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HHS Secretary Sebelius Discusses Agency’s Global Health Strategy At KFF/HHS Briefing

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to explore the department’s role in global health and its new Global Health Strategy (.pdf), HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the agency’s first global health strategy in a keynote address, CQ HealthBeat reports. “The strategy identifies 10 major objectives but does not include metrics for gauging success,” the news service writes, adding Sebelius “said the plan ‘does not represent a radical new direction but seeks to provide a focus’ to ongoing efforts” (Adams, 1/6). “Though the United States was always involved in international health work, it was ‘seen as fundamentally separate’ from HHS’s core mission, she said,” Politico Pro writes. “Today that world has changed very dramatically. We can no longer separate America’s health from global health,” Sebelius said, the news service reports (Feder, 1/5).

CSIS’s Morrison Discusses ‘End of AIDS’

SmartGlobalHealth.org features the latest episode of “Small Screen Sessions,” in which J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Global Health Policy Center, discusses the policy changes that enabled the International AIDS Conference to return to the U.S. in 2012 after a 22-year hiatus, and the beginning of the “end of AIDS” (1/4).

U.S. Addressing Short-, Long-Term Needs In Horn Of Africa

“As the United States entered the traditional season of giving and renewal last month, President Barack Obama announced that the United States was increasing its emergency aid to the [Horn of Africa] region by $113 million,” a VOA editorial states, adding, “The new monies will be used for food, health, shelter, water and other needs.”

State Department Fact Sheets Examine Cholera, Food Security, Health Progress In Haiti

The State Department has released a series of fact sheets examining the U.S. government’s two-year progress in Haiti. One fact sheet examines government efforts to “lessen the severity of the [cholera] outbreak” in Haiti. Another fact sheet looks at the challenges of food security in Haiti, stating, “Even before the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to food security. … Prior to the earthquake, 40 percent of households were undernourished and 30 percent of children suffered from chronic malnutrition.” A fact sheet on health states that the U.S. government “has been providing access to health services for 50 percent of the people of Haiti for the last five years, including a basic package of health services (primarily maternal and child health) and more sophisticated HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services.” Additional fact sheets on the government’s work in Haiti can be found on the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator website (12/28).

Working In Kazakhstan To End HIV Stigma, Discrimination

In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Erin McKee, USAID mission director for the Central Asian Republics, recounts a discussion roundtable with people “on the front lines” in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan. She writes, “I was honored to share a morning with people in Kazakhstan who are bold advocates for HIV-positive groups in their country, and I look forward to a renewed partnership with them in the fight to end stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV in Central Asia” (12/27).

U.S. Offers Initial $125 Million To UNHCR In 2012

“The United States said Thursday it will contribute an initial $125 million to the [U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR)] 2012 operations, including support for refugees returning to Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Agence France-Presse reports, noting, “The State Department said the funds … will also help care for refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq, Yemen, Nepal, Pakistan, Georgia, South Sudan, Chad and Kenya.” According to AFP, “In 2011, the United States contributed a total of more than $690 million dollars to UNHCR operations, including for emergencies” (12/30).

Center For Global Development Blog Responds To NPR Report On Health In Afghanistan

This post in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow at CGD, responds to an NPR Morning Edition report on USAID’s work in Afghanistan, recapping the progress the agency has made in improving health care in the country. However,…

IRIN Analysis Examines ‘Subtleties’ Of Early Warning Messages In Food Security Situations

In this analysis, “IRIN discussed with aid agencies and Sahel food security analysts the subtleties of getting early warning messages right in such situations.” According to the news service, “Food security in the Sahel this year is part of a ‘persistent and predictable reservoir of chronic acute food insecurity,’ [experts] say, ‘in a predictable portion of the region’s population,’ and requires long-term structural aid not short-term fixes.” In addition, “much of the malnutrition in the region is caused by other factors: poor water quality, low-quality health care, poor sanitation and poor feeding practices,” IRIN writes. The article includes quotes from numerous food security experts (12/23).

U.S. To Provide $113M In Additional Aid To Horn Of Africa

President Obama on Thursday announced “an additional $113 million in emergency relief assistance for the Horn of Africa … [to] support urgently needed food, health, shelter, water and assistance needs,” according to a White House statement. The additional aid adds to the approximately $870 million already provided to assist the region with emergency relief, according to the statement, which noted the administration is making long-term investments in food security through the Feed the Future initiative.

Promoting Gay Rights Essential For Health Of Africans

Across Africa, “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer brutal attacks, yet cannot report them to the police for fear of additional violence, humiliation, rape or imprisonment at the hands of the authorities. We are expelled from school and denied health care because of our perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” Frank Mugisha, 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureate and executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. He adds, “When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced this month that the United States would use diplomacy to encourage respect for gay rights around the world, my heart leapt.”