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"Take a minute, change a life”

"Take a minute, change a life”

Every year, 800’000 people die due by suicide or one person every 40 seconds. Yet suicide is preventable. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) a word of support and listening with no judgement someone in difficulties can make all the difference in this person’s life. People are usually reluctant to talk to somebody because they do not want to worsen the situation. Well, according to individuals who went through this deter and now advocate for suicide prevention, they mostly argue that they were not looking for any specific advice but simply for compassion and empathy.

 

Suicide is recognized as a public health priority by the World Health Organization. It published a first World Suicide Report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative” in 2014. This report aimed to raise the public awareness on health implications and the importance of suicide and suicide attempts. It put suicide prevention as a high priority in the global public health agenda. WHO also encourages and supports countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive suicide prevention strategies in a multisectoral public health approach.


Suicide also figures as a priority condition in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). In the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, WHO Member States committed themselves to working towards the global target: reducing the suicide rate in countries by 10% by 2020.

 

More recently, the Sustainable Development Goals integrate the suicide mortality rate as an indicator of the target 3.4: reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.


Read more about it:

WHO on Suicide: http://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/en/

World Suicide Prevention Day: https://iasp.info/wspd2017/  


17/09/2017 21:34
High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and Health

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and Health

The "2017 HLPF Thematic review of SDG3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages", provide the progresses of each target. The 2017 publication of the World Health Statistics which include 31 health and health-related indicators reveal that despite the improvements achieved during the MDG era, challenges remain in the field of reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality,  improving nutrition, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and making further progress in the battle against communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and hepatitis is necessary.

In terms of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, the maternal mortality ratio stood at 216 per 100 000 live births globally in 2015. To achieve the 3.1 goal a huge acceleration in the annual rate of reduction of at least 7.3% is require, which represents more than the triple that attained between 1990 and 2015.

The neonatal mortality rate declined from 31 deaths per 1000 live births in 2000 to 19 deaths per 1000 live births in 2015. Nevertheless, if neonatal mortality is decreasing, its proportion of the global under-give mortality is increasing.

The HIV incidence rate among children declines by 59% to 0.31 new infections per 1000 children in five years between 2010 and 2015. AIDS still remains the leading cause of death among women aged between 15 and 49 years.

When it comes to non-communicable diseases, the risk of dying from the four main NCDs between ages 30 and 70 decreased from 23% in 2000 to 19% in 2015.

The access to sexual and reproductive health-care services increased slightly globally when measuring the proportion of women of reproductive age who were married or in-union who had access to modern family planning methods, from 74.5% in 2000 to 76.7% in 2017.

The document also gives recommendations in which it stresses the needs to invest in multi-stakeholder partnerships "in order to remove barriers to equitable health serves which are responsive to increasingly diverse population health profiles and needs, and to reach those most further behind first". Furthermore, it insists on the improvement of "multi-sectoral action, strengthen health systems, realize equity and fulfil protect and promote human rights, promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and to secure adequate and sustained financing and investment in scientific research and innovation".  Furthermore, the report highlights the connection between SDG 3 and the other goals.

Lastly the report addresses the growing challenges that are not part of the 2030 Agenda but will need to be tackled to achieve them like the threats of Anti-Microbial Resistance, which will have consequences beyond health. It will have repercussions on the SDGs related to "the environment, food and agriculture, water, sanitation, research and development, and economic growth". Mental health is the second challenge addressed here. Investment of human and financial resources in the area is lacking and more effort should be put into it as the linkages with many SDGs are at stakes. Mental health "in accordance with human rights norms and standards are crucial for the achievement of SDG3 and the 2030 agenda as a whole".

Linkages between the different SDGs are crucial for the realization of the 2030 agenda, which is why Switzerland joined the cross-regional statement on the linkages between SDG3 and 5 on sexual and reproductive health.

This High Level Political Forum was also the opportunity for Switzerland to underline the importance of a multistakeholders approach to realize SDG3. It fostered its support to this approach in the R&D field for neglected diseases by showing its support to DNDi, which took part to the panel.

Background note: 2017 HLFP Thematic Review of SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Visit the Sustainable Development: Knowledge Platform

19/07/2017 13:28
Toward Access 2030: a better access to medicines for all!

Toward Access 2030: a better access to medicines for all!

Access to affordable and quality medicines is a key target of the SDG 3. With this in mind, WHO calls for new research and development (R&D) models in this field among other steps to achieve universal health coverage and access for all. The new WHO Medicines and Health Products Programme Strategic Framework 2016-2030: “Towards Access 2030”, sets the stage for WHO’s vision on the topic: “a world where every child, man and woman has access to the quality essential medicines, vaccines and other health products they need to lead a healthy and productive life”.

The document presents the challenges to achieve the 3.8 target by underlining the costs of medicines and health products and the financial burden it represents in low- and middle-income countries where households pay medical products out-of-pocket.

