News Flash 462: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 462

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


WHO: Public health round-up

Global Health Matters podcast/Navigating digital health waves

2021: a Year in Review through PEAH Contributors’ Takes by Daniele Dionisio 

Webinar registration: The Case for a New Bretton Woods Jan 20, 2022 09:30 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting registration: Decolonising Global Health: What Does It Mean For Asia? Jan 24, 2022 02:00 PM in Singapore

Webinar registration: Our future at stake: The corporate capture of multilateralism Wednesday, January 19, 14.00-15.30 CET

Webinar registration: Beyond the agenda of the WHO Executive Board: People’s realities, determinants of health, democratic governance…. G2H2 meetings, Wednesday 19 January – Friday 2 January 2022

Accelerating Clinical Trials in the EU (ACT EU): for better clinical trials that address patients’ needs

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update

Preliminary data indicate COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against severe disease and hospitalisation caused by the Omicron variant

EU drug regulator expresses doubt on need for fourth booster dose

Global regulators discuss path towards regulatory alignment on response to Omicron variant

Nose or Throat Swabs? Antigen Tests for Omicron Are Under Examination

Vaccine equity: there is no time to waste

Omicron Infection Curve ‘Staggering’ – 36 Countries Have Vaccinated Less than 10% of Citizens

THE LANCET COVID-19 COMMISSION GLOBAL HEALTH DIPLOMACY AND COOPERATION TASK FORCE Global diplomacy and cooperation in pandemic times: Lessons and recommendations from COVID-19 DECEMBER 2021

BOOK BY THE SOUTH CENTRE, 2022: Vaccines, Medicines and COVID-19 How Can WHO Be Given a Stronger Voice?

Interim Statement on COVID-19 vaccines in the context of the circulation of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variant from the WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC)

India Covid: Booster shots start for priority groups as cases surge

A synopsis of current global support for Africa’s vaccine manufacturing roadmap

Bangladesh Produces First Generic of Pfizer’s Antiviral But Indian Company Hits Snag with its Merck Generic

Message for World Leprosy Day 2022

Antibiotic Resistance Could Turn Treatable Conditions Deadly

Unequal coverage of nutrition and health interventions for women and children in seven countries

Building climate-sensitive nutrition programmes

People’s Health Dispatch Bulletin #16: New hope for people-centric healthcare with incoming progressive governments

Achieving sustainable health equity

Covid-19 Disrupts UN & Threatens Potential Cash Crisis in World Body

Conflicts to Watch in 2022, Preventive Priorities Survey Results

World Bank warns of record debt levels in low-income countries

Opinion: Securing land rights is key to fulfilling the COP 26 pact

The Time to Protect Our Oceans is Now

The IMF’s Surveillance Role and Climate Change

‘Acidifying, warming seas affecting seafood supplies’






2021: a Year in Review through PEAH Contributors’ Takes

Now that we just turned the corner on another challenging year, we wish to share here all 2021 PEAH published articles by committed top thinkers, stakeholders and academics worldwide aimed at sparking debate on how to settle the conflicting issues that still impair equitable access to health by discriminated population settings 

by Daniele Dionisio*

PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health

2021: a Year in Review through PEAH Contributors’ Takes


As we just turned the corner on another challenging year, we wish to share here all 2021 PEAH published articles by committed top thinkers, stakeholders and academics worldwide aimed at sparking debate on how to settle the conflicting issues that still impair equitable access to health by discriminated population settings. PEAH deepest gratitude goes to all of them.

Find out below the relevant links:

An Article on Persons with Disabilities Tanzania by Rick Kyando

Covid-19, the Omicron Variant and the “Butterfly Effect” by Stella Egidi

SARS-Cov-2 Omicron Variant: Holding Our Leaders Accountable by Raymond Saner

COHRED Global R&D Equity Initiative: Invitation to Act

Tinnitus: is It a Lifelong Companion / a Foe for Life or does It have a Promising Future? by Tanushree Mondal 

Tackling the Root Causes of Climate Change. If Not Now, WHEN? by George Lueddeke 

Living with COVID in a Transformed World by Brian Johnston 

5 Reasons to Support the European Citizens’ Initiative No Profit on Pandemic by Julie Steendam 

The Cut to Universal Credit in the UK is a Threat to the Health of the Most Deprived by Rebecca Barlow-Noone 

Access to Corona Vaccination only for the Rich by Christiane Fischer 

What is COVID-19 Revealing to Us? by Angelo Stefanini 

A Short Reflection on Access to Rabies Vaccination in Times of (COVID-19) Vaccine Inequity by Raffaella Ravinetto 

Venomous COVID-19: Ripping the Country of its Valuable Young Generation by Gertrude Masembe 

Risk Factors, Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs, and Coping Among the Children Under the Care of Female Sex Workers and Adolescent Girls Surviving in Sex Work Settings: a Rapid Assessment by AWAC-Alliance of Women Advocating for Change

