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Dear Alliance members and friends,
Due to an error, a couple of stories in yesterday's edition had mismatched headlines. Please enjoy this updated version.

June news from the Alliance: What's new this month?


Are we all in this together?
A discussion of the global solutions for the global challenge of COVID 

Even as the US and Europe see a reduction in COVID cases due to vaccines, new COVID-19 waves are enveloping developing economies worldwide, including India, South East Asia, South America, Africa, and the Pacific. While developed countries stockpile vaccines, low-income countries have received just 1.3% of all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally. In addition to emerging, contagious variants, failure to equally distribute vaccines risks prolonging epidemiological, economic, and social disruption for all countries.

Our expert panel, chaired by Prof Nathan Grills (Senior Research Advisor at Australia India Institute; Public Health Physician at Nossal Institute), will discuss the challenge, and the importance, of providing equitable interventions and explore various solutions to face this global challenge together.
Guest panellists:
  • Professor Brendan Crabb AC: CEO and Director, Burnet Institute-  
  • Dr Stephanie Williams: Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security, DFAT
  • Professor Annalies Wilder-Smith: Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 
  • Professor T Jacob John: a celebrated virologist; former director at ICMR’s Centre of Advanced Research in Virology; former professor at the Christian Medical College, Vellore
  •  ...and one more to be announced shortly!
Tuesday 22 June
5.00pm –  6.00pm AEST
Register here 

World leaders unite to commit to global equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines: Gavi

World leaders joined forces on 2 June at the "One World Protected" Summit to pledge their support to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), securing US$ 2.4 billion for COVID-19 vaccine procurement.  This funding will allow the COVAX AMC to secure 1.8 billion fully subsidised doses for delivery to lower-income countries and economies in 2021 and early 2022. This is enough to protect nearly 30% of the adult population in 92 low- and middle- income countries across the world.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared virtually at the summit, pledging an additional AU $50 million, bringing Australia's total commitment to AU $130 million. 

The Alliance joined Pacific Friends of Global Health in welcoming the news, but urged the Australian Government to go further. Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Chair of the Australian Global Health Alliance said:

“We commend the Australian Government for continuing to take action to help speed up the end to this devastating pandemic – here in our region, and across the world. We cannot stand by and watch the world’s poorest countries, who have received just 1.3 per cent of the world’s vaccines to date, struggle to protect their own. This contribution to COVAX will complement Australia’s existing vaccine support packages to our region and make a difference to ensuring that more people, living in countries less fortunate than Australia, are protected against this deadly virus.

Unitaid supports new Global Initiative to end Cryptococcal Meningitis deaths by 2030

Unitaid is pleased to support the new Global Initiative to end Cryptococcal Meningitis deaths by 2030, launched on May 12 2021 by key partners in the Cryptococcal Meningitis Advocacy Group. This target will help bring renewed focus on preventing the deaths of those living with HIV. Cryptococcal Meningitis (CM) is a major cause of mortality among people living with HIV, accounting for 15% of the global 690,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2019 alone. An opportunistic infection, it primarily impacts those with weakened immune systems and is fatal if left untreated.

Screening for a weakened immune system – detected by low CD4 counts – and cryptococcal antigens at the same time as HIV is crucial if the goal of eliminating deaths from Cryptococcal Meningitis is to be achieved, as this enables patients to access treatment in good time before the disease progresses. Access to screening is also important during the course of HIV care. Read full story.

Nuts are brain food for older adults, new study confirms: Deakin University

Eating a moderate amount of nuts is linked to better cognitive performance in older adults, new research from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University has found. Lead researcher Dr Sze Yen Tan found that there were cognitive benefits for adults over 60 – such as immediate and delayed recall, verbal fluency, processing speed and attention – who consumed half to one serving (or 15.1-30g) nuts daily. This would be equivalent to about 20 almonds or 10 whole walnuts each day.

Dr Tan said eating a handful of nuts a day was a simple dietary strategy that improved cognitive performance as well as other well-established health benefits: nuts are a good source of protein, good fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. For the study, Dr Tan and team analysed the nut intake and cognition of 1814 participants aged over 60 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) in the US. The study was funded by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. 


