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Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Global Health Policy Tracker

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Global Health Policy Tracker has been updated to include a simpler, streamlined format to help users find and track the latest developments on U.S. global health policy issues, according to a press release. Recent updates address the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY12,…

Obama Administration Issues New Guidance On Aid To Drought-Stricken Somalia

The Obama administration on Tuesday issued new guidance stating “the U.S. would not prosecute relief agencies for delivering aid to parts of Somalia controlled by the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab, despite concerns that unrestricted aid in the failed state would be diverted to the wrong hands,” Inter Press Service reports (Hough, 8/2).

U.S., Western Governments Can Help Prevent 'Mass Starvation' In Somalia

With the State Department’s reassurance to aid groups on Tuesday that they “will not face prosecution if they are forced to pay bribes to al-Shabab or if militants divert some food supplies,” organizations still have “the problem of gaining access to famine victims and ensuring the safety of their personnel, a number of whom have been murdered by the militants,” a Washington Post editorial says. “But the crisis may be causing al-Shabab’s cohesion to break down; some commanders have been cutting deals with aid organizations to receive food supplies,” the editorial states.

GlobalPost Interviews USAID Officials About Family Planning, Funding

GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog features an interview with Ellen Starbird, deputy director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID, and Judy Manning, health development officer in USAID’s Research, Technology and Utilization Division, who discuss “family planning and reproductive health issues, including new innovations and promising technologies still in the research stage.” Starbird says that funding for family planning programs is critical for “making possible for women in the developing world the kinds of choices that women all over the developed world have” (Donnelly, 8/1).

Cutting Foreign Aid Is Shortsighted Solution To U.S. Budget Woes

“Haggling in Congress over bills to fund the state department and foreign operations in 2012 are worrying for those of us seeking to address global poverty and climate change, and respond to famine and other disasters,” Samuel Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”

Global Democracy Promotion Act 'Would Help Keep Ideology In Check'

The Global Democracy Promotion Act (.pdf), recently introduced in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), “would bar the use of U.S. foreign aid to restrict people’s liberty … [and] says that organizations accepting U.S. assistance cannot be forced to quash perfectly legal activities in return,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Latanya Mapp Frett writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece. She says the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent vote to reinstate and expand the so-called “global gag rule” would “foste[r] unintended pregnancy, increasing the need for abortion and endangering women’s health.”