President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday “focused on jobs, budget trimming, and investment, but he also underscored foreign policy concerns and outlined an approach to international relations with ‘a new level of engagement,'” CBS News’ “Political Hotsheet” blog reports.
Programs, Funding & Financing
“A joint venture between U.S. drugmaker Merck and Britain’s Wellcome Trust charity said on Monday it is working on an oral rotavirus vaccine designed to be cheaper and easier to use than current shots,” Reuters reports. “Hilleman Laboratories, an India-based joint venture set up on a not-for-profit basis in 2009, said the vaccine will aim to protect against diarrhea-causing rotavirus infections and will be based on thin strips or granules that dissolve in the mouth and can be easily transported, stored and administered.”
Also In Global Health News: HP/NGO Partnership; Polio Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan; Disaster Deaths; Pediatric AIDS Program In Zimbabwe
HP Partners With South African NGO In New Type Of Collaboration “Hewlett-Packard is reshaping its policies on giving away money to nonprofit causes. Now the company will not just give away money. It will also donate the expertise of its employees to build solutions for nonprofits,” VentureBeat reports. Paul Ellingstad,…
The Washington Post examines plans for reforming USAID, noting some of Administrator Rajiv Shah’s comments during a recent speech at the Center for Global Development. “‘This agency is no longer satisfied with writing big checks to big contractors and calling it development.’ Those challenging words, spoken last week by [Shah], were just one part of his speech forging a new direction for an agency that has been in the backwater of U.S. foreign and national security policies for years. With little more than a year on the job, the 37-year-old medical doctor and research scientist, who once handled the $1.5 billion vaccine fund for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, criticized development programs designed to be ‘extended in perpetuity while goals remain just out of reach,'” the newspaper writes.
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.
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).