Medicines Development for Global Health's 2020 Annual Report is now live 

In 2020, Medicines Development for Global Health Limited (MDGH) celebrated its 15th anniversary. When they started on their journey in October 2005, the company had a clear mission that has remained unchanged to today: to address health inequity by putting new and improved medicines into the hands of people who need them most. The company was founded by Mark Sullivan and established as a not-for-profit, registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. 

MDGH has recently released their 2020 Annual Report, showcasing highlights from the year, including securing from Amgen the exclusive worldwide rights to CC-11050 (also known as AMG 634), an investigational treatment that holds promise in tackling two of the world’s most challenging diseases: tuberculosis and erythema nodosum leprosum, an inflammatory complication of leprosy (which is also known as Hansen’s Disease). 

Just like Covid, our fight to rid the world of HIV is held back by inequality: The Global Fund

"As vaccinations against Covid-19 ramp up across Europe and North America, many people are welcoming hugs from loved ones, restaurants and beaches are reopening and a return to a sense of normality in many countries is beckoning. In much of the rich world, the prospect of eliminating COVID as a public health threat is on the horizon. Yet the pandemic remains devastating in many of the world's poorest countries and communities.

Inequality is usually the biggest hurdle to clear in the race to end diseases. We have been here before with the deadliest and the most recent pandemic – HIV. Forty years ago this year, the first cases of Aids were reported. In the intervening years, over 77 million people have become infected with HIV and over 34 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide..."

Read the full article, authored by Peter Sands (Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria) and Winnie Byanyima (Executive director of UNAIDS) which appeared in the The Telegraph UK.

A new thematic brief exploring the intersection of malaria and nutrition: APLMA

While the intersection between nutrition and malaria remains under-researched, particularly in Asia Pacific, evidence shows that children and pregnant women are the most affected by poor nutrition and are at the highest risk of adverse effects from malaria infection. Despite considerable progress to improve access to services for all, malaria and malnutrition remain two of the leading causes of death in children under-5 years of age, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) have recently released a new thematic brief titled, 'Nutrition and Malaria: Integrated approach for effective case management' in partnership with RBM Partnership and UNICEF, that explores the intersection of malaria and nutrition, and integrated approaches for effective management.

MSAC recommends expansion of HPV self-collection: VCS Foundation

In May, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) recommended the Australian Government expand the eligibility for HPV self-collection in its world-leading National Cervical Screening Program. If accepted by the Federal Government, the expansion will allow self-collection for all women and people with a cervix aged 25-74, not just for those who are under-screened and over 30.

Earlier this year, VCS Foundation together with the University of Melbourne, both partners in the Centre for Excellence in Cervical Cancer Control (CRE C4) released new evidence showing HPV self-collection is just as accurate as a sample taken by a clinician, and is highly acceptable to under-screened women in Australia.  

Commenting on the news Professor Marion Saville AM (left), VCS Foundation, said “We’re delighted with the MSAC recommendation and hope the Government will act as quickly as possible to update the current policy which would enable a significant uptick in screening participation. Self-collection is a huge step forward, as it gives women more control over the process by allowing them to take a sample themselves."

VCS will soon be launching the HPV Self-Collection Clinical Audit for GPs and Nurse Cervical Screening Providers. The clinical audit is a RACGP CPD Accredited Activity available for the 2020-22 triennium, and is also accredited by ACRRM, APNA and ACN.

NRL Supports WHO SEARO,  AATM & Kasturba Medical College in Pilot Webinar Series

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Asian Association of Transfusion Medicine, together with Kasturba Medical College of Manipal hosted an online pilot webinar series from 27-29 April 2021. Titled ‘Quality Assurance Program in Transfusion Transmissible Infection (TTI) Testing’, the scientific programme covered all aspects of testing for TTIs, including: quality management systems, process control and principles and demonstrations of different assay types, approaches to quality control, equipment, documentation and records management, external quality assessment schemes and waste management. NRL Director Dr Philippa Hetzel presented in the opening session on ‘Quality Assurance Program in TTI’s Testing Laboratories’ and Wayne Dimech presented a lecture on Quality Control in the TTI testing laboratory. 

Dr Hetzel was also joined by NRL’s Sandy Walker for the panel discussion and closing session. As the WHO Collaborating Centre for diagnostics and laboratory support for HIV, AIDS and other blood borne infections, NRL was pleased to be able to support this important initiative which was well attended by delegates from across the member states of the WHO South-East Asian region. Read more.

