Noting the U.S. “recently announced plans to create an Office of Global Health Diplomacy at the State Department, designed to promote the use of diplomacy to advance U.S. global health efforts and support the next phase of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) in the diplomatic arena,” the Kaiser Family Foundation on Tuesday published an issue brief that “provides an overview of global health diplomacy, including how it has been defined and used historically both globally and in the U.S.,” according to a summary on the foundation’s webpage. “The brief also examines potential challenges that may arise when foreign policy goals and efforts to achieve better health outcomes are at odds,” the summary notes (9/18).
US Global Health Policy
In a guest post on USAID’s “IMPACT Blog,” Rachel Cohen, regional executive director of DNDi North America, writes, “The United States government and its country partners should be commended for the tremendous achievements in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) NTD Program” and the National Institutes of Health. “However, not all NTD research is created equal,” she writes, adding, “Beyond basic research, much more research and development (R&D), including late-stage product development, for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics is urgently needed for those NTDs where adequate tools do not exist.” Noting that African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) “are not yet included in the USAID NTD Program,” Cohen says “greater commitment to developing new NTD treatments and other tools is sorely needed if disease control or elimination is to be achieved” (9/18).
Blog Examines U.S. Presidential Candidates' Foreign Policy, Science Stances With Respect To Global Health
“If nothing else, this presidential election season has brought the good news that both major party candidates have taken stances against preventable death and disease,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes, noting the blog “looked at two recently published examinations of the candidates’ foreign policy and science stances, candidates’ party platforms and other posted materials for clues to where the candidates diverge on major global health issues.” According to the blog, an analysis from Devex “looks at the candidates’ words, supporters’ statements and party platforms on an array of foreign spending issues, including global health,” and an article in Nature “invited the candidates to share thoughts on matters scientific, including research investment, vaccinations, pandemic preparedness, and the role of science in public policy” (Barton, 9/17).
“For all its importance to human well-being, agriculture seems to be one of the lagging economic sectors of the last two decades,” Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. “That means the problem of hunger is flaring up again, as the World Bank and several United Nations agencies have recently warned,” and in Africa, for example, “[t]he expansion of the … middle class and the decline in child mortality rates are both quite real, but the advances have not been balanced — and agriculture lags behind,” he states.
David Winder, chief executive of WaterAid USA, highlights the findings of the recently released UNICEF report on child mortality in this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, saying the decrease in annual number of child deaths “is great news, but is tempered by sobering statistics, especially for children in sub-Saharan Africa,” who continue to face high rates of mortality. “However all is not lost and much can be done to ameliorate the situation. Improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is a key step in preventing many of these needless deaths,” he writes, adding, “Known collectively as WASH, these three basic services are important factors in preventing pneumonia and diarrhea, the leading causes of mortality among children between one month and five years of age.”
OMB Report On Budgetary Impact Of Sequestration Estimates Global Health Funding Would Decrease By 8.2%
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Friday released a report (.pdf) describing the budgetary impacts of sequestration “mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act,” which would require an annual reduction in government spending of $109 billion per year for nine years, National Journal reports. “Sequestration will go into effect starting Jan. 2 unless Congress can reach a deficit-reduction deal to head it off,” the news service notes (O’Donnell et al., 9/14). “According to the report, global health funding through USAID and State Department, which comprises the majority of U.S. global health funding, would decrease by $670 million, or 8.2 percent, from the FY 2012 level of $8,168 million,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Policy Tracker” (9/14).
Chris Thomas of the USAID Bureau for Global Health writes in the agency’s “IMPACT Blog,” “America’s legacy in child survival is a proud one: With strong bipartisan support, U.S. support of global health has saved many millions of lives.” He discusses a “child survival revolution” launched 30 years ago by USAID, UNICEF, and Congress “aimed at reducing the number of deaths among young children in developing countries,” and he notes the annual number of under-five child deaths has dropped from 15 million worldwide to less than seven million since then. He adds, “But a child dying anywhere in the world is a tragic loss and undermines peace and stability,” and he describes USAID’s work to help implement innovations in child survival, including the Child Survival Call to Action (9/13).
Wednesday marked “the first-ever Global Female Condom Day, and women and men around the world are … speaking out for increased recognition of a prevention method that is too often overlooked,” Patricia Coffey, head of the Maternal, Neonatal, and Reproductive Health Technologies Group at PATH, writes in USAID’s “Impact Blog,” adding, “Female condoms offer women — and men — dual protection from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV” (9/12). “Global Female Condom Day sounds whimsical, but the organizers have a serious purpose,” blog editor Kathleen Donnelly writes in the PATH Blog. She continues, “They want to draw attention to tools that ‘have the potential to revolutionize safer sex for diverse populations around the world'” (9/12).
Devex News Analysis Examines Democratic, Republican Party Platforms On Foreign Policy, Including Global Health
A Devex news analysis examines the Democratic and Republican platform positions on foreign policy following the party conventions, writing, “Even as pocketbook concerns continue to overshadow foreign policy issues on the campaign trail, in both Charlotte and Tampa, top-billed speakers made the case for the U.S. foreign aid program.” The article examines the core principles of each platform, notes that neither platform offers specifics on foreign aid spending, and discusses the platforms’ stances on certain foreign policy issues, including global health, food security, climate change, and gay rights.
“Right now, in Leesburg, Va., the office of the U.S. Trade Representative is negotiating a so-called ‘trade agreement’ — the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’ — that could put the lives of millions of innocent civilians at risk” by potentially limiting access to life-saving medications, including antiretroviral drugs, Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, writes in the Huffington Post Blog. “The process is secret: USTR refuses to publish a draft negotiating text, so any American who isn’t cleared by USTR to see the text can’t say for sure exactly what USTR is doing right now,” he writes, adding, “But because there was a previous leak of the chapter of the draft negotiating text that dealt with intellectual property claims, people who have followed these issues closely have some idea of what USTR has been doing on our dime.”