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Recent Releases In Global Health

Several blogs, publications examine the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit:

  • The MDGs serve a dual purpose “helping the poor countries to fight poverty and the rich countries to preserve a sense of social solidarity,” writes Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” The post examines why “gains are being achieved despite recession in the U.S. and Europe”: China’s growth, technology, business, and governance (9/23).
  • Council on Foreign Relations fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that achieving the MDGs related to women “remain[s] a distant hope … Women have become a hot topic among the development crowd, and women’s health and economic issues have received a great deal of attention recently, but attention does not change women’s lives. Investment does.” The publication examines “some progress” that has been made (9/23).
  • Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, writes on The Hill’s “Congress Blog“ what he hopes are Pres. Obama’s priorities for “America’s strategy for development leadership in the 21st century,” which includes urging other leaders to create national plans to meet the MDGs on time (9/22).
  • In a Lancet Comment, Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus presents four steps to achieving country ownership. “Countries simply must own all these stages for the effect of development aid to be maximised. What seems to be missing is partners’ full commitment to country ownership. Partners have a wide range of interests that hinder them from fully embracing country-led processes. But a decisive shift has to happen now if the MDG targets are to be reached,” he writes (9/22).
  • Sanitation still “goes unmentioned,” but “is an issue that touches on the lives and health of millions of individuals, and one which world leaders have promised to address,” writes former U.N. official Jan Eliasson in the Huffington Post. “Sanitation must be brought into the mainstream – out of the shadows, and onto the public agenda” (9/21).
  • An “important milestone” in the “dramatic intensification of a global effort to turn the tide against AIDS” was the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes French First Lady and Global Fund Ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in a Guardian “Comment is free” blog post. She hopes “that other donor countries will follow” France and the U.S. with “generous pledges” (9/21).
  • In a Guardian “Comment is free” blog post, Mark Malloch-Brown, former head of the United Nations Development Programme, writes of the MDGs: “Over the next five years, we must learn the lessons of those countries that are succeeding, and replicate them. But if the gains of the past decade are not to unravel, we must also ensure the funds are there to support those successes” (9/20).
  • In a Huffington Post blog, EngenderHealth President and CEO Pamela Barnes details five steps to “saving mothers’ lives,” and discusses the link between reducing maternal mortality and providing universal access to reproductive health care (9/20).
  • According to a Huffington Post blog post, MDG “health goals are competing with each other for money, people, and other scarce resources.” The authors propose the following: “Pursue targeted (‘vertical’) priority health areas for goal-setting, advocacy and monitoring, as the MDGs have done. At the same time, deliver prevention and treatment programs that are integrated (‘horizontal’) across these health priorities” (Frenk et al., 9/16).
  • “We are on the verge of a truly momentous development in the realm of global public health – the emergence of the first generation in almost 30 years where no child is born with HIV. It is possible – by 2015” – to achieve this, writes Susan Ellis, CEO of RED, in a Huffington Post blog post (9/20).
  • A Daily Caller opinion piece calls Bono’s New York Times opinion piece on the MDGs “naive and misguided.” The author writes, “policies based on science and data enjoy a short half-life at the United Nations,” citing the WHO’s endorsement of “less effective methods for preventing malaria” than insecticide DDT (Miller, 9/20).
  • A post on the Guardian’s “Global Development” blog compiles 27 recently published MDG progress reports  (Provost, 9/20).
  • A Lancet Article assesses “official development assistance to maternal, newborn, and child health, 2003–08,” finding: “In 2007 and 2008, US$4.7 billion and $5.4 billion (constant 2008 US$), respectively, were disbursed in support of maternal, newborn, and child health activities in all developing countries. These amounts reflect a 105% increase between 2003 and 2008, but no change relative to overall ODA for health, which also increased by 105%.” A related Lancet Comment highlights “three findings [of the paper] that require further consideration”: whether there is more money targeting morbidity and mortality, ability of governments to address mortality and long-term exit strategy by donors  (Sridhar, 9/17).
  • Global Health Magazine’s blog examines a variety of MDG-related issues around the world including: family planning in Nepal, diarrheal death in Pakistan and global indicators for maternal health (September 2010).
  • USAID’s “Impact” blog features posts on the U.N. Summit written by Rear Adm. (ret) Tim Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, and Scott Schirmer, Senior Coordinator, Private Sector Alliances Division, Office of Development Partners, who were in attendance at this week’s event (September 2010).