Decriminalizing Sex Work and Enhancing Equitable Access to Health, Justice and Social Protection by Female Sex Workers in Uganda by AWAC-Alliance of Women Advocating for Change

Apropos of COVID-19: Shall We Question Ourselves? by Francisco Becerra 

Barriers To Exclusive Breastfeeding In Western Kenya by Charity M’mbaga 

Corona-Policy-Chaos and Health for All by Judith Richter 

Death in the Time of COVID by Brian Johnston 


A Global Health Crisis To Shape a New Globalisation by Enrique Restoy 

Regional Security in Times of Health Crisis – A Look at the East African Community by Becky Adiele 

Rwanda Global Healthcare Summit: 9th to 11th August 2021 by Memory Usaman 

Bundle of Joy or Cause for Shame? Just What Mothers in the Kenyan Informal Settlements Face. A Tale of Inequalities in Maternal Health Service Delivery by Reagun Andera Odhiambo 

Diversionary Measures for Children in Conflict with the Law by Philip J Gover 

Commentary on ‘More for The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – Impakter’ by George Lueddeke 

Unleashing the True Potential of Data – COVID-19 and Beyond by Brian Johnston 

Open Letter: Justifying Emergency Measures to Tackle Covid-19 Crisis in Europe by Raymond Saner 

Covid-19 Vaccines – On Fairness and Distribution by Iris Borowy 

More Funds Are Required To Promote Migrants’ Health by Olga Shelevakho 

Inland Transit Applications: Improved Welfare at Affordable Prices or Increased Traffic and Air Pollution – Case of Iran by DJavad Ghoddoosi-Nejad 

International Debates: What Does the 2020 Seventy-third World Health Assembly Mean For Socio-economic Survival of Countries, Food Security, and International Cooperation in the COVID-19 Pandemic by Michael Ssemakula 

Nourishing India – What Needs to Be Done by Veena S Rao 

New Year, New Lockdown in the United Kingdom: ‘The Great Deception’ by Ted Schrecker 

Defending and Reclaiming WHO’s Capacity to Fulfil its Mandate: Suggestions from a Perspective of Language and Power by Judith Richter 

The ISOHA Europe Virtual Conference 2021

Contributions From APAN During Disasters by Tanushree Mondal 


The contributions highlighted above add to PEAH internal posts published throughout the year. Find the links below:

Eyeing COVID Through PEAH Independent Lens: Which Takeaways? by Daniele Dionisio 

Interview to Dr. Trudy Masembe, CINTA Foundation Uganda by Daniele Dionisio 

Damn Covid Pandemic, Let’s Begin Exploiting You For Fairer World by Daniele Dionisio 

Newly Launched: 2021- Year of Equitable Research Partnerships by Daniele Dionisio

2020: a Year in Review through PEAH Contributors’ Takes by Daniele Dionisio


Moreover, as part of PEAH scope and aims, the column titled ‘Focus on: Uganda’s Health Issues‘ continued to serve as an observatory of challenging health issues in Uganda from a comprehensive view encompassing the policies, strategies and practices of all involved actors. 

In the meantime, our weekly page PEAH News Flash has been serving as a one year-long point of reference for PEAH contents, while turning the spotlight on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to the equitable access to health in resource-limited settings.



*Daniele Dionisio is a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases. Former director of the Infectious Disease Division at the Pistoia City Hospital (Italy), Dionisio is Head of the research project  PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health. He may be reached at:


PEAH collaborates with a number of non-profit entities. These include, among others:


G2H2Geneva Global Health Hub

CEHURD – Center for Human Rights and Development 

Center for the History of Global Development 

Viva Salud 

Asia Catalyst 



The 53rd Week Ltd 


Social Medicine Portal 

Health as if Everibody Counted 

COHRED’s Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) 

AFEW International 


Medicines and Ethics, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp

Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC) 



News Flash 461: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 461

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Meetings registration: Beyond the agenda of the WHO Executive Board: People’s realities, determinants of health, democratic governance… G2H2 meetings, January 2022 Register here for civil society workshops Monday 17 January and Tuesday 18 January 2022

China, the West, and the Future of Global Health Security

USA Prescription Drug Policy, 2021 And 2022: The Year In Review, And The Year Ahead

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update

Audio Interview: Covid-19 — The Outlook in Europe

COVID-19 cases on the rise across the continent following festive period

COVID-19 Could Become Endemic in Africa if 70% Vaccination Coverage is not Achieved by 2022 – Africa CDC

Prospects for local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa

Advocates call for 22 billion more mRNA vaccine doses to ward off global omicron threat

Gloomy New Year Prognosis – WHO Experts Warn Omicron Could Also Spawn More Dangerous Variants

Tie pharma CEO pay to fair global COVID-19 vaccine access, investors say

New Data on Side Effects of Second Pfizer Shot in Children Shows Fewer Adverse Effects than for Teens


Australia to donate 60 million COVID vaccines to developing nations

‘There is no money left’: Covid crisis leaves Sri Lanka on brink of bankruptcy

Lessons From COVID-19 Vaccines To Improve Malaria Vaccine Acceptance In Africa

Covid-19’s Devastating Effect on Tuberculosis Care — A Path to Recovery

Underfunded and Deadly Tuberculosis Needs its Own Bill Gates

TB epidemic ‘could flare in near future’

72 million people to miss treatment for NTDs due to UK aid cuts

How protecting health can foster peace

Opinion: There’s a better way to reach millions of unschooled children

Q&A: How can a global treaty to end violence against women succeed?