The financing gap in R&D and market toward many public health needs remains a great challenge in developing countries and WHO calls for new research and development (R&D) models, as well as the delinkage of the costs of these R&D from the final price of products and fair pricing.

The framework cites existing initiatives aiming to foster R&D: the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property (GSPOA), the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG). Switzerland, through the Global Programme Health actively supports the CEWG initiative. The framework recognizes that although these efforts stressed “the need to change the way R&D is financed”, a “global agreement on how to ensure new products are developed that meet priority health needs” is still missing.

The purpose of the Programme will be to “coordinate across the three organizational levels to promote and prioritize the following approaches: responsiveness to Member States’ health needs; recognition of country ownership; adherence to the highest professional and ethical standards in technical work and stakeholder relations; outstanding leadership and service through information and knowledge sharing advocacy; commitment to partnerships;  and  accountability and focus on results by defining clear objectives, and organizing work and resources to achieve them.”

Towards Access 2030: WHO Medicines and Health Products Programme Strategic Framework 2016-2030

17/07/2017 14:14
Health at the G20‘s Table

Health at the G20‘s Table

The “G20 Leaders’ Declaration: shaping an interconnected world” that concludes the meeting in Hamburg did not take major steps towards the health challenges. However two specific paragraphs were concerned with health matters.

The first one on “safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems” call on the UN “to keep global health high on the political agenda” and value the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation. They also recognize the importance of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) in prevention, preparedness and response efforts. They also stressed the importance of fostering R&D preparedness through globally coordinated models such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

On “Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)”, the G20 members agreed to “have implementation of our National Action Plans, based on a One-Health approach”. The Declaration also states that they will promote a prudent use of antibiotics in all sectors, strengthen public awareness, infection prevention and control, and improve the understanding of antimicrobials in the environment. They promise access to “and quality antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics, including through efforts to preserve existing therapeutic options”. The declaration stressed the importance of strengthening R&D and “call for a new international R&D Collaboration Hub to maximize the impact of existing and new anti-microbial basic and clinical research initiatives as well as product development”.

Find more details in the official statement, here>>

12/07/2017 15:20
World No Tobacco Day

World NoTobacco Day

The link between tobacco and health is pretty clear, but how is tobacco linked to sustainable development and economic well-being? Well, on this World No Tobacco Day, the response will be unveiled. Hence, this year’s campaign by WHO and its partners aims to demonstrate the threats that the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries.

Tobacco control contributes directly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3.4: to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease. But more than this, tobacco control contains the adverse environmental impact of tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption. Indeed, according to WHO, “tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth and combat climate change”.

Governments are not the only ones this year’s campaign is directed to. At an individual level people can contribute to a sustainable, tobacco-free world by committing to never start using tobacco products, quit the habit or seek help for doing so.

Find more information here>>

Picture credit: http://www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2017/event/en/

31/05/2017 10:34
G20 Health Ministers Meeting

G20 Health Ministers Meeting

It was a first, 20 health ministers met in Berlin on 19 and 20 May, for the first meeting of G20 Health Ministers. The meeting focused on global health and was held under the motto: “Together Today for a Healthy tomorrow – Joint Commitment for Shaping Global Health”. The G20 countries covered topics like health security and Antimicrobial Resistance. The G20 countries committed for example to combat Antimicrobial Resistance by developing and implementing national action plans based on a One-Health approach. The meeting looked at ways to improve global health systems and explored ways to combat antimicrobial resistance. Also in order to rehearse their preparedness, the ministers went through an exercise of a fictitious cross-border outbreak together with representative of the WHO and World Bank. This meeting was also the occasion for the G20 Health Ministers to adopt the Berlin Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers. The declaration states the importance that products emerging from such R&D efforts become accessible to all people in need. Moreover the declaration commits to broaden the voluntary financial support for ongoing initiatives, such as the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), UNITAID, the Joint Programming Initiative on AMR (JPIAMR), Combating Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), and the TB Alliance for new anti-tuberculosis medicines. The health ministers also called on other countries, philanthropic organizations, academia, and the private sector to support those initiatives.

Link to the declaration >>

Find more information here >>

Photo copyright: BMG/Inga Kjer (photothek)

22/05/2017 14:06
70th World Health Assembly - 22-31 May 2017

70th World Health Assembly - 22-31 May 2017

The World Health Organization’s 70th annual World Health Assembly will take place from 22 to 31 May 2017 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. It will be attended by nearly 4000 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States and partner organizations. The Assembly is WHO’s highest decision-making body, setting out the Organization’s policy and approving its budget.

This year’s meeting will be webcast live, including the plenary sessions and the deliberations in Committees A and B. WHO will issue daily press releases, detailing decisions taken at the Assembly.

