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PQMD Newsletter

Welcome! In this volume of the PQMD newsletter, you will find highlights from our membership and noteworthy articles from around the web. Please note the newsletter is best viewed in your browser. 

Does your organization have news to share? Contact Beth Haynes for placement in future newsletters. 

Note from Elizabeth (EJ) Ashbourne, Executive Director, PQMD
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Firstly, I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the season, I want to say again how thankful I am for our members and all the work they do! It will certainly be a different holiday season this year but I'm feeling very optimistic about 2021.

PQMD's theme for the month of November is diseases, which includes NCDs, NTDs, and rare diseases. Our members work incredibly hard to address the health of people all around the world and many donate and provide medicines, vaccines and other resources for people suffering from chronic and rare diseases. In this month's newsletter, you will find articles from some of our members about the many projects and programs they are engaged with, addressing diseases throughout the world.

Additionally, we are coming up on Giving Tuesday, which is December 1st, and many of our nonprofit members hold their annual fundraising campaigns during the first week of December. We have included links to their campaigns in our newsletter and I encourage you to donate if you can.

I would also like to update you on PQMD's biggest endeavor right now. We are in the midst of a strategic planning process that we've been undertaking since this summer with the help of the TCC Group. We have been meeting with key external partners, members and staff to develop and explore specific goals and objectives for the next three years. While quality donations will continue to be central to our mission in the global health and development field, we are looking to expand our scope as an organization to include collective programming to address resiliency, sustainability and better support for the knowledge and learning necessary to have the greatest impact possible to ensure access to quality medicines. The process has been inspiring and we will update you on our progress in the coming month.

Stay safe and healthy! 






PQMD is Hiring!

PQMD is hiring! We are looking  for a new Community of Practice Content Manager- Global Health. The Community of Practice Manager leads the implementation of Community of Practice activities, including webinars, discussion group coordination and moderation, workshops and virtual meetings, resource library, calendar of events, opportunities and recommendations and committees and working groups.

The deadline for applications is this Wednesday, December 3rd. To review the full position and apply, visit this site

Global Health & Development Essentials Course- Registration is Open for Winter Session

PQMD has condensed key elements of a Master's In Public Health curriculum to create a comprehensive Executive Survey Course on global development essentials for professionals working with medical product donation programs or other means of international development assistance. PQMD is currently enrolling its winter session cohort of participants, which begins on January 13, 2021 and runs until February 24, 2021. To learn more and register, visit the PQMD website here



Community of Practice (CoP) 



PQMD COVID-19 Pillar Talks Recordings Now Available 

 PQMD successfully hosts an interactive webinar and discussion series- the PQMD Pillar Talks- on our online Community of Practice (CoP). Upcoming Pillar Talk webinars will continue in 2021 with dates and topics to be determined. You can find all the past webinar recordings on our website, including:
  • Innovation in the Health Care Supply Chain During the Time of COVID
  • Forces Affecting Global Health Security
  • Vaccine Promises & Realities
  • Strengthening Health Systems Through Short-Term Medical Missions
  • Two-Panel Event: The Intersection of WASH and Health Systems Resiliency
  • The Diagnostics Landscape
  • Supporting Global Health Workers During the Covid-19 Crisis

PQMD Member News- COVID-19


PQMD Members Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic 

PQMD is continuing to monitor how members are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our members are doing incredible work to assist with this crisis around the world. You can find updates on what PQMD members are doing on the CoP (members only) or the PQMD website. If you have an update you'd like us to include, please send an email to Sam MacDonald at  

Additionally, we can also include fundraising campaigns efforts. Please send to Beth Haynes at 


Support PQMD Members' Fundraising Campaigns- Giving Tuesday is December 1st

December 1st is Giving Tuesday and many of our nonprofit member organizations will have fundraising campaigns during the first week of December. Some of the members will also match any contribution during the week of December 1- 8. Please see below for a link to our members' websites where you can contribute and support their amazing work.

