The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a partnership to support new research and development (R&D) and production of new products for global health and agriculture, Agence France-Presse reports (10/26).
Programs, Funding & Financing
Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy at the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), and Khai Hoan Tram, an Allan Rosenfield Fellow at amfAR, write in this Huffington Post opinion piece that what’s missing from the discussion of foreign aid — which accounts for approximately one percent of the U.S. national budget — “is the fact that [it] is actually used to aid those in need while advancing our country’s humanitarian and diplomatic goals. And it’s working.”
In this post in PBS NewsHour’s blog “The Rundown,” senior correspondent Ray Suarez reports on his time in Nicaragua with the NewsHour’s global health unit for the national rollout of a pneumococcal pneumonia immunization campaign. The vaccine cost $100 per dose when it came to market in the last several years, Suarez notes, writing, “At that price, Nicaragua certainly couldn’t pay to vaccinate all its children. The GAVI Alliance, formed as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, worked to find a way to close that yawning gap between great danger to children and a life-saving medicine, between deep poverty in Nicaragua and Pfizer’s high costs.”
Disconnecting Global AIDS From Reproductive Health Stalled Efforts to Expand Family Planning Services, UNFPA Head Says
Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPFA), said in an interview with the Guardian that “efforts to expand family planning services in the developing world stalled for a decade while global health organizations turned their energies to fighting HIV/AIDS. ‘We made a mistake. We disconnected HIV from reproductive health. We should never have done that because it is part and parcel,’ he said.” The newspaper adds, “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health.”
Addressing Barriers To Successful Immunization Programs Important While Vaccine Development Progresses
Immunizations can be a cost-effective means of disease prevention, but “[t]o reach the fully realized stage of cost-effectiveness, … it is vital to acknowledge — and more importantly, address — the barriers that often prevent them from either being as cheap or as widely used as needed,” Forbes contributor Sarika Bansal writes in a Forbes opinion piece. She cites costs associated with vaccines, such as shipping and refrigeration; time and monetary commitments from potential vaccine recipients; a lack of medical professionals in rural areas; and the implementation of public awareness campaigns as barriers to successful immunization campaigns.
A study published Wednesday in the Journal of the International AIDS Society assessed how the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “investments in HIV programs were targeted to key populations in relation to disease burden and national income,” concluding, “There has been a sustained scale up of the Global…
A new report from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) “has concluded that the major obstacle to eradication is not political or scientific or monetary, but something seemingly mundane — bad management,” health reporter Andre Picard writes in his Globe and Mail column, adding that “the panel offers concrete proposals for what needs to be done to close the deal.” He continues, “The fundamental problem though, according to the expert panel, is that the global eradication effort is overeager to celebrate the successes (like India) and ignore the failures (like Pakistan).”
Speaking at a World Food Programme (WFP) awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. “is increasing food aid to drought-hit and strife-torn Horn of Africa nations where millions of people are at risk of starvation and malnutrition,” Reuters reports (Allen, 10/24).
Pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co. is expected to announce on Tuesday it “is pledging $30 million to help fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis [MDR-TB] in developing countries, a disease that kills more than 150,000 people a year,” according to the Indianapolis Star. The funds, part of the company’s eight-year-old, $165 million Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, will help to “provide training for nurses, doctors and community volunteers; conduct studies on how to combat the disease; and provide access to medicines,” the newspaper notes. The campaign will focus on China, India, Russia and South Africa, “the four countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB, Lilly said,” the Indianapolis Star writes (10/25).
With the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial results showing “moderate” success, helping to reignite “optimism about eradicating malaria entirely,” “there are other big hurdles still to surmount,” a New York Times editorial states. “There are hints that the protection may wane over time and results from administering a booster shot won’t be known until 2014,” and side effects could be a concern, the editorial writes.