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Recent Releases In Global Health

The Problem With A ‘Robo Budget': In a post on “The Hill’s Congress Blog,” Senator Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.), writes about the recent defeat of the omnibus bill, calling the passage of a continuing resolution a “robo budget” that is a “disservice.” According to Leahy: “The Omnibus would have funded global health programs … The other party may not want to talk about cutting these programs. But when there is an outbreak of a deadly disease like the Asian Flu that could endanger the lives of millions of Americans, we can predict they will demand to know what the State Department is doing about it. It won’t matter that they just cut the budget for disease surveillance and prevention” (12/23).

Call To Boost PEPFAR, Global Fund In FY 2012 Budget Request: Ahead of President Barack Obama’s FY 2012 budget request, expected to be issued early next year, a post on the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines two letters sent earlier this week urging the president to increase his  PEPFAR and and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria requests. One letter (.pdf) was sent by faith leaders and the other letter (.pdf) by Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, who co-authored the U.S. Leadership against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2008 (Mazzotta, 12/22).

Effective Aid Is Transparent: “Transparency does not, by itself, make aid more accountable or services better. But it is a necessary condition for every part of the internationally agreed agenda for aid effectiveness,” Owen Barder, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, writes on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” The post addresses the International Aid Transparency Initiative and similar efforts (12/21).

Infant Vaccine Effectiveness: A Lancet Article examines “whether prenatal exposure to and treatment of maternal helminth infections affects development of an infant’s immune response to immunisations and unrelated infections.” Based on a trial of 2,356 women in their second or third trimester who were to deliver infants at a hospital in Uganda, the authors report, “maternal anthelmintic treatment during pregnancy can have a small effect on an infant’s response to tetanus immunisation, but has no effects, either beneficial or detrimental, on the occurrence of infectious diseases during infancy, infant mortality, or growth and anaemia outcomes at 1 year of age” (Webb et al., 12/21). An accompanying Lancet Comment writes of the study, “This finding has serious implications for policy makers who advocate the use of anthelmintic treatment during pregnancy” (12/21).

Guiding Principles For Health System Strengthening: “Despite the growing consensus for the need for [health system strengthening in global health], there is little agreement on strategies for its implementation,” write the authors of a PLoS Medicine Policy Forum that proposes 10 guiding principles for health system strengthening: “holism, context, social mobilization, collaboration, capacity enhancement, efficiency, evidence-informed action, equity, financial protection, and satisfaction.” The authors write, “Without a set of agreed-upon principles, frameworks for policy, practice, and evaluation may be unclear, overly narrow, or inconsistent, limiting the ability for collective learning, innovation, and improvement” (Swanson et al., 12/21).

Interactive Map On U.S. Development Initiatives: The Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking Foreign Assistance” blog features an interactive map that allows users to explore the countries where Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative (GHI), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and PEPFAR currently operate. “No country currently contains all four initiatives, but eight countries (interestingly all in sub-Saharan Africa) have three of the four initiatives operating within them,” according to the post (Dunning, 12/21).

GAVI Can Serve As Model For GHI: Following her participation in a recent GAVI Alliance meeting in Rwanda, Amie Batson, deputy assistant administrator for global health at USAID, writes, “GAVI is a model for the new approach the U.S. is taking through the Global Health Initiative: an innovation approach, a public-private partnership seeking innovative sources of finance for vaccines for poor countries, investing in children, with a clear focus on measurable results,” in a post on the agency’s “Impact” blog. “As the U.S. expands the life-saving impact of our global health assistance through the Global Health Initiative … our support for immunization will continue, because it is one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives and promote health,” Batson writes (12/21).

Early Initiation Of ART Should Be First Priority: “In cases where the simultaneous implementation of all components of the 2010 WHO ART guidelines is beyond the reach of programs or countries, important prioritization questions emerge,” write the authors of a PLoS Medicine Article. Based on analysis of “a mathematical model and local input data to project clinical and economic outcomes in a South African HIV-infected cohort,” the authors report, that “CD4 count monitoring and ART initiation at CD4<350 cells/µl are the critical initial priorities. Replacing stavudine with tenofovir would further increase survival and would also be cost-effective. Adding a second-line ART regimen would provide large survival benefits, but with substantial increases in the necessary budgets” (Walensky et al., 12/21).

Shah Discusses ‘Feed The Future’ On ABC News Show: The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog notes USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s recent appearance on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour. “He spoke at length about the marquee food security initiative – Feed the Future – with its emphasis on malnutrition and supporting local farmers so that countries can move away from a dependence on food aid. He also talked about engaging other partners, including the private sector, and the central role innovation and research are playing in this effort,” the blog writes. The video and full transcript are available here (12/20).

The Actual Amount The U.S. Spends On Foreign Aid: “Most Americans believe the United States gives much more in foreign aid than it actually does. In reality, the United States spends around $37 billion on foreign aid, which is roughly 1% of the federal budget,” according to a post on U.N. Dispatch by Mark Leon Goldberg, the blog’s managing editor. The data was obtained from the recently launched ForeignAssistance.gov website (12/17).  

Here is a sample of the continuing analysis of last week’s release of the State Department’s

Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review

(QDDR):

CGD’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog”: The QDDR on USAID and the GHI: A Bridge to Nowhere? (Oomman, 12/22);

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog: More QDDR Reactions from MFAN Partners (12/21);

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog: “A challenge to Clinton on GHI, family planning” (Donnelly, 12/20);

ONE’s blog: Making good rhetoric reality: Implementing the QDDR (Messer, 12/20);

Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog”: Diplomacy and development, working together in the US (Veillette, 12/20);

Devex: The Long and Winding Road Toward US Aid Reform (Bristol, 12/17);

Huffington Post blog: Keep the U.S. Response to Global Humanitarian Disasters Impartial (Worthington, 12/17).

CSIS Overview: The QDDR: a New Emphasis on Partnerships (Runde, 12/17);

CSIS Overview: Reflections on Secretary Clinton’s Launch of the QDDR (Morrison/Carty, 12/16);

CSIS Overview: Water Issues in the QDDR (Bliss, 12/16);

CSIS Overview: Global Food Security in the QDDR (Tuttle/Wedding, 12/16);

CSIS Overview: QDDR and the Future of Diplomacy (Lamb, 12/16);

CSIS Overview: QDDR: Similar Focus, New Approaches (Hyman, 12/16);

“The Will and the Wallet” blog from the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program: The QDDR: Our Assessment (12/16).