Catholic Medical Mission Board
I was privileged to speak before three groups last week to provide an up-date on GHI activities. On June 13th, I had the opportunity to meet with and speak to members of the Catholic Medical Mission Board. It was a delight to spend the evening with a group of people so committed to the great work of improving health and saving lives.
The Catholic Medical Mission Board has a legacy than spans decades. They approach global health with a clear objective: delivering quality health services to as many people in need as possible. I applaud their women and girl-centered approach to health and the sharp emphasis they have placed in working with local partners to strengthen health systems and improve communities.
Faith-based organizations will remain critical partners as we implement GHI around the world. I know that our partnership will help all of us reach our common goal of saving more lives.
Global Health Council Annual Meeting
On Wednesday, I had the great pleasure of meeting with over 200 global health implementers, advocates and country partners at the Global Health Council. The energy and appetite for global health from the standing room only crowd was palpable and infectious.
Even though I was not a part of the GHI family for the last Global Health Council Annual Meeting, there is nothing like this annual event for a chance to step back and take stock. The event, “Making Progress on the U.S. Global Health Initiative,” gave me, Kenya’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Kenya, Lee Brudvig, and Senior Advisor on Global Women's Issues, Jennifer Klein the opportunity to update the community about GHI.
The last year has represented a great moment: that pivotal point when all the pent up momentum of tireless behind-the-scenes work turns into in-the-field action.
I was able to share how the creation of GHI Country Strategies is leading to increased efficiencies throughout GHI, exemplified in our NTD programming in Mali. Prior to GHI, USAID, CDC and NIH were all implementing NTD programs. Through the GHI planning process, we were able to look at our programming jointly, look for places where these programs overlap or where, with a small added effort, we could create a more additive process. As a result of this planning, without adding a dollar of funding, we have greatly increased the range of our NTD programming, providing a blanket of comprehensive care. I am excited by the great strides our actions are making in country ownership, innovation and all of the GHI Principles.
Lee was able to really drive these cross cutting ideas home by drilling down on what we are doing in Kenya. His insights into this critical GHI country’s activities – like a burgeoning partnership with DoD. The partnership through GHI is making this kind of outside the box thinking happen.
Jen capped the event of by sharing her work on the excellent Women, Girls and Gender Equality Guidance. It provided us with the ability to share how GHI is thinking in cross cutting ways. When we drill into a particular principle or a particular country we can still illustrate how the whole of GHI works. Jen’s efforts to push gender sensitive programming in the U.S. Government are exemplary. We are ensuring that all of our M&E is gender disaggregated, for example.
I am struck by how an event like this makes 1 ½ hours seem like a five minute conversation. Even though we were able to answer questions from the audience, there was not enough time for either the panelists or the audience. I’m pleased that we can continue this dialogue with GHC members through the monthly calls that GHI has undertaken with the help of GHC.
I concluded the week at the Henry L. Stimson Center a nonproﬁt, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security through analysis and outreach. I was joined by my colleagues, Kevin De Cock, Director of the Center for Global Health, CDC; Ann Gavaghan, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator; and Amie Batson, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, USAID.
I opened the panel with a discussion about GHI Leadership and the structures that make GHI possible. We are constantly trying to do something that has never been done before in challenging circumstances. We are breaking ground and paving a new road forward even as we travel on it. Behind this pioneering global health work are three agencies – the State Department, USAID, and CDC – that all add to this work in unique ways.
Amie laid out the unique strengths that make USAID one of the premier development agencies in the world. It has a history of strong partnership and has the cross-sectoral expertise from working in agriculture, trade, democracy and governance, and disaster response. We are still beaming with pride from the recent announcement of the GAVI replenishment which is leveraging 8 more dollars for every single dollar of U.S. investment.
Kevin painted an amazing picture of the history of CDC, rightly pointing out that, “if it is dangerous, contagious and new, CDC is always brought to the front lines.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has built up the capacity to be the world’s first line of defense in disease surveillance. They are building up the capacity of our country partners to begin to take control of their own health.
Ann spoke passionately about PEPFAR as the foundation of GHI. PEPFAR has delivered amazing results in a very short time frame – including millions that have received counseling and testing, over 3 million on treatment and thousands of babies born HIV free. With the new GHI approach, PEPFAR is able to use the health systems it has established to work with USAID, CDC and other agencies in fighting diseases across the global health spectrum.