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Central African Republic In State Of ‘Chronic Medical Emergency,’ MSF Report Says

“The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the grips of a chronic medical emergency, according to a report released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF),” an MSF press release states. “Four mortality studies carried out by MSF over the past 18 months reveal crude mortality rates in some regions of CAR at three times the emergency threshold of one death per 10,000 people per day, which, according to the World Health Organization, is considered a humanitarian crisis,” the press release adds (12/13).

U.N. Seeks Aid Money For Zimbabwe, Half For Food; WHO Says Country Must Spend More On Health

“The United Nations said on Friday it was seeking $268 million for aid efforts in Zimbabwe next year, with half the money to be used to buy food for more than 1.4 million people facing shortages” in 2012, Reuters reports. “The humanitarian situation in the country has continued to improve over the past couple of years. However, challenges still exist such as food insecurity” and lack of access to safe water, which has led to cholera and typhoid outbreaks, Alain Noudehou, country head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said, the news service notes (12/9).

PlusNews Examines African Government Funding For, Engagement In HIV Research

“Unless African governments increase their funding for and engagement in HIV research, the continent cannot hope to attain equal status in determining its research agenda and priorities, speakers said at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa,” PlusNews reports. “Donor-driven funding often means that research starts and ends on the say-so of funders, rather than being based on a country’s needs,” the news service writes. The article includes comments from researchers, funders, and representatives of research initiatives (12/9).

Millions Of People In African Sahel Need Food Assistance, U.N. Agencies Say

“Millions of people in Africa’s Sahel region need urgent help to cope with food shortages brought on by erratic rainfall and drought, and at least one million children in the area face malnutrition next year, U.N. agencies warned,” AlertNet reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP), which called for a new type of response to climate-related crises, estimates that between five and seven million people in the semi-arid zone just south of the Sahara need assistance now,” and it “said the situation would worsen if nothing was done to help the countries in need — as more people are expected to run out of food supplies by February and March next year,” the news service writes (Fominyen, 12/9).

Malawi To Review Laws Banning Homosexuality, According To News Reports

“Malawi is to review laws banning homosexuality in response to public opinion, according to reports,” the Guardian writes. “The move comes just days after the U.S. announced it would” promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people through foreign aid and diplomacy, the newspaper notes, adding that the U.S. provides “Malawi about $200 million (£128m) per year, with most going to health care.” Malawi, which “was condemned by Barack Obama and international activists last year after jailing two men who underwent the southern African country’s first gay ‘marriage,’ … will now review provisions of the penal code concerning ‘indecent practices and unnatural acts,’ Ephraim Chiume, the justice minister, was quoted as saying,” the news service writes (Smith, 12/9).

Goal Of Near-Zero Malaria Deaths Attainable With Continued Will, Resources

In this TIME “Ideas” opinion piece, David Bowen, CEO of Malaria No More, writes that with the right resources and political will, an end to malaria is possible. He recounts progress made against the disease, citing a report by the WHO released Tuesday that shows “deaths from malaria have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000 — and by more than five percent in the last year alone,” and writes, “Despite these gains, much more needs to be done. The unacceptable fact still remains that malaria claims a child’s life in Africa every minute. The world has begun to mobilize the skills, resources and innovative genius needed to end this terrible death toll.”

Potential Budget Cuts Threaten U.S. Military HIV Research Program

This post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines how potential budget cuts are threatening the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Military HIV Research Program (MHRP), “a $175 million program supported by the Department of Defense and other entities that is vulnerable to cuts…

Malaria Mortality Rates Down, But Progress Threatened By Funding Shortfall, WHO Report Says

“Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000, and by 33 percent in the WHO African Region, according to the World Malaria Report 2011, issued [Tuesday] by [the] WHO,” the organization reports in a press release. “This is the result of a significant scaling-up of malaria prevention and control measures in the last decade,” the press release adds. However, the press release notes, “WHO warns that a projected shortfall in funding threatens the fragile gains and that the double challenge of emerging drug and insecticide resistance needs to be proactively addressed” (12/13).

Pharma Exports, R&D Investment Benefit U.S. Economy, Global Health And Must Be Protected

In this post in the Hill’s “Congress Blog,” John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, reports on how biopharmaceutical exports benefit the U.S. economy and global health, writing, “Leadership is needed to help keep U.S. biopharmaceutical research companies competitive in the global export market.” He continues, “According to the Administration, if we increased exports by just five percent, we would create hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs. … Among the ways that they can advance this effort is by knocking down foreign barriers and promoting strong intellectual property (IP) protections that allow biopharmaceutical companies to bring their medicines into other markets and, importantly, to the patients who need them.”

U.N. Issues $1.5B 2012 Joint Appeal For Humanitarian Aid In Somalia

The U.N. on Tuesday issued its 2012 consolidated appeal process (CAP), or joint appeal, for $1.5 billion to fund 350 projects in Somalia, “where famine and conflict have already cost tens of thousands of lives,” the Guardian reports (Chonghaile, 12/13). “The $1.5 billion appeal is based on a realistic assessment of the emergency needs of four million people in crisis, tens of thousands of whom will die without assistance,” Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said, Agence France-Presse notes.