Violence against women: tackling the other pandemic

Planet Earth: Averting ‘A Point Of No Return’? by George Lueddeke

Environmental Disasters Creating More Migrants Within Countries – Podcast

Syrians turn war missiles into heaters as winter grips

Urban Air Pollution Responsible for Nearly 2 Million Excess Deaths in 2019, Says Study

Too Harmful: The March of Salt and Plastics on World Soils

Nkosi, B., Zanoni, B., Seeley, J., & Strode, A. (2021). The ethical‐legal requirements for adolescent self‐consent to research in sub‐Saharan Africa: A scoping review. Bioethics, 1–11




Planet Earth:  Averting  ‘A Point Of No Return’?

The world is in a very dangerous place right now and things can (will?) get out of hand. In terms of the recommendations at the end of the piece, the UN Security Council (UNSC) simply is not working and reform of its membership now has to be considered a key option so that the voice of people most impacted by poverty, inequities and conflicts  is heard loud and clear in particular engaging our Youth who have the most to lose but also  the most to gain by taking steps 'to save the world from itself.'
George Lueddeke
Global Lead International One Health for One Planet Education & Trandisciplinarity Initiative (1 HOPE-TDI)

Planet Earth:  Averting  ‘A Point Of No Return’?

First published: Impakter January 4, 2022


As we look forward to 2022 (and beyond), the issues we face have become existential. One may well ask, as climate change turns into a climate emergency, whether our home on planet earth can be preserved from environmental destruction. In short, can we avert a point of no return?

Don’t Look Up

In the final moments of the Netflix movie, Don’t Look Up, Leonardo DiCaprio, a formidable environmentalist in his own right, playing astronomy professor Dr. Randall Mindy,  sensing that  Armageddon is near, ruefully utters ‘’We really did have everything, didn’t we?”   His words of disbelief could well sum up a future worldwide regret for the fate of our ‘blue’ planet unless we learn to change our trajectory from a path of self-destruction to ensuring life enhancement of all species and planet survival.

The film is ostensibly a parody of how politicians, media, and the public ignore the reality of the planetary threats facing us – in this case a huge asteroid hurtling toward earth capable of extinguishing all life.  (The last one hit the earth about 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs).

Shop on Impakter Eco


But the message of Don’t Look Upconsidered by some to be the most important movie of 2021, could be more revealing. Parallels with our responses to climate change (neglecting, rejecting) –  including the coronavirus – are clearly at the heart of the storyline. Unquestionably, WE have metaphorically become the comet and, scientists tell us, our species has about ten years before reaching ‘a point of no return’  when the destruction of our biosphere (land, sea, air) becomes inevitable.

Resetting the world geopolitical clock

There are of course other crisis scenarios of significant global risks that may be coming to a head in 2022 and that we need to treat very seriously rather than with arrogance or indifference.

China, an example of ‘the emergence of a first-rank economic and military power that respects neither democracy nor the rule of law that underpins it,’ tops the list. Seeking to establish  a new world order based on totalitarianism, it is becoming apparent that ‘Beijing intends not only to abide by its own rules but expects others to follow –them.’ Other potential flashpoints in 2022 include Russia’s troop build-up around Ukraine,  Iran’s escalation of its nuclear programme, and North Korea’s disruptive cyberattacks and military threats.

Considered collectively, it is clear that the lead time to reset the world geopolitical Doomsday Clock  (a metaphor created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947) is even shorter than that for climate change – 100 seconds to midnight – as ‘autocrats everywhere have been using their lockdowns to plot mischief,’ which may, by design or accident, also lead to global catastrophe.

Calling out  ‘rogue leaders’ and  pulling together for planet sustainability

To safeguard our civilisation, global decision-makers who care about the future of the planet alongside the public at large are now tasked to call out (rein in) ‘rogue leaders’ (or political aspirants) who have the power to destabilise, indeed destroy, c. 4.54 billion years of  Planet Earth evolution.  The stakes for not doing so are very high indeed.

