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U.S. Government Made ‘Strong Progress’ In Fight Against World Hunger, But Much Remains To Be Done, Report Says

According to the 2012 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development, released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Thursday, “[t]he U.S. government risks losing the gains it has made in fighting world hunger unless it maintains its effort of the last three years in improving global agricultural practices and food security,” Reuters reports. The council’s “Global Agricultural Development Initiative evaluated the U.S. government and agencies for their leadership in global agricultural development,” and “examined the impact the efforts from Washington had in Ethiopia, Ghana and Bangladesh,” the news service writes.

Nature Outlook Examines Fight Against Malaria In Uganda

Nature Outlook examines the fight against malaria in Uganda. “Uganda’s tragic failure to abate malaria has numerous political, geographic, economic and social factors — and illustrates the reality that it takes more than scientific breakthroughs and cheap drugs to solve this persistent menace,” according to the article. Nature describes how a primarily rural population, “[f]unding bottlenecks, inefficient procurement processes, transportation problems,” drug stock-outs, and a lack of health care workers affects access to care and treatment for malaria, as well as how aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and other donors is supporting programs to build sustainable solutions to fighting the disease (Newmen, 4/25).

Reviewing Changes At The Global Fund

“[T]he newly appointed temporary General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo and his team has moved forward to ‘transform’ the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] with considerable speed and deftness, restoring confidence among bilateral donors (such as Japan and several others) and country recipients as well as improving morale among the Fund’s staff,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. She explores some of the changes at the Global Fund and how “these changes help the Fund to achieve better health outcomes.” Fan writes, “In particular, I am very encouraged about the prospect of two changes: (1) the creation of a new Division called ‘Strategic Investment and Impact Evaluation’ which will shape the optimal portfolio of investments by country and disease …, and (2) the creation of new committees for each disease (AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria) that will meet monthly” (4/25).

Southern African Countries Could Improve GDPs Through Fiscal Policies On HIV Treatment

“Southern African governments could use public spending in their battle against the extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS in their countries and still achieve a positive economic impact, argues a new paper [.pdf] from the African Development Bank (AfDB),” an AfDB press release states. The paper, titled “The Role of Fiscal Policy in Tackling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Southern Africa,” examines the cases of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, which have the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world, and says these countries could increase productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) through “[g]overnment fiscal action on HIV/AIDS treatment,” according to the press release. “Acting optimally, the debt burden of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland could be alleviated by five percent, one percent and 13 percent of GDP respectively, says the report,” the press release states (4/25).

Florida Senator Marco Rubio Addresses Future Of U.S. Foreign Policy

“On April 25, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for a major address on the future of U.S. foreign policy,” according to an event summary on the organization’s website. “Senator Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, examined whether U.S. global leadership is sustainable and even necessary in the 21st century” and “explored what Americans need to do at this juncture, abroad and at home, to adapt and prepare for the changing international environment in the years ahead,” the summary states (4/26). “Millions of human beings are alive today because the United States, and others in the global community, are paying for their antiviral medication. … We need to continue this kind of foreign aid investment, not just in PEPFAR, but in malaria control and vaccine programs and in agriculture initiatives so that we can make similar strides in preventing hunger and establishing a healthy global community,” he said, according to a speech transcript (.pdf) (4/25).

U.S. Government ‘Catalyzing’ International Community To End Preventable Child Deaths

“When it comes to promoting global health, the American people have much to celebrate and be proud of. With strong bipartisan support, the U.S. government has not only committed many billions of dollars and saved many millions of lives, it has changed the way the world approaches foreign aid,” former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Mark Dybul writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. He highlights several U.S. initiatives, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, PEPFAR, and the President’s Malaria Initiative, among others, “that definitively changed how the U.S. serves its global sisters and brothers,” and writes, “[T]hese solid investments in saving and lifting up lives have changed how people around the world view America and Americans.”

Smarter Purchasing Of Bednets Could Save $630M Over 5 Years, Report Suggests

“A new report from the Results for Development Institute,” released to coincide with World Malaria Day on Wednesday, “suggests there are ways to save and reinvest badly needed funds, by getting better value for money out of the bednets distributed in endemic areas,” Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog.” “Over the next five years, say author Kanika Bahl and colleagues, smarter purchasing strategies could save … $630 million,” the blog writes, adding, “It could be used to buy 150 million more bednets, protecting 300 million people from the mosquitoes that spread the disease.”

Kenyan AIDS Activists Protest Over Unspent PEPFAR Funds

“More than 400 Kenyan AIDS activists have demonstrated in the capital, Nairobi, demanding that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief release some $500 million for HIV programs in Kenya that is stuck in the pipeline,” PlusNews reports. “The U.S. government recently revealed that close to $1.5 billion has been in the global PEPFAR pipeline for more than 18 months,” the news service notes, adding that the allocation to Kenya is the largest. According to the news service, “The protestors presented a memorandum listing their demands to U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration, head of PEPFAR-Kenya Katherine Perry, Kenya’s Director of Public Health Shahnaz Sharif, and other senior Ministry of Health officials.”

Aid Agencies Appeal For Additional Funding To Address Food Insecurity In African Sahel

A coalition of “[a]id agencies said on Monday they are facing a multi-million dollar funding shortage to deal with a food crisis in the Sahel,” News24 reports. “Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children, and World Vision said they have raised only $52 million of $250 million needed to provide emergency assistance to six million people in the region,” the news service writes, adding that the groups “have called for a donor pledging conference to rally wealthy governments and donors” (4/23). They also “are calling on G8 leaders to consider the Sahel crisis at their summit next month,” according to VOA News.