On Tuesday, 23 May, the Assembly will elect a new Director-General, who will take office for a term of five years on 1 July 2017. Full details of how the election will proceed can be found here>>

Technical issues to be discussed at this WHA include:

  • Approval of the 2018-19 Programme budget
  • Responding to health emergencies
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Networ
  • Access to medicines and vaccines and Global Vaccine Action Plan
  • Health of refugees and migrants
  • Global vector control response
  • Noncommunicable diseases, including: dementia, the public health dimension of the global drug problem, nutrition, childhood obesity, cancer, tobacco control, deafness and hearing loss and preparations for UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2018
  • Health through the life course, including implementing the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, a strategic approach to chemicals management, and the Global Strategy for Adolescents’ Health.
  • Progress reports on a variety of issues.


The provisional agenda can be found here>>

An updated WHA Daily Journal will be posted on the web every morning from 22 May.

The Preliminary Journal is available here>>

17/05/2017 09:14
Credit - UN Photo/x  Arab Refugee Girls Study Nursing in England
International Nurses Day 2017

International Nurses Day 2017

Today we celebrate Florence Nightingale birth (the founder of modern nursing), or the International Nurses Day. An occasion to highlight the key role played by nurses and every healthcare worker around the world. This year, the theme of this special day is Nursing: A voice to lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. At this occasion, the International Council of Nurses released a Resource and Evidence guidance pack as well as a website and video to emphasis the role of nurses in achieving the sustainable development goals.

Nurses play a key role in caring for and educating/ training/ empowering patients, and always take into account the situation as a whole, included the social determinants of health. All around the world, they strive to deliver the best and most adapted care to their patients and communities by thinking outside the box and overcoming external challenges. According to the ICN President, “Investing in the nursing profession is essential for economic growth and the achievement of universal health care.”

Find out more about the Nurse’s role in achieving the SDGs here>>

Source: International Council of Nurses – The global voice of nursing Press Information

Image Credit: UN Photo/x Arab Refugee Girls Study Nursing in England

12/05/2017 14:11
Impact of health insurance on use of maternal health services

Impact of health insurance on use of maternal health services

With health insurance on the rise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a number of studies have evaluated its impact on the use of general health care services, but there has been limited evidence on the impact of health insurance on use of maternal health services. However, in the context of global maternal and child health priorities, there is a growing need to evaluate whether health insurance has contributed to improved use of maternal health care. Using nationally representative data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), a recent study assesses the impact of health insurance on the use of antenatal care and facility-based delivery care in Ghana, Indonesia, and Rwanda – countries that have a high level of health insurance coverage and more mature schemes. All the study countries health insurance schemes primarily focus on the poor and heavily subsidize, or even waive premiums for them.

Apart from premiums, factors influencing enrolment in health insurance were found to include perceivjuan Wang et aled need for health insurance, knowledge about its benefits and cultural factors, as well as individuals’ health conditions. Additionally, women in poorer households did not always know about their health insurance status when coverage is household-based, which affected service uptake.

In all three countries, health insurance coverage contributed to a 5–11% increase in use of facility-based delivery care. In Indonesia and Rwanda insurance coverage has a significant positive impact on women’s access to at least one antenatal care visit. In Ghana and Indonesia, insurance coverage shows a positive impact on women making at least four antenatal visits, as recommended by the World Health Organization. The variation in results relates in part to different insurance conditions relating to comprehensive free care or the requirement for co-payments.

The study overall suggests that free health insurance enrolment for the poor and income-sensitive premiums, as well as the provision of antenatal care with no or low co-payments, can encourage higher rates of maternal care utilization. These results support the case for broadening access to health insurance offering comprehensive coverage of maternal healthcare services.

The full article can be accessed accessedcan be accessed online, here>>

Wenjuan Wang, Gheda Temsah and Lindsay Mallick (2017). The impact of health insurance on maternal health care utilization: evidence from Ghana, Indonesia and Rwanda. Health Policy and Planning 32 (3): 366-375.

11/05/2017 17:05
World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day

Today, Malaria is still highly prevalent worldwide. In 2015, almost 212 million cases were recorded and an estimated of 429 000 malaria deaths. The African Region is predominantly affected by the disease by “hosting” 90% of the malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths. More than a simple disease, Malaria reinforces poverty and causes the deaths of almost half a million people per year – mainly among young children, babies, and pregnant women. Malaria is accountable for the death of one child every 2 minutes (World Malaria Report 2016).

Malaria is preventable and curable. The incidence of the disease fell by 21% in the last five years so did the malaria mortality rates among population at risk within the same period. Investment in malaria is considered to be one of the “best buys” in global health and development. Since 2000, more than 6 million lives have been saved (UNICEF and WHO 2015. Achieving the malaria MDG Target. Reversing the incidence of malaria 2000-2015). Yet, these recent gains are increasingly threatened by resistance against medicines and insecticides, combined with insufficient investments against the disease.

