At GHPi, we are passionate about research and publishing. Every publication has its own story to tell, including how it was conceptualized and how it has had an impact. See below pieces co-authored by GHPi Director Tim Mackey by year of publication. Click the "learn more" button to hear their stories (still under construction.)
Topics covered: global governance; substance abuse; health policy; social media
Corruption is diverse in its forms and embedded in health systems worldwide. Health-sector corruption directly impedes progress towards universal health coverage by inhibiting people’s access to quality health services and to safe and effective medicines, and undermining systems for financial risk protection. Corruption is also a cross-cutting theme in the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) which aim to improve population health, promote justice and strong institutions and advance sustainable human development. To address health-sector corruption, we need to identify how it happens, collect evidence on its impact and develop frameworks to assess the potential risks and put in place protective measures. We propose that the SDGs can be leveraged to develop a new approach to anti-corruption governance in the health sector. The aim will be to address coordination across the jurisdictions of different countries and foster partnerships among stakeholders to adopt coherent policies and anti-corruption best practices at all levels. Combating corruption requires a focused and invigorated political will, better advocacy and stronger institutions. There is no single solution to the problem. Nevertheless, a commitment to controlling corruption via the SDGs will better ensure the integrity of global health and human development now and beyond 2030.
The United States is in the midst of an opioid public health emergency, one that is also influenced by a convergence of Internet-based technology, health policy, and the need for stakeholder collaboration and action around the need to combat the illicit online sales of opioids by illegal online pharmacies and digital drug dealers. This risk is not new, however, with calls to actively reduce online opioid availability as online pharmacies use a growing array of digital channels, including search engines, social media platforms, and the dark Web. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration convened a special June 2018 summit bringing together technology companies, government agencies, researchers, and advocacy groups with the goal of collaboratively developing and implementing solutions to tackle the problem. Yet after this meeting, stakeholders remain fragmented in approaches despite the availability of technology that can detect, classify, and report illicit sellers who are in direct violation of Federal law. Despite ongoing challenges, advances in data science and the resources and expertise technology companies can contribute will be a key factor in ensuring that the Internet helps end and not fuel the public health emergency of opioid abuse.
In a press release reporting updates from the recent 71st World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), member state delegates called special attention to development of a 5-year roadmap aimed at improving access to safe, effective, and affordable medicines and vaccines, a health target contained in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.1 The WHO also highlighted one of the key impediments of progress toward this target, the increasing numbers of substandard and falsified medicines (SF medicines) that undermine global health, social and economic progress, and human development.
We discuss how corruption affects access to antiretroviral therapies (ARVs) globally. Recent cases of theft of ARVs, collusion, and manipulation in procurement found in countries such as Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Malawi, and Guinea, show there is still much work to be done to reduce the risk of corruption. This includes addressing the structural weaknesses in procurement mechanisms and supply chain management systems of health commodities and medicines.
The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU) is a complicated event. Although implications vary by industry, the biotechnology sector is especially vulnerable to the consequences of Brexit. Accordingly, here we evaluate potential repercussions under four post-Brexit political pathways: European Economic Area (EEA) affiliation (Norwegian Model); negotiated bilateral access (Swiss Model); limited participation in EU Customs Union (Turkish Model); or independence under the World Trade Organization (WTO) designation. We conclude that all four pathways fail to protect the mutually beneficial UK–EU biotechnology relationship and that alternative pathways need to be explored. Accordingly, we outline a suite of policy mechanisms aimed at ensuring continued EU–UK regulatory synergy, with the central aim of ensuring access to biomedical innovations and ensuring patient safety.
Increased awareness of the importance of mental health for global health has led to a number of new initiatives, including influential policy instruments issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN).
This policy brief describes two WHO instruments, the Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020 (World Health Organization, 2013) and the Mental Health Atlas (World Health Organization, 2015), and presents a comparative analysis with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations, 2015).
