A WHO/UNICEF joint report, published earlier this week, found that only half of all health facilities around the world met the criteria for having basic hand hygiene services– a figure that drops to 32% in least developed countries (LDCs). Globally, 3.85 billion people receive care from a facility that lacks basic hygiene service. According to the report, 78% of health facilities, and 53% of health facilities in LDCs, have basic water service from an improved water source, leaving 1.7 billion people without basic water service at the point of care. Recently published research, including the WHO/UNICEF report, has highlighted the importance that … Continue reading Poor Hygiene in Health Services. Time for Commitments on Infection Prevention and Control?
THE GENEVA HEALTH FILES BOOK ON THE TRIPS WAIVER NEGOTIATIONS Presenting a comprehensive volume capturing the blow-by-blow account of the TRIPS Waiver discussions at the WTO that unfolded during October 2020-June 2022. This is a compilation of 50 stories from Geneva Health Files on the subject. The book has been put together at the request of several readers of Geneva Health Files, including trade negotiators, academics, and activists. The objective has been to weave together and present the path of these negotiations in a chronological, linear fashion. Nearing 450 pages, the book is being presented as a ready reckoner and a journalistic chronicle … Continue reading Coming Soon: The TRIPS Waiver Negotiations, A Compilation from Geneva Health Files
By Axelle Ebode Monkeypox has never been classified among Neglected Tropical Diseases, but the way it has been managed is a case of neglect. As on August 17 2022, a total of 37,736 laboratory confirmed cases and 179, including 12 deaths have been reported to WHO by 93 countries across the world. Never before did monkeypox cases reach such numbers. Despite the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the Director-General of WHO on 23rd July, 2022, the operationalisation of the response to this outbreak does not seem to be up to expectations, at least for the moment. … Continue reading Monkeypox: From Neglect & Endemicity to PHEIC, Beyond Legal Characterizations.
On the formation and roles of categories in the global health industry – the case of digital health By Robert D. Smith Throughout the past decade, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘digital health’ has seen an increase in interest and funding from a variety of actors. The World Health Organization has a digital health strategy, many nations have national digital health strategies, a plethora of global health organizations focus exclusively or in part on digital health, The Lancet and Financial Times Commissioned a report on digital health, hundreds of companies claim to focus on digital health and raise millions in investments. Beyond global health organizations, … Continue reading What does the global health industry mean by “digital health” and why it matters?
In June 2022, the World Trade Organization adopted a decision at its 12th Ministerial Conference, that could potentially help facilitate easier production of COVID-19 vaccines. This was the outcome of a 20-month long discussion at the WTO on the so-called TRIPS Waiver. But ultimately what resulted was a rather narrow legal mechanism, essentially clarifying existing rules in the WTO TRIPS Agreement. For many, this outcome was not entirely surprising. Susan K Sell from the Australian National University has long examined and explored the nature of the TRIPS Agreement and the politics at the WTO. We spoke with Sell during her recent visit to Geneva … Continue reading Deconstructing the TRIPS Waiver Discussions: The Susan Sell Interview
The US has expressed its reservations on extending the June Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement to medicines and tests, going beyond vaccines. At the General Council meeting this week, the US reportedly has said that WTO does not have a mandate and that the decision is limited to whether or not to extend the new rules to medicines and tests. But other countries are keen on discussing ways to adapt and negotiate an outcome so as to include medicines and tests in the scope of the new clarifications. Geneva-based trade officials said that nearly 30 delegations took the floor to discuss … Continue reading No Mandate on Extending WTO TRIPS Agreement Decision to Medicines & Tests: The U.S.
New rules to also have non-binding elements. In a decisive move, WHO member states, this week, agreed on a legal route to frame new, binding and non-binding rules to govern pandemics. This was the outcome of the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Body that was set up to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. For the moment, it appears member states have bought time, for, the consensus language suggests that the new instrument could be affiliated to Article 19 of the WHO constitution (a reportedly “wider” opt-in approach), while also not … Continue reading Set into Orbit: WHO Member States Agree to Binding Nature of a New Instrument to Govern Pandemics
That a new pandemic accord will be a closely contested policy space is already obvious. A first, new working draft published on July 13, 2022, gives a nod to equity, and pushes for accountability. But it also refers to the impact of climate change, among many other policy matters. Some caution, that bringing the complex and expansive issues of climate change into the negotiations towards a pandemic accord might crowd out space and time for discussions on more pertinent matters directly relevant to global health, including the barriers caused by intellectual property for the access to medical products during health … Continue reading Climate Looms Over A New Pandemic Accord, Could Risk Crowding Out Access to Medicines & Equity Issues, Experts Say
The embers from the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference are still warm. While the supporters of the original TRIPS waiver are still coming to terms with the remains of the 20 month saga that yielded a ministerial decision clarifying the rules of compulsory licensing for the production of vaccines, they are back at the WTO to stomach another fight. This time, to discuss the way forward to boost the production of therapeutics and diagnostics by seeking to extend the applicability of the June decision to these medical products. This puts the co-sponsors, again, directly in opposition to industry interests where companies such as … Continue reading TRIPS Waiver 2.0 at the WTO: Proponents back at the table to push for therapeutics and diagnostics
Geneva is no stranger to contentious discussions in international health policy-making. The current times are also witnessing the conduct of crucial negotiations at breakneck speed. However, speed and time cannot be excuses in the way diplomatic processes are being conducted, Geneva-based health diplomats say. Several countries have not been happy about forcing consensus on several matters in recent weeks on the back of time and resource constraints. The discussions around the World Health Assembly in May this year, give us an indication on what is to come in the negotiations for a pandemic accord. In July, member states will discuss … Continue reading WHO Member States Begin to Define Form and Function of a Pandemic Accord