“It is not just quantity of aid that counts nowadays, but the quality and perspective of that aid, as well as innovation, investment and experience domestically,” Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” Noting a newly released report from the Global Health Strategies initiatives (GSHi) that says the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — are increasing their global health and development aid, Glennie continues, “Most of the BRICS are still developing countries in the traditional sense of that term, which means that they are combating extreme poverty, hunger and disease at home as well as in their aid programs.” He adds, “This is the main characteristic that sets them apart from traditional donors and philanthropic mega-foundations.”
In anticipation of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, commemorated on March 24, this Lancet editorial examines TB control and elimination efforts in 2012 and beyond. “Tuberculosis killed 1.45 million people in 2010 and about 500,000 people have drug-resistant disease,” the editorial states, adding, “Despite a woeful funding gap in 2012 of $1.7 billion, tuberculosis incidence is falling (from 9.4 million in 2009 to 8.8 million in 2010).” The editorial notes, “Ten new or repurposed tuberculosis drugs are in Phase II or III trials, which hopefully will reduce treatment times to about four months, compared with present multidrug-resistant tuberculosis regimens lasting 18-24 months,” adding, “Faster treatment will greatly improve adherence, reduce transmission, and cut costs.”
“As we mark World Water Day, the alarming statistics underlying water scarcity are worth repeating. Worldwide 2.7 billion people are currently affected by water shortages,” Manish Bapna, acting president of the World Resources Institute (WRI), and Betsy Otto, director of WRI’s Aqueduct Project, write in a Forbes opinion piece, noting that population growth, increasing food demand, and climate change threaten access to water. “Clean, abundant water is essential for life and economic growth. Since it is a finite resource, we need to find solutions that will ensure we can use water more efficiently and mange water systems more wisely,” they state.
In this post in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow at the center, summarizes the history of G8 global health initiatives and examines why global health has been dropped from the G8 and G20 agendas, writing that “as we look to the U.S.-hosted G8 meeting in 2012, global health is still nowhere to be found.” She concludes, “As G8 budgets decline, the meeting is a unique opportunity to discuss cooperation on global health with the G8+5 leaders from emerging economies” (3/21).
“Africa has the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with 48 percent of all global maternal deaths occurring in this region,” Jotham Musinguzi, regional director of the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda, writes in an Independent opinion piece. But “[i]f we provide girls, women and their partners with family planning information and services we can empower them to decide the number, timing and spacing of their children — and whether they want to become pregnant at all,” he states, adding, “Intended pregnancies are safer and healthier pregnancies.”
Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley examines why children have been excluded from WHO targets on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in this post in her “Global Health Blog,” writing, “Children die from cancer, heart disease and other [NCDs] but they are in danger of being forgotten as global targets for action are drawn up, say health groups.” Boseley discusses an analysis by advocate Kate Armstrong, which suggests “the targets now being considered by the [WHO] and others to reduce the impact of heart disease, cancer and other [NCDs] are in danger of being focused solely on adults,” as “the targets under consideration aim to bring down the deaths of adults over the age of 30.”
“We don’t honor God when 4,500 children die every day — but they do — from the lack of something so simple, each of us takes it for granted: a safe glass of water,” Rabbi Jack Bemporad, executive director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, and journalist Susan Barnett write in Huffington Post’s “Religion” blog. “Current U.S. funding for water and sanitation development amounts to less than one one-hundredth of a percent of the federal budget,” they write, adding, “Yet for every dollar invested, there’s an economic return of $8.” They continue, “With all the good work the faiths do, from malnutrition to malaria, it’s all being undercut by the overarching absence of clean water and sanitation. Not prioritizing the global water crisis defies logic. It prevents productivity, increases poverty and inequality for women.”
“There is a lot of optimism now in the community of public health officials and advocates who work on AIDS. … But, even as we know more, there are still disputes about how best to move forward on both prevention and treatment,” commentator Richard Socarides, a former White House adviser under President Bill Clinton, writes in the New Yorker’s “News Desk” blog. “Such is the nature of AIDS, especially as it involves an attempt to understand the complexity of human behavior as it relates to sex,” he adds.
Progress In AIDS Fight Must Be An Impetus For Increasing Investment, Sustaining Advancements In Africa
In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe examines the role of the fight against AIDS in sustaining economic and social development in Africa. “Africa is breaking records,” he writes, noting the economic growth, increased access to information, rise in democracy, decline in poverty, increased school enrollment — especially for girls — and decline in AIDS-related deaths on the continent. “Africa is now poised to push towards a new vision of: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” and “it needs everyone’s support,” he continues.
In this post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, responds to a recently released analysis of adult mortality rates in African countries, which “found that between 2004 and 2008, in those nations where the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was most active, the odds of death were about 20 percent lower than in other countries in the region.” He writes, “It was one more piece in the growing collection of evidence that PEPFAR has been a tremendously successful program, advancing U.S. humanitarian and diplomatic priorities and saving millions of lives.” Collins continues, “That is why the proposal in President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget to cut bi-lateral HIV programming through PEPFAR by nearly $550 million, or 11 percent, has stunned so many on Capitol Hill and in the global health community.”