Direct Relief
International Health Partners (IHP)
IMA World Health
International Medical Corps
Map International
Medical Teams International
Operation Smile
Project C.U.R.E.
Project HOPE
The Max Foundation
World Vision

More information about Giving Tuesday can be found here.

Merck Donates $500,000 to Support River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Efforts

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the MECTIZAN Donation Program (MDP), announced in October a $500,000 cash donation to support NGO partners working to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis (LF). The funds are being provided by Merck and will be administered through an application process managed by the MDP, a public-private partnership that oversees elimination efforts of these two diseases. This funding will be offered in the form of grants to support the implementation of WHO's recommended precautionary measures to decrease the risk of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 during mass drug administration (MDA).

"The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is especially challenging for communities that continue to be threatened by river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. We can't lose momentum and must strengthen our global partnership to eliminate these infections," said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. "We hope these grants will help sustain the implementation of good public health measures and protect people's safety as they fight against these preventable diseases during this especially difficult time."

Through the MDP and its partners-- including the ministries of health in endemic countries, impacted communities, NGOs, WHO, and donors-- more than 300 million people are reached each year. Since the inception of the program in 1987, Merck has donated more than 4 billion treatments.

More information on the MDP, as well as grant eligibility and the application process, can be found on the MDP website.  


International Health Partners (IHP) Donates Health Supplies to Treat Ailments, Infectious Diseases, Pediatric Cancer and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

With good health, everything is possible. Yet for more than two billion people, getting access to medicine is a problem; and pressures caused by the global pandemic make that access even more problematic. At International Health Partners (IHP), we match donated medicine and health supplies to meet the needs identified by our aid partners. The donated medicines we send treat a wide range of ailments, including infectious diseases, pediatric cancer and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Tackling the latter (NTDs) can help donors to see lasting results. Sometimes interventions can bring change to the health and wellbeing of whole communities. Currently, we're providing preventative treatment for soil-transmitted helminth infections. With water and sanitation services improving in some areas, and awareness of hygiene practices increasing because of Covid-19, there's a real opportunity to weaken the cycle of reinfection, and our donations of mebendazole are helping to exploit this.

For IHP, one significant area of growth is in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and cancer. In lower-income countries, many people with these conditions can't easily keep to a treatment regimen. Their illness continues, but they lack the means to continue to pay for medications they need. Where populations are aging, NCDs are on the rise, yet historically governments and NGOs have not focused on this area. Our work has a valuable role to play in broadening access to medicine for these conditions.

Baraa, a teenager from Gaza City who has celiac disease, is among those we help. If she eats food with gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley grains) her immune system causes an inflammatory reaction, leading to stomach ulcers, pain and vomiting. At Ard el Insan Clinic, she receives omeprazole to manage her condition. The only long-term effective treatment is to keep a gluten-free diet, but omeprazole, donated through IHP, can help to address symptoms. Like many in Gaza, Baraa and her family cannot pay for this medicine regularly at market cost. At the clinic, through our partner Anera, she recieves it for free- and can stay well.

Ghalia, 40, also receives medical help for free. A Syrian refugee who lives in Zaatari camp with 10 family members, she has asthma and became unwell with a pulmonary embolism. Having been treated at the camp's medical center, and then in intensive care, she recovered and has since been receiving beclomestasone. This eases her asthma and reduces the risk of future complications.

We are always open to partner with companies who would like to donate medicines and health supplies through us. We are keen to source medications for diabetes, respiratory disease and pediatric cancers, as well as antibiotics. To find out more about how to help, please contact Lydia Amartey-Williams.


Highlights From Around the Web



TB Policies Aren't Working. Here's Why

Tuberculosis has long suffered from limited tools for testing and treatment, but a new report finds that it also faces policy disparities between what is recommended globally and what is rolled out in countries.

In 2018, governments committed to a set of ambitious targets in the fight against tuberculosis during a United Nations high-level meeting. But the world is far from achieving its targets. Only 14.1 million people were treated for TB in 2018 and 2019-- out of the 40 million target, and only 6.3 million people were started on TB preventative treatment, against the target of 30 million people by 2022, according to the World Health Organization's latest global TB report published in October.

