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Ugandan Government Announces $3M Plan To Fight Nodding Disease

“The growing threat of nodding disease and increased pressure for action has spurred the Ugandan government to announce a $3 million (USD) plan to address the mystery illness,” Global Health Frontline News reports, adding, “Initial funds will be used to set up screening centers and treat those affected in Pader, Kitgum, and Lamwo districts in northern Uganda as early as this month.”

Donor Fatigue, Funding Cutbacks Could Mean Another 50 Years Of AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Says

“With enough money spent in the right way, the world could soon reduce new HIV infections to zero, but global apathy and the financial crisis mean it might take another 50 years to stop the AIDS epidemic, a U.N. expert has said,” AlertNet reports. “At a time when HIV/AIDS efforts face an unprecedented decline in funding, Paul De Lay, deputy executive director of UNAIDS …, called on developing states to take more responsibility for tackling HIV in their own countries rather than relying on international assistance,” the news service notes.

Grand Challenges Canada, Gates Foundation Announce Grants For Innovative Global Health Projects

“Grand Challenges Canada [on Thursday] announced 15 grants valued in total at more than $1.5 million awarded to some of Canada’s most creative innovators from across the country in support of their work to improve global health conditions,” according to a press release from the Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, which hosts Grand Challenges (2/9). “The grants are meant to fund ideas such as a simply designed, inexpensive prosthetic leg and a test for pneumonia that can be done on a cellphone in poor countries with few resources,” CBC News notes (Dakin, 2/9). The press release lists the grantees, briefly describes their innovations and provides a link to access two-minute videos created by each grantee to explain his or her proposal (2/9).

Aid For Water, Sanitation Programs Must Benefit The Poor

In this post in the ONE blog, Brooks Keene, policy adviser for CARE’s water team, “makes the argument that foreign aid should benefit the poor first and foremost,” noting, “As we approach World Water Day on March 22, CARE, [the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)] and WaterAid have published a report card [.pdf] on how well” the Water for the Poor Act, passed by Congress in 2005, “has been implemented seven years down the line.” She writes, “In the absence of a strategy, USAID has gone ahead with water, sanitation and hygiene programs, but much of the effort and dollars have not gone to benefit the poor.” She concludes by recommending several steps USAID could take “to spur concerted targeting” (2/9).

Millions Of North Koreans Face Malnutrition Despite Recent Food Aid, Relief Agencies Warn

“Relief agencies have warned that millions of North Koreans are malnourished, with the most vulnerable facing starvation in the coming months, despite reports that the impoverished state has received food aid from China and South Korea,” the Lancet reports. “The warning comes after the sudden death of the North Korea’s former leader, Kim Jong-Il, put on hold a possible deal in which it was preparing to accept 240,000 tons of food aid from the U.S. in return for suspending its uranium enrichment program, which would give it a further means of developing nuclear weapons,” the journal writes. “The recent donations aside, U.N. agencies say that three million of North Korea’s 24 million people will require food aid this year, adding that children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition,” the Lancet notes, adding, “According to a report by [World Food Programme] and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, North Korea faces a food deficit of 414,000 tons this year” (McCurry, 2/18).

Shah Says ‘Difficult Choices’ Made In FY13 International Affairs Budget Request

In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah says the FY 2013 International Affairs budget request “showcases President Obama’s commitment to making smart, efficient investments to help those in the greatest need while helping to create economic opportunity and safeguarding American security.” Despite “important results” from investments made last year in humanitarian assistance, HIV/AIDS, malaria and agriculture, “we’ve had to make difficult choices this year, consolidating some programs and eliminating others. Our 2013 budget shows a willingness to focus on countries and programs where we believe we can make the greatest impact,” Shah writes and outlines those efforts. “The investments included in the FY13 budget will improve the lives of people throughout the world. For millions, this assistance can literally mean the difference between life and death,” he concludes (2/16).

Global Health Technologies Coalition Blog Responds To President’s FY13 Budget Request

In this post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog, Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at GHTC, responds to the release of President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, writing, “In his introduction to the overall budget request, Obama emphasized that research and development (R&D) programs are essential to the U.S. economy and the country’s future. … When looking at the budget numbers for global health, Obama’s emphasis on R&D in his introduction played out in various ways, with some good and bad news.” She notes that while “Congress has the authority to change the funding levels as it sees fit, … it could be difficult to justify spending above what the Administration views as appropriate, especially given the current fiscal crisis and the shortened election-year appropriations process” (2/16).

Collapse Of Global Fund Would Stall Global Health Efforts

“The Global Fund’s drive to ensure sustainability and efficiency means that it may not be able to meet its commitments to combat disease, says Laurie Garrett,” a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Nature’s “World View” column. Citing his resignation letter, Garrett discusses the “the political struggle” that led Michel Kazatchkine to step down as executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last week and writes, “It is a classic battle of titans, pitting urgency against long-term sustainability. … Kazatchkine essentially conceded victory to the forces for sustainability.”

Rethinking Government Approach To GHI

In this post in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance” blog, Connie Veillette, director of CGD’s rethinking U.S. foreign assistance initiative, highlights two recent posts by CGD’s Amanda Glassman and Nandini Oomman on the future of the Global Health Initiative (GHI). She writes, “With the Appropriations Committee weighing in by requiring a status report by mid-February on transitioning GHI to USAID, it is no understatement that the GHI is at an important juncture. Declining budgets for foreign assistance will also require new thinking on where the U.S. provides assistance and for what purpose” (1/31).

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).