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Political Will, Strong Leadership From U.S. Needed To End AIDS Epidemic

“This Thursday’s commemoration of World AIDS Day marks a potential turning point in the fight against a global epidemic that has yet to be arrested,” a Detroit Free Press editorial states. “Over the past three decades, scientific discoveries about [HIV] and advances in treating it have brought the end of the AIDS epidemic within view. Accomplishing that, however, will take political will, additional resources and even stronger leadership by the United States,” it continues.

Despite Limitations Of Global Fund Programs, Dangers Of Cutting Funding Are Worse

In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines how, “[a]fter a period of fast expansion, and strong progress in tackling AIDS, [tuberculosis (TB)] and malaria alike,” the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “has become a target in the era of austerity. With a shift in power between the world’s traditional and emerging economies, and donors seeking ways to cut support, billions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake.” Jack recaps a brief history of the Fund in the 10 years since its inception; highlights a number of ways in which the Fund has been distinctive from other organizations; and notes several issues that have led to calls for reform within the Fund.

Why Foreign Aid Should Matter To GOP Presidential Candidates

“I suggest that GOP presidential candidates apply … personal finance principles to evaluate why foreign aid is worth the investment,” Samuel Worthington, president of InterAction, writes in a CNN opinion piece. He says foreign aid is “like an insurance premium” because it is a small portion of the federal budget but “small cash outlays can prevent major expenses later,” such as investing in food security to prevent famine. Small investments now will help “today’s aid recipients [become] tomorrow’s consumers of American exports,” which helps support domestic jobs, he writes.

Obama Should Announce Scale-Up Of AIDS Treatment Programs

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speech calling for an “AIDS-free generation” through the use of multiple prevention strategies, including more widespread antiretroviral therapy, “was a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, which has historically viewed treatment more as a costly expense rather than our most powerful prevention investment,” physician Loretta Ciraldo and Katrina Ciraldo, a student at Boston University School of Medicine, write in this Miami Herald opinion piece.

Prioritizing The Family Planning Needs Of Young Women

The world reached a population milestone in October, but “[i]n the many discussions that have sprung up around the seven billion benchmark — all of them important and illuminating — I don’t hear enough about our world’s most vulnerable: our youth,” Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, writes in this Huffington Post opinion piece. “Nearly half of the world’s seven billion inhabitants is under the age of 25,” she notes, adding “when it comes to sexual and reproductive health, young women and girls around the world face tremendous challenges — which demand tremendous solutions.”

Increasing Food Supply Through Production, Trade Policies Necessary To Prevent Widespread Hunger

“If we are to succeed in alleviating poverty and providing the necessary framework for sustainable development on our planet, there is no more pressing need than ensuring the supply of affordable food for our people,” Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” He continues, “There are two keys to tackling this problem, enhancing production — particularly in Africa — and ensuring that trade in food flows unhindered from the lands of the plenty to the lands of the few. Without immediate action in these two areas, there is a risk that hunger will become even more widespread, with many million more lives at stake” (11/21).

Potential Cuts To Global Health Spending Threaten Vision Of ‘AIDS-Free Generation’

The vision of an “AIDS-free generation” presented in a speech earlier this month by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “is under threat in Congress,” as “[t]he House and the Senate are discussing significant cuts to the 2012 Obama administration request for global health funding,” Jeanie Yoon, a physician with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. Yoon describes an MSF program in Zambia working to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), saying such programs “provide an opportunity for mothers be tested for HIV (as well as other dangerous conditions for pregnant women) and to take the steps needed for them and their babies to live healthy lives; as well as for communities to gain productive members instead of incurring yet more losses.”

Innovations, New Solutions Needed To End ‘Global Sanitation Crisis’

In this CNN opinion piece, Jenna Davis — a faculty member in Stanford University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, where her research and teaching focuses on water, sanitation and health, and a former member of the U.N. Millennium Task Force for Water and Sanitation — reports on what she calls a “global sanitation crisis,” writing, “More than 40 percent of the world’s population does not have access to a toilet. These 2.6 billion people, most living in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa, face the daily challenge of finding a bush, train track or empty lot where they can urinate and defecate in relative privacy.”

Cuts To U.S. Global Health Spending Would Mean ‘Stark Future’ For Millions

Disregarding advances “that have the potential to significantly reduce the death toll from HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and other insidious killers, … both the House and the Senate are pushing significant cuts to the 2012 Obama request for global health funding,” Matthew Spitzer, president of the U.S. section of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, writes in an opinion piece on the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “This debate is about much more than economy; it is about the vulnerable, about people sick, even dying, right now in the poorest corners of the earth,” and if proposed cuts to global health spending are enacted, “millions of patients and families who rely on U.S.-funded health programs [will] face a stark future,” he writes.