You’re invited to Results Australia's call on global education

You’re invited to Results' upcoming call on global education!

Join Results' welcome call on Tuesday 16 June, 7:30pm AEST, and discover how you can join their global movement to raise hands and fund education.

Currently, around 250 million children are denied an education due to COVID-19. Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time. We know education is essential for children to dream and thrive. Which is why Australia must join world leaders in ensuring the COVID-19 pandemic does not undo hard won gains to improve global education.

You can help make this happen. Register today

Becoming a credentialled Infection Prevention and Control Professional: ACIPC

If you are working in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) you should consider becoming credentialled. Credentialling is a self-regulatory process instituted by the College as a professional body to determine and acknowledge that an individual has demonstrated the prescribed competence of the relevant specialist role in infection prevention in control. There are three levels of credentialling; Primary, Advanced and Expert. More information can be found on the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control website, or email
ACIPC Member Sara Peterson is the latest member of the College to become credentialled at the Advanced level. Congratulations to Sara!

Could prescriptions for fruit and veg instead of pills help prevent diet-related disease? George Institute

The first wide-ranging study to look at whether healthy food prescriptions lead to better diets and healthier patients suggests there could be some truth to the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’

Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University reviewed 13 healthy food prescription programs that either subsidised, or directly provided healthy foods like fruit and vegetables as a form of medical treatment. They found people not only ate more of these foods, but also saw improvements in weight and blood glucose.  Dr Jason Wu, Program Head of Nutrition Science at The George Institute, said that healthy food prescriptions could be beneficial, especially for people with limited access to such foods and those with certain medical conditions. Read more.

A new hub to explore the intersection of COVID-19 and communicable diseases: APLMA

SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19 continues to pose unprecedented challenges. Although the pandemic has raised necessary global attention and placed health on top of national and global political agendas, it has severely strained health workforces and highlighted the strengths and weakness of our health systems. The Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) invites you to browse the new hub on their website, which shares different resources on the challenges and lessons learnt across countries to strengthen health systems globally, and support the fight against existing, emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases.

The Fred Hollows Foundation farewells John Brumby and welcomes new Chair, Jane Madden

The Fred Hollows Foundation has welcomed Jane Madden as its new Board Chair after paying tribute to former Victorian Premier John Brumby, who retired as Chair yesterday during The Foundation’s Annual General Meeting.

Jane has a passion for international development and more than 25 years’ experience across the public and private sectors, with positions at the most senior levels of the Australian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade and Prime Minister and Cabinet, and diplomatic postings to Japan, South Africa and France, including as Australia’s Ambassador to UNESCO.

“I was delighted to join The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Board earlier this year, and I’m now doubly honoured to be entrusted with the role of Chair,” Jane said. "The Foundation is an organisation I’ve long admired. I believe its determination to deliver on Fred Hollows’ vision of a world where no person is needlessly blind is an important goal, especially as the world grapples with the difficult consequences of the pandemic.” Read the full release.


George Institute collaboration with Fiji National University shows eating less salt could save many lives in Fiji

A Fiji National University (FNU) collaborative research project shows that a minimal government investment in reducing salt intake could prevent 234 heart attacks and 72 strokes, resulting in 131 Fijian lives saved, and saving the government nearly $2million (FJD) each year. 

The study was carried out by Health Technology Analysts as part of a collaboration between the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (C-POND), a WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention and Management at the Fiji Institute of Pacific Health Research (FIPHR), the research arm of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences (CMNHS) and leading Australian Universities.  Read the full report here.

NRL Presents on QConnect Concept for SARS-CoV-2 QC at IFCC21 

NRL staff were privileged to be key presenters at the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) virtual event held recently. Both Wayne Dimech (Executive Manager, Scientific & Business Relations) and Joe Vincini (Quality Control Services Manager) presented the educational workshop titled: ‘Quality Control of Qualitative Testing of SARS-CoV-2 in Clinical Laboratories’ to a global audience.  Link to the abstract and recording of this session is contained here.

