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UNITAID Urges India To Join Agency's Airline Tax Initiative

“Millions of the world’s poorest people could have easier access to life-saving drugs if India introduces an air ticket tax to help fund purchases of cheap medicines for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, a senior U.N. official said,” AlertNet/Reuters reports. “UNITAID, a U.N. agency which negotiates for cheap medicines from pharmaceutical manufacturers to treat deadly diseases, is lobbying countries such as India to join its air ticket levy initiative which began in 2006,” the news service writes.

USAID Warns Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen Being 'Overlooked,' Pledges Additional $6.5M In Aid

“The U.S. government aid agency on Tuesday warned that a humanitarian crisis in conflict-ridden Yemen was being ‘overlooked’ despite escalating to levels seen in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Five million people need urgent aid and five million more are facing food insecurity out of a population of 25 million people, [Nancy Lindborg, a USAID assistant administrator, told AFP in Rome after a visit to the country], adding that the crisis had been ‘exacerbated’ by conflict and a political transition,” AFP writes.

Blog Examines WHO Funding

In this globalhealthpolicy.net blog post, Andrew Harmer, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, examines funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), highlighting two documents circulated as background reading for the just-concluded World Health Assembly. The documents, titled A65/29 Add.1 (.pdf) and A65/30 (.pdf), “tell you how much…

International Community Should Focus On Resilience, Not Just Relief, In Response To Drought In Horn Of Africa

“Over the past year, 13.3 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia were thrown into crisis as a result of drought in the Horn of Africa, the worst in 60 years,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah writes in this Devex opinion piece. “Droughts cannot be prevented, but they can be predicted and mitigated thanks to investments in early warning systems, satellite technology and on-the-ground analysis,” he writes, adding, “By identifying those communities facing the gravest risks and strategically focusing our efforts, we can help them withstand crisis.”

Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund, on Tuesday published Issue 187 of its “Global Fund Observer.” The issue includes an article on an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on its audit of eight Global Fund grants in Kenya; an article examining how reprogramming existing grants can improve their impact; and commentary from Bernard Rivers, executive director of Aidspan, about the Round 2 grants in Kenya (6/5).

Targeted Financial Assistance Offers Middle Ground Between Arguments For And Against Higher Development Spending

In this post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog,” Bjorn Lomborg, author and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, examines the issue of foreign aid in this time of austerity, writing, “Targeted financial assistance offers a middle path between the arguments for and against higher development spending.” He adds, “A different way of focusing this spending would be to examine where we could do the most good … Instead of focusing on the issues that have the most vocal proponents or the most heart-wrenching pictures, looking at costs and benefits puts the focus on solutions that will do the most good for the least money.”

Growing Obesity In Developing Countries A Sign Of Historic Global Tipping Point

In this Bloomberg Businessweek opinion piece, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, examines the global obesity epidemic, writing, “It may seem strange to be worried about too much food when the United Nations suggests that, as the planet’s population continues to expand, about one billion people may still be undernourished,” but “[g]rowing obesity in poorer countries is a sign of a historic global tipping point.” He continues, “After millennia when the biggest food-related threat to humanity was the risk of having too little, the 21st century is one where the fear is having too much.”

Scientists Decode Genome Of Main Chagas Disease Vector

“An international team of scientists has decoded the genome of one of the main vectors of Chagas disease, paving the way for more targeted vector control and new ways to prevent disease transmission,” SciDev.Net reports. “Until now, scientists had only decoded the genome of the Chagas parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, but lacked genome information about the insect vectors,” the news service notes, adding, “[K]nowing the insect vector genomes should, in theory, improve control strategies through the development of traps, inhibitors of the Chagas parasite growth, and detection of insecticide resistance, among others.”

Policy Review Article Examines Need For 'Structural And Philosophical' Shift In Global Health Framework

In this article in “Policy Review,” a publication of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Mark Dybul, co-director of the Global Health Law Program and the inaugural global health fellow at the George W. Bush Institute; Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, discuss the need for “a structural and philosophical shift” in the global health field, writing, “As we approach the post-[Millennium Development Goal] era, now is the time for a new framework to establish an accelerated trajectory to achieve a healthy world.” The authors recount the history of global health work in recent years and outline several “conceptual foundations of a new era in global health and development.” They conclude, “That is an audacious vision, but the recent history of global health and a long history of great human achievements teach us that what seems impossible can be done” (6/1).

Zimbabwe's Successful PMTCT Efforts Serve As A 'Model' For Other Countries In Drive To Eliminate Pediatric AIDS

“Zimbabwe is one of the key countries to watch in the drive to eliminate pediatric AIDS in Africa,” Chip Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, adding, “Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its international partners — including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID), and most recently the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) — have helped turn the tide of the pandemic in children.” He writes, “In June 2011 at the United Nations, a Global Plan was introduced to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015,” and notes, “Zimbabwe was among the first of many countries to answer the call.”

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