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HHS Secretary Sebelius Helps India Mark One Year Since Last Recorded Polio Case

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “administered polio vaccination drops to children in New Delhi on Friday as India marked one year since its last case of the crippling disease,” the Associated Press reports (1/13). The Hill’s “Healthwatch” reports that “[o]fficials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] say U.S. funding and experience were key to beating back the disease,” but “[t]he news comes as federal funding for global health programs now faces sharp cuts from Tea Party lawmakers and others worried about the deficit” (Pecquet, 1/12). “­Globally, the U.S. government has provided $2 billion for the polio eradication campaign, Rotary International has raised about $1 billion from its members, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $1 billion,” and the CDC “weighed in with crucial expertise,” the Washington Post writes (Denyer, 1/12).

Journalists Discuss Challenges Of Reporting On Global Health Issues

The Global Post’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on a December seminar held by GlobalPost, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, at which “journalists discussed the challenges in telling compelling global health stories in the digital age.” Participants discussed marketing their products, securing funding, finding an audience, forming partnerships, and covering expenses. The news service includes quotes from several people who spoke at the seminar, including photographers Kristen Ashburn and John Stanmeyer; Penny Duckham, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship Program; Nathalie Applewhite, managing director of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting; and Charlie Sennott, executive editor at GlobalPost (Kriel, 1/12).

Blog Covers Ethiopia Minister Of Health’s Comments At Country Ownership Roundtable

This post in the Ministerial Leadership Initiative’s (MLI) “Leading Global Health” blog is “the second of a series of perspective pieces on country ownership from the ‘Advancing Country Ownership for Greater Results’ roundtable organized last week by” MLI. “The second of four pieces covers the perspective of Ethiopia Minister of Health Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,” the blog writes, noting, “Minister Tedros said for many years he has been pushing for more country ownership. His approach is consistent: One vision, one set of priorities, and one group — donors, partners and countries — working together” (Donnelly, 1/18).

Lives Lost In Horn Of Africa Because Of Late Response To Famine Early Warnings, Report Says

“Scientists and aid organizations gave the world plenty of time to prepare, but a late response by the world’s donor nations cost 50,000 to 100,000 lives during last year’s drought in the Horn of Africa region,” the Christian Science Monitor’s “Global News Blog” writes about a report (.pdf) released on Wednesday by Save the Children and Oxfam (Baldauf, 1/18). “The two agencies blame ‘a culture of risk aversion’ among donors and NGOs, which meant the specially-built early warning system, FEWSNET, worked but was ignored until it was too late,” GlobalPost’s “Africa Emerges” blog writes (McConnell, 1/18). “A food shortage had been predicted as early as August 2010, but most donors did not respond until famine was declared in parts of Somalia last July,” the Associated Press/New York Times notes (1/18).

E.U. Doubles Humanitarian Aid To Sahel In Response To Impending Food Crisis

“Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response, arrived in Niger on Wednesday to see at first hand the extent of food shortages” in the country and announced the European Union (E.U.) “is doubling its humanitarian aid to the Sahel to nearly €95 million ($122 million) in response to the slow onset emergency in the region, where an estimated 300,000 children are affected by malnutrition annually,” the Guardian reports. Niger, a “vast landlocked country with an estimated 14.7 million people, most of whom live along a narrow border of arable land on its southern border, is bracing itself for a sharp rise in food insecurity in the ‘lean period,’ when food from the last harvest runs out,” the newspaper notes.

Improving Global Health Through Smart Public Policy, Innovative Partnerships

“As the World Economic Forum kicks off this week in Davos, Switzerland, the importance of global health — and the health of the globe — is getting special attention,” Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of Population Services International (PSI), writes in this post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” He continues, “The world’s still massive bottom of the economic pyramid — some 2-3 billion people — represents a potential $5 trillion in purchasing power,” but without access to “quality health care and services, … their global economic impact suffers. Imagine if by simple investments in health, we turned these struggling individuals and families into healthy, active consumers and producers.”

USAID Plans To Assist In Creating Global Development R&D Teams At U.S. Colleges, Universities

The Washington Post’s “In the Loop” blog reports that USAID has released a draft form of a plan to create research and development (R&D) teams at colleges and universities across the country aimed at tackling problems of global development. “USAID characterized the plan … as a way of tapping into the collective wisdom of academia,” according to the blog, which notes, “They’ve suggested setting up an unnamed number of centers — some at individual colleges and universities, some comprised of several such institutions.” The blog adds, “They say no budget has been set, but an individual college might get a million or so, while a collaborative center made up of a few schools could get $4 million to $5 million” (Heil, 1/24).

U.S. Officials Report On Progress Made In Somalia Famine But Note Aid Still Needed

During a briefing on Tuesday, U.S. officials said famine conditions in Somalia have improved, but more than 13 million people in the Horn of Africa remain in need of emergency food, shelter or other aid, the Associated Press reports. “David Robinson, acting assistant secretary for population, refugees and migration, told reporters Tuesday the flow of refugees out of Somalia into neighboring countries has diminished, but thousands are still trying to get out and new camps are opening in Ethiopia and Kenya,” the news agency writes (Birch, 1/24). Bruce Wharton, deputy assistant secretary for public diplomacy for the Bureau of African Affairs, noted the U.S. has provided about $870 million in humanitarian aid to the region, with about $205 million going specifically to Somalia, according to the briefing transcript (1/24).

Gates Urges Governments, Wealthy Donors Not To Cut Aid To Poor Countries; Annual Letter Sets Foundation’s Priorities

In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “told European lawmakers in Brussels not to cut aid to poor countries despite the economic and budgetary problems facing” European Union (E.U.) countries, Agence France-Presse reports. Gates “praised the [E.U.] whose support in health and development he said has been greater than that of the United States,” AFP notes (1/24). On Wednesday, Gates “will be at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he plans to exhort wealthy donors — especially governments — to keep funding a range of crucial projects in the developing world, from tuberculosis drugs and antimalaria bed nets to maternal care and vaccines,” the Wall Street Journal writes. Gates “plans to make his case by showcasing ideas, backed by his foundation, that have helped cost-effectively tackle problems in global health,” according to the newspaper (Naik, 1/25).

Global Fund Completes Reorganization Of Workforce, Tightens Focus To 20 ‘High-Impact Countries’

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “is cutting its workforce and tightening its focus on 20 countries hardest hit by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” Reuters reports. Gabriel Jaramillo, who took over as general manager of the fund in February, “said in a statement that the fund had completed a reorganization that would rebalance its workforce with 39 percent more people managing grants and 38 percent fewer in support roles,” the news service notes.