COVID-19 Resources for the Global Health Community

We will share resources for the global health community on COVID-19 and keep this page up to date as much as possible. Please bookmark this page. If you have a resource to share, please email ihsection.communciations@gmail.com 

Last updated: Friday, March 27, 2020

Categories:

  1. APHA’s COVID-19 Information Page
  2. Resources for Sharing with the General Public
  3. Webinars and Events (Past and Future)
  4. Global Health Policies and Funding
  5. Global Health Focused Newsletters
  6. What You Can Do
  7. Technology Tools
  8. Equity and Inclusion 
  9. Medical Journal Resource Centers
  10. Official Resources
  11. Dashboards and Data Modeling
  12. Clinical Resources
  13. Funding Opportunities

APHA’s COVID-19 Information Page

A great, short video of Dr. Benjamin talking about not panicking and the role of public health in a pandemic, and a 10-minute podcast conversation he had with JHU’s Josh Sharfstein on how public health can serve the communities that are at greatest risk for being left behind.

http://publichealthnewswire.org/?p=georges-benjamin-on-pandemic 

APHA is urging the public health community to share science-based information with the public and speaking out for funding and support to respond to the outbreak. The page includes information on what APHA is doing, links to the latest guidance, and fact sheets on what you need to know about COVID-19 that can be shared with the public.

https://apha.org/topics-and-issues/communicable-disease/coronavirus

As of today, APHA is fully committed to holding the 2020 APHA Annual Meeting and Expo in San Francisco, Oct. 24-28, as planned.

http://publichealthnewswire.org/?p=apha-2020-status

A list of APHA’s priorities during pandemic response 

https://apha.org/-/media/files/pdf/topics/covid/apha_pandemic_priorities.ashx?la=en&hash=EFA7A5939CD07E2EA03DFDF4C524BC0B000B6B84

APHA’s Get Ready campaign has resources that can be shared widely. Includes fact sheets, videos, FAQs, preparation tips, resources for specific audiences, graphics, and videos.

http://aphagetready.org/coronavirus.htm

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Resources for Sharing with the General Public

COVID-19 Expert Reality Check

To help improve understanding of an emerging outbreak’s complex dynamics, Global Health Now has reached out to some of the world’s most respected global health experts for their quick “reality checks” on key issues related to the outbreak.

https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2020-02/coronavirus-expert-reality-check

WHO Advice for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding

Question and answer on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding

Hesperian Health Guides Fact Sheets in Multiple Languages

Hesperian Health Guides has Fact Sheets in accessible and clear information on Coronavirus (online and as downloadable/ printable PDFs) in: English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Urdu, Bangla, Filipino, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Farsi, Sindhi, Telugu, and Hindi.

https://en.hesperian.org/hhg/Coronavirus

Coronavirus Information in Multiple Languages

Washington State has released fact sheets in multiple languages: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese Simplified and Traditional, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/FactSheet

AA and NHPI In-Language Resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This google spreadsheet is a collection of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) in-language resources on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The resource links have been submitted by national and community-based organizations that work with health & AA and NHPI communities.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XePaKv7Ar59PG7z37QqzIb8WfynEx5BK5ZfK3VLXIJA/edit#gid=1512808134

CDC COVID-19 Communication Resources

CDC offers free resources including video, fact sheets, and posters. Below are links to current communication tools and resources available for use and distribution.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/index.html

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Webinars and Events (Past and Future)

Future Events

Pandemic Response Hackathon
March 27-29, 2020

The Pandemic Response Hackathon is a virtual hackathon aimed at better understanding and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Our goal is to bring public health professionals alongside the technology community’s talent to contribute to the world’s response to the pandemic. Hackathon projects will be formulated and judged by an interdisciplinary panel of public health, health IT, and policy experts.

https://datavant.com/pandemic-response-hackathon/

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans: Community Briefing on COVID-19
March 31, 2020 | 12 PM ET

Join us to hear from AAPI national community leaders about resources to combat COVID-19 and anti-Asian rhetoric. Come learn more about how you can get involved so we can all stand together as a more unified AAPI Community.

