Dr. Vanessa Kerry: Improving Developing Country Health Systems Through the Spirit of Volunteerism
April 22: Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom and Ambassador Leslie Rowe welcomed Dr. Vanessa Kerry for the third event in the Office of Global Health Diplomacy Speaker Series. Dr. Kerry gave a captivating speech which described the origins of her organization SEED Global Health, as well as first-hand accounts from the field of medical professional volunteers working abroad as part of the Global Health Services Partnership, a unique collaboration between Peace Corps, SEED Global Health and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The audience included colleagues from Department of Defense (DoD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PEPFAR, Peace Corps, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kaiser Family Foundation, and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In addition to Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom, we were delighted to welcome Ambassador Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and of course, Secretary of State Kerry. For more insight into the event, read the DipNote blog by Acting Special Representative for the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, Ambassador Leslie Rowe.
On April 4, Dr. Deborah Birx was sworn in as the new Ambassador-at-Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator to lead all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. Ambassador Birx now oversees implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Read the full Press Release.
January 2014 marks the one year anniversary of the Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy. To mark this occasion, State Magazine featured S/GHD as "Office of the Month." Read the article here.
Each year, we recognize World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24. World TB Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide TB control efforts. The U.S. Government has made great progress to control and treat TB, but people around the world still continue to die from the disease. On this World TB Day 2014, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) joins the international community in commemorating World TB Day. Read the DipNote blog.
On March 7, Secretary Kerry released a statement reaffirming a commitment to continued progress on gender equality for International Women’s Day. He emphasized that the United States stands ready to protect and advance the health, education, and human rights of women and girls everywhere, because women’s progress is human progress. Read the full Press Statement. Read the Op-Ed.
Embassy Port Moresby, Embassy Suva, and Embassy Apia in collaboration with the Office of Global Health Diplomacy convened an online conference with health officers in the field and U.S. interagency health teams across the U.S. government to discuss health success and challenges in the South Pacific. Ambassador Leslie Rowe of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy co-chaired the meeting with Ambassador Walter North of Embassy Port Moresby. Ambassador Rowe discussed the priorities for her office and the Obama administration, and pointed out diplomatic approaches to improving health. The key challenges identified during the conference include the need to build health capacity in the Islands institutionally and not just among the health workforce, and finding better ways to communicate as an interagency team both collectively and in smaller groups.
In a press statement released on February 24, Secretary Kerry reflected the deep disappointment of the U.S. in the anti-homosexuality bill signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Secretary Kerry expressed concern about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those efforts addressing HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective. Read Secretary Kerry’s Full Statement.
On February 6, Secretary Kerry reaffirmed the United States commitment to eradicate female genital mutilation/cutting. The United States has been committed to ending this gross injustice and to improving healthcare for women and children suffering the consequences. Every year, the United Nations sets aside February 6 to spread the word that female mutilation/cutting is not an acceptable practice. Closing out his statement, Secretary Kerry reminds us that human rights are universal, not negotiable, and the United States will continue to stand up for the fundamental worth of every human being – this day and every day the world over. Read Secretary Kerry’s Full Statement.
During a recent Employee Town Hall on State Department priorities for 2014, Secretary Kerry discussed development diplomacy with Steve Murphy, a Foreign Service Officer in the Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy. Secretary Kerry reiterated his strong support for the Obama Administration’s global health priorities and welcomed suggestions for institutionalizing health diplomacy at the State Department. Secretary Kerry was eager to follow up on ideas for raising health on the diplomatic agenda. He emphasized that global health is near to his heart and that his daughter, Vanessa Kerry, runs a global health organization that partners with the Peace Corps on a new medical education program in Africa.
On its one year anniversary, Acting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah von Zinkernagel reflects on the achievements of Saving Mothers, Giving Life - a public-private partnership aimed to increase the breadth of services to pregnant women with HIV, reduce maternal mortality, and improve health systems that impact maternal health. Read the Huffington Post Blog here.
On January 8, Secretary Kerry's Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman and CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps Barbara Bush participated in a Google+ Hangout on "How Young People Are Transforming the Health World." The Hangout featured young professionals who discussed innovative solutions to global health problems and how they partner with local organizations in Africa and elsewhere to improve access to healthcare. The Hangout was broadcast live on the Department of State's YouTube channel and Google+ page.
Dr. Agnes Soucat, Director for Human Development for the African Development Bank, spoke in the second presentation of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy Speaker Series at the State Department. As editor of the recently published book on health workers in Africa "The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa", Dr. Soucat led an engaging discussion on key findings of the publication, providing a meticulous look at the issues with labor in health systems. The fascinating research findings will prove essential when working on strengthening health systems throughout Africa. Earlier in the day, Ambassador Leslie Rowe and Dr. Soucat joined several other participants in a World Bank event launch of the book, where Ambassador Rowe discussed efforts the U.S. supports in human resources in health development and capacity building.
Dec. 11: After a World Health Organization (WHO) report was released bestowing the triumphs of U.S. Government engagement with malaria, Secretary Kerry stressed the continued importance of U.S. efforts to combat the disease in a blog post: "Bringing together governments, business leaders, philanthropists, donor agencies, and citizens in malaria endemic countries to end deaths from this preventable and treatable disease, we’re making tremendous, unparalleled progress."
World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died. Last week, Secretary Kerry gave remarks in honor of World AIDS Day 2013. Read Secretary Kerry’s remarks. Remarks by the President on World AIDS Day.
