In order for Rwanda to reach its HIV prevention goals, the country “need[s] to reach two million men in two years to benefit from the protective effect of [voluntary medical male circumcision] in order to achieve this as part of a comprehensive, combination HIV prevention strategy,” Agnes Binagwahois, Rwanda’s minister of health, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. However, “the only method widely approved for funding is the surgical method, which is expensive and impractical for countries lacking physicians and surgical infrastructure,” and it would take more than 12 years to reach the country’s goal, she says.
In this post in Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine of the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) recounts recent progress in expanding vaccine access to the world’s poor, writing, “From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries [to] introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet. To appreciate how far we’ve come you need to remember where we started.”
In this Africa.com opinion piece, Ana Ruth Luis, medical director of the Southern Africa Strategic Business Unit at Chevron Africa and Latin America Ex in Angola, discusses what she calls “the important role Chevron has in driving down the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.” She writes, “Chevron was able to drop new infections to zero among our employees and their babies by educating our employees, establishing a culture of voluntary, confidential testing and treatment, addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace, and providing comprehensive medical care for expectant mothers.”
In this post in the Hill’s “Congress Blog,” John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, reports on how biopharmaceutical exports benefit the U.S. economy and global health, writing, “Leadership is needed to help keep U.S. biopharmaceutical research companies competitive in the global export market.” He continues, “According to the Administration, if we increased exports by just five percent, we would create hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs. … Among the ways that they can advance this effort is by knocking down foreign barriers and promoting strong intellectual property (IP) protections that allow biopharmaceutical companies to bring their medicines into other markets and, importantly, to the patients who need them.”
In this post in the Health Affairs blog, Martha Kwataine, executive director for the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) and head of the Access to Medicines Campaign in Malawi, examines the role of local advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country’s health system. She writes, “Amidst [Malawi's health] challenges, the role of civil society, especially advocates, cannot be overemphasized. Civil society organizations are the ‘watchdogs’ of government. Historically, they have played a critical role, not just by influencing policy formulation, but also by providing checks and balances to government power.”
In this Politico opinion piece, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who chairs the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes, “Continued investment in the fight to end global AIDS is more than an investment in the lives of families and communities in developing nations — it is an investment in security, diplomacy and our moral image worldwide.” He says the goals announced by President Barack Obama on World AIDS Day — including providing antiretroviral treatment to a total of six million people by the end of 2013 — “must have the support of Congress.” Frist continues, “Under the current budget cuts, more than four million people will likely lack mosquito nets, a cheap way to prevent malaria. More than 900,000 children will lack access to vaccinations for measles, tetanus and pertussis.” He stresses the “need for accountability, transparency and results,” citing the Millennium Challenge Corporation as “a good example of promoting aid effectiveness from ‘input to impact.’” He concludes, “Foreign aid is less than one percent of our national budget, so cutting it would have a miniscule effect on our deficit reduction” (12/14).
Public-private partnerships “will boost small enterprises, bring technology to schools and improve sanitation and clean water in Jamaica,” a VOA News editorial states and highlights three such partnerships created by USAID. The first, between USAID and the Jamaican National Building Society, will create a Social Enterprise Boost Initiative; the second, between food processing company GraceKennedy Ltd. and the Western Union Company, will train teachers and bring technology to 13 schools in Jamaica; and the third, between USAID in Jamaica and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, will help provide access to sanitation and clean water in a neighborhood of Jamaica’s capital. “The effect of USAID’s aid to Jamaica expands exponentially with these public-private partnerships,” the editorial writes, adding, “The projects are valued at more than $7 million. USAID’s contribution is less than $2 million” (12/18).
In an opinion piece on the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) website, MSF International President Unni Karunakara writes that with the cancellation of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Round 11 grants, “The Board of the Global Fund must raise the alarm. Instead of accepting rationing, and cancelling ambitions, we…
This Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial responds to the Global HIV/AIDS Response 2011 progress report (.pdf) launched by the WHO, UNICEF, and UNAIDS on November 30, writing that the report “contains much good news on treatment and prevention, but the gains made by past efforts are jeopardized by the ongoing global financial crisis and dwindling funds.”
“When women are healthy and empowered, they can spark a ripple effect in their families, communities and nations that can lead to lower rates of poverty and stronger economic growth and productivity,” Tamara Kreinin, executive director of women and population at the United Nations Foundation, writes in a “RH Reality Check” blog post. “By voting to reduce funding for international reproductive health and family planning activities, eliminate funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), and reinstate the Global Gag Rule, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs threatens to turn back the clock on women’s health and has taken its disturbing war on women to a global stage,” she writes, referring to the House FY12 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (7/27).