Good news in terms of vaccination were announced yesterday by the WHO. The first malaria vaccine, RTS,S will be administrated from 2018 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. This is an important step toward a global rollout. The aim of this pilots in these three countries is to evaluate the feasibility of delivering the required four doses of RTS,S in real-life settings as well as its potential role in reducing childhood deaths and the safety of the vaccine in the context of routine use.

Together Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID invested $49.2 million for the first phase of the pilot program. The implementation will be done by the Ministries of Health in coordination with WHO.

Sources articles: WHO, Swiss Malaria Group, the Global Fund Partnership Supports Launch of Malaria Vaccine Pilots in Three African Countries

Picture copyright: David ODwyer/ Swiss Malaria Group

Take the online quiz from BioMed Central here>>

Find related information here:

25/04/2017 15:09
Systematic review of performance-based financing for improving HIV and AIDS service delivery

Systematic review of performance-based financing for improving HIV and AIDS service delivery

As funds to address HIV and AIDS are under pressure, innovative ways are needed to make services more effective and efficient. A systematic review has recently been published on whether providing incentives for the health system such as performance-based financing (PBF) may support countries to achieve more with available resource. 

Amitabh B.Suthar, Jason M. Nagata, Sabin Nsanzimana, Till Bärnighausen, Eyerusalem K.Negussie and Meg C. Doherty (2017). Performance-based financing for improvingHIV/AIDS service delivery: a systematic review. BMC Health Services Research 2017. 17:6

Results of the analysis of effects of PBF on HIV and AIDS service delivery revealed that although PBF did not improve individual testing coverage, it significantly improved testing coverage of couples and pregnant women. Furthermore, PBF improved antiretroviral coverage of both pregnant women and other adults. It was also significantly associated with reduced treatment drop-outs and failure. The full article on the systematic review findings can be accessed here>>

24/03/2017 15:00
Partnerships model for mental healthcare in low-resource settings

​Partnerships model for mental healthcare in low-resource settings

Tackling the growing burden of mental health poses great challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were often specialist professions are weak and need to be strengthened. Health partnerships are often cited as the way forward, yet these often exist informally between healthcare delivery or training institutions in high-income countries, and their low- or middle-income counterparts. Such peer-to-peer collaborations can build the capacity and expertise of the health workforce within a particular institution and can also broaden into more integrated support for health systems, such as national and institutional health strategies, standards and protocols.

A 2017 commentary by Acharya et al shares a model developed in Nepal where there is extremely limited access to high quality, culturally-sensitive, and contextually-appropriate mental healthcare services. The model integrates mental healthcare services within a rural public hospital and includes the training and supervision of generalist health workers by off-site psychiatrists. This was made possible by complementing the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of  groups involved that included public sector services, a non-profit organization that provided general healthcare services and one that specialized in mental health, a community advisory board, academic centres in high- and low-income countries, and bicultural professionals from the Nepal diaspora community.

The commentary can be accessed online:
Acharya, B. et al (2017). Partnerships in mental healthcare service delivery in low-resource settings: developing an innovative network in rural Nepal. Globalization and Health. 13:2.

The journal Globalization and Health has a 2017 series on a broad range of health partnerships that can be accessed here>>

20/02/2017 15:20
Implications of rising diabetes worldwide

​Implications of rising diabetes worldwide

Wareham NJ, Herman WH (2016) The Clinical and Public Health Challenges of Diabetes Prevention: A Search for Sustainable Solutions. PLoS Med 13(7): e1002097. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002097

The rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) presents a major global clinical and public health challenge. Of particular concern is the potential of this trend to widen existing health inequalities. Inequity is at the heart of the diabetes problem, since 75% of cases occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)  and the impact of diabetes on LMICs is expected to be particularly severe in the future as the disease is chronic, expensive to treat, and tends to affect people at an age when they are economically active. The cost of responding to the consequences of diabetes poses a threat to health systems as well as to broader economic stability, which in turn places long-term sustainable development at risk.

The pattern of the incidence and prevalence of T2D suggests that the disorder originates from a complex interaction between lifestyle, obesity, and susceptibility, driven by both genetic factors and by maternal and postnatal nutrition. The major driving force behind the contemporary rise in prevalence reflects changes in diet and physical activity. At the global level, there is a strong interconnection between the emergence of T2D and changes in the food supply and patterns of consumption, changes in transportation use, and related issues such as air pollution and climate change.

This short editorial article, which can be accessed online broadly discusses the problem of T2D worldwide and the current approaches to tackling the problem. It introduces the PLOS Medicine Special Issue on Diabetes that can be accessed here

13/02/2017 14:18
In remembrance of Hans Rosling

In remembrance of Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling, Professor in International Health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute has died last Tuesday. Rosling was an outstanding person in public health due to his humor and his talent to make statics understandable and interpretable. We could witness his great skills as an “edutainer” at SDC’s Annual Conference on Health in August 2015 where Rosling provided a keynote lecture. We share with Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s deputy prime minister, her appreciation that “he challenged the whole world’s view of development with his amazing teaching skills, [and that] he managed to show everyone that things are moving forward”. We will miss Hans Rosling, his inspiration, and his standing up for fact.

