By: Global Health Initiative
In New York City this week at events surrounding the United Nations General Assembly, global health was clearly on the agenda. A number of events reflected great efforts underway and progress made by the U.S. government and our global partners toward saving and improving lives. A range of issues were discussed, but two stood out: country ownership and child survival. Below are a few highlights.
On Monday, September 24th, Secretary Clinton spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on the USG three-pronged approach to elevate development to be a critical part of diplomacy—moving from aid to investment, advancing the policy of country ownership, and being able to put the U.S. government ‘out of business’ so that partner countries can mobilize their own domestic resources for long-term development. She noted that to help achieve this, State is opening a new Office of Global Health Diplomacy to leverage the State Department’s global reach and provide our ambassadors with the tools and information they need to have a greater impact where the real healthcare work is happening on the ground.
Building on her speech from June 1 in Oslo, the Secretary emphasized country ownership again during her remarks at the UNAIDS Shared Responsibility event on Wednesday, September 26th. The Secretary underscored that the USG will be an active partner in the shared responsibility of global health, but that the USG is re-shifting efforts toward helping partners gain the capacity to manage resources, develop and implement plans, and eventually fund them. She pointed to Namibia’s recent commitment to fund half of the financing for its fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Secretary’s message on the value of elevated health diplomacy and country ownership was reaffirmed in an op -ed in Global Health and Diplomacy magazine where she additionally noted that to be successful we must be able to measure progress, and to that end the Office of Global Health Diplomacy will provide embassies with tools to better engage and build on progress.
Advances in the effort to increase maternal survival were highlighted at the Accelerating Access to Lifesaving Technologies for the Women Who Need Them Most panel, moderated by Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative, Lois Quam, as well as the Success in Saving Mothers panel hosted by Jhpiego and co-sponsors. It was acknowledged in both forums that partnership and innovation were key in the reduction of maternal mortality, and that with renewed commitment we will be able to make further progress
Maternal and child health was further emphasized by a new partnership announced in conjunction with the The UN Commission of Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, which will make a safe, effective, long-acting, reversible method of contraception (provided by Bayer)available to more than 27 million women in the world’s poorest nations. USAID Administrator Shah joined the Commission co-chairs, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, alongside former President Bill Clinton to make this important announcement.
There was a show of solidarity at the Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio Free World where leaders from around the world pledged new and continued commitment to polio eradication. CDC director, Thomas Frieden, and Secretary of Health and Human services, Kathleen Sebelius, both made remarks.
These are just a few of the global health events which happened in conjunction with UNGA, and it’s encouraging to see growing commitment to global health from the USG and partners alike.