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Recent Releases In Global Health

Overview Of FY11 Funding Totals For Global Health In H.R. 1473: The U.S. Global Health Policy Tracker offers an overview of the FY11 funding totals for global health in the Full-Year Appropriations Act (H.R. 1473). The tool includes links to summaries of the bill by House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as summaries of State and Foreign Operations and Health and Human Services appropriations (4/11). More information on recent U.S. global health policy developments is available on Kaiser’s Policy Tracker tool.

Characteristics Of Care, Treatment In PEPFAR-Supported ART Programs: An article in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes describes the “characteristics of care and treatment services in PEPFAR-supported ART programs,” based on data collected from sites in Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Vietnam between April 2006 and March 2007. The authors report, “Sites added a median of 293 patients per quarter. By the evaluation’s end, sites supported a median of 1,649 HIV patients, 922 of them receiving antiretroviral therapy.” The authors conclude that while “HIV treatment sites scaled up rapidly with the influx of resources and technical support through PEPFAR … [h]uman resources are stretched thin, and delivery models and intervention mix differ widely between sites” (Scott et al., 5/1).

Fear Of Anti-Abortion Lobby Has Prevented Global Health Focus On Stillbirths: “The Lancet series on stillbirths is a breakthrough in a field that has been hampered by wrong assumptions and prejudice and a lack of energy to tackle the issue,” journalist Sarah Boseley writes in the Guardian’s “Global Health Blog,” noting that the issue raises questions about fetal viability that could provide “more ammunition to the anti-abortion lobby.” She says, “It’s sad and ironic that wranglings over abortion should in any way impede action that could save babies’ lives,” adding it is also “tragic … that the anti-abortion lobby in the U.S. is still trying to block the provision of safe abortion in the developing world” (4/14).

Who Will Succeed Jacques Diouf?: A Devex piece reports on the June elections for a new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) executive director and examines questions surrounding the recent announcements of two European candidates even though “[c]onventional wisdom may suggest that FAO is ripe for a leader from Latin America or Asia.” The article also looks at concerns about transparency in the race (Pasquini, 4/14).

Long-Term Effects Of Scaling Back Public Diplomacy Programs: Joshua Kurlantzick, a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, describes the long-term effects of the cuts to foreign aid programs laid out in the FY11 spending measure in a post on the council’s “Asia Unbound” blog. “[W]hat is so difficult, and disconcerting about these cuts, is that the impact will show up for years,” he writes. “Indeed, these public diplomacy programs, like educational exchanges and even the Peace Corps, are some of the best long-lasting investments in U.S. soft power abroad. To cut spending on public diplomacy is like “mortgaging the future in many ways,” he concludes (4/14).

Use Development Community’s Ideas From The Developing World In Rich Nations: “The development community is increasingly delivering results-oriented and truly effective solutions to the problems of the developing world. At the same time, the developed world is suffering from problems brought on by socioeconomic disparities and budgetary uncertainties. … The initiatives of the development community, now more than ever, should be assessed and, where possible, applied to developed countries,” Fred Glaser, a technical and financial project manager, writes in a Devex guest opinion piece (4/13).

FY11 Budget Limits Critical Diplomatic Tools: “Chipping away at foreign affairs and assistance funding cripples our ability to dynamically respond to today’s global challenges and it is time for Congress to recognize that reality,” Sarah Margon, associate director of the Center for American Progress’ Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative, writes in a brief about the recent FY11 budget deal. “These kind of lopsided cuts are the wrong approach. We need to refocus our spending priorities so we can adequately address and respond to the threats we face today,” she writes (4/13).

Civil Groups Push For Obama’s Attendance At High-Level UNAIDS Meeting: Fifty global health, human rights and religious groups joined together this week to urge President Barack Obama to attend the U.N. High-Level Meeting on AIDS in New York this June, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports (Mazzotta, 4/14). In a letter (.pdf) to the president, the organizations write, “The centrality of the U.S. role in the global response to HIV/AIDS and the location of the United Nations meeting call for your presence and leadership at this historic event. Your attendance will send a bold message that the United States commitment to the global AIDS response remains steadfast and will help to leverage high‐level representation from other governments to develop a real plan for the next phase of the response” (4/12).

Potential Conflicts Of Interest Among Private Foundations Who Fund Global Health: A PLoS Medicine article examines potential conflicts of interest that exist among several large private foundations that are major funders of global health, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation. “The question of whether and how financial and institutional relationships might shape foundation decision-making has yet to be answered, and continues to be a point of controversy,” the authors conclude. They offer several strategies to reduce potential conflicts of interest, including divestment, transparency and alignment of aid with the needs of the community (Stuckler et al., 4/12).

Two Ways For Global Health Community To Respond To Fiscal Contraction: “Growth in global health spending will probably slow and might contract in 2011,” write the authors of a Lancet comment that examines the factors that likely will impact such spending. “We will enter a period of dramatically intensified competition for resources among the many important global health priorities. Although the global health community is unlikely to influence the politics of fiscal contraction, it can take on two specific challenges: provide compelling evidence that past and continuing investments are making an impact; and show that resources devoted to health programmes are an effective means to advance health and broader development goals,” they write (Murray et al., 4/11).

The Value Of Using Mathematical Models To Evaluate Global Health Programs: “With recent increases in resources committed to improve global health, there is growing demand for accountability and efficiency in programme implementation and the need for good evaluation. In many situations, available data and appropriate modelling techniques can clarify, within a causal framework, the relation between programme inputs and effect,” write the authors of a Lancet review article that describes the benefits and shortcomings of information obtained through modelling. “As modelling moves from an academic exercise in mathematicians to the public health field it is essential that modellers work to explain models clearly, are rigorous in quality assurance, and provide full documentation” (Garnett et al., 4/11).

Ideas For The Creation Of The U.S. Global Development Council: A Brookings Institution paper offers some “key considerations that should be addressed” when the U.S. Global Development Council, first mentioned in the White House’s presidential policy directive on global development, “moves from concept to reality” (4/8).

U.N. Agencies’ Work To Address Drought In Chad, Niger: On the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, Elisabeth Kvitashvili, an alternate permanent representative to the U.N. agencies in Rome, Italy, and humanitarian affairs counselor for USAID, describes the work of the FAO and the World Food Program, “both of whom receive valuable financial support from USAID,” in Chad and Niger. “In addition to supporting the recovery of drought-affected households, both organizations are now using their resources in a more preventative fashion,” she writes (4/8).

Evaluating GAVI Ahead Of Pledging Conference: A panel of the Center for Global Development recently “reflected on progress and lessons learned in financing GAVI since 2001 and explored implications for the next decade,” Amanda Glassman and Katie Stein, of the Center for Global Development (CGD), write on the CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. They summarize key takeaways of the meeting, provide a longer summary, and include links to video from the panel discussion (4/8).

Examining GHI From Its Own Content: “In many ways, there’s a lot for public health professionals to be pleased with. GHI.gov provides information on key personnel associated with the GHI, its mandate and strategy document,” Vidal Seegobin, a research associate with the Stimson Center’s Global Health Security program, writes on the center’s blog, “The Will and the Wallet.” But the site “content does not, however, explain what the GHI is doing differently. … Moving forward, as the government operationalizes and measures health system strengthening, a concrete set of monetary and non-monetary interventions aimed at improving workforce retention will be absolutely necessary” (4/7). 

Global Health Council’s Resource Page On The G8 Summit: The page links to information on the upcoming 37th G8 Summit to be held in Deauville, France, from May 26-27, and related activities from other groups (undated).