A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
We are saddened to see the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and the implications it will have on Afghans, particularly women and girls. Now is not the time to cut aid to the country, but instead to rally together to protect the progress made in the past several years and ensure women and girls have access to quality healthcare. With one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, we cannot allow RMNCH care to decline further. The United Nations 2030 SDGs include the reduction of global maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. Afghanistan’s latest figure of 638 per 100,000 is more likely to increase than decline if the global community does not step up to meet the need. UNFPA estimates that without immediate support, there could be 51,000 additional maternal deaths, 4.8 million unintended pregnancies, and twice as many people who won't be able to access family planning clinics between now and 2025. We will be convening an all-women panel titled Protecting Health for Women and Girls in Afghanistan on Oct 7, 2021, at 10 AM EDT to share voices of experts and advocates on health, gender equality, human rights, and advocacy in Afghanistan. Please stay tuned for more information.
The instability in Afghanistan also has deep implications for the global fight to end polio given that it is one of two countries where wild poliovirus remains active. However, I am relieved and inspired to see that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is continuing its incredible work to vaccinate Afghan children against the disease and strengthening resilient immunization services in the face of instability and political uncertainty. I hope the international community can unite to bolster this work so that we do not lose progress made, especially given that the movement of displaced peoples could further increase the risk of transmission.
Continuing the fight against the pandemic and working to advance #VaccinEquity, partners are engaging in ongoing advocacy to step up equitable vaccine manufacturing and distribution. ACTION partners have engaged their governments consistently over the past several months to encourage continued and increasing support for the COVAX Facility and other urgently needed support to countries least equipped to deal with the pandemic. Results Canada is working to ensure that political support for ODA remains and to see Canada top up its initial investment in the GFF by CAD$150 million to build resilient health systems in low-income countries that support a rapid, equitable, and safe roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and prevent future pandemics.
ACTION partners will be looking to the commitments made and outcomes from the UN Food Systems Summit and the Global COVID-19 Summit to see how we can increase accountability. Looking forward, partners will be engaging around the UN General Assembly, the World Bank Group annual meetings, the Nutrition for Growth Summit, and more.
Vineeta Gupta, MD, JD, LL.M
Director, ACTION Secretariat
- ACTION partners have engaged their governments consistently over the past several months to encourage continued and increasing support for the COVAX Facility and other urgently needed support to countries most vulnerable to the pandemic. In July, Japan announced an additional US$4.66 million to cover part of the delivery costs of approximately 11 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Pacific Island Countries through the COVAX Facility. In August, Canada announced it will share 10 million doses through the COVAX Facility.
- In the UK, ACTION partner RESULTS UK continues to mobilize grassroots and civil society support for global health funds, despite the recent vote in Parliament to retain the reduction in UK spending on Official Development Assistance (ODA) from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI, a cut of around £4.5 billion in funding in 2020. RESULTS UK grassroots volunteers wrote to the Foreign Secretariat asking the government to maintain existing commitments to the Global Fund and Gavi.
- Results Canada launched its #CanadiansVote call-to-action for grassroots volunteers in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling a snap election for September 20. The campaign highlights the steps Canadians can take to be effective advocates on urgent global health issues and encourages volunteers to ask for support of an increase to ODA through letters to the editor, social media, directly engaging candidates, and more. No matter the outcome of this snap election, Results Canada is working to ensure that political support for ODA remains and to see Canada top up its initial investment in the Global Financing Facility (GFF) by CAD$150 million to build resilient health systems in low-income countries that support a rapid, equitable, and safe roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and prevent future pandemics. More.
- WACI Health, in coordination with Global Health Visions, led a #GFFWeWantCampaign Strategy meeting where they discussed tactics and plans ahead of the UNGA to support the GFF Resource Mobilization Campaign. GFF Country CSO partners from 8 countries joined and will look to leverage various country “First Lady’s” and make a strong social media push towards key donor markets at the UNGA. In addition, GFF CSO colleagues in Afghanistan provided an update on the situation on the ground and asked for support to a call for the World Bank to continue to support health programs in country.
- In the U.S., a new bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives, “The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act of 2021” (H.R. 4693), to advance targeted and evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition. ACTION partner RESULTS Educational Fund published to their “bill tracker” a summary that lays out how the bill will achieve its stated goals, lists the sponsors and cosponsors, and more.
- ACTION partners participated in a 2-day retreat hosted by the Polio Resource Mobilization Group in July, joining the global polio community to discuss common priorities for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and how could best civil society can build support for immunization financing. The week of August 23, ACTION partners celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the Africa region being certified free of wild polio, and the partnership will continue to raise awareness about polio and why more people should care about child immunization on World Polio Day (October 24).
