When the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) begins today in Geneva, Switzerland, it will be one of historic measure. Not only because the WHA be electing a new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), but also because of its sheer scope.

For years, little was known of the typhoid burden in Africa, even though outbreaks of multi-drug resistant typhoid is becoming increasingly common. This lack of information spurred the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the Typhoid Fever Surveillance in Africa Program (TSAP) through the International Vaccine Institute, a first-of-its-kind study established to shed light on true extent of the typhoid burden and multi-drug resistance distribution on the continent. The results from the TSAP, recently published in the Lancet Global Health, represent the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of typhoid in Africa and could change our understanding of the disease burden across the continent.

Vaccines are healthcare’s first line of defense. From polio to pertussis, rubella to rotavirus, vaccination has saved more lives than any other medical advance in recent history.

An estimated two billion people lack the medicines they need. The 2016 Access to Medicines Index analyzes pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for low- and middle-income countries.

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