“The U.S. government is the largest funder of global health research and development [R&D] in the world, spending $12.7 billion over the past 10 years,” according to a report (.pdf) released by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) and Policy Cures on Friday, United Press International reports. The report, titled “Saving Lives and Creating Impact: Why investing in global health research works,” “found each year the U.S. government provided around 45 percent of the total global investment and 70 percent of all government investment worldwide in global health research and development,” the news service writes. “The U.S. funding helped lead to the development of more than half of the 45 new health products — including vaccines, drugs, diagnostics — in the last decade that have been used to save lives around the world, the report said,” according to UPI.
Programs, Funding & Financing
“Although coming off a rocky year in 2011, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is ‘not in crisis,'” Inter Press Service reports, referring to comments made by the organization’s deputy general manager, Debrework Zewdie, at a roundtable hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday. Zewdie noted the resumption of commitments to the fund from bilateral donors, despite the international economic crisis and last year’s allegations of mismanagement, the news service adds.
Youth Facing Greater Health Risks Today Than In Past; Those In Developing World Face Increasing Challenges, Lancet Series Suggests
“Young people today face greater risks to their physical and mental health than generations past, new research has found, with adolescents in the developing world rapidly acquiring the unhealthy habits of their wealthier counterparts,” the Financial Times reports. A series of studies published on Wednesday in the Lancet “present a general portrait of increasing hazard due to drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, violence and inadequate employment opportunities,” the newspaper writes (Rowland, 4/25). Decreasing child mortality rates have led “to the largest generation of adolescents in history: 1.2 billion to be exact,” CNN’s “The Chart” blog notes, adding, “As many of those teens face poverty, natural disasters and wars in addition to overwhelming physical and emotional changes, researchers worry about the lack of available health resources” (4/24).
“To commemorate World Malaria Day, top malaria researchers came together Wednesday to present their work at a research and development event on Capitol Hill, hosted by Malaria No More,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “Representatives from 20 academic and research organizations discussed the contributions American private companies, universities, and research institutions are making to the fight against malaria through” research and development, the blog writes, noting, “Researchers at the briefing celebrated achievements made so far but warned that malaria remains a huge public health hazard” (Aziz, 4/26).
Wednesday, April 25, marked World Malaria Day, which this year had the theme “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” The following opinion pieces address the fight against malaria.
U.S. Government Made ‘Strong Progress’ In Fight Against World Hunger, But Much Remains To Be Done, Report Says
According to the 2012 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development, released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Thursday, “[t]he U.S. government risks losing the gains it has made in fighting world hunger unless it maintains its effort of the last three years in improving global agricultural practices and food security,” Reuters reports. The council’s “Global Agricultural Development Initiative evaluated the U.S. government and agencies for their leadership in global agricultural development,” and “examined the impact the efforts from Washington had in Ethiopia, Ghana and Bangladesh,” the news service writes.
Nature Outlook examines the fight against malaria in Uganda. “Uganda’s tragic failure to abate malaria has numerous political, geographic, economic and social factors — and illustrates the reality that it takes more than scientific breakthroughs and cheap drugs to solve this persistent menace,” according to the article. Nature describes how a primarily rural population, “[f]unding bottlenecks, inefficient procurement processes, transportation problems,” drug stock-outs, and a lack of health care workers affects access to care and treatment for malaria, as well as how aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and other donors is supporting programs to build sustainable solutions to fighting the disease (Newmen, 4/25).
“[T]he newly appointed temporary General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo and his team has moved forward to ‘transform’ the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] with considerable speed and deftness, restoring confidence among bilateral donors (such as Japan and several others) and country recipients as well as improving morale among the Fund’s staff,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. She explores some of the changes at the Global Fund and how “these changes help the Fund to achieve better health outcomes.” Fan writes, “In particular, I am very encouraged about the prospect of two changes: (1) the creation of a new Division called ‘Strategic Investment and Impact Evaluation’ which will shape the optimal portfolio of investments by country and disease …, and (2) the creation of new committees for each disease (AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria) that will meet monthly” (4/25).
“Southern African governments could use public spending in their battle against the extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS in their countries and still achieve a positive economic impact, argues a new paper [.pdf] from the African Development Bank (AfDB),” an AfDB press release states. The paper, titled “The Role of Fiscal Policy in Tackling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Southern Africa,” examines the cases of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, which have the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world, and says these countries could increase productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) through “[g]overnment fiscal action on HIV/AIDS treatment,” according to the press release. “Acting optimally, the debt burden of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland could be alleviated by five percent, one percent and 13 percent of GDP respectively, says the report,” the press release states (4/25).
“On April 25, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for a major address on the future of U.S. foreign policy,” according to an event summary on the organization’s website. “Senator Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, examined whether U.S. global leadership is sustainable and even necessary in the 21st century” and “explored what Americans need to do at this juncture, abroad and at home, to adapt and prepare for the changing international environment in the years ahead,” the summary states (4/26). “Millions of human beings are alive today because the United States, and others in the global community, are paying for their antiviral medication. … We need to continue this kind of foreign aid investment, not just in PEPFAR, but in malaria control and vaccine programs and in agriculture initiatives so that we can make similar strides in preventing hunger and establishing a healthy global community,” he said, according to a speech transcript (.pdf) (4/25).