Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)
Around the world, countries are reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 infections. Globally, more than 2.8 million new cases were reported last week – the most to date. Hospitalizations are on the rise in many countries, although not at the same level as last Spring. In the face of continued challenges in curbing the pandemic, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO, has cautioned against succumbing to “pandemic fatigue,” urging national leaders and citizens alike to do their part to stem the spread of COVID-19: “We must not give up.”
Rabin Martin is proud to support our diverse group of clients as they strive to respond to the health needs of populations around the world during this unprecedented period in global health. This week, we are pleased to provide select highlights from our clients and our team, in addition to our regular COVID-19 update. Please click here for earlier issues of our COVID-19 Briefings.
“Leveraging Private Sector Resources to Strengthen Global Health Security”
November 2, 7:00-8:30 am EST
During November, representatives from over 60 countries, multilateral agencies, NGOs, and private sector companies will gather virtually for the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).
Themed “Bridging Cooperative Action for Global Health Security,” the Ministerial Meeting – hosted by Thailand, the new Chair of the GHSA) – is being held at a critical time for the global health community. The Ministerial’s objective is to strengthen multidisciplinary engagement and multisectoral coordination that will allow countries to better manage COVID-19 and future health crises.
The Private Sector Roundtable for Global Health Security (PSRT) – a cross-industry coalition – will host a virtual side event on how private sector innovations can support countries’ health security efforts and help ensure better preparedness to mitigate future global health threats. Representatives from AstraZeneca, the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, WHO, Dutch Ministry of Health, and others will discuss how the business community can play a greater role in strengthening health security at the global, national, and community levels. A group of companies active in global health security (BD, Johnson & Johnson, McCann Global Health, Merrick & Co., and Qlik) will demonstrate a range of health security-related tools and resources they have developed that are ready for countries to adopt. Register here.
New Research Highlights Troubling Maternity Care Experiences of Women of Color
Earlier this month, Columbia University published a working paper describing disrespectful and abusive treatment of women of color during pregnancy and childbirth in New York City.
Merck for Mothers commissioned this research, conducted in select low-income communities, as part of its efforts to address persistent racial disparities in maternal health outcomes in the U.S.
The women and doulas who participated recounted experiences of racism and discrimination, verbal abuse, poor communication, neglect, and rough treatment which were corroborated by maternity care providers. This qualitative research also notes the challenges of navigating a fragmented healthcare system that make it difficult to build trusting relationships between women and their providers, and the need for a more patient-centered approach to maternity care.
Novartis Materiality Webinar: The Importance of M&E
Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio, CEO, Rabin Martin, moderated the session, which featured several experts, including Professor Richard Laing, Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH); Dr. Monica A. Onyango, Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health, BUSPH; Dr. Michael Fürst, Head, Social Innovation & Strategy, Global Health & Corporate Responsibility, Novartis; and Kileken ole-MoiYoi, Global Head, Strategy & CR Initiatives, Global Health & Corporate Responsibility, Novartis.
Based on the findings of the BUSPH independent evaluation, the speakers examined the impact to date of the Novartis Access program in Kenya, launched in 2016, which aims to provide a basket of 15 medicines for non-communicable diseases at $1 per treatment per month. The session highlighted the importance of rigorous monitoring and evaluation in advancing global efforts to increase access to medicines. One of the surprising conclusions of this work was that those in the poorest wealth quintile in Kenya continue to pay more for medicines, despite efforts to improve affordable access. The discussion explored why this is the case and potential solutions, along with how Novartis intends to incorporate the findings of the evaluation into their continuing access initiatives. A recording of the webinar may be found here using the password novartis2020.
Rabin Martin Featured in Omnicom CR report
On Friday, October 23, Omnicom published its 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report, showcasing progress across its family of agencies in four key areas: Community, People, Environment, and Governance. Rabin Martin was featured for our efforts to make disability inclusion a business priority. Read more here.
COVID-19: An On-Going Crisis
The U.S. accounts for almost 20 percent of global cases, reporting 8,918,548 cases and 228,324 deaths. Although this week’s seven-day average for new cases in the U.S. exceeded 70,000 for the first time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, warned against calling the recent surge a “third wave” and instead referred to the situation as “an exacerbation of the original first wave.”
After weeks of rising cases, new infections in the U.S. appear to be reaching a crisis point. Hospitalizations have increased an estimated 46 percent from one month ago, raising concerns about health system overload and failure. “What’s going to happen when we cannot take care of these patients?” asked Dr. Pedro Salinas, a critical care specialist in Milwaukee. The surge in hospitalizations is particularly worrisome given the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on Monday, October 26, noting that nurses account for more than one-third of all healthcare workers who have been hospitalized for COVID-19. A shortage of available nurses due to illness from COVID-19 would have a serious impact on the country’s ability to care for the growing influx of patients.
