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U.S. Assistance Helping To Provide Safe, Clean Water In Horn Of Africa

“In the Horn of Africa, millions of people face each day without knowing if they will have clean water to drink or food to eat,” but “American assistance to the Horn of Africa is beginning to make a difference, however, and in this series about water security in the Horn,…

House Committee Members Investigate $433M HHS Contract To Purchase Smallpox Drug

“Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are looking into a $433 million contract awarded by the Health and Human Services Department to purchase a yet-to-be-approved smallpox drug” known as ST-426, CQ HealthBeat reports. “The lawmakers raised questions about several issues, including the cost of the contract”; “asked for evidence supporting the assumption that the [FDA] will approve the ST-426, which was one of the requirements of the contract”; and “requested documents describing the actual threat of smallpox, the cost of the contract, and the decision to award it” by January 11, the news service notes (Ethridge, 12/21).

Obama Administration Should Provide Food Aid To N. Korea ‘As Soon As Is Practical’

Recounting the factors that led to and conditions that persisted during the North Korean famine between 1995 and 1998, New Yorker staff writer Steve Coll says in this opinion piece in the magazine, “Better harvests and international food aid ended the worst suffering by 1998. Yet chronic food insecurity and shortages persist to this day.”

U.S. Postpones Decision On Food Aid To North Korea; Aid Groups Worry Situation Could Worsen

“Humanitarian groups fear that the death of Kim Jong-il could worsen North Korea’s dire food situation, after the U.S. postponed a decision on potential aid,” the Guardian reports (Branigan, 12/21). “‘We need to see where (the North Koreans) are and where they go as they move through their transition period,’ said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressing questions about food aid on Tuesday. ‘We will obviously need to reengage at the right moment, but … we haven’t made any internal decisions here,'” MSNBC.com notes.

NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ Examines USAID’s Efforts To Improve Medical Care In Afghanistan

NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne on Thursday spoke with Alex Thier, who oversees USAID projects in Afghanistan, about the “tremendous efforts that have been made to improve medical care in the country over the last decade,” noting, “A new survey shows stunning progress in medical care in the war-torn country.” Thier said when the war began in 2001, Afghanistan had the worst health care in the world, with a life expectancy around 45 years, but with help from international agencies, life expectancy has increased to 62 to 64 years in the past decade. He notes that one of the programs helping to improve health care in the country is a midwife training program run by USAID (12/22).

Examining The Proposed Federal Global Health Appropriations

In this post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Denizhan Duran and Amanda Glassman of CGD review the proposed FY12 federal global health appropriation approved recently by Congress. They state that “this year’s budget is a missed opportunity in a period defined by budget pressures: global…

Examining The Impact Of USAID-Funded Sudan Health Transformation Project

In this post in Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) “Global Health Impact” blog, Erin Polich, a communications consultant with the USAID-funded Sudan Health Transformation Project (SHTP II) working in South Sudan, examines the impact of the project, which is led by MSH in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. “All project…

Public-Private Partnerships ‘Exponentially Expand’ Effects Of USAID Aid To Jamaica

Public-private partnerships “will boost small enterprises, bring technology to schools and improve sanitation and clean water in Jamaica,” a VOA News editorial states and highlights three such partnerships created by USAID. The first, between USAID and the Jamaican National Building Society, will create a Social Enterprise Boost Initiative; the second, between food processing company GraceKennedy Ltd. and the Western Union Company, will train teachers and bring technology to 13 schools in Jamaica; and the third, between USAID in Jamaica and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, will help provide access to sanitation and clean water in a neighborhood of Jamaica’s capital. “The effect of USAID’s aid to Jamaica expands exponentially with these public-private partnerships,” the editorial writes, adding, “The projects are valued at more than $7 million. USAID’s contribution is less than $2 million” (12/18).

Congress Passes FY12 Spending Bill, Including Funding For Global Health

“The Senate on Saturday passed the final spending bills for 2012, eliminating the risk of a government shutdown until next fall,” National Journal reports (Snell/Friedman, 12/17). The House passed the measure on Friday, National Journal notes (Goldmacher/Friedman, 12/16). According to Inter Press Service, “U.S. foreign aid and support for multilateral institutions emerged in somewhat better shape than many observers had expected” (Lobe, 12/16).