The June/July issue of USAID’s “Frontlines” focuses on the agency’s efforts to improve child survival and its portfolio of projects in Ethiopia, according to an overview of the issue in USAID’s “IMPACTblog.” In his “Insights” column, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah writes, “Over the past decade, we’ve made tremendous strides to reduce child mortality across the world, thanks in large part to the scaled up distribution of proven interventions and new technologies that are making it easier to reach and save more children,” noting, “In Ethiopia, where families have had to contend with one of the highest rates of infant and child mortality in the world, we’ve seen a dramatic and rapid decline” (Rucker, 5/17).
US Global Health Policy
House Appropriations Committee Releases Draft Report On FY13 State, Foreign Operations Spending Bill
The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the FY 2013 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill on Thursday, The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog reports (Pecquet, 5/17). On Wednesday, the committee released the State and Foreign Operations Draft Committee Report (.pdf), which provides additional information on funding through the appropriations bill for U.S. global health programs at USAID and the State Department, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker. “This funding comprises a significant portion of the Global Health Initiative budget (total funding for the GHI is not currently available as some funding provided through USAID, HHS, and DoD are not yet available),” the website writes. The House Appropriations State and Foreign Affairs subcommittee released the draft bill on May 8 and approved it on May 9, according to the website.
Proposed FY13 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Has 'Mixed Results' For USAID's Global Health Programs
“On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on a State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2013, which will include funding levels for global health and other programs at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),” Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) writes in the coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog. “Overall, the subcommittee’s bill had mixed results for global health and other programs at USAID: while some programs were sustained at FY 2012 levels, others saw significant budget cuts that will affect the agency’s efforts worldwide,” Bennett says, concluding, “As the House Appropriations Committee votes on the SFOPS bill on Thursday and the budget process continues, Congress will have to decide whether it should boldly support USAID’s goal of developing new health tools — tools that are projected to save millions of lives — or withdraw this support and risk halting scientific advancement in its tracks” (5/16).
ONE Blog interviews Ambassador Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator at USAID, about the upcoming G8 Summit. Steinberg discusses the importance of growth in the agricultural sector for food security, how the upcoming summit’s food security and nutrition focus relates back to the commitments made at the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, and what it will take in the years ahead to advance food and nutrition security, according to the blog (5/16).
A recent randomized trial by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers looking at how well clean cookstoves worked in real-world settings found that while there was “a meaningful reduction in smoke inhalation in the first year after a stove was installed, … [o]ver a longer period … they saw no health benefits and no reduction in fuel use” because families did not maintain or repair broken stoves, a Bloomberg editorial notes, adding, “This doesn’t suggest the clean cookstove campaign should be abandoned so much as slowed down. It would be wise to test various designs in real-life settings, and, where necessary, take more time to human-proof models.”
“[A] new and complementary agreement between Liberia and USAID, called the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA),” is “quite revolutionary,” Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Jacob Hughes, write in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. They note a recent working paper they authored with Walter Gwenigale in which they “describe Liberia’s unique experience in pooling donor funds for health in a post-conflict setting, with good results.” They ask why USAID did not make payments directly into the Health Sector Pool Fund mechanism, stating, “The FARA contribution to the pool could have created complementary, virtuous incentives to achieve the pool fund results as efficiently as possible, which would be a credit to the government and all the participating donors, and would set a precedent for USAID to participate in pooling in other countries” (5/11).
“In the last 20 years, the world has saved more than 50 million children’s lives and reduced maternal mortality by one-third,” “accomplishments [that] have been the result of good science, good management, bipartisan political support, the engagement of USAID and many other U.S. Government agencies, and the participation of faith-based organizations, civil society, and the private sector,” according to a summary of USAID’s “Global Health and Child Survival: Progress Report to Congress 2010-2011.” The summary states, “With prospects for ending preventable child and maternal deaths, creating an AIDS-free generation, and laying the foundations for universal health coverage, future generations will look back at this period as a turning point in the history of global health” (5/10).
International AIDS Conference To Highlight International, Domestic U.S. AIDS Policies, Politico Reports
When the International AIDS Conference convenes in Washington in July, the first time the U.S. will host the conference in more than 20 years, “it will signal that the U.S. has brought its HIV policies into better alignment with the principles it advocates abroad,” Politico reports, referencing the lifting of the “Helms rule” — which denied U.S. visas to people who are HIV positive — in 2009. “The policy was especially painful to advocates because U.S. scientific and financial investments are largely responsible for stemming the tide of the epidemic around the world,” the news service writes. “But the meeting will also highlight other ways that the U.S. has fallen short, advocates say,” the news service writes, noting that the U.S. epidemic is not slowing. Politico discusses the successes and criticisms of several domestic HIV/AIDS initiatives under the Obama administration (Feder, 5/13).
In a post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), discusses USAID’s “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign and several MSH programs working to improve child survival. He writes, “Expanding access to quality health care closer to the home will improve child survival in low-income countries. Training and certifying rural medicine dispensers at a national scale, and providing community-based care by community health workers, will help empower rural communities and improve the health of children in these resource-poor areas. Through these cost-effective, high-impact interventions closer to the home, we can accelerate the reduction in child mortality and save millions of lives” (5/10).
Leading up to Mother’s Day on May 13, the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” section, in partnership with Mothers Day Every Day, an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance and CARE, is publishing opinion pieces from a diverse group of people. The following are summaries of two of those opinion pieces.