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Chinese Government Pledges Greater Support For Organizations Fighting HIV/AIDS

“Organizations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS will get greater government support,” Yu Jingjin, director of the disease prevention and control bureau under China’s Ministry of Health, said, China Daily reports. He said, “‘The government will beef up investment and support for social groups’ and cooperate with reliable ones,” and added, “Each province this year will support three to five civil societies tackling HIV/AIDS and help them with operational costs and training,” according to the news service. “Yu urged health authorities to work more with society in general to fight AIDS,” China Daily writes, adding, “Cooperation in this sphere has not always worked fully to its potential, he said” (Shan, 3/2).

Campaign To Elicit Donations For Health Projects From Airline Travelers Winds Down Amid Funding Woes

The Switzerland-based Millennium Foundation, a Unitaid-funded campaign to solicit donations for health projects from airline travelers, “is being wound down after spending nearly $20 million to generate less than $300,000 over the past four years,” the Financial Times reports. “The lack of successful fundraising sparked concerns from health campaigners over the waste of scarce resources at a time when funding is declining and millions of people around the world are dying each year from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” the news service writes.

Kenya’s Ability To Diagnose, Treat MDR-TB Questioned After Mismanagement Of Patient’s Case

“The Kenyan government’s recent failure to adequately treat a patient with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) has some civil society organizations questioning whether the country’s TB program is equipped to diagnose and treat such patients,” PlusNews reports. “The government admits the TB program in Kenya has not been adequately funded despite the country’s big TB burden,” PlusNews writes, adding, “Kenya ranks 13th on the list of 22 high-burden TB countries in the world and has the fifth-highest burden in Africa.”

Republican Presidential Candidate Santorum Could Be Beneficial To Global Health Programs If Elected President

In the Republican campaign for the presidential nomination, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), “the most religiously conservative candidate, surprisingly, is the most fervent advocate for U.S. global health diplomacy,” Jack Chow, former U.S. ambassador on global HIV/AIDS and former assistant director-general of WHO on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, writes in a Foreign Policy opinion piece. “Santorum has staked out global health as one of his preferred instruments of asserting American power abroad” and “seems determined to lay the groundwork for a global health agenda that is not only far more extensive than his competitors’, but would surpass both [George W.] Bush and Barack Obama in advancing U.S. interests abroad through fighting disease,” Chow writes.

‘Global Leadership’ Through Foreign Assistance Is ‘Strategic Imperative’ For U.S.

“[T]oday, with the national debt approaching $14.7 trillion, Americans rightly demand fiscal responsibility. Yet efforts in Congress to cut billions from the president’s proposed budget for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are short-sighted,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. He adds that “all of our foreign aid programs and foreign policy initiatives — from sending diplomats to Afghanistan to helping reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa — cost less than one-tenth of our annual military expenditures” and “comprises a mere 1.5 percent” of President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request.

Clinton Discusses GHI In Testimony On FY13 USAID, State Department Budget Request

“People look to [the U.S.] to protect our allies; stand by our principles; serve as an honest broker in making peace; to fight hunger, poverty, and disease; to stand up to bullies and tyrants everywhere,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday in testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and she added that to do so “takes more than just resolve. It takes resources,” reports (Jaleco, 2/29).

South African Researchers Call For New Framework To Help Prioritize Global Mental Health

“For mental health to gain significant attention, and funding from policymakers globally, it is not enough to convince people that it has a high disease burden but also that there are deliverable and cost-effective interventions — according to South African researchers writing in this week’s PLoS Medicine,” a PLoS press release reports, adding, “Mark Tomlinson and Crick Lund from the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health based at the University of Cape Town argue that global mental health must demonstrate its social and economic impact.” According to the press release, the authors “discuss a framework to help understand why some global health initiatives are more successful in generating funding and political priority than others” (2/28).

Drawing Lessons From Emerging Economies On Increasing Access To Medicines For NTDs

“At present, the prevailing strategy for improving access to medicines for [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] is drug donation programs, which, despite providing some of the highest economic returns of public health programs … have uncertain sustainability,” Francesca Holt of St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge and colleagues write in this PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases opinion piece. “Countries in demographic and economic transition are uniquely poised to be leaders in a shift towards a more sustainable, affordable means of providing access to medicines for NTDs,” they add, citing China, India, and Brazil as examples (2/28).

Ugandan Official Expresses Concern Over Rise In TB, Emergence Of Drug-Resistant Strains

In an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Francis Adatu, head of the national leprosy and tuberculosis (TB) program in Uganda, warned that TB “remains a major public health problem” and that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) has emerged in the country, the news service writes. “‘According to our prevalence survey we found MDR-TB in 1.3 percent among new cases and 12.3 percent among people who have been exposed to drugs or treated over and over again,’ Adatu said,” Xinhua writes, noting that Adatu said treatment for MDR-TB was much more expensive than for drug-susceptible TB.

Budget Cuts Threaten Global Health Progress, Advocacy Group Warns In Report

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) — consisting of 40 global health research and advocacy organizations — on Tuesday held a congressional briefing to launch its third annual policy report, titled “Sustaining Progress: Creating U.S. policies to spur global health innovation,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports (Donnelly, 2/28). The group is “warning deep cuts in the U.S. federal budget could reverse progress made on many diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” VOA News writes (DeCapua, 2/28).