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Good morning, this is Elaine. I am the editor of Geneva Solutions’ Global Health section, produced in collaboration with Health Policy Watch, a Geneva-based news service. I will also be live next week on Thursday 31 August to discuss health coverage with our editorial director Serge Michel as part of a webcast series for our launch.

Today’s features zoom into the risks of coronavirus reinfection; the brouhaha over the US FDA’s approval of an unproven Covid treatment with convalescent plasma; Moderna’s Swiss Connection - how prudent but savvy Swiss bankers funded the biotech firm’s early years. And from the field, we have the inside story of a front-line doctor in Uganda, whose team faces the SARS-CoV-2 virus naked.

photo journaliste

Elaine Fletcher, Geneva

27.08.2020


A few introductory words


Not accidentally, a disproportionate array of health news lately is on Covid-19, the biggest pandemic to hit humankind since the Spanish flu of 1918.

At the same time, these stories are not really about just one virus. Think of it as a lens through which we see problems that plagued us long before this tiny strand of RNA began disrupting our lives - and could threaten us even after we find a vaccine. These include underfunded health systems and the lack of equitable access to medicines and health care. Add to that the broader inequalities in income and social status which also fuel disease risks for everyone.

As WHO’s director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly stated: in a globalized world, we are only as strong as our weakest link. In addition, the unbridled pace of climate change and environmental degradation continue to bring more and more people into contact with the insect and animal vectors of new and potentially dangerous pathogens. So even if a new vaccine appears, sometime late this year or in early 2021, to beat Covid-19, we are likely to face other similar risks very soon if we don’t upgrade our healthcare systems and work towards more sustainable patterns of development and consumption.

At the same time, the pandemic has also created new opportunities to address these issues more systematically - as politicians come to appreciate the huge risks of inaction. As we develop our coverage in the Geneva Solutions Health Stream - we will tease out those interlinkages - and also the solutions that can lead to “win-wins” for health, climate, society and the economy. We will also be keen to have your inputs - please join the conversation!


Today’s reason for hope


Health workers on the Covid-19 firing line - notes from an Ugandan emergency room doctor. But six months into the pandemic, many hospitals remain unprepared. Doctors and nurses lack adequate personal protective gear (PPE) and there is a shortage of isolation wards to separate suspected Covid-19 cases from regular patients. Call it a desperate story - but it is also one of hope and courage. Everywhere in the world, health workers know what they need to protect themselves, their families and communities from the pandemic. What they need are simple, and largely affordable, tools - and they are demanding them.

Health Policy Watch (EN)

Ongoing Matters


A Panorama of Swiss Society 2020: Migration—Integration—Participation. In Switzerland, migrant households earn less than families without a migration background, although salaries of migrant women are 20% higher than those of non-migrant women, concludes a new report by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Swiss Federal Council (EN)

N.B.A. Postpones Playoff Games After Milwaukee Bucks Boycott. The Milwaukee Bucks responded to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Wisconsin, by refusing to take the court Wednesday afternoon for their N.B.A. playoff game against the Orlando Magic. An hour later, the N.B.A. postponed two other playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night.

The New York Times (EN)

«I have the right not to testify against myself» Nobel Prize-winning author and Belarusian opposition activist Svetlana Alexievich refused to answer questions Wednesday after Belarusian investigators summoned her for questioning over allegations of criminal activities committed by a newly formed opposition group with which she is associated.

Voice of America (EN)

Population panic lets rich people off the hook for the climate crisis they are fuelling. Rising consumption by the affluent has a far greater environmental impact than the birth rate in poorer nations, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot.

The Guardian (EN)

Global Health News


Image of the day


Photo article

Crowded market scene in Kampala, Uganda – some people wear masks and others do not. Samson Wamani.

Social distancing is one of the key preventative measures that has been “prescribed” by WHO. But it’s a huge challenge in many places, such as this crowded market in Kampala, Uganda. Lax enforcement of basic preventive measures is yet another, in this case masks - which some vendors and shoppers don - and others discard. Source: Samson Wamani.


Next on the agenda


27 August (8:00 pm CET) | Global Health Research Needs A Makeover. Join an uncommon discussion of how global health - in the post-colonial world - is neither global nor diverse. Addressing this is critical to ensuring a more equitable, diverse, and impactful global health landscape. This event marks the first webinar of the “Decolonization of Global Health” Seminar Series, led by Madhukar Pai, director of the McGill International TB Centre.

Centre For Global Health Science and Security (EN)

1 September (5:00 pm CET) | The World Wasn't Ready for a Pandemic—But It Could Be. How can the world prepare for the next pandemic? Join experts from Resolve To Save Lives, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, to find out.

Vital Strategies (EN)

2-3 September (8:15 - 1:15 pm CET) | Swiss Public Health Conference: From Evidence to Public Health Policy and Practice. Leading players in public health politics, practice, and research will examine how public health in Switzerland can be strengthened by integrating evidence-based solutions into national health care systems

Swiss Public Health Conference (EN)

3 September (3:00 - 5:30 pm CET) | Covid-19 therapeutics: innovation, trials and access. Chief executives from big pharma - including Eli Lilly and Company, Gilead, MSD, Pfizer, Roche Group and the IFPMA - will provide a snapshot of the Covid-19 therapeutics pipeline, and explain how they’re collaborating to develop and deploy safe and effective treatments at scale without leaving anyone behind.

IFPMA (EN)

For more content from Health Policy Watch, visit healthpolicy-watch.news


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Have a good day!

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