Winner of the Dr Joan Faoagali Award announced: ACIPC

Dr Joan Faoagali made a significant contribution to the education of members of the Australian College of Infection Prevention and Control over many years with her involvement in both State and National Infection Prevention and Control activities. Joan showed great resilience, tremendous vision, and was a true leader inspiring all those whose lives she touched – working towards achieving something greater than themselves. Part of Joan’s legacy is a $1000 scholarship available to members of the College studying Foundation of Infection Prevention and Control. 

Mi Gun Jeoung is the 2021 winner of the Dr Joan Faoagali Award.  Mi Gun works infection control art Auburn Hospital and has almost completed her Foundations studies. You can read an interview  with Mi Gun on the ACIPC website. 

New research finds active breaks in the classroom benefit children with intellectual disabilities: Deakin University

Classroom-based active breaks can increase physical activity, reduce sedentary behaviour, and may also benefit the working memory of children with intellectual disability, new research shows. The pilot study is the first to investigate the effects of classroom-based active breaks on cognitive function, sedentary behaviour and time on-task in children with intellectual disability attending special schools.

Lead researcher Dr Emiliano Mazzoli at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, said previous research had found that children with intellectual disabilities are less likely to meet the physical activity recommendations of at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, are less fit, have lower motor skills and are at higher risk of developing obesity and chronic conditions (including diabetes, cancer, or heart disease). Noting growing evidence that physical activity has cognitive benefits in typically developing children, particularly in relation to executive functions, Dr Mazzoli wanted to explore whether there were similar results with children with an intellectual disability. 

Unitaid is investing to fight Plasmodium vivax malaria

A third of the world’s population is at risk of Plasmodium vivax malaria – migrants and children under 5 are most vulnerable. Unitaid’s upcoming investments will tackle P. vivax, the second most common species of malaria.

Telemedicine supported strengthening of primary care in WHO South East Asia region: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic experiences

As the pandemic progressed, several countries in the region introduced or expanded access to telemedicine services to maintain essential medical care as face-to-face visits were deemed unsafe thus making telemedicine critical for care delivery. George Institute India team led a narrative review to outline the potential role of telehealth in augmenting health systems capacity in the WHO South East Asia region.

The review highlights that governments, policy makers and implementation agencies have been facing a number of challenges prior to the pandemic, a predominant one being lack of policy support to foster implementation of digital health interventions. Lack of robust primary care systems and non-existing referral pathways result in overburdening of health systems capacity at secondary and tertiary care centres. Read more.


  • 5 June:  40 years since the first doucmented AIDS case
  • 8-10 June: UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS (co-Chaired by Australia and Namibia)
  • 11-13 June: G7 Summit, Cornwall UK
  • 15 June: ASEAN Dengue Day


ADB’s Asia Clean Energy Forum
ACEF 2021 has been designed to support the global efforts to fast-track clean energy transition within the context of the UN’s sustainable development goals. To stay on track despite the impacts of COVID-19, and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon energy regime requires concerted efforts and harmonized actions. 

Reihana Mohideen, Principal Advisor at Nossal Institute for Global Health, will be on the expert panel discussing Net Zero Emissions by mid-21st century—Is it Possible for Asia and the Pacific?
14-18 June 2021

Register Here
Global Citizen presents: World Environment Day 2021 Virtual Event
We know that the 20 richest countries are responsible for 80% of carbon emissions. But it is the most marginalised people around the world who are bearing the brunt of our planet’s destruction. This year, taking strong action on climate change is more important than ever.

Global Citizen is hosting a virtual event this World Environment Day 2021 and invites everyone to join as we put Pillar 4 of our Recovery Plan for the World, 'Protect the Planet', front and centre of our campaigning efforts. Now is the time to add your voice asking the Australian Government to set out a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Thursday, 3 June
1-2pm AEST, 11-12am AWST, 3-4pm NZT

Register here

Smoking in the time of COVID: Challenges and opportunities in Australia and the United Kingdom
The George Institute


The George Institute for Global Health invites you to a #GeorgeTalks on 'Smoking in the time of COVID: Challenges and opportunities in Australia and the United Kingdom' to mark World No Tobacco Day 2021.

The event will be a hybrid event online (via Zoom) and in-person (over canapes in Sydney, Australia).

