Global health policy brief

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This paper should be written as a policy brief from you, the Secretary of Health, to the Minister of Finance. As you write the brief, you must put yourself into the role of the Secretary.

Each paper should be two pages long, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. The paper should be minimum two pages or it will not be graded.

The paper should be written in a very clear and very crisp manner, with short sentences, short paragraphs, and as few words as possible.

The paper needs to be written in a manner that will allow the aide of the Minister of Finance to go over the contents of the brief with the Minister of Finance in about 3 minutes in a car on the way to some meeting, since that is what often really happens.

Each paper should be written about a country your choice in a different region of the world. The papers should be written on low- or middle-income countries, since they are the focus of the course. This will allow you to use the papers to explore selected health and development issues in a variety of settings in a manner deeper than you will be able to do only in the classroom.

The paper should answer the following questions:

  • What is the nature and magnitude of the problem?
  • Who is affected by it?
  • What are the determinants of and risk factors for the problem?
  • What are the health, economic, and social consequences of
    the problem?

  •   What few priority steps do you recommend be taken to address the problem, at least cost, in doable, sustain- able, and fair ways and what is your rationale for these recommendations?

Write the summary and every topic sentence as if it is the only thing that the Minister of Finance is going to read. Your evidence-based story line should include who gets the disease, why they get it, why the reader should care, and how the problem can be addressed in the fastest and least cost manner. 

The briefing note should follow the above outline, with one exception. It should start with a single paragraph that summarizes for the Minister all of the points you want to make. That summary paragraph would read something like 5-6 sentences single space:

“About AAA people die every year of TB in our coun- try. The incidence of TB is YYY. About UUU people in our country get drug-resistant TB every year and about HHH% of those who are infected with HIV have active TB disease. TB affects largely the urban and rural poor and stems from poverty, general ill health, and the lack of coverage of our health services. TB causes illness for an extended period, stops people from working, causes them to spend large amounts on health, and leads many families into poverty. DOTs is a low cost approach to TB diagnosis and treatment that we are not using suf- ficiently. We must immediately expand our DOTs pro- gram, starting in the north, where the disease burden is highest. We must increase case detection and treatment success rates. We must also pay special attention to the diagnosis and management of drug-resistant TB and to TB/HIV co-infection.”

I will share some model policy briefs with you during the quarter. Reading these model policy briefs will help you write this policy brief.

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