Health

  • 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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  • How to prevent illness and death caused by tuberculosis among people living with HIV

    The global health community is concerned that tuberculosis (TB) continues to disproportionately kill people living with HIV, despite the availability of TB preventive therapy. According to the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2019, deaths attributed to TB among people living with HIV account for 17 percent of all TB deaths, even though people living with HIV account for only 8.6 percent of overall TB cases.

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  • Bringing neglected tropical diseases onto the world stage

    Can you imagine trying to provide for your family while sick with a disease that makes your eyelashes turn inward and painfully scratch your corneas with each blink? Or attending school when your skin itches nonstop because you are infected with worms? These are some of the challenges that people with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) face every day.

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  • Total Quality Leadership and Accountability: Reaching the last mile in HIV epidemic control

    At recent global health meetings that assessed progress made against the HIV epidemic, presentation after presentation confirmed that the world is inching closer to epidemic control. The excitement at these gatherings was palpable. It would be the first time in human history that such a public health milestone would be achieved without either a cure or a vaccine.

    As technical experts attending these meetings, we were struck by the critical importance of logistical and operational interventions, alongside biomedical ones, to reach the last mile. Yet, unlike the private sector, public health systems in low- and middle-income countries often remain underfunded and understaffed. This environment can make project management very challenging.

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  • Embracing One Health for humans, animals and the environment

    The One Health concept calls for a worldwide approach to expanding interdisciplinary collaboration and communication on all aspects of health for humans, animals and the environment. This approach has tremendous implications for human health because an estimated sixty-one percent of human infectious diseases originate from animals. At the same time, there is a growing sense of urgency to advance One Health collaborations before more ground is lost in the fight for a healthy planet.

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  • The darker side of development: The paradox of success

    We have celebrated many successes in global development, thanks in part to advocacy efforts. The billions of dollars in resources and political will mobilized to tackle global development challenges have yielded historic results, such as reducing the number of cases of HIV, cutting malaria deaths in half and increasing life expectancy rapidly, even in the poorest countries. Does the promotion of the progress made lead to complacency that could ultimately reverse the gains we now celebrate?

    In this episode, I sit down with Tom Hart, North America Executive Director for the ONE Campaign. Tom shares ONE’s approach to advocacy. We discuss the paradoxes of sharing successes and talk about how the final stretch of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals may be the hardest part of the race. We also examine the role of advocacy in development, the continued need for bipartisan political support for development work and the coalition of strange bedfellows during a divisive time.

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