On November 11, Ambassador Rowe participated in a panel discussion on financing human resource needs at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil. Ambassador Rowe described the contributions that USAID, CDC, and Peace Corps have made to health worker education through PEPFAR. She also stressed the importance of country ownership and that the U.S. Government is interested in working even more closely with developing country governments to foster sustainable health systems. Noting that building strong health systems requires political solutions as much as technical ones, Ambassador Rowe encouraged developing country governments to exercise the necessary political will to address health worker shortages and plan for future human resource needs. Read More»
On August 27, an awards ceremony in Durban, South Africa for approximately 2,000 community caregivers took place in the presence of high level provincial representation from the KwaZulu-Natal Province Office of the Premier, the Department of Health, and Department of Social Development, as well as key representatives from the U.S. Government, USAID, PEPFAR, CDC and long-standing USAID partner, BroadReach Healthcare. Read more here.
While visiting Uganda after the African First Ladies’ Summit hosted in Tanzania, Ambassador Leslie Rowe sat down to discuss the role of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy as well as her experience at the Summit. The Summit emphasized effective investments in women that lead to greater stability and prosperity in countries. Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa highlights the critical role First Ladies play as advocates for women and girls, spotlights success stories and best practices, and discusses public-private partnerships that lead to sustainable results. Listen to her interview or read the transcript.
Ambassador Susan Elliott, along with leading Tajik Government officials, attended a presentation discussing the preliminary results of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The USAID-supported DHS is the gold standard of health surveys and provides technical assistance, training, equipment, and commodities to help collect, analyze and present strategic information on demographic and health issues in Tajikistan. One of the most promising trends found in the DHS is that the under-five mortality rate has decreased to 43 deaths per 1,000 for 2008-2012 as compared to 76 per 1,000 for 1998-2002. The preliminary results were released in April 2013, and final results will be released this winter.
Ambassador Eric Goosby reflects on PEPFAR’s accomplishments and his tenure as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and head of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy. Ambassador Rowe and the Office of Global Health Diplomacy thank Ambassador Goosby for his leadership and dedication to our work strengthening sustainable health systems, promoting shared responsibility, and supporting embassies in the work they do in global health. Read Ambassador Goosby’s farewell blog.
In commemoration of International Day of the Girl on October 11, President Obama and Secretary Kerry reaffirmed the U.S. commitment in support of girl’s rights, the infinite value to society and the hope of continued progress for all girls to achieve their potential. The State Department, through programs like PEPFAR, TechGirls, and the Office of Global Women’s Issues actively empowers women and girls.
At an UNGA meeting hosted by Secretary Kerry, the U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by announcing the hosting of the Global Fund replenishment conference to be held in Washington DC in December 2013. In addition, Secretary announced the future PEPFAR country health partnerships, advancing the principal of country ownership. Read Ambassador Goosby’s thoughts on country partnerships and the Global Fund working together to achieve an AIDS Free Generation.
On August 23, Ambassador Janine Jackson joined Malawi President Joyce Banda, Peace Corps Director-designate Carrie Hessler-Radelet, and Seed Global Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vanessa Kerry in launching the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP). GHSP is a collaborative program which sends trained U.S. health professionals to serve as adjunct faculty in medical, nursing and clinical officer training schools of partnering countries. Malawi is one of three African countries, along with Tanzania and Uganda, chosen to participate in the GHSP. More»
In July 2013, President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Ambassador Eric Goosby witnessed firsthand the incredible impact of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in South Africa. Read Ambassador Goosby’s blog about his recent visit to South Africa.
In July 2013, First Ladies from the African continent joined First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush in Dar es Salaam for the African First Ladies Summit to commit to the important role First Ladies play in promoting women’s education, health and economic empowerment. Ambassador Leslie Rowe of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy was also in attendance to announce PEPFAR’s $3 million dollar commitment to Tanzania for the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, designed to integrate and promote cervical cancer prevention in health systems. Read More»
The Office of Global Health Diplomacy and the World Bank convened ministers of finance and health from 28 African nations in Washington from April 17-19 for the Africa Health Forum 2013: Finance and Capacity for Results. The Forum represented a breakthrough in candid discussion across African nations, and across ministries within governments, of the challenges in achieving sustained progress on health. Deputy Secretary Burns' Remarks»
Assistant Secretary Nils Daulaire and Ambassador Leslie Rowe spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on U.S. priorities in global health diplomacy. They were joined by two CSIS experts, moderator Dr. Katherine Bliss and speaker Todd Summers, a senior associate and a senior advisor respectively at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center. More»
Ambassador Goosby: "At the Office of Global Health Diplomacy (S/GHD), we are imbuing health into our diplomatic agenda. Through cooperation with our interagency colleagues, we are working to align our multilateral efforts to leverage U.S. investments better and bring more donors to the table." DipNote»
Ambassador Goosby discusses his role in leading the new Office of Global Health Diplomacy and the role the office will play at the Department of State. Read his DipNote story.
The Kaiser Family Foundation hosted a town hall-style forum with Ambassador Eric Goosby, the head of the State Department's new Office of Global Health Diplomacy (S/GHD) as well as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, to explore the goals and objectives of the new office. S/GHD is intended to guide diplomatic efforts to advance the United States' global health mission to improve and save lives and foster sustainability. More»
Through our global health diplomacy, we’ve helped bring new partners to the table and keep old partners at the table ... We’re breaking down the walls that used to divide our teams and, even more importantly, integrating the health services that patients need. Full Text»