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Recent Releases In Global Health

Blog: Goosby Reflects On U.S. Response To Global HIV/AIDS At CROI

The Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby’s recent address to the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) where he reemphasized the Obama administration’s commitment to “‘maintaining, extending and increasing’ the U.S. response to global AIDS.” Goosby reflected on the lessons drawn from PEPFAR to date and presented components of the 5-year PEPFAR strategy, the blog notes. Following Goosby’s talk, Richard Kamwi, the health minister of Namibia, and Paul Delay, the deputy director of UNAIDS, shared brief remarks, according to the blog (Lubinski, 2/18).

UNAIDS Head Calls For Renewed Focus On Universal Access

During a recent visit to Botswana, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe appealed to countries “to renew their commitment to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” according to a UNAIDS release. Sidibe also urged the countries to bring all groups engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS together to review the progress made in reaching these goals (2/18). “As we approach the [2010] deadline for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support, we are convinced that UNAIDS is on the right path – the path of prevention and the path that links the transformative AIDS response to health and development,” writes Sidibe in a Lancet comment. The piece highlights the nine priorities UNAIDS has identified as “achievable goals” and calls for a “‘prevention revolution’ – a revolution that recognises the heterogeneity of HIV epidemics, provides more targeted prevention for most-at-risk groups, and reverses the systematic underinvestment in prevention interventions” (Sidibe, 2/13).

Blog: Congressional Staff Briefed On Obama’s Global Health Initiative Partner Plus

Devex’s “Obama’s Foreign Aid Reform” blog reports from a congressional staff briefing about President Obama’s Global Health Initiative Partner Plus program. “At a briefing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, representatives from the State Department, USAID, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Management and Budget named a preliminary list of candidates: Bangladesh, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala and Honduras. The entire list of potential GHI Partner Plus countries will be announced by March 1, with the selection process for the first 10 to be completed by April 30,” the blog writes (Miller, 2/18).

NEJM Perspective Calls For Collaboration Between Aid Groups, People Of Haiti

“Viewed as a whole, the international medical response to Haiti’s catastrophe has been praiseworthy, grand in scale, and successful in alleviating some of the suffering and in saving many lives. But it has been far from good enough,” writes the author of a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece that reflects on the recovery efforts now underway and the history of poverty in the country. The author continues, “At least 10,000 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were operating in Haiti at the time of the earthquake,” and yet Haiti “remained one of the world’s poorest countries. … [I]t is obvious that any organization that is really interested in helping Haiti must include Haitian authorities in all projects and employ and train Haitians (Kidder, 2/17).

Blog: Why Conservatives Should Care About Foreign Aid Reform

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “Modernize Aid” blog features a video interview with Ambassador Mark Green, a former Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, who discusses why conservatives should care about foreign aid reform (2/17).

PLoS Medicine Study Compares Effectiveness of NVP In Women Previously Exposed To Drug

“Intrapartum and neonatal single-dose nevirapine (NVP) reduces the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission but also induces viral resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs,” write the authors of a PLoS Medicine study that compares the effectiveness of the drug in women who had previously been exposed to the drug to those who had not. The authors conclude, “Single-dose intrapartum and neonatal NVP is among the simplest and most feasible interventions available and remains a cornerstone of perinatal HIV prevention in many under-resourced settings … [W]hen used judiciously in conjunction with ART for women eligible for treatment, single-dose NVP to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission can be administered without substantially comprising the mother’s future antiretroviral treatment options” (Stringer et al., 2/16).

Blog Reflects On Global Health Diplomacy

In the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, a Huffington Post blog post reflects on the concept of global health diplomacy. Though “global health diplomacy usually encompasses acts of service from one nation to another … global health diplomacy is also at work when individuals engage in acts of public service,” the blog writes, pointing to collaborations between public health experts and leaders in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. “Poignantly, in reaching out to helping our fellow Haitian, we are helping all of humankind by broadening our engagement across all borders, across all creeds, across all politics, across all divides,” the blog notes, concluding that “[u]ltimately, through individual and agency acts of global health diplomacy , whether Hajj planners, aid workers, volunteers, donors, behemoth agencies, or military forces, little Haiti, I know, can heal us” (Ahmed, 2/15).

Blog Examines U.S. Development Policy In Haiti

A Huffington Post blog post looks at U.S. development policy in Haiti. “One of the main opportunities is the development of the agriculture sector. Work with the Government of Haiti, the United States and other international donors had identified investing in agriculture as a key mechanism to tackle poverty, the root cause of food insecurity and under-nutrition. Agriculture was affected by the earthquake – roads and ports were destroyed and markets were and will continue to be disrupted – but this damage can be readily repaired. Indeed, a large percent of the agriculture sector remains unaffected.” The post goes on to describe some of the challenges to expanding agriculture in Haiti and outlines U.S. plans for assistance (Mills, 2/13).

Blog: Congress Should Pass Food, Drug Import Reform Without Harming Agriculture In Developing Countries

The Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog explores the global health issues surrounding FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s recent comments about food and drug import safety. “Congress must pass pending food and drug safety legislation and give FDA the tools and resources it needs to work with our trading partners, particularly developing countries, to improve inspection and quality control of food closer to its place of origin and coordinate food and drug safety efforts with trading partners and regional and multilateral health and economic institutions,” according to the blog, which also says that “[o]ne important caveat is that the U.S. must be careful to consider the legitimate expectations and needs of developing countries in formulating its approach” (Bollyky, 2/12).

Blog: Update On Washington’s Foreign Aid, Development Reviews

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition writes about several efforts to amend U.S. foreign aid and development policy. The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) is expected to release an interim report this month. “It’s anticipated the report will identify a set of themes for each of the five working groups and shape the focus for the final report in May,” according to the blog. It notes that the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development is scheduled to be released in March, “having been delayed from its original release date to allow for coordination with the interim report of the QDDR.” The blog also discusses legislation on Capitol Hill (Smith, 2/12).

Blog: ‘Unity Of Purpose’ Needed To Address Global Hunger

“Making agriculture development a top priority of governments around the world has become a moral imperative with more than one billion people now going to bed hungry every night,” according to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food For Thought” blog. The blog argues that there is a need for “unity of purpose” to address hunger worldwide, which t says has been attempted through the U.S. Global Food Security Act. Expanding agriculture “is a security imperative as population growth combined with rising prosperity and greater demand for food in countries once plagued by famine, like China and India, is driving projections that the world will need to double food production by 2050,” the blog says (Thurow, 2/11).

Malaria Journal Examines Malaria Drug Retail Sector Distribution

A recent Malaria Journal article reviews literature about the “retail sector distribution chain for malaria treatment in low and middle-income countries.” It concludes that there is a need for more “rigorous distribution chain analysis, notably on the factors that influence [artemisinin-based combination therapy] availability and prices in order to contribute to efforts towards improved access to effective malaria treatment” (Patouillard et al., 2/11).

Challenges, Opportunities Of Global Health Initiatives

A Health Policy and Planning commentary “identifies opportunities and challenges posed by” PEPFAR; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as well as other programs. The commentary “discusses and recommends how to maximize opportunities and minimize risks to the sustainability of national priority health programmes in the longer term beyond the funding” (Tangcharoensathien/Patcharanarumol, March 2010). The March edition of the journal includes several other items related to global health.