raised to 70%. And if it is, the AU expects to require an additional $300 million in financing for doses, said Benedict Oramah, president of the African Export-Import Bank, or Afreximbank, during a news briefing Tuesday. The initial goal was calculated based on the circulation of COVID-19 before the emergence of the more transmissible delta variant, which has a relatively higher rate of reproduction. The increased target falls in line with the goals of the World Health Organization to vaccinate 70% of the global population by the middle of next year. “I will be working together with COVAX and other partners to make sure that the continent gets that 70%,” said John Nkengasong…. Initial calculations of the needed doses were based on the 60% goal — which is equal to vaccinating about 780 million people. Seth Berkley, chief executive officer at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said COVAX expects to provide the African continent with enough doses to meet half of the 60% goal by February, but if the target is raised to 70%, the program aims to supply the needed doses by March. To make up for the rest of the 60% goal, the AU signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for up to 400 million doses of the company’s one-shot vaccine for countries to purchase. Afreximbank provided $2 billion in funding earlier this year to secure these doses….”
“Broadly, political leadership across the African continent has not been forceful enough in demanding that COVID-19 vaccines make their way quickly to the African continent, said Dr. Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, co-chair of the African Union’s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance. …. …. Olatunbosun-Alakija argues that many of the political leaders on the African continent also carry blame.”
“… She said many African leaders were “lulled into a false sense of complacency because they thought that their needs were being covered, either by COVAX or by the pooled scheme” with the AU. She added that instead of advocating for more vaccines, some politicians pillaged COVID-19 relief and social intervention funds…. “We elect leaders for moments of crisis,” she said. “Every side meeting they have, needs to begin with: Our people are dying or getting long COVID. The first line of every talking point needs to be Mr. President of whichever country, Mr. Foreign Minister: Where are the vaccines?”… …. “Had [Nigerian] President Buhari, or [Kenyan] President Kenyatta, [or the Democratic Republic of the Congo] President Tshisekedi knocked on the door of Pfizer, knocked on the door of Moderna, they could not be turned down, particularly those three countries, because those are such big countries,” she said. “Our geopolitical power should have helped us with this moment.”.”
(16 Sept) “Fourth Meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on Scaling COVID-19 Tools.”
Cfr tweet David Malpass (WB): “The Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 held a productive meeting with leading vaccine manufacturing companies. We welcomed their collaboration & commitment to share info on vaccine production & deliveries.” Hmmm….
Coverage of the 4th meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Task force via HPW - Wealthy Countries Urged to Share 2 Billion Excess COVID-19 Doses
“Countries with high COVID-19 vaccination rates have pre-purchased over two billion excess vaccine doses, limiting the supplies available for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC)…. … To alleviate COVID vaccine shortages in LMICs, the task force called on wealthy countries to urgently “swap their near-term delivery schedules with COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Force (AVAT)”, meet their dose donation pledges with “unearmarked upfront deliveries to COVAX”, and release vaccine companies from options and contracts to enable these doses to be delivered to LMICs. …”
“Couple who pioneered jab given to millions around world tell how pharmaceutical giant wrongly assumed outbreak would be quickly contained.”
“The United Nations is warning that so-called developing countries will suffer losses of $12 trillion to their economies through 2025 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the slow rollout of vaccines will only make matters worse. The figure is trimmed to $8 trillion if China is excluded, said Richard Kozul-Wright, the director of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s globalization and development strategies division. … Calculations from UNCTAD also predict that in terms of lost income, delayed vaccinations alone will cost the world $2.3 trillion by 2025, with about $1.5 trillion of that hitting lower-income nations….”
“Advanced nations have not woken up to size or persistence of pandemic shock in poorer countries, (UNCTAD) report suggests.”
“ Pandemic has added to their debts while wealthy nations limit access to vaccines, says annual report.”
“ The race between vaccinations and new variant strains won’t end until Covid-19 has touched almost everyone. For anyone hoping to see light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel over the next three to six months, scientists have some bad news: Brace for more of what we’ve already been through. …”
With the views of M Osterholm & others on what’s still in store.
Coverage of the Lancet Review (re boosters) published on Monday. Cfr press release:
The Lancet: Scientific evidence to date on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy does not support boosters for general population, expert review concludes
“An expert review by an international group of scientists, including some at the WHO and FDA, concludes that, even for the delta variant, vaccine efficacy against severe COVID is so high that booster doses for the general population are not appropriate at this stage in the pandemic.
The review, published in The Lancet, summarises the currently available evidence from randomised controlled trials and observational studies published in peer-reviewed journals and pre-print servers.
A consistent finding from the observational studies is that vaccines remain highly effective against severe disease, including that from all the main viral variants. Averaging the results reported from the observational studies, vaccination had 95% efficacy against severe disease both from the delta variant and from the alpha variant, and over 80% efficacy at protecting against any infection from these variants. … Although vaccines are less effective against asymptomatic disease or against transmission than against severe disease, even in populations with high vaccination coverage the unvaccinated minority are still the major drivers of transmission, as well as being themselves at the highest risk of serious disease. …”
More coverage via HPW – Boosters Are ‘Not Appropriate’ – Reach Unvaccinated First
PS: Authors admit data is ‘partial’, and changing.