http://bit.ly/AAPICOVID19Briefing 

COVID-19: Why Paid Sick Leave Matters to Controlling its Spread
April 1, 2020 | 4:00 EST

The webinar will highlight recommendations made in Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) Ready or Not and Promoting Health and Cost Control in States reports on the important role of paid sick leave in combating infectious diseases, as well as other complementary evidence-based policies that can be adopted by federal, state and local governments and by employers. Those participating in the webinar will hear about pending federal legislation, states that have adopted laws regarding paid leave, and businesses that are expanding these benefits. There will also be a focus on the potential short-term uses of the recently approved supplemental budget to assist individuals without paid leave when confined to their homes. Please join this timely webinar hosted by TFAH with a panel discussion and time for audience Q&A. Registration is free and closed captioning is available to all attendees.

Registration link

COVID-19 and HIV: Webinar series
April 3, 2020 | 9:00 – 10:30 Zurich time, CEST

The IAS is organizing a series of webinars on COVID-19 and HIV to discuss the pandemic and its impact on people living with HIV. The first webinar of this series, COVID-19 and HIV: What you need to know, will take place on 3 April 2020 (9:00 – 10:30 Zurich time, CEST).

Register here

Past Events

The Science of Social Distancing: Part 1

The first COVID-19 Conversations webinar will review how COVID-19 is transmitted, historical lessons from past pandemics, the state of the science on social distancing, and the targeted and layered nature of how social distancing practices are enacted. This is a free webinar series from the National Academy of Medicine and APHA on the latest science and strategies.

https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/meetingArchive?eventId=mj415bksu3zh

How PEPFAR investments can be re-utilized in the COVID-19 response

Digital Square is hosting a webinar on how PEPFAR investments can be re-utilized in the COVID-19 response. Speakers Carl Leitner (Digital Square at PATH), Annah Ngararu (ICF), Vladimer Shioshvili (ICF), and Emily Nicolson (IntraHealth) will present on a mix of digital tools including DATIM, Patient Level Monitoring, and the Global Open Facility Registry. Please use this link to register for the Zoom session. We encourage you to share this invite with your colleagues and others in the global health community.

https://wiki.digitalsquare.io/index.php/Global_Goods_Community

Italy and Germany Facing COVID-19

As Europe is now at the centre of the COVID-19 crisis, public health response strategies and hospital infrastructures are being tested, the hardest way. How do we make sure our health systems are not completely overwhelmed? How do we secure a continuity in the provision of services to our citizens while protecting our already burned out workforces? And how can digital solutions help? This webinar compares the situation and approach of two very different health systems in Europe: Italy and Germany.

https://www.himsslearn.org/italy-and-germany-facing-covid-19

COVID-19 Virtual Summit

Watch videos from this three-day virtual summit that featured leading experts in health, medicine, technology, society, and impact. It is focused on sharing facts, facilitating discussion, answering questions, and addressing your concerns around COVID-19, as well as the impact of outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz-xaNyC9s_pNVok3fFcuLQjFZDXP7KX4

How the Global Digital Health Community Can Support COVID Response

On March 12, members from around the world gathered for a rapid response session of the GDHN on COVID-19. The interactive workshop started with an update on COVID-19 and coronavirus infections. Government health experts in LMICs reported on what national health systems are doing to prepare and mitigate COVID-19 impact. Additionally, the meeting revisited lessons learned from the West African Ebola response. The group explored the challenges in responding to coronavirus, and identified use cases where digital development solutions can be utilized in COVID response. The recording is available using this link

https://www.globaldigitalhealthnetwork.org/2020/03/17/slides-and-recording-gdhn-november-2019-meeting-2/

List of Canceled Health Conferences

As the novel coronavirus races around the globe, a growing number of conference organizers are cancelling, postponing, or virtualizing their medical meetings, biotech gatherings, and scientific summits.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/07/stats-guide-health-care-conferences-disrupted-covid-19

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COVID-19 Global Health Policies and Funding

