Event Invitation: Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy, 10/19

Posted on behalf of Laura Altobelli, IH Section Chair

Here is an opportunity to hear early research findings on application of Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule on reproductive health as well as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in 7 countries.

—————–

The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) in cooperation with Senator Blumenthal and Senator Shaheen

We invite you to a briefing:

Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

CAPITOL VISITORS CENTER, SVC209

First St NE, Washington, D.C. 20515

Refreshments served. Space is limited. RSVP to Annerieke Smaak (asmaak@genderhealth.org).

The Trump Administration’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy, also known as the global gag rule, is currently due for a six-month review. This expansion and re-branding of the “Mexico City Policy” encompasses all global health assistance, including funds to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Expert speakers will share new research findings on the early impacts of this policy in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. They will also shed light on how previous versions of the policy relate to abortion rates, maternal mortality, and other areas of global health.

Speakers:

Bergen Cooper, Director of Policy Research, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

Vanessa Rios, Program Officer, International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)

Skye Wheeler, Emergencies Researcher, Women’s Rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Moderator – Nina Besser Doorley, Senior Program Officer, IWHC

Advertisements

IHSC career development webinar recording “En Route from the Ebola Tent to Congress” now available

The APHA International Health Student Committee hosted a webinar called “En Route from the Ebola Tent to Congress” on September 27, 2017 with Deborah Wilson, RN and MPH candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Debbie led an interactive webinar walking attendees through a day in the life of an Ebola Treatment Center, including a bit about the political fallout upon returning to the USA, and how her experiences shifted her from direct patient care to public health policy.

If you have any questions, please email: apha.ihsc.careers@gmail.com

NASEM interactive resource available exploring global health and the future role of the US #USglobalhealth

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has recently developed a new interactive global health resource, which serves as a one-stop shop for exploring the recent report: “Global Health and the Future Role of the United States.”

Complete with new videos, infographics, and shareable, data-rich content, this resource provides visitors with an in-depth look at the report’s findings — detailing why and how to continue America’s commitment to global health, as well as 14 recommendations to guide U.S. action in improving the health of the world’s population. The videos featured highlight the United States’ legacy in global health, in addition to the linkages between investing in global health and national security.

Help spread the work on this important resource, using #USglobalhealth on social media.

 

Another ACA repeal bill may be gaining momentum

Posted on behalf of Paul Freeman, IH Section Action Board Representative

Colleagues, the battle continues. Please contact your Senate representatives for just 5 minutes as suggested below. It is crucial that you spend 5 minutes of your time for the ACA at this time.


In the coming days, the U.S. Senate may begin consideration of yet another proposal to repeal and weaken major portions of the Affordable Care Act. Like previous proposals defeated earlier this year in the Senate, this one, known as the Graham-Cassidy proposal, would cut health coverage and raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, slash federal Medicaid spending and end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and allow states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Your advocacy efforts were a key reason the Senate defeated the previous proposals to repeal or weaken the ACA. Take the time to contact your senators and urge them to oppose the disastrous Graham-Cassidy bill and any other proposal to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act either by using APHA’s action alert or by calling the Capitol switchboard and asking to be connected to the offices of your senators at 202-224-3121

Sample phone script:

Introduce yourself as a constituent and public health professional.

I urge Sen. XX to oppose the Graham-Cassidy Affordable Care Act repeal bill. This proposal would:

  • Cut health coverage and raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions.
  • Eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
  • Slash federal Medicaid spending and end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.
  • Allow states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Eliminate Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for one year.
  • Instead, I’m asking my senators to support the bipartisan effort to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act.

Thank you for you continued advocacy to support and strengthen the Affordable Care Act!

The Promise of Data for Transforming Global Health

I recently came back from a field visit and as my organization’s designated data person (among the many other hats I wear), I think constantly about the role of data in our work and more broadly, its role in global health.

We’ve always had a problem with data in our field, more specifically the dire lack thereof. Recent efforts to spotlight the lack of high quality data in global health has led to somewhat of a data renaissance. And you know it’s a big deal when Bill Gates throws his weight behind it. It seems like every global health innovation talk I go to nowadays portrays data (in all its forms, from big data, predictive analytics, and machine learning) as the ultimate game changer in global health. Data is so much easier to collect now with the various technologies and innovations available. Its potential is pretty obvious and I don’t disagree that data can and will create more positive changes in global health. But every time I attend one of these talks or I get an email alert about another new data innovation challenge, part of me gets really excited and the other part remains skeptical.

Anyone who has tried to implement a data collection initiative in the field, whether for research, monitoring and evaluation, or donor reporting, knows the many challenges faced when working in already resource-limited clinics and hospitals: the questionnaires are long and time consuming, we don’t have the resources to hire people to do just data collection (which is especially true in smaller facilities), data collection activities take away from clinical activities, data quality is poor, the staff spends a whole week every month doing reporting, every donor wants a report on different indicators, no one at the clinic knows how or has the time to analyze the data, the data is not in a format that is easy to use, etc. And the list goes on.

One huge barrier to accurate data collection involves the inordinate amount of burden placed on health care providers and/or clinic staff to collect and report data. Data collection is often a task that already busy doctors and nurses have to undertake in addition to their clinic duties. Hiring an extra data collection person is one solution, but may not always be sustainable outside of a research study setting. Reporting data to donors is not any less painful. It is too often a rote and uncoordinated endeavor. Donors ask for the same data, but sliced and diced in a slightly different way. Those asking for data haven’t exactly done a good job making data collection easy to do. Shorter questionnaires, standardizing indicators, simplifying and coordinating reporting are different approaches for addressing these issues. Getting providers and clinic staff to collect high quality data though is another beast. Some argue that doing regular data audits will fix the data quality problem. Others argue that mobile data collection has reduced data entry errors. Mobile data collection has certainly made it easier to collect data and scale-up data collection activities.

And while a lot of work is being undertaken by major development agencies and smaller NGOs alike to improve their data collection efforts in order to deliver on the promise that data has to offer, I’m not entirely convinced we’re there yet. A huge part of my skepticism in why data hasn’t yet reached its transformative power in global health is because even though I think we’ve spent lots of resources in building capacity to collect data, we haven’t spent equal amounts of efforts building capacity for local team members to use the data in a meaningful way.

If those who collect the data don’t understand why or how the indicators they collect impact patient care, then why do it? Although national level data is helpful in understanding what the different health needs are and how to allocate resources to address them, the interventions needed to dramatically move the needle when it comes to decreasing morbidity and mortality happen at the individual facility level, outside of the research setting. The frontline healthcare workers that help in the collection and reporting of data very rarely get the data back in a way that can help them understand how to improve care delivery and health outcomes for their patients.

I believe in the potential of data to transform global health but there are many obstacles to overcome before this happens. First things first, instead of thinking about data collection as an activity that providers and clinic staff have to do, it should be an activity they want to do. By having data available to providers that is easy to understand, timely, and meaningful, only then can the promise that data holds for transforming global health be fulfilled.