By Karl Hofmann, President & CEO, PSI
The end of each year provides the opportunity to reflect on what transpired and what was accomplished. Global health saw plenty of victories and setbacks in 2013. Drug resistant TB, slowing donor funding, new outbreaks of polio and a devastating typhoon showed how easily progress can stall.
Amid these challenges emerged a changing global health landscape. The old way of doing things is now, more than ever, on its way out. In the next five years, the range of actors that are engaging and making a difference in addressing global health issues will continue to broaden and expand, even as the underlying health challenges narrow, and as The Lancet recently described, converge.
The infrastructure that developed over the last 50 years to tackle global development – the United Nations, donor agencies, international NGOs, other intermediaries and host governments – now finds itself working more and more with corporations, impact investors, next generation philanthropists, and socially networked individuals. This burgeoning ecosystem of development actors generates unprecedented attention and potential resources to address global poverty. Getting the roles right for these and other players might have a lot to do with whether we can end extreme poverty during our lifetime.
These are our top 10 moments for global health in 2013. Top 10 lists inevitably leave lots out. What did our global health and development leaders miss? Let us know what you think and share a few of your predictions for 2014.
1. Typhoon Haiyan
We include Haiyan not only for the unimaginable devastation it caused but as a reminder that when the media attention wanes and the world moves on, the health needs of the people affected will still be great.
“We will continue to serve these communities’ immediate needs, as well as long-term needs including child and maternal health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; and mental health services.” – Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO of International Medical Corps
2. Malala Yousafzai’s Ripple Effect on Family Planning
The impact of Malala Yousafzai’s efforts on education is obvious, less so is the impact she will have on the reproductive health of girls and women. If Malala has her way, girls will not only be better educated, they will have healthier families, build stronger communities and contribute to more robust economies.
3. Polio Movement Celebrates Successes, Faces Setbacks
The world is watching how the polio community will overcome conflict and violence to eradicate polio by 2018.
4. Global Leaders Show Unprecedented Support for Maternal and Child Health
In September, The World Bank, UNICEF, USAID, Norway committed $1.15 billion over the next three years to advance progress toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, and to get essential services and medicines to women and children who need them most.
5. Women Philanthropists Align for Health and Rights of Girls and Women
Women philanthropists are catalysts for new, innovative ways to deliver life-saving health products that will improve the lives of girls and women throughout the world. They are engaged and here to stay.
6. Gender-based Violence Movement Sees Tipping Point
World leaders acted on their commitments to eliminate gender-based violence, signaling a tipping point in the fight. Momentum is behind the movement. This is an issue to watch in 2014.
7. Under Mark Dybul’s Leadership, the Global Fund Is Back and Better than Ever
An impressive level of financial commitment from existing and new donor governments sends a strong signal.
8. Global USAID-Walmart Partnership Solidifies Long-Developing Trend
Public-private partnerships are not new. It is the magnitude of USAID’s partnership with Walmart that made us stand up and take notice.
9. Drug Resistance Threatens TB Progress, New Drugs Show Promise
By many measures the world is making great progress against TB – the rate of new cases has fallen worldwide and new drugs are in development – yet drug resistance seriously threatens that progress.
10. Women Deliver Conference Secures Bold Commitments for Girls and Women
More than 5,000 people gathered at Women Deliver in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to promote the health of girls and women, adding additional momentum to what economists, government donors, philanthropists conclude: when you invest in the health of girls and women, you lift.
Read the latest edition of PSI’s Impact Magazine here.