More From the Blog

  • Even before the onset of a global pandemic, societies were grappling with rapid, disorienting change. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its public health emergency and economic and social crises, has reshaped how development priorities and operations work. These extraordinary times have brought into focus that human development challenges are not unique to poor countries, and that the current conditions are going to amplify and accelerate the need for transformational relationships to address the global challenges confronting the international community.

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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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  • The future of global development: New interest in distance education

    Around the world, more than 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Living rooms have transformed into classrooms. Lesson plans have gone virtual. What are the challenges that parents, students and teachers are facing as they suddenly shift to remote learning? How have, and how will, the adaptations that school systems are making to continue operating during a pandemic shape education in Africa in the future?

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  • Native communities are already resilient. Here’s how we can help them thrive.

    More than ever, American Indians and Alaska Natives face some of the greatest challenges in the United States. Resources — including food, housing, medical care and family support services — have been inaccessible or nonexistent for years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those resources have become even scarcer. According to researchers at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, the COVID-19 crisis is “devastating tribes’ abilities to fund their governmental services and forcing tribes to make painful decisions to lay off employees, drop workers’ insurance coverage, deplete assets and/or take on more debt.” At the same time, some Native communities have experienced disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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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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  • Even during COVID-19, Compass Rose helps youth navigate past incarceration

    While the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, imagine you are a young person just out of jail, on parole or dropped out of high school. You are determined to get a new start on your life, and you are focused on getting the education and workforce skills you need to move from surviving to thriving. You already have a steep hill to climb. And then, the pandemic hits and everything becomes more complicated.

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  • The future of global development: Decolonizing global health and development

    An enduring remnant of colonialism is the notion that global development challenges are confined to the poorer countries in the Global South. The profound human development challenges in countries with higher levels of material wealth are on full display as the United States struggles with its painful history and current reality of racial injustice against people of color. The disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on poor communities and people of color exposes the reality that global development challenges are indeed universal.

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