In marking World No Tobacco Day 2021, we will be convening an expert panel to discuss the impact of the COVID pandemic on smokers in Australia and the United Kingdom. We will discuss the opportunities, challenges and emerging evidence on effective strategies that can support smokers to quit during this window, with long-term benefits for the burden of preventable death and disease. 

Thursday 3 June 2021
6pm-7pm (Sydney AEDT) / 9am-10am (London BST)
You can attend the event in-person in Sydney, or via Zoom 



Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University

The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University is seeking HDR candidates for a range of projects, and has several scholarships available. The projects cover many aspects of physical activity and nutrition research, including lab-based projects, clinical research, public health, smart technology and implementation science.  Opportunities are open to domestic and international students currently living in Australia. For details on all available opportunities, please click here.

What we're reading, watching and listening to

🎧 Contain this podcast: Indo-Pacific Health Leaders Series: Lady Roslyn Morauta, Global Fund
Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security, Dr Stephanie Williams, speaks with Lady Roslyn Morauta, Vice Chair of the Global Fund Board, about the global effort to fight Covid-19 whilst not losing any of the progress gained reducing the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Lady Roslyn is a former First Lady of PNG, and has always been a strong advocate for health issues in PNG and across the Indo-Pacific. 
📺 Australia's COVAX commitment welcome, but there's much more to do yet.
Prof Brendan Crabb joined Kieran Gilbert of Sky News to welcome the $50m contribution from Australia to COVAX.
"The Morrison government has been pretty good right from the word go on this, very aware of the need to vaccinate the wider world." But there's more to do yet he says.

(Discussion on COVAX from the 2:50min mark)
📖USAID hack is 'wakeup call' for aid industry on cybersecurity
A cyberattack that mimicked the U.S. Agency for International Development’s email marketing account to target development and humanitarian organizations last week could be a “watershed moment” for the sector to prioritize information security, experts told Devex.

📖Do children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Until now, children were largely protected from illness or death from COVID-19, often showing very mild symptoms if any. But new variants that have evolved over the past year seem to be able to affect children far more, and countries like Brazil are seeing unusually high death rates from COVID-19 in children.
🎧Good Will Hunters Podcast: Autumn Series with Paul Ronalds and Rachel Mason Nunn
In episode 6 of Good Will Hunter's new Autumn Series, hosts Rachel Mason Nunn and Paul Ronalds speak with Lawrence Goldstone and Kristy Muir on the NGO workforce of the future. COVID-19 has set the pace for fundamental transformations in the way we work. Employees need to be agile and flexible, and leaders need to be ready to guide their team through disrupted and unstable times.
📖While rich countries experience a post-COVID boom, the poor are getting poorer. Here’s how Australia can help.

The latest IMF and World Bank reports show a global economic boom gathering steam. After the reversal of 2020, the global economy is now projected to grow by 6% in 2021, powered by strong growth in the US and China, which are forecast to grow by 6% and 8%, respectively. Australians are not missing out, thanks to A$311 billion in public spending.  Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, we should consider the risks the pandemic continues to pose, not only to our recovery but the global boom the world’s rich nations have generated.

📖PNG: the hungry country: DevPolicy

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is often presented as a country with little hunger. The idea of “subsistence affluence” was developed in PNG in the 1970s to elucidate a situation in which people ate what they grew, and grew enough not to be hungry. That idea has persisted. For a long time, however, the data has suggested that in fact hunger is widespread in PNG. Now we have further evidence on the issue from PNG’s latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), collected between 2016 and 2018.


Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Project Manager – DFAT Accreditation

All located: Sydney
Burnet Institute
Fundraising Donor Coordinator
Location: Melbourne
Research Assistant / Research Officer (Clinical Microbiology)
Location: Melbourne 
Research Officer - International Health
Location: Melbourne 
The George Institute
Research Assistant - Autonomous vehicles
Location: Sydney
Masters by Research Scholarship Opportunity: Discharge planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children following burn injury - Safe Pathways
Location: Sydney
Senior Scientist – Scientific Consulting and Training
Location: Melbourne
Policy Cures Research
Senior Analyst, Neglected Diseases 
Location: Europe or Australia
Results International (Australia)
Head of Campaigns
Location: North Sydney
Deputy Executive Director
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Nossal Institute for Global Health
Program Officer
Project Accountant
Location: Melbourne
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