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The Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report summarizes the latest, most relevant information on U.S. global health policy developments and related news from hundreds of sources. RSS feeds are available.

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Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala Make Progress Against River Blindness

Global health consultant Alanna Shaikh writes in this post on the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog about the elimination of river blindness, or onchoceriasis, from Colombia and progress made against the disease in Mexico and Guatemala. “In this economy of declining funds for global health,…

Despite Limitations Of Global Fund Programs, Dangers Of Cutting Funding Are Worse

In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines how, “[a]fter a period of fast expansion, and strong progress in tackling AIDS, [tuberculosis (TB)] and malaria alike,” the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “has become a target in the era of austerity. With a shift in power between the world’s traditional and emerging economies, and donors seeking ways to cut support, billions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake.” Jack recaps a brief history of the Fund in the 10 years since its inception; highlights a number of ways in which the Fund has been distinctive from other organizations; and notes several issues that have led to calls for reform within the Fund.

Report Highlights Improvement In Children’s Well-Being, But Health Organizations Call For Stronger Political Commitment To Maintain Progress

“Children’s well-being has improved dramatically thanks to increased global political will and efficient supportive programs and policies, according to a report released [Wednesday] by [UNICEF] and Save the Children U.K., but it also warns that benefits need to reach the most disadvantaged children for gains to be sustainable,” the U.N. News Centre reports, adding, “Among the most prominent accomplishments highlighted by the report is the significant decline in child mortality rates.” According to the news service, “The authors of the report cite a number of factors for these advancements, but place particular emphasis on the high-level commitment and supportive government policies that have placed children’s well-being as a priority” (11/23).

IPS Examines Efforts To End Violence Against Women, Including U.N. Trust Fund And International Day

Inter Press Service profiles the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, writing, “Since it launched in 