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Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund?

Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it claims; and second, on the basis of those independent evaluations, to make a new call for mobilisation of funds.” The comment continues, “But probably the most important question to be decided this year is whether the Fund should aim to be the Global Fund for all health-related MDGs (including those for maternal and child health). Having proven itself these past 8 years and given the importance of coherence in global health policy making, in our view it is time for the Global Fund to make this step” (3/13).

Tackling Diarrhea Essential To Achieving Child Mortality MDG, Lancet Editorial Says 

“Nearly one in every five child deaths – around 1.5 million a year – is due to diarrhoea, which kills more children than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Yet funding and attention directed toward the control of diarrhoea in recent years has been insufficient to address its enormous global burden,” write the authors of a Lancet editorial that reflects on what is needed to treat and prevent diarrhea deaths in developing countries. The authors continue, “Lessening the burden of childhood diarrhoea… is essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goal related to child mortality, the target date for which is only 6 years away” (Wardlaw et al., 3/13).

Lancet Examines The Implications Of WHO’s Updated HIV Treatment, Prevention Recommendations

A Lancet editorial reflects on the implications of the WHO’s revised HIV treatment and prevention recommendations: While “[t]he revised guidelines provide a clear path to expand more effective HIV treatment and prevention globally, … the world’s appetite for further investment in HIV is perhaps at its lowest ever. The need to remain for the long haul has never been so evident, and we can only hope that global and national health and development communities have the heart to continue and deliver on their promises made for 2010 and beyond” (Crowley et al., 3/13).

Blog: Congress Should ‘Significantly Increase Funding’ For Global Health

A Huffington Post blog examines debate in the U.S. over “how to advance global health most effectively”: “If we aim to lead the world toward a more comprehensive approach to global health, we must be willing to fund it.” The blog concludes by urging Congress to “significantly increas[e] funding across global health accounts beyond the President’s budget request … that includes increased investments in addressing the deadliest infectious diseases, like AIDS, where we have a track record of success and growing international need” (Collins, 3/11).

Congressional Hearing On Global Food Security

The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, held a global food security hearing on Thursday. Subcommittee Chair, Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), discussed the importance of food security not only in terms of improving health, but also for U.S. national security and expressed concern about funding levels for U.S. food assistance programs in the FY 2011 budget request. The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker features links to DeLauro’s opening remarks, GAO testimony, and an accompanying GAO report (3/11).

Blog: ‘Grinding Inefficiencies’ In U.S. Food Aid

Change.org’s “Global Health” blog compares Canadian and U.S. food aid programs. “The U.S. is virtually alone in its stubborn insistence on diverting most of its food aid funding through domestic producers,” according to the blog, which examines what it calls the “grinding inefficiencies” in the U.S. food aid system. “Out of the $2 billion the U.S. annually spends on food aid, only one-third of it actually goes to buy food,” according to the blog (Chen, 3/10).

Blog: Interview With Ugandan PEPFAR Implementer

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog features a video interview with Peter Mugyenyi, who “is visiting Washington from Uganda, where he directs the Joint Clinical Research Center, the largest PEPFAR implementer in East Africa. … As one of the program’s most eloquent supporters, Dr. Mugyenyi has recently begun voicing grave concern about the near flat-funding of PEPFAR’s budget” (Shesgreen, 3/10).

PLoS Medicine Studies Evaluate Surgical Capabilities At E. African Hospitals

A PLoS Medicine study examines the “scope of surgery conducted at district hospitals” in Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. Based on their analysis of data from eight hosptials, the authors report there are “relatively low rates of major surgery at district hospitals in East Africa.” They conclude, “Greater emphasis must be paid to the role of surgical care in the global health research agenda and in plans to improve health care for vulnerable rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa” (Kruk et al., 3/9).

A related PLoS Medicine study finds the “surgical output per capita” in hospitals in Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique “was very low, reflecting low staffing ratios and limited expenditures for surgery.” The researchers also found, “most surgical and anesthesia services in the three countries in the study were provided by generalist doctors, [mid-level providers] MLPs, and nurses” (Kruk et al., 3/9).

Blog: USAID To Seek Supplemental Disaster Funds

At a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said the agency would request emergency funds to supplement its spending on Haiti, according to Devex’s “Obama’s Foreign Aid Reform” blog. “Shah expects the supplemental to ‘reconstitute’ the International Disaster Assistance fund, which is used to respond to emergencies. In total, USAID has spent approximately $350 million of the more than $600 million spent by the U.S. government in post-earthquake Haiti, Shah said, with the Defense Department assuming the bulk of the remainder” (Miller, 3/9).

Blog: Expand Women’s Role In Agriculture

A State Department “DipNote” blog post outlines the U.S. plan to expand agricultural opportunities for women worldwide. “The Obama Administration has pledged to invest at least $3.5 billion in food security over three years, and the Fiscal Year 2011 budget requests includes $1.6 billion. These budget increases reflect the Administration’s desire to strengthen and prioritize the role of women in agricultural development by promoting sustainable agricultural production, linking farmers to markets to help increase access to food, increasing the incomes of the rural poor, and promoting target interventions” (Cousin, 3/8).

Blog: U.S. Should Assist With Global Demand For Female Condoms

“There is a demonstrated global demand for female condoms and the products to meet it. The only thing missing is U.S. foreign policy and funding support,” a Huffington Post blog writes in a piece that examines the health benefits of condoms for both women and men. “This is an easy fix – every U.S. policy and program related to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care must include female and male condom support,” the blog concludes (Sippel, 3/8).

Panel Releases Research Agenda To Improve HIV Treatment, Prevention For Women, Children

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, “the International AIDS Society (IAS) and 15 other leading public and private sector organizations have released a comprehensive new research agenda (.pdf) designed to significantly advance global responses to HIV in women and children,” according to an IAS press release. The agenda “focuses on key gaps in clinical and programmatic knowledge that hinder access to effective HIV prevention, treatment and care for women and children” (3/8).

Blog: Goosby Details PEPFAR’s Work In Post-Earthquake Haiti

A State Department “DipNote” blog post details how PEPFAR has been working with local organizations, multilaterals and NGOs in Haiti, as well as corporate and individual donors to care for people affected by the earthquake (Goosby, 3/5).

Global Health Appointments At HHS, CDC

The Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog features an interview with Kevin De Cock, who “has been tapped to lead a new center focused on global health at the” CDC. The Q&A addresses De Cock’s vision for the center and his views on global health policy (Shesgreen, 3/4).

“Nils Daulaire, the former president and CEO of the Global Health Council (1998-2009), will join HHS as Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs on March 22. In his new position, Dr. Daulaire will coordinate global health and international affairs policies for HHS with other federal agencies, foreign governments and multilateral organizations,” according to a Global Health Council news item (3/5).

Blog: The ‘Business Case’ For PMTCT

“Virtually eliminating HIV transmission from mother to child is possible, and can be done by 2015, but only if everyone, including the private sector, is fully committed to take action,” according to a Huffington Post blog post that makes the “business case” for backing the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). “Along with the concrete benefits to private sector partners of being part of a groundbreaking global health success story – generating good will and attracting top employees – companies can improve their bottom lines in countries where they do business by fostering a productive workforce,” the blog notes and highlights ways for companies to help (Sidibe/Tedstrom, 3/5).