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Recent Releases In Global Health

Here is a sampling of opinions about recent media reports of corruption and fraud in some Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grants:

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future Farmers Key To Unlocking Continent’s Agriculture Potential: “Africa should be one of the leading regions in shaping global food security policies and feeding the future instead of others shaping it for Africa. Developing practical, integrative and more small-scale solutions for agricultural inputs and outputs, farming, and for managing both land and water resources, will help Africa provide for future generations on the Continent and elsewhere,” Robin Renee Sanders, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, writes in a Huffington Post blog post. The post is the first in a series and focuses on young farmers (2/3).

Country Analysis Of The U.S. GHI: A new Kaiser Family Foundation report examines funding and demographic data for countries receiving support under the GHI. The analysis evaluates data from fiscal year 2010 for six programs in the GHI: HIV/AIDS; TB; malaria; maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning and reproductive health; and nutrition (2/2).

Commission On Information Accountability for Women’s, Children’s Health: A WHO podcast examines the newly formed Commission on Information Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, which is tasked with helping countries to “monitor where resources go, how they are spent and improve data collection.” The piece features comments from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, Commission chairs Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and Commission vice-chair Hamadoun Toure, who is the secretary-general for the International Telecommunication Union (2/2).

IP Rules Could Undermine Access To Affordable Drugs In Developing Countries: Intellectual property rules “will not ensure that medicines consistently meet quality standards. Worse, [such] rules can undermine access to affordable generic medicines and damage public health,” according to an Oxfam International report. The report offers recommendations for governments in developed and developing countries, the WHO and pharmaceutical companies to help increase access to high-quality medicines in low-income countries (2/2).

Capitol Hill Briefing Examines PEPFAR’s Efforts To Prevent Mother-To-Child Transmission Of HIV: The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on the recent briefing featuring: Charles Holmes, the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator’s chief medical officer, and experts from the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, mothers2mothers and the Catholic Medical Mission Board (Aziz, 2/1).

Performance-Based Financing Could Address Problems Plaguing Health Systems: “Public expenditure on health – both domestic and official development assistance – has increased over the past few years in most low-income countries but results have been slow. As the public health system remains the backbone of national health policy and the main beneficiary of international aid, it is most likely to be part of the problem,” write the authors of a WHO Bulletin article who propose “performance-based financing, as it is being developed in several sub-Saharan African countries, is a strategy that could help address the structural problems plaguing health systems” (Meessen et al., February 2011).

The Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath’s Impact: In a Q&A on the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog, Rebekah Diller, deputy director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, discusses how the Bush-era Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath affects PEPFAR grantees and efforts to overturn it. “The pledge is an unconstitutional law passed by Congress in 2003 that requires all groups participating in the PEPFAR program to pledge their opposition to prostitution,” according to Diller. She also says the Obama administration has “failed to give groups in the field any basic guidance about what the pledge forbids” (Mazzotta, 1/31).

The Benefits Of Investing In Successful Foreign Aid Programs: “As a new Congress gets into gear, both Republicans and Democrats have a solemn duty to do the people’s work and to make sure their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. U.S. foreign assistance is already under the microscope, as it should be, but we believe policymakers should focus on making it better instead of slashing budgets,” according to a Daily Caller piece written by Mark Green, managing director of the Malaria No More Policy Center, Jim Kolbe, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund and a senior advisor to McLarty Associates, and Rob Mosbacher, chairman of the Mosbacher Energy Company (1/28).

USAID To Work With Private Companies On WEF Agriculture Initiative: USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced Feed the Future’s support for the World Economic Forums New Vision for Agriculture initiative, according to a post on USAID’s “Impact” blog. “This initiative is led by 17 global companies” and aims “to utilize market-based solutions to increase [agriculture] production by 20%, while decreasing emissions by 20% and reducing the prevalence of rural poverty by 20% every decade,” writes Tjada McKenna, director of USAID’s Private Sector and Innovation Office in the Bureau for Food Security. The post outlines USAID’s involvement in the initiative and highlights some of its other work (1/28).