Milestones :: Perspectives

Milestones :: Perspectives
The Mérieux Fondation is celebrating 50 years of fighting infectious diseases in developing countries
Les Pensiéres Center for Global Health, Veyrier-du-Lac (France)
September 14, 2017
Calling for all public and private stakeholders worldwide to rally together and international health diplomacy, it reasserts France’s central role.
To mark its 50th anniversary, the Foundation is organizing an International Meeting at the Les Pensières Center for Global Health on the shores of Lake Annecy. The aim of this day is to highlight new collaborative international approaches for fighting the increased risk of epidemics.

The threat of infectious disease is ever present, accounting for nearly 17 million victims each year, most of whom are children in developing countries. This threat is now taking on a new dimension in light of an increasing number of conflicts, demographic explosion, massive migrations of populations, accelerating global exchanges of all kinds and climate change – a context for which humans are largely responsible.

Traditional top-down approaches have demonstrated their limited efficacy in combating infectious diseases. They must now give way to new, local initiatives, conducted with and for the residents of those communities. Multidisciplinary approaches to global health go beyond merely treating patients, encompassing everything in the environment that impacts patients.

France has a role to play in this global fight, due to its expertise in infectious disease, Pasteurian tradition and the historical global influence of French medicine. As such, it needs to reassert its position and ensure it is an integral part of the wider framework of international health diplomacy, which is yet to be formed. The Foundation is ready to commit to this cause and provide its expertise in biology in the field.

To this end, over 150 scientists, researchers, doctors, biologists, humanitarian players and representatives from international organizations, hailing from West Africa, Asia, Latin America, Madagascar, Haiti and the Middle East are meeting together today to share their experiences at three round tables dedicated to key challenges:
:: Epidemic risks in developing countries, chaired by Professor Christian Bréchot, President of Institut Pasteur
:: New dynamics in health capacity building: leveraging local resources, chaired by Professor Ogobara Doumbo, Director of the Malaria Research and Training Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bamako, Mali
:: The global health approach: bringing vulnerable populations more than medical care, chaired by Dr. Jean William Pape, Founder and Director of the GHESKIO Centers, Haiti

A single model for action to combat infectious diseases
For the past 50 years, the Mérieux Foundation has been committed to fighting infectious diseases affecting developing countries by strengthening their clinical biology capabilities.

Without diagnostics, medicine is blind. The Mérieux Foundation has therefore made its commitment to diagnostics the driving force behind its work. Diagnostics are an essential part of the healthcare chain and an invaluable tool for identifying pathogens responsible for disease and prescribing suitable treatment. They are therefore key to fighting bacterial resistance and, more globally, indispensable for disease surveillance and control.

The Foundation is focusing its actions on:
:: Creating and equipping laboratories of excellence, the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratories;
:: Around these reference laboratories, renovating clinical laboratories in the field to give local populations access to quality diagnostics;
:: On-site training of new generations of healthcare players in these countries;
:: Rolling out international applied research programs, coordinated by its GABRIEL research network;
:: Building international research and diagnostic networks worldwide;
:: Developing global health programs to treat the most vulnerable, namely mothers and children.

Presided by Alain Mérieux, the Mérieux Foundation has public interest status and carries out its actions in concert with Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, an independent family foundation created in 2001 under the aegis of the Institut de France. Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux is a 30% shareholder of the Institut Mérieux and is the sole beneficiary of the dividends paid out by the Institut.

The Mérieux Foundation employs over 100 people working in France and in developing countries and dedicates an annual budget of nearly €25 million to its actions in the field. Close to half this budget is provided by the family…
PATH announces new collaboration to advance maternal immunization in low- and middle-income countries
Announcement | September 11, 2017
The Advancing Maternal Immunization collaboration will create a roadmap to help infants survive and thrive by making immunization available to pregnant mothers
A newly launched collaboration is bringing together stakeholders from around the world to improve infant health and survival through maternal immunization, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The newly assembled Advancing Maternal Immunization (AMI) collaboration is meeting an urgent need for pregnant mothers in LMICs to be able to protect their babies from infectious diseases by getting vaccinated themselves—an option not used to its full potential in many parts of the world, especially in resource-limited settings where it is not widely available.
With a current focus on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)—which is estimated to cause more than a quarter of global respiratory deaths (nearly 120,000) among children younger than five years of age annually—AMI aims to ensure that a successful RSV vaccine is made available to women in LMICs without delay. No licensed vaccine exists to prevent RSV, but a number of vaccine candidates are advancing, including a maternal vaccine in late-stage development that may be available in the next few years.
Coordinated by PATH in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AMI will start by developing a roadmap to facilitate informed global, regional, and country decisions around RSV maternal vaccines. It will also identify requirements to enable rapid launch and uptake in LMICs…
New Gates Foundation Report Highlights Remarkable Progress Against Global Poverty and Disease, Warns Future Progress in Jeopardy
Bill and Melinda Gates Call for Strong Leadership to Address “Solvable Human Misery”
SEATTLE, Sept. 13, 2017 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today launched an inaugural annual report showcasing the remarkable progress that has been made in reducing extreme poverty and disease in recent decades, but issuing a stern warning to the world that future progress is in jeopardy.

Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data, co-authored and edited by Bill and Melinda Gates and produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, highlights past progress against some of the most devastating issues facing poor countries and uses breakthrough data projections to forecast good and bad future scenarios – with millions of lives hanging in the balance.

In all, the report tracks 18 data points from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion and sanitation. The report looks beneath the numbers to pinpoint the leaders, approaches and innovations that made a difference.

Through the data and first-person accounts from six contributors, the report showcases the stunning progress the world has made in the past generation: cutting extreme poverty and child deaths in half and reducing HIV deaths and maternal deaths by nearly half, among many other accomplishments. But as the report shows, serious challenges remain – including deep disparities between countries – and future progress is not inevitable.

The projections are showcased in charts and explore three potential 2030 scenarios for each indicator. The first is what could happen if we continue along the current path, based on past trends – without significant changes to approaches or current spending levels. Two additional scenarios provide a glimpse at a better and worse future: what could happen with strong leadership, innovation and investment and, starkly, what could happen if attention and funding waned. For example, a mere 10 percent cut in global donor funding for HIV treatment could result in more than 5 million more deaths by 2030…

Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data 2017
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2017 :: 44 pages
[Excerpt p. 35]
Proportion of the target population covered by eight vaccines, conditional on inclusion in national vaccine schedules
Vaccines are one of the most impressive success stories in global health. More people are being immunized and protected against more diseases than ever before. The next steps for immunization programs are to battle stagnation by finding the pockets of inequity that exist within countries—even those with high average rates—and reach all children with a full set of lifesaving vaccinations. We’ve grouped countries and plotted the groups separately to show the gap between more and less developed countries.
Target: Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries and provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines. Socio-demographic index (SDI) is a measure based on average income per capita, education attainment, and total fertility rate.
WHO – The 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72)
12 – 25 September 2017
The 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) will convene at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 12 September 2017. The General Debate will open on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, with the theme, ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Plan
The WHO Delegation to UNGA will be led by Dr Tedros, who will focus on raising awareness and building political commitment to his priority issues of universal health coverage; health security; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; and environmental health, including the health impacts of climate change. Dr Tedros, together with Deputy Head of Delegation Dr Flavia Bustreo and other senior officials, will organize and participate to many high-level events, including the flagship WHO event on Universal Health Coverage.
 [Details of major and side events at link above]