In this Forbes opinion piece, contributor Sarika Bansal examines “[w]hat needs to happen for the pharmaceutical industry, academic researchers, and other key players [to] begin investing more seriously in” efforts to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). She writes, “Since the term [NTD] was coined [in 2005], there has been considerable activity in the neglected disease space from governments, donors, pharmaceutical companies, and nonprofits alike,” but the status quo “has not yet changed nearly enough, and there is ample room for the pharmaceutical industry to invest more in NTDs.”
Programs, Funding & Financing
In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Sheila Nix, U.S. executive director of ONE, summarizes progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS in the 30 years since the first cases were documented and writes that “as budgets constrict and leaders turn their attention inward, it’s easy to see why a renewed push on global AIDS doesn’t seem possible. Yet 2011 marks a critical inflection point in our fight against AIDS.”
Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg on Tuesday “urged donors to give generously to assist Nicaragua and El Salvador cope with the aftermath of the recent floods, saying that the scale of the disaster is beyond what the small Central American nations can handle on their own,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the news service, approximately 1.2 million people in the region are affected by flooding, “[t]housands of homes have been damaged and hundreds of schools, roads and health facilities are closed,” and [w]ater-borne diseases are spreading …, she added.” Bragg also said food security was a concern, as thousands of acres of crops were destroyed, “‘making it increasingly difficult for people to get enough food for the next six months,’ she stated,” the news service notes (11/8).
The U.N. and several other international aid groups, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and ACTED, on Wednesday “warn[ed] they are running short of money and supplies to help millions of people affected by floods in Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports (11/9). “Floods in August hit Sindh province in the south, killing at least 430 people and disrupting the lives of nine million. Many people are still camping out in the open with little food, water or shelter,” Reuters writes, adding “agencies fear flood victims could suffer from a major outbreak of dengue fever, malaria and acute respiratory infection” (Conway, 11/9). The U.N., which has raised just $96.5 million of the $357 million it wants for flood relief, called the appeal ‘distressingly underfunded,'” the Guardian notes (Ford, 11/9).
Frank Carlucci, former national security adviser and secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan; Lee Hamilton, a retired Democratic congressman and former vice chair of the 9/11 Commission; and Tom Ridge, former homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush — all members of the Advisory Council for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition — write in this Washington Times editorial, “At a time of economic distress and huge deficits that demand tough choices, it is tempting for elected officials to scale back this country’s engagement around the globe, in particular by making cuts to programs that support diplomacy and international development. Yet too much is at stake to diminish America’s leadership and competitiveness in a world that is growing more interconnected and interdependent — as well as more turbulent — virtually every day.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at the NIH on Tuesday, “called on the world to create the first ‘AIDS-free generation’ by using antiviral drugs, condoms, circumcision and other approaches to stem the spread of HIV,” the Washington Post reports. “Taken together, mathematical models show that these strategies could significantly reduce the spread of the virus by another 40 percent to 60 percent, she said,” the newspaper writes (Stein, 11/8).
Global Fund Delays Closing Date For Round 11 Applications, Says Disbursements May Not Be Available Until 2013
The Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria has delayed the closing date for applications for its next round of funding, reduced the estimated amount of money that will be available in that round, and potentially delayed the disbursement of the funds until 2013, PlusNews reports. “The delay in Round 11 funding was announced at the Fund’s latest board meeting on 26 September, the second such delay, which has pushed the application deadline back to at least 1 March 2012,” the news service notes.
Clinton Expected To Urge U.S., Other Countries To Intensify HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts In Speech On Tuesday
In a speech to be delivered at the NIH, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to call Tuesday for a new push by the U.S. and other countries to harness recent science to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” the Wall Street Journal reports. She is expected to call for preventive tools “to be widely implemented in countries where the pandemic continues to rage, and to ask donors to step up aid to intensify the response, according to people briefed on the speech,” the newspaper writes.
“South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization [WHO] to resume distribution of Seoul-funded medical aid to North Korea, amid growing calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children,” the New York Times reports (Sang-Hun, 11/8). “Seoul has authorized the WHO to release $6.94 million to equip hospitals in the North, said the official of the unification ministry, which handles cross-border ties,” Agence France-Presse writes. “Seoul decided to unblock its WHO funding ‘by taking into account its stance of maintaining its humanitarian aid for infants, children and other vulnerable people in the North, and the WHO’s request,’ [a South Korean] ministry official said on condition of anonymity,” AFP notes (11/8).
In his Foreign Policy column, “The Optimist,” Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, responds to a speech to G20 leaders last week by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in which he “suggested that a financial transactions tax, alongside additional taxes on tobacco and carbon, could be used to help rich countries meet a global target of committing 0.7 percent of GDP to development aid.” Kenny writes, “The outlook is particularly grim in the United States, where traditional aid is on the congressional chopping block,” but “[t]he good news is that the United States (and, for that matter, everyone else) could be doing a lot more for development without spending more money — and in some cases even saving it.”