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Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Examines Childbirth Practices, Outcomes In Asian Countries

A Lancet study examines childbirth practices and the relationship between these practices and maternal and perinatal outcomes in nine Asian countries, as assessed by a WHO global survey. Based on the analysis of over 107,000 deliveries, the authors conclude, “To improve maternal and perinatal outcomes, caesarean section should be done only when there is a medical indication” (Lumbiganon et al., 2/6). These findings “should help us to prioritise our strategies to reduce unnecessary interventions in childbirth,” write the authors of a Lancet comment. “Financial incentives for doing these procedures should be removed or kept to a minimum, and both public and continuing medical education should emphasise the risks of unnecessary caesarean delivery” (Chong/Kwek, 2/6).

Budget Tracker: Status Of U.S. Funding For Key Global Health Accounts

The Kaiser Family Foundation budget tracker provides regularly updated information on the status of U.S. funding for key global health programs throughout the budget and appropriations process. It includes a detailed breakdown of each major account as presented in the president’s budget request and in relevant appropriations bills as they proceed through Congress. It has been updated to include information on President Obama’s FY 2011 budget request (2/4).

Blog Examines Reactions To Obama’s Global Health Budget

The Guardian’s global health blog looks at some response to President Barack Obama’s budget announcement. The blog includes reactions from the Global Health Council and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University (Boseley, 2/4).

Blog: Tax On Currency Transactions Could Help Address Global Health Needs

A Huffington Post blog post examines the funding needed to ensure worldwide access to HIV/AIDS treatments and global nutritional programs scale-up and explores the viability of a 0.005 percent tax on currency transactions. “How to fully fund and implement effective health programs around the world is not an academic exercise, but rather one of the most urgent moral questions of our day. … And with revenue from innovative financing mechanisms like a tax on financial or currency transactions, we may just have a fighting chance,” the blog concludes (von Schoen-Angerer, 2/4).

Blog: Breakdown Of U.S. Funding For Global Health, Targets Of GHI

The Obama administration’s $9.6 billion request for global health in the FY 2011 budget and its release of the Global Health Initiative consultation draft “signal a strong commitment and evolving action plan … for global health engagement in 2011 and beyond,” the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog writes in a post that examines U.S. funding of global health programs. The post, which notes that the budget request “says something about this administration’s willingness to continue the very good trend that President Bush put in to place with PEPFAR in 2003,” also breaks down targets of the Global Health Initiative, as outlined in the draft strategy (Oomman, 2/3).

Blog: New PACHA Appointees Announced

“Under new leadership appointed by the White House, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) convened its first session [on Tuesday] under the Obama Administration,” according to the Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog (Shesgreen, 2/3). HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced “the appointment of 24 new members to” PACHA, which makes recommendations about domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues, according to a press release from HHS. The release lists the new appointees (2/3).

PLoS Study Examines Burden Of HIV On Adolescents In Zimbabwe; Perspective Calls For More HIV Services For This Population  

A PLoS Medicine study examines the causes of acute hospital admissions among adolescents in Zimbabwe, with the goal of assessing HIV infection and its contribution to illness and death among this population. Based on a survey of 301 adolescents, ages 10 to 18, who were admitted into the two public hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe, between September 2007 and April 2008, the authors found nearly half of the adolescents were HIV-positive. Compared to HIV-negative adolescents, the HIV-positive adolescents were more likely to face hospitalization with tuberculosis or pneumonia and more likely to die (Ferrand et al., 2/2).

“There is a substantial burden of HIV infection in adolescents in southern Africa who acquired HIV perinatally,” according to an accompanying PLoS Medicine Perspective. “There is an urgent need for services that will be able to provide accessible and appropriate HIV testing, counseling, and support, as well as facilitate access to ART and appropriate sexual risk-reduction interventions. The adolescents admitted to hospitals in Harare could have benefited from early diagnosis and concomitant initiation of ART, and this absence of treatment should not continue to be the plight of similar adolescents in our region” (Gray, 2/2).

Blog: Global Network Applauds Obama Administration’s Commitment To NTDs

The Global Network for Tropical Diseases’ “End The Neglect” blog commends the Obama Administration’s inclusion of $155 million to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the FY 2011 budget and goals for NTD treatment outlined in the President’s Global Health Initiative. “While these are just the first steps, we at the Global Network are glad to see that NTDs are being recognized by the administration as a major global health concern and that serious and ambitious efforts will be made to make these diseases a thing of the past,” the blog writes (2/2).

Blog: Conversation With Journalist About Global Scale Of Drug Resistance

The Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog features snippets from a conversation with journalist Margie Mason, who “spent the better part of 2009 taking a global tour of drug resistance,” which was detailed in am Associated Press series on the worldwide impact of drug resistance published in December 2009. In the blog, Mason describes the challenges associated with treating drug-resistance in developing countries. “Awareness, such as that generated by the AP series and similar articles, will be crucial in stemming the spread of once curable drug-resistant diseases across the world,” the blog concludes (Nugent, 2/2).

Blog: GHI Policy Should Be ‘Human Rights-Based’ And ‘Integrated’

“President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) has the potential to save lives and improve the health and rights of women globally. … Now the Administration and Congress need to develop the policies and provide the funding that will make it work,” writes the author of a Huffington Post blog post. “Realistically, a budget increase will be difficult. However, with or without additional funding, the GHI still needs to be leveraged to achieve all of its possible potential. To do that, all GHI policy and programming needs to be human rights-based and integrated,” according to the blog. It concludes: “The GHI could catalyze the tipping point of multiple pandemics. A woman-centered, human-rights based approach, integrated services and programming, and adequate funding comprise the fulcrum” (Sippel, 2/1).

Blog: U.S. Global HIV, TB Programs Underfunded; More Investment Needed

“Although some details are still murky, a first-blush analysis of Obama Administration’s fiscal year 2011 budget doesn’t look good for U.S. efforts to combat the HIV and tuberculosis epidemics. From treatment to prevention, these global health threats could get short-changed under the White House plan,” writes the Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog. It outlines the funding provisions for global HIV/AIDS and TB programs. “There’s no question the U.S. faces tough choices amid spiraling deficits and a difficult economy, but underfunding much needed global health programs, which account for a fraction of the federal budget, is not the answer to America’s fiscal woes. Investment in these programs will reap immense dividends down the line–in financial, diplomatic, and public health arenas alike,” the blog concludes (Shesgreen, 2/1).

Health Affairs Issue Examines How E-Health Is Transforming Care In Developing Countries

Writing in the February issue of Health Affairs, the journal’s editor-in-chief reflects on modern information and communications technology, or “e-health,” in developing countries. “If the transforming of technology is one theme of this issue, another is transformation and change,” she writes. “Despite the disparities among nations, we clearly face common challenges in expanding access to health and health care among disenfranchised peoples everywhere.” The issue examines e-health applications in Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, challenges associated with maximizing the potential of e-health, and leaders and institutions involved in expanding the role of e-health (Dentzer, Feb. 2010).

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Quantifies Scientific Interest In NTDs

A PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Viewpoints examines the level of scientific interest in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), based on an analysis of scientific literature published since 1970. Compared with diseases with similar morbidity and mortality rates, NTDs are less researched by scientists; similarly, the authors found less information about NTDs is available online for the public. “More research is needed in order to gain a more realistic estimate of the burden of these diseases,” the authors conclude. “By the same token, a lack of attention to these diseases could be self-perpetuating. It will be necessary for civil society, scientists, and policymakers alike to break this cycle so that some of the most common infections among the 2.7 billion people living on less than US$ 2 per day, receive the attention they deserve” (Vanderelst/Speybroeck, 1/26).