A former Mexican health official described Central America and southern Mexico on Tuesday (Dec. 1) as the “low-hanging fruit” of global health efforts, saying the region is capable of rapid health advances. He also outlined an initiative to aid its poorest residents.Jaime Sepulveda, former director of Mexico’s National Institutes of Health and currently director of integrated health-solutions development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that a new initiative funded by the foundation and partner organizations would try to improve infant and maternal mortality, nutrition, vaccination rates, and several other health measures in the next five years.The program, called the Mesoamerican Health Initiative, will target poor indigenous communities throughout Mesoamerica, which runs from southern Mexico to Panama. Though improving the health care infrastructure is important, Sepulveda said the program will seek to train providers and adapt clinical procedures so they can be used in homes and communities, regardless of whether a regular clinic is nearby.Sepulveda spoke at Harvard Medical School’s New Research Building to a standing-room crowd of about 250. He delivered the 2009 Brigham and Women’s Hospital Victor Dzau Lecture in Global Health Equity. Sepulveda was introduced by Paul Farmer, Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chair of the School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Farmer, a founder of the nonprofit Partners In Health, is also chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.In his introductory remarks, Farmer said that global health is not a discipline, but rather a set of worldwide problems that require several disciplines to address. Farmer said conditions have changed in global health over the past two decades. Scarcity of resources has ceased to be the most pressing problem. Rather, he said, today’s major issue is how to integrate the latest knowledge into policies and on-the-ground practices that can make a difference in people’s lives.“Integration and implementation are the two largest problems,” Farmer said.Sepulveda said he wanted to bring to the audience’s attention a part of the world that has been neglected. To make changes there, he said, programs should focus on specific priorities and on closing the gap between health care for the wealthy and the poor. Among its health challenges, Sepulveda said, the region of almost 72 million people has high rates of infant and maternal mortality, with many deaths coming from premature births, infection, and asphyxiation for the infants, and hemorrhaging, hypertension, infection, and obstructed labor for the mothers. Malnutrition is also high, Sepulveda said.The health initiative will focus on improving reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health, bettering nutrition, and increasing vaccination rates. It will conduct epidemiological studies to watch over the region’s health and the program’s effectiveness, while trying to build on capacity. The effort also will focus on discovering new interventions, improving health practices, and changing government policies to improve health.
Geneva to Quebec City, Lisbon to Maputo, Rabat, Geneva, Port-au-Prince and Guayaquil. Ambassador Douglas Griffiths, a member of the Class of 1986, has traveled the world as a part of the United States Foreign Service corps, representing U.S. interests abroad. President Barack Obama appointed Griffiths to his current post as American ambassador to Mozambique in March of this year. Griffiths said his skill set allowed him to contribute to the advancement of U.S. interests in global health, refugee and migration affairs, but of all his time in the corps two periods stand out. “I was fortunate to work on the South Africa desk at the State Department just after Nelson Mandela’s election and during the transition to democracy. I had front row seats for an exhilarating moment in history and had the honor of working closely with an inspiring group of South Africans,” Griffiths said. “Serving as Deputy Chief of Mission and acting Ambassador in Haiti during its own return to democracy was another high note.” “Although my family was evacuated due to violence and instability, it was a privilege to lead a dedicated group of Haitians and Americans at the Embassy who brought essential services to the Haitian people in difficult conditions.” From 2006 to 2009, Griffiths served as the principal officer at the consulate general in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and since 2009 Griffiths has been the deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Griffiths said this time in Geneva was formative and allowed him to explore his interests in international humanitarian development. “It was particularly rewarding to advance U.S. interests in global health, refugee and migration affairs and economic development,” Griffiths said. “I enjoy the challenge of multilateral diplomacy, negotiating complex agreements with a constantly changing constellation of interlocutors.” January will mark his 25th year in the Foreign Service, but his desire to serve others originated much earlier, Griffiths said. “I studied government at Notre Dame and spent a year in Angers, [France], so Notre Dame gave me great formal preparation for the Foreign Service. … Notre Dame’s emphasis on service very much guided my career choice,” Griffiths said. “I learned of the Foreign Service through a dorm-mate who was registering to take the Foreign Service exam. … Diplomacy has been a perfect match for me, I love changing jobs every two to three years as we rotate around the world.” As American Ambassador in Mozambique, Griffiths said he works to build a prosperous, stable and democratic Mozambique “I lead an embassy of over 100 American and Mozambican colleagues joined by almost 200 Peace Corps volunteers,” Griffiths said. “We have an ambitious development cooperation program in Mozambique and we are making impressive strides in fostering economic growth, reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, stimulating rural development and improving education. “Mozambique has had a decade of impressive economic growth, therefore we are working hard to improve the prospects for American companies here, leading to job creation in both countries.” The goal for the American Embassy in Mozambique is to help the people recover from a long war waged to win independence from Portugal and a brutal civil war, Griffiths said. “With enormous reserves of coal and natural gas, Mozambique is on the brink of significant economic development. … Our goal is to help Mozambique invest those resources productively in their people,” Griffiths said. “Despite economic growth and investment development in the major cities, human development indicators remain very low. We’re collaborating closely with Mozambican officials and private and faith-based organizations to ensure that economic growth translates into improved living standards.” Griffiths said the collaboration with American partners is particularly strong, because all involved parties want to attract American companies to Mozambique to create jobs in both countries. Griffiths is based in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. He mostly interacts with senior government officials, business people, opinion leaders and other representatives of civil society. Communicating with community leaders is very easy because the embassy-workers and national partners all speak Portuguese, Griffiths said. “It is easy to form strong partnerships,” Griffiths said. “However, when traveling up country only the most educated people speak fluent Portuguese, so we depend on local partners to communicate in the 13 main indigenous languages. My wife Alicia has started studying Shangana, the dominate language in Southern Mozambique. I’ll start in the new year, once I’m finished shaking off the vestiges of Spanish from my Portuguese.” Griffiths said he also makes an effort to travel to the development cooperative sites so that he can see the results of decisions for himself. “Last month I drove north to visit some of our aid projects,” Griffiths said. “At every site we were greeted with songs of celebration … with relatively small investments we are transforming lives and communities. I feel very fortunate to see these tangible contributions of American foreign assistance and to feel the gratitude of our partners.” His family has assimilated into the country very easily, Griffiths said. “The climate is just about perfect, and the capital Maputo is charming. Mozambique is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and spectacular savannahs,” Griffiths said. “Our two teenaged daughters, true global nomads, are delighted to be back in an area where community service can be an important part of our lives.” Contact Nicole Michels at [email protected]
Syracuse finished the 2018 football season ranked No. 15 in the AP poll. It’s the first time the Orange (10-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) have finished the season ranked in the Top 25 since 2001.After a 34-18 win over West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl, the Orange moved up two spots from their previous rankings while the Mountaineers moved down five spots to No. 20. Their bowl victory pushed the Orange to 10-plus wins for the seventh time in program history.After two consecutive 4-8 seasons, Syracuse broke out in 2018 with wins over two ranked opponents — North Carolina State and West Virginia. Including the Mountaineers, three Syracuse opponents finished in the Top 25. The other two, Notre Dame and Clemson, were SU losses. The Tigers went on to finish as undefeated national champions while Notre Dame ranked fifth in the AP poll. Comments Published on January 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+