Though the U.S. epidemic remains the largest in the world, Europe accounted for over a third of all new cases last week. As the region braces for a second wave, countries are returning to restrictive measures deployed at the beginning of the pandemic. On Wednesday, October 28, French President Emmanuel Macron declared a second national lockdown, forcing residents into their homes with permission to leave only for essential work, medical reasons, or one hour of exercise. France has emerged as the region’s new epicenter, with cases more than doubling over the past seven days.
Also on Wednesday, the Czech Republic imposed a nationwide curfew, closing stores, schools, and restaurants. In Italy, new restrictions imposing curfews on bars and restaurants have provoked unrest from citizens who were subject to one of the world’s strictest lockdowns this Spring. That same day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a “lockdown light,” which involves closing restaurants, pubs, theatres, and fitness centers throughout November but keeping schools and day care center open. “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” she said. “If infections continue at this rate, we will be at the limits of the capacities of our health system.”
From the Experts
“Unless the U.S. and Europe take decisive action to stop the spread of the virus, we could easily see case numbers that eclipse pre-lockdown levels. If case numbers get too large, it may be too difficult to meaningfully slow the virus using measures other than shutdowns.”
Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Fellow, Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Sunday, October 25
“We need to prevent transmission, but we also need to focus on reducing the death toll, which will rise in the coming days… We need to also put some more investment into ensuring that our front-line system does not collapse in the face of an ever-increasing caseload of very sick patients.”
Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies, WHO
Monday, October 26
“A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives. What will save lives is science, solutions, and solidarity.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Monday, October 26
“If we [in the U.S.] continue our current behavior, by the time we start to go down the other side of the curve, a half a million people will be dead.”
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Professor, George Washington University
Wednesday, October 28
“To get us out of this pandemic, we must optimize uptake of not only life-saving vaccines, but health efforts more broadly. Trust will be fundamental if we are to regain the 25 years of progress lost in 25 weeks.”
Dr. Heidi Larson, Director, Vaccine Confidence Project
Wednesday, October 28
What We’re Reading
- Finding Exemplars of Restored Vaccine Confidence: A Pathway for COVID-19 Recovery – Heidi Larson, World Bank
- Inside the Fall of the CDC – James Bandler, Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella, and Kirsten Berg, ProPublica
- How America Helped Defeat the Coronavirus; Just Not in the United States – Sanya Dosani, Alexander Stockton, Adam Westbrook, The New York Times
- Mask-Wearing Is Up in The U.S., But Young People Are Still Too Lax, CDC Survey Finds – Rob Stein, National Public Radio
- Nurses Are at High Risk for COVID Among Health Workers, C.D.C. Says – Reed Abelson, The New York Times
- The Coronavirus Surge That Will Define the Next 4 Years – Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic
- America’s Third COVID-19 Surge Is Here. It Was Predictable — And Preventable – German Lopez, Vox
- mRNA Vaccines Face Their First Test in the Fight Against COVID-19. How Do They Work? – Hyacinth Empinado, STAT News
- How Africa Fought the Pandemic — And What Coronavirus Has Taught the World – David Pilling, Financial Times
Reports from International Governments and Bodies
- WHO COVID-19 Information and Guidance
- WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update: October 27
- WHO Weekly Operational Update: October 23
- CDC Coronavirus Resource Page
- COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor
- NCD Alliance COVID resources relevant to NCDs
Funding and Policy Trackers
- International Monetary Fund Policy Tracker
- Kaiser Family Foundation Coronavirus Policy Tracker
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Aid Tracker
- Devex Interactive Funding Tracker
Resource Pages and Market Research Literature
- JAMA Resource Center
- The Lancet COVID-19 Resource Centre
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium (NCRC)
- National Academy of Medicine COVID-19 News and Resources
- WIPO COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker
- The COVID Tracking Project
- PharmaIntelligence: Coronavirus – What will the Impact Be?
- Health Affairs Resource Center
- STAT News COVID-19 Tracker
- Global Health NOW’s COVID-19 Expert Reality Check
- International Association of National Public Health Institutes COVID-19 Resources
- Center for Strategic and International Studies The Reopening and Take as Directed Coronavirus Crisis Update Podcast
- Primary Health Care Performance Initiative Forum
- U.S. Global Leadership Coalition COVID-19 Issue Briefs
- Prevent Epidemics Weekly Science Review
- COVID-19 Watch Weekly Updates
For more information or should you have any questions, please contact us.
About Rabin Martin
Rabin Martin is a global health strategy firm working at the intersection of private sector capabilities and unmet public health needs. Rooted in our mission to improve health for underserved populations, we design strategies, programs and partnerships that both deliver public health impact and drive business results. We leverage our deep knowledge and networks across a wide range of geographies and health areas to develop tailored solutions for every client engagement. We have helped many clients create bold global health initiatives and innovative multi-sector partnerships. Our specific areas of expertise include infectious disease and vaccines, non-communicable diseases, rare diseases, maternal and child health, and universal health coverage. Our clients and partners include multinational health care companies, multilateral institutions, government agencies, large foundations and leading NGOs. Rabin Martin is part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and eight specialist agencies in public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.