“As many as 400,000 people are infected by coronaviruses carried by bats every year, according to an analysis mapping the risk of exposure across southern China and southeast Asia. The paper, published as a preprint this week, is the first to estimate how many people living in the region unknowingly contract a bat coronavirus similar to Sars-Cov-2 every year. Its high profile authors include Prof Linfa Wang, who played a leading role in efforts to trace the origins of Sars, and Dr Peter Daszak, a member of the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Sars-Cov-2. The paper’s findings, experts say, show the “clear and present danger” posed by bat viruses and the risk they could spark another pandemic. In particular, southern China, north eastern Myanmar, Laos and northern Vietnam are considered the most high-risk “hotspots” for new pathogens to spill over to humans…..”
“Study pinpoints Asian regions that could spark the next coronavirus pandemic.”
“In a recent paper, we reviewed evidence on the influence of infection with the parasitic worms causing schistosomiasis on host immune responses to vaccines. The vaccines we focused on were to prevent measles, hepatitis B, tetanus and tuberculosis. We found that measles and hepatitis B vaccines were less effective in people who have schistosomiasis. We also evaluated the potential of using medication designed to treat parasitic worm infections in restoring vaccine responses affected by schistosomiasis. We found that it can improve vaccination effectiveness. We concluded that treatment for schistosomiasis should be considered an important part of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaigns where the parasite is commonly found….”
Technically, this doesn’t fall under ‘science’ (but instead, Big Pharma PR). But for what it’s worth:
“Ahead of a crucial meeting of the Food and Drug Administration vaccines advisory committee on Friday to discuss its booster proposal, Pfizer submitted a study on Wednesday by Kaiser Permanente Southern California suggesting vaccine efficacy wanes over time naturally, “irrespective of variant”, rather than as a consequence of the Delta strain evading its jab. … … Separately, Moderna shared data on Wednesday also showing the protection afforded by its vaccine wanes over time….”
Guardian - Long Covid in children and adolescents is less common than previously feared (based on a review of 14 international studies).
“The proliferation of Covid-19 variants in Africa, partly attributed to the low rates of vaccination on the continent, could lead to vaccine-evading mutations that complicate attempts to end the pandemic, a group of 112 African and 25 international organizations said. A study of genomes from 33 African nations and two “overseas territories,” published in the journal Science on Thursday, tracks the evolution of the pandemic across the continent and the emergence of a number of so-called Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest. One of those, beta, spread around the globe earlier this year and rendered some vaccines partially ineffective. The “slow rollout of vaccines in most African countries creates an environment in which the virus can replicate and evolve,” the organizations said. “This will almost certainly produce additional VOCs, any of which could derail the global fight against Covid-19.”…”
PS: via WHO Afro : “…. In collaboration with the South African National Bioinformatics Institute, WHO is at the forefront of the efforts to set up the Regional Centre of Excellence for Genomic Surveillance and Bioinformatics in Cape Town. The centre will support 14 countries before being expanded to serve more countries. Last year, WHO and partners established a COVID-19 sequencing laboratory network in Africa which has to date produced nearly 40 000 sequencing data….
Big news. “Efforts to develop an African base for COVID-19 vaccine production will focus on trying to replicate Moderna's (MRNA.O) shot, but a lack of progress in talks with the U.S. company mean the project will take time, a senior WHO official told Reuters.”
“… In practice, though, it is hard to replicate a vaccine without the information on how it is made, and the World Health Organization-backed tech transfer hub in South Africa - set up in June to give poorer nations the know-how to produce COVID-19 vaccines - has so far not reached a deal with the company. "The talks have not yielded any results," Martin Friede, WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research coodinator, told Reuters. Moderna did not respond to a request for comment. …. The case highlights the challenges faced by the WHO as it battles to expand vaccine production to help address the glaring inequalities between rich and poor nations in the pandemic. … But even if the hub manages without Moderna's help, it could take more than a year to get a distributable vaccine as clinical trials would only begin in the latter half of 2022, he added….”
“…. the South African mRNA technology transfer hub set up in July to enable Africa to manufacture its own vaccines is moving ahead with plans to make a “Moderna-like” vaccine – despite a lack of co-operation from either mRNA manufacturer, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech. This was confirmed to Health Policy Watch by Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Chair of the Board of the Medicines Patent Pool in Geneva and President of the French Scientific Committee on COVID-19 vaccines. “The mRNA hub doesn’t need direct transfer of technology from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, as enough information on production process is available publicly and as there are no patent on mRNA vaccines in any African country,” said Kieny, who recently visited South Africa to work with local hub partners. “The hub will therefore work with technical experts to recreate a new ‘Moderna-like’ vaccine,” added Kieny….”
“A fresh look at global vaccination progress including the most recent data for China.” As of 13 September. Some of the findings:
“The world has fully vaccinated about 30% of its population. About 42% has been vaccinated with at least 1 dose. But vaccination progress varies enormously once we look underneath that aggregate. While high-income countries are 56% fully vaccinated and upper-middle-income ones 50%, the poorer half of the world lags considerably. Lower-middle-income countries stand at merely 11% and low-income countries at 0.8%. The discrepancies in vaccination rates with at least 1 dose are also stark, with the difference that, thanks to China, high-income and upper-middle-income countries have similar rates around 62-66%. Lower-middle-income countries are at 27%, but low-income countries have rates of only 1.7%. The difference between the two types of vaccination rates is most considerable for upper- and lower-middle-income countries.”
