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USAID To Triple Financial Support For PAHO/WHO Regional TB Program

According to a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO joint press release, USAID “has tripled its financial support for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Regional Tuberculosis Program, which seeks to prevent 15,000 deaths from tuberculosis in Latin America and the Caribbean over the next five years and reduce the incidence of this disease.” The press release notes the commitment “increases a previous $5 million USAID/PAHO agreement, signed in November 2011 to strengthen programs for tuberculosis, maternal and neonatal health, and health systems in the region over the course of a three-year period, to a total of $8.9 million.” The press release states that $5.1 million is earmarked for the tuberculosis program, “up from an originally expected investment of $1.5 million” (10/31).

Blog Series On Global AIDS Blueprint Interviews NIH Investigator

As part of its “Blueprint” series discussing the creation of a U.S. global AIDS blueprint called for by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog features an interview with Rochelle Walensky, a member of the Cost-effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC) and of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the NIH/DHS Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. According to the transcript, she discusses the key elements she feels should be a part of the blueprint, notes the interventions she feels would be critical components of a combination prevention package, and examines the role research should play in the blueprint, among other topics (Barton, 11/1).

Frist, Richardson Emphasize Importance Of Foreign Aid In Moderated Discussion

The Global Washington blog summarizes a discussion about the role of U.S. foreign aid that took place last week in Columbus, Ohio, between former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.). While the discussion, convened by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and moderated by Ohio Public Radio and Television Bureau Chief Karen Kasler, focused on the future role of Ohio in global development, Frist said humanitarian aid is an important component of U.S. foreign policy and “encouraged the audience to see U.S. policies as ‘replacing desperation and disease and poverty with health and hope and opportunity,'” according to the blog. “Senator Frist and Governor Richardson were emphatically positive about the future of U.S. foreign aid, and both encouraged the audience to keep up with global health and business developments over the next few months,” the blog notes (Jensen-Clem, 11/1).

Reflecting On U.S. Military’s Contribution To Global AIDS Response

“As we look forward to World AIDS Day this year, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come in the battle against HIV and how effectively U.S. government agencies continue to work collaboratively towards an AIDS-free generation,” Richard Shaffer, director of the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, writes in the AIDS.gov blog. “At the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) we support HIV prevention programs around the world — in 70 countries — providing and expanding HIV prevention, care, and treatment support for active-duty military personnel, dependent family members and surrounding civilian communities,” Shaffer notes and provides a recap of the program’s work since its inception (11/27).

AVAC Report Calls For Greater Access To Combination Prevention Strategies, Protection Of Research Funding

AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention on Tuesday “released its annual report that calls for an ambitious pace of funding, implementation, and research,” VOA News reports, noting the report, titled “Achieving the End: One Year and Counting,” “calls for a three-part agenda for ending AIDS: Deliver, Demonstrate, and Develop” (DeCapua, 11/27). The report’s recommendations “address urgent, unresolved challenges that threaten the delivery of powerful new HIV prevention methods that could help dramatically reduce the 2.5 million new HIV infections that occur worldwide every year,” an AVAC press release states, continuing, “They include critical actions to speed access to HIV treatment, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and to safeguard vital new research on vaccines, microbicides, other HIV prevention options and a cure.” According to the press release, AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren said, “Right now, the world isn’t moving as fast as it should be to begin ending the epidemic. There is still time to get back on a winning pace but only with focused, aggressive action now. This can be the year that HIV prevention begins to achieve its potential — in fact, it has to be” (11/27).

Nude Activists Enter House Speaker’s Office To Protest Potential AIDS Spending Cuts

“At least seven nude protesters stormed House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office in the Longworth House Office Building on Tuesday, according to reports from Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo and others who were there,” the Huffington Post reports (Klapper, 11/27). “The activists were protesting proposed budget cuts to AIDS funding that could be included in the looming fiscal cliff,” MSNBC’s “The Last Word” writes, adding, “They painted their bodies with slogans, such as ‘AIDS cuts kill’ and ‘Fund PEPFAR'” (Godburn, 11/27). The protesters are “members of the group ACT UP — which saw its heyday in the 1980s,” the New York Times’ “Debt Reckoning” notes (Weisman, 11/27).

Disclosure Of PEPFAR Data Would Improve Program’s Efficiency, Quality, Accountability

The U.S. government, and in particular U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, the head of PEPFAR, “have a unique opportunity to make [the program’s] money stretch farther and do more good, at very little cost to U.S. taxpayers: release the reams of data that PEPFAR and its contractors have already collected, at substantial cost — perhaps as much as $500 million each year,” Mead Over, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in the Center’s “Global Health Policy” blog. “This would be a first step in what I hope will be [a] 2013 drive to improve the efficiency, the quality and the accountability of the U.S.’s most frequently praised foreign assistance program,” he states. Over goes on to describe the Data Working Group and its recommendations to PEPFAR (11/13).

Money Spent On Presidential Campaigns Could Go Far In Fighting NTDs

Noting that an estimated $2 billion was spent on the U.S. presidential campaigns, Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, writes in the Huffington Post “Healthy Living” blog, “Many of us in the global health community can only look upon that $2 billion figure in awe because of the potential for those dollars to be repurposed to immediately and dramatically improve the lives of the poorest people who suffer from disease.” Hotez says neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) “are the most pervasive and common infections of the world’s poorest people” and “not only impair health but actually trap people in poverty.” He says the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases can provide pharmaceutical “rapid impact packages” that “can control or even eliminate many of these diseases as public health problems … for as little as 50 cents per person per year, making NTD treatments one of the world’s most cost-effective public health interventions.”

Demand Growing For Female Condoms Despite Myths

Mary Beth Hastings, vice president of the Center for Health and Gender Equality (CHANGE), writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog that despite “the pervasive myth that no one wants female condoms,” “[d]emand is increasing because female condoms provide men and women with something they want: more options when it comes to protecting themselves.” USAID officials “were surprised to hear evidence of an unmet demand for female condoms,” Hastings says, adding, “[W]hen presented with evidence to the contrary, USAID started talking with different institutions about meeting the demand.” She continues, “To its credit, the U.S. government is a global leader on female condoms. But there is still room for improvement.”

President Barack Obama Re-Elected For Second Term

“Barack Obama was elected to a second presidential term Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney,” the Washington Post reports (Farenthold, 11/6). Reuters writes, “President Barack Obama returns from the campaign trail on Wednesday with little time to savor victory, facing urgent economic and fiscal challenges and a still-divided Congress capable of blocking his every move” (Holland/Spetalnick, 11/7). “The president’s second-term foreign policy agenda … looks set to largely build on what he’s already begun,” The Atlantic states (Maher, 11/7). “Obama faces the departure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she isn’t planning to serve in a second Obama term,” Bloomberg/San Francisco Chronicle notes. The news service adds that some officials speculate the “leading candidates to succeed Clinton as secretary of state may be Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice” (Nichols, 11/7).