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U.S. Must Embrace Competitive Election Process For World Bank Presidency To Support Kim’s Nomination

In this New York times opinion piece, Thomas Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics and development at the Council on Foreign Relations, comments on the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s nomination of Jim Yong Kim for the World Bank presidency, writing, “For the first time since the World Bank’s creation at the end of World War II, the United States is facing a real challenge over the bank’s leadership. Leaders of some developing and emerging economies have refused to support President Obama’s unexpected choice of Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, to lead the bank.” However, “[a]s the bank’s executive board prepares to vote on April 18, the Americans are likely to get their way, since an 85 percent supermajority of the bank’s voting shares are needed to appoint a president, and the United States is the largest shareholder,” he continues.

USAID Administrator Credits Reduction In Ethiopia’s Child Mortality Rate To Effective Use Of Aid

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah “says development assistance to Ethiopia’s health sector has helped save thousands of children’s lives in the past year,” VOA News reports, noting, “The progress came even as the Horn of Africa was hit by the worst drought in more than half a century.” “Twenty years ago, every fifth child died by the age of five. Today, 10 out of 11 make it past their fifth birthday,” the news service writes, noting, “Shah says the results are a credit to Ethiopia’s effective use of aid dollars.”

Analysis Examines Potential Global Health Impact Of Obama Administration’s FY13 Budget Request

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).

FEWS Network Warns Of ‘Significantly Below Average’ Rainfall During Horn Of Africa Growing Season

“Rain may be ‘significantly’ below average in the Horn of Africa’s main growing season, potentially threatening a region still recovering from famine in 2011, the Famine Early Warning Systems [FEWS] network reported” in a statement (.pdf) on its website on Tuesday, Bloomberg writes. “Rain from March through May in the region, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, is expected to begin late and amount to only 60 percent to 85 percent of average, the U.S.-funded provider of food-security warnings” said in the statement, according to Bloomberg (Ruitenberg, 4/4). “The report warned of ‘significant impacts on crop production, pasture regeneration, and the replenishment of water resources’ in a region that in 2011 suffered one of its worst drought-related food crises in decades,” IRIN reports (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.

Development Gains In Afghanistan Must Be Made Sustainable

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).

TB Survivors Speak At USAID World TB Day Event

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog summarizes an event hosted by USAID in late March to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day. The blog includes “brief profiles and pictures of some of the survivors featured in the event ‘Voices of TB.'” Andre Gariseb of Namibia, who was cured of TB in 2009, said at the event, “[TB] is a battle for everybody … As long as we share the same air it becomes everybody’s problem,” according to the blog (Mazzotta, 4/2).

International Community Urging Sudanese Government To Open Humanitarian Access To Southern Areas

Officials from the U.S., African Union and the international community “are working with Sudan’s government to open humanitarian access to” the country’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where refugees “fleeing fighting between local militia and government troops” have gathered and are in need of food aid, VOA News reports. The officials are asking “Khartoum to approve a plan for humanitarian corridors as more than 140,000 new refugees have left for South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia,” the news service writes, adding that Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, “said there are ways to get food aid into Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile without Khartoum’s consent, but they are inadequate to the need” (Stearns, 4/2). On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved by voice vote a resolution (.pdf) urging an end to cross-border conflict and “calling for ‘the government of Sudan to allow immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to South Kordofan, Blue Nile and all other conflict-affected areas of Sudan,'” Agence France-Presse reports (3/31).

U.S. Government Releases $120M In Emergency Assistance To Help Drought-Affected West African Countries

In a press statement released on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is “‘deeply concerned’ about the humanitarian situation in West Africa” and announced $120 million in emergency assistance, United Press International reports. According to the news service, the U.N. “estimates that more than 15 million people are facing food shortages and malnutrition due to a lingering drought” and “more than one million children are threatened” (3/30).

USAID Working To Help Millions Needing Food Aid In Africa’s Sahel Region

“This week, urgently needed food — 33,700 tons of sorghum from American farmers — will depart the United States for West Africa, as a part of the U.S. Government’s response to the drought in the Sahel,” Dina Esposito, director of the Office of Food for Peace, writes in this post in USAID’s “Impact” blog. She says that in addition to food aid, “USAID is also focusing on improving nutrition, increasing agricultural production, linking individuals to local markets through voucher programs, rehabilitating public infrastructure through cash-for-work schemes, and mitigating conflict, among other activities,” with the aim of “alleviat[ing] poverty and build[ing] community resilience to withstand future shocks” (3/30).