Celebration and thanks
By Ponni Subbiah, MD, MPH
Already more than a week into the new year, it’s hard to believe the holidays have come and gone. With the passage of another bustling season of travel, celebration and time spent with family and friends, now comes the time to pause and reflect on those memorable moments that made this holiday season even more special. A gathering at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) of friends and supporters of global health and our nonprofit drug development work, set against the jubilant backdrop of San Francisco in December, was one of those special moments for me.
If you haven’t been to MoAD, it is not to be missed. The exhibits are vibrant, interactive, and thoughtful, taking visitors on a rich journey through the culture, history, and art of people of African descent within the United States and throughout the world. It was the perfect setting for us to come together and reflect on the accomplishments that PATH and OneWorld Health have had in the past year against some of the most challenging global health problems of our times. We were also there to celebrate the union of our organizations and what it means going forward.
Looking around the room and seeing a mix of familiar faces and new ones, I was struck by what we have been able to accomplish in the last ten years and how none of it would have been possible without the many partnerships we formed with leaders worldwide in biotech, business, academia, and the nonprofit realm. Through hard work and collaboration, we have been able to make tangible progress and reach important milestones in our efforts to develop innovative and affordable treatments for neglected diseases like kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis or VL), diarrheal disease, and malaria.
Even more exciting than the progress we’ve made so far is the work that lies ahead. PATH’s broad portfolio of projects complements OneWorld Health’s track record in drug development for neglected diseases, and our corresponding areas of expertise will lead to integrated product development and delivery platforms and greater ability to impact and save lives. In our fight to conquer preventable and treatable diseases like malaria, PATH is already making an impact by distributing bednets treated with insecticide, as well as developing a vaccine that could cut the number of episodes of malaria in young children by roughly half. OneWorld Health’s work to create a stable, affordable supply of artemisinin—the key ingredient in the gold standard artemisinin-based combination therapy for the treatment of malaria—rounds out this portfolio, making it truly comprehensive.
Diarrheal disease is another area where our work dovetails nicely. OneWorld Health‘s efforts in drug development and our recent work with PATH on oral rehydration solution complement PATH’s work in vaccine development and delivery, water and sanitation, and advocacy. The spirit of innovation and collaboration that has been such a strong hallmark of both organizations is stronger than ever before now that we’ve joined forces. Working together, we can offer a set of interventions that tackle the multiple dimensions of a common problem like diarrheal disease with even better results.
Joining with PATH has paved the way for OneWorld Health to take on these types of global challenges at a rate and a pace that would not have been possible before. In a year that’s only just beginning, I’m thankful for the opportunities provided by the union of PATH and OneWorld Health. The holiday season is now behind us, and I’m looking forward to all that lies ahead.
All photos: PATH/Elena Pantjushenko
See more photos from the event on OneWorldHealth’s Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/91197471@N06/sets/72157632274436720/.