Individuals (and groups) in question include those who :

  • place their own self-interests, ambition and power ahead of  planet survival;
  • believe ‘image’ is more important than ‘character’;
  • engage  deliberately  in disinformation rather than Truth; 
  • lack understanding, trust and compassion; 
  • instigate  division and chaos over inspiring unity; 
  • deny the root causes of global instability (e.g., climate change, inequality); 
  • maintain that ‘might is right’; 
  • support a culture of ‘them and us’;
  • engage in physical and cultural assaults on individuals and democratic institutions;   
  • flout the rule of law; 
  • espouse totalitarian principles over democratic rights and freedoms. 

Unquestionably, the United Nations has a key lead role to play here but may be constrained politically and strategically.

One of its main weaknesses lies in the composition of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with its core remit to ensure global peace and security.  The main problem is that the same five permanent members with veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States – appointed in 1946 at the end of WWII now represent only about two billion people out of c. 7.8 billion. Close to 1.3 billion in  Africa and 1.4 billion in India alone are not permanently represented although some of the poorest and the most disadvantaged live in these regions and will be most affected by climate change.

The UNSC’s ‘win-lose’  conflict resolution approach informed (biased) by political ideologies and hegemony lead the Council to veto or simply neglect key global political issues including humanitarian disasters (e.g., Afghanistan, Myanmar, Covid-19 deaths, migration) and are morally indefensible in light of continuing and needless human suffering.

Covid-19 reminds us that the only way we and particularly Heads of State can achieve planet sustainability is ‘to pull together’ and ‘to stop behaving as if we live in a limitless world.’ It also challenges us to consider what kind of future we want and how to achieve it.

Important initial  steps toward ‘a more just, sustainable and peaceful world’ would be:

  • to rise above the political and social ideologies WE have created over millennia resulting in divisions and conflicts with millions of innocent lives sacrificed;
  • to shape core values to ensure the sustainability of the planet and all life;
  • to replace the outdated (‘Age of the Strongman’) amoral plans for global conquest (i.e.,  advancing national and personal self-interests at the expense of others) with ones that optimise planet sustainability and the health & wellbeing of all life.

History has clearly shown us over millennia that free societies tend to flourish while those that dictate or enslave fail or have short lifespans – socially, economically, politically.  

Adopting a new worldview 

A recurring theme of my previous Impakter articles is that our greatest challenge as a species is to adopt a new mindset / mental models that shift our thinking, policies, and strategies from human-centrism (it’s all about us) to eco-centrism: it’s about all species and the environment and the sustainability of the planet.

This pressing paradigm shift – defining a renewed moral purpose? – in our worldview is encapsulated in the concept called One Health  (& Wellbeing-OHW) that recognises the critical interdependence of humans, animals, plants in a shared environment. The  underlying point is that the planet will thrive without us but will surely perish if we continue to erode ‘the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on earth.’

The One Health approach ‘shifts from reactive sectoralised’ interventions ‘to multi-sector preventive actions at social, ecological, economic and biological levels of society.’ Applying OHW in societal settings involves identifying the root causes of complex issues (e.g., climate change) and finding ways to mitigate these especially in light of potential disastrous consequences.

Source: A Blueprint to Evaluate One Health, Frontiers in Public Health

Enabling actions 

There is no Plan B for climate change. We either get it right in the forthcoming decades or we disappear. Simple as that!

The same holds true for other global threats – nuclear war, deadly pandemics, food security and others if pushed to extremes. The United Nations remains our best hope for a sustainable future but changes would need to be made to ensure that all nations have an equal voice and are able to speak freely about their challenges unencumbered by political interference or economic manipulations.

Recommendations flowing from this commentary include the need to:

(1) restructure the composition of the UNSC to ensure that the veto power of future permanent members (some conditional) does not lead to political paralysis, that all regions are fairly and equitably represented in terms of numbers and needs, as determined by annual reviews of risks and SDG progress, and that members are held publicly accountable in terms of enabling global peace, security and sustainability.

(2) adopt the One Health & Wellbeing concept/approach and establish a UN One Health and Wellbeing Sustainability Council with a strong Youth voice (e.g., representatives  from the Sustainable Development Sustainable Solutions Network-Youth) to review and operationalise global propositions for global sustainability (socio-economic, geopolitical, environmental – aligned with the OH concept and the SDGs (summarised below) :


(3) promote the OHW concept and the UN SDGs at academic, government, and at all societal levels across all global regions through a process of change and education – formal and non-formal – addressing challenges we face in particular how we can better relate to the planet and to each other.

Our choice in 2022: Accept societal transformation or face extinction

The world faces hard choices in the days ahead. After 13.5 billion years of evolution from the Big Bang to the present, in 2022 we are at a turning point. Our choice is stark: acceptance of the societal transformations required to sustain the planet or face possible extinction as a species.

Considered ‘a modern-day heir to Charles Darwin,’ after a lengthy career, evolutionary biologist, conservationist, world-leading naturalist and author of more than 30 books,  Edward O. Wilson (1931-2021) ‘felt optimistic that humanity had ‘the potential to solve its crises.’ On the other hand, he cautioned in 2019 that ‘our species was dysfunctional’: we  carry Paleolithic emotions, we still depend on medieval institutions and have acquired god-like power – ‘a very dangerous and unstable combination.’