“Efforts are being made to ramp up production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa to address the continent’s low rate of vaccination. As of September 2021, there are at least twelve COVID-19 production facilities set up or in the pipeline across six African countries. African COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the coming year could range from Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac vaccines….”
“… Still, developments in Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing landscape remain oriented toward expanding fill-and-finish capacity at the expense of vaccine-substance manufacturing and technology transfer. To ensure that Africa is able to secure vaccines for a range of diseases, the continent will require sustained commitment from governments, regional coordination by the African Union, and consistent financing on research and development.”
Coverage of Ursula ‘double speak’ Von der Leyen’s State of the European Union.
Among others, she announced a new donation of another 200 million vaccine doses by the middle of next year for third countries (low income countries) - on top of a previous commitment for 250 million jabs. See also Reuters.
PS: (via Euractiv ) “To speed up the vaccination rates outside of the bloc, Team Europe will also invest €1 billion euros to ramp up mRNA production capacity with Africa….”
Related: MSF Access Briefing Note - EU’s hollow promises of global COVID-19 vaccine equity
“India was once the world’s leading hope to equalize global access to COVID-19 vaccines. But India has for months virtually banned exports of COVID-19 vaccines in favor of supplying its domestic rollout, and now the prospect of booster shots in India threatens to further starve other countries of the Indian-made doses they desperately need.”
“…. India’s own decision to supply booster shots may be months away; the country is still working to get people injected with their first doses. India has provided one dose to 41.2% of its total population as of Tuesday and fully vaccinated 12.9% of its 1.4 billion citizens, according to Bloomberg. But India’s leading vaccine maker [the Serum Institute ] has recommended that people injected with its vaccine get booster shots. If followed by the government, the move could extend India’s ban on vaccine exports for the foreseeable future….”
“…. The Hindustan Times reports that India is not likely to resume exports until at least the start of next year, and the calculus could change if the government decides some people need three doses instead of just two. India’s health regulators say that they are studying the needs for booster shots. Priya Abraham, director of the government-affiliated National Institute of Virology, said in August that “recommendations for boosters will definitely come” in the future. The SII, a firm that makes money by manufacturing vaccines, is recommending that people get booster doses….”
“…. 600 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single dose vaccine – enough to vaccinate 600 million people – are being produced in India by Biological E, a Hyderabad-based company, on contract from J&J. As things stand, these vaccines will likely be exported to the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), where more than 50% of adults have been fully vaccinated, instead of going to India, which has only vaccinated 13% of its population to date, or to the African continent, where the equivalent figure is 3%. …. …. Johnson & Johnson has failed to produce enough of its own vaccine; the United States Government has the power to make them license manufacturers all over the world in order to make billions more doses of their vaccine available. … … … We demand that any J&J vaccine doses made in India be supplied on priority to the Indian government, the African Union, and the COVAX Facility….”
“Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche has, in a rare turn of events, extended its support to the emergency use authorization (EUA) given by Drugs Controller General of India to Hetero Drugs for the manufacture of tocilizumab, the biologic drug (drug manufactured using living organisms) of Roche used in the treatment of severe covid-19. Roche has decided that it won’t pursue any legal dispute with manufacturers such as Hetero over patent rights against the use of tocilizumab, which Roche produces under its brand name Actemra/RoActemra…”
“This blog highlights some key findings from a recent paper using cross-country comparable data from “the LSMS-supported High-Frequency Phone Surveys on COVID-19 (HFPS) to study COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in six Sub-Saharan African countries. … … The data collected between September and December 2020 in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia. Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda highlight high willingness to be vaccinated in these countries, before large scale vaccine rollouts had commenced. An estimated four in five people in all but one study country were willing to take an approved COVID-19 shot if it was made available to them for free. …”
“How best can scientists push back against science denialist campaigns? David Gorski and Gavin Yamey suggest some evidence based strategies.” re the Great Barrington Declaration, in particular.
“… Jeremy Baskin at the Melbourne School of Government has noted an eerie familiarity: “‘Not again’ will be the first thought of many climate-change veterans. They will recognise in the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) echoes of the dispiriting and distracting climate-science wars.” It was a very apt comparison. The GBD, AIER, and their corporate funders are using strategies straight out of the climate denial playbook. As described in Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, the fossil fuel industry has long used conservative think tanks like the Heartland Institute to sow doubt about climate science while funding contrarian scientists who portray “inconvenient” science as “unsettled” or even corrupt, a tactic first pioneered by tobacco companies. Such interests, hostile to public health interventions and government endeavors to implement them, appear to have resurrected this strategy for the pandemic to sow doubt about (and give the appearance of grassroots support for their opposition to) public health interventions to slow the spread of covid-19. Their strategy has seen a band of scientists teaming up with conservative think-tanks and corporate interests and lending scientific authority to their efforts to downplay the severity of the pandemic and argue that evidence-based public health measures do not work. Stephan Lewandowsky at the University of Bristol has described links between climate science denialists and those questioning covid-19 public health measures. ….”
C E Bcheraoui, J Hanefeld et al ; https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-021-00743-y
“….Countries around the world have implemented stringent non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) to control transmission and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. These NPI have had profound negative social and economic impacts. With the timeline to worldwide vaccine roll-out being uncertain, governments need to consider to what extent they need to implement and how to de-escalate these NPI. This rapid review collates de-escalation criteria reported in the literature to provide a guide to criteria that could be used as part of de-escalation strategies globally…..”
