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The Big Push
The Big Push, a campaign to raise support for global health goals that need more funding, was launched this week. Those of us who work in the global health field know all about the pressing need for financial help to prevent and treat diseases. But there are times when we need to remind everyone else. As world leaders gathered in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly, we thought it a good moment to speak up. And speak out. To help communicate to a broader audience, the Global Fund set up a partnership with the Huffington Post, a leading news and opinion website, where a dedicated section called the Big Push collects and spreads new articles, blog posts and links to information on global health issues. It is now a platform for global health advocates everywhere to let people know about specific advances, challenges, needs and opportunities. Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of the Global Fund, announced this digital platform at the Summit for Social Good, a conference of bloggers and web-heads who want to use social media for social good. If the general public knows that efforts to prevent and treat diseases really work, with the right funding and coordination, they are more likely to lend support. Collectively, we have made tremendous progress in global health, sharply reducing the spread of malaria in many countries, and the transmission of HIV from mother to child. We can’t stop now. We need a Big Push, to get the funding we need to remove AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as serious health problems. Funding is critical. We need help from everyone.
Every Woman Every Child
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spearheads one health movement, Every Woman Every Child, to focus attention on two especially vulnerable populations – women of child-bearing age and children under the age of five. The Secretary-General hosted a special Dinner on 25 September at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where heads of state, prime ministers and other senior leaders gathered and endorsed the evening’s theme, The Big Push. When he addressed the crowd, Mr. Ban called on political leaders to make the commitment needed to advance maternal and child health. “This is the best investment we can make,” he said. Ray Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria and MDG Advocate, mastered the ceremonies for the evening and repeatedly pumped his fist in the air when he mentioned “The Big Push.” With just three years until the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, he said, there is a real need for the commitment and the funding to get us there. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister of Nigeria, describing her nation’s “Saving One Million Lives” campaign, spoke with eloquence about achieving big numbers, and the need to remember that each case is about individuals. “For every child who loses a parent, and any parent who loses a child, no mortality figure is acceptable or justified,” she said. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, was swept off her feet, literally, by Shaquille O’Neal, an American basketball star who appeared to be nearly twice her height when he stood on the stage next to her, before lifting her in his arms. Back on her feet, Dr. Chan recovered nicely. “There are advantages to being short,” she said.
This week, the Global Fund released its 2012 Results Report, which showed that 8.7 million lives have been saved by programs supported by the Global Fund since the organization was formed in 2002. The report, entitled “Strategic Investments for Impact: Global Fund Results 2012,” includes data through June 2012. It shows that incidence and mortality for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are each falling across the world. It gives hard numbers about the reach of the Global Fund’s work, including the distribution of over 110 million insecticide-treated nets in the 18 months up to mid-2012, an increase of 73 per cent since the end of 2010, a remarkable achievement. It explains specific results, and also describes broader impact of interventions supported by the Global Fund. In addition, the report has several country examples, outlining disease-specific cases in Namibia, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ukraine, Ethiopia, among others. We hope this report will be a good reference material, for many audiences. The full report is available here.
The Global Fund and Coca-Cola
This week, the Global Fund and the Coca-Cola Company went public with results of a partnership that started two years ago to help Tanzania’s medicine distribution network build a more efficient supply chain by using Coke’s logistics models for delivery into the most remote and hard-to-reach villages. It’s called “Project Last Mile,” because as logistics people know, the toughest obstacles in delivering goods often come in the last stretch. Coca-Cola is known for its ability to deliver beverages almost anywhere in the world. By providing their expertise, Coke was able to help health officials significantly improve deliver time of medicines. The results are great. The lead time for delivering medicines was reduced from 30 days to 5. The number of warehouse drop-off points was expanded from 500 to 5,000. Health facilities gained 20-30 percent in availability of critical medicines. Those are numbers we like. General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo explained that this partnership brings in civil society and the private sector to work with government health agencies, yielding innovation and real results. “It doesn’t matter how many medicines you provide, if they don’t actually reach the people who need them,” said Mr. Jaramillo. “In the private sector, people talk about ‘time to market.’ Here, we are talking about ‘time to saving lives,’ so this kind of improvement makes a tremendous difference.” With this success, Coca-Cola announced that they are expanding the project into two more countries, Ghana and Mozambique.
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