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Opinion: Job Development For Haiti; NTDs In Africa; U.S. Investment In TB

Jobs-Drive Development For Haiti

“Even before the earthquake, the Haitian economy was already on shaky ground. There is 70 to 80 percent unemployment in the formal economy. … U.S. policy helped build this disastrous economy,” AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker writes in a Miami Herald opinion piece. Baker says previous employment efforts in Haiti resulted in “stop-gap jobs,” which do not provide “employment stability or social protections.”

“As they go forward from the [donor] conference, the United States and the other U.N. donors should forge a jobs-driven development plan,” Baker writes, adding that efforts should also “work to reactivate Haitian agriculture and the nation’s capacity to produce its own food. Haitian men and women are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild their own nation. Rather than swooping in to rebuild a broken economy, and then swooping out to address the next world crisis, the U.N. donors should focus their future reconstruction efforts on programs and policies that provide the Haitian people with new skills and well-paid, long-term jobs” (4/1).

‘Synchronised Approach’ Required To Control NTDs In Africa

In a Daily Nation opinion piece about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa, Pamela Olet, national coordinator of the Pan African Tsetse & Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign, outlines the impact of these diseases in communities across the continent. According to Olet, “Integration of NTDs in primary healthcare programmes can wipe out these diseases. [Research] into the development and adoption of modern diagnostic technologies and awareness creation in endemic areas have helped in the eradication of these diseases in developed countries.” Olet notes the President Barack Obama asked “to increase America’s global health fund [for NTDs] from $65 million in 2010 to $155 million in 2011.”

“But the greatest challenge in the NTDs fight is the disjointed efforts being channelled into poor countries,” Olet writes. “A synchronised approach can rid the universe of neglected diseases and directly contribute to Millennium Development Goals” (3/31).

U.S. Should Fight TB

A Miami Herald editorial calling for the U.S. to increase its commitment to fighting tuberculosis worldwide warns the disease could become “a global epidemic – and security threat” if it “is not attacked swiftly and with precision.” Though the number of TB cases in the U.S. declined by 11.4 percent in 2009, the rates of TB cases among immigrants and regions throughout the world continue to climb, according to the editorial. President Barack Obama’s budget proposal this year asks for $50 million less than what the U.S. committed to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last year, the editorial states.

“This is no time to retreat. On average, the Global Fund saves 3,600 lives a day, but, still, 1.7 million people die each year from TB because it goes untreated. … Whether rich or poor, TB strikes indiscriminately. This is a global battle, and the United States should be leading the way – not retreating from this menace,” the editorial concludes (3/31).