This Lancet editorial reflects on a panel discussion held last week at Europe House in London, titled “Beyond the Eurozone Crisis: New Realities for Global Health.” The editorial notes the aim of the meeting “was to discuss opportunities and challenges that Europe faces in the midst of the financial crisis, and how it can reposition itself around policies for global health in the context of a longer term shift in the world economic order, where developing countries have become the engines of growth.” The Lancet writes, “Despite a number of treaties, white papers, and communications around Europe and global health in the past decade, a clear European vision for global health has been strikingly absent,” adding, “The meeting discussed how individual member states have led the way in advancing the global health agenda, for example, the U.K. and its Health is Global strategy.” The editorial concludes, “In a shifting landscape, it is important that Europe reframes its position in global health and aligns itself to gain greater coherence between policies, strategies, and practices. Huge health, economic, and societal benefits for developing countries and Europe can be achieved” (10/6).
Programs, Funding & Financing
Blog Summarizes Analyses Examining Possible Effects Of Sequestration On Global Health, Science Research
The Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog examines “the likely devastating impact of sequestration on U.S.-funded global health, research, science, and development programs” and summarizes several recently released reports on potential budget cuts. The blog outlines the findings of an updated analysis from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, which examines the possible human and global health impacts of budget sequestration; a new analysis from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that says sequestration would “no doubt have significant impacts on federal funding of science, research, and innovation”; a document (.pdf) from Bread for the World that examines the potential impact of sequestration on the international affairs budget; and an updated analysis (.pdf) from Research!America looking at how sequestration could affect health research and science at several U.S. agencies (Lufkin, 10/4).
Doctors in Kenya on Wednesday were striking for the 17th day to protest poor conditions in some of the nation’s public hospitals, where “[e]mergency rooms … frequently don’t have gloves or medicine, and power outages sometimes force doctors to use the light from their phones to complete a procedure,” the Associated Press reports. Last week, “Kenya’s government fired 1,000 of the 2,000 striking doctors … despite a shortfall of skilled medical practitioners,” the news service writes, noting Kenya has one doctor for every 6,250 people and the WHO recommendation is one for every 100 people. “Attempts to hold talks this week with officials from the Ministry for Medical Services failed, prompting the doctors to flood social media with tell-all stories about deplorable conditions in public hospitals,” the AP states.
In the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Sarah Jane Staats, director of the Center for Global Development’s Rethinking Foreign Assistance Initiative, compares the foreign assistance positions of President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “The U.S. presidential campaign has been more about saving jobs at home than saving lives abroad,” but “America’s role in the world was center stage at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York last week, where President Barack Obama decried modern slavery and Mitt Romney unveiled his vision for foreign assistance,” she writes. “The surprise: so far, Romney sounds a lot like Obama on foreign aid,” she continues.
“[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.”
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.