The recently launched Global Health 50/50 report places SUN in the top 5% of the annual Gender and Health Index on gender equality across 201 organisations active in Global Health. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is ranked as one of the “12 very high-scoring” organizations.
Scaling up Nutrition has improved and finds itself in the top 5% of those assessed in 2021, and is highlighted in the report as one making a large step in the right direction the past year. GAVI, Stop TB and the Global Fund, and SUN are now ranked as the most successful public-private partnerships in ensuring gender equality in this index.
This improvement can be linked to two key factors: Work having gone into ensuring a gender transformative strategy (and the Executive Committee agreeing and accepting this, in the final draft) for 2021-2025, which formed a key part of this improvement. The fact that this index was mentioned in the Strategy Annex is also a good practice, to encourage further work in this area.
UNOPS has also scaled up work towards gender-transformative workplace policies in 2019-2020, also in a time of COVID-19, which became a key indicator in 2021.
In 2021, SUN is highlighted as good practices in: gender-transformative language (in strategy), sexual harassment policies (UNOPS), having launched the 2019 call to action, and having workplace policies in the public domain.
On March 25th, the UNAIDS's Program Coordination Board (PCB), of which SDC/Switzerland is an active member, adopted the
Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 to accelerate and reinforce the fight against HIV, AIDS and discrimination. This progressive strategy sets ambitious new targets and cross-cutting principles on access to and delivery of HIV combination prevention, testing and treatment, as well as linkages to a wide range of health issues and essential care packages. At the core, lays a
people-centred approach, based on human rights and gender equality – without it, further progress in eliminating HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 would otherwise not be possible.
While key populations worldwide and the high disease burden on Sub-Saharan African women and girls rightly remain a strong focus of this framework, renewed efforts will now also target young adults and reinforce the important link to community-led responses. The 2021-26 strategy aims to
decrease punitive laws and policies at the country level, and ensures
flexibility in localized approaches to address stark global, regional and even in-country differences in the epidemiological reality of HIV transmissions and corresponding target groups.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the strategy was elaborated with inputs from 10'000 stakeholders, 160 countries, member states, 11 UN-Agencies, communities and civil society, and dedicated UNAIDS staff over the past 15 months. It has not only capitalized on UNAIDS' own past “outbreak" experiences but has now
lock-in targets for pandemic preparedness and other humanitarian crisis situations to prevent HIV service delivery interruptions, under any circumstances.
Help us promote the Global AIDS Strategy with this video.
We invite you to read the Strategy (PDF) and look forward to joining efforts in our commitment to walk the last mile!
In 2019, the WHO Regional Director of the Eastern Mediterranean established the Commission on the Social Determinants in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to carry out an extensive review of health inequities in the region. The Commission has now published its first report: Build back fairer: achieving health equity in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
The Commission draw the state of health inequities in the region, and in their analysis identified conflict, society and culture, as well as health systems, as key determinants of health – among others. These findings provide an important evidence-base for the argument of peace and social cohesion as drivers for health equity. The report also highlighted key principles for governance and key actions steps to achieve health equity specific to the regional context in 12 different topics.
This report was written during the inception phase of the SDC's programme Determinants for Health Equity, and provided valuable knowledge for its implementation in the region. The programme aims to improve the health of 20 million people across twelve lower and middle-income countries by addressing major determinants of health and integrating health equity into the development of social and economic policies. The Eastern Mediterranean Region Commission provided the opportunity to develop a network of partners, including civil society organisations, academia, UN, non-UN organisations and governments, to promote debate and action on social determinants of health in the region.
We invite you to read more about the Commission's findings and recommendations in the Executive Summary or Executive Brief. Further information can also be found via the Regional Office's media centre.
Therapeutic Patient Education Continuing Education Programmes for Health Care Providers in the Field of Prevention of Chronic Diseases Report of a WHO Working Group, 1998. Available from URL:
Romesh Khardor. How should patient education for diabetes mellitus (DM) be delivered? Available from URL:
Diabetes Self Management Patient Education Materials. Available from URL:
Adepu R, Swamy MK. Development and Evaluation of Patient Information Leaflets (PIL) Usefulness. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2012;74(2):174-178. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.103857
A Guide to Creating and Evaluating Patient Materials. Guidelines for Effective Print Communication. Available from URL:
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kyrgyzstan in March 2020, it caused major disruptions at all levels, in the health sector in particular, overwhelming the response capacity of medical services. Like many countries around the world, Kyrgyzstan lacked the necessary equipment and the organizational capacity to respond efficiently to the epidemic. Health authorities did their best to build up a coordinated response with the limited resources available. No need to say that this major health crisis had a serious impact on all cooperation projects, particularly those in the health sector. This was the case of the SDC's Medical Education Reforms (MER) project in the Kyrgyz Republic, financed and owned by SDC. This project has been working since 2008 in reforming and strengthening the capacity of institutions involved in the education and training of medical students, doctors, particularly family medicine doctors, and nurses. The reform targeted all levels of medical education: pre-graduate and post-graduate training, and continuing medical education (CME).
Since its inception, the MER project has been working towards re-connecting and integrating more medical education into medical services to contribute more efficiently to the health system reform, focusing on primary care and strengthening its capacity. It is also decentralizing medical education by sending students and residents to the regions, increasing the role and responsibilities of regional healthcare facilities in medical education (ME). This integrative approach is essential to address the shortage of medical professionals in rural Kyrgyzstan, to provide well-qualified and competent doctors to serve the healthcare needs of the local population.