Global Health Council – U.S. and Global Response to COVID-19

Global Health Council has compiled detailed information about what the US government, other governments and WHO are doing to address the spread of COVID-19.

https://globalhealth.org/coronavirus-response-information/

US State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus

To date, states have taken a number of actions aimed at reducing existing barriers to testing and treatment for those affected. These specific policy actions are compiled below, along with data on current cases and deaths as well as additional state-level data on health coverage and provider capacity within each state, important factors that may play a role in how effectively states respond to this outbreak. These data will be updated regularly and new information will be added in response to the evolving situation.

https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/state-data-and-policy-actions-to-address-coronavirus

Donor Funding for the Global Novel COVID-19 Response

While donors have begun providing support to China and other low- and middle-income countries, there is currently no centralized repository for this information. This tracker provides an accounting of publicly available information on donor funding to date. Not included are funding from governments for their own domestic response efforts or commitments focused on economic stimulus or recovery efforts related to the outbreak (such as a $6 billion commitment from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation or a $50 billion commitment, including $10 billion in zero-interest loans for low-income countries, from the International Monetary Fund).1 It will be updated as needed.

https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/issue-brief/donor-funding-for-the-global-novel-coronavirus-response/

WHO COVID-19 Response

A list of donors contributing to WHO for the COVID-19 response.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/donors-and-partners/funding

USAID Response

Track developments in USAID assistance for COVID-19.

https://www.usaid.gov/coronavirus

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Global Health Focused Newsletters

Kaiser Family Foundation

The Kaiser Family Foundation sends emails to notify subscribers of new research, reports, polls and data available on our website, as well as to invite you to public briefings.  They also publish a daily newsletter summarizing global health policy news.  

https://www.kff.org/email/

The Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.

https://www.csis.org/subscribe

Health Security Headlines

A daily digest of news and developments in health security published by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security. Health Security Headlines is a daily update on US and global health security. The editorial team tracks the most important news, events, developments, research, and policy in the areas that comprise health security: biosecurity and biodefense, medicine and public health, science and technology, domestic preparedness and response, government affairs and national security, and 21st century threats.

http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/newsroom/newsletters/hsh/

Global Health NOW – John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Global Health NOW is an essential daily read for anyone interested in US and global public health. Every weekday, we aggregate and summarize the latest global health news—delivering all the day’s critical stories to your inbox.

https://www.globalhealthnow.org/subscribe

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What You Can Do

APHA Advocacy Letters

Global Health Preparedness

Recommendations for investing in preparedness by topping up the CDC, USAID, and Defense and State Department health security accounts, investing more in the World Health Organization, the Africa CDC, and the Global Health Security Agenda.

https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/482049-stop-coronavirus-and-the-next-epidemic-by-establishing-a-healthy-security

Global Health Security Agenda

The Global Health Security Agenda is an international partnership that works to build capacity to prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11461

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is hosted by two foundations, the UN Foundation (registered in the United States) and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation (registered in Switzerland). Donations support WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments. 

https://www.covid19responsefund.org/

CDC Foundation Response Fund

Funds raised by the CDC Foundation through our Emergency Response Fund will be used to meet fast-emerging needs identified by CDC to help respond to the public health threat posed by this virus. These include additional support for state and local health departments, support for the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more.

https://www.cdcfoundation.org/coronavirus

APHA’s Advocacy Webpage

https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/advocacy-for-public-health

Global Health Advocacy Guide

Produced by the University of California’s Global Health Institute. Guide includes information on how to contact your representatives, meet with congressional representatives, and write an op-ed.

https://www.ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/sites/default/files/advocacy-student-guide.pdf

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Technology Tools

Global Telehealth Resource Aggregator

A resource directory created for individuals looking to get telemedicine consults, anywhere in the world.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XMsJJIduO6yI_GEo1Vy_b_SXoz9YwbgtEL63-siNS_Q/edit

10 Digital Health Technology Solutions for Global COVID-19 Response

A list of digital health solutions that could be used (or are already being used) to contain the coronavirus. The public solutions spreadsheet is for donors, governments, and health workers to identify new technologies for deployment to contain the coronavirus.

