Inch by inch, the proverbial ivory towers at research institutions around the world are being remodeled to make way for a new era of university-business partnerships.
December 3rd marked the Pan American Day of Medicine in honor of Carlos Finlay, the Cuban doctor who identified the transmission of Yellow Fever through a mosquito. Also on December 3rd, a century after Finlay’s death, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago sat down with the Diplomatic Courier to discuss her experience as the first female Regional Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Ebola crisis, and the Millennium Development Goals. Finlay’s discovery allowed for the possibility to control yellow fever and to build the Panama Canal. His contribution is demonstrative of the intersection of health and politics, a connection that Dr. Periago herself has embodied for more than three decades.
The dust has settled on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and results have left stakeholders with enough to both lament and celebrate. Moving forward, the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development is a process that will marry with the MDGs as a single post-2015 global development agenda focusing on sustainable development. Based on this World Health Organization discussion paper, the issue of health seems well positioned to take a substantial place on the agenda. While this is encouraging news for the health sector, it will need to be explicit that strengthening health systems is a sustainable Millennium Development Goal for post-2015.
Ambassador Jimmy Kolker is the Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Global Affairs, in the Office of the Secretary, leads the Department’s efforts to better the health and well-being of Americans and of the world’s population through global strategies and partnerships and working with other U.S. government agencies in the coordination of global health policy. Now the Department’s senior health diplomat, Jimmy previously served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the office (2011-2014).
As the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline looms nearer, global leaders must re-evaluate initiatives for the post-2015 development agenda. As enumerated in the final and eighth MDG, the original development goals inherently rely on donor aid and multilateral financial partnerships for progression. With less than a few months before the global deadline, five of the eight goals are not likely to be achieved. MDG Five, created to reduce maternal mortality rates (MMR), measures dead last on fulfillment.
With just under 500 days remaining until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, countries are pushing to achieve and exceed all of the goals. Yet, despite our best efforts, our work will not be done when 2015 ends.
After the financial crisis of 2008, the United States, Europe, and many other nations around the world began to debate austerity measures in order to reduce their stock of sovereign debt. One sector considered for reduction was healthcare expenditures. Critics of this approach argued that a reduction in healthcare expenditures would reduce the quality of life for people in that country. Shortly after the crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO), argued for direct investment in healthcare as a means of improving the quality of life.
According to Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, in 2009: “Health is a global concern. It is a vital investment in economic development and poverty reduction. It is central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Access to health care is a fundamental entitlement and responsibility of governments the world over… Progress in one direction depends on all the others. We compromise on any one of these elements at our collective peril.”
The Karakoram Highway cuts a rugged path through the high black mountains that separate China from Pakistan, where mirror-like lakes reflect the snowy peaks and azure sky. The highway runs 800 miles, connecting the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistani Kashmir with Kashgar, a city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. It is the only land link between the two countries, and it follows an ancient caravan trail that was once part of the Silk Road.
Many voices have called for the global community to ensure adequate food and nutrition for a growing world population, a goal that must take into account changing climates, both physical and political. The call to feed the planet comes from influential individuals, NGOs, universities, national and international governing bodies, and the private sector.
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