Links:

Hans Rosling on TED

SDC’s Annual Conference - Rückblick: Rosling «Mit Beharrlichkeit und echtem Willen ist der Kampf gegen die Armut zu gewinnen.»

 

10/02/2017 08:44
Supporting SDG implementation through health promotion

Supporting SDG implementation through health promotion

Health promotion has multiple potentials to make strong contributions to the Sustainable Development Agenda by empowering people to increase control over their health and ensuring inclusiveness; reducing health inequities caused by the unequal distribution of funds, power and resources; addressing the interdependence of sustainable health and the environment; acting  on  the  cross-cutting  political,  economic,  social,  cultural  and  environmental  determinants  of health; and, achieving multiple benefits by working  across  sectors, at  different  levels of  governance, and with a wide range of actors.

Thirty years on from the adoption of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, the Ninth Global Conference on Health Promotion held in Shanghai, 21 -24 November 2016 produced the “Shanghai Declaration on promoting health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This commits to prioritising health promotion in the development and implementation of the SDGs at the national, global and local levels by prioritizing health promotion action in three areas:

I. Strengthening good governance for health

2. Improving urban health and supporting healthy cities and communities

3. Strengthening health literacy

These action areas reflect critical entry points to for change through what are termed “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” approaches. The Shanghai Declaration is available online at http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/9gchp/shanghai-declaration.pdf?ua=1

26/01/2017 10:33
Call for applications 23/01/2017 12:14
HIV Update

As global attention was focussed on HIV and AIDS on World AIDS Day on the first of December 2016, it is timely to share an update on information and resources.

Global Burden of Disease HIV Collaborators (2015). Estimates of global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and mortality of HIV, 1980–2015: the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet HIV 2016; 3: e361–87 Published Online July 19, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S2352-3018(16)30087-X

The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is a systematic, scientific effort to quantify all-cause mortality; cause-specific mortality; and disease incidence, prevalence, and burden attributable to risk factors by age, sex, and geography over time. Timely assessment of the burden of HIV and AIDS is essential for policy setting and programme evaluation. In this report from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 (GBD 2015), national estimates are provided of levels and trends of HIV and AIDS incidence, prevalence, coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and mortality for 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015. The report can be accessed online at the Lancet site, click here »

UNAIDS (2016) Get on the Fast-Track: The life-cycle approach to HIV

The life cycle can be used as a lens to better understand the complex dynamics of the HIV epidemic and its response. In November UNAIDS published its life-cycle approach to HIV to ensure that the best solutions are offered to people throughout their life course.
The report presents progress, gaps, key challenges and solutions at different stages of the life-cycle, together with country-level statistics. Of particular interest to some readers will be the section on key populations throughout the life-cycle, which offers a detailed strategy mix for at-risk groups. The report can be accessed online (click here »), or download PDF here »

UNAIDS (2016) AIDS by the numbers. 

UNAIDS has published a document that is a useful resource for anyone needing recent figures relating to ending the AIDS epidemic within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report presents the UNAIDS Fast Track targets for a reduction in new infections, AIDS-related deaths and discrimination, as well as global and regional epidemiological data summaries. The presentation of data lends itself to easy use for presentation slides. This can be accessed online (click here »), or dowload PDF here »

UNICEF (2016) For Every Child, End AIDS: UNICEF Seventh Stocktaking Report, December 2016
​​
In spite of great progress, over half of the world’s new HIV cases last year were among women, children and adolescents. Every day, approximately 400 children become infected and every two minutes, an adolescent between the ages of 15 and 19 is infected with HIV – two thirds of them girls. And while deaths due to AIDS have decreased for all other age groups since 2010, among adolescents mortality has increased and AIDS is a leading cause of death of adolescents globally and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular.
This new report from UNICEF proposes strategies for preventing HIV among women, children and adolescents who have been left behind. It can be accessed online (click here »​) or download PDF here »

19/01/2017 12:34
World Malaria Report 2016

World Malaria Report 2016

This year's World Malaria Report report tracks progress towards the 2020 malaria goals of the "Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030". It offers an in-depth analysis of trends in malaria control and elimination at global, regional and country levels.


The "World Malaria Report 2016" draws on data from 91 countries and areas with ongoing malaria transmission. The information is supplemented by data from national household surveys and databases held by other organizations.


