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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.”

Singer Bono To Meet With Congressional, Obama Administration Officials To Urge Maintenance Of Development Aid

U2 lead singer and anti-poverty activist Bono is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with congressional lawmakers and senior Obama administration officials and urge them “to spare U.S. development assistance programs from cuts as Congress tries to avert the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ of tax hikes and spending reductions early next year,” Reuters reports. Kathy McKiernan, a spokesperson for the ONE Campaign, said Bono “will stress the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance programs and the need to preserve them to avoid putting at risk progress made in fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” according to the news service. On Monday, Bono participated in a panel discussion at Georgetown University, where he discussed the importance of social movements, and he is scheduled to meet with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday for a webcast discussion on poverty eradication, Reuters notes (Wroughton, 11/12). A webcast of the Georgetown presentation is available online (11/12).

‘Great Gains’ Made In Global Health But More Needs To Be Accomplished

Recent successes in increasing the treatment and decreasing the incidence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria, along with other global health advances, “is thanks to the hard work and cooperation of people from many different walks of life: politicians of all stripes, business leaders, grassroots activists, clergy, health workers, government agencies and many more,” Deborah Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in the Huffington Post “Impact” blog. She says the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been “[c]entral” to these developments, and the “U.S. government has been a crucial leader in supporting international health and the Global Fund.” She adds, “Sustained commitment will ensure more lifesaving success.” Derrick also recognizes the work of doctors and businesses.

New Issue Of GHD-NET’s Health & Foreign Policy Bulletin Available Online

The October 2012 issue (.pdf) of the Global Health Diplomacy Network’s (GHD-NET) Health & Foreign Policy Bulletin is now available online. Among other topics, the issue examines the “challenge of providing the public with actionable information during a pandemic,” discusses the integration of interventions on maternal mortality and HIV, looks at the impact of trade and investment treaties on public health in Asia, summarizes a political economy analysis for tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries, and highlights a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report outlining the U.S. Department of Defense’s global health work (October 2012).

USAID Announces Awards To 7 Universities To Help Innovate, Design Low-Cost Solutions To Health, Poverty, Conflict

“In a further move to bolster the role of science and technology in foreign aid, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) [on Thursday] announced major awards at seven universities in the United States and abroad to support ‘development labs’ that will design innovative, low-cost approaches to improving health and reducing poverty and conflicts,” ScienceInsider reports. The new program, called the Higher Education Solutions Network, is set to provide up to $130 million over five years, with the universities expected to provide at least a 60 percent match, according to the news service, which notes, “Each of the seven institutions will receive grants of up to $5 million a year for projects aimed at developing useful technologies” (Stokstad, 11/8).

USAID Unveils Plans To Harmonize Nutrition Efforts

“The U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] has unveiled plans to harmonize its funding and efforts surrounding nutrition,” Devex reports. “The agency is working on a comprehensive strategy that will make the issue a priority in ‘high-impact interventions’ with nutrition as a component, such as in agriculture, health and humanitarian aid, Robert Clay, deputy assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, announced Nov. 5 at an event hosted by the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network in Washington, D.C.,” the news service writes.

International Community Must Step Up Fight Against TB In Southern African Region

“With $2.5 trillion in mineral reserves, South Africa has the largest mining sector in the world,” but “[t]he work can be devastatingly toxic for the body,” with “inhumane and untenable” working conditions, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. “South Africa’s 500,000 mine workers have the highest recorded rate of [tuberculosis (TB)] among any demographic in the world,” he states, noting that cramped working and living conditions put them at an increased risk of the disease. Overall, “mine-associated TB gives rise to 760,000 new cases annually in Africa,” and “costs South Africa alone $886 million each year in health care costs and in impoverishment when family providers are too sick to work, or die,” according to a study conducted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tutu writes. Therefore, the 15 SADC nations this summer pledged to take “concrete steps” to fight the disease, he notes.