https://www.ictworks.org/digital-health-solutions-covid-response/#.XmpcHpNKhp8

WHO Health Alert brings COVID-19 facts to billions via WhatsApp

The service can be accessed through a link that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can simply type “hi” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19.

https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-health-alert-brings-covid-19-facts-to-billions-via-whatsapp

Online COVID-19 Assessment Tool

Emory doctors have helped create a new online tool allowing people everywhere to assess how likely it is that they have contracted the novel coronavirus.

https://c19check.com/start

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Equity and Inclusion

List of Women Experts in Global Health 

Women in Global Health and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security are compiling a list of expert women who are working to strengthen global, regional, national, and local capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks.

https://c8fbe10e-fb87-47e7-844b-4e700959d2d4.filesusr.com/ugd/ffa4bc_440731ea3dfd4985929e7045ee303ab1.pdf

International Disability Alliance Key Recommendations toward a Disability-Inclusive COVID19 Response

In the light of the COVID19 pandemic and with the aim to support a disability-inclusive response to the crisis, International Disability Alliance (IDA) has launched this webpage to share the most recent updates and resources as they become available.

http://www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/covid-19

Gender and COVID-19 Resources

Content on the gendered impact of COVID-19 from the Interagency Gender Working Group.

https://www.igwg.org/2020/03/gender-and-covid-19-corner

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Medical Journal Resource Centers

British Medical Journal

This page collects all BMJ coverage of the coronavirus outbreak from across the BMJ’s journals and learning resources. All articles and resources are freely available.

http://www.bmj.com/coronavirus

Journal of the American Medical Association

Browse the JAMA Network COVID-19 collection, including Q&A’s with NIAID’s Anthony Fauci, an interactive map of the outbreak courtesy of The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and past publications on vaccine development, infection control, and public health preparedness.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/coronavirus-alert

Lancet 

To assist health workers and researchers working under challenging conditions to bring this outbreak to a close, The Lancet has created a Coronavirus Resource Centre. This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) content from across The Lancet journals as it is published. All COVID-19 content is free to access.

https://www.thelancet.com/coronavirus

Nature

To support urgent research to combat the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the editorial teams at Nature Research have curated a collection of relevant articles. Their collection includes research into the basic biology of coronavirus infection, its detection, treatment and evolution, research into the epidemiology of emerging viral diseases, and coverage of current events. The articles will remain free to access for as long as the outbreak remains a public health emergency of international concern.

https://www.nature.com/collections/hajgidghjb

New England Journal of Medicine

A collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.

https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

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Official Resources on COVID-19

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Dashboards and Data Modeling

WHO Situation Dashboard

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd

John Hopkins Bloomberg Dashboard

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0jwCaN2Ls7RtVoJjlcu3REPJb4VmeYwbyrNghpn7fp9wDc3n44nOdwnL0#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

University of Washington Virology COVID-19 Dashboard

http://depts.washington.edu/labmed/covid19/

US COVID-19 Projections 

https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections

Estimation of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Prevalence in Santa Clara County

https://medium.com/@jsteinhardt/estimation-of-sars-cov-2-infection-prevalence-in-santa-clara-county-36f9f7daab71

Epidemic Calculator

http://gabgoh.github.io/COVID/index.html

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Clinical Resources

Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment

The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine has treated 104 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 50 days, and their experts wrote real treatment experience night and day, and published this Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment yesterday, expecting to share their invaluable practical advice and references with medical staff around the world. You can read the handbook in English online or download it for free.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GFYb9axy9e-hstAsf0A20STFSLeaxzrU/view

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Funding Opportunities

Grant Opportunities to tackle the Coronavirus Outbreak

A list of recently opened funding opportunities for you to fight the coronavirus outbreak that hit nations globally.

https://www2.fundsforngos.org/listing/grant-opportunities-to-tackle-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

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News Round Up

Politics & Policies

One of the hallmarks of an effective foreign policy is that it runs in the background, neither loud nor especially visible. Governments must urgently adopt such an approach to stem the growing global panic caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which has now killed more than 1,300 people and infected in excess of 63,000.