The World Malaria Report 2016 also acknowledges the contributions of SDC and SwissTPH to GlobMal.
Download the full report here

21/12/2016 10:29
Status and Prospects of Family Medicine Development in the Republic of Tajikistan

​Status and Prospects of Family Medicine Development in the Republic of Tajikistan

On 27th September 2016 the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) convened a regional conference entitled “Status and Prospects of Family Medicine Development in the Republic of Tajikistan”. The event was supported by the key partners of MoHSP, namely the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), World Health Organization, World Bank, European Union and Aga Khan Foundation.

SDC supports the health sector in Tajikistan in many ways, including through the “Medical Education Reform Project” implemented by Swiss TPH and the "Enhancing Primary Health Care Services" Project implemented by Swiss TPH and Save the Children. A number of presentations were made at the conference based on these projects’ experiences: on how medical education is the foundation of successful Family Medicine in the country, and on the importance of transparent health planning with community involvement. Over 200 regional stakeholders from all levels of the health system attended. The MoHSP took the opportunity of this event - coinciding with the country’s celebration of 25 years of independence - to share the progress made in Primary Health Care over the last 15 years, and how this will be intensified in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also presented the new Strategic Plan for the Development of Family Medicine-based Primary Health Care in Tajikistan 2016-2020.

Contct: Mouazamma.Djamalova@eda.admin.ch or Gulzira.Karimova@swisstph.org

15/12/2016 09:26
P4H Knowledge-Learning-Innovation Brief on how to advance Universal Health Coverage

P4H Knowledge-Learning-Innovation Brief on how to advance Universal Health Coverage

P4H is a global network collaborating for sustainable and equitable health financing and social health protection. Members are multilateral agencies (WHO, WB and ILO), bilateral donors (Switzerland, France, Germany, USA and Spain) and regional development banks (African and Asian Development Banks). In order to help countries develop and implement health financing and social health protection strategies, P4H offers coordinated technical assistance and strategic support to countries (e.g. UHC reform options, facilitation of national dialog, alignment of domestic and external financing instruments), capacity building (e.g. leadership skills for UHC) and a wealth of knowledge resources (e.g. country reports on UHC reforms on P4H website).

The most recent publication is the first Knowledge-Learning-Innovation Brief produced by GIZ in cooperation with P4H and with financial support from SDC and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. By presenting four case studies, the Brief identifies the necessary conditions and good practices for advancing towards UHC in P4H partner countries. The report reveals a number of challenges, i.e. inequitable expansion of population coverage, unsatisfactory and inequitable financial protection and limited quality of care.

Contact: alexander.schulze@eda.admin.ch
Download Knowledge-Learning-Innovation Brief

15/12/2016 09:16
Assessing and improving quality of health services for effective Universal Health Coverage

Assessing and improving quality of health services for effective Universal Health Coverage

In the context of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the SDG “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, UHC is a prominent cross-cutting target. While access for all and protection from financial hardship have received most attention, other aspects of UHC such as the quality of health services have been less widely discussed. Consequently, quality was described as the missing factor when translating intervention coverage into positive health outcomes.

In Tanzania, the Novartis Foundation, Swiss TPH and the Ifakara Health Institute implemented a methodology for assessing quality of primary healthcare provision in resource-constrained settings in a cost effective way. A recent article describes the electronic Tool to Improve Quality of Healthcare (e-TIQH) which is used by council health in the context of a broader supportive supervision approach.

The e-TIQH contains six sub-tools, each covering one quality dimension: infrastructure and equipment of the facility, its management and administration, job expectations, clinical skills of the staff, staff motivation and client satisfaction. Council health staff conduct quality assessments in primary healthcare facilities, including observation of clinical consultations and exit interviews with clients. Using a hand-held device, assessors enter data and view results in real time through automated data analysis, permitting immediate feedback to health workers. Based on the results, quality gaps and potential measures to address them are jointly discussed and actions plans developed.

Red full atricle: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/16/578
Contact: alexander.schulze@eda.admin.ch

15/12/2016 09:00
​Global Fund 36th Board Meeting

​Global Fund 36th Board Meeting

The 36th Global Fund Board meeting took place in Montreux 16-17 November 2016 following a successful Fifth Replenishment Conference in September 2016 in Montreal, Canada where 12.9 billion USD were pledged for the 2017-2019 period. The Board approved the sources and uses of funds available for the 2017-2019 allocation period and approved an $800 million package of catalytic investments designed to address potential gaps in reaching the Strategy for 2017-2022. Allocation letters with all necessary information on funding requests will be sent out in December to each country. The Board also had a discussion on Country Coordinating Mechanisms during which a majority of constituencies expressed the need to pursue this issue at Board level in the future. The targets for the Key Performance Indicator Framework were not approved; the proposal will be revised and presented to Board again in early 2017. Finally, the Board agreed on the members of the nomination committee for the selection of the new Executive Director. The election process has been launched and will end by February 27-28th, 2017 with the selection of the next Executive Director by the Board.

