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Recent Releases In Global Health

Newborn Resuscitation Innovation Breeds Additional Innnovation: In a USAID “Impact” blog post, Lily Kak, USAID senior maternal and newborn health advisor, writes about the the Global Development Alliance, which represents a “new way of doing business in the field of newborn health and has now become a key USAID strategy to roll out newborn resuscitation globally” (1/6).

Sharpening USAID’s Focus: “America gives the bulk of our international aid through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but the agency lacks a clear focus,” Rich Tafel, president of Public Squared, a training organization for nonprofits to engage in public policy, writes in a Huffington Post blog post where he outlines USAID’s goals for the coming year. “[T]oo many goals means no focus when we need it most,” Tafel writes. “Significant leadership from Congress and the Obama Administration could help sharpen USAID’s focus. And the way to engage both the new [U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee] Chairwoman’s goals with that of the Administration is clear – engage USAID strategically with the private sector,” he adds (1/6).

Congress And The QDDR: “The QDDR‘s advertised ‘smart power’ approach promises to change ‘the ways we do business.’ In actual fact, though, it relies heavily on good old-fashioned government expansion: (1) more federal employees (5,500) to restore the 38 percent cut in personnel USAID has experience in the past 20 years; (2) more bureaucracy (three new bureaus at the State Department and two new offices at USAID); and (3) more taxpayer funds for a host of existing and new development assistance programs, despite empirical evidence that many of them will not work,” write Helle Dale and James Roberts from The Heritage Foundation in a Foundation WebMemo that offers recommendations for how Congress should respond to the QDDR proposals (1/6).

Faith-Based Orgs And Improving Food Security: Ari Alexander of USAID writes on the agency’s “Impact” blog of “a truly collaborative event” hosted by the White House, USDA and USAID with “over 30 religious leaders and representatives of faith-based organizations from across the country gathered for a consultation to share their experience and knowledge in food and agriculture programs.” The blog includes the points made by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the event and lists others who spoke (1/5).

Improving Biomedical Research In Africa: “[S]ub-Saharan Africa continues to lag behind western nations in terms of research infrastructure and capacity,” write the authors of a Tropical Medicine & International Health Viewpoints piece that offers solutions for improvement. They write, “Africans can move the continent forward with little or no external aid. However, as long as western scholars continue to set the research agenda, as long as research funding continues to stream from western governments and NGOs and as long as the attitudes of most African public and private institutions remain largely non-committal, Africa will remain the backyard of 21st century civilization, only serving as a repository of raw materials for expatriate-driven research” (Laabes et al., 1/5).

QDDR’s Upcoming Challenges: In a post on the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Commission on Smart Global Health Policy’s blog, J. Stephen Morrison and Lisa Carty of CSIS, reflect on the launch of the QDDR. They note four key challenges, one of which is the transition of Feed the Future and ultimately the Global Health Initiative to USAID. “This could be a formula for continued interagency trench battles, if special care is not taken,” they write. “Ensuring the necessary collaborative effort across USAID, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to effect this change will require a new model of sustained leadership and collaboration, not always in evidence in the past,” they writes (1/4).

U.S. Partnerships To Fight Hunger: “Support for women as agricultural producers and critical actors in creating a food secure world is central to our approach,” Cindy Huang, a senior advisor to the Office of Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, writes in a post about Feed the Future on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog. Huang writes that the initiative “continues to break ground in its comprehensive approach to address the crisis of hunger and undernutrition” (1/4).

Upcoming Issues In Global Health: Center for Global Developments’s Latest “Global Prosperity Wonkcast” features an interview with Amanda Glassman, CGD’s new director of global health, who “summarizes her priorities for CGD’s global health program with two big questions. First, how can donors deploy their global health aid budgets (more constrained than ever) to have the greatest impact on health in poor countries? Second, how can these same donors help poor countries and poor people use their own resources more effectively?” (MacDonald, 1/4).

PEPFAR’s 2010 Accomplishments: Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, highlights PEPFAR’s activities over the last year in a State Department “DipNote” blog post, including efforts to broaden access to care and treatment. “Prevention is a critical area for smart investments, and this year brought encouraging news. … [I]n 2011 PEPFAR will continue to aggressively prepare to implement these new tools as they are available based upon scientific and regulatory guidance,” he writes. Goosby also address the QDDR and fostering country ownership of health programs (1/3).

Helping Policy-Makers In Low-, Middle-Income Countries: “Systematic reviews are an important resource, but policy-makers are often unfamiliar with them and they are not easily accessible. Summaries of systematic reviews can help address these problems as long as they are clear and easy to read or scan quickly,” write the authors of WHO Bulletin study that describes “a short summary format for presenting the results of systematic reviews to policy-makers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)” and the results of “21 user tests in six countries to explore users’ experiences with the summary format” (Rosenbaum et al., January 2011).

USAID’s NTD Control Program: An American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene article provides analysis of USAID’s NTD Control Program, which began in 2006. “By the end of year 3, 12 countries were supported by this program that focused first on disease mapping where needed, and then on initiating or expanding disease-specific programs in a coordinated/integrated fashion. The number of persons reached each year increased progressively, with a cumulative total during the first three years of 98 million persons receiving 222 million treatments with donated drugs valued at more than $1.4 billion,” the authors write. While the program faced “a wide range of political and technical challenges whose importance should not be underestimated, there can be little question but that today’s increased attentiveness and support for NTD control provide important opportunities to advance the health of the world’s neediest populations towards global health equity in ways never before possible,” they conclude (Linehan et al., January 2011).

Integrating Health Care Services In Africa: Ed Scholl, AIDSTAR-One project director, describes how programs in Kenya and Ethiopia are integrating family planning, HIV, and maternal/neonatal and child health care in a post on USAID’s “Impact” blog. “The type of integration model used is not as important as the fact that health workers in both countries now view clients more holistically and address more than a single health problem in a consultation or home visit,” he writes (12/30).