Gordon Alexander, director of the office of research at UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, writes in this post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” that a series published in Friday’s Lancet on early child development (ECD) shows “that the payoff from concerted, integrated action around ECD would be enormous.” Additional focus on and investment in ECD, particularly in the areas of nutrition, maternal and family health, and poverty alleviation, would help children reach their full potential in adulthood, which means “investing in ECD now will quite literally yield billions of dollars in later years,” he says.
In addition to “essential money,” “the right policies, government commitment and citizen accountability” are needed to decrease child mortality and improve other global health indicators, “[b]ut the sine qua non for effective health care delivery is health workers. Whether it’s prevention, treatment or care, it’s all about health workers,” Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”
“The clear pattern of increasing antiretroviral resistance in lower-income settings must be considered in the context of the worldwide HIV-control agenda,” especially because “the increasing rates of antiretroviral resistance in low-income settings represent a potential threat to the emerging treatment-as-prevention strategy,” Evan Wood and Julio Montaner of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS write in a Lancet Infectious Diseases opinion piece, adding, “Urgent action is needed.” They describe steps to help lower the threat of resistance, including deploying proven preventive strategies, “early and sustained” highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to prevent vertical transmission, and programs to provide HAART to 15 million people worldwide by 2015.
In this New American opinion piece, Beverly Eakman, an author and former editor-in-chief of NASA’s newspaper in Houston, writes of humanitarian aid, “With the U.S. debt having surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product August 3, to $14.58 trillion, it’s crudely entertaining to see how multimillionaire lawmakers in Congress and administrations both past and present find ‘compassionate’ ways to spend ever-more of taxpayers’ money,” asserting that “such expenditure is not specifically sanctioned by American taxpayers, and therefore constitutes theft by the U.S. government for what the State Department probably hopes will buy international good will.”
New York Times reporter Lawrence Altman recounts his experience in the mid-1960s with a measles immunization campaign in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) during his time with the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC in a “Doctor’s World” perspective piece in the newspaper. Altman says that although the effort to expand the immunization campaign from a small field trial to a regional program “failed miserably,” the “lessons learned from these blunders led to a new program that wiped out smallpox, still the only human disease to have been eradicated from the planet.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “[a]long with our partners, both donors and implementers, [is] changing the story of scores of nations that were once devastated by three killer diseases — diseases which seemed invincible,” Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece, adding “we are now saving more than one million lives every year.”
“The focused attention that malaria has received by African governments and international organizations has had a major impact, with the rates of mortality coming down dramatically in the continent,” and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) has helped lead this campaign, an IPP Media editorial states. However, “[a]s long as malaria continues to be Africa’s leading killer, little progress can be recorded in other endeavors, because of its insidious effect,” the editorial writes, noting that two percent of Africa’s GDP is lost annually because of the disease.
The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) is “spearheading the fight against malaria” in Africa, bringing together 40 heads of state and “offer[ing] a compelling example of what is possible through co-operation, leadership, commitment, and sound management of national and international funds,” Tanzania President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” With the launch of the “groundbreaking” ALMA scorecard for accountability and action last week, leaders are now able “to measure our own performance against a set of key malaria metrics including national policies, financial controls, delivery of prevention and treatment commodities, and, most importantly, lives saved,” Kikwete writes.
In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, responds to the GAVI Alliance’s announcement on Tuesday that it will supply more than $1 billion in childhood vaccines to 37 of the world’s poorest countries, writing, “As the Alliance takes perhaps the most significant step ever toward increasing access to lifesaving immunization with this new and exciting round of country approvals, the challenge will be to ensure that every piece of the puzzle is in place to deliver on GAVI’s tremendous promise.”
In this Daily Monitor opinion piece, Anthony Masake of the Uganda Law Society stresses the importance of addressing maternal mortality in Uganda and asserts that the country cannot achieve development without increased efforts to meet national maternal health targets. He places emphasis on the need to invest in midwifery and nursing services, among other strategies, writing, “Within the context of inadequate financial resources, mounting health demands, escalating health care costs, rising population, and heightened public expectations, midwifery and nursing services present a platform from which we can scale-up health interventions to assist in meeting national health targets.”