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WHO Addresses Handling Of H1N1 At Council Of Europe Meeting

During a Council of Europe meeting on Tuesday to address the WHO’s handling of the H1N1 virus, the WHO said it had not “fallen under the sway of drugs firms and exaggerated the dangers of the H1N1 flu virus, but said it might have handled the crisis better,” Reuters reports. “Critics say the WHO relied too much on advice from advisers in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry, triggering an internal review by the WHO and an inquiry by the Council of Europe, a pan European human rights watchdog,” writes the news service (Reilhac, 1/26).

Report Highlights Challenges Facing Obama In Africa

A new report highlights challenges facing the Obama administration in Africa, including HIV/AIDS, poverty and climate change, VOA News reports. The report, published jointly by Africa Action and Foreign Policy in Focus, notes despite the recent success of programs such as PEPFAR, funding for the program has not increased at levels seen in previous years, the news service writes.

Twenty Nations Meet In Montreal To Discuss Haiti Recovery; Haitian Officials Increase Port-Au-Prince Death Toll Estimate

Officials from 20 countries are meeting in Montreal, Canada, Monday “to discuss long-term reconstruction and arrangements for a donor conference to be held in March,” the U.N. said, Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (Gaouette/Craze, 1/25). “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and others will examine eventual debt forgiveness and” a strategy for rebuilding Haiti at the one-day gathering, according to Reuters (Palmer, 1/25).

Also In Global Health News: Bangladesh MDGs Progress; USAID In Indonesia; Disease In Darfur

Report Measures Bangladesh’s MDG Progress A report by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF shows the country “has made a good progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) even though there are big disparities in education, child and maternal health among its 64 districts,” the New Nation reports.  In…

Activists Criticize President Obama For Not Confirming Attendance At AIDS 2012 Conference

“Activists are reigniting their attacks against President Obama’s record on battling AIDS ahead of the International AIDS Conference in Washington later this month,” The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog reports. “Two weeks before the conference of 20,000 leading researchers, patients and advocates, the administration has yet to confirm Obama’s attendance,” the blog writes, noting “the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in a teleconference with reporters on Monday said Obama shouldn’t bother showing up unless he’s going to pledge a renewed commitment to the international fight against AIDS.” In 2009, Obama lifted a ban that prevented people living with HIV to enter the U.S., allowing the conference to be held in the country for the first time in 22 years, the blog notes.

Blog Posts Respond To GHI Office Closure

In a joint message released by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, CDC Director Thomas Frieden, and Global Health Initiative (GHI) Executive Director Lois Quam last Tuesday, the Obama administration announced the closure of the GHI office, writing that the office’s work is being “elevated” to the State Department’s new Office of Global Health Diplomacy. The following are summaries of three blog posts published on Monday in response to this announcement.

'Conversations With America' Series To Feature Discussion On Global Health In Transition

The State Department’s “Conversations with America” series will soon feature for on-demand viewing a discussion titled “Global Health in Transition.” Lois Quam, executive director of the Global Health Initiative, Jennifer Kates, vice president and director for Global Health and HIV Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, will discuss the topic with Cheryl Benton, deputy assistant secretary of State for public affairs, acting as moderator. The public is invited to submit questions for consideration by July 11 on DipNote, and join the ongoing discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #GlobalHealth (7/9).

Cutting Funding For International Food Aid 'Not The Best Answer' To Saving Money In U.S. Budget

In order to “fill food gaps in the 70 most food deficient countries, … the U.S., through the Food for Peace program and other food aid programs, provides approximately two million tons of American-grown food donations to 50 million starving people every year,” James Henry, chair of USA Maritime, writes in an opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” He continues, “This food, delivered on ships proudly flying the U.S. flag in bags stamped ‘From the American People,’ provides a tangible symbol of our generosity that helps generate goodwill toward our nation,” and “we all should agree that our willingness to help others in need is one of our country’s proudest achievements.” Henry writes that though food aid programs account for less than one half of one percent of the federal budget and “impact the lives of millions of hungry people around the world every year,” they “are in jeopardy as some policymakers are considering eliminating funding for international food aid.”

GHTC Blog Reviews Recent Congressional Actions With Global Health Implications

In this post on the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog, GHTC Senior Policy Associate Ashley Bennett reviews recent action “on the federal budget and other pieces of legislation that could have implications for global health research and development (R&D)” and discusses “what the next several weeks could bring.” She says that the Supreme Court’s Friday decision on the Affordable Care Act, “as well as the rapidly heightening politics surrounding the presidential campaign, could affect progress on finalizing a FY 2013 budget and securing a deal to avoid total sequestration,” and she concludes, “With everything that Congress needs to complete before the end of the calendar year, we may know the election result before we know next year’s final funding levels for key global health R&D programs” (6/28).

'Saving Mothers, Giving Life' Initiative Aims To Reduce Maternal Mortality

In this post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, reports on the “Saving Mothers, Giving Life” (Saving Mothers) initiative, launched by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a health conference in Norway in June. “A partnership between the Government of Norway, Merck for Mothers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, U.S. Global Health Initiative (GHI), and Every Mother Counts, ‘Saving Mothers’ was forged to help reduce maternal mortality in countries that experience extremely high rates of maternal deaths,” she writes, adding, “Providing $200 million in financial and in-kind resources, ‘Savings Mothers’ will push to reduce maternal deaths by up to 50 percent in country districts where maternal mortality is highest” (6/29).