Based on the Swiss Embassy request to reorient some project activities, the MER project became actively involved in the COVID-19 response. With the support of its partners' active involvement, many of the MER activities were reoriented into four main fields: 1) Strengthening the communication capacity at the Government and Ministry of Health (MoH) levels, by hiring consultants during the peak of the epidemic, 2) Supporting the development of a 118 Hotline and the implementation of call centers in the 7 regions/oblasts, 3) Providing Visio-conference equipment to regional medical facilities to support the distance-training of medical professionals, 4) Raising the visibility and supporting the role of nurses as key actors on the front line.
Strengthening Communication Capacity
MER helped the Government to shape and select key messages on COVID-19 control and prevention for the population. Simultaneously communication experts joined the MoH team to reinforce their communication capacities on developing and promoting the MoH main guidelines and messages. The expertise of the MER team, medical and nursing professional associations were solicited to facilitate access to useful international documents and guidelines to be adapted to the Kyrgyz context. It contributed to the development of a series of documents on frequently asked questions (FAQ), practical guidelines for people staying at home in confinement, on stress management. The pandemic provided an opportunity to boost the role of professional associations and to involve them in the training of medical workers on the COVID-19 response. The Kyrgyz Medical Association (KMA) and Family medicine association (FGPA) played an important role in developing and conveying COVID-19 prevention and case management guidelines and recommendations.
Call-Centers development – 118 Hotline
In partnership with the MoH and the SOROS foundation, MER financed the development and implementation of call centers in all the 7 regions of the country. The establishment of the 118 Hotline was a great success: people called to get general information on COVID-19, referral and testing, but also prevention and treatment. MER contributed to the development of questionnaires, algorithms and training of the operators, many of them being residents in the Family Medicine Specialty. Interestingly, the Coronavirus crisis not only illustrated the need to reinforce the primary care sector in Kyrgyzstan but also the benefits of having this young extra medical workforce available to provide services to the local population. Through the 118 Hotline and their strong involvement in the COVID-19 response, Family Medicine Centers (FMCs) gained much more importance. This explains why the current 118 hotline remained in place, even after the peak of the epidemic in the main FMCs. It also facilitated the development of remote consultations and online patient follow-up. Specific training was provided to FMCs personnel to develop these new communication competencies.
Visio-Conference equipment procurement and distribution
In line with the digital era, MER had planned to provide and distribute several Visio-Conference equipment – a gamble with the time. Luckily, the delivery arrived just before the lockdown was imposed at the end of March. In total, 74 Health facilities across the 7 regions and 3 main training institutions in Bishkek received the necessary IT equipment. This facilitated greatly the communication between Bishkek and the regions during the COVID-19 crisis when everyone was using distance communication tools and no travel was tolerated. It allowed experts to exchange, online training and meetings to be organized and the diffusion of rules and guidelines to the entire network of clinical facilities, particularly ambulatory primary care clinical sites. This crisis accelerated the acceptance and use of distance learning and online interaction of medical professionals and tightened the links between health professionals and the network of medical facilities.
Raising the visibility and the role of nurses as key actors in the health system
The image and the status of nurses remain very low in Kyrgyzstan. This COVID-19 crisis provided an opportunity to highlight the importance of nurses in primary health care. The MER project strongly believes that strengthening nurses' training and increasing their competencies and responsibilities is critical and needs to be translated into reformed regulations and laws. The nurses' professional association (NPA) has become even more proactive during the pandemic, using social media to deliver key messages and recommendations. Thanks to its members' active involvement in all front line prevention and control activities, the nurses deserve to be widely recognized as real “heroes" of epidemic management. Taking advantage of the WHO 2020 Year of Nurses initiative, the MER project focused its communication strategy on the visibility of nurses. Initially, only doctors were visible on the media. MER encouraged the MoH and the communication experts in charge to give greater visibility to the invaluable role of nurses and organized an online forum only for nurses in November 2020 – a huge success, with more than 700 participants from all over the country.
During this crisis, the MER project and its partners have done their best to contribute to the national efforts to control the pandemic. As illustrated above, it also used emerging opportunities to develop or strengthen new areas of activities, which overall will contribute to the reinforcement of primary care. Nurses and medical associations have increased their visibility and new competencies have been developed at ambulatory Family Medicine Centers in the field of communication, particularly in the regions. All these positive outcomes are the result of joint creative efforts made during these critical and very stressful times. We would like to convey our deep gratitude to all partners of the MER project for their invaluable contribution and dedication to the immense efforts made in fighting COVID-19.
Since 2000, historic successes have been achieved in the global fight against malaria. In the last decades,7.6 million malaria deaths have been prevented and over 20 countries have been declared malaria-free. Furthermore, a new group of 26 countries has the potential to eliminate malaria by 2025. This shows that a world without malaria could become a reality in just one generation.
Meanwhile, progress in the fight against malaria has stagnated. To ensure access to basic, life-saving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of one of the oldest and deadliest infectious diseases, there is currently a funding gap of around US$2.6 billion annually.
And the COVID-19 crisis threatens to exacerbate this trend: The already fragile health systems of sub-Saharan Africa are facing a double burden of having to combat COVID-19 and endemic diseases at the same time. This continues to jeopardize malaria response and complicates the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of malaria cases.
Actions against the Corona virus must go hand in hand with measures against other diseases. Therefore, on this year's World Malaria Day, we are drawing attention to the need to give high priority to the fight against malaria and the associated political and financial commitment, even in the shadows of the Corona pandemic.
Join us in highlighting these messages on this year's World Malaria Day by sharing content on social media. For more information see www.swissmalariagroup.ch or LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Swiss Malaria Group
LinkedIn | email@example.com