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Global Health 'Blunders' Can Lend Useful Lessons

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.”

Humanitarian Aid 'Stolen' From U.S. Taxpayers Should Be Spent On Domestic Health Issues

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.”

Investing Now In Early Child Development Will Have Long-Term Benefits

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.

Health Workers Key To 'Effective Health Care Delivery'

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.”

HIV Vaccine Research Showing Promise

Recent findings on HIV vaccine research, some presented recently at the AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference in Bangkok, “show that the science of an AIDS vaccine is vibrant and vital,” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC-Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes in a “Science Speaks” guest blog post. “Now is exactly the…

Vaccination Must Be Part Of Response To Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

Though “[c]holera vaccines are not a magic bullet and are not available in adequate numbers” to vaccinate everyone in Haiti, where at least 10 people die each day in an outbreak that began in October 2010, “there are compelling reasons to add vaccinations to the arsenal of public health weapons that has been deployed against cholera in Haiti,” a Washington Post editorial states. Efforts to improve access to clean water, educate the public about cholera transmission and treat those infected are ongoing, “[b]ut those efforts should be supplemented with an ambitious vaccination program starting as soon as practicable,” the editorial writes.

Examining Alternatives To Assessing Global Fund Effectiveness

In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, William Savedoff, a senior fellow at the center, responds to a high level panel’s assessment (.pdf) of fiduciary controls at the Global Fund to Fight, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, examining “what this report might mean for an organization that…

Is Enough Being Done To Fight Child Mortality?

Though the recent UNICEF report on child mortality shows progress is being made in every region to prevent childhood deaths, “it is clear that we still need to increase the coverage of high-impact, low-cost interventions like vaccines, including those for pneumonia and diarrhea that are rolling out,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of…

Fight Against HIV Losing Momentum; Robust Analysis Needed To Develop Long-Term Strategy

“After a decade of unprecedented increases in donor funding and a corresponding 17 percent decline worldwide in the number of new infections, the fight against HIV is losing momentum,” Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School, and Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and former executive director of UNAIDS, write in this Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Urgency Of Antimalarial Drug Resistance Must Be Recognized

Arjen Dondorp, deputy director of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Research Unit at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and colleagues discuss the need to combat antimalarial drug resistance in this New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece, writing, “Researchers, funders, and policy leaders must recognize the urgency of the problem, take action to address simultaneously several important knowledge gaps, and focus immediately on eliminating the threat of artemisinin resistance.”