“Unwanted babies and unsafe abortion are major problems in the developing world, yet funding for contraception is limited because of attitudes to sex and abortion in donor countries,” the Guardian’s Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog.” She reflects on her time spent in Dakar, Senegal, last week for the 2nd International Conference on Family Planning, and writes that, “in francophone Africa …, only 10 percent of women have access to what are called modern methods of family planning,” such as hormonal contraceptive injections or pills.
“With donor support flagging around the world, U.S. leadership is crucial. Congress must fully fund its global health programs, especially the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Joyce Kamwana, a Global Fund “HERE I AM” campaign ambassador, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She adds, “Reducing support for global health would put millions of people at risk” and “would deal a devastating blow to the global fight against AIDS, which has reached a critical point.”
“The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here?” James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and former under secretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy, writes in this Forbes opinion piece. Noting the “incredible accomplishment” made in fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade, Glassman says “the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some,” and states that the UNAIDS targets of “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths” “soun[d] right.”
In this Brookings opinion piece, Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and Jessica Smith, a research assistant at AGI, reflect on George W. Bush’s four-day tour of Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia, where he will “focus on some of the initiatives that [he] advocated for and strongly supported while in office.” They write, “Despite demonstrating a unique commitment to the African continent, …Â Bush’s record tends to be underrated,” but he “has high approval rating on the continent itself, making it instructive to reflect on the former president’s African initiatives, which bring him such admiration from sub-Saharan Africa.”
This Lancet editorial responds to the 25th Board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held in Accra, Ghana in November, stating, “Tensions were high as the Fund had to make difficult decisions in a year that has been plagued by financial shortfalls, corruption, and calls for organizational reforms. â€¦ However, the Fund remains committed to ensuring the continuation of essential services and to supporting existing grants over new ones to the end of 2013.”
Thursday, December 1 was World AIDS Day. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces and an editorial published in recognition of the day.
“If the momentum gained in the last few years” in fighting global diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, measles, and meningitis “is any indicator of our future trajectory, we are standing on the threshold of a revolutionary change in the state of global health,” Wendy Taylor, senior adviser of Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID, and David Cook, executive vice president and COO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), write in this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” They discuss the importance of “Product Development Partnerships, or PDPs for short,” which “are great examples of public-private collaborations [that] are starting to build deep pipelines for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.”
“A malaria vaccine could be a powerful new tool,” but “[c]ontrolling mosquitoes and diagnosing malaria remain essential. Among the highest priorities now is to develop new methods to do both,” a Bloomberg editorial states. “There is both less and more than meets the eye in the recent news that an experimental malaria vaccine cut in half the risk that children would contract the illness,” according to the editorial, which adds, “Many of the headlines that followed promised a life-saving vaccine around the corner — a prospect that in truth remains a maybe. At the same time, the trial results affirmed the benefits of a multipronged attack on malaria.”
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided to cancel Round 11 grant approval during a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, that concluded on November 22, according to a Global Fund press release (11/23). The following opinion pieces address this action.
“Although advances in vaccines, nutrition and family health have dramatically reduced the number of child deaths in the past 50 years, nearly eight million children younger than five still die every year,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in this CNN opinion piece. She adds, “To me, this number is unacceptable, because most of these deaths could be avoided” by providing antibiotics, sterile medical supplies, or education on breastfeeding, as well by improving access to nutrient-rich foods and effective contraceptives.