Tedros took office on 1 July 2017 with an ambitious to-do list: Reform WHO, strengthen evidence-based decision-making, highlight the health impact of climate change, and provide 1 billion more people with health coverage. But the epidemic of COVID-19, as the new disease was christened on 11 February, will overshadow all of his stated priorities.

As concerns mount over the coronavirus that first emerged in China, public health officials there and around the globe have launched a massive response.

Amid two global health crises, the Trump administration has proposed cutting $3 billion from the U.S. government’s global health programs in its latest budget request.

In the midst of a growing public health care emergency with the coronavirus and more than 15 years after the SARS epidemic, an international study shows that no country is fully prepared to deal with a potentially deadly outbreak.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The World Health Organization (WHO) comprehensive global review highlights the importance of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for human health.

UnitaidExplore is a new funding mechanism seeking new ideas from across spheres to develop innovations or innovative products that can be modified, repurposed, or re-imagined for the goals of global health. UnitaidExplore is looking to improve existing methods of delivery of oxygen therapy, and through that to improve access to oxygen in low resource settings

Research

In December 2019, an outbreak of COVID-19, an acute respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (also known as 2019-nCoV) was detected in mainland China. Researchers have been tracking the spread of the virus, have developed a diagnostic test for 2019-nCoV and are working on a number of vaccines to protect against 2019-nCoV.

Seasonal influenza virus is a common cause of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children. In 2008, we estimated that 20 million influenza-virus-associated ALRI and 1 million influenza-virus-associated severe ALRI occurred in children under 5 years globally.

Due to Zika virus, more than 1,600 babies were born in Brazil with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, from September 2015 through April 2016. The epidemic took health professionals by surprise because the virus had been known since 1947 and was not linked to birth defects.

Diseases & Disasters

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared, but he warned governments not to impose travel or trade restrictions on China.

Much of global health work focuses on making sure that the medical advances made in high-resource countries get to the patients who need them all around the world, including in poor, underdeveloped or remote areas.

As disasters have changed over the years, so must the personnel who manage these crises.  In 1932, sociologist Lowell Carr first described a predictable pattern of how disasters impact society. Refined over the decades by many researchers, the “disaster cycle” includes four phases: prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation.

The number of people who are infected with the new coronavirus that is spreading from China is dwarfed by those affected by a far more common respiratory illness: seasonal flu.  Every year there are as many as 5 million severe flu cases worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Technology 

Medic Mobile announced the creation of Medic Labs, a new global health technology accelerator, with $3 million in seed funding from The Rockefeller Foundation. Medic Labs will pursue moonshot ideas – in the tradition of dedicated R&D arms of major technology companies, including Microsoft Research, Google X, and Bell Labs – to drive better community health outcomes for all people, everywhere, through the intentional, equitable application of data science.

The WHO has its own app to help you keep updated on the latest global health information. The app updates daily with the latest news, feature stories, fact sheets, disease outbreak updates, and public health emergency information.

Tuberculosis (TB) has burdened humanity with symptoms including cough, fever, and emaciation for thousands of years. Today it is the world’s leading infectious disease killer: 10 million people fell ill from TB and 1.5 million died in 2018 alone. Yet only one low-efficacy TB vaccine exists, treatment takes months to years, and improved diagnostics designed specifically for low-resource settings are needed.

Environmental Health

The year-long investigation by EHN found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stacked the deck against findings from independent scientists that BPA, as well as many compounds used in “BPA-free” products, can harm people at very low doses.

Equity & Disparities

Low- and middle-income countries could see an 80 percent rise in cancer over the next 20 years if treatment and prevention services are not stepped up, according to the latest World Cancer Report.