Cover Photo: Last scene from Don’t Look Up as the comet plunges toward Earth (screenshot) – film streaming on Netflix.


PEAH is pleased to post a presentation here focusing on the activities carried out and the challenges faced by the Foundation for Disabilities Hope (FDH) as a Non-Governmental Organization dealing with issues of advocacy for the rights and equality of groups of people with disabilities, youth and children in Tanzania

By Rick Kyando

Programs Manager

Foundation  for Disabilities Hope (FDH), Tanzania




Foundation for Disabilities Hope (FDH) is a Non-Governmental Organization dealing with issues of Advocacy for the rights and equality of groups of people with disabilities, youth and children. This institution was officially registered in 2019 and obtained National Registration under Act No. 00NGO/R/004. The main office of the foundation is located at the CCM regional office building Dodoma, Tanzania.


We have the mandate to serve people with disabilities all over Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, until now we have managed to execute the following activities:

a)     Tourism Activity

This is huge activity as we had done on small scale earlier this year but we have planned to do it bigger next year May, 2022 and we welcome all other tourists from all over the world. We initiated a campaign call “TOUR WITH A PERSON WITH DISABILITY AND STAY SAFE BY GETTING VACCINATED”.

We have great support from the Government and other stakeholders and we also invite persons with and without disabilities from all over the world to come join us and enjoy the beautiful view of Tanzania.

b)     Creating Partnership with ADRA Tanzania in Supporting People with Albinism with Hats and sun skin Lotions

This activity is set out to cover large number of people with albinism as we also plan to equip them with soft and hard skills which will help them in earning their income.

c)  Media Tour

On 03rd December, 2021 the disabilities day as a Foundation for Disabilities we used this day to create awareness about the needs and challenges of persons with disabilities through various TV and radio stations.

d)   Agriculture Activity

Since FDH is planning to reach as many marginalized people as possible, the organization launched a farm project which will help people with disabilities to have an alternative way of earning through agriculture, as for now we already have a land, maize and sunflower seeds to start with.

e)     Wheelchair Provision to Beneficiaries


With all the achievements depicted above the organization faces some challenges in which some of these are organizational, some departmental and some are personal. The following are challenges in which organization is devoted to solve for smooth operations:

Shortage of fund

The organization faces shortage of fund and because of that all employees are working on volunteering basis. But we appreciate the efforts made from our partner as we keep on assisting those in needs.



Email: WhatsApp number: +255685508510

News Flash 460: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 460

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Meeting Registration: Beyond the agenda of the WHO Executive Board: People’s realities, determinants of health, democratic governance… G2H2 meetings, January 2022

OHCHR: Online consultation with civil society “Civil society space: COVID-19: the road to recovery and the essential role of civil society” Please submit the survey before 14 January 2022 at 6 p.m. Geneva time

WHO: reform Involvement of non-State actors in WHO’s governing bodies Report by the Director-General

Recording of the webinar: Care Extractivism

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update

Do We Need a Pandemic Treaty Now?: Policy Brief by People’s Health Movement

Driven by Omicron, Africa Faces Steep Wave of New COVID Infections; WHO in UN-Geneva Briefing that Excludes Most African Media

Omicron, Africa, and the Need for Much Better Policy from High-Income Countries

The many faces of travel bans

From vaccines to vaccinations: seventh meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics

Supporting vaccine rollout in developing countries

Vaccine Famine & its Impact on African Economies

Omicron in South Africa: The Latest News

COVAX: A broken promise to the world

Vaccine Wars: Truth About Pfizer: Dispatches

MSF responds to FDA approval of COVID-19 treatment nirmatrelvir/ritonavir

EMA recommends Nuvaxovid for authorisation in the EU

Efficacy and Safety of NVX-CoV2373 in Adults in the United States and Mexico

European Commission authorises fifth safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

Most of the World’s Vaccines Likely Won’t Prevent Infection From Omicron

Moderna Says Existing COVID Vaccine Booster Appears Effective Against Omicron – Higher Dose Performs Even Better

Evidence-based policymaking when evidence is incomplete: The case of HIV programme integration

Liposomal amphotericin B: Solving the access puzzle

‘Biggest killer’ cancer thwarted by home tests, AI

2021 in review: Migration and forced displacement

Book launch + webinar: Are economic inequalities compatible with human rights?

