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Swaziland Looking To Shore Up Funding For AIDS Treatment, Testing Supplies

“Cash-strapped Swaziland is struggling to fund its HIV programs, and experts are warning of long-term damage to treatment and prevention schemes if steps are not taken to ring-fence funding and supplies,” the Mail & Guardian reports. About 200,000 people are living with HIV in Swaziland, nearly one quarter of the population, the newspaper notes, adding, “Until now the government has done well in terms of providing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment — achieving 78 percent coverage, just under the World Health Organization’s ‘universal coverage’ rate of 80 percent. But there are fears that uncertainty about funding streams and weak supply-chain management could result in a reversal of this progress.” The article discusses funding from the government, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; antiretroviral drug and testing supply problems; and the epidemic’s effect on children and life expectancy in the country (Redvers, 2/27).

World Bank Needs Better Leadership To Achieve Goals Of Reducing Poverty

With the proper leadership, the World Bank “can play a key role” in fighting “poverty, resource depletion and climate change,” therefore “[t]he global stakes are … very high this spring as the bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July,” Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the Millennium Development Goals, writes in a Project Syndicate opinion piece. Achieving its goals to “reduce global poverty and ensure that global development is environmentally sound and socially inclusive … would not only improve the lives of billions of people, but would also forestall violent conflicts that are stoked by poverty, famine, and struggles over scarce resources,” Sachs says.

Updated Tool To Track NTD Funding, Identify Gaps

The Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program (NTD Control Program), funded by USAID and managed by Research Triangle Institute International (RTI International), has released an updated version of its NTD Funding Gap Analysis Tool (NTD-FGAT), which “helps users accurately estimate the costs and funding gaps of public health programs” and “is intended as a supplementary instrument to improve resource and strategic planning in an already existing national NTD plan,” according to the Global Network for NTDs’ “End the Neglect” blog (2/13).

President Obama Releases FY13 Budget Proposal With Overall Decrease For GHI

“President Barack Obama [on Monday] proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2013 that aims to slash the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years,” the Associated Press reports, and provides an agency-by-agency breakdown of the proposed budget (2/13). “Making up just one percent of the U.S. Government’s overall budget, the Department of State/USAID budget totals $51.6 billion,” a U.S. Department of State fact sheet notes (2/13). “Overall, funding for the Global Health Initiative (GHI) is down in the FY 2013 request, with most of the reduction coming from HIV/AIDS bilateral amounts,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker. “Most other areas saw decreases as well, except for family planning and funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance, which increased,” the resource adds. The budget plan proposes a total of approximately $8.5 billion for GHI, down more than $300 million from FY 2012, the resource notes, adding that $6.4 billion of that funding would go to PEPFAR, including about $4.5 billion for HIV and $224 million for tuberculosis. The Global Fund receives $1.65 billion in the request, according to the resource (2/13).

Researchers Begin Clinical Trial Of First Visceral Leishmaniasis Vaccine

“Researchers say they’ve developed the first vaccine for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) — a disease that affects 500,000 people each year and has been called the ‘parasitic version of HIV,'” although the diseases are unrelated, U.S. News reports. “The vaccine took researchers more than two decades to develop and entered Phase I trials in recent weeks, according to Steve Reed, founder of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), the vaccine’s developer,” the news service writes (Koebler, 2/22).

Blog Examines Gap Between Mental Health Disease Burden, Attention Given To Problem

This post in KPLU’s “Humanosphere” blog examines the “gap between the disease burden of mental illness and the amount of funding and attention devoted to solving the problem,” referencing a post published Friday in the Global Health Interest Forum’s “Blog of Scientists for Global Health,” written by Paul Southworth, a visiting scholar on malaria and vaccine science at the NIH. The blog provides a breakdown of the global burden of disease in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and notes, “As you can see from the pie chart, mental illness (aka ‘neuropsychiatric disorders’) is the biggest slice in the pie. Yet it is rarely even mentioned at global health meetings or confabs, says Southworth” (Paulson, 2/21).

Global Fund Releases More Than $7M To South Africa Following Request From AIDS Organizations

“More than seven months overdue, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant will finally be released to key South African AIDS organizations that have been struggling to survive,” PlusNews writes, adding, “Some were on the verge of shutting down.” According to the news service, “The Global Fund released US$7,106,426.91 to the South African National Treasury on February 6, the same day seven of the grant’s sub-recipients delivered an open letter to Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, pleading for intervention.”

Research!America Shares Findings About Global Health R&D In New Jersey

In this post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog, Mandy Goldberg, global health research and development (R&D) advocacy intern at Research!America, shares the organization’s findings about the state of New Jersey from an analysis conducted in target states to measure the health and economic impact of global health R&D in the U.S. “Despite ranking eleventh in population size, New Jersey ranks third in R&D investment among states, thanks mainly to robust private-sector investment,” she writes, adding, “R&D spending in New Jersey increased by 11.4 percent in 2010, and global R&D spending was up by $1.4 billion, according to a 2011 report by the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey, implying even more future economic benefits for the state” (Halnon, 2/21).

Private U.S. Investments Improve Maternal Care Capacity In Ethiopia

Writing on the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s website, Sarah Sagely Klotz, executive director of Hamlin Fistula USA, reports on how private U.S. investments “are building maternal care capacity and producing tremendous results” in Ethiopia. “Unfortunately, around the globe women are often neglected and have very limited access to maternal care,” she writes, adding, “Through the generous investments made by many Americans, however, communities in developing countries are yielding substantial and lasting benefits” (2/14).