Contact: Carla.Koch@eda.admin.ch

15/12/2016 08:49
SDC’s support to Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement extended

​SDC’s support to Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement extended

After an initial support through the Global Program Food Security, SDC has decided to continue its engagement with SUN and support the Movement in strengthening the multi-stakeholder engagement and capacities on country level and facilitate the learning among SUN countries. The Global Programme Food Security and the Global Programme Health will work in close collaboration for this engagement, which arises to 4 Mio CHF during the next SUN Strategy Period 2016-2020.

The Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement brings together governments, civil society, donors, UN agencies, research, and private sector actors to collaborate in support of country-led, multi-sectoral strategies to combat malnutrition in all forms. It is driven by its member countries whose governments have committed in the fight of malnutrition by ensuring that programs in all sectors become sensitive to nutrition and who are striving to achieve the World Health Assembly targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition by 2025, in addition to relevant targets for preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases. 

Contact: Karin.Gross@eda.admin.ch or Marlene.Heeb@eda.admin.ch

15/12/2016 08:42
News from the Health for All Project (HAP) in Albania

News from the Health for All Project (HAP) in Albania

Peer Educators in the Fight against Diabetes

Albania, as other developing countries, is facing a rapid and continuous increase in type 2 Diabetes prevalence, mostly due to sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. In 2016, Health for All Project joined forces with the Society of Children and Youth with Diabetes (SCYD) to organized training sessions for peer educators in prevention and control of Diabetes types 2. The training aimed at providing health volunteers, representatives of Fratar community in Fier, with the skills to disseminate information on how type 2 Diabetes can be prevented and better controlled. Part of the training included evaluation of volunteers’ knowledge of type 2 Diabetes, knowledge about glycaemia and how the body controls it. Volunteers were then informed about type 2 Diabetes signs, factors and risks, and how to prevent and manage it. Effective communication was also a topic in the presentations carried out by SCYD. The cooperation between HAP and SCYD wasn’t limited only to the training sessions, but also to raising awareness in the community about the disease and its complications. Following the successful completion of the trainings, under the supervision of SCYD, the 70 health volunteers carried out face-to-face meetings with community members, informing them on the signs and risks of type 2 Diabetes. Community participation in health promotion activities was first introduced by HAP in 2015, and has proven to be a very successful tool. The goal is that through the involvement of communities a rip effect is created allowing the messages to reach out to extended families and friends, hence helping communities to gain better health.

Community Involvement, a Tool for Transparency and Accountability

Community participation enhances Primary Health Care effectiveness, with widely reputed benefits including improved health outcomes, equity, service access, suitability, quality and responsiveness. In recent years, increasing attention has been given to understanding and promoting methods which enable citizens to hold government institutions to account. One of the tools that HAP has used to strengthen accountability is open community meetings, where managers of health centres, representatives from Public Health Departments, Regional Health Insurance Funds and local government meet with the local community to discuss health centre's work and how it can be improved. In these "democratic spaces", the manager of the local health centre presents a general overview of the centre, its staff and how many people they serve. The manager explains its annual budget, giving a detailed description for each of its items. Furthermore, the managers speak about problems the centre has faced, the solutions found, the remaining challenges that lie ahead and the goals that it hopes to achieve by next year. The purpose of these meetings is two-fold for the citizens: 1) they receive more information on the health centre's management issues, such as budget for medicine and available staff, and 2) they get a chance to voice concerns to those who can provide responses, the representatives of local authorities. Supported by HAP, these open meetings have become pivotal for enhancing transparency and accountability by changing the nature of interactions between service providers and citizens.

Health for All's Initiative to Increase Computer Literacy among Healthcare Providers

In Albania, healthcare is now at the era of e-health, as Ministry of Health prepares to introduce nationwide the newest service of e-prescription, and also the Centre for Continuing Medical Education is interested in promoting distance learning. To get the maximum output from the new e-health initiatives, it is vital to have computer literate health care workers. However, unfortunately computer literacy among healthcare workers is very low. Aiming at improving healthcare services by increasing computer literacy among primary healthcare providers, HAP initiated training courses for family doctors in Diber and Fier Regions. The first training focused on honing the IT skills for 67 family doctors for the use of Microsoft Office Package, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, E-mail and Internet. The goal is for the trained doctors to use the newly gained skills not only for the use of e-prescription, but also acquire the capacity to benefit from distance learning courses that will become available through HAP. Recognizing the importance of computer literacy in delivering good healthcare services, HAP is committed to continue the training for the remaining 167 family doctors in the two Regions.

Project contact: Joao.Costa@swisstph.org
SDC contact: Sokol.Haxhiu@eda.admin.ch

Photo: Community Meeting, HAP Alabnia

15/12/2016 08:24
World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

The 1st of December marks the World AIDS Day. The UNAIDS Hands Up for #HIVprevention global campaign aims at raising awareness on aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls, young women and key populations. SDC (together with partners) uses the opportunity to stress our commitment and engagement in HIV/AIDS prevention by participating in the campaign. Read more about the campaign here.

