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Gates Asks Wealthy Countries To Continue Foreign Aid Efforts In Developing Nations

“Despite [the] economic crisis rippling around the world,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “is pushing countries to continue foreign aid efforts to poor and developing nations, saying that every dollar of aid ‘makes a huge difference,’” ABC News reports. ABC’s “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour interviewed Gates last week after he visited Capitol Hill “to make his case to members of Congress.” Gates is expected to “present a plan at the G20 Summit next week in France calling on the wealthiest countries to continue their aid efforts, despite austerity measures being taken around the world,” the news agency writes.

Several West African Nations Facing Food Insecurity; WFP Steps Up Efforts In Niger

Several countries in West Africa, including Niger, Mauritania and Chad, are facing food insecurity crises “unless the international community acts now, the United Nations warned on Friday,” AlertNet reports. “Communities in the Sahel, which faces increasingly frequent droughts, have not had time to recover from the last food crisis,” which hit the region last year, the news service reports.

Targets For Somalia Aid Likely To Be Missed In 2011, U.N. Draft Report Says

“Despite a massive increase in humanitarian operations and international funding since famine was formally declared 100 days ago, the relief effort in Somalia is expected to miss almost all its key targets for 2011, a draft United Nations report reveals,” the Guardian reports, adding, “[m]alnutrition rates have more than doubled, less than 60 percent of the 3.7 million people targeted have received monthly food assistance, and only 58 percent of a targeted 1.2 million people received critical non-food aid items.”

Advocates Push For Integration of HIV/TB Funding, Programming In Kenya

This post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on a presentation at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in France on Saturday by Evelyne Kibuchi, a senior tuberculosis (TB) advocacy officer at the Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO), writing, “HIV stakeholders have been slow to…

Foreign Aid From U.S., Dozens Of Other Countries Makes The World ‘Better, More Prosperous And Safer’

In this Washington Post opinion piece, Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, cites declines in global child mortality rates as an example of how development aid works, and writes, “I am giving a report Thursday to the heads of the Group of 20 (G20) governments, including President Obama, suggesting creative ways for the world to continue investing in development despite fiscal constraints.” Gates highlights three key ideas he hopes “become part of congressional deliberations over the coming weeks” — first, “programs funded by U.S. generosity have been a core component of this 50-year project of raising living standards around the world”; second, “development isn’t just good for people in poor countries; it’s good for all of us”; and third, “the United States is not doing development alone. We spend about one percent of our total budget on aid, as do dozens of donor countries.”

UNICEF Asks Donors To Fully Fund Request To Assist North Koreans Facing Malnutrition

“Millions of children and women of child-bearing age in North Korea face malnutrition which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. UNICEF urged donors to fill a funding gap to prevent a “nutrition crisis” in the country, the news agency states (Nebehay, 11/1). According to Agence France-Presse, “UNICEF had asked for $20.4 million for 2011, but has received just $4.6 million” (11/1).

WHO’s Chan Tells Executive Board Reform Is Necessary Under Budget Constraints

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on Tuesday at the opening session of the agency’s Executive Board special session on reform in Geneva “stressed that planned reforms are intended to make the agency more efficient as it strives to improve global health amid multiple challenges that have an impact on human well-being,” the U.N. News Centre reports (11/1). Chan said “proposed reforms would see the agency become more streamlined and deliver ‘measurable results’ at country level” and “acknowledged … that parts of the WHO had become rigid and unresponsive,” the Associated Press/CTV News writes. She “urged WHO’s 34 board members to safeguard the agency’s role as global health guardian despite growing competition and budget constraints,” according to the news agency (11/1).

PlusNews Reports On Importance Of Cost-Effectiveness Of ZAMSTAR Study For Policymakers, Donors Amid Economic Downturn

PlusNews reports on the results of the Zambia-South Africa TB and AIDS Reduction (ZAMSTAR) study released on Monday at the International Lung Health Conference in Lille, France, which show that “[h]ome-based tuberculosis (TB) education and testing reduced community TB prevalence by about 20 percent.” Noting that “the trial cost US$27 million [and] the interventions it piloted cost about $0.80 per patient,” the news service writes that while “the cost-effectiveness of household outreach has not yet been calculated, … [t]his will be of particular interest not only to national policymakers but also donors, who continue to tighten purse strings amid a global economic downturn” (11/1).

Investment In USAID Has Saved Millions Of Lives, Is Critical For U.S. Security

In this Politico opinion piece, Brian Atwood and colleagues, all former USAID administrators in previous Democratic or Republican administrations and current advisers to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, write, “Over [the last] half-century, USAID has had an extraordinary record of accomplishment. Using less than one percent of the U.S. budget annually, the American people have demonstrated their deepest values through USAID programs, saving tens of millions of lives worldwide with immunization programs, oral rehydration therapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS and work on other diseases.” They add, “Because of the efforts of the American people, more than one billion people now have safe drinking water, smallpox has been eradicated and tens of millions have been saved through USAID’s famine relief efforts.”

Family Planning A Cost-Effective Strategy To Reduce Poverty, Conflict And Environmental Damage

In his New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof writes that family planning is “a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars,” but that it “has been a victim of America’s religious wars” and is “starved of resources.” Kristof discusses the potential impacts of overpopulation as the global population surpasses seven billion and adds, “What’s needed isn’t just birth control pills or IUDs. It’s also girls’ education and women’s rights — starting with an end to child marriages — for educated women mostly have fewer children.” He concludes, “We should all be able to agree on voluntary family planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict and environmental damage. If you think family planning is expensive, you haven’t priced babies” (11/2).