Hearts and minds: How Europeans think and feel about immigration

More Than a Dozen People Dead, 70,000 Displaced in Malaysian Floods

Policy-makers’ perspectives on implementation of cross-sectoral nutrition policies, Western Pacific Region

PepsiCo Foundation to expand U.S. food aid program globally

#ClimatePrescription: “Our handwriting may be bad, but our message is clear” 

Opinion: Opening up energy data is critical to battling climate change

Commission to table green investment rules for gas and nuclear early next year








News Flash 459: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 459

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


 TDR Newsletter December 2021

Meeting registration: Business as usual? The case for transforming global health governance Webinar | January 25 | 15:00 – 16:30 CET

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update


Omicron variant threatens UN talks to seal global nature deal

Rapidly Spreading Omicron is Now in 77 Countries and WHO Warns Against Assuming its Effects are Mild

Covid-19, the Omicron Variant and the “Butterfly Effect” by Stella Egidi 

Enhancing Readiness for Omicron (B.1.1.529): Technical Brief and Priority Actions for Member States

COVID-19 vaccinations for prison populations and staff: Report on global scan

The effect of mandatory COVID-19 certificates on vaccine uptake: synthetic-control modelling of six countries

Interim recommendations for heterologous COVID-19 vaccine schedules

COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen: EMA recommendation on booster dose

EMA reviewing new data on effectiveness of Lagevrio (molnupiravir) for the treatment of COVID-19

EMA issues advice on use of Paxlovid (PF-07321332 and ritonavir) for the treatment of COVID-19

COVID-19: EMA recommends authorisation of antibody medicine Xevudy

EMA recommends approval for use of Kineret in adults with COVID-19

Researchers Develop Platform to Screen For New Class of Coronavirus Antiviral Compounds

COVID-19 Response: the effectiveness of country-specific measures

DNDi Strategic Plan 2021-2028


Reflections on the Future of the Planet: Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Leadership and Humanity

Investing $1 per person could save 7 million lives from heart disease, cancer and diabetes

SDGs at risk in Africa as foreign direct investment declined, UN says

Beyond Expo: Embedding the SDGs in the DNA of Future Technology and Innovation

Alcohol-related harm is a public health issue, not a lifestyle choice

Addiction Is An Emergency: End Wait Times For Services And Expand Access To Life-Saving Medications

Social protection and gender equality outcomes across the lifecycle

UK charities launch appeal to help eight million Afghans at risk of starvation

The road to climate justice

Green mobility and climate justice: how the social score of your neighbourhood affects air pollution

Strengthening Regional Policy Frameworks to Better Respond to Environmental Migration: Recommendations for the UK Government

Commission presents guide for a fair transition towards climate neutrality

WTO Members Launch Historic Statements to ‘Phase Out’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Reduce Plastics

Russia vetoes UN resolution linking climate change, security

Parts of Somalia hit by the driest season in 40 years as climate-fueled drought worsens





Covid-19, the Omicron Variant and the “Butterfly Effect”

…While western countries are discussing Covid vaccines booster options and are about to throw out about 50 million excess doses by the end of the year (according to Airfinity) the vast majority of countries in the world are far below the minimum coverage level even for vulnerable groups (elderly and people with comorbidity) and health professionals…

 …While scientists are trying to understand the impact of SARS-Cov-2 Omicron variant, the pharmaceutical industry already announced that new versions of the vaccine to fully protect against Omicron will be available by March 2022. Do we really need a new vaccine for this new variant? We don’t know, but we know that the pharma industry is again surfing the wave and ready to make money, and the western governments will eventually pay, even before knowing what data says…

By Stella Egidi

Medical Referent Médecins Sans Frontières Italy


 Covid-19, the Omicron Variant and the “Butterfly Effect”


The appearance of the Omicron variant has suddenly brought back to global attention the fact that the pandemic is far from being under control and that at every turn of the corner a new unforeseen event might hamper every earlier success.

It has also shown once more the short-sightedness of national strategies that most of countries, primarily western ones, have applied in the face of this pandemic. Since its arrival over a year and a half ago, many first reacted by closing borders and entrenching themselves in their useless national boundaries, despite that evidence shows how ineffective this measure is, bringing instead harmful consequences. In fact, the only result was increasing discrimination and penalizing countries already largely disadvantaged by this epidemic.

The World Health Organization said the highly mutated Omicron variant of Covid-19 could change the course of the pandemic[i]. The main concern is related to its high transmissibility, currently leading to a new Covid-19 wave in Southern Africa, that could allow this variant to quickly replace Delta worldwide (the variant is expected to be dominant in Europe by February-March[ii]).

What to expect exactly is “still difficult to know” according to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Certain features of Omicron, including its global spread and large number of mutations, suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic”. The reality, however, is that very little is known so far about the potential impact of the new variant, especially its severity. Paradoxically, if a lower severity of clinical manifestations than Delta is confirmed, considering the high transmission rate and the fast spread amongst susceptible people, the Omicron variant could even become an advantage. Scientists around the world are currently struggling to get data and understand how contagious and lethal this new variant will be on a large scale.

