GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog interviews U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby “on the challenges and goals of the new PEPFAR blueprint and the promise of an AIDS-free generation.” According to the interview transcript, Goosby discusses how and why the international community is “at a turning point in the fight against AIDS,” lessons the U.S. can learn from Africa and PEPFAR, and challenges in creating the blueprint, among other topics (Judem, 12/27).
US Global Health Policy
“President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for Secretary of State,” the Huffington Post reports, noting, “Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, will replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” (12/21). “Kerry is expected to sail to confirmation, with both Republicans and Democrats praising the nomination,” the Associated Press/Huffington Post notes (Cassata, 12/21).
On Wednesday, USAID, “along with representatives from seven government agencies and departments, [launched] the first-ever, whole-of-government strategic guidance on international assistance for children in adversity,” a USAID press release reports. The goal of the guidance — titled “United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity: A Framework for International Assistance: 2012-2017” and drafted by the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and State, USAID and the Peace Corps — “is to achieve a world where all children live and grow up within protective family care and free from deprivation, exploitation, and danger,” the press release states (12/17).
The State Department on Friday announced the selection of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby to lead the State Department’s new Office of Global Health Diplomacy. The following press statement and article were published in response to the announcement.
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).
Tuberculosis (TB) “is the second leading cause of death due to infectious disease worldwide; taking approximately 1.4 million lives in 2011 alone,” Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) writes in an opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” adding, “The good news is that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halt and reverse the TB epidemic by 2015 has already been achieved in several regions of the world.” She notes “advances have been made in TB diagnostics with the increased availability of Xpert, a new test that detects the disease — including in HIV-positive people — within 100 minutes.” However, she continues, “we cannot defeat the disease without the introduction of faster drug susceptibility tests and new drugs and vaccines.”
The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has published a paper (.pdf), titled “The U.S. Role In Global Polio Eradication,” that “provides an overview of the global polio eradication effort, emphasizing the U.S. role,” according to the paper’s summary. The paper, authored by CSIS Global Health Policy Center Fellow Nellie Bristol, aims “to explain how the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) came to where it is today and discuss plans for moving it forward.” The summary continues, “The focus on the United States is not meant to detract from the enormous international investments or essential contributions of individuals from other countries. But by highlighting American involvement, the paper aims to help U.S. policymakers understand the costs, benefits, and challenges of polio eradication and plans to complete eradication and transition GPEI methods and resources into other programs” (12/17).
In a post on the PATH blog, Rachel Wilson, senior director for policy and advocacy at PATH, examines the consequences of budget negotiations and “what enacting billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts could mean for people living in poverty around the world.” She continues, “According to a report from the Office of Management and Budget reported on the Kaiser Family Foundation website, if the automatic cuts take effect, global health funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department would decrease by $670 million, or 8.2 percent from 2012 levels.” Wilson writes, “These kinds of cuts would have very real consequences,” and she cites estimates from amfAR and the Guttmacher Institute about how cuts would affect access to HIV/AIDS, malaria, childhood disease, and reproductive health prevention and treatment. She concludes, “The United States has contributed to incredible gains in global health. Any retreat from our leadership would set us back in ways that are unimaginable” (12/17).
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).
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby “was named to lead a new Office of Global Health Diplomacy on Friday, the State Department said,” the New York Times reports, noting, “Goosby will continue to head PEPFAR” (McNeil, 12/15). “The Global Health Diplomacy office was announced last July as the successor to President Obama’s Global Health Initiative,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes. “Goosby will be joined in creating the Global Health Diplomacy office by Leslie Rowe, previously U.S. ambassador to Mozambique, who will be in charge of its day to day operations,” the blog notes (Barton, 12/14).