“This blogpost is part of the Covid-19 Governance Mapping initiative, a collective effort to document the structures of national decision-making in the world’s Covid-19 response, and the actors involved. …”
“A new interactive tool captures knowledge, attitudes and behaviors around vaccines, masking and more from 12 million people in 115 countries.”
“… In an ongoing global survey, more than half of those who are unvaccinated in more than 50 countries indicated in August that they definitely or probably won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine. Launched today by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, a unpacking that survey data helps explain why – and how experts can work to increase acceptance rates. The researchers found that the primary reasons around the world for resisting vaccination include fears about side effects, a desire to wait until more people have had the shots so they know they are safe, and a lack of confidence in whether the vaccine really works….”
“…The next meetings of WHO’s WGPR [i.e. Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies] will take place from 4 October 2021 to 6 October 2021 and 1 November 2021 to 3 November 2021. This will be followed by a special session of the World Health Assembly to consider developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response which will take place from 29 November 2021 to 1 December 2021.”
“…. On September 8 and 9, the O’Neill Institute, in partnership with and supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), convened 30 of the world’s leading authorities on global health financing, law, implementation, and emergency response to address the weaknesses and existing gaps in global pandemic preparedness that have existed in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what a new agreement may or must include. The meeting was opened by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. This meeting was the first of a series of global consultations that will help inform WHO and member states about key weaknesses and gaps in the international response framework before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“… The meeting participants concluded that there are three likely possibilities for change at the conclusion of the three [upcoming] major international meetings: political statements and resolutions; revision of the IHR (2005); and a new, legally binding international agreement, achieved through the exercise of the WHO’s special regulatory authority, or a multilateral treaty formed under the auspices of the United Nations or the World Health Organization….”
“There is an emerging global consensus for a political compact to prevent future crises on the scale of the covid-19 pandemic, writes Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.”
L Gostin et al; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2784418
“This Viewpoint discusses international efforts to address the COVID-19 and future pandemics as well as offers steps that the international community can take to fix gaps in pandemic response.”
Valéry Ridde; ESBC
Introductory chapter from a new (Collective) book (in French): Vers une couverture sanitaire universelle en 2030 ? Réformes en Afrique subsaharienne
In order to achieve UHC by 2030, “…. Advocacy groups have been formed to uphold this objective (www.uhc2030.org). International programmes have been set up to support countries in policy dialogue to achieve this (https://www.uhcpartnership.net) Bilateral projects (Belgian, Japanese, French, etc.) have been established to further test and implement interventions specifically dedicated to its pursuit. Experts and technical assistants have been deployed to advise policymakers. And finally, research teams are still trying to understand how to strengthen UHC based on evidence (https://www.unissahel.org) and which instruments are most relevant to move towards UHC. Despite all these efforts, as I will try to demonstrate in the rest of this introduction, most of the instruments tested in the last 10 years are part of the tradition and ideology of New Public Management (NPM). …. “
“This book, therefore, aims to make the most out of recent research on UHC in sub-Saharan Africa by increasing its accessibility to a larger number of people by publishing it in French, free of charge. Its objective is greater sharing of knowledge and dissemination of lessons learned from the reforms undertaken. Instead of presenting each of the 28 chapters individually, of which summaries are available at the end of the book, to understand their contents, I thought it more relevant to offer, based on the texts gathered in this book, a global reflection on the past and contemporary history of UHC in this region of the world. ….”
We certainly already thoroughly enjoyed this introductory chapter on NPM instruments 😊.
“Two new analyses of whistleblower documents and court records by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath and published by STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, suggest that British American Tobacco PLC (BAT) allegedly used payments to dozens of individuals and potentially unlawful surveillance to tighten its already crushing market grip on Africa.
The reports—one on the company’s activities in several East and Central African countries, another on its aggressive tactics in South Africa—reveal that BAT appeared to be operating “as if it were above the law,” according to the report on South Africa, to sell cigarettes to Africans—products known to cause tobacco-related illness, death and economic harm—across the region….”
The author is co-author, along with 16 influential academic researchers, of a lengthy review the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published on Sept. 13. The principal author is David Ludwig, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We argue that the reason so little progress has been made against obesity and type 2 diabetes is because the field has been laboring, quite literally, in the sense intended by philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, under the wrong paradigm. … …. This energy-in-energy-out conception of weight regulation, we argue, is fatally, tragically flawed: Obesity is not an energy balance disorder, but a hormonal or constitutional disorder, a dysregulation of fat storage and metabolism, a disorder of fuel-partitioning. Because these hormonal responses are dominated by the insulin signaling system, which in turn responds primarily (although not entirely) to the carbohydrate content of the diet, this thinking is now known as the carbohydrate-insulin model…..”
A Berner-Rodoreda & A Jahn; http://www.ijhpm.com/article_4136.html
“Suzuki and colleagues’ rare and elaborate analysis of the political processes behind the 2018 UN Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Declaration discloses various pathways towards influencing global public health policies. Their study should be a wake-up call for further scientific political scrutiny and analysis, including clearly distinguishing between consultations such as UN multi-stakeholder hearings preceding high-level meetings and the actual negotiating and decision making process. While stakeholder positions at interactive hearings are documented and published and thus made transparent, the negotiating process among member states is not publicly known. The extent to which intergovernmental negotiations are influenced at country or regional levels by commercial interests through direct and indirect lobbying outside of public consultations should be given more attention. Lobby registers should be implemented more stringently and legislative footprints required and applied not only to legally binding but also to internationally important documents such as political declarations.”
