Al Jazeera examines the toll pneumonia and diarrhea take on children living in developing countries and how the GAVI Alliance is working to help improve health outcomes among children through the distribution of pneumonia vaccines around the world.
Programs, Funding & Financing
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a “$21.7 billion health fund championed by the rich and famous has come under harsh scrutiny amid revelations it’s bleeding money to corruption,” the Associated Press reports. The piece examines the organization’s response to an article published by the AP on Sunday that highlighted the findings of an internal investigation led by “Robert Appleton, a veteran former U.S. federal prosecutor whom [the fund’s inspector general John] Parsons hired last fall to root out corruption,” the AP writes (Heilprin, 1/24).
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday to co-chair a commission that aims to establish benchmarks for the U.N.’s $40 billion maternal and child health initiative that was establish at last year’s Millennium Development Goal summit, the Canadian Press/Toronto Star reports (1/23).
In an interview with Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said a Republican Study Committee (RSC) proposal to trim the U.S. foreign aid budget, in addition to other non-defense programs, could weaken U.S. national security. “‘That first and foremost puts our national security in real jeopardy because we are working hand and glove with our military to keep us safe,’ said Shah, referring to USAID missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and Central America, and responding directly to congressional calls for cuts in foreign aid and development,” the blog reports.
“A massive U.S. aid program that has made Pakistan the world’s second-largest recipient of American economic and development assistance is facing serious challenges, people involved in the effort say,” the Wall Street Journal reports in an article detailing the difficulties.
Conservative Republicans Officially Release Funding Reduction Plan That Includes Cutting USAID Budget
Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports on Thursday’s call by a group of “conservative House Republicans … for a drastic defunding of the U.S. Agency for International Development and a host of other programs” (Rogin, 1/20).
At the Global Poverty Summit January 16-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa, “academics, policy-makers, civil society activists and development workers … agreed that the [U.N. Millennium Development Goals] MDGs have made a difference, but have fallen far short of the ambitious targets on poverty, education, health, gender equality and global partnership that 189 countries committed to achieving by 2015,” IRIN reports.
As the WHO executive board continues meeting in Geneva this week, members “on Thursday backed efforts by the U.S. and Russia to keep the last known stocks of the smallpox virus for research to combat terrorism, in an initial debate over the fate over what is left of one of the world’s most lethal pathogens,” the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the article, the 34-member board supported the notion “that those stocks are needed to finish developing drugs and vaccines to counter a potential bioterror attack or accidental release of smallpox from unsanctioned stocks, officials familiar with the talks said.”
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, “in a speech on Wednesday, outlined steps USAID is taking to improve its balance sheet, including moving costly senior jobs from places such as Paris and Tokyo, reducing its real estate portfolio and doing more work with in-house experts rather than expensive contractors,” Reuters reports (Quinn, 1/19).
International Monetary Fund (IMF) “aid to some of the poorest countries [is] not being used to supplement existing spending on public health projects, but instead it often substitutes state spending,” according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services, Press Trust India/MSN reports. “The study comes at a time when there is serious concern about whether developing countries will meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on global health by 2015,” the news service writes (Sonwalker, 1/19).