Blog Posts by Jon Jay

 {Photo by: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nyayahealth/7157522726/">Possible</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY</a>}A female health volunteer surveys women to gather data in Nepal. Better health information is vital to achieving health goals.Photo by: Possible CC BY

In many developing countries, true life-and-death decisions hinge on information that’s old, unreliable or both.

Without strong national capacity for data collection, health officials are left in the dark when monitoring outbreaks of diseases like Ebola or trying to improve care for cancer patients. Many countries are unable to produce an accurate picture of their progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) or even assess their starting point.

Meanwhile, the global health community has rallied behind ambitious sustainable development goals for the post-2015 era, an agenda that adopts new priorities like achieving UHC and addressing noncommunicable diseases alongside updated targets for the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health foresees countries’ taking increased ownership over health priority-setting and program implementation.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

This post originally appeared on Devex.

Cancer is gaining ground in the developing world.

People in poor countries are more likely to die from cancer, and die far younger, than people in rich countries. Today, on World Cancer Day, this cancer divide continues to worsen. Even as misconceptions have receded, the reality hasn’t.

There’s been political progress at the global level, including the 2011 U.N. resolution on noncommunicable diseases like cancer. Yet the traditional mode of global assistance for developing countries — aid funding — hasn’t been forthcoming. Without it, the NCD agenda has gained little traction in those countries.

Perhaps the answer isn’t countries at all.

 {Photo credit: Ness Kerton / AusAID / DfAT / CC BY}A health worker and a patient in a treatment room at the Susa Mama health clinic in Papua New Guinea. The global collaboration on universal health coverage can’t wind down but must be ramped up.Photo credit: Ness Kerton / AusAID / DfAT / CC BY

Today is Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). All week, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) staff blogged about universal health coverage (UHC) and why we support health for all this week. 

This post originally appeared in Devex.

Universal health coverage is coming to the world’s developing countries.

 {Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH}Billboard, Liberia.Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH

[Universal Health Coverage Day.]Universal Health Coverage Day.Management Sciences for Health (MSH) bloggers are discussing universal health coverage (UHC) and why we support health for all this week, leading up to Dec. 12, UHC Day. MSH is a founding member of the UHC Day coalition. Today, MSH authors Chelsey Canavan, Jonathan Jay, and Dr. Jonathan D. Quick discuss if, and how, UHC could help prevent major outbreaks, like the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

This post originally appeared on Devex.

Dec. 12, marks Universal Health Coverage Day, the second anniversary of a United Nations resolution endorsing UHC as a global priority. The last two years have seen a growing consensus that pursuing UHC will save lives and alleviate poverty, especially in developing countries.

Meanwhile, the devastating Ebola crisis continues to claim lives and stifle opportunity in West Africa. Observers were quick to note that UHC could have helped arrest the spread of Ebola, yet countries like Nigeria, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — all quite early on their paths toward UHC — have successfully contained Ebola outbreaks.

So is UHC really the answer?

Ebola shows us that more resources must go toward public health infrastructure. That’s an important lesson for UHC reforms, which could easily overlook those investments in favor of individual health services. UHC strategies can’t rest on individual service delivery to mitigate major health threats. When we imagine UHC, we should see institutions and organizations actively promoting the public’s health—long before the need for emergency response.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

Universal health coverage (UHC) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are high priorities in global health—just look at the proposed post-2015 development goals. The increasing burden of NCDs is widely recognised, and a growing list of countries have joined the UHC movement. But what’s less widely understood is why a UHC approach is necessary for an effective NCD response.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Mother and daughter at Kigali Hospital, Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

What do the next 500 days mean for global health?

The looming deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will prompt a final push to achieve the health targets that have helped guide the global community since 2000: to reduce maternal and child mortality, provide contraception and curb the HIV, TB and malaria epidemics. Undoubtedly, many people will benefit from vital health services in the next 500 days.    

But many others won’t, and they’re likely to be the people who are already most vulnerable and least served. For example, as maternal deaths have dropped in developing countries, deaths are more concentrated in poor regions; the HIV epidemic still rages in marginalized populations like sex workers and people who use drugs. A key lesson of the MDG era is that nothing contributes to illness more than poverty and exclusion.

In the next 500 days, therefore, many voices will be calling for a new approach to global health in the post-2015 development framework. It’s a dramatic reinvention around a simple idea: that everyone, everywhere, should have affordable access to the health services they need.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

With United Nations (UN) member states continuing to negotiate recommendations on the post-2015 development process, stakeholders met last Thursday in New York to discuss the potential of universal health coverage (UHC) to drive improvements in women’s health.

The event coincided with the 12th session of the Open Working Group of UN member states, whose working draft recommendations had included targets on UHC, maternal and child survival, and reproductive healthcare access; panelists and audience members spanned UN missions, civil society, private sector, foundations, and academia.

 {Photo by: World Health Organization}Part of the poster for World No Tobacco Day. Raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce its consumption.Photo by: World Health Organization

This post originally appeared on Devex.com.

When people get sick in Senegal, like in many other low- and middle-income countries, they often find that quality health care services are unaffordable. The majority of health spending is out-of-pocket, meaning people aren’t enrolled in health insurance plans, or their plans’ benefits are limited.

 {Photo credit: Brooke Huskey/MSH.}Photo credit: Brooke Huskey/MSH.

This post is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly (" href="http://www.msh.org/blog-tags/wha67">WHA67), held in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. This year, MSH co-hosted three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. Six MSH representatives attended WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

The Millennium Development Goals, due to expire next year, have defined an era of global health. Since their adoption in 2000, the global AIDS response has scaled up massively; childhood immunization has become the norm in most settings; and many more women can access the family planning and reproductive healthcare they need. The MDGs coincided with, and perhaps helped to usher, a “Golden Age” of global health funding, which supported hard work and innovation that saved millions of lives.

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