In November, the WHO launched a pilot program to boost the availability of insulin worldwide. The idea is to work with insulin manufacturers to increase the global supply — and in the process, potentially drive down the price of the treatment.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10 percent of global health research is devoted to 90 percent of the global disease burden. WHO research confirms that the majority of diseases in low-income countries are caused by poverty.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A three day awareness campaign on high risk pregnancies was organised in Jhajhar district of Haryana as part of the SMARThealth pregnancy project from Feb 3 to 5, 2020.  This follows a similar exercise done in villages in Guntur for high risk mothers and ASHA workers.  The campaign was part of an endeavour to strengthen post and ante-natal care for pregnant women.  

Poor infection control practices led to an unprecedented HIV outbreak among hundreds of children in Pakistan, according to a recent study.

Top Five Global Medication-related Controversies in 2019

The onslaught of biomedical interventions has allowed healthcare professionals globally to provide more effective & efficient treatment. Medications, in particular, have equipped healthcare systems with chemical entities to combat infectious diseases, manage chronic disease states, and provide targeted oncology therapy. However, these synthetic agents are not without controversy or significant glitches. Despite the intention to do no harm, humanity is often burdened with the negative consequences of the biomedical age. As the global health community reflects on this past year, there is substantial insight to be gained by reviewing these controversies that occurred in 2019. The following five issues encompass a few of the biomedical controversies in 2019, so that internationally, our fragile species can learn and grow to further improve the lives around the globe. 

#1: Global Drug Deaths – Opioid Pandemic 

In June of 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the 2017 World Drug Report that highlighted the reach drug addiction has on humanity. The UNODC found that 35 million individuals were suffering from drug use disorders and required addiction treatment services. This is a 30% rise from near the end of the last decade. Of the deaths that occurred due to drug use disorders, 2/3rds were attributed to opioids alone which include both heroin and legal pain relievers. An increase of opioid use in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America in concert with the single largest yearly production of cocaine – 2000 tons – are thought to explain this rise in opioid deaths. In addition, this study discovered that parts of West, Central, and North Africa have been flooded with tramadol leading to this opioid’s abuse and the increase in global figures. 

Unfortunately, this study noted that only one in every seven people are receiving effective treatment for their drug-use disorder. Evidence-based interventions are either completely unavailable in their area of inhabitation or inaccessible due to cost, distance, stigma, or saturation of available treatment centers. This report concludes by encouraging nation states and the global community to increase their efforts and funding to providing this vital care to each patient seeking these services. 

#2: Medication Recall – Zantac 

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a UK based pharmaceutical industry, issued an October 2019 statement that informed the public on a recall of a common medication to treat peptic ulcer disease (PUD) – Zantac, also known & sold by its generic name ranitidine. The impurity N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was found in unacceptable limits as this chemical is known to be a potential carcinogen. All prescription dosage forms were recalled which included tables, syrups, and injections, and changes in the manufacturing process are thought to have caused this increased level. This recall follows the 2018 recall of the class of anti-hypertensive agents called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) that were adulterated with the same unacceptable limits of NDMA. 

#3: The Resurrection of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Medication 

In March of 2019, the pharmaceutical industry Biogen announced that it was terminating its phase three clinical trial of a novel entity in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. The termination of the monoclonal antibody, aducanumab, was due to no significant statistical differences between the treatment and placebo study arms. Aducanumab targets beta-amyloid plaque which has been the substiantal focus in Alzheimer’s treatment throughout the last several years. The preliminary results released by Biogen shocked the Alzheimer’s medical community, as this treatment showed so much promise in early stage trials. It was also the last potential target in this medication class, forcing many to believe a novel treatment modality would need to be pursued. 

However after a retrospective analysis of the complete data, Biogen reversed its decision in October 2019 and restarted their phase three clinical trials. The company stated that the researchers, initially worried about brain swelling and other side effects, increased the dose of aducanumab late in the study. This increased dosage showed increased effectiveness, 25% reduction in the rate of decline compared to placebo, when the researchers conducted the analysis after the initial cancellation. This increased dosage is still marred in controversy as two different trials, EMERGE & ENGAGE, both utilized the high dose regimen with the EMERGE participants seeing the aforementioned positive results while the ENGAGE participants actually seeing an increase in their cognitive decline. Biogen will file approval for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early in 2020, but experts are split on whether it will be approved or will require additional trial data. Regardless of the decision by the FDA, the success of aducanumab will shape the future of Alzheimer’s treatment and research. 

