Open letter to the WHO to put #TBontheList – “WHO: When you make a mistake, fix it,” former CDC head Dr. Tom Frieden tweeted last week, after TB research and response advocates reacted to the World Health Organization’s omission of tuberculosis from its a list of “priority pathogens” demanding urgent research and development efforts. Now the “dismay” expressed by the Stop TB Partnership the day the list was released has turned to demand, with a letter signed by 39 organizations and more than 250 TB leaders, clinicians, patients and advocates to WHO leaders calling for an immediate review and amendment to the list. The letter follows a similar demand, and uses similar wording as well as arguments, made by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease last week.
Scientists have long been afraid of engaging in ‘advocacy.’ A new study says it may not hurt them – Who would you believe — an expert who lays out just the facts, or an expert who lays out the facts, and then recommends a course of action based on those facts? And does the second approach indicate a personal investment, or a logical conclusion? This article describes a 2014 study indicating that adding a recommendation to scientific findings didn’t detract from credibility in a series of a purported scientist’s Facebook posts on climate change. In the meantime, this Nature news story indicates that while science can shape policy, policy, in turn, can shape science.
Strong Science, Bold Activism – “We are not history’s passengers. We are its conductors.” The introduction of the International AIDS Society’s annual letter summing up the state of progress against global HIV, notes the impacts of policies on the practice of proven interventions, and expresses concerns that political changes can slow evidence-based advances. But it also notes that activism sparked the global response to HIV, from the research producing the medicines that made it possible, to the best practices to make them accessible. The letter highlights the value of existing interventions, the need to accelerate their use, and does the math to show how that can happen.
Global health security — smart strategy or naive tactics? Solidarity, or self interest? When arguments for global health responses emphasize the role that aid plays in international stability and diplomacy, do they devalue the importance of humanitarian responses to ensure equitable access to health? This Lancet commentary weighs the arguments, and their value to policy makers.
Senegal’s brush with Ebola made its health system stronger and created opportunities to share valuable lessons – The difference between “the securitization of global health” alluded to in the previous piece, and the global good that comes from securing public health, is highlighted in this story showing the impacts of Global Health Security Agenda efforts in Senegal, where what happened with one Ebola patient highlighted both gaps and strengths in the country’s abilities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.