I’m in New York this week for a special meeting at the United Nations on matters of global health.
It’s a potentially important meeting, one in which some hope to re-direct the global health agenda. So I’m going to focus on covering, and reporting, out of the meeting. News Rounds will just have to take a break.
The last time the UN held a special meeting devoted to global health, out of it came the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — arguably one of the most significant and successful efforts in the history of international health.
That was a decade ago. At the time, there was fairly strong consensus that the world needed to do something to respond to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The spread of HIV had come under greater control in much of the rich world thanks to new drugs. But in sub-Saharan Africa and many other parts of the developing world, the virus was still burning a deadly swath. It was an intolerably unjust situation.
So the Global Fund was created to fight AIDS and two other top killers, TB and malaria, in poor countries. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private donor to the Global Fund, was on the scene but really just getting started reinvigorating (and remaking) the global health landscape. President George W. Bush jumped in as well, launching Pepfar to fight AIDS in Africa. The global economy, generally speaking, was good.
Those were heady, hopeful days.
Expanding the global health agenda while tightening its belt
Today is the first day of the unfortunately named UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases. I’ve already said why it’s a bad name. More importantly than its branding problem, this meeting faces a number of challenges the UN AIDS summit 10 years ago did not. Continue reading