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Recent Releases In Global Health

Factors Contributing to Health Of Women Worldwide: The Kaiser Family Foundation features a narrated slide tutorial by epidemiologist Laurel Spielberg on the health issues facing women around the world. The tutorial touches on issues such as economic status and biological, social, and cultural factors that affect women’s health, as well as access to health services such as family planning (2/17).

On The Budgets: With no final resolution on the FY11 budget and President Obama’s FY12 budget now on the table, experts looked at how the two budgets affect global health and development.

  • “Cutting [international maternal and child health] programs now – when our nation and the world are pulling out of a recession, global food prices and the number of hungry people worldwide are at an all-time high, and there is considerable turmoil in the Middle East and other frontline states where many of these programs operate – is penny wise and pound foolish,” Ritu Sharma, co-founder and president of Women Thrive Worldwide, writes on The Hill’s “Congress Blog” (2/17).
  • “On brawn, the [FY12] budget clearly falls short. Obama proposes spending about $27 billion on development and humanitarian assistance – less than the amount Americans spent on candy in 2009,” Gregory Adams, Oxfam America’s director of aid effectiveness, writes on ONE’s blog. “The most important question is about how and where we’re investing that money. And here – on the test of brains – Obama’s budget holds much more promise,” he adds, noting the ways the budget supports reforms to the U.S. aid system (2/16).
  • “In almost all facets, the two budgets head in opposite directions. … The point here isn’t to stump for more aid. It’s to argue for rationale cuts and smarter development,” Sarah Jane Staats, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development, writes on the center’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog” (2/15).
  • In a Council on Foreign Relations expert roundup, Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the council, analyzes how the president’s budget will affect global health. “Because cuts in overseas programs have a negligible impact on U.S. voting patterns, they are politically painless. But the impact on the ground in poor and war-ravaged parts of the world is profound,” according to Garrett (2/15).

USAID Administrator’s Speech To NIH: Reflecting on USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s speech this week to the NIH, Amanda Glassman, director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development, writes of Shah’s call to see to it that “the majority of all children have access to pentavalent, rota, pneumo and meningitis vaccines and that we have eradicated polio” by 2015 on the CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. “Unlike some aspirational goals, this goal is actually feasible and affordable,” Glassman writes (2/17). The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog describes ways that USAID and the NIH can work together to transform how issues relating to global health are solved, and points to recent scientific breakthrough in TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention (Mazzotta, 2/16). The Working Group on New TB Drug’s blog notes Shah “called on others [such as the NIH, CDC and WHO] to share [USAID’s] commitment” to TB drug research and “direct their energies toward an innovation-centered approach to improving TB control” (Ambrosino, 2/17). A post on the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s “Global Impact Blog” describes Shah’s call “for a more efficient, coordinated approach toward global health, which would unify the efforts USAID, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and cut costs in order to achieve continued successes in research and development” (Williams, 2/15).

New U.S. National Vaccine Plan Announced: HHS on Wednesday unveiled a new National Vaccine Plan (.pdf) that aims to coordinate “all aspects of federal vaccine and immunization activities,” according to an HHS press release. “It addresses such issues as research and development, supply, financing, distribution, safety, global cooperation, and informed decision-making among consumers and health care providers,” the release states (2/16).

Examining The Possible Success Of Polio Eradication: “Eradicating a disease is an audacious goal. It is also unlike any other effort, for it requires the active and enthusiastic participation of every country – indeed, of every community within every country. … [O]ver the last decade we have learned that eradication is much harder than we thought initially. Clearly, the effort cannot go on indefinitely,” Scott Barrett, a professor of natural resource economics at Columbia University, writes in a Health Affairs’ blog post that outlines three ways to proceed if eradication isn’t successful (2/16). In a second post on the blog, Judith Kaufman, a visiting scholar at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies’ Global Health and Foreign Policy Initiative, writes about Bill Gates’ role in the effort to eradicate polio. She also raises questions about the viability of reaching everyone with vaccines and considers what the approach should be if eradication remains elusive. “The polio eradication campaign promises enormous benefits – to the children who are not paralyzed, to their families who will not need to take care of paralyzed children, and to communities that will be spared the cost of treatment,” she writes (2/16).

When Talking Foreign Policy, Consider Health Diplomacy: Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson encourages members of Congress to consider “the vital role of health diplomacy in protecting and advancing our country, its citizens and its economy” when addressing foreign policy challenges in a Huffington Post blog post. “Health diplomacy must be institutionalized as a critical component of U.S. diplomatic, defense and foreign policy. Global health is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It’s not even exclusively an American issue. It is the moral responsibility and strategic concern of every freedom-loving citizen of the world,” Thompson writes (2/15).

U.S. Support For Agricultural Development Advances Foreign Policy Objectives: “Now is not the time to turn a blind eye to the looming crisis of food and hunger that has sent throngs of people into the streets and toppled governments. Indeed, it is our problem too, one that threatens our own food, economic, and national security,” Catherine Bertini, former head of U.N. World Food Program, and Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, write in a Daily Caller opinion piece. “In addition to strengthening food security for itself and all the world’s citizens, U.S. support for agricultural development assistance hedges against geopolitical instability, creates investment opportunities and new markets for American businesses, and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives” (2/15).

USAID’s NTD Program: USAID’s “Impact Blog” describes the effects of USAID’s NTD Program which focused on integrating efforts to control seven NTDs through mass drug administration. “Through these programs, nearly 16 million people were treated during the first year; the number treated rose to 55 million people by the third year, proving the feasibility of the integrated approach.” The program reached “millions of people by tapping into existing networks, including ministries of health, schools, non-governmental organizations, which together provide the program with greater efficiency and long-term sustainability as well as strengthen the capacity of national programs,” according to the blog (Thompson, 2/14).

Some Donors Move Toward Greater Transparency: On ONE’s blog, the organization’s policy manager for aid effectiveness, Sarah Messer, writes that as part of the International Aid Transparency Initiative, recently “a group of international donors agreed to a new standard for publishing their aid flows, in a common language and format, to make the information easier to access and compare.” According to Messer, the U.S. “has not formally signed on to IATI’s statement; although they have moved towards greater adherence to transparency principles, such as the recent release of the new USAID dashboard that publishes U.S. foreign assistance flows in an accessible format” (2/11).