Health

  • It’s been twenty-six years since the International Conference on Population and Development affirmed women’s reproductive health as an essential human right. In this episode of A Deeper Look, I sit down with Ann Starrs, Director of Family Planning at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to hear how new products, policies and practices are disrupting the family planning landscape and offering greater access and better outcomes for users.

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  • COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: The problem ahead

    Vaccines are here! The end of the pandemic is in sight! There is light at the end of the tunnel! Wait a minute. Is that really a light or the next more challenging phase of the pandemic speeding toward us? After more than a year of lockdown and restrictions, all of us have grown weary of the struggle and should be racing to get vaccinated. But we are not.

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  • The clock is ticking: Tuberculosis and diabetes in the COVID-19 era

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a seismic upheaval in global health care and individual health testing and treatment. Previous gains in reducing life-threatening chronic diseases are being eroded by the need to turn attention and resources to the pandemic. It feels like a “Snakes and Ladders” board game: The counter has landed on the head of a snake and programs for other diseases have slid to the bottom of the board, landing many years behind.

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  • Pandemic preparedness: Four strategies to keep HIV programs on track during COVID-19

    A little more than a month after World AIDS Day 2019, COVID-19 started to impact our HIV programs in Asia as countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam began quarantine. Community testing ground to a halt. People living with HIV worried about access to their medications. HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) enrollment slowed. COVID-19 testing diverted laboratories from HIV services. By March 2020, the rest of the world was equally impacted. FHI 360’s HIV programs were determined to continue serving people, but there were deep concerns. We were not alone, of course; the global HIV community was facing COVID-19 together. But with so much uncertainty, we wondered: Would COVID-19 substantially set back hard-won gains toward epidemic control? Did we have the tools in hand, or could we develop the tools, to weather this crisis?

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  • It’s time to refocus on the global response to pediatric HIV

    We have come a long way from the haunting, early days of the HIV pandemic when hopelessness characterized the situation for children living with HIV. Without treatment available, approximately half of those children were destined to die before their second birthday. The global public health community did not know if it could halt transmission of HIV from mother to child. There were no effective, child-friendly formulations of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

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  • Five ways to keep COVID-19 messaging relevant this fall

    This fall, we face new challenges as COVID-19 overlaps with the flu season and continues to spread across the United States and the world. We must stay vigilant about protecting ourselves, our friends and families, and others around us. At the same time, people are experiencing pandemic fatigue and need new reasons and reinforcements to keep up protective behaviors.

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  • What can the United States learn from other countries to tackle disparities?

    As the COVID-19 pandemic swept over the United States, the stark observation that African-American, Hispanic and Native American populations were disproportionately affected was met with justified shock and anger. After all, the United States has the world’s largest economy, a high standard of living and a sophisticated health care system and is often held up as a model for many countries.

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  • 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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