The WHO's Action Plan calls for several specific objectives and targets, with a focus on improving global mental health governance and service coverage. In contrast, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals include only one goal specific to mental health, with a single indicator tracking suicide mortality rates.
The discrepancy between the WHO and UN frameworks suggests a need for increased policy coherence. Improved global health governance can provide the basis for ensuring and accelerating progress in global mental health. (PsycINFO Database Record
Global health diplomacy (GHD) is a burgeoning field bridging the priorities of global health and foreign affairs. Given the increasing need to mobilize disparate global health stakeholders coupled with the need to design complex public health partnerships to tackle issues of international concern, effective and timely cooperation among state actors is critical. Health Attachés represent this coordination focal point and are key diplomatic professionals at the forefront of GHD. Despite their unique mandate, little is published about this profession and the perspectives of those who work in the field.
Through purposive sampling, we performed in-depth qualitative interviews with seven Health Attachés: three foreign Health Attachés accredited to the United States and four U.S. Health Attachés accredited to foreign governments. Our interviews explored four key topics: the role and mission of Health Attachés, skills needed to perform GHD, examples of successes and challenges in accomplishing their respective missions, and suggestions for the future development of the diplomatic profession.
We identified several lessons to apply to the growing field of GHD. First, GHD actors need to receive appropriate training to successfully negotiate the intersection of global health and foreign affairs. Participants suggested several areas of training that would benefit GHD actors: diplomacy and negotiation, applied science, and cross-cultural competency. Second, participants articulated the need for a career path for GHD practitioners, increased opportunities for on-the-job training and mentored experiences, and GHD competencies with defined levels of mastery that can be used in occupational evaluation and career development.
Our findings indicate that skills in diplomacy and negotiation, applied science, and cross cultural competency are essential for the statecraft of Health Attachés. Additionally, establishing a clear career pathway for Health Attachés is critical for future maturation of the profession and for fostering effective global health action that aligns public health and foreign diplomacy outcomes. Achieving these goals would ensure that this special cadre of diplomats could effectively practice GHD and would also better position Health Attachés to take the lead in advancing shared global health goals among nation states in a new era of twenty-first century diplomacy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (10.1186/s12992-017-0316-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Topics covered: heath and human rights; global governance; substance abuse; health policy; social media
Topics covered: tobacco control; health migration; international trade; biotechnology; digital health; social media; health policy; health communication; online pharmacies; drug access; pharmaceutical policy; global health governance; infectious diseases; health emergencies; patient safety; health diplomacy; pharmaceutical marketing; substance abuse; corruption; environmental health; health diplomacy; genetics;
Topics covered: drug safety, social media, tobacco control, pharmaceutical policy; pharmaceutical marketing; digital health; fake medicines; substance abuse; indigenous health; health policy; health diplomacy; healthcare ethics
Topics covered: fake medicines; drug safety; patient safety; substance abuse; global health governance; infectious diseases; innovation; public health and IP; digital health; tobacco control; biologics; drug access; pharmaceutical marketing; health migration; international trade; dental policy; environmental health; health policy; health diplomacy
Topics covered: fake medicines; pharmaceutical marketing; digital health; conflicts of interest; stem cells; substance abuse; social media; reproductive health; online pharmacies; pharmaceutical policy; elder abuse; global health governance; tobacco control; health policy; health migration
Topics covered: global health governance; pharmaceutical policy; online pharmacies; corruption; pharmaceutical promotion; drug access; infectious diseases; reproductive health; health migration; health security; biologics; medical screening; fake medicines; stem cells; sleep health; elder abuse; health economics; health diplomacy
Topics covered: health ethics; health policy; biologics; pharmaceutical promotion; pharmaceutical policy; healthcare reform; fake medicines; social media; online pharmacies; medical malpractice
Topics covered: conflicts of interest; pharmaceutical policy; rare diseases; health policy
Topics covered: online pharmacies; digital health; health policy; environmental policy