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HHS Secretary Sebelius Helps India Mark One Year Since Last Recorded Polio Case

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “administered polio vaccination drops to children in New Delhi on Friday as India marked one year since its last case of the crippling disease,” the Associated Press reports (1/13). The Hill’s “Healthwatch” reports that “[o]fficials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] say U.S. funding and experience were key to beating back the disease,” but “[t]he news comes as federal funding for global health programs now faces sharp cuts from Tea Party lawmakers and others worried about the deficit” (Pecquet, 1/12). “­Globally, the U.S. government has provided $2 billion for the polio eradication campaign, Rotary International has raised about $1 billion from its members, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $1 billion,” and the CDC “weighed in with crucial expertise,” the Washington Post writes (Denyer, 1/12).

USAID’s Shah Discusses Progress In Post-Earthquake Haiti On NPR’s Talk Of The Nation

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah on Thursday appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss rebuilding efforts in Haiti two years after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Shah said, “[O]ver the last two years, we’ve seen real signs of hope. A number of things have worked. Partners and the Haitian government and Haitian leaders have done things differently so that today, … more people have access to clean water and safe sanitation in Port-au-Prince than the day before the earthquake,” according to the transcript.

Women’s Health, Rights Especially Vulnerable During An Election Year

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, writes, “In 2012, there is a presidency at stake — so what does that mean for women’s health and rights in the coming year? How will political posturing and the race for votes affect what really matters?”

Three Democratic Senators Express Concern Over Distribution Of U.S. Haitian Earthquake Aid

“[O]n the eve of the two-year anniversary of the 7.0 quake in Haiti, three Senators wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Agency for International Development head Rajiv Shah urging them to better facilitate distribution of U.S. aid to the country,” CQ HealthBeat reports (Bristol, 1/11). Democratic Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (N.J.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) on Wednesday “expressed concern about the large portion of aid that has not yet been distributed to earthquake victims,” according to a press release from Lautenberg.

Promoting New Investments In Global Health Workforce

In this post in the Public Health Institute’s (PHI) “Dialogue4Health” blog, Jeff Meer, director of PHI’s Washington-based advocacy on global health, reports on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, launched Wednesday, which is “developing support for new investments in the global health workforce, particularly those working at the community level who are the first and often the only link to health care for millions of people.” He outlines the Coalition’s targets and quotes a number of officials indicating “that the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress are coming to adopt the same view” (1/11).

Food Security Remains High-Level Priority In 2012

In this post in the Department of State’s “DipNote” blog, Jonathan Shrier, acting special representative for global food security, reflects on food security issues and accomplishments in 2011, writing, “These efforts leave us well situated in 2012 to lead the [L'Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI)] group, which aims to strengthen mutual accountability among participating governments in meeting food security commitments. … Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that food security remains a high-level global priority through the U.S. presidency of the G8 and beyond” (1/10).

HHS To Spend Nearly $1.8M To Review Research Volunteer Rules, Fight STDs In Guatemala; DOJ Asks Related Lawsuit To Be Dismissed

“Responding to U.S. experiments that infected Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea in the 1940s, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will spend $1 million to study new rules for protecting medical research volunteers,” and “[a]n additional $775,000 will go to fighting sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala,” the Washington Post reports (Vastag 1,10). “President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius all have apologized for the research, hidden for decades until a Wellesley College medical historian uncovered the records in 2009,” the Associated Press/Boston Globe notes (Pickler, 1/10).

Examining GOP Presidential Candidates’ Global Health Positions

In this article in the online journal Global Health Governance, David Fidler, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, writes about the Republican presidential candidates’ positions on global health, saying, “I doubt whether many votes in subsequent GOP primaries will be cast because of global health considerations.” However, “thinking about American conservatism and global health serves as a reminder of the political significance of the nature of U.S. participation as a factor in the vibrancy of global health governance,” Fidler writes, concluding that the positions of the candidates are “interesting to ponder because what President Bush wrought [in creating PEPFAR] forces conservatives to confront global health more seriously than this American tradition of political thought has done before” (1/9).

Congressional Delegation Visits Africa To Assess Impact Of U.S.-Sponsored Projects

A Congressional delegation consisting of six senators and one representative arrived in Africa on Thursday for an eight-day trip that “includes oversight of Department of Defense, Department of State, and USAID activities in Africa,” the Daily Republic reports (Lawrence, 1/8). “According to [Sen. Lindsay Graham's (R-S.C.)] office, the delegation assessed ‘the impact of U.S. sponsored counter-terrorism programs and projects relating to health, economic development, and strengthened trade relationships with African nations,'” the ONE blog writes.

Governments Must Rethink Policies Surrounding Biosecurity, Not Resort To Censorship

Author Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in this Foreign Policy opinion piece that the announcement that researchers from Norway and the U.S. have developed a supercontagious variety of bird flu “has highlighted a dilemma: How do you balance the universal mandate for scientific openness against the fear that terrorists or rogue states might follow the researchers’ work — using it as catastrophic cookbooks for global influenza contagion?” She continues, “Along with several older studies that are now garnering fresh attention, [the research] has revealed that the political world is completely unprepared for the synthetic-biology revolution” and notes “there are no consistent, internationally agreed-upon regulations governing synthetic biology, the extraordinarily popular and fruitful 21st-century field of genetic manipulation of microorganisms.”