Global Health: The Good News for 2011

In 2010, we were on the verge of some major breakthroughs in global health. In many cases, we were close enough that one more year will actually bring success. Three global health success stories I think we’ll see in 2011:

1.       Heat-stable vaccines. The major challenge in immunizing children for killer childhood diseases is keeping the vaccines cold until the moment of use. Shelf-stable vaccines that don’t require refrigeration have been a major goal in child health. 2010 saw several new approaches delivering vaccines at room temperature. I predict that in 2011, we’ll see a major clinical trial of a heat-stable vaccine.

2.       Transparency. Both donors are recipients are becoming far more forthcoming about their provision and use of global health funds, led in part by pioneering efforts from the Global Fund. (The new US government foreign assistance dashboard is one good example of new transparency.) In 2011, we’ll see new efforts to provide information about global health funding flows in useful, accessible ways.

3.       Haiti. In 2011, we will finally see Haiti on the road to recovery. While pretty much everyone agrees that aid to Haiti could have been done a lot more effectively, it is also true that you don’t repair damage as massive as Haiti’s in 12 months. In another year, we’ll start to see true recovery and reconstruction as Haitian perseverance and international aid efforts finally begin to bear fruit.

(photo credit: dancing lemur)