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Recent Releases In Global Health

Blog, Editorial Address Unsafe Abortion In Developing Countries

In light of a recent Guttmacher Institute report that indicated 70,000 women in developing countries die each year from unsafe abortion, a Lancet editorial outlines ways to reduce deaths, and says, “The current political climate is favourable, because the global-gag rule (the U.S. Government’s policy on banning funding of foreign organisations linked to any type of abortion practice) is out of favour” (10/17).

In The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Guttmacher’s Director of Government Affairs Susan Cohen writes, “It’s time for the U.S. to get serious about addressing better access to contraception, unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion as the key public health challenges they are.” Cohen lays out her view on how U.S. global health policy can be “engaged in mitigating the impact of unsafe abortion” (10/14).

Fogarty International Center Announces Global Health Grants

The Fogarty International Center, part of NIH, announced more than $9.23 million in grants as part of the “Informatics Training for Global Health” program, which “is intended to increase informatics expertise in low- and middle-income countries by training scientists to design information systems and apply computer-supported management and analysis to biomedical research” (Policy Tracker, 10/14). More information on recent U.S. global health policy developments is available on Kaiser’s Policy Tracker tool.

Blog: Biofuel Vs. Food

The Global Health blog on Change.org examines the boosting of biofuel consumption as part of the recently launched U.S. National Institute of Food. “This is a really bad idea if fighting hunger is a priority. Biofuels either require new arable be created (cutting down rainforest etc) or arable land used for food production is re-purposed in land for biofuels. Doing this in countries that suffer food insecurity and hunger (as often happens) is utter madness” (Smith, 10/14).

Viewpoint Piece Addresses Zimbabwe’s Health System

A Lancet viewpoint article describes Zimbabwe’s “recent health crisis and its causes, and make[s] proposals for an effective and sustainable health system.” The authors conclude, “Zimbabwe’s once proud achievements in health have been undermined over the past 20 years by increasing poverty, bad governance, poor economic policies, widespread HIV/AIDS, and a weakened health system. … A new opportunity now exists to rebuild the health-care system; its success will be contingent on firmly re-establishing the principles of social justice, equity, and public participation” (10/13).

Blog: Congressman Discusses U.S. Health Investments In Kenya

The CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy’s blog features video of a recent talk by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), in which he discussed the Commission’s trip to Kenya. He “repeatedly emphasized the need for sound global health policy. ‘It spreads good will,’ he said. ‘It builds communities. It provides opportunities for partnership. It’s the right thing to do'” (Gannon, 10/13).

Blog: Uganda Health Minister’s Letter To Clinton; Finding 140,000 New Health Workers For PEPFAR

“In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Stephen Mallinga [Uganda's health minister] says any weakening in U.S. support or funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would be a significant setback for Uganda and other countries, and indeed could strain partnerships with key African allies,” according to the Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog. “No word yet about a response from Clinton or from Dr. Eric Goosby, the Obama Administration’s global AIDS coordinator, who was copied on the missive,” the blogs writes (10/13).

In a separate post, the blog reports on a recent discussion at the Global Health Council about the question of how to recruit and retain “140,000 new health care workers over the next five years in countries hard hit by the AIDS epidemic.” The target is part of a provision that lawmakers included when they reauthorized PEPFAR. According to the blog, “turning that promise into a reality is a tall order, given the severity of current workforce shortages, the time, effort and expense involved in training new doctors and nurses, and the brain drain of health care professionals from resource poor countries to more affluent ones” (10/8).

‘Road Map’ To Fight Malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS

In the Archives of Internal Medicine, a group of global health leaders outlines “a road map” to control malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. “The burden of these diseases can be reduced—but only with increased governmental and nongovernmental resources, effective public-private partnerships, and strengthened disease-specific and general health systems,” they write (Frieden, et al., 10/12).

Blog: U.S. Leadership In Global Development

Sheila Herrling of the Center for Global Development examines who leads efforts “for U.S. engagement in the world” in a post on the “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog.” Herrling discusses the roles leaders play at the State and Defense Departments and at USDA, which has recently “voiced its interest in playing a greater leadership role in the development space” (10/12).