“[W]omen and children everywhere deserve quality health care,” Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “As many in the development community say, investing in the health of women and children isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do,” she continues, adding, “When women and children are healthy, they can learn more and earn more, which leads to more stable and productive communities.” Though the world has made “important progress on this front,” “[w]e must continually assess our progress and talk about where we need to do better, because when the international community mobilizes, we can generate meaningful change,” she says, noting “we have more work to do … in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which set critical targets for reducing child and maternal mortality by 2015.”
Programs, Funding & Financing
Devex features three video segments from an interview with Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in which he discusses health systems innovation and the challenge of addressing non-communicable diseases. In one clip, Quick describes the founding principles of MSH and how the organization works to build local capacity in the communities where it works. In a second clip, he talks about how health systems innovation — organizing people, processes and resources — will help deliver health technologies more quickly and efficiently (Rosenkrantz/Schwetje, 10/3). And in a third clip, Quick says the international community has made “stunning progress” in the past decade against HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, but a growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases are killing more people than those three diseases combined. He says synergies of care and treatment and integration will be important to address these illnesses, instead of the more vertical models that have worked over the past decade (Rosenkranz/Schwetje, 10/2).
“The government of Uganda is planning to establish a $1 billion HIV trust fund to finance local HIV programs,” IRIN reports. “According to a working paper released in September, ‘Justification for Increased and Sustainable Financing for HIV in Uganda,’ the fund will generate cash through levies on bank transactions and interest, air tickets, beer, soft drinks and cigarettes, as well as taxes on goods and services traded within Uganda,” the news service writes, adding, “Small fees will also be levied on civil servants’ salaries; corporate and withholding tax will be increased slightly; and a small tax will be added to telephone calls and to each kilowatt of electricity consumed.”
“Zimbabwe is set to attain ‘universal’ coverage for AIDS treatment thanks in part to an $84 million disbursement [on Tuesday] by the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the U.N. News Centre reports (10/2). “The new disbursement will cover the cost of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for an additional 10,000 new patients, bringing the total number of people on treatment with Global Fund support to 203,440 by the end of the year,” the Global Fund announced in a press release. The funding also will support a six-month ARV buffer stock to prevent treatment interruptions for the 480,000 patients on therapy in Zimbabwe, the press release notes (10/2). The Global Fund’s announcement to support additional patients comes together with an announcement from PEPFAR to increase the number of patients supported by its program from 80,000 to 140,000, with a goal of having 160,000 patients on therapy by the end of next year, Zimbabwe’s Herald notes.
In an article on the International HIV/AIDS Alliance’s webpage, the organization compares a new funding model adopted by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to its own “key principles” and “outline[s] how civil society is involved in refining the process of how money will be allocated.” The article addresses key elements of the new model as well as next steps leading up to the next Global Fund Board meeting in November (10/1).
Experts Worried Political Commitment, Health Services Delivery Still Lacking Despite Efforts To Improve Family Planning In Uganda
“Family planning advocates in Uganda have scored some major financial and policy wins this year, but experts remain concerned that inadequate political commitment and poor health services will continue to impede women’s and girls’ access to contraceptives,” IRIN reports. With one of the fastest growing populations in the world, Uganda’s “President Yoweri Museveni announced that his government would increase its annual expenditure on family planning supplies from $3.3 million to $5 million for the next five years” and he “pledged to mobilize an additional $5 million from the country’s donors,” the news service writes. In addition, the “Ministry of Health has laid out a roadmap for providing universal access to family planning, involving the integration of family planning into other health services,” the news service notes.
“Tanzania has made significant advances in cutting maternal deaths thanks to a United Nations-sponsored program that brings public and private sectors together to resolve one of the most stubborn but preventable woes afflicting the developing world,” but more must be done to scale up efforts to save lives, leaders involved in the program said during a news conference on Tuesday at U.N. Headquarters, the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Helen Agerup, head of the H&B Agerup Foundation, attended the conference, where they discussed results from the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, according to the news service (10/2).
“As a major international deadline on foreign assistance transparency draws closer, a new index shows that while donors are becoming more open with their data, still less than half of foreign aid information is openly available,” Inter Press Service reports. “‘Progress is being met, things are getting better, but that progress is modest,’ David Hall-Matthews, the managing director of Publish What You Fund, a global initiative advocating for aid transparency, said in unveiling the organization’s Aid Transparency Index 2012 … in Washington on Monday,” the news service writes (10/2). According to the Guardian, the group “ranked 72 organizations and scored each for one of 43 indicators of aid transparency,” which “have then been grouped into scores for organizational transparency, their openness in country and in their activities” (Rogers, 10/1).
Leading up to the debates this month and the November presidential election, “President Obama would be wise to talk up our effective aid programs and the soft power they provide with regional allies,” particularly the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), Roger Bate, a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, and Kimberly Hess, a researcher with Africa Fighting Malaria, write in a New York Daily News opinion piece. “Pointing to the enormous success of this program — and announcing a budget increase — would score valuable points with swing voters and potentially even help Democrats pull some of them off the fence,” they write. Seven years after former President George W. Bush launched PMI, the program “stands among the most effective government programs in recent history — and a rare, genuinely bipartisan foreign policy achievement,” the authors state, noting “under-five mortality rates have declined by 16-50 percent in 11 PMI target countries in which surveys have been conducted.”
Kaiser Family Foundation Report Provides First Comprehensive Look At Defense Department's Role In Global Health
“The Department of Defense is estimated to have spent more than half a billion dollars to support a variety of global health-related activities in fiscal year 2012 — more than either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health dedicated to global health in the same year, according to a new report [.pdf] from the Kaiser Family Foundation,” a report summary on the foundation’s webpage states. According to the summary, the report offers “the first comprehensive look at the department’s role in global health, examining its organizational structure, activities, strategy, policy, and budget for activities related to global health”; “provides a full assessment of the department’s global health engagement across the entire organization”; and “discusses key issues for policymakers and global health stakeholders at this time of transition in national security strategy and defense policy, as they consider how the Defense Department fits into the larger global health landscape” (10/2).