Blog: Obama’s Commitment To Global Fund Will Reveal Value Of New Global Development Policy

“As the premier global health organization on the cutting edge of bottom-up, accountable, results-focused development aid, the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] is the perfect fit for the president’s new strategy. The U.S.’s commitment to the Fund will be our first indication of whether the president’s new development policy is worth the paper it’s printed on,” according to a Huffington Post blog post that outlines why the Global Fund is a good investment for the U.S. and how it fits in with Obama’s global development strategy (Carter, 9/23).

NEJM Perspective Proposes Creation Of International Health Service Corps

A New England Journal of Medicine Perspective proposes the creation of an International Health Service Corps (IHSC), “a program that would train and fund both local providers and U.S. health care professionals to work, teach, learn, and enhance the health care workforce and infrastructure in low-income countries.” The effort, the authors write, “should be targeted to health care providers in the United States and partner countries who are committed to serving the poor” and “go beyond that of filling a human-resource void to focus on infrastructure development, knowledge transfer, and capacity building.” The perspective also looks at U.S. medical school partnerships with low-income countries and the role of the proposed IHSC in disaster relief (Kerry et al., 9/23).

Blog: Three Questions About Obama’s Global Development Policy

“As with most ambitious policy pronouncements like this, the devil will be in the details of implementation,” according to blog post on the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog about President Barack Obama’s new global development policy. The post highlights three questions that “remain unanswered.” They are: “If U.S. Ambassadors have oversight responsibility for foreign assistance in the field, how can we make sure our development programs work towards long-term, sustainable outcomes and not short-term political goals? More broadly, how will USAID and the State Department work together to implement the new policy? Will the Administration work proactively with Congress to overhaul the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to make sure the new development policy endures as one of President Obama’s key legacies?” (Beckmann/Ingram, 9/22).

Study: Community Health Workers Effective In Managing Malaria, Pneumonia

Allowing community health workers to use rapid tests and medication to “manage both malaria and pneumonia at the community level is promising and might reduce overuse of [anti-malaria drug] AL, as well as provide early and appropriate treatment to children with nonsevere pneumonia,” according to research published in PLoS Medicine. “A total of 3,125 children with fever and/or difficult/fast breathing were managed over a 12-month period,” in the study by community health workers (Yeboah-Antwi et al., 9/21).

Blog: More People On HIV Treatment Thanks To PEPFAR, U.S. Leadership

“Thanks in large part to ongoing U.S. leadership, the number of people receiving HIV prevention, treatment and care is growing and will continue to grow with the significant support of the Obama Administration … The progress we have seen in PEPFAR provides us with a roadmap on how to achieve success – and is the centerpiece of the GHI,” writes the author of a post on The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” The author, who is principal deputy U.S. global AIDS coordinator, cites increasing numbers of people receiving treatment and care in middle- and low-income countries and writes “this Administration is working every day to continue providing American leadership in the global effort to defeat HIV/AIDS and keep our eyes on the ultimate prize – saving lives” (von Zinkernagel, 9/21).

Blog: Investing In Women Spurs Economy, Protects U.S. Interests, Rep. Says

“No woman should die giving life – and the good news is that most pregnancy-related deaths, as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, are preventable with a package of basic, proven health interventions. But despite recent progress, far too many women in poor countries still face terrible risks. We as Americans should make it a priority to save women’s lives. It’s not only the right thing to do, but these investments also reduce poverty, spur the global economy and protect U.S. national interests,” Representative Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) writes in a post on The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” Clarke suggests “three crucial contributions the United States can make” to improve women’s health: “sound policies, sufficient funding, and true leadership” (9/21).   

Blog Details CUGH Annual Meeting

The Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s second annual meeting took place this week in Seattle Washington. A blog documents the major sessions, which addressed topics like global health policy and diplomacy, the GHI and global health reporting. It also includes some video interviews (September 2010).

Blog: To Lead On AIDS, Obama Must Pledge $6B To Global Fund

“There are five years left to accomplish [the MDGs] and there is still time to make a difference for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. It is both a political and moral imperative now that President Obama fulfill his campaign pledge to be a global leader on AIDS and end extreme poverty. To do so, he must pledge $6 billion dollars over the next 3 years to the Global Fund,” states a post on CNN’s “Belief Blog.” The post concludes: “For those of us in this country, it’s a matter of Obama fulfilling a campaign promise. For the world’s poorest, it’s a matter of life and death” (Wallis, 9/21).