Will the world’s premier health organization be able to reform itself to revive its global health leadership in the years ahead? Such was undoubtedly the question on the mind of health officials and civil society from around the world as they attended the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) last month, the World Health Organization’s annual meeting of its governance body, comprised of all 193 of its Member States.
With WHO reform the marquee item on a crowded agenda that touched on many of the most pressing global health issues, this seemed destined to be a historic WHA.
And in some ways, it was – though at least in part, due to another issue. As the 2003 WHA secured its place in history by adopting the first global health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and the 2005 WHA adopted the revised International Health Regulations, the 2011 WHA set the stage for greater international cooperation in responding to novel influenza viruses by adopting the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
Despite being non-binding, and frankly underwhelming, it does for the first time set up a three-pronged global process of increase access of people in developing countries to vaccines and antiviral medication: 1) voluntary vaccine donations by vaccine manufacturers to a WHO stockpile to be used primarily in developing countries; 2) tiered pricing for vaccines and antivirals, and; 3) technology transfer for vaccines and antivirals. Manufacturers are also expected to contribute financially to support WHO’s global influenza surveillance and response system. Read More
Posted in Global Health, Uncategorized; Tagged: AIDS, H1N1, HIV, JALI, Joint Action and Learning Intiative, UN, UNAIDS, United Nations, vaccines, WHA, WHO, World Health Assembly, World Health Organization.
Note: The following is a re-post of the interview by John Donnelly, “Dybul on PEPFAR: ‘The sky was the limit,'” which was originally published on Science Speaks: HIV & TB News on June 2, 2011. It is re-posted here with permission from Science Speaks.
John Donnelly, Dybul on PEPFAR: ‘The sky was the limit’
Ambassador Mark R. Dybul co-directs the Global Health Law Program at Georgetown University Law Center’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, where he is also a Distinguished Scholar. He is the inaugural Global Health Fellow of the George W. Bush Institute. Dybul served as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator from 2006 to the end of the George W. Bush administration. In that role, he led the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest international health initiative in history for a single disease. Prior to assuming the post of ambassador, he was acting, deputy and assistant coordinator, and was a member of the Planning Task Force that created PEPFAR. Dybul also led President Bush’s International Prevention of Mother and Child HIV initiative for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Dybul spoke with John Donnelly about the start of PEPFAR and some of the most memorable moments directing it, continuing Science Speaks’ series on 30 years of AIDS.
How did you first get involved in AIDS?
When I was in college, I was trying to decide whether to do a doctorate in theology or English, concentrating on poetry. Then I saw an article on AIDS on the cover of Newsweek, and something inside me said I should spend my life on this. I wound up pursuing it by going to medical school.
Later on you began working with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Tell me about that.
I started as a fellow in infectious diseases. The way the National Institutes of Health (NIH) works is, when you become a fellow you know what lab you are going to go into. I wound up accepted at Tony’s lab, and I did basic and clinical immunology and later some virology in his lab. I also started doing research in Africa with Peter Mugyenyi, and saw his programs and also programs run by TASO (The AIDS Service Organization) in Uganda. When Tony was asked by President Bush to think of what we could do on HIV, I was already working on the ground in Africa. Read More
Note: An earlier version of this post, drafted by Eric A. Friedman, O’Neill Institute Law Fellow and Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill Institute Faculty Director, was disseminated as an O’Neill Institute Briefing on May 18, 2011.
In late May, the World Health Assembly (WHA) discussed an ambitious agenda of reform of the World Health Organization (WHO) and global governance for health—the norms, institutions, and processes that collectively shape the health of the world’s population. This post discusses WHA agenda items of major importance.
The WHO faces at least a $300 million budget deficit and finds itself in an increasingly complex global health architecture characterized by great passion and innovation, but also fragmentation and lack of global leadership. Recognizing the need for reform to be more relevant to contemporary realities and to assume its proper global health leadership role, the World Health Organization is initiating a major reform process.
The WHO reform agenda includes: (1) a proposal for a global stakeholders’ forum to help shape the global health agenda; (2) clearer articulation of WHO’s unique role and functions; and (3) managerial reforms within WHO to increase its accountability to Member States, improve organizational structure, and revise its human resource strategy. One thing to look out for: the risk that as WHO seeks to define and organize itself along particular functions, such key areas as human rights, gender, primary health care, and the social determinants of health, which are officially to be “mainstreamed,” could in practice see their place within WHO downgraded. Read More
Posted in Global Health, Uncategorized, WHO; Tagged: Devi, global health, Gostin, H1N1, health coverage, injuries, JAMA, Lawerence, NCD, non-communicable diseases, reform, Sridhar, vaccine sharing, WHA, WHO, World Health Assembly, World Health Organization.
Welcome to the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law’s blog. The blog is meant as a forum for thoughtful dialogue on pressing issues in health law and policy. It will also be an additional venue for us to keep in touch with our friends and colleagues on current events at the O’Neill Institute, including highlights from our robust research program, graduate degree program, fellowship program, and institute scholarship.
Launched in 2007, the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University has blossomed into the premier academic research center for national and global health law and policy. Our research encompasses a diverse range of national and global health law topics, from health reform in the US and China, tobacco control globally and in Latin America, global infectious and non-communicable disease prevention, and global health governance. The UN Secretary General recently endorsed the founding vision of the O’Neill Institute—a Framework Convention on Global Health.
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Lawrence O. Gostin
Linda and Timothy O’Neill Professor and Faculty Director
O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
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