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Domestic Health Reform Receiving More Attention Than Global Health In U.S. Presidential Campaigns, Lancet Reports

The Lancet examines the domestic health positions of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before briefly outlining their positions on global health. “Compared with domestic health reform, global health has received little attention during the [U.S. presidential] campaign,” the journal reports, adding, “[T]he U.S. budget crisis might have more effect on global health initiatives than presidential politics, some experts say” (Jaffe, 9/29).

U.S. Investment In Global Health Saves Lives

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflects on changes in U.S. global health diplomacy since taking office in this Global Health and Diplomacy opinion piece. “America had been leading the global health fight for decades,” but “we recognized that to sustain the impact of our work, we needed to change the way we did business,” she writes. “For example, while our agencies were providing tremendous leadership in isolation, they could still do more to collaborate effectively,” she writes, adding, “[W]e weren’t doing enough to coordinate our efforts with other donors or our partner countries,” and “we weren’t building sustainable systems to eventually allow our partner countries to manage more of their own health needs.” She says, “We were unintentionally putting a ceiling on the number of lives we could save.”

World Leaders Unite Behind Global Polio Eradication Efforts At U.N. General Assembly

Political leaders, donor representatives, and medical experts on Thursday met on the sidelines of the 67th U.N. General Assembly session “to celebrate [polio eradication] efforts that have already reduced the incidence of the crippling and potentially fatal disease by 99 percent around the globe,” the U.N. News Centre reports (9/27). “Saying a decisive moment has arrived in the quest to eradicate polio, world leaders vowed … to embrace a new approach that includes long-term funding commitments, greater accountability and a specific focus on the three countries where the crippling disease remains endemic,” the Globe and Mail writes (Picard, 9/27). “[E]verything hinges on stopping polio in a few districts in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said during an address at the event, the U.N. News Centre adds (9/27). Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “who is helping spearhead a global campaign to eradicate polio, said Thursday he hopes that by 2015 no child in the world will be paralyzed by the disease and by 2018 polio will be wiped out,” the Associated Press writes (Lederer, 9/27).

NPR Blog Examines Global Health Service Partnership

NPR’s “Shots” blog profiles Vanessa Kerry, a physician and daughter of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and her work to develop the Global Health Service Partnership to send nurses and doctors to work abroad in exchange for a pay-down in their student loans. The partnership’s goal “is to reduce the severe shortage of medical workers in developing countries,” according to the blog, which adds Kerry “thinks the partnership will also strengthen health care here stateside by infusing U.S. doctors with a worldview centered on making the most of available resources.” The program is working with the Peace Corps and receives funding through PEPFAR, the blog notes (Doucleff, 9/26).

Unclear Whether Romney Would Increase Or Decrease Current Foreign Aid Budget

“In a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday, [Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney] acknowledged the value of foreign aid and its purpose: providing humanitarian assistance, improving security and encouraging economic growth,” but “we don’t know whether he would really protect the current budget … from further cuts if he is elected,” a New York Times editorial states. “Romney focused most of his attention on overhauling aid programs,” the editorial writes. “Romney’s call for more public-private partnerships on aid projects makes sense,” the editorial says, noting an Obama administration public-private partnership to provide cleaner cookstoves. In addition, “[h]is talk about the potentially transformative nature of American assistance and the need to invest more in small and medium-size businesses that will create jobs and lift ailing economies is also sensible and in line with administration policies,” the editorial states.

U.N. Presents Plan To Improve Access To Contraception, Releases Report On Maternal, Child Health

The U.N. on Wednesday “presented a plan to make life-saving health supplies more accessible, while a new report found that, despite impressive reductions in maternal and child mortality in the past decade in some countries, millions of women and children still die every year from preventable causes,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “With its new plan, the U.N. Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children aims to improve access and use of essential medicines, medical devices and health supplies that effectively address causes of death during pregnancy, childbirth and into childhood,” the news service writes (9/26). “Prices for long-acting contraception will be halved for 27 million women in the developing world through [the] new partnership, former President Bill Clinton and other world leaders announced” on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the Associated Press writes. “The deal will help avoid almost 30 million unwanted pregnancies and save an estimated $250 million in health costs, the partnership said,” according to the AP (DePasquale, 9/26).

Large Donors Dictating Direction Of Global Health Research, Financing, Essay Says

“When it comes to getting aid right, an all-too-familiar problem seems to be balancing the priorities of rich governments with what communities actually want,” AlertNet reports in an article examining an essay written by Oxford University researcher Devi Sridhar and published in PLOS Medicine. The essay “assesses the system of financing for health research,” according to the news service (Nguyen, 9/26). “Sridhar argues that since the priorities of funding bodies largely dictate what health issues and diseases are studied, a major challenge in the governance of global health research funding is agenda-setting, which in turn is a consequence of a larger phenomenon — ‘multi-bi financing,'” according to a PLOS press release (9/25). “Multi-bi financing refers to the practice of donors choosing to route non-core funding — earmarked for specific sectors, themes, countries, or regions — through multilateral agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank and to the emergence of new multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance,” she writes.

U.N. General Assembly Focuses On Women, Children

“Women and children shared the spotlight at the 27th session of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday,” Devex’s “Development Newswire” reports (Ravelo, 9/26). At the high-level event at the U.N. in New York, “U.N. Women, the United Nations body for female empowerment and gender equality, called for stronger action from world leaders to prevent and punish sexual violence in conflict,” Inter Press Service writes (Bergdahl, 9/26). “Representatives from Member States, U.N. agencies and more than 30 non-governmental organizations took part in the discussion, which also drew the participation of women Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, and Jody Williams from the United States,” the U.N. News Centre notes (9/25).

Blog Examines Need For U.S. Review Of Multilateral, Bilateral Aid

“Britain’s National Audit Office (NAO), akin to the US Government Accountability Office or GAO, is applauding the Department for International Development’s Multilateral Aid Review,” Sarah Jane Staats, director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Program at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in this post in the center’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog.” She continues, “The United States would be wise to follow Britain’s lead and conduct its own multilateral (or even bilateral) aid review to inform tough budget decisions ahead,” adding, “Until the United States conducts its own review, the U.K. experience affirms that the Unites States should — at a minimum — keep pushing for better aid data, including reporting to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard and the International Aid Transparency Initiative’s (IATI) standards” (9/24).

Commitment To Good Investments, Ability To Say 'No' At Heart Of Foreign Aid Reform

“During these tough budget times, citizens across the world rightfully question the effectiveness of government spending, including funds spent on foreign assistance,” Daniel Yohannes, chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), writes in this Foreign Policy opinion piece. “At the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. foreign aid agency with a global investment portfolio of more than $9.3 billion, we believe our assistance should be earned,” he writes. “MCC is an integral part of the administration’s comprehensive efforts to modernize U.S. development policies and programs, placing us at the forefront of foreign aid reform,” he continues, adding, “And one of the most effective tools we have to carry out this mission is the ability to say ‘no.'”

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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.