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Gates Foundation Announces New Grants For Global Health Development Proposals Through Grand Challenges Explorations Initiative

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, [on Wednesday] announced over 100 new grants of $100,000 each to support innovative global health and development proposals that have the potential to unlock transformative, life-saving solutions in the developing world,” a foundation press release reports. “Additionally, the Gates Foundation announced additional funding of up to $1 million each for six existing Grand Challenges Explorations projects to enable grantees to continue to advance their ideas towards global impact,” the press release adds (5/9).

House Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY 2013 State And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations subcommittee on Tuesday released a draft (.pdf) of its FY 2013 appropriations bill, Devex reports (Mungcal, 5/8). “The bill, to be marked up by the subcommittee Wednesday morning, would provide $40.1 billion for the base budget of the State Department, USAID, and international affairs programs in other agencies, in addition to $8.2 billion for diplomatic and development programs related to the ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan in what’s known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account,” Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” writes, noting, “If enacted, the legislation would represent a 12 percent cut from the administration’s $54.71 billion budget request” (Rogin, 5/8).

USAID Launches Five-Year Initiative In Nigeria To Strengthen HIV, TB Services

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, launched a five-year, $224 million USAID program, titled Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), that aims to “increas[e] access to high-quality comprehensive HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention, treatment, care and related services through improved efficiencies in service delivery,” the Daily Trust reports (Odeyemi/Odafor, 5/8).

Globe And Mail Examines Sustainability Of Sierra Leone’s Free Health Care System

The Globe and Mail examines the sustainability of Sierra Leone’s free health care system, writing, “The reform has been hugely successful and the death rate has dropped sharply. … [But t]he country’s hospitals are overwhelmed with new patients, the drug supply can’t keep up, the medical staff are overloaded, and it’s unclear if the $36-million program would survive without foreign donations.” According to the newspaper, “The principle of free health care is a sharp break from earlier ideology” that supported “‘cost recovery’ — a system of user fees in hospitals” — which leaders thought “would generate money to fix their badly underfunded health systems.” However, the user fees “were widely criticized, they failed to solve the funding problems, and they created a new barrier to health care” for many without the means to pay, the Globe and Mail writes.

NCATS Initiative To Use Abandoned Experimental Drugs For Other Uses ‘A Step In The Right Direction’

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) — a new plan to help speed drug development by making abandoned experimental drugs available to researchers who can look for alternative uses — “is an indication that the Obama administration and the medical research enterprise are thinking out of the box,” Michael Manganiello, a partner at HCM Strategists, writes in a Huffington Post “Politics Blog” opinion piece. Manganiello — who says the drug AZT, which originally was developed to treat cancer, helped him live long enough to reap the benefits of new drugs developed in the mid-1990s to treat HIV infection — joined HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and NIH Director Francis Collins this week in launching the initiative, which he says “is a step in the right direction and it is critical that industry collaborate with patient groups and their constituents.”

Report Examines Foreign Affairs Budget Reforms In Light Of Austerity

“The United States should be more selective about where and how it spends foreign assistance,” according to a new report (.pdf), titled “Engagement Amid Austerity: A Bipartisan Approach to Reorienting the International Affairs Budget,” co-authored by John Norris of the Center for American Progress and Connie Veillette of the Center for Global Development (CGD), the CGD website notes. The report “identifies four flagship reforms that would help U.S. foreign affairs institutions to better reflect national interests and reduce ineffective spending,” including “[a]ccelerat[ing] cost-sharing arrangements with upper middle income recipients of” PEPFAR and “[o]verhaul[ing] U.S. food aid laws and regulations,” according to the website (5/8).

Report Identifies Challenges, Solutions To Increasing Routine Vaccination In Nigeria

In this post in PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog, Deputy Editor Tom Murphy examines routine vaccination solutions in Nigeria, where “[t]he Decade of Vaccines Economics projects 90 percent vaccine coverage against Hib, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, measles and pertussis can save 600,000 lives and $17 billion in Nigeria over the next 10 years.” Murphy highlights a “new report [.pdf] by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins University [that] identifies the challenges and solutions to increasing routine vaccinations in” the country, noting it also “identifies supply, human resource and demand solutions to increasing vaccination access” (5/8).

Americans Have ‘Enduring Commitment’ To Respond To Crises, Help Those In Need

In this opinion piece in the Kansas City Star’s “As I See It,” Nancy Lindborg, USAID assistant administrator for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance and a guest speaker at this week’s International Food Aid and Development Conference in Kansas City, discusses food aid and highlights USAID’s response to last year’s food crisis in the Horn of Africa. She writes, “None of this would have been possible without the hard work and generosity of the American public, and especially the farmers, manufacturers and shippers that I am honored to meet with again this week in Kansas City.”

UNAIDS Launches Campaign Aimed At Ending New HIV Infections Among Children By 2015

UNAIDS on Tuesday launched a new campaign “aimed at ending new HIV infections among children by 2015 and ensuring mothers living with HIV remain healthy,” Xinhua reports (5/8). “The campaign, ‘Believe it. Do it.,’ is part of a global plan of action that was adopted last year at the U.N. High Level Meeting on AIDS, when world leaders committed to end new HIV infections among children by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre writes (5/8). “Each year, about 390,000 children become newly infected with HIV and as many as 42,000 women living with HIV die from complications relating to HIV and pregnancy,” according to a UNAIDS press release (5/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.