#4: A halt to Pediatric HIV Structural Violence: Quadrimune

Cipla, a generic manufacturing company based out of India, announced in late 2019 that they were going to start production of an antiretroviral pediatric formulation for just $1 per day. Quadriume, which contains ritonavir, lopinavir, abacavir and lamivudine, is strawberry flavored to increase the adherence rates for young children afflicted with this infectious disease. Before the availability of this formulation, UNAIDS estimated that globally 50% of the 160,000 children infected with HIV die each year before the age of two largely from access issues and inability to tolerate the older formulations. The older formulations had tolerance problems such as a metallic taste and need for refrigeration while also encountering HIV resistance. The western world’s pharmaceutical industries has continued to turn a blind eye to this population of humanity for the sake of profits, while Cipla has been undertaking pragmatic approaches to HIV care for several years. Cipla hopes to receive FDA approval followed shortly by the World Health Organization (WHO) approval in May 2020 while Doctors Without Borders has already started clinical trials in Uganda to receive support from African health leaders. 

#5: Samoa’s Measles Outbreak: Ill-prepared Vaccines 

The island nation of Samoa announced in December 2019 that 53 individuals, 48 being children under the age of five, have died due to large measles outbreak. In total, approximately 4000 measles cases have been reported in a population of 200,000. Throughout the country, public gatherings have been banned and schools/universities has been closed. Although experts believe the myth of autism being caused by vaccines have led to decreased vaccination rates (31% among young children), there may be a more significant reason for distrust in vaccinations. In July 2018, two nurses in Samoa mistakenly reconstituted the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine with a muscle relaxer instead of distilled water. This led to two infant deaths, five years in prison for the nurses, and a plethora of misinformation spread to the island’s inhabitations. This Samoan outbreak reflects a trend across the globe with a quadrupled amount of measles cases in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same time frame in 2018. 

A Promising Outlook: 2020

Despite these biomedical obstructions to a healthier global society in 2019, 2020 promises great advancements in the way humanity’s well-being is cared for. With the perspectives gained from this past year, the following health innovations are due to be initiated to achieve equitable healthcare for all: 

  • A novel class of migraine medications, oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists, is due to have its first agent approved in 2020. Ubrogepant, manufactured by Allergan, will offer an effective therapy for those who cannot tolerate the current gold standard migraine agents – triptans. 
  • The future of the fight against HIV will be equipped with a once-monthly injection of antiretroviral therapy in 2020. The combination therapy of cabotegravir/rilpivirine (Cabenuva) produced by ViiV Healthcare has shown to be as effective as current once daily therapy options. 
  • The eradication of malaria will discover if a vaccine candidate could add to its arsenal of biomedical interventions. Sanaria has developed the PfSPZ vaccine, and will conduct phase three clinical trials in Bioko, Equatorial Guinea in 2020. This new candidate has, thus far, shown to have a more protective effect (48.3%) than the currently approved RTS,S vaccine. 

Sustainable health through social enterprise

After five years of working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the global health community still has a long way to go to achieve health related goals by 2030. To improve health and well-being for all global health organizations need to reflect on the successes and challenges to date, as well as reflect on how to make programs more sustainable. One way to create and maintain sustainable health programs is through the social enterprise model.

Social enterprises are for-profit organizations that utilize business practices and the marketplace to advance social justice and development. To be defined as a social enterprise a program must address a social need, generate income mainly through commercial activities and primarily focus on the common good. Types of social enterprises include: one, opportunity employment – organizations that provide jobs to those with barriers to mainstream employment (i.e. Goodwill); two, transformative products or services – creating social or environmental impact through innovative products or services (i.e., World Bicycle Relief, Grameen Bank); and three, donate back – organizations that donate a portion of profits or goods to meet social needs (i.e. TOMS).

