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Opinions: Global Nursing; U.S. Funding Of Global Fund; Global Demands For Water; Food Security


More Nurses Could Help Address Global Health Woes

“Almost every nation, regardless of its wealth and resources, faces a continuing shortage of nurses and an acute lack of nursing faculty available to educate more nurses. This dearth of practicing nurses and nurse educators is particularly critical in countries like Haiti and other developing high-risk, low-resourced nations,” Martha Hill, dean of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece encouraging the expansion of global nursing.

Hill writes about a “new breed of global nurses” who are “broadly trained to provide all aspects of education and health promotion and to deliver care in critical areas such as immunization, disease prevention and crisis management.”

“The world’s most serious health threats — swine flu, infection control, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cardiovascular disease, natural disasters and man-made conflicts — call for this global perspective,” Hill writes.

She outlines why “[n]urses are well positioned to be major actors on this global stage,” noting, “we need more of them” (9/13).

Obama Should Fully Fund Global Fund And Ask Congress To Trim Other Foreign Aid Spending

A San Jose Mercury News editorial addresses President Barack Obama’s expected announcement on funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Obama can’t pretend that he has unlimited funds to distribute. But he also must show leadership to the rest of the world in addressing an important global issue. … The president should consider an alternative: agree to fully fund the program, but only if Congress commits to finding a way to trim back spending on foreign aid in other areas to keep the overall impact on the budget neutral,” the editorial suggests.

“Obama shouldn’t have trouble lining up support to accomplish that goal,” the newspaper writes. “More than 100 members of Congress have already signed a letter imploring him to give the Global Fund full funding. That’s a hundred lawmakers who should be ready to step up to leadership in finding other areas to make the necessary cuts.”

According to the newspaper, “The value of the Global Fund is inarguable. … Obama can show the type of global leadership on AIDS prevention Americans expect from their president — but only if Congress can help him do so in a fiscally responsible way” (9/13).

To Meet Global Demands For Water, Leaders Need To Think Outside The Box

“There’s scant time to lose,” when it comes to tackling the global water crisis, Neal Pierce of the Washington Post Writers Group writes in a Denver Post opinion piece. “Already at 6 billion-plus souls, the world is adding close to 1 million new inhabitants a week — and will to 2050. The lion’s share of growth is coming in Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America where safe drinking water is a luxury of the few and basic sanitation to treat human wastes is often simply lacking.”

Pierce examines several possible solutions to help meet the world’s demands for water, noting the success of Ek Sonn Chan, director of the water supply authority in Phnom Penh, at reversing Cambodia’s water challenges by demanding “delinquent users — even the country’s military installations — … to pay their water bills or face cutoff” and securing “infrastructure investment loans from the World Bank and other international lenders.” Pierce continues, “Phnom Penh’s model of determined, honest public management is ‘a template’ for what can achieved, even in hard-to-serve areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, says Per-Arne Malmqvist, scientific director of the Stockholm International Water Institute.”

Pierce also details how the latest technological advancements could help to improve global access to water. “Water is part of a bigger life cycle that world cities — Northern and Southern hemispheres alike — need to plan and adjust for far more seriously than in the less crowded, less polluted world of past times,” he concludes (9/12).

Ban Export Controls To Ensure Food Security

“Though drought in Russia and other big wheat producers like Australia is likely to reduce output, wheat stocks should remain substantially above two years ago, when they plunged to their lowest levels in three decades,” according to a New York Times editorial, which warns: “The danger is that misguided policies could still produce a [world] food shortage.”

“The ban on wheat exports announced by Russia, the world’s fourth-biggest exporter, pushed prices way above what its drought would justify,” the newspaper writes. Russia’s concern about its grain supply “are understandable, but it could still buy at reasonable prices on world markets — if it and other big food exporters agreed not to impose controls. That would help return stability to the markets, where countries could make up any temporary shortfalls,” the editorial argues. It goes on to recommend that at an upcoming Food and Agriculture Organization meeting, the organization should “broker an agreement not to impose export controls,” which, it adds, would “go a long way toward protecting food security” (9/12).

Obama, Congress Must Sustain Commitment To Global Fund If The U.S. Wants ‘To Maintain Its Moral Leadership’ On Global Health

President Obama’s “potential shortchanging of the enormously successful Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a blunder that would cost thousands of lives in some of the world’s poorest countries,” argues a Detroit Free Press editorial. “It must not happen if the U.S. wants to maintain its moral leadership on AIDS and other global health issues.”

After noting several major achievements to date by programs supported by the Global Fund, the newspaper reflects upon a letter sent by Congress in July urging Obama “to commit no less than the $6 billion, over three years, authorized in the 2008 Lantos-Hyde bill.” The editorial writes that such a commitment is “especially important, because every dollar the U.S. commits to the Global Fund is matched, 2-1, by other donors. In other words, the $6-billion U.S. contribution will leverage another $12 billion from other nations.”

The editorial concludes, “Considering wealth and population, the U.S. spends little on humanitarian aid that can make a huge difference in the lives of millions of people — and in the perception of the U.S. around the world. Congress and Obama must make good on the commitment to fully fund the Global Fund” (9/11).