Inter Press Service examines how “[m]any NGOs, U.N. agencies and parliamentarians continue to call on governments around the world to do more for women’s reproductive rights” through development assistance. The article highlights remarks made by Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at a conference on development aid held in Paris this week, where she said development aid that benefits women can help “a society to grow and develop” and eventually allow nations to become less dependent on aid.
Programs, Funding & Financing
A new analysis from amfAR (.doc), The Foundation for AIDS Research, “estimates potential human impacts of funding changes [in global health programs] proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2013 budget request when compared to current operating budget levels (fiscal year 2012).” President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request includes a decrease in funding for PEPFAR and an increase in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to the analysis, which concludes, “Taken together, proposed changes in funding for the Global Fund and PEPFAR could lead to significant reductions in lifesaving AIDS treatment delivery, services to orphans and other vulnerable children, prevention of vertical HIV transmission (from mother-to-child) services, and HIV testing services that could otherwise have been delivered with flat funding for PEPFAR” (April 2012).
“Trade deals are threatening generic drugs — we need new ways to incentivize affordable drug development,” Daniele Dionisio, head of the research project Geopolitics, Public Health and Access to Medicines (GESPAM) and a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases, writes in this SciDev.Net opinion piece. “Just under three billion people live on less than $2 per day, in resource-limited countries where key medicines protected by patents are unaffordable,” he writes, adding, “Free-trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and governments adopting intellectual property (IP) policies that favor the brand pharmaceutical sector are also threatening the trade of legitimate generic medicines.”
In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson examines anti-malaria efforts in Zambia, writing, “Zambia has been the main test case for anti-malaria efforts during the last several years — a focus of funding by the U.S. government, the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” He continues, “Now the Anglican Church, international aid groups and philanthropists … are attempting to fill remaining gaps in bednet coverage in remote border areas.”
Blog Examines Coordinated Effort To Monitor Drug Procurement Through Global Fund Grants In Kyrgyzstan
“In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has benefited from a significant increase in international funding to improve health care,” but, “[d]espite this influx of international funding, many people in Kyrgyzstan are unable to get the lifesaving medicines that they need,” Madina Tokombaeva, director of the Harm Reduction Network (HRN) in Kyrgyzstan, and Maryam Beishenova, program coordinator at HRN, write in this Open Society Foundations blog post. The authors describe how, in 2010, “three Kyrgyz organizations working on HIV and health issues — the Harm Reduction Network, Partnership Network, and Unity of People Living with HIV — launched a coordinated effort to monitor and analyze the procurement and distribution of medicines purchased with Global Fund grants.” They recount a court victory in which they gained access to Ministry of Health records and conclude, “Civil society organizations have been energized and we are committed to ensure that government agencies and donors are transparent and efficient” (4/5).
U.S. Suspends $13M In Aid To Mali Following Coup; U.N. Security Council Expresses Concern Over Humanitarian Crisis In Mali, Sahel Region
“The United States is suspending at least $13 million of its roughly $140 million in annual aid to Mali following last month’s coup in the West African nation, the State Department said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports, noting the “suspension affects U.S. assistance for Mali’s ministry of health, public school construction and the government’s efforts to boost agricultural production.” According to the news agency, “U.S. law bars aid ‘to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.'” State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, “These are worthwhile programs that are now suspended because that aid goes directly to the government of Mali,” Reuters notes (4/5). France and the European Union also immediately suspended all but essential humanitarian aid to the country, according to the Associated Press/USA Today.
“A network of global health research training institutions will increasingly focus on the rising levels of chronic diseases in developing countries, the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center announced on Wednesday,” CQ HealthBeat reports (Bristol, 4/4). NIH will award “about $20.3 million … over the next five years to support 400 early-career health scientists on nearly year-long research fellowships in 27 low- and middle-income countries,” according to a press release from the Fogarty International Center. “Program trainees will study the traditional global health problems such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and maternal and child health, and will address the chronic non-communicable diseases that cause a majority of deaths in developing countries, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” the press release states (4/4).
Alex Thier, assistant to the administrator and director in the USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, writes about the agency’s new report, titled “USAID in Afghanistan: Partnership, Progress, Perseverance,” in this IMPACTblog post. “Afghanistan’s literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality statistics, as well as access to communications, electricity, and paved roads, were dismal” in 2002, but a decade later, “Afghanistan has shown incredible gains in health care, education, and economic growth,” Thier writes. The report “outlines these impacts in a transparent and frank accounting of the roughly $12 billion in civilian assistance that USAID has implemented in Afghanistan to date,” he notes. “But these gains are fragile,” he writes, adding, “We must cement the gains from this incredible investment, and make them sustainable” (4/4).
KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog reports on a “Diseases without Borders” forum held in Seattle on Tuesday at which Nils Daulaire, director of the Office of Global Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stressed that global health is a domestic issue. “‘Our only chance to keep Americans safe is if the systems for preventing, detecting and containing disease â€¦ also stretch across the globe,’ Daulaire said,” according to the blog, which notes, “Daulaire spent a significant amount of time explaining the policy interests of the Office of Global Affairs” (Stiffler, 4/4).
In this New York Times opinion piece, journalist Amy Yee examines the cost-effectiveness of and challenges to deworming treatment campaigns in the developing world, deworming campaigns in India and Kenya. She writes, “Intestinal worms are pervasive in the developing world and can have devastating effects. But there is growing awareness about how easy and inexpensive it is to treat worms, as well as surprising longer-term socioeconomic benefits. Research shows deworming to be extremely cost-effective.” Yee provides statistics from previous studies on the various benefits of deworming school-aged children and asks, “If giving deworming pills to schoolchildren is so easy and effective, why haven’t more large-scale programs taken off?”