Hendriks J.,Public Knowledge
Vaccine | Year: 2012
As health intervention, vaccination has had a tremendous impact on reducing mortality and morbidity caused by infectious diseases. Traditionally vaccines were developed and made in the western, industrialised world and from there on gradually and with considerable delay became available for developing countries. Today that is beginning to change. Most vaccine doses are now produced in emerging economies, although industrialised countries still have a lead in vaccine development and in manufacturing innovative vaccines. Technology transfer has been an important mechanism for this increase in production capacity in emerging economies. This review looks back on various technology transfer initiatives and outlines the role of WHO and other public and private partners. It goes into a more detailed description of the role of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. For many decades RIVM has been providing access to vaccine technology by capacity building and technology transfer initiatives not only through multilateral frameworks, but also on a bilateral basis including a major project in China in the 90 s of the previous century. Looking forward it is expected that, in a globalizing world, the ambition of BRICS countries to play a role in global health will lead to an increase of south-south technology transfers. Further, it is argued that push approaches including technology transfer from the public domain, connecting innovative enabling platforms with competent developing country vaccine manufacturers (DCVM), will be critical to ensure a sustainable supply of affordable and quality vaccines to national immunization programmes in developing countries. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source
Lisam S.,Public Knowledge
Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine | Year: 2014
Background: This paper is based on a presentation given at the Evidence Aid Symposium, on 20 September 2014, at Hyderabad, India. The paper provides background about how the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) got conceived as a humanitarian health response that adopts human right approach, based on core principles driven by needs of adolescent girls and women, and having respect for their values, ethics and morals. Methodology: Good practices across nations documented by Inter-Agency Working Groups (IAWGs) on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Crisis has supported the provision of essential SRH care services to adolescent girls and women in humanitarian crisis and in disasters. Secondary desk review is used to document the lessons learnt and good practices followed and documents for SRH. Objective: These essential SRH care services are to be provided as "Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP)" for implementation at the outset of disaster. The Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response incorporated the MISP for SRH as a minimum standard of care in disaster response with a goal to reduce mortality, morbidity and disability among populations affected by crises, particularly women and girls. Disaster prone countries are expected to roll out MISP to improve humanitarian response and emergency preparedness systems. Result: The East Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region including India have rolled out MISP starting from 2011 (EECA) and from 2013-2014 onwards in India across cities such as Chennai, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Faridabad and Calcutta. Across India, through these national and state level trainings, nearly 600 people from NGOs, institutions, and government agencies were developed as national level trainers and resource persons for MISP who could advocate for RH in emergencies, apply core techniques provided in the MISP, apply coordination skills for the implementation of MISP and develop an action plan to integrate RH and Gender Based Violence (GBV) into Disaster Management Plans of respective agencies. Conclusion: The way forward includes focusing on MISP distance learning module, integration of MISP in Health action plans, and integration into national disaster preparedness and contingency planning of respective agencies and departments and building capacity at various levels. © 2014 Chinese Cochrane Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Source
News Article | February 2, 2016
Last summer, when the Copyright Office asked if anyone wanted to defend the right for video game console jailbreakers to mod or repair their systems, no one had a formal legal argument prepared. A new association representing repairmen and women across all industries was just formed to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. Repair groups from across the industry announced that they have formed The Repair Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group that will focus on reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to preserve the “right to repair” anything from cell phones and computers to tractors, watches, refrigerators, and cars. It will also focus on passing state-level legislation that will require manufacturers to sell repair parts to independent repair shops and to consumers and will prevent them from artificially locking down their products to would-be repairers. “It’s long overdue,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the group, told me. “We have all these little businesses trying to repair stuff and running into what they thought were different problems in different industries. We realized it was all just the same problem.” That problem—that manufacturers of everything are trying to control the secondary repair market—has two main sources, Gordon-Byrne said. First, manufacturers use federal copyright law to say that they control the software inside of gadgets and that only they or licensed repair shops should be allowed to work on it. Second, manufacturers won’t sell replacement parts or guides to the masses, and often use esoteric parts in order to specifically lock down the devices. These problems have been well known in the smartphone, computer, and consumer electronics for years, and it’s why groups like iFixit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been able to mount successful challenges to the DMCA in recent years. Increasingly, however, these problems are spilling over into just about every other industry. The Repair Coalition—which is also calling itself repair.org—includes members from the EFF, iFixit, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers, The Fixers Collective, Public Knowledge, and a series of other smaller industry groups. “All consumer appliances, from refrigerators to microwaves, very much have repair monopolies from manufacturers, even if you are able to buy parts,” Gordon-Byrne said. Customers who have dared to repair their refrigerator will get to a certain part of a repair and find that components for thermostats or valve controls are locked down via passwords that manufacturers only give to licensed repair shops that they themselves control. The problem is only going to get worse as the Internet of Things takes hold. “We’ve had these kinds of issues for a long time, but now with the electronics-fication of everything, they’re affecting literally everything in the world that is complex enough to have digital components,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, told me. And so The Repair Coalition will primarily work at a federal level to repeal Section 1201 of the DMCA, which states that it’s illegal to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under [the DMCA].” Thus far, activists have tried to gain “exemptions” to this section—it’s why you’re allowed to repair a John Deere tractor or a smartphone that has software in it. But the exemption process is grueling and has to be done every three years. “I don’t like exempting equipment because it’s all conceptually the same problem,” Gordon-Byrne said. On a state level, the group will push for laws such as one being proposed in New York that would require manufacturers to provide repair manuals and sell parts to anyone—not just licensed repair people—for their products. The thought is that, if enough states pass similar legislation, it will become burdensome for manufacturers to continue along with the status quo. At some point, it will become easier to simply allow people to fix the things they own. “We want to become an umbrella organization for repair,” Gordon-Byrne said. “We want to help the small repair technicians that aren’t getting help from anywhere else.”
