After struggling with outbreaks for more than a year, Zimbabwe is facing yet another deadly wave of typhoid as it begins 2017. Hundreds of cases have been reported across the country over the past three months, the vast majority of which have occurred in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city, where the local government struggles to provide clean water and to contain sewage. Because typhoid is spread through contaminated food and water, the lack of these basic services means that typhoid bacteria can easily spread throughout the city. Although there are two vaccines for typhoid on the market, both of which have proven safe and effective, they are not readily available to Zimbabweans, even those that live in high-risk areas.

While investments in biomedical R&D have led to tremendous scientific breakthroughs and health improvements in the modern era, the benefits have been shared unevenly.

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.

As 2016 has come to a close, our team at the Coalition against Typhoid would like to take a moment to reflect on this busy year. It was a year that illustrated, more clearly than ever, that typhoid is a continuing and major threat to millions around the world. Over the course of 2016, an estimated 21 million people – most of them children – suffered from typhoid. Of these, 220,000 died of the disease. We saw typhoid outbreaks in Malawi, Fiji, Zimbabwe and other countries. In endemic countries like India and Nepal, the monsoon season worsened the impact of this disease. In 2016, typhoid struck at ordinary places like schools and weddings, and also at the most vulnerable places, such as refugee camps, reminding us that this disease doesn’t discriminate.

Mortality rates in Latin America have declined over the past century, due in part to the institutionalization of key public health programs.

More than two billion people lack access to necessary medicines. High costs and limited health care infrastructure prevent many people from benefiting from recent medical advancements, leaving populations at risk of preventable diseases.

Tackling neglected tropical diseases through human security

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” This Japanese proverb encapsulates the many challenges on the road to achieving human security for all—life without want, without fear, and in dignity through the fulfilment of basic needs—and emphasizes the need for creativity, flexibility, and constant innovation to achieve this broad-ranging mandate. Such a creative focus on human security and people-centred development can help fast-track efforts to build healthy, resilient communities around the world.

The Lancet Global Health
Meet Asim Shrestha. As a practicing pediatrician in Dhulikhel Hospital in Kavre District, Nepal, Dr. Shrestha is all too familiar with the story of typhoid. A steady stream of children pass through his ward, sick with the disease.
In the wake of the strongest El Niño event ever recorded, severe drought is strongly affecting parts of Southern Africa, causing crops to fail and water sources to dry up. As a result, food shortages are ramping up precipitously and millions of people are food-insecure. It is a slow-motion public health emergency.

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