What we know for sure is the detrimental impact produced by travel bans immediately put in place by many countries. An increasing number of countries are closing borders, prohibiting the arrival of international travelers from Southern African countries where the new variant is being detected. Countries affected by the restrictions are already experiencing heavy economic, commercial and political consequences of this decision, which was not based on any scientific evidence. Ironically, instead of being rewarded for their prompt and efficient surveillance system that allowed other countries to prepare themselves and the scientific community to explore and study the new variant early on in order to find solutions, these countries are being “punished” as the so-called “plague spreaders”.

The WHO had already clearly advised many months ago against travel bans and advocated for countries to continue applying an evidence-informed and risk-based approach when implementing travel measures.

Even in cases when such measures could be effective in mitigating the spread to some degree, they are largely taken when it’s too late. With the Omicron variant it has been demonstrated that the new strain was already circulating in Europe at the time it was detected and announced by South African authorities (whose public health surveillance system was simply the most efficient at detecting it!). So far, according to available data, the Omicron variant has been confirmed in 57 countries[iii].

As WHO has stated, “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data. Alternative measures, like screening of passengers prior to travelling and/or upon arrival, including via the use of SARS-CoV-2 testing or the application of quarantine to international travelers defined following a thorough risk assessment process informed by the local epidemiology in departure and destination countries, and commensurate with the risk, time-limited and applied with respect to travelers’ dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms might be applied to mitigate the potential impact of variant spreading and to fight the epidemic in a more rational way”[iv].

Very little is known about the impact of the new variant on vaccines. A first small study[v] showed a decrease in antibody protection against the new variant, but we know how to identify antibody level with the broader immune protection, given the complexity of this last, can be misleading. While scientists are trying to understand the impact, the pharmaceutical industry already announced that new versions of the vaccine[vi] to fully protect against Omicron will be available by March 2022. Do we really need a new vaccine for this new variant? We don’t know, but we know that the pharma industry is again surfing the wave and ready to make money, and the western governments will eventually pay, even before knowing what data says.

The Omicron variant has also again brought to light the high inequality that has affected middle and low income countries throughout the epidemic more than ever before. Excellent documentation[vii] has spelled out how heavy and long-lasting the impact of the pandemic has been on the poorest countries, and that they not only have been affected by the virus far more than available data shows (we know how weak are surveillance systems in poorest countries) but are paying the heaviest burden in terms of economic impact and ability to recover.

Those who lost income due to the pandemic have been almost twice as likely to spend their assets or savings, leaving them less able to cope with continued or recurrent income losses.

In turn this will likely lead to progressive increase in impoverishing poor; lead to job losses, hamper productivity, stop income growth, increase soil exploitation, and result in deepening economic dependance of the poorest countries on external aid and push more population towards global migration.

How to reverse this vicious circle? To simplify a complex topic, we could say: by giving Covid-19 vaccines to the poorest. This is surely an oversimplification, we can agree; but it is now indisputable that global availability and equal access to vaccines for all countries in the world is a paramount step in the race for global safety and wellbeing.

While western countries are discussing booster options and are about to throw out about 50 million excess doses by the end of the year (according to Airfinity[viii]), the vast majority of countries in the world are far below the minimum coverage level even for vulnerable groups (elderly and people with comorbidity) and health professionals. Full vaccination coverage for Africa is about 7% according to WHO[ix], an average value which hides even worse realities, like Democratic Republic of Congo, where the coverage is around 0,1% of the population. In fact, high-income countries received 16 times more vaccines per capita than poorer nations, according to the Financial Times analysis[x].

As always, the richest countries are (or they pretend to be) so blind that they do not understand that if just for the sake of solidarity and equity, they need to take on the responsibility of tackling this issue. Variants will keep on emerging, and they will likely do so faster where the vaccination coverage is low or patchy and the virus will keep on circulating at a high rate. They will also continue circulating far beyond our ability to detect and stop them in time. After Omicron, there will likely be a new variant; after Sars-Cov-2, there will likely be a new pandemic one day or another, starting in some little corner of the world. The “butterfly effect[xi]” has never been so real.













News Flash 458: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 458

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


Comic Series: The Power of the 99% to Stop Corporate Capture

Challenging violence against women in public life

WHO: Public health round-up

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update

Towards a universal understanding of post COVID-19 condition

Why South Africa keeps detecting COVID-19 variants like omicron

As 57 Countries Report Omicron Cases, Pfizer Says its Boosters Offer Protection – But WHO Cautions More Research is Needed

Audio Interview: Waning Immunity against SARS-CoV-2

Webinar registration: Covid-19 Pandemic and Health Policy Responses: a critical analysis. Saturday 11 December 2021, 10:00-13:30 UTC+2

‘Dangerously Unprepared’: New Report Faults Countries’ Pandemic Readiness… Again

One year after the first shot, pharma must urgently “share the tech” of COVID-19 vaccines

WIPO SCP 33: Statement of Knowledge Ecology International on patents and health

EMA and ECDC recommendations on heterologous vaccination courses against COVID-19

