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U.S., Western Governments Can Help Prevent 'Mass Starvation' In Somalia

With the State Department’s reassurance to aid groups on Tuesday that they “will not face prosecution if they are forced to pay bribes to al-Shabab or if militants divert some food supplies,” organizations still have “the problem of gaining access to famine victims and ensuring the safety of their personnel, a number of whom have been murdered by the militants,” a Washington Post editorial says. “But the crisis may be causing al-Shabab’s cohesion to break down; some commanders have been cutting deals with aid organizations to receive food supplies,” the editorial states.

'Political Resolve' Needed To End World Hunger

“[A]s the worst drought in 60 years again devastates the Horn of Africa, throwing as many as 12 million into desperate hunger … there are hopeful signs that today’s drought need not result in the tens of thousands of deaths that we saw in earlier decades,” World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran writes in the Reuters blog “The Great Debate.”

World Must Scale Up AIDS Fight, Even As Donors Scale Back

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that “amid all the good news” about HIV prevention recently presented at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, “one stubborn fact was hard to ignore: AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality.” With discrepancies in access to HIV treatment and prevention between developed and developing countries, “[i]t is hard not to conclude from all this that life is not valued equally across the world. This is morally wrong and unacceptable,” he writes.

Reducing Commodity Costs For ARVs Could Mean Providing Treatment To Millions More People

“Reducing commodity costs [for antiretroviral drugs] by a mere five to 10 percent can represent hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for the global community. In turn these savings translate into millions of more patients who can receive access to life-saving treatment,” David de Ferranti, president of Results for Development Institute (R4D), and Kanika Bahl, managing director at R4D, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece. They discuss a strategic plan for increasing access to and lowering the cost of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that R4D developed for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

New HIV/AIDS Findings To Shape PEPFAR Policies And Programs

With recent scientific advancements in HIV prevention “transforming the way we think about AIDS,” PEPFAR’s “task is to translate new science into policy to inform programs,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in a post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog. “To do this, we are working with the…

Cutting Foreign Aid Is Shortsighted Solution To U.S. Budget Woes

“Haggling in Congress over bills to fund the state department and foreign operations in 2012 are worrying for those of us seeking to address global poverty and climate change, and respond to famine and other disasters,” Samuel Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”

Global Democracy Promotion Act 'Would Help Keep Ideology In Check'

The Global Democracy Promotion Act (.pdf), recently introduced in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), “would bar the use of U.S. foreign aid to restrict people’s liberty … [and] says that organizations accepting U.S. assistance cannot be forced to quash perfectly legal activities in return,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Latanya Mapp Frett writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece. She says the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent vote to reinstate and expand the so-called “global gag rule” would “foste[r] unintended pregnancy, increasing the need for abortion and endangering women’s health.”

Political, Economic Tensions In Malawi Threaten New HIV/AIDS Strategy

In a guest post on the GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Janet Fleischman, a senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, describes the Malawian government’s “plans to launch a ‘test and treat’ program in which all HIV-infected pregnant women will immediately be put on antiretroviral treatment (ART) drugs for life.” But she adds that “[t]he growing political and economic crisis in Malawi, highlighted by the government’s use of force against peaceful demonstrators last week, could also imperil the groundbreaking expansion of Malawi’s national HIV/AIDS program.”

U.S. Investment In Polio Eradication Must Be Protected

“Spying is a messy business that necessarily involves deceit, and U.S. intelligence operatives need latitude to do their work. In this case, however, the planners and approvers of the CIA [vaccine] operation didn’t appropriately calculate the possible consequences of their actions on an agenda that is as important to the world as fighting al-Qaeda,” a Bloomberg editorial states.