“….The emerging concept of good brain health—variously defined, but according to WHO, a state in which every individual can optimise their cognitive, emotional, psychological, and behavioural functioning; not merely the absence of disease—offers a way to bring disparate parties together. By demanding good brain health, reductionist, disease-focused clinicians (psychiatrists and neurologists), health professionals, and researchers might be encouraged to leave their silos and work together for a common good. A holistic suite of interventions are needed for good brain health, not just across the whole life course, but also in society at large. Addressing the social determinants of mental health will require action on many fronts….”
“The leading international organization for suicide prevention has called for the decriminalization of suicide – as well as greater investment by countries in suicide prevention, including greater restrictions on access to common suicide tools such as toxic pesticides and firearms. The appeals, by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), come on World Suicide Prevention Day, observed every year on 10 September. …”
“There are concerns that COVID-19 will have an impact on overall donor funding. But new data shows that even before the pandemic, there was a reduction in donor funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights, or SRHR, in 2019. Donors of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee disbursed $6.41 billion for SRHR in 2019 — a decrease of over $1 billion compared to 2018 and 2017 disbursements, which were at $7.68 billion and $7.73 billion, respectively, according to the latest report by NGO Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung. This “can partially be explained” by a decrease in U.S. funding, although this data might still be updated, as per the report. Still, the United States remained the biggest donor to SRHR both in total disbursements and official development assistance percentage ….”
The article also has some analysis on the potential impact of the pandemic on SRHR funding.
See the press release (13 Sept) - More than 2,185 scientists and academics call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
“ On the eve of the United Nations General Assembly, thousands of academics urge governments to negotiate an international treaty that tackles the climate crisis at its source: fossil fuels….”
“Fixating on ‘net zero’ means betting the future of life on Earth that someone will invent some kind of whiz-bang tech to draw down CO2.”
Cfr tweet by the author: “ There are two fatal flaws with “net zero by 2050.” One is “net zero.” The other is “by 2050”.”
Instead he suggests: “ … I believe the global zero-emissions goal should be set no later than 2035; high-emitting nations have a moral obligation to go faster, and to provide transition assistance to low-emitting nations. Crucially, any zero goal must be paired with a commitment to annual reductions leading steadily to this goal year by year, and binding plans across all levels of government to achieve those annual targets. If this sounds extreme, bear in mind that climate breakdown has still only barely begun and that the damage will be irreversible. Negative emissions strategies must also be left out of climate planning – in other words, forget the “net” in “net zero”…”
Debate curated by Simon Maxwell (and very much recommended). Debate between Jason “Less is More” Hickel & Stéphane Hallegatte (lead economist with the Climate Change Group of the World Bank).
“The temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by global COVID-19 lockdowns did not slow the relentless advance of climate change. Greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels, and the planet is on path towards dangerous overheating, a multi-agency climate report published on Thursday warns. According to the landmark United in Science 2021, there “is no sign of growing back greener”, as carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly accelerating, after a temporary blip in 2020 due to COVID, and nowhere close to the targets set by the Paris Agreement. “We have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought, and it is moving faster than predicted”, UN Secretary General António Guterres underscored….”
“An alliance of faith-based and civil society groups working for food sovereignty and sustainability in Africa called on donors to stop funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and other programs that promote industrialized agriculture on the continent.”
“The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is the continent’s largest network of faith-based organizations and other civil society groups, representing more than 200 million farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and Indigenous peoples across Africa. This week, AFSA delivered a letter — endorsed by international organizations — to AGRA donors, saying “AGRA has unequivocally failed in its mission to increase productivity and incomes and reduce food insecurity,” and stated in a press release that AGRA “does not speak for African small-scale farmers.” …”
PS: “… AGRA was founded in 2006 with the vision of using a “green revolution” — a push to transform agriculture and raise yields through what it calls “innovative approaches” — to increase the income and food security of 30 million small-scale farmer households by 2021. To achieve these goals, AGRA received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other donors including the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany….”
“Environmental network calls for delay to the November meeting, but many developing countries and the host nation vow to press on in face of climate threats.”
“None of the world's major economies -- including the entire G20 -- have a climate plan that meets their obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to an analysis published Wednesday, despite scientists' warning that deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are needed now. The watchdog Climate Action Tracker (CAT) analyzed the policies of 36 countries, as well as the 27-nation European Union, and found that all major economies were off track to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The countries together make up 80% of the world's emissions….”
“Drastic changes to the climate are likely to be “locked in” by 2040 unless the biggest polluting countries “dramatically” reduce their carbon emissions, a report has warned. An analysis by foreign affairs think tank Chatham House says that the world has only up until the end of this decade to take firm action on rising temperatures - after this point changes could be “so severe they go beyond the limit of what nations can adapt to”. The report warns of major crises if emissions are not cut back by 2040. For example, 3.9 billion people are likely to experience major heatwaves, such as the one endured by residents of Canada and southern Europe earlier this summer. This figure is 12 times greater than the historic average. The analysis shows that the current global efforts to cut carbon emissions put the world on track for warming of at least 2.7°C, compared to pre-industrial levels, by the end of the century. This is far higher than the threshold of 1.5°C agreed at the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015….”
“The report authors hope that the analysis will be a wake-up call for heads of state attending November’s international climate conference in Glasgow….”
