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Investing In Frontline Health Workers Effective In Saving Lives Of Mothers, Children

In the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, writes about the Frontline Health Workers Coalition’s call on the U.S. government to train 250,000 new frontline health workers in developing countries, stating, “At a time when every dollar counts more than ever, the new Frontline Health Workers Coalition believes this focus is the most cost-effective way to save mothers’ and children’s lives around the world, address global health threats, and help advance strategic U.S. interests in a secure and prosperous world.”

Debate Over Publication Of Bird Flu Studies Continues In Journal Opinion Pieces

“An international debate over whether to censor new research on bird flu may soon prove academic, as other laboratories close in on similar findings showing how one of the most deadly viruses could mutate to be transmitted from one person to another,” Reuters reports. Last year, two teams of researchers reported study results “that showed how the H5N1 [bird flu] virus can be transmitted through airborne droplets between ferrets, a model for studying influenza in humans,” and the findings prompted the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) in December to advise “two leading journals, Nature and Science, to withhold details of the research for fear it could be used by bioterrorists,” the news service writes.

Keeping Global Health Relevant As Part Of Sustainable Development Agenda

“In 2012 there will be a major strategic shift in global health, away from development and towards sustainability,” a Lancet editorial states. “Since 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), driven by a macroeconomic diagnosis of global poverty, have focused on investment in a small number of diseases as the most effective approach to decrease poverty, … [b]ut this approach is now delivering diminishing returns,” because of emerging challenges such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), climate change, and financial security, as well as a heightened focus on integration and accountability, the editorial says.

Cutting Military Medical Research Funding Would Jeopardize Health Of U.S. Troops, World’s Poorest

“In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks,” Peter Hotez and James Kazura, past president and president, respectively, of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, write in this Atlantic opinion piece. “[P]rograms such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home,” they write, adding, “Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats. … For over 100 years, WRAIR has been the U.S. military’s premier institution for preventing these types of tropical infections.”

Top 10 Global Health Achievements Of 2011

In this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, outlines 10 “milestones for the global health community” that occurred in 2011. Among the achievements, Hofmann says governments avoided making major cuts to foreign aid budgets despite a global economic downturn; studies supported “treatment as prevention” as an HIV prevention strategy; the number of malaria cases and deaths worldwide continued to decline; research showed a promising vaccine candidate to prevent malaria among children; and more women gained access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Hofmann also lists advances in social franchising; maternal health; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; pneumonia prevention and treatment; and sanitation, hygiene and access to clean water (12/29).

Foreign Aid To MICs Needs ‘More Sophisticated Approach’ Instead Of Cuts

“[T]he E.U., the Global Fund [to Fight] AIDS, TB and Malaria, and the World Bank’s International Development Association … want to save money during a fiscal crunch by cutting off aid to middle-income countries (MIC),” Andy Sumner and Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development write in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” However, doing so “means disconnecting foreign aid from most of the world’s poor and sick,” they write, adding, “At least three factors support the development of a more sophisticated approach.”

New General Manager’s Banking Background Beneficial At Global Fund

In this post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, a research fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, explains why the banking background of the new general manager of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gabriel Jaramillo, “should serve him well.” She says that obtaining the highest health return on investment “requires a fundamental rethink of the organization’s role as a commissioner of or payer for health services and, ultimately, health outcomes. Instead of a passive cashier, the fund can become an active and strategic investor in the shared enterprise of producing health results. And that is a banker’s business” (1/30).

Opinion Pieces, Blog React To New Public-Private NTD Initiative

Pharmaceutical company heads and global health leaders gathered at a conference on Monday in London to announce the formation of a large public-private partnership to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and endorse the “London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases” (.pdf), in which they pledged to work together and track progress. The following is a summary of two opinion pieces and a blog post in response to the news.

Opinion Pieces Recognize Global Fund Anniversary

Last week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The following are summaries of two opinion pieces written in recognition of this milestone.

Bringing Health Solutions To Women, Children

In this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes that she will be visiting Bangladesh to “lear[n] even more about two of the biggest killers of children — pneumonia and diarrhea,” and says “Bangladesh has made incredible progress in recent years, reducing the number of childhood deaths by 65 percent since 1990.” She writes, “As I reflect back on what I learned this year about the progress and the challenges in women’s and children’s health, I’m struck by the fact that we don’t need to wait for the solutions,” including “[t]hings like life-saving vaccines, contraceptives, healthy practices for mothers and newborns and good nutrition.”