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Recent Releases In Global Health

New Resources On Federal Global Health, HIV/AIDS Budgets: The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a collection of new resources examining global health and HIV/AIDS funding in the Obama administration’s FY12 budget proposal. A new fact sheet breaks down the $9.8 billion budget request for the Global Health Initiative (GHI), a six-year, $63 billion effort to develop a comprehensive U.S. government strategy for global health programs, including those for HIV/AIDS and malaria.  A second fact sheet examines the $28.3 billion in proposed funding for HIV/AIDS programs both within the U.S. and overseas. The foundation also has updated its Global Health Budget Tracker and relevant Kaiser Slides charts (2/24).

Lessons From Kenya For The GHI: This CSIS paper says that the U.S.-funded AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance (APHIA) program in Kenya, which developed an integrated program based on the PEPFAR platform, identifies lessons to help inform GHI implementation. “Since Kenya has been designated one of eight GHI-Plus countries, the emphasis on program integration in those U.S. government programs is especially relevant,” according to a summary (Fleischman, 2/23).

Foreign Assistance Does Not Advance U.S. Interests: “[T]here is little evidence that foreign assistance advances U.S. interests,” Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, writes on his Forbes blog, “The Politics Of Plunder.” Bandow gives examples of where some “assistance programs have been perversely harmful. U.S. ‘Food for Peace’ shipments, used to dump farmers’ domestic surpluses, is notorious for ruining local farmers and thus undermining local production. This problem continues in Haiti.” Bandow highlights the shortcomings he sees in assistance programs in several countries and concludes: “With the country drowning in red ink, Washington must cut every unnecessary program. Misnamed foreign aid is a good place to start” (2/22).

Progress In Fight Against Sleeping Sickness: A PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Viewpoint reflects on the WHO’s efforts between 2000-2009 to assist countries with establishing control and surveillance activities for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or sleeping sickness. “The time has now come to sensitize stakeholders on the pertinence and ethical duty of embarking on the process of eliminating HAT as a public health problem despite the difficulties, obstacles, and threats that are expected in this process. Without such hammering approach, there is a risk of stagnation in control and surveillance as occurred in the late 1960s that ultimately led to the return of the disease,” the authors write (Simarro et al., 2/22). An accompanying PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Editorial examines the possibility of HAT elimination (Aksoy, 2/22).

How Budget Cuts Could Affect Latin America: “As the White House and Congress consider budgets for this year and next, the sensible course is to preserve already very limited economic and institution-building programs for Latin America that lend a helping hand,” Lisa Haugaard, executive director of the Latin America Working Group, writes in a Huffington Post blog post. “These programs help farmers grow food, not coca; provide immunizations for deadly diseases; strengthen courts, and help those fleeing from wars and recovering from disasters. Their impact on the U.S. budget is microscopic, but their return, measured in increased goodwill, security, and protection for human rights, is substantial,” she writes (2/22).

Ideas For Improving USAID On The Frontlines: Based on their experience working in “fragile and transitional states,” Jeremy Konyndyk and Michael Bowers of Mercy Corps make five recommendations to improve USAID’s ability to work in fragile states in a Huffington Post blog post. “We have seen firsthand that when development aid is done right, it can be a highly effective tool for bringing peace and prosperity to deeply troubled societies: fostering economic growth, assisting the return of refugees, restoring infrastructure and basic services, supporting civil society, rebuilding local government capacity, and mitigating sources of conflict. But getting it right is not easy,” they write (2/21).

Increased Support For Public-Private Partnerships Can Improve TB Control: Despite “evidence of cost-effectiveness,” public-private partnerships make up “only a modest part of overall TB control activities,” according to a Tropical Medicine and International Health study that reviewed data on these types of partnerships in TB programs that received support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Increasing public-private partnerships “across countries could contribute to expanding access to TB care, increasing case detection, improving treatment outcomes and help achieve the global TB control targets” (Lal et al., 2/20).

Key Senators For Global Health Issues: The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog profiles four Senators who are “worth watching” as the Senate “considers the massive cuts in global health spending for fiscal year (FY) 2011. … The Senate will also be the key to any effort to increase or even protect current funding for global health programs in FY 2012.” Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are profiled (Lubinski/Bryden, 2/19).

Ways To Move Global AIDS Response Forward: In his 2011 letter to partners (.pdf), UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe “outlines a set of six new frontiers to move the global AIDS response forward: The democratization of the response; making the law work for not against AIDS; reducing the upward trajectory of programme costs; making funding for AIDS a shared responsibility; making the AIDS movement a bridge to development; and fostering scientific innovation for HIV prevention and treatment,” UNAIDS writes. According to the post, Sidibe in the letter expands upon how each of the highlighted frontiers are dependent on the others (2/18).

Bad Time For Cuts To Global Agriculture Funding: “The perception is that foreign aid needs to be severely cut. The reality is that little will be saved, much will be lost,” Roger Thurow, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, writes of pending budget cuts to U.S. foreign assistance on the council’s “Global Food for Thought” blog. “In the past couple of years, international development has corrected its course and has begun re-investing in agriculture,” Thurow says, adding that this “budget-cutting threat” is coming at a time “when food prices are rising to new highs” (2/18).

U.S. Investment In Vaccines: Panelists at a recent Hill briefing discussed how to persuade U.S. lawmakers to fund vaccines for the developing world, according to a report on the Global Health Council’s blog. Col. Julia Lynch, director of the U.S. Military Infectious Disease Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, said vaccine investment is “a national security issue,” while Phil Hosback, vice president of Immunization Policy and Government Relations for Sanofi Pasteur, said vaccines “provide one of our greatest returns on investment.” Participants focused “more on the moral underpinning of scaling up life-saving immunizations” than economic benefits, the blog reports. Amie Batson, deputy assistant administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Jon Andrus, deputy director of PAHO, also participated in the panel (Donnelly, 2/18).

Seven Principles To Save More Lives Through PEPFAR: In a post on the CSIS Commission for Smart Global Health Policy’s blog, Margaret Reeves, a fellow at CSIS, outlines seven principles PEPFAR is aiming “to introduce into its programs to save more lives.” She writes: “Articulating these seven principles is important and provides a benchmark by which PEPFAR can measure its own efforts. They will also make it easier for stakeholders such as host countries and civil society to measure PEPFAR’s progress toward increased transparency, accountability and efficiency” (2/17). 

Possible Effects Of Reducing U.S. Investment In Global Health:  If U.S. global health spending is reduced to FY 2008 levels, as proposed by some House Republicans, it “would have a devastating effect on people around the world,” according to a report (.pdf) by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, states a press release by the group. “Annually, according to the analysis: 32,650 more infants could be infected with HIV due to reductions in services to combat mother-to-child transmission; 487,514 orphans and vulnerable children could lose their food, education, and livelihood assistance; funding for AIDS treatment for 315,413 people would be eliminated; almost 15 million fewer people would be treated for malaria; and 143,314 fewer people with tuberculosis (TB) and 1,440 fewer people with multidrug-resistant TB would receive lifesaving treatment,” the release states (2/17).