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Global Health Technologies Coalition Blog Responds To President’s FY13 Budget Request

In this post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog, Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at GHTC, responds to the release of President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, writing, “In his introduction to the overall budget request, Obama emphasized that research and development (R&D) programs are essential to the U.S. economy and the country’s future. … When looking at the budget numbers for global health, Obama’s emphasis on R&D in his introduction played out in various ways, with some good and bad news.” She notes that while “Congress has the authority to change the funding levels as it sees fit, … it could be difficult to justify spending above what the Administration views as appropriate, especially given the current fiscal crisis and the shortened election-year appropriations process” (2/16).

Clinton Holds Press Conference Marking International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, recognized on February 6, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “said … that there is no cultural justification for female genital cutting, a practice that is sometimes referred to as female circumcision,” and that “governments and non-governmental organizations are making progress toward ending female genital mutilation, or FGM, by reaching out to those who still practice it,” VOA News reports (Stearns, 2/16). “The press conference was intended to highlight the continuing need for policy changes and new strategies to end FGM and promote support for women who have undergone the procedures,” ABC News writes (Conley, 2/16).

President Obama’s FY13 Budget Request Increases Multilateral Global Health Funding

In 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, and Denizhan Duran, a research assistant at CGD, note that while the decreases in funding for the Global Health Initiative (GHI) and PEPFAR in President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request are “alarming,” the “bright spot” is that multilateral programs, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance, would get increases in their funding. “Multilateral aid is more efficient. … In the case of U.S. global health aid, potential gains from a shift to multilaterals may be large,” they write (2/15).

Clinton To Announce 5-Year initiative To Cut Pollutants; Program Could Have Positive Public Health Impact

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is set to announce on Thursday morning a five-year initiative among the U.S. and five other countries — Canada, Sweden, Mexico, Ghana and Bangladesh — to cut pollutants that contribute to global warming, the Washington Post reports (Vastag, 2/15). “Short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) together account for approximately one-third of current global warming, and have significant impacts on public health, the environment, and world food productivity,” a State Department press notice states.

President Obama Releases FY13 Budget Proposal With Overall Decrease For GHI

“President Barack Obama [on Monday] proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2013 that aims to slash the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years,” the Associated Press reports, and provides an agency-by-agency breakdown of the proposed budget (2/13). “Making up just one percent of the U.S. Government’s overall budget, the Department of State/USAID budget totals $51.6 billion,” a U.S. Department of State fact sheet notes (2/13). “Overall, funding for the Global Health Initiative (GHI) is down in the FY 2013 request, with most of the reduction coming from HIV/AIDS bilateral amounts,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker. “Most other areas saw decreases as well, except for family planning and funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance, which increased,” the resource adds. The budget plan proposes a total of approximately $8.5 billion for GHI, down more than $300 million from FY 2012, the resource notes, adding that $6.4 billion of that funding would go to PEPFAR, including about $4.5 billion for HIV and $224 million for tuberculosis. The Global Fund receives $1.65 billion in the request, according to the resource (2/13).

Updated Tool To Track NTD Funding, Identify Gaps

The Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program (NTD Control Program), funded by USAID and managed by Research Triangle Institute International (RTI International), has released an updated version of its NTD Funding Gap Analysis Tool (NTD-FGAT), which “helps users accurately estimate the costs and funding gaps of public health programs” and “is intended as a supplementary instrument to improve resource and strategic planning in an already existing national NTD plan,” according to the Global Network for NTDs’ “End the Neglect” blog (2/13).

USAID Improves Health Through Access To Clean Water In Timor-Leste

In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Carlos dos Reis, foreign service national environmental health officer for Timor-Leste, reports on a trip to the country’s remote district of Oecusse with U.S. Ambassador Judith Fergin and USAID/Timor-Leste Mission Director Rick Scott to “inaugurate the new clean water supply system built with the support of USAID.” He writes, “Having the chance to see the completed water supply system and witness the benefits that people get from having access to clean water, I’m beginning to believe that a seemingly impossible thing can become possible when people work together,” and adds, “I believe that the cooperation between USAID and Oecusse District SAS has really improved the lives of many residents in [the town of] Bobometo by giving them access to clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene” (2/13).

Aid For Water, Sanitation Programs Must Benefit The Poor

In this post in the ONE blog, Brooks Keene, policy adviser for CARE’s water team, “makes the argument that foreign aid should benefit the poor first and foremost,” noting, “As we approach World Water Day on March 22, CARE, [the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)] and WaterAid have published a report card [.pdf] on how well” the Water for the Poor Act, passed by Congress in 2005, “has been implemented seven years down the line.” She writes, “In the absence of a strategy, USAID has gone ahead with water, sanitation and hygiene programs, but much of the effort and dollars have not gone to benefit the poor.” She concludes by recommending several steps USAID could take “to spur concerted targeting” (2/9).

Administration Officials Announce New Initiatives To Promote Innovations In Global Development

In a White House briefing on Wednesday, “senior Administration officials announced a series of new initiatives to promote game-changing innovations to solve long-standing development challenges” in response to President Obama’s “call to harness science technology, and innovation to spark global development,” Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president, and Tom Kalil, senior adviser for science, technology, and innovation, write in this post in the White House Blog (2/8). “The new collaborations we’re launching today will help save lives from hunger and disease, lift people from poverty and reaffirm America’s enduring commitment to the dignity and potential of every human being,” President Barack Obama said at the briefing, according to a White House press statement, which details several new public and private sector initiatives announced at the meeting (2/8).