Lancet Global Health - Why and for whom are we decolonising global health?
Lancet Global Health - Transcending global health dogma: an Indigenous perspective
“Current perspectives on global health are largely determined and advocated for by people or institutions in Europe or in the USA…. … These solutions are exported and chorused by supporting academics and politicians and become a global dogma. As with any dogma, criticism is discouraged and belief in experts is demanded. We suggest four steps to transcend this approach and allow for plurality….” “….Indigenous people worldwide have recognised the limits of current concepts of non-Indigenous systems on health, particularly in addressing the link between specific sociocultural realities and health outcomes. The resultant so-called modern health-care intervention models are inadequate when dealing with people and societies who are resisting the ethos of acceleration that characterises many contemporary societies…”
Lancet Global Health - Thinking outside the modern capitalist logic: health-care systems based in other world views
Lancet Global Health - What is wrong with global health? So-called glorified data collectors in low-income regions Nice one.
Developing Policy Review - North–South research collaborations: An empirical evaluation against principles of transboundary research
Statement (16 Sept). “…After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. The World Bank Group remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this. Going forward, we will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate. …”
See also Devex – World Bank scraps Doing Business rankings due to data irregularities
“The World Bank is retiring its flagship Doing Business publication, citing “data irregularities” in recent editions of the global business climate index. An independent investigation document released Thursday also found that Kristalina Georgieva, who served as the bank’s chief executive officer from 2017 to 2019 and is now the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, applied “pressure” to have China ranked more favorably….”
PS: “In a statement emailed to Devex, Georgieva rejected the findings.”
For what these sorts of indexes are worth: CGD launched its (annual) “ measuring the policy efforts of 40 major economies in supporting development in other countries. The CDI focuses on the development spillover effects of policies in eight component areas: development finance, investment, migration, trade, environment, health, security, and technology. “
PS: as for the global health ranking (focused on global public goods - #vaccination #AMR and health-related trade): “… Finland tops the new health component, ahead of Sweden, with Japan taking third spot. Each scores well on limiting antimicrobial resistance. Australia and Saudi Arabia complete the top 5 on health. This performance on health boosted these countries overall ranking by at least 4 places (except Sweden, who were already top), with Australia ranking 4th overall…”
“The ecommerce company is developing services for consumers and hospitals but faces competition from Google, Microsoft and Walmart.”
“ … The company is in the process of unveiling a flurry of consumer-facing healthcare services, such as an online pharmacy and telehealth. At the same time, it is steadily developing its capabilities with AWS (Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing arm) — an effort to create a new operating system for care that ranges from managing healthcare records to applying AI to predict when a person may become ill. Amazon, long assumed to be a sleeping giant in healthcare, is finally awakening. Its target audience is striking in its breadth: the company is at once selling its healthcare credentials directly to consumers, to employers frustrated with costs, and to the hospitals and health networks responsible for administering care….”
“£200m project to tackle avoidable blindness and disfigurement in Africa is axed with cut to aid budget.”
“ … the government’s flagship programme to fight neglected tropical diseases , it was announced. Known as Ascend (Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases), the £200m project had been divided into two, one in west and central Africa, the other stretching across eastern and southern Africa and parts of south Asia. Both had been due to continue until 2022. Instead they ended a fortnight ago….”
“Many in the WASH sector are excited by The Lancet’s launch of a new Commission on WASH and health. But turning research into action at national levels continues to pose a challenge.”
“The commission — made up of 21 researchers from different disciplines — aims to “reimagine and reconstitute WASH” as a central pillar of public health, gender equality, and social and environmental justice. Its three priorities are assessing the health, social, and environmental consequences of slow progress toward universal access to WASH; examining the financial costs of achieving it; and making recommendations for reform that focus on establishing national systems capable of WASH delivery and responding to challenges…. …. … The commission’s research will be funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation….”
Civil society calls on G20 countries and the IMF to abide by certain key principles for rechannelling Special Drawing Rights to developing countries. In addition to calling for debt-free and policy conditionality free rechannelling, the letter calls for transparency and accountability and to Prioritize SDR use that expands international grant funding for combatting the pandemic through budget support for public services and the public sector workforce in health and education, for social protection and other needs.
Check out the program. With some great keynotes, among others.
With plenty of interesting content, some of which already appeared online in the past weeks. See also above (DGH section).
B Wenniseri et al ; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/17579759211019214
“The next international gathering of the global health promotion family will be in Montreal, in May 2022. The 24th IUHPE conference is themed ‘Promoting policies for health, well-being and equity’. Conference organizers have decided to transcend the ‘usual suspects’ rhetoric and frame a conference program that truly challenges these key notions for health promotion. In this contribution, members of the Canadian National and Global Scientific Committees reflect on the state of play and the opportunities ahead. We propose three themes as follows: (a) breaking news (the promise and opportunities for disruptions and tipping points, whether from pandemic health challenges, climate change, geopolitical shifts, social unrest or technological promise); (b) breaking free (from world-views that favor only market solutions, divisions between North and South, toward emancipatory decolonizing practices and knowledge systems); and (c) breaking through (disciplines, silos, boundaries and identities engrained in our practices and understandings for innovation.)”
