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Recent Releases In Global Health

Here is a sampling of blog posts analyzing the  Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) after it was released on Wednesday:

Council on Foreign Relations: Weighing an Ambitious QDDR (Garrett et al., 12/16);

CGD’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog”: The QDDR: Whew, It’s Done (Or Is It?) (Veillette, 12/16);

State Department’s “DipNote”: QDDR: Building on Our Interagency Successes in Global Health (Goosby, 12/16);

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog: MFAN Partners React to QDDR Release (12/16);

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog: MFAN Principal Noam Unger’s Perspective on the QDDR (12/16); and

USAID’s “Impact” blog: Leading Through Civilian Power (Shah, 12/15).

Public Health Experts Ask Obama To Expand AIDS Budget: A group of 25 public health leaders signed an open letter, published as an advertisement in Politico, calling on President Barack Obama to “request a substantial increase” for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in his FY 2012 budget, according to a press release issued by amfAR and the Center for Global Health Policy. The full text of the ad and signatories are included in the release (12/16).

State, USAID Announce New Foreign Aid Web Portal: The website “provides a visual presentation of and access to key foreign assistance budget and appropriation data for the Department of State and USAID,” according to a State Department press release. “The goal of the Foreign Assistance Dashboard is to give a wide variety of stakeholders … the ability to examine, research and track U.S. government foreign assistance investments in an accessible and easy-to-understand format” (12/16).

Support Visionary African Leaders: In a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reflects on what he calls “the visionary African leaders who are tackling poverty by transforming government, and what the international community needs to do differently to support them.” Blair discusses the importance of political will and describes Sierra Leone, where President Ernest Bai Koroma has responded to the health issues in his country by “abolish[ing] user fees for children under five and pregnant mothers” and “is now turning his attention to agriculture” (12/16).

Global Tobacco Control Is In National Interest Of U.S.: “Tobacco use accounts for more deaths globally than human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined … with nearly 80% of those deaths occurring in developing countries,” write Thomas Bollyky of the Center for Global Development and Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute on National and Global Health Law in a Journal of the American Medical Association Commentary. In it, they “argue for robust U.S. engagement in global tobacco control” and offer several strategies for U.S. engagement (12/15).

NIH’s Translational Medicine Center: In a Nature News piece, Garret FitzGerald of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania reflects on of decision by the NIH to create a new translational science center. He writes, “Only a translational approach can address the fact that the current model of drug discovery and development is unsustainable. Paradoxically, as we have witnessed a successful revolution in drug discovery, a crisis has emerged in drug development. … The new NIH centre promises to catalyse a much-needed restructuring of the drug-development process” (12/15).

Development Policy Reform Benchmarks: President Barack Obama’s Global Development Policy that was introduced in September “provides a long-overdue roadmap for more strategic, effective, accountable U.S. foreign assistance, and puts forward a mechanism for regularly refreshing our development approach … As with most ambitious policy pronouncements, the true test will come with implementation,” states a post on the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog that offers several benchmarks by which to measure the “Administration’s success in achieving broad-based development policy reform” (12/14).

European Development Days Meeting: In a State Department “DipNote” blog post, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby reflects on his recent attendance at a “European Development Days” meeting in Brussels where he met “with donor and country partners to discuss our shared health and development goals.” Goosby outlines three major themes that came out of the meeting – the recognition of the importance of health system strengthening, the value of collaborations between countries and the need for countries to ensure such collaborations “are broad and multisectoral” (12/13).

Washington State As A Model For Collaboration In Development: The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s blog highlights Global Washington’s 2nd annual conference. During the two-day conference, “leaders discussed strategic approaches for strengthening cross-sector partnerships; promoting scientific and technological breakthroughs; and harnessing the collective leadership of the region’s scholars, entrepreneurs, business leaders, scientists, philanthropists, and advocates” (Gheisar, 12/13).

African Women Discuss Medical Male Circumcision (MMC): A new report from the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) and ATHENA Network’s Women’s HIV Prevention Tracking Project summarizes the perspectives of women from Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda on MMC for HIV prevention, according to an AVAC press release (12/13). The report, based on interviews with about 500 women in HIV-affected communities “provides reason for the cautious rollout of” MMC and “recommendations on how to program its scale-up to ensure MMC is safe and beneficial to whole communities,” according to a summary (December 2010).

Is Global Fund’s Appeal To Fight Medicine Theft Enough? In a post on American Enterprise Institute’s “Enterprise Blog,” the AEI’s Roger Bate commends the Global Fund’s decision to call for “serious action against the theft of medicines.” He continues: “Unfortunately, the Fund has a habit of simply moving from one recipient to another after a fraud is exposed,” without “fight[ing] recipient nation corruption significantly. Without properly exposing the guilty, it is likely the guilty will still benefit in the future, especially in locations where political connections are more important than competence or honesty” (12/12).

Now Is Not The Time To Reduce Funding To Fight Global Hunger: In a post on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food For Thought” blog, Roger Thurow, reflects on what reductions in funds allocated to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program could mean for the fight against hunger. Thurow argues it is not the time to trim from “the food security front. Not now that the U.S. has reclaimed leadership in the fight against hunger through agriculture development, not now that increasing food production in the developing world, particularly in Africa, is a critical element in feeding the world in coming decades” (12/10).

U.S. Support Essential For Global Health Research: “U.S. policymakers should ensure that federal agencies engaged in global health research are fully funded so they can carry on this lifesaving work,” Kaitlin Christenson, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, writes on the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog. “Doing so can give us all hope that groundbreaking achievements in global health research … will continue into the future,” she writes, referencing the WHO’s approval of the rapid tuberculosis test (12/10).

Transparency And U.S. Foreign Assistance Reform: A post on the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog describes a recent event hosted by the Brookings Institution, which examined the U.S. government’s efforts to “pursue greater transparency and its role in shaping international aid transparency standards.” The blog summarizes statements made during the event by the guests (12/9).