- GHA France requested and held a meeting with Joan Valadou, director of Human Development of the French MoFA, to discuss France’s commitments for ACT-A, dose sharing with COVAX as well as the priorities for the French Presidency. They shared that new announcement are to be expected regarding the breakdown of previous pledges on doses sharing (10M out of the 60M target will be directed toward the AU) and financial support to ACT-A. They also reinforced that the French Presidency of the EU will prioritize health and that a joint Health and Development Ministerial meeting would be organized.
- RESULTS Japan hosted a breakfast meeting in August for parliamentarians, government agencies, the private sector, and international organizations to promote collaboration between the key ministries for a successful Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit and the urgent need for increased resources for countries negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic. Representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and JICA all joined RESULTS Japan, WFP, and members of the Diet Caucus on International Maternal Child Nutrition to discuss Japan’s commitment to the Tokyo N4G Summit in December. There was a lively exchange of opinions and confirmation that further cooperation between ministries and agencies will be promoted. More.
- The G20 High-Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (HILP) presented its official report, “A Global Deal for Our Pandemic Age to the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.” The G20 will be considering the HILP’s report and recommendations in detail in the lead-up to the Joint Finance and Health Ministers meeting in October. More.
- The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s increased control has thrown a shadow over the efforts of polio eradication in Afghanistan, one of the two remaining countries with wild polio (Pakistan being the other). GPEI issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to continue protecting children against polio and supporting delivery of other essential immunization and health services. More.
- Canada to donate 10M unused Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to poor countries. More.
- During a meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 (MLT), the heads of the leaders from various multilaterals met to discuss how to rapidly scale-up vaccines in low- and lower middle-income countries, particularly in Africa. They shared that the “global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is progressing at two alarmingly different speeds. Less than 2% of adults are fully vaccinated in most low-income countries compared to almost 50% in high‑income countries.” They issued a call to countries to effectively tackle this acute vaccine supply shortage in low- and lower middle-income countries, and fully enabling AVAT and COVAX to ensure all countries achieve the global goals of at least 10% coverage by September and 40% by end-2021. Learn More.
- His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and African Union (AU) COVID-19 Champion, announced the start of monthly shipments of vaccines acquired by the AU / African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to the AU Member States in early August. An initiative by the AU Member States to pool their purchasing power, the AVAT, on 28 March 2021, had signed the historic agreement for the purchase of 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses. More.
Resources and Blogs
- The Pandemic has been Devastating for Food Security in India by ACTION Secretariat Director, Dr. Vineeta Gupta and Kavita Patel
- The iron lung and the fight to end polio
- Results Canada made a submission for the Government of Canada’s pre-budget consultations in advance of the upcoming 2022–2023 federal budget. More.
- A Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WHO, and Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. The dashboard combines COVID-19 vaccination rollout data with socio-economic information to evaluate vaccine inequality insights and policy implications.
- Commentary on Project Syndicate, Investing in Global Vaccine Equity Acknowledges Our Shared Fate calls for governments and donors to double down on immunization against other vaccine-preventable diseases around the world through national commitments and financing for the Immunization Agenda 2030.
- Blog: New Data Illuminates Acute Vaccine Supply & Delivery Gaps for Developing Countries by Priya Basu, Head of Secretariat, Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19, World Bank Group
The ACTION Secretariat is hiring! Senior Associate, Global Health
- September 25: Global Citizen Live. More.
- Oct 5–6: C20 Summit. More.
- Oct 11–17: 2021 World Bank Annual Meetings. More.
- Oct 16: World Food Day. More.
- Oct 19–22: 2021 Union World Conference on Lung Health. More.
- Oct 24: World Polio Day. More.
- Oct 28–29: G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministers’ Meeting 2021. More.
- Oct 30–31: G20 Leaders’ Summit 2021. More.
- Nov 24–26: Canadian Conference on Global Health. More.
- Dec 7–8: N4G Summit 2021. More.
Celebrating One Year of Polio Free Africa
ACTION partners participated in a 2-day retreat hosted by the Polio Resource Mobilization Group in July, joining the global polio community to discuss common priorities for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and how could best civil society can build support for immunization financing. During the week of August 23, ACTION partners celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the Africa region being certified free of wild polio, and the partnership will continue to raise awareness about polio and why more people should care about child immunization on World Polio Day (October 24).
Meet our team member from Côte d'Ivoire: Kenneth Prudencio
My name is Kenneth Prudencio, Advocacy Officer at ASAPSU, Côte d'Ivoire and I am from Benin, in West Africa. I have lived in Nigeria, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and France.
Growing up on this part of the African continent has played a very strong part in the way I see the world. My Portuguese surname, while being an African person, made me try to understand how international relations have been made between Africa and the world. This reflection led me straight to the development issues and guided my studies.
This southern perspective about the opportunities and the challenges in Africa has made me what I like to call an Afro-realistic. On the other hand my experience in France has enriched my vision on the world dynamics which I think need to be understood by African professionals and leaders. More.