What are three words to describe Health Action International?
Impactful, diligent and open-minded.
What is the most interesting aspect of your field of expertise?
I have so much to learn in this field, but so far it’s been amazing to see the wide-ranging work that the ACCISS Study undertakes. In addition to the pricing project at the global level, I find it fascinating to learn about the different healthcare situations in each of our three pilot programmes in Mali, Peru and Kyrgyzstan. I’m excited by the ACCISS Study’s role in leading a movement to help people receive the treatment they need at an affordable price— especially because the ACCISS study has highlighted how this issue is affecting almost every society around the world.
How do you do to make people interested in your topic?
The ACCISS Study’s mission statement perfectly illustrates the urgency of our work. People are shocked to learn that, globally, more than half of all those who need insulin experience difficulty accessing and affording it. When we consider that those living with type 1 diabetes are risking death without insulin, and many others are at risk of blindness, amputation and organ failure, the injustice that patients face makes clear just how crucial the ACCISS Study is in affecting change.
What do you wish people would be more aware of?
That the consequences for people living in lower- and middle-income countries, who struggle to access and afford their treatment, have major ramifications for the rest of their family and the wider community. This has major detrimental effects on development prospects. A healthy community, which is empowered to seek and receive the right medical treatment, is much stronger, which makes for sustainable development, and greater confidence in medicine overall.
What do you like most about working at HAI, and what have you gained from working here?
The HAI team is very inspiring to work with; they are passionate, empathetic and dedicated to researching and advocating through honest practices. The people that make up HAI take pride in their work and are genuinely engaged with communities, governments and international organisations alike, to share their expertise in order to improve access to medicines. I have gained so much from the wonderful atmosphere at HAI where we work exceptionally hard while always supporting each other.
If you could choose one policy recommendation to be accepted and turned into undisputed policy tomorrow, what would it be?
I would recommend that national healthcare systems around the world be strengthened and enabled to provide medicines that are affordable and available for all, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographical location.
To read more about Jess, visit her staff page.