Updated interim recommendations for the use of the Janssen Ad26.COV2.S (‎COVID-19)‎ vaccine

US Announces ‘Global VAX’ to Push COVID-19 Vaccination Effort Worldwide

Optimizing the supply of vaccines for COVID-19

Pfizer Could Have Done More to Help Low-Income Countries Handle Vaccines, CEO Says

India’s SII promises 40 mln more AstraZeneca doses to COVAX this year

Addressing production gaps for vaccines in African countries

African Medicines Agency Has Key Role as Continent Pushes Local Vaccine Production

Aspen’s COVID-19 vaccine licensing deal a ‘game changer’ for Africa

Exclusive: Up to 1 million COVID vaccines expired in Nigeria last month

EMA recommends approval for use of RoActemra in adults with severe COVID-19

The Medicines Patent Pool and the University of Washington sign a licence agreement for an investigational long-acting injectable drug combination candidate for HIV

More malaria cases and deaths in 2020 linked to COVID-19 disruptions

WHO: World Malaria Report 2021

WHO welcomes historic decision by Gavi to fund the first malaria vaccine

Will climate change-fueled drought spur more yellow fever outbreaks?

As Antimicrobial Resistance Advances, We Need Action to Stop a Predictable Catastrophe

Nigerian Exchange to Boost Food Output With $100 Million Bond

Policy-makers’ perspectives on implementation of cross-sectoral nutrition policies, Western Pacific Region

All coral reefs in western Indian Ocean ‘at high risk of collapse in next 50 years’

EU lawmakers call for tougher rules on live animal transport

Glyphosate approval: stakeholders squabble over who has the science right









News Flash 457: Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 457

Weekly Snapshot of Public Health Challenges


BOOK Political Journeys in Health: Essays by and for Amit Sengupta Information regarding the book can be found here:

Tripartite and UNEP support OHHLEP’s definition of “One Health”: Joint Tripartite (FAO, OIE, WHO) and UNEP Statement

Webinar registration: European Cross-border Initiatives: Toward Fair Medicine Deals? Dec 9, 2021 02:00 PM in Brussels

Do We Need a Pandemic Treaty Now?: Policy Brief by People’s Health Movement

1 December 2021: World Health Assembly agrees to launch process to develop historic global accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

Landmark decision by the World Health Assembly to start negotiations for a pandemic treaty

Special session of World Health Assembly 29 November 2021 – 1 December 2021

Join Event: GLOBAL HEALTH CENTRE OPTIONS, OUTCOMES AND OPPORTUNITIES: REFLECTING ON THE WHA SPECIAL SESSION 03 December 2021, 15:00 – 16:15 World Health Assembly Open Briefing Online Discussion, 3pm CET


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Update

WHO: Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants

WHO: Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern

The Omicron Variant of COVID-19: A Q&A With Virologist Andrew Pekosz

SARS-Cov-2 Omicron Variant: Holding Our Leaders Accountable by Raymond Saner

COVAX, partners call for changes in donated doses in 2022

China’s Xi Jinping pledges another 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for African nations

Eyeing COVID Through PEAH Independent Lens: Which Takeaways? by Daniele Dionisio

African Countries Will Continue to Face Tough Choices on COVID-19 Vaccines: We’ve Developed a Toolkit That Can Help

States must prioritize health and equality over profits and vaccine hoarding, UN experts say Omicron and other new variants underline urgency to act 

Time to ‘think about mandatory vaccination’: EU chief

Response to Covid-19 pandemic from a community engagement perspective: Sweden vs India in waves one and two

In the wake of postponement of WTO’s Ministerial, MSF underscores the urgency of adopting the TRIPS Waiver for people’s unhindered access to COVID-19 medical tools

Why don’t we just open the windows?

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “END INEQUALITIES. END AIDS. END PANDEMICS”.

World AIDS Day: Pandemics Thrive on Inequity

Millions of AIDS-related Deaths in Years to Come if Global Inequalities Remain Unaddressed, UNAIDS Warns Ahead of World AIDS Day

Working Close to Home to Prevent HIV

COVID-19 response allowing epidemics like tuberculosis to mount a comeback

Preserving antibiotics in times of COVID-19 – how stewardship teams involving hospital pharmacists can contribute

Launch of ESNO Focus Group: AMR, Vaccination & Infection Prevention

#MEPvsAMR: preventing antimicrobial resistance requires concerted efforts at the national and European level

Policy briefing I The interplay between antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19

Position Paper I A Joint response to the European Commission’s Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe

Register: Call to Action Launch: A right to a healthy environment that works Online Event Wed, 8 December 2021 14:00 – 14:45 CET

Submission to the OHCHR Annual Report on Human Rights and Climate Change

Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector — A Call to Action

Fighting Loss of the Greater Mekong’s Prized Rosewood Forests