News Article | March 8, 2016
The Federal Communications Commission released a plan Tuesday to overhaul its low-income subsidy program Lifeline to include broadband internet, marking a new effort to close the digital divide for the millions of Americans who still don’t have a home internet connection. The proposal calls for a $9.25 monthly subsidy for broadband services, the first extension into internet for Lifeline, a $1.5 billion program created in 1985 subsidizing telephone services for low-income Americans that was last updated in 2005 to cover mobile phones. Under the new overhaul, Lifeline-eligible Americans will be able to use the subsidies for broadband internet, phone services, or both. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has spoken in the past of the importance of a Lifeline expansion into internet, citing more than 64 million Americans “living on the wrong side of the digital divide,” the majority of them citing cost as the biggest hurdle to access. At least 5 million Americans with school-aged children do not have internet at home, and as education and schoolwork increasingly move online, children in these families struggle with the so-called “homework gap,” seeing lower grades on assignments and exams due to lack of internet access. The current version of the plan expands the budget to $2.25 billion a year with provisions to adjust for inflation in the future, an increase that would allow subsidies to reach 5 million more consumers, though officials do not expect that many to immediately join the program. The FCC officials noted that only 40 percent of the 40 million eligible households are currently taking advantage of the Lifeline program currently. In the months leading up to the overhaul, Republican politicians have called the program a source of “significant waste, fraud, and abuse,” with some calling on the FCC to end the program altogether. “Given the significant problems with Lifeline, it is not surprising that many have lost confidence in the program,” a letter from Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote in July, suggesting, among other measures, a spending cap for the program. O’Rielly doubled down on this sentiment in a blog post on March 3, calling for a hard budget cap on the program. However, Public Knowledge counsel Phillip Berenbroick told Motherboard that advocacy groups worry a spending cap could lead to people in need being turned away in the future. “Most of us who have been working on this program have real heartburn for there being a cost control aspect of it, because you never know when there is going to be a natural disaster or an area where you need more money in the program,” he said. “A Katrina or Sandy kind of disaster could blow holes in the budget, you never know when you're going to have a crisis.” The FCC sought to address some of the criticisms of the program by proposing new checks and balances, including a third party National Eligibility Verifier to vet applicants, a process that was previously the responsibility of the mobile providers themselves. FCC officials said they believe this provision will cut costs for participating suppliers and incentivize more to participate. The program will also eventually shift to be broadband-centric, lowering standalone mobile voice call subsidies yearly and eliminating them completely by December 2019. It will have a speed standard of 10 Mbps downloads/1 Mbps uploads and will increase minimum standards of mobile data plans over the next few years. “Now is the time for Lifeline to address that broadband affordability gap,” a senior FCC official said in a press call on Tuesday. “Every day the transformation is delayed is a day low-income consumers are denied the opportunities that broadband access provides, from jobs to education, government services, healthcare, and much more.” The FCC will vote on the plan on March 31.
News Article | August 29, 2016
The Federal Communications Commission will not appeal a recent court decision that kneecapped the agency’s power to promote municipal broadband development nationwide, a FCC spokesperson told Motherboard on Monday. In 2014, the FCC asserted the power to preempt state laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband, but earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down the agency’s authority to do so, in a stinging defeat for community broadband advocates. "The FCC will not seek further review of the Sixth Circuit's decision on municipal broadband after determining that doing so would not be the best use of Commission resources,” agency spokesperson Mark Wigfield said. That means that the FCC will neither seek a full Sixth Circuit “en banc” hearing, nor appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The FCC’s decision not to pursue further legal review in the case represents a significant victory for cable and phone giants like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, which for years have been battling local community broadband efforts. “Sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em,” Harold Feld, senior vice president of DC-based consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, told Motherboard. “This case was always something of a long-shot, but now it’s too much of a long-shot to put money on.” The broadband industry has for years backed efforts in states across the country to push laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband development. The industry often argues that publicly-owned networks would create “non-level playing field,” but community broadband advocates say these corporate giants are just trying to protect their monopoly power in many markets. Read more: Six Ways Big Telecom Tries to Kill Community Broadband Now that the FCC has chosen not to appeal its defeat, municipal broadband advocates will focus in repealing restrictive state laws, Feld said. “At the end of the day, this is going to be a state-by-state fight,” he said. Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation called the “Community Broadband Act” that would preempt anti-municipal broadband state laws, but there’s virtually no chance such a bill would pass while Republicans control both the House and Senate. “A lot depends on what happens in the election,” Feld said. “If the Republicans come back and say that they’re not just the ‘party of no,’ then this is the kind of thing that could easily pass, because the idea of getting more broadband out to people has traditionally been popular with everyone.” But, Feld added, such legislation would almost certainly be challenged in court on constitutional grounds, because it would create a tension between federal and state power, and specifically the federal government’s power to preempt state laws. “The Community Broadband Act will raise the 10th Amendment front and center,” Feld said.