“Can there be a “radical IR?” Scholars have given little attention to the question of the following: where is radicalism in the discipline? I argue that not only is it possible to think about radical international theory, but that it is necessary in the contemporary world. International theorists have to grapple with developments of fundamental change, including the so-described decline of the (neo)liberal international order, transformations in global capital, and an upsurge in populist political movements that advocate for fundamental political change. In approaching the question of radicalism in IR, the article develops a working definition of radicalism as an approach to politics that focuses on the International as a whole, uses theoretical tools from the humanistic sciences to engage in an active politics of fundamental transformation, and deploys methods that are historicist, genealogical, and oriented toward “getting to the root of things.” Additionally, the paper illustrates the virtues and promises of a radical IR by using the case of (neo)liberal world order arguments to show how a radical IR could change the trajectory of these engagements.”
Steinert JL et al ; https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/7/e005380.citation-tools
Check out also the related resource – Ethics resource site: https://ethicsresource.ringsgenderresearch.org/
“Day-to-day dilemmas: An ethical guide for health systems researchers.”
“ Aid planners and observers deride departmental silos in donor bureaucracies as hopelessly out of fashion, ill-suited to multi-sectoral global challenges like a changing climate or a pandemic-induced recession. Nevertheless, Development Assistance Committee (DAC) governments continue to consolidate bureaucratic power for global development within their foreign affairs departments, in many cases sidelining more robust engagements by line ministries. Tackling global challenges effectively needs donors to rethink how the resources and expertise of diverse governmental actors are brought together. Bilateral donor governance urgently needs a conductor to coordinate a whole-of-government development policy and an orchestra of actors for its implementation. Sadly, several donors are muddling through without either.”
“The annual report on Financing the UN Development System is the result of a longstanding partnership between the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (the Foundation) and the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office)…”
J Smith, C Wenham et al; https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/73IB27DVDHVEVSMMTM7G/full?target=10.1080/11926422.2021.1969971
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented attention to the relationship between gender inequality and global health security. Within this context, Canada is well placed, due to its foreign and domestic policy commitments to advancing gender equity, to take a leadership role in addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and priority populations. We propose three ways Canada might exercise this comparative advantage, to both be a leader in the global COVID-19 response and to advance a feminist foreign policy: prioritize the care economy within international assistance, champion a feminist global health agenda, and sensitize the security sector to rights-based approaches to health emergencies. ….”
Global Public Health – Reimagining authorship guidelines to promote equity in co-produced academic collaborations
· Guy Standing (Social Europe) - Rescuing the concept of precarity :
“The cause of the precariat isn’t helped by fuzzy thinking about who and what it is.”
· Branko Milanovic: Can globalization be “improved”?
Review by Milanovic of a new book, “Six faces of globalization” by Anthea Roberts and Nicolas Lamp, in which they produce six plausible narratives of globalization.
Re the excellent Nature piece - The fight to manufacture COVID vaccines in lower-income countries
“This is an instructive piece about different kinds of technology transfer. It's a spectrum - 'fill and finish' & intensive instruction/teaching all figuring on it. Entities in the South should seek to be more than the worker bees of vaccine production. #TRIPSwaiver.”
(on the same Nature article):
“If not now then when? 9 months after COVID vaccine roll-out started, vaccine inequity remains dramatic yet US and Europe stand by as a handful of "their" companies refuse to share these critical technologies that at the expense of people's lives. #UNGA76.”
Deadline was 17 Sept. But good to know already, perhaps:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Universal health and preparedness review (UHPR) advisory group. … … The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that no country was fully prepared to deal with a pandemic of such scale, speed, severity and impact. A new mechanism, the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR), has been proposed as means to increase accountability and transparency among Member States in gap identification and capacity building for better health emergency preparedness. The peer-review nature of the envisioned UHPR ensures that key issues identified will be acted upon at the highest political levels of government and that relevant recommendations will be followed up upon and monitored on regular basis….”
“In the two decades since Brazil, Russia, India, and China were recognized for their unique growth potential, they, along with South Africa, have so far proven incapable of uniting as a meaningful global force. This comes at the expense not only of the bloc, but of better global governance as well.”
Especially for this quote:
“Since the fall of 2020, I have had the privilege of serving on the World Health Organization’s independent Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, which is chaired by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. One crucial proposal from our initial Call to Action this past spring, now outlined in detail in our final report, is to establish a Global Health and Finance Board under the auspices of the G20. …. …. This proposal already has the support of several key governments, notably those of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, and the European Union. Yet for reasons I fail to understand, the BRICS, especially China, seem to be opposed to it. Such resistance makes no sense and will have dire consequences for the rest of the world. It gives me and other longtime champions even more reason to doubt the group’s collective potential….”
Ahead of the G20 meeting in October, in Italy.
On the site, you also find a number of policy briefs.
“New Africa-based home sought for programmes to minimise disruption as Gates and others pull support.”
“The African Academy of Sciences is making nearly half its secretariat staff redundant amid the withdrawal of some of its funders. The AAS has been a major focus for funding on the continent, with several western funders using it to channel funds to researchers across Africa. But it has been rocked by multiple major issues over the past year. The funders withdrew their support for the AAS, which hosts the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) funding platform, on 31 July due to governance concerns at the academy….”
Of Elections and Booster Campaigns : a few quotes:
· “… there is excitement about Norwegian elections this morning in Europe.
Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s likely new prime minister, was formerly chief of staff at WHO. Norway plays a critical role not only at the helm of the ACT Accelerator. Norwegian Ambassador to the WTO is the chair of the TRIPS Council at a time when the discussions on the TRIPS Waiver are entering a critical stage. Fascinating how these events come together….”
