As a sage once said, “Making predictions is hard—especially about the future.” But one thing for certain in 2020 is that programs and policies to improve people’s health will need to be supported financially and politically. There is the exciting prospect that next year will see the entire WHO African region certified free of wild polio, and a new vaccine could be deployed as part of efforts to end all forms of the virus. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will also hold its multi-year replenishment in the UK, with the promise that another 300 million children will be immunized against infectious diseases. And governments everywhere will make critical decisions about how to balance competing demands for investments in health, education, infrastructure and other priorities. But we know that when health improves, life improves by every measure. That’s why we remain optimistic for continued donor and domestic support for better health, as well as increased collaboration between institutions with lessons learned from tackling one disease applied to another. For example, surveillance systems built for polio eradication used to identify and respond to outbreaks of other diseases, and funding provided by the Global Fund used to improve health systems. With 10 years to go to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, 2020 will be a decisive year to accelerate progress, including reducing child deaths, turning the tide on the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and expanding access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all.
Managing Director, Global Policy and Advocacy