“[A] recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization identified 72 different ‘social pension’ plans around the world dedicated to the elderly, the ill, or the down and out,” Newsweek writes in an article exploring the growth in welfare programs around the world. “Most countries on the [WHO/ILO] list are developing nations once considered too destitute to help their poor and that, until recently, had little or no welfare coverage at all. … While fighting inequality and helping the neediest has long been on the docket of Third World leaders, most previous attempts have been sabotaged by inefficiency, corruption, and stagnant or dysfunctional economies,” the magazine writes. “Now roaring economies in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa, coupled with better-functioning governments and sound fiscal stewardship, have stretched the policy horizons for many nations that once lived from one crisis to the next,” according to Newsweek.
Programs, Funding & Financing
Opinions: Global Health Top Foreign Policy Issue; Global Food Security; Opiate-Substitution Programs In Eastern Europe; Feed The Future; Foreign Aid Lessons
Global Health Is A Top Foreign Policy IssuesFor 2011 In response to a story examining 2011’s top foreign policy issues, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, writes in a letter to the editor, published inÂ The Hill,Â that “[g]lobal health was disturbingly absent from” the story. “Global…
The New York Times reports on how microlending has “prompted political hostility in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua and other developing countries.” Such negativity “toward microfinance is a sharp reversal from the praise and good will that politicians, social workers and bankers showered on the sector in the last decade.” The article notes “[p]hilanthropists and investors poured billions of dollars into nonprofit and profit-making microlenders, who were considered vital players” in helping to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the MDG target to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Such attention “helped the sector reach more than 91 million customers, most of them women, with loans totaling more than $70 billion by the end of 2009,” with half of all borrowers from India and Bangladesh.
“Southern Sudan is scheduled to start voting on January 9 on whether to become an independent country or remain part of Sudan, Africa’s largest nation which has been wracked by decades of conflict,” CNN reports (Wilkinson, 1/5). On Tuesday during a visit to the southern capital of Juba, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir “said he would celebrate the results of the referendum even if the south chooses to secede, and pledged last week to help build a secure, stable and ‘brotherly’ southern state if it votes for independence,” Agence France-Presse reports.
Reuters Examines Foreign Aid’s Prospects In New Congress; Foreign Policy Looks At Clinton’s State Dept. Staff Memo
Reuters examines how the efforts of “budget-minded lawmakers [in the new U.S. Congress will] seek to curb costs without undercutting military operations” could impact U.S.-backed aid programs, including those in Afghanistan. “‘[Y]ou’ll see a Republican party focused on funding the military effort while trying to cut back on civilian assistance,’ said one Democratic congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity,” according to Reuters. “A senior Republican aide said many lawmakers in the new Congress would be reluctant to fund State Department or aid programs, especially those in conflict zones, in part because they believed State had poorly managed its activities in Iraq.”
The Indian drugmaker Natco Pharma “said Wednesday it has informed Pfizer Inc. that it wants to make and sell a low-cost generic version of the U.S. company’s [drug] maraviroc for treating the HIV infection under a so-called ‘compulsory license’ [CL],” Dow Jones Newswires/Smart Money reports. “Natco Pharma’s move is significant because, if successful, the Indian generic drug maker will set a precedent for other Indian companies to override multinational drug makers’ patents for the treatments of diseases ranging from cancer to hypertension,” according to the new service.
India’s patent office “has rejected American drug maker Abbott Laboratories’ patent application for an HIV combination drug, allowing low-cost local drug makers to make and sell their generic versions in India and other countries where the medicine is not patented,” Economic Times reports (1/4). The drug under consideration was Abbott’s “Kaletra, which combines two antivirals, [lopinavir/ritonavir and] is one of the preferred second-line treatments to fight drug-resistant HIV, according to the World Health Organization, which recommends governments include it on their list of essential medicines,” Bloomberg/Businessweek writes (Narayan, 1/4).
Opinions: U.S. International Affairs Budget; Health Impacts Of Climate Change; Role Of U.N.; Drug Development, Free Trade
The U.S. ‘Must Continue To Have A Strong, AndÂ Effective International Affairs Budget’ Despite challenging economic times, “[t]wo areas we cannot afford to shortchange right now … are our national security and our economic prosperity, which is why we must continue to have a strong and effective International Affairs Budget,” U.S.…
Also In Global Health News: Schistosomiasis Control In Cambodia; Microbicide Gel Trial In Monkeys; Tobacco Use In China
IRIN Examines Schistosomiasis Control Efforts In Cambodia IRIN reports on how Cambodia’s efforts to control schistosomiasis, “a chronic and debilitating disease commonly known as snail fever,” have led to a drop in cases over the past decade. “Since 2002, the Cambodian government has overseen a vast deworming programme. In 2004,…
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the names of four experts to be part of an independent panel that will “investigate the source of Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which some Haitians blame on U.N. peacekeepers,” Reuters reports (Worsnip, 1/6).