Health Policy Watch: COVID-19

Health Policy Watch is a digital platform for independent reporting on top global health policy debates, trends, and research. To access Health Policy Watch’s open-access, daily news service, please sign up here for email alerts or follow us on twitter at @HealthPolicyW.

Health Policy Watch provides open-access reporting that serves all stakeholders in the global health policymaking community by enhancing transparency and informed engagement.

Working on a “networking” paradigm for health policy coverage, Health Policy Watch is partnering with professional, accredited journalists reporting from key regional policy hubs across Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America so as to better incorporate and advance local perspectives on top global health policy issues. Health Policy Watch aims to offer:

Critical coverage that goes beyond fast-breaking health emergencies to reflect research, policy and governance debates and developments;
Ensure regional trends, challenges and debates are reflected in global processes;
Advance a holistic approach to breaking news in a global health community where issues are often addressed by distinct professional sub-communities working in silos;
Provide a virtual meeting place that links the dots and brings a disparate community into closer communication.
Editorial Team

Health Policies network of correspondents includes journalists reporting from Geneva, New York City, Nairobi, Delhi, Washington DC and elsewhere. The team is led by Managing Editor Elaine Ruth Fletcher.

Fletcher is a veteran news correspondent as well as a former editor at the World Health Organization (WHO), where she co-founded and managed the BreatheLife campaign on air pollution, climate and health ( Ms. Fletcher also served as a managing editor for the UNICEF/UNDP, World Bank WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), reporting on trends in diagnosis and treatment of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other neglected diseases of poverty, as well as issues of access to essential medicines and health technologies.

Prior to that, Fletcher served as a correspondent for major newspapers such as the San Francisco Examiner and Newhouse News Service, including first-hand reporting from the Middle East on the impacts of poverty, conflict and unsustainable development on the health of women, children and other vulnerable groups.

Fletcher is a co-author or editor of over three dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and WHO reports on various aspects of health and development, including: environmental management of vector borne disease; maternal and child health; environmental risk factors for non-communicable diseases; urban health, air pollution and sustainable development; traffic injuries; climate change and health; health equity; and access to health services.


Health Policy Watch received start-up support from the Loterie Romande and the Camino Stiftung, and launched its website in early 2019.

Based in Geneva, Health Policy Watch is a project of Global Policy Reporting, a non-profit association established under Swiss law, which also houses Intellectual Property Watch. The work of Health Policy Watch is overseen by a Board of Directors. Board members serve in a personal and voluntary capacity for 2 year, renewable terms. We are in the process of expanding our Board to include among our other noted representatives, more diverse membership from the global public health community.

Board of Directors

Dr. Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Chair and Founder (Australia)

Carolyn is a Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute’s Global Governance Centre in Geneva and a Senior Research Associate at the Global Economic Governance Programme at the University of Oxford. She has worked and published on issues of sustainable development, trade and intellectual property for a range of non-governmental and international organizations. She was previously Assistant Director of the Rockefeller Foundation responsible for grant making in the area of global economic policy and sustainable development. Carolyn holds a DPhil (Oxon) and an M.A. (SAIS) in International Relations.

Dr. Thomas Cottier (Switzerland)

Thomas, former Managing Director of the World Trade Institute, is Professor Emeritus of European and International Economic Law at the University of Bern and adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa. He published widely in the field of international economic law, with a particular focus on constitutional theory and intellectual property. He held several positions in the Swiss External Economic Affairs Department and was the Deputy-Director General of the Swiss Intellectual Property Office. Prof. Cottier served on the Swiss negotiating team of the Uruguay Round from 1986 to 1993, first as Chief negotiator on dispute settlement and subsidies for Switzerland and subsequently as Chief negotiator on TRIPs. He has served as a member or chair of several GATT and WTO panels and recently on a high level panel reviewing the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Carlos Dora (Brazil)

