In his New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof writes that family planning is “a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars,” but that it “has been a victim of America’s religious wars” and is “starved of resources.” Kristof discusses the potential impacts of overpopulation as the global population surpasses seven billion and adds, “What’s needed isn’t just birth control pills or IUDs. It’s also girls’ education and women’s rights — starting with an end to child marriages — for educated women mostly have fewer children.” He concludes, “We should all be able to agree on voluntary family planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict and environmental damage. If you think family planning is expensive, you haven’t priced babies” (11/2).
Though demographers do not know exactly when the world’s population will hit seven billion, the U.N. symbolically marked the day on Monday with celebrations and warnings about safety, health and sustainability. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces published in recognition of the day.
Exclusion Of Family Planning, HIV Prevention From Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership Is ‘Counter-Intuitive’
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, examines the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership, which was launched last month by PEPFAR in conjunction with the George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNAIDS with the aim of “integrat[ing] cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment with HIV services.” She continues, “Given that women living with HIV are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, it makes sense. It’s a logical and critical part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support services.” But while the initiative “has the potential to reduce the number of cancer deaths among women living with HIV and improve their overall health,” the fact “that planning a family and preventing further HIV transmission is not part of what PEPFAR is calling care and support” is “counter-intuitive and counter-productive,” Sippel writes.
In this CNN opinion piece, Julian Zelizer, an author and professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, reports on how, “[a]s the super-committee deliberates over how to reduce the deficit and other congressional committees struggle to cut spending, the fate of important programs,” such as PEPFAR, “hangs in the balance.”
In this post in the “Health Affairs Blog,” diplomacy and global health consultant Judith Kaufmann writes about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Independent Monitoring Board quarterly report released last week, stating, “What is really new about this report … is that it does not, as so many GPEI reports have…
In a post in the Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog,” Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the center, and Rachel Silverman, a research assistant at the center, examine the question of Global Health Initiative (GHI) leadership, citing the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review…
In this SciDev.Net editorial, T.V. Padma, regional coordinator for South Asia for the news service, recaps findings from the latest report of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), released last week, and writes, “Polio control in developing countries has received massive international support and funding, including free supplies of vaccines. Yet transmission of the virus remains. Clearly, there are problems other than funds.”
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, notes some of the parallels between the development of RTS,S, the experimental malaria vaccine currently being tested in Africa, and the polio vaccine, but he says “there are also some particularly disappointing ways in which the polio and malaria efforts could differ.”
“[T]he number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high, … with close to 50 million people living below the poverty line,” Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, writes in an Austin-American Statesman opinion piece, adding, “We desperately need a national dialogue about the unique afflictions of the bottom 50 million, paying particular attention to their neglected tropical diseases [NTDs], which represent important stealth reasons trapping them in a vicious cycle of poverty” (10/26).
In a SciDev.Net letter to the editor, Rashid Zargar from the Centre of Research for Development at the University of Kashmir, responds to an editorial published by the news service last week in which editor David Dickson suggested that “focusing on the science and technology required to eliminate a disease, rather than just control it, can pay off.” Zargar writes, “Dickson offers an in-depth perspective on disease eradication, and he is correct in saying that eradication strategies, though important, will be challenging.” However, he adds, “Ecologists may have reservations about the idea of eradicating a disease, which stem from the belief that mechanisms already exist in nature to maintain ecological balance and the co-existence of living organisms.”