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BMJ Examines History, Future Of Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The BMJ examines the history of fraud allegations against the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the organization’s ongoing reform efforts. “Most observers agree that after a honeymoon first decade, the Global Fund had grown so big, and the economic climate and attitudes to diseases such as AIDS have changed so dramatically, that more rigor and efficiency was needed, fraud or no fraud,” BMJ writes. The Fund is expected to appoint a new director “and a new funding model, to be announced on November 15, [which] are supposed to get things back on track” (Arie, 11/12).

Blog Examines Importance Of Nigeria In Global Health Efforts

“Look in the global strategies for HIV, [tuberculosis (TB)], malaria, maternal and child health, polio eradication, [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)], and [non-communicable disease (NCDs)] — among many others — and you’ll see Nigeria at or near the top of the ‘Must Win’ countries,” Todd Summers, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) Global Health Policy Center, writes in the CSIS “Smart Global Health” blog. “Home to 170 million people, many of them desperately poor, Nigeria carries a huge and disproportionate share of burden for many of the world’s most deadly diseases,” he writes, noting the country, “one of the most important countries for all three diseases, is losing more in revenues than all of the Global Fund’s annual contributions combined.” He continues, “So, somehow, the Nigerian government needs to do a better job of capturing the revenues it’s due, and channeling a greater percentage of that revenue to the urgent health needs of its citizens, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.” However, Summers concludes “there’s some good news to report” on overall governance in the country, and he provides some examples (11/8).

Global Health Policy Blog Examines Discussion Over AMFm’s Future

In a post in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Victoria Fan and Heather Lanthorn from the CGD examine the controversy surrounding the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), writing, “No doubt, the debate on the AMFm has devolved into bickering and accusations from many sides. But the overstated rhetoric obscures genuine differences of opinion on how best to move forward with an evidence-based decision-making process, and what counts as ‘evidence’ sufficient to approve, modify, or scrap the program.” They continue, “Evidence needs to be at the core of these discussions. Ultimately, all malaria advocates share the same goal: to reduce the burden of malaria and the burden it places on human and economic development” (11/8).

Research!America To Launch Ad Campaign Highlighting Health Research Funding

National Journal’s “Influence Alley” blog reports on a new ad campaign from Research!America. “In a new ad campaign launching next Monday, the non-profit advocacy group warns that ‘Washington politics just might kill you,'” the blog states, adding, “Their spot emphasizes the importance of funding biomedical and health research to find cures for disease.” According to the blog, the ad “will run in National Journal, National Journal Daily, The Hill, Politico, Roll Call, CQ Today, and CQ Weekly” and will appear in some Washington, D.C., Metro stations next week (Mershon, 11/8).

European Union Pledges $53M To Liberia To Help Halve Maternal Mortality Rates

“The European Commission on Thursday pledged 42 million euros [$53 million] to Liberia’s president and Nobel peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to help halve one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The announcement was made during talks between the Liberian leader and the E.U.’s development commissioner Andris Piebalgs,” the news agency notes (11/8). In particular, the funds “will be used for rehabilitating health centers, providing medical equipment, training health staff and many other activities aimed at improving health services in the country,” according to an E.U. press release. “The E.U. funding is part of the E.U.’s €1 billion [Millennium Development Goal (MDG)] initiative to foster global progress on the Millennium Development Goals before 2015,” the press release adds (11/9).

USAID Announces Awards To 7 Universities To Help Innovate, Design Low-Cost Solutions To Health, Poverty, Conflict

“In a further move to bolster the role of science and technology in foreign aid, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) [on Thursday] announced major awards at seven universities in the United States and abroad to support ‘development labs’ that will design innovative, low-cost approaches to improving health and reducing poverty and conflicts,” ScienceInsider reports. The new program, called the Higher Education Solutions Network, is set to provide up to $130 million over five years, with the universities expected to provide at least a 60 percent match, according to the news service, which notes, “Each of the seven institutions will receive grants of up to $5 million a year for projects aimed at developing useful technologies” (Stokstad, 11/8).

U.K. Infectious Disease Research Funding Disproportionate When Compared To Disease Impact, Study Shows

In a paper published online in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers from the University College London (UCL), Imperial College London, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine show that U.K. funding for studies into infectious diseases is lower for diseases that result in the highest rates of death and disability, the Adfero News Agency/Zenopa reports (11/7). “[T]he first ever detailed assessment of infectious diseases investments made by funding organizations to U.K. institutions,” the study “shows that gastrointestinal infections, antimicrobial resistance, and some neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma, the commonest infectious cause of blindness globally, receive particularly low levels of investment from U.K. funders, relative to the disability and death that they cause,” according to a UCL press release.

Scarce Resources Threatening Progress Against AIDS In Sub-Saharan Africa

“With donor money to fight HIV and AIDS falling, spending in sub-Saharan Africa must be targeted to get the best results,” Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, noting, “Sub-Saharan Africa has 10 percent of the world’s population but is home to 70 percent of those living with HIV and AIDS.” He continues, “The problem is neither beaten nor going away: new infections continue to outpace the number of people put on treatment,” and writes, “One of the biggest impediments to the fight is the incorrect perception in developed nations that the epidemic is beaten. Thanks to donor fatigue and tougher economic conditions, many donor countries have reduced their contributions significantly.”

IPS Examines Generic Drug Program In India’s Rajasthan State

“As the northern Indian state of Rajasthan rolls out an ambitious universal health care plan, the discontent of the state’s doctors stands in stark contrast to the joys of the 68 million people who will benefit from the scheme,” Inter Press Service reports. “Just a little over a year ago, the state government began supplying free generic drugs to its massive population, effectively stripping doctors of the ability to prescribe more expensive branded medicine,” IPS writes. The news service notes, “Some 350 essential generic drugs are now being distributed free of cost,” and, “[a]ccording to news reports, over 200,000 people are currently taking advantage of the program.”

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