Carlos Dora is a health policy expert who was formerly the Coordinator, Public Health and the Environment Department at the World Health Organization (WHO), leading work on health impacts of sector policies (energy, transport, housing, extractive industry) involving health impact assessment (HIA) and systems to manage health risks and benefits. He is leading the development of a new urban health initiative to strengthen capacity in cities to obtain health co-benefits from urban policies. WHO Unit in charge of providing guidance health risks (air pollution, indoors and outdoors, radiation, occupation), as well as monitoring, evaluation, and tracking-related policies and health impacts. Dora leads WHO’s work on “Health in a Green Economy” focusing on health benefits from climate change mitigation policies, and is contributing to WHO’s work on health indicators for post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. He is engaged in the health co-benefits of sustainable energy initiatives, including SE4All, GACC, and CCAC. He previously worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, with the World Bank, and as a senior policy adviser to the WHO director general. Previously he worked in the organization of primary care systems in Brazil, where he also practiced clinical medicine. He has served on many policy committees. He earned his MSc and PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His publications cover health impacts of sector policies, health impact assessment, and health risk communication.

Dr. Bruno Lanvin (France)

Bruno is the Executive Director of INSEAD’s Global Indices, comprising the Networked Readiness Index of the Global Information Technology Report (GITR), the Global Innovation Index (GII), and the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). Before joining INSEAD, he worked ten years for the World Bank, where he was inter alia Senior Advisor for E-strategies, Regional Coordinator (Europe and Central Asia) for ICT and e-government issues, and Chairman of the Bank’s e‐Thematic Group. Before this, he held senior positions at the United Nations in New York and Geneva. Dr Lanvin holds a BA in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Valenciennes (France), an MBA from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris I (La Sorbonne) in France. He is also an INSEAD alumnus (IDP-C). A frequent speaker at high‐level meetings, he advises a number of global companies and governments and has been a member of numerous boards, including those of IDA and Govtech (Singapore) and ICANN.

Pedro Roffe (Chile)

Pedro Roffe has been a catalyst and an influential leader in the global debates shaping today’s international intellectual property system, particularly its interface with a range of issues such as technology transfer, trade, development, investment and public health. At the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where he spent most of his professional career, Pedro Roffe played an instrumental role in the negotiations on the International Code of Conduct on Technology Transfer and in pioneering the debate on the implications of the TRIPS Agreement for developing countries. Upon leaving the United Nations, Pedro joined the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) where he spearheaded a vast body of policy research addressing the many dimensions of the global intellectual property system, and identifying new directions and policy options for development.

Dr. Xavier Seuba (Spain)

Xavier is Associate Professor of Law, Academic Coordinator, Judicial Training Manager and Director of the Diploma on Patent Litigation at the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies, University of Strasbourg. He studied Law in Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) and, after completing a master degree and an Advanced Studies Diploma in International Studies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2003), he received his doctorate in 2008 from this university. He teaches courses in various European and American universities for graduate and postgraduate students, including on Intellectual Property Law and International Health Law. His areas of technical expertise include pharmaceutical policies and law, intellectual property law (with a focus on patents and enforcement) and technical standards regulation. Xavier has advised several national governments on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals legislation, advising them on issues of policy design and in the context of free trade agreements negotiations. He has also been a consultant for several international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Panamerican Health Organization, the European Union (EBTC/ACC1Ó), the Interamerican Development Bank, the Central America Integration System, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development.

Dr. Susan K. Sell (US)

Susan is currently Professor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. She is Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University, Washington, DC, and past Director of the Institute for Global and International Studies, Elliott School of International Affairs. She has published widely on the politics and history of international policy debates on intellectual property, trade and investment.

Dr. Michaela Told (Austria)

Michaela Told is the former Executive Director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Prior to moving into academia, she worked more than 10 years with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in different positions at local, regional and international levels in all continents, managing projects at the community and district level, as well as setting up and heading large complex emergencies. She also headed the Principles and Values Department of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. As such, she advised National Societies on their projects related to her portfolio worldwide and was involved in strategic decision-making, negotiations and policy-making within the statutory bodies of the RCRC Movement. Earlier in her career, she worked with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Division of Development Cooperation (today: Austrian Development Agency) and later served as Secretary General of an international women’s human rights NGO based in Geneva. In her current position she also co-heads the WHO Collaborating Centre on Governance for Health and Global Health Diplomacy in Geneva. She co-established the Global Health Centre and now focuses her work on training professionals in global health leadership and diplomacy, advising on global health policy making and research on complex political and intersectoral health issues. She holds three Master’s degrees in development economics, social work and women & development, as well as a PhD in Cultural Studies.

Writing about COVID-19

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