· And on Aidspan’s The Global Fund Strategy’s Evolving Objective Of Pandemic Preparedness And Response: A response too far? (see also last week’s IHP news)
“As noted in our special Board issue of the GFO on 12 May (The Proposed New Strategy Framework Provokes Lively Debate), Peter Sands would like the Global Fund to become the ‘go-to’ mechanism for C19 and any future pandemics. He wants to position the Fund at the centre, and one of his arguments for doing so is that, if Global Fund does not take this on, it may not be able to raise enough funds through the upcoming Seventh Replenishment (although to date there is no evidence of this from any donor).”
· IPS - Food Systems Summit’s Scientistic Threat (by J K Sundaram)
“In this position, Kavanagh will assist UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in creating the new Policy, Advocacy, and Knowledge branch that will support and advance the new Global AIDS Strategy….”
“The world's poorest countries asked for more help [last week] on Friday to meet vaccination and quarantine requirements and costs to ensure they can take part in next month's global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.”
“Figures from Global Witness for 2020 show violent resource grab continued unabated despite pandemic.”
“At least 216 million people may be forced to leave their homes in the next 30 years as a result of the impact of climate change, according to a new World Bank report. People all over the world will have to migrate within their own countries by 2050 in order to survive, according to the latest World Bank Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration report. The report models the numbers who will be affected by what it calls the “slow onset” effects of climate change, and who will be forced to leave areas facing growing water scarcity, lower crop productivity, and sea level rise. It also refers to the increasing numbers of places where life will be utterly impossible, either because of land loss, extreme weather events, or because temperatures in the region are just too high for the human body to withstand - although these areas are not included in the model. …”
“… However, the report says that the figures could be brought down by as much as 80 per cent - to 44 million - if action is taken now both to cut emissions, help people adapt to a changing climate, and to prepare for any necessary migration. …”
“The global production of food is responsible for a third of all planet-heating gases emitted by human activity, with the use of animals for meat causing twice the pollution of producing plant-based foods, a major new study has found. The entire system of food production, such as the use of farming machinery, spraying of fertilizer and transportation of products, causes 17.3bn metric tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, according to the research. This enormous release of gases that fuel the climate crisis is more than double the entire emissions of the US and represents 35% of all global emissions, researchers said. …“ Cfr a new paper, .
See also HPW.
“Report by climate groups found more than three-quarters of projects were discarded after the deal was signed.”
“Almost 90% of the $540bn in global subsidies given to farmers every year are “harmful”, a startling UN report has found.”
“Support for the “outsized” meat and dairy industry in rich countries must be reduced, while subsidies for polluting chemical fertilisers and pesticides must fall in lower-income countries, the analysis said. The report, published before a UN food systems summit on 23 September, said repurposing the subsidies to beneficial activities could “be a game changer” and help to end poverty, eradicate hunger, improve nutrition, reduce global heating and restore nature.
The by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and is an underestimate of the total subsidies in the food system, as it only includes those for which reliable data is available in 88 countries….”
“…. Nipah remains a concern, not just in India but for the entire planet. The World Health Organization classifies it as a "virus of concern" for future epidemics because "each year it spills over from its animal reservoir into humans," says Dr. Stephen Luby, professor of infectious disease at Stanford University. And when humans are infected it can be transmitted from person-to-person….”
“Health authorities are racing to control a meningitis outbreak that has hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 100 people….”
Link: Journal of Global Health - Setting priorities for ageing research in Africa: A systematic mapping review of 512 studies from sub-Saharan Africa
Link: BMJ GH (Commentary) - Rapid policy development for essential RMNCAH services in sub-Saharan Africa: what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic and what needs to happen going forward (by Peter Waiswa et al)
Link: BMJ Global Health - The quality of medical products for cardiovascular diseases: a gap in global cardiac care
Human Resources for Health - Global accreditation practices for accelerated medically trained clinicians: a view of five countries
“China's Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O) is in talks about setting up a vaccine production facility in South Africa with its local partner, the chief executive of Numolux said [last week] on Friday.”
“State pressure has a role in public health. Covid-19 jabs are no exception.”
“US researchers say teenagers are more likely to get vaccine-related myocarditis than end up in hospital with Covid.”
“Laboratory studies suggest this variant may be better at avoiding the immune system but lags Delta when it comes to transmission and infecting cells.”
“Senior officials from the White House and the FDA say the CDC is withholding critical data needed to develop the booster plan. Top Biden Covid-19 officials are increasingly clashing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the administration pushes to begin distributing booster shots widely by Sept. 20. In meetings and conversations over the past month, senior officials from the White House Covid-19 task force and the Food and Drug Administration have repeatedly accused CDC of withholding critical data needed to develop the booster shot plan — delaying work on the next step of President Joe Biden’s vaccination campaign and making it more difficult to set clear expectations for the public….”
“Successful strategies used in Asia and the Pacific may not be sustainable in the long run.”
“Hundreds of scientists had worked on mRNA vaccines for decades before the coronavirus pandemic brought a breakthrough.”
“A preliminary analysis of viral genomes suggests the COVID-19 pandemic might have multiple animal origins – but the findings still have to be peer reviewed.”
“Analysts predict revenues from Covid-19 jabs will fall precipitously by 2024.”