Neil Boothby, U.S. government special adviser and senior coordinator to the USAID administrator on children in adversity, writes in a USAID “IMPACTblog” post that the international community has scientific evidence and empirical data “that sho[w] investments made early in the lives of children yield greater returns than at any other point in the life cycle.” Noting the June launch of the Child Survival Call to Action, Boothby writes, “As an important follow on to this global effort, this week the first-ever U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity (.pdf) will be released.” He continues, “With significant investments in international development, the technical expertise and research capabilities embedded within key agencies, and diplomatic outreach, the U.S. government is well positioned to lead and mobilize around this sensible and strategic global agenda for children in adversity — children who face poverty, live on the streets or in institutions, are exploited for their labor or sex, recruited into armed groups, affected by HIV/AIDS, or separated from their families as a result of conflict or disaster” (12/17).
US Global Health Policy
Noting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator “Ambassador Eric Goosby has been selected to head the U.S. Department of State’s new Office of Global Health Diplomacy, officially turning the page in the ongoing saga of the program formally known as the Global Health Initiative (GHI),” Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in the center’s “Global Health Policy” blog that the appointment “stirred many of the same questions and concerns that arose from the GHI death notice and left me wondering: is this news a Christmas miracle or a lump of coal for U.S. global health programs?” In the joint post with Jenny Ottenhoff, policy outreach associate at the CGD, Glassman discusses her thoughts on how “a global health ambassador could prove a ‘value add’ to the U.S. global health architecture” and her “fear that ambassadorial leadership and increased diplomacy on their own are unlikely to move the GHI goals forward dramatically.” She continues, “While the official launch of the office is probably not the Christmas miracle U.S. global health programs need, it looks like a step forward considering the general dysfunction GHI faced the last four years” (12/17).
“After three decades of global emergency responses and a series of scientific breakthroughs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it is now tempting to ask if we are marching towards the end of AIDS,” an editorial in the Lancet states. Noting the November 29 release of the U.S. Government’s PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-Free Generation, the Lancet writes, “The first and foremost signal the report has sent is that the U.S. commitment to the global AIDS response will continue to be ‘strong, comprehensive and driven by science,'” and the report “calls on partner countries, civil society, donors, foundations, multilateral institutions, and people living with HIV to step up together and make concrete commitments.” The editorial continues, “The vision of ‘an AIDS-free generation’ in the blueprint relies heavily on scientific and technological feasibility … However, eradicating a disease goes far beyond scientific advances, which will go unrealized without strong social support and public health actions as well as substantial and sustainable investments.”
In this White House blog post, Samantha Power, special assistant to the President and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council, highlights progress made across the U.S. government in implementing “the first-ever Presidential Memorandum to advance the human rights of [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)] persons.” The memorandum “require[s] all U.S. agencies engaged abroad to ‘ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,’ and to report annually on their progress,” she notes. Power discusses efforts undertaken by the State Department, USAID, the Peace Corps, PEPFAR, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Health and Human Services and other departments, as well as multilateral engagements. She writes, “We will continue to build on this foundation to identify new opportunities to advance and protect the human rights of LGBT persons” (12/13).
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog “continu[es] to look at changes in Washington’s global health leadership in the wake of November’s election,” writing, “While Sen. Dick Durbin [D-Ill.], who played a pivotal role in PEPFAR’s creation, leaves the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, two new Democratic members, as announced Wednesday, will join the committee which directs foreign aid.” The new members are Sen.-elect Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen.-elect Tim Kaine (D-Va.), according to the blog, which provides a brief biography of each (Barton, 12/13).
In a Daily Independent opinion piece, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley writes that after “truly historic” elections in April, “[t]he Nigerian Government faces complex challenges in the post-election environment. Security, electricity, good roads, education and reliable health care top most people’s lists of immediate concerns.”
Guatemala’s “vast inequality” helped it land “on the list of eight ‘plus’ countries in the Global Health Initiative (GHI) that President Barack Obama is focusing on as part of his expansion and revision of how the U.S. is funding and rethinking global aid,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports in an article examining malnutrition in Guatemala, the wealthiest of nations in the first round of GHI plus countries.
The Senate on Monday night unanimously passed the Senate World Malaria Day Resolution, S. Con. Res. 15, a concurrent resolution with the House of Representatives, according to a post on the Malaria Policy Center blog. “The Resolution recognizes World Malaria Day, the importance of U.S leadership in the fight against…
A post on “PharmaTech Talk” highlights comments made by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the Partnerships for Global Health Forum, an annual event which is sponsored by BIO and BioVentures for Global Health. “Shah talked about the role of public-private partnerships to improve innovations in science and technology. … Shah admitted that in the past it has been hard for the private sector to engage USAID, but he made a point to say that if the biotech/pharma industry builds a breakthrough product that can save lives, USAID will help to deliver it to the populations that need it most. He said USAID is already working to better engage the private sector as well as academic institutions to make such partnerships easier to navigate, and less bureaucratic” (Drakulich, 6/27).
The Global Health Council’s “Global Health” blog published two articles on Wednesday examining family planning in West Africa. In the first article, John Donnelly interviewed Bocar Mamadou Daff, director of reproductive health services in Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, about participating in the council’s annual conference and speaking to…