Health

  • How to prevent and control antimicrobial resistance

    Antimicrobial resistance — when bacteria stop responding to and become resistant to antimicrobial medications — is a global public health emergency with a substantial economic impact. Resistant bacteria, sometimes called superbugs, already claim 700,000 lives annually worldwide. If left unchecked, the death toll could reach 10 million per year by 2050, according to a recent United Nations report. The World Bank estimates associated global health care costs could increase more than $1 trillion per year by 2050.

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  • Model shows intersecting secondary impacts of COVID-19 in the United States

    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Conditions such as stay-at-home orders, wearing masks in public and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression affect all of us in different ways.

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  • Digital health applications in a changing world

    Digital communications and media are now part of everyday life for many people around the world. But while people have turned to smartphones for entertainment, socializing and commerce, the health community is still working to make services, outreach and treatment digitally accessible. Examining successful applications allows us to understand what approaches might be possible for digital health services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more crucial than ever that digital health resources provide support for people to access from their homes.

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  • Put a ring on it: Four reasons to make the dapivirine ring an HIV prevention option for women and girls

    While much progress has been made to end the HIV epidemic, not enough has been done to put the power of prevention directly in women’s hands. The dapivirine ring, a flexible silicone ring inserted monthly into the vagina, can change this. If approved by regulators, the ring would be the first discreet, long-acting HIV prevention tool available specifically for women. The ring would complement daily oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as another biomedical tool in the fight against HIV.

    Recent evidence suggests significant acceptability of and demand for vaginal rings as a drug-delivery platform among women who used the dapivirine ring during clinical trials — and also among policymakers and other stakeholders in countries with a high HIV burden. To better understand these perspectives, the OPTIONS Consortium interviewed policymakers, implementers and civil society leaders in seven sub-Saharan African countries about possibilities for introduction and scale-up of the dapivirine ring. An analysis of the interviews shows widespread enthusiasm for the ring as part of comprehensive HIV prevention programming.

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  • How can community pharmacies improve access to HIV medications during COVID-19?

    The increased pressure on public health systems to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic affects all routine health care, including the provision of essential HIV services. People living with HIV require regular access to treatment, but crowded public health facilities carry increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Routine treatment sites also may be harder to reach because of stay-at-home orders, curfews and public transportation shutdowns. To maintain gains in HIV epidemic control, we must ensure that people needing antiretroviral therapy (ART) continue to receive medication uninterrupted.

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  • The fight for health equity: Parallels between COVID-19 and HIV

    Although we cannot truly compare COVID-19 with HIV, there are similarities worth exploring. As the COVID-19 epidemiological data pours in, we have learned that communities of color are at heightened risk for hospitalization and death. With the reality that the economic fallout affects minority communities more than anyone else, it is clear the odds are against us yet again. We have seen this story play out throughout the course of the HIV epidemic, with LGBTQ, black and Latinx communities enduring the brunt of the disease’s burden. These health disparities are the result of structural inequities that our nation has not yet found the resolve to address. So, just as we did in the early days of HIV, we must arm ourselves with knowledge and a community-driven purpose to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19.

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  • COVID-19 shines a spotlight on inequality

    I started to shake with chills, my face became flushed, my temperature soared. The persistent dry coughing I had been experiencing, which I had ascribed to allergies, became intense and, at times, painful. It was Friday the 13th and my luck had turned. It all happened so quickly, as if a switch had been turned from off to on. It was less than two weeks from the first reported case of COVID-19 in New York City.

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  • Finding Common Ground: Menstrual Health and Contraception

    Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, basic health needs are largely unchanged, including the need to manage menstruation hygienically, safely and with dignity. As advocates around the world point out, periods don’t stop for pandemics.

    On Menstrual Hygiene Day, and every day, FHI 360 works around the world to ensure equitable access to quality menstrual products and appropriate sanitation facilities. We also engage government officials, teachers and community members to improve school-based education, raise community awareness and help fight period stigma. And, we must not forget an important group of people who menstruate: those who are using – or want to use – contraception.

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  • COVID-19: We are all in this together

    As the COVID-19 pandemic expands at an exponential pace among the world’s population, it is increasingly clear that we are all in this together and need to work hard to cultivate a sense of global community. Our connected world has achieved decades of unprecedented prosperity and health gains. Through connectedness at many levels, including trade, industry, education, research, services and travel/hospitality, humanity has, indeed, become a global village. It is this same connectedness, augmented by a dramatic increase in international travel over the past decade, that facilitated the rapid spread of COVID-19 to all corners of the world. Now, we must use this same connectivity to mount a sustainable, comprehensive, global response to the pandemic.

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  • Engaging the private sector on sustainable solutions to infectious diseases

    The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is creating a humanitarian and economic crisis. Amid the chaos, though, lies a simple preventive practice: handwashing with soap. During times of crisis, we must remember that handwashing with soap is a powerful tool to combat infectious diseases like COVID-19, and it is crucial for us to sustain handwashing practices and innovations once the pandemic has ended. Private-sector engagement, especially through public-private partnerships like the Global Handwashing Partnership, can play a significant role in developing immediate and long-term infectious disease solutions.

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