In this post in State Department’s “DipNote” blog, Paul Weisenfeld, assistant to the administrator of the USAID Bureau of Food Security, writes of the new film “The Hunger Games,” “I was struck by how much the premise relates to the very heart of what we are trying to address at USAID and through Feed the Future.” He continues, “Among other themes, the book touches on the fundamental right everyone should have: access to food,” and concludes that the movie is “an entry point for discussion and engagement on a very real issue based on an incredible pop culture success. If it gets people talking about hunger, the need for political will and access to resources, the consequences of inaction, and the transformative power of our collective commitment, that — for me — is a success beyond any box office record the film might set” (3/22).
US Global Health Policy
Several blog posts recently commented on the upcoming World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, commemorated on March 24. “Despite a clear legislative mandate, the U.S. Global Health Initiative (GHI) has consistently failed to live up to the goals of” the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria Reauthorization Act, a landmark legislation passed by Congress in 2008, John Fawcett, legislative director for RESULTS, writes in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog. He continues, “Current GHI TB treatment goals are less than 60 percent of what was mandated in the Lantos-Hyde Act,” and concludes, “As the final authorized fiscal year of the Lantos-Hyde Act is debated, there’s still time to embrace its mandate: a bold effort to confront the worldâ€™s leading curable infectious killer” (Mazzotta, 3/22). “As people across the globe celebrate World TB Day this week, several groups are highlighting the fact that the current tools to prevent, test, and treat tuberculosis (TB) are greatly outdated,” Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), writes in the GHTC “Breakthroughs” blog. She commends GHTC members for their efforts to develop new technologies (3/22).
USAID Administrator Shah Addresses Agency’s FY13 Budget Proposal At House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing
Speaking Tuesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said USAID’s FY 2013 budget proposal “is slightly lower than last year,” but that “future U.S. foreign aid investments will be more ‘prioritized, focused and concentrated,'” and he “promised that U.S. aid will still be able to meet global development challenges,” VOA’s “Breaking News” blog reports (3/21). “While foreign assistance represents less than one percent of our budget, we are committed to improving our efficiency and maximizing the value of every dollar,” Shah said, according to a transcript of his testimony. Shah outlined how the “budget prioritizes our USAID Forward suite of reforms,” noting efforts in the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future programs, among others, according to his speech (3/20).
In this post in the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health’s (MLI) “Leading Global Health” blog, MLI Director Rosann Wisman examines how a new, country-led development approach under the Global Health Initiative (GHI) — which focuses on “[funding] the priorities of developing countries rather than solely the priorities of the donors” — is “gaining steam.” She writes, “I believe there are two reasons for this. One is that developing countries, having gained a foothold in funding their own priorities, are showing stronger results when they are in the driver’s seat. Second, the tough economic times have caused several developing countries to internally face up to a key question: What do we do if our traditional donors no longer support our health programs?” (3/20).
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves “launched a campaign in Nigeria on Tuesday aimed at preventing deaths due to toxic smoke from rudimentary cookstoves, one of the developing world’s worst public health threats,” Agence France-Presse reports. In Nigeria, “an estimated 95,000 people die each year due to such toxic smoke, the highest number of deaths on the continent,” the news service writes, adding the new Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will aim to distribute “10 million clean cookstoves by 2020, beginning with half a million within the next 12 months.” According to AFP, “U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley said his government has committed up to $105 million over the next five years for the project” (3/20).
“Africa has the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with 48 percent of all global maternal deaths occurring in this region,” Jotham Musinguzi, regional director of the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda, writes in an Independent opinion piece. But “[i]f we provide girls, women and their partners with family planning information and services we can empower them to decide the number, timing and spacing of their children — and whether they want to become pregnant at all,” he states, adding, “Intended pregnancies are safer and healthier pregnancies.”
In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” guest blogger Joanna Breitstein, director of communications for the TB Alliance, describes an event organized by the Critical Paths to TB Drug Regimens that took place on Monday, “heralding the launch of a new clinical trial that tests tuberculosis drugs in combination.” During the event, “Robert Clay, deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Global Health Bureau, said that he wants researchers and those who oversee programs in countries to work more closely together,” she writes. A link to video of Clay’s comments is included in the blog (3/20).
USAID’s website features a page dedicated to World TB Day, which will be commemorated on March 24. The page lists information on upcoming events, as well as links to several reports, such as the FY2010 Report to Congress on the Global TB Context (.pdf), stories, and features (3/19).
In this post in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, Alyce Ahn, a foreign affairs officer in the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Office of Anticrime Programs, writes about the U.S. delegation’s participation last week in the 55th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). She outlines the delegation’s work at the conference, concluding, “We’re already beginning to see operational results from the CND. One country noted that, in response to a resolution, it plans to look into using a life-saving drug that can help prevent deaths from overdose. For its part, the United States looks forward to working with other states, as well as [the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)], in various joint projects and regional counter-narcotics initiatives addressed in the resolutions” (3/19).
“For the past two weeks, the buzz in Washington, D.C., and at the White House is all about women and girls,” Roxana Rogers, director of the USAID Office of HIV/AIDS, writes in this “IMPACTblog” post. She highlights a recently announced initiative, funded through PEPFAR, “to help local communities and grassroots organizations fight HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence [GBV].” Rogers continues, “Partnerships between U.S. agencies, civil society, private corporations, and international institutions are key to tackling these issues,” and describes several USAID-supported programs working to address HIV/AIDS and GBV (3/15).