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Recent Releases In Global Health

New This Week In The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker: The President’s Malaria Initiative announced a new focus country and USAID released a new fact sheet on the agency’s reform initiative. Kaiser’s Policy Tracker provides a timely single reference point for the latest information on congressional and administration action on global health.

Strengthening Public Health Systems Can Save More: CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Emory University’s Jeffrey Koplan in a Lancet Comment reflect on the importance of improving national public health institutes (NPHIs) in developing countries. “Increasing the number, scope, and effectiveness of NPHIs in developing countries will enable better prevention and control of infectious diseases and reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries. … Stronger NPHIs enable countries to implement and monitor health programmes that save money and lives by basing decisions on country-specific data on health burden, efficacy of interventions, and implementation status of health programmes,” they write (11/20).

Emanuel On U.S. Global Health Policy In Africa: The New Republic’s “Citizen Cohn” blog is publishing a series of entries from White House Health advisor Ezekiel Emanuel’s recent trip to Africa. In the first post, Emanuel writes about the reason for his trip and explains the main components of the Global Health Initiative, which he calls “a new, more integrated approach to global health that combines our country’s unprecedented efforts on HIV/AIDS with a focus on child and maternal health and other diseases, along with the strengthening of health systems to save lives and deepen our nation security (after all, good health is critical to economic growth and overall stability)” (11/18). In a second post, he discusses the President’s Malaria Intiative’s work in Senegal (11/19).

G20’s Development Agenda Can’t Focus Only On Pro-Growth Policies: In a post on the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s “ModernizeAid” blog, Porter McConnell, policy advisor for aid effectiveness at Oxfam America, examines the G20’s Seoul Consensus on Development. “For the Seoul Development Consensus to stick, the G20 must resist the temptation to sing the same old song of failed economic policies and narrow self-interest. They must sing a new song by making the world economy work for poor people, and allowing countries the space to make their own destiny,” McConnell writes (11/18).

Elevating Global Health Care Education: “[S]ound investments in health systems are gaining an identity on the global health policy table,” write the authors of a JAMA Commentary that proposes “[t]he broadened horizontal approach and a renewed focus on health systems strengthening [through the GHI], coupled with the introduction of the Global HEALTH Act of 2010, create the perfect environment to elevate the importance of global health care education.” The authors propose, “One such opportunity is the formation of a U.S. global health corps that will enable academic exchange programs and career advancement necessary to ameliorate educational deficiencies contributing to the workforce crisis” (Kamath/Jense, 11/17).

CSIS Report Examines Six Decades Of U.S. Engagement With India’s Health Sector: “Perhaps the most encouraging observations stem from the fact that the major participants in U.S. engagement with the health sector in India all seem to have contributed to some of the projects that have had a particularly strong impact … That suggests that the secrets to success are widely distributed in the U.S. public and private health establishment, and that as India’s economy and global footprint grow, this dynamic partnership should expand as well,” according to an overview of the report (.pdf) by author Teresita Schaffer, director of the center’s South Asia program (11/17).

Global Health Leaders Discuss Future Of U.S. Multilateral Engagement: The Kaiser Family Foundation this week held a live Q&A webcast to discuss the future of U.S. multilateral engagement on global health with Mark Abdoo, director for Global Health and Food Security on the White House’s National Security staff; Natasha Bilimoria, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of Global Health Policy & HIV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Foundation’s Josh Michaud, senior policy analyst, moderated the discussion, which explored such topics as “whether and in what ways the U.S. might shift its global health support, and what the right balance is between multilateral and bilateral funding” (11/16).

U.S., European Philanthropy Funding For HIV/AIDS: Two reports looking at giving by U.S. (.pdf) and Europe (.pdf) philanthropies for HIV/AIDS globally “show that while total funding decreased slightly (by 2%), most philanthropic donors increased commitments to the AIDS response in 2009,” according to a Funders Concerned About AIDS, European HIV/AIDS Funders Group and UNAIDS press release. According to the reports, “[t]he majority of funding by both U.S. and European-based philanthropies in 2009 was directed to addressing the epidemic outside of these regions (81% of all US and 65% of all European HIV/AIDS-related philanthropic expenditures)” (11/16).

Book Looks At Changes In Modern Aid Industry: “Today, the main paradox of aid is that despite increasing flows and more players, aid has declined in relative importance in most countries,” Homi Kharas, a senior fellow for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, and Wolfgang Fengler, a lead economist in the Nairobi office of the World Bank, write of the findings in their book on Brookings’ “Up Front Blog.” The post highlights “three important shifts” that have influenced changes in aid: strong growth in the developing world, new and different types of donors and technological innovations (11/15).

Research Opportunities In Health System Strengthening: Writing on the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the Center for Global Development, writes about the U.S. effort to focus on health system strengthening in advance of the Global Symposium for Health Systems Research. She lays out some challenges that need to be addressed to promote health system strengthening (11/15).

International Aid To Strengthen Community Health Systems: “It is certainly critical to vaccinate against deadly diseases … However, by focusing funding on ‘big diseases,’ well-meaning health organizations have failed to close critical healthcare gaps – which is costing lives,” Ro Wyman and Bill Wyman, the founders of Wyman Worldwide Health Partners, write on the Harvard Business Review’s “The Conversation” blog. “[I]nternational aid organizations should be working with African stakeholders to build a community-level primary care delivery system,” they write before noting four requirements for creating such a health system (11/11).

Best Practices For Fistula: Though “[f]istula treatment and care are available in many countries across Africa and Asia [where the majority of cases occur], there is a lack of reliable data around clinical factors associated with the success of fistula repair surgery,” write the authors of a BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth article that offers “a snapshot of current fistula practice across a wide swath of geographic, economic, and organizational conditions.” The authors write, “the findings from the survey [of 40 surgeons in Africa and Asia] allowed us to consider clinical practices most influential in the cost, efficacy, and safety of fistula treatment” (Arrowsmith et al., 11/10).

CSIS Report Looks At BRIC And South Africa’s Role In Global Health Diplomacy: Each of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries and South Africa “is stepping up its work on global health through its official development assistance … In the end, how [they] choose to move forward on global health will depend in large part on their own histories of international interaction on health, on their continued financial growth, and on the extent to which engaging in foreign activities does not conflict with their domestic health and development priorities,” according an overview of the report (.pdf) (11/10).

Narrated Presentation On Health Economics:
KaiserEDU.org features a narrated presentation by Kevin Chan, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, on the topic of health economics in the context of global health. Chan’s presentation explores the overlap between health and the economy, as well as the challenges governments face when trying to finance health care services. He also examines future challenges to health care financing (November 2010).

U.S. Needs To Improve Planning, Coordination Water Projects In Afghanistan: “The development of the Afghan water sector is critical to the stability of Afghanistan, given the role of water in enhancing agriculture productivity and improving the health and well-being of the Afghan populace,” write the authors of a GAO report (.pdf) that examined different elements of the U.S. work there. The report offers several recommendations to enhance the coordination of U.S.-funded water projects in Afghanistan, including several specifics for enhancing performance management of such projects to the USAID administrator (November 2010).