Global Health and Social Enterprise

There are several examples of successful global health social enterprises that can be leveraged to create new, or modify existing, programs. In some low-income countries the social enterprise model has been used to strengthen and empower the nurse and midwife workforce. In other examples, Unite for Sight, a non-profit organization working to deliver eye care to low-income countries, partners with clinics all over the world and engages with social entrepreneurs to increase patient access to vision care; and Dispensary of Hope, utilizes the donate back social enterprise model to provide free medications from pharmaceutical companies to health clinics all over the world.

Another successful social enterprise working to solve a global health problem is Days for Girls International. While on a trip to Kenya in 2008 founder Celeste Mergens discovered girls having their periods were sent to their rooms for days, sometimes going without food, and were forced to sit on cardboard until they stopped menstruating. Days for Girls set out to address this issue by designing a washable, long-lasting pad since many of the women and girls without access to menstruation products also lack access to sanitation and safe disposal of pads. 

To date Days for Girls has reached over 1 million women and girls in 125 countries with their Days for Girls Kits (DfG Kits). The Days for Girls Social Enterprise Program trains local women to produce and sell DfG Kits, as well as provide women with menstrual health education. According to the Days for Girls 2018 report, 81% of participants in the social enterprise program reported earning an income, and overall the program has created jobs and increased women’s confidence and ability to become business leaders in their communities.  

Untapped potential

 In the development world terms such as social enterprise and social entrepreneurship are often used, but not often defined. Social enterprises are businesses which maximize social good and financial return, while social entrepreneurship is about creating change agents by investing in the ideas of social entrepreneurs. While the latter is important it is equally, if not more important, for sustainable change in global health to invest in, create and support social enterprises that can provide in-country jobs and economic stability, as well as solve important health problems. 

As we head into 2020 and plan for achieving the SDGs in the next ten years, finding innovative ways to solve global health problems will be critical. Global health organizations need to capitalize on the success of current social enterprises, and partner with in-country social entrepreneurs in order to solve intertwined health and development issues. Creating sustainable change means moving beyond charity and finding ways for low-income countries to prosper; because in a global economy when low income countries thrive – everyone thrives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Health and Diabetic Retinopathy-“Protect your vision: Steps for someone with Diabetes”

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.” -WHO (2018)

The prevalence of Diabetes has increased in low and middle-income countries. Diabetes increases the risk of a range of eye diseases, but the main cause of blindness associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetic retinopathy causes blindness in almost 5 million people worldwide. As the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults, diabetic eye disease thus represents a significant global socioeconomic and healthcare problem.

What is diabetic retinopathy and what causes it? 

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition caused by diabetes. It affects the small blood vessels and light sensitive tissues in the back of the eye (retina). This condition is primarily caused due to high blood sugar levels and if left untreated can lead to vision loss.

Am I at risk for vision problems? 

If you have any type of diabetes you can get diabetic retinopathy. This includes people with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Your risk gets higher the longer you have diabetes. More than 2 in 5 Americans with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. The good news is that you can lower your risk by controlling your diabetes!

When should I get an eye exam?

The best diagnostic for diabetic retinopathy is a dilated eye exam.

  • If you have diabetes, get a dilated eye exam once a year
  • If you have diabetes and become pregnant, get a dilated eye exam as soon as possible and ask your doctor if you will need more eye exams during your pregnancy

What can I do to prevent diabetic retinopathy?

Losing your vision to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes permanent, but can be prevented. Studies have shown that the best ways to prevent it are to:

  • Keep your blood sugar level close to normal (this also reduces getting kidney and nerve diseases)
  • Control any elevated blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Choose healthy foods
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking any medications and ask questions about your health

Is there a treatment for diabetic retinopathy?

Yes. However, treatment for diabetic retinopathy is often delayed as symptoms are unnoticeable until the condition starts to progress, or when Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) occurs. DME is when blood vessels leak fluid into the back of the eye, causing swelling. In this case, eye exams would be needed more often, as it becomes more severe. People with more severe cases may need a dilated eye exam as often as every 2 to 4 months. It is important to know that early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness on a global scale.