View Hands Up for #HIVprevention picture by SDC collaborators.

Taking up the opportunity of the World AIDS Day, WHO launches new guidelines on HIV self-testing to encourage countries to promote self-testing and empower more people to test for HIV. For more information visit http://www.who.int/campaigns/aids-day/2016/en/

01/12/2016 07:57
New WHO guidelines for Antenatal Care

New WHO guidelines for Antenatal Care

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care in order to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience.


WHO’s new antenatal care model increases the number of contacts a pregnant woman has with health providers  throughout her pregnancy from four to eight. Recent evidence indicates that a higher frequency of antenatal contacts by women and adolescent girls with the health system is associated with a reduced likelihood of stillbirths. This is because of the increased opportunities to detect and manage potential problems. A minimum of eight contacts for antenatal care can reduce perinatal deaths by up to 8 per 1000 births when compared to a minimum of four visits.


The new guidelines contain 49 recommendations that outline what care pregnant women should receive at each of the contacts with the health system, including counselling on healthy diet and optimal nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and substance use; malaria and HIV prevention; blood tests and tetanus vaccination; fetal measurements including use of ultrasound; and advice for dealing with common physiological symptoms such as nausea, back pain and constipation.


Publications can be found here.

Picture: http://www.who.int (WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience)

09/11/2016 12:13
e-Learning Course on Health Financing Policy for universal health coverage (UHC)

e-Learning Course on Health Financing Policy for universal health coverage (UHC)

The first WHO e-learning course on health financing policy for universal health coverage has now been launched. It comprises six modules which cover the core functions of health financial policy as conceptualised by WHO.

Each module is divided into a number of sub-topics. This is a foundational course which targets participants of various levels of experience and expertise.

The course is designed to be used in a variety of ways: as preparation for those who will attend a WHO face-to-face course, for those who are for various reasons unable to attend a face-to-face course, and for those who have already attended courses and wish to refresh their knowledge. Individual modules can also be used as part of a programme of blended capacity building.

The course will work on a range of devices, operation systems and browsers.

Find more information on how to register on the WHO website.

Picture: http://www.who.int (Health financing for universal coverage)

08/11/2016 17:40
WHO will lead WHO?

WHO will lead WHO?

Six candidates have been proposed by Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the position of WHO Director-General.

Member States proposed the following candidates:

  • The Government of Ethiopia has submitted the nomination of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus;
  • The Government of Italy has submitted the nomination of Dr Flavia Bustreo;
  • The Government of France has submitted the nomination of Professor Philippe Douste-Blazy;
  • The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has submitted the nomination of Dr David Nabarro;
  • The Government of Pakistan has submitted the nomination of Dr Sania Nishtar;
  • The Government of Hungary has submitted the nomination of Dr Miklós Szócska.


On 1-2 November, a forum took place where candidates presented their visions to WHO Member States, and the public, and answered questions from Member States on their candidacy. The interviews are available on the WHO website.

In January 2017, WHO's Executive Board will draw up a shortlist with a maximum of 5 candidates. Executive Board members will then interview these candidates and nominate up to 3 to go forward for consideration by the World Health Assembly in May 2017, when Member States will vote in a new Director-General. Previously, just 1 nomination was submitted by WHO's Executive Board to the World Health Assembly, which then made the final appointment.

The new Director-General will take office on 1 July 2017.

Picture: WHO/N. Bojgaard. http://www.who.int/en/

08/11/2016 09:13
WHO - Global tuberculosis report 2016

WHO - Global tuberculosis report 2016

New data published by the World Health Organization  (WHO) in its 2016 Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report show that countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets.

Governments have agreed on targets to end the TB epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. They include a 90% reduction in TB deaths and an 80% reduction in TB cases by 2030 compared with 2015.

The WHO 2016 Global TB report highlights the considerable inequalities among countries in enabling people with TB to access existing cost-effective diagnosis and treatment interventions that can accelerate the rate of decline in TB worldwide.  The report also signals the need for bold political commitment and increased funding.

Download the full report here.

17/10/2016 16:51
10.10. – World Mental Health Day

10.10. – World Mental Health Day

The 10th of October marks the World Mental Health Day. Mental health is an integral part of health and well-being. Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders are common in all regions of the world, affecting every community and age group across all income countries. While 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to these disorders, most of the people affected - 75% in many low-income countries - do not have access to the treatment they need.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day covers “psychological first aid”. Efforts in support of the day will focus on basic pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in a helping role whether they be health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers.

Find out more about Mental Health, WMHD and the Global Action Plan (mhGAP): who.int  


Picture source: Psychische Gesundheit in der Schweiz http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/gesundheitspolitik/14149/14714/index.html?lang=de

07/10/2016 16:14
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