News & Commentary

Exploring the Case for Investment in Hepatitis Scale Up in South Africa, February 2018

In an article published in Health Policy and Planning, three Pharos staff and other collaborators from South Africa, Harvard, and Imperial College, and the Center for Disease Analysis present one of the first comprehensive investment cases for hepatitis scale-up in low and middle- income countries. In South Africa, Pharos supported the development of a five-year national strategy for hepatitis B and C, covering activities including hepatitis B birth dose vaccination, prevention of vertical transmission, treatment of hepatitis B, and treatment of hepatitis C with the new generation of highly-effective cures. The investment case synthesizes the expected cost, health impact, cost-effectiveness, and budget impact of this package of interventions. The paper finds that scale up of hepatitis investments could be both affordable and represent good value for money for South Africa, while averting thousands of new infections, deaths, and cases of advanced liver disease

How to Improve Country-Donor Financial Transitions in Global Health, January 2018

In this Viewpoint in the Journal of Global Health, Prof Stephen Resch of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Prof Robert Hecht of Pharos Global Health Advisors and the Yale School of Public Health provide their thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve the data, analysis, and policy advice surrounding financial transitions in global health.

Resch and Hecht stress that, worryingly, the processes and tools we have today for managing transitions are seriously incomplete and fragmented, and only weakly coordinated across donor agencies and within countries.

They highlight the main underlying trends driving transitions away from donor support for health; point to the largest risks and challenges connected with these transitions; underscore which analytical tools and policy processes need to be further strengthened at global and country levels in order to achieve more successful donor transitions in health. The Viewpoint concludes with a series of recommendations that the authors argue should be adopted by researchers, donor agency officials, and country leaders responsible for managing financial transitions.

Leaving nobody behind – the case for ending anemia in adolescent girls, August 2017

The global nutrition community has recommitted to the 1000 day agenda with energy and enthusiasm in recent years, but too targeted a focus could risk missing other critical development windows that ensure a healthy child becomes a healthy adult. A particular challenge is the emerging adolescent girl agenda, where little progress has been made to meet the unique health and nutrition needs of this vulnerable age-group. This blog post highlights the burden of nutritional deficiencies of adolescent girls and the need for the global community at every level to do more to address these needs. Prioritizing the health of adolescent girls would ensure the cognitive, economic, and developmental potential of both current and future generations is fully realized.

Helping countries transition from donor aid for health: recent experience at the Global Fund, July 2017

As dozens of middle-income countries transition away from donor health aid, development institutions need to do more to assist them and better protect hard-won health gains. In this PLoS blog, Robert Hecht and Rachel Wilkinson highlight recent efforts by the Global Fund to improve country transitions, using targeted technical assistance to assess risks, design country plans, and stimulate domestic financing. This kind of technical support is key to future health aid to middle-income countries – more donors should follow the Global Fund’s lead in this area.

Health Affairs: Why President Trump Should Use Foreign Aid for Health to Make America Great, April 2017

In this Health Affairs commentary, Professor Sten Vermund, Dean of the Yale School of Public Health, and Pharos President Robert Hecht argue that maintaining and even increasing U.S. foreign assistance for global health is consistent with President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, as well as contributing to saving millions of lives around the world. There is an urgent need to protect U.S. spending for global health, at a time when the Trump Administration is threatening to cut foreign aid dramatically.

Renewing U.S. Leadership to End Stunting, November 2016

Shan Soe-Lin and Robert Hecht, along with Austin Jaspers, have produced a report for the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, highlighting the benefits of investing in stunting, reviewing past US nutrition investments, assessing current the US government nutrition strategy, analyzing the barriers to US commitments being fully realized, and proposing possible options for the next Administration.

Health Affairs: The Challenges Facing Countries Transitioning from Donor Health Aid, November 2016

This Health Affairs blog on country transitions in global health, co-authored by Pharos President Robert Hecht and Professor Sara Bennett of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlights the importance of the transition of middle-income countries away from donor assistance in the health sector and major challenges these transitioning countries face, and recommends an analytical agenda to support stronger and more sustained transitions.

CSIS Commentary: A New Paradigm in Disease Control – the Example of Hepatitis C, July 2016

In this commentary, Pharos President Robert Hecht and CSIS Global Health Policy Center Director Stephen Morrison explore a new and emerging paradigm for development assistance for health, in which middle income countries use domestic funding to pay for drugs, vaccines, health workers, and other inputs to disease control scale up, while donors focus their limited resources on key global public goods – knowledge and technical assistance that can help to shape and accelerate the design and implementation of life-saving interventions such as Hepatitis C treatment.

#AIDS2016: As donor funding falls, South Africa must increase its HIV funding and use it more efficiently, July 2016

In this article written for the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper in the run-up to the International AIDS Conference in Durban, Pharos President Robert Hecht points to South Africa’s tremendous achievements of the past decade in fighting AIDS, highlights future financing gaps and challenges facing the Government, and suggests ways in which South Africa can mobilize more funds and use them more efficiently to combat the severe epidemic.

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