Norway develops digital COVID-19 tracking system

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Oslo has developed a digital data package, which functions as a monitoring system that can be used to track and detect infections of COVID-19 and with whom these people have been in contact. The system, called Health Information Systems Program (HISP), is developed according to standards as presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, among others.

The University of Oslo's DHIS2 software platform, developed in 1994, has become a standard for health information in low-income countries. The platform can be used to monitor malaria and vaccine programs, for example, and serves as a tool for health departments in 68 countries and covers a population of 2.4 billion people. It’s based on open-source mobile networks and mobile devices.

News article – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

ONE highlights need for better data, alongside release of their new gender data dashboard

ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has joined the growing number of organizations calling attention to the fact that "more funding for gender equality may not be all it seems". Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality reached an all-time high of US$45.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 39.4% of ODA. However, closer examinations of the figures recently released by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that challenges remain, especially in terms of the quality of the data available on the state of funding for gender equality in development.

As part of ONE's commitment to back up their advocacy with data-driven tools, they released a new interactive dashboard to explore gender ODA from nine major donors. The tool provides data on how each donor spends gender equality focused development funding, information on their key gender strategies, details on the sectors and income levels that they target, and analysis of how different agencies prioritize gender equality.

Blog post - ONE

Cross-sector collaboration PAN-TB to develop tuberculosis treatment regimens

A consortium of philanthropic, non-profit, and private sector actors announced the formation of the Project to Accelerate New Treatments for Tuberculosis (PAN-TB) collaboration, the first cross-sector collaboration to meet the WHO’s recommendation for tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimens. The founding members included Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Evotech A.G., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Gates Medical Research Institute.

Every year tuberculosis kills approximately 1.5 million people worldwide. Current treatment regimens require multiple medications and close monitoring for more than six months. In addition, multi-drug resistant tuberculous has made diagnosis and treatment difficult. 

The focus of the new PAN-TB collaboration is on developing regimens that have little or no drug resistance, and that are faster, safer, and simpler to use. This will hopefully result in earlier detection of tuberculosis and shortened duration of treatment.

Press release -  Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (in Japanese)

Press release - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Japan drives global trend of more tied aid

Globally, the amount of tied aid – bilateral aid reserved for suppliers from the donor's own country – reached almost US$21 billion in 2018, an increase of US$4.7 billion from the year before, according to figures released this month by the OECD. The greatest increase in tied aid was from Japan, which tied US$3.3 billion more than the previous year. Also, unlike most donors, Japan does not report the tying status of its technical cooperation, which was about US$1.9 billion in 2018.

In 2018, OECD’s Development Assistance Committee added 10 countries to the list of places where aid must be open to local competition incentivize local ownership. The decision to expand this list was delayed by Japan’s opposition.

While Japan argues that tied aid can increase the total amount of development spending, aid advocates disagree. According to Jan Van de Poel, Policy and Advocacy Manager at NGO network Eurodad, “Donors have agreed tying aid makes development cooperation less effective and undermines value for money. If donors are really committed to maximizing the catalytic impact of aid for development in poor countries ... action to untie all aid is urgently needed.”

News article - Devex

Global Japan

2019 G-FINDER report breaks down global funding for neglected disease R&D

G-FINDER, an initiative of Policy Cures Research which reports on global health research and development (R&D), has released its 12th annual report, synthesizing data from 2018. The report's data is based on a yearly survey of major funders and developers in the global health R&D sector.

Central findings of the report include:

  • Funding for tools combatting neglected diseases topped US$4 billion-- the highest on record;
  • Global funding for neglected disease R&D increased by US$290 million in 2018, or 7.9%-- the largest funding increase on record and the first time ever that funding increased for three years consecutively;
  • Despite record growth in other areas, funding for the WHO neglected tropical diseases has barely increased over the last decade;
  • HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) received over two-thirds of all global funding for neglected disease R&D in 2018 (US$2.8 billion, or 69%); and
  • Despite record investment levels (US$2.6 billion), the public sector's share of total funding fell to its lowest ever, due to strong growth from private sector donors.

2019 Annual Report: Uneven Progress - G-FINDER

Japan to host Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2020

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December 2020, following the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. This is in keeping with the trend started after the London Olympics in 2012 and continued after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

The 2020 summit will stress the double burden of malnutrition, which relates to the existence of both over- and undernutrition simultaneously within individuals, households, countries, or other populations. The event will also aim to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a number of methods including:

  • Integrating nutrition into universal health coverage;
  • Building a healthy and sustainable food system;
  • Measuring against malnutrition in fragile or conflict situations; and
  • Securing financial reforms to improve nutrition.

In preparation for the Tokyo Nutrition Summit 2020, the Japanese government intends to collect information on Japan’s nutrition policy and future direction, as well as data on furthering international contributions to nutrition.

In addition to serving as the host country for the summit, the Japanese government has allocated ¥81 million (US$736,000) for sharing technical information with industry, academia, and government officials; ¥46 million (US$418,000) for researching and analyzing the nutrition policies of various countries; and ¥5 million (US$45,000) for setting up project headquarters to promote an enabling environment for healthy living.

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (in Japanese)

Global Japan Nutrition

Dutch government publishes Q&A on 'Power of Voices' and 'SDG 5' funding applications

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands published a Q&A document pertaining to two key funding programs supporting global civil society organizations: the 'Power of Voices' and the 'SDG 5' funding programs. These programs, which fall under the new policy framework 'Strengthening Civil Society', will guide Dutch funding around gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for the 2021-2025 period. 

The 28-page document clarifies the parameters of the two programs which are currently open for applications.

Q&A PDF - Government of the Netherlands

Global Netherlands Global health

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs talks Dutch and EU policy in interview with German pro-democracy initiative

Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, spoke in an interview with the 'Faces of Democracy' initiative about his views around Dutch and EU policy, democracy, and the rule of law.

Mr. Blok shared his position on the EU's so-called Eastward Enlargement, the rise of the far-right populist party 'Forum door Democratie' in the Netherlands, and his expectations for the new president of the EU Commission and the EU member states regarding the dutch foreign policy priorities: migration, security, economy, climate policy, and the safeguarding of dutch values and interests abroad.

The privately-owned, German-based online initiative has run a number of other interviews with key European figures working to advance democracy, including the former president of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. 

News article - Faces of Democracy

Global Netherlands

Netherlands will host 2020 Global Adaptation Summit

On October 22, 2020, the Netherlands will host the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) in Amsterdam. Spearheaded by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, this summit will bring together global leaders to discuss adaptation needs for climate change. The summit aims to accelerate actions initiated by the Global Commission on Adaptation, led by Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, to leverage further support for the global movement towards adaptation.

From October 19- 23, various additional initiatives will take place around the summit, as part of Climate Adaptation Week. These events include a Nobel Prize Summit, the Mayors Forum, and a Climate Adaptation Youth Summit.

Official website - Climate Adaptation Summit 

Global Netherlands