When it comes to treatment, almost half of the countries surveyed are still using injectable medicines to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, as opposed to the 2018 global recommendation of an all-oral treatment regimen. In addition, only 24 of the 27 countries indicate having policies in place for shorter TB preventative therapy regimens. 

Read the full article on Devex here


Scabies: The Neglected Tropical Disease No One Wants to Talk About 

Scabies is classed as a neglected tropical disease. It's out of sight and out of mind. But that doesn't mean it isn't there. Scabies is caused by microscopic mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) that burrow under human skin and lay their eggs. The skin doesn't take kindly to this infestation, which leads to an angry, itchy rash. 

There are an estimated 455 million cases of scabies globally every year. That burden is unequally distributed, with poorer countries bearing the brunt of infestations. Yet even in wealthy countries, where most neglected tropical diseases are unheard of outside of travel clinics, scabies is present, often appearing as outbreaks in institutional settings, such as care homes for the elderly. 

It gets everywhere. While treatable, it is also stigmatized, under-reported, often misdiagnosed, and the itch can be seriously unpleasant to bear.

Read the full article at The Conversation here


Preventive Drugs Halve Malaria Infections in African School Children, Major Study Finds

Giving school-age children in Africa preventive antimalarials reduces infections by almost 50 percent and could help eliminate the disease across the continent, experts have found.  

According to a study published in The Lancet Global Health, the prevalence of malaria among 15,000 school children fell by 46 percent when they were given treatments to prevention infections. Subsequent cases of clinical malaria dropped by 50 percent. 

While huge strides were made in efforts to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease between 2000 and 2015, progress since has stalled. In 2018, the latest year with available data, roughly 400,000 people died from malaria and there were 228 million cases worldwide. 

Read the full article on The Telegraph here.  


Strong Leadership, Drug Donations Helped Malawi Eliminate Elephantiasis 

Just over a decade ago, there were parts of Malawi where nearly 80% of the population was infected by lymphatic filariasis, of LF, a parasitic disease spread by mosquitos and commonly knows as elephantiasis.

LF affects over 120 million people in 72 countries, located in the tropics and sub-tropics. 

In order to achieve a WHO declaration that the disease is eliminated, countries must undergo mass drug administration campaigns. At least 65% of the population in an endemic community needs to take a combination of drugs, once per year, for a number of years.

In 1998, Merck began to donate the drug Mectizan for the elimination of LF in African nations and Yemen. This drug is combined with albendazole, donated by GSK. 

The key to Malawi's success is that at the start of the program, the Ministry of Health scaled mass treatments to all endemic areas very rapidly using domestic resources. These early successes then attracted more funding from donors. Throughout the six-year campaign, community volunteers delivered the drugs door-to-door and the campaign was advertised on local radio stations. The country was able to achieve drug administration to about 80% of the population.

Read the full article on Devex here. 

Upcoming Events

World AIDS Day
December 1, 2020

Giving Tuesday 2020
December 1, 2020

Committee on Security of America's Medical Product Supply Chain: A Public Workshop
December 1, 2020- 12pm-3:30pm EST; December 2, 2020- 11:30am-3:30pm EST

United States Southern Command & Defense Threat Reduction Agency: Global Health Security of the Americas Conference Virtual Speaker Series
December 2, 2020; 11am-12:30pm EST 

2020 Concordia Americas Summit 
December 3, 2020

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in the Era of COVID-19: With a Special Focus on the Impact of the Pandemic on Communities of Color: A Workshop (Part 2)
 December 3, 2020; 1:00PM-3:00PM EST

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in the Era of COVID-19: With a Special Focus on the Impact of the Pandemic on Communities of Color: A Workshop (Part 3)
 December 14, 2020; 1:00PM- 3:00PM EST

Global Progress Report on WASH in Health Care Facilities 
 December 14, 2020; 8:00AM- 9:15AM EST

International Migrants Day
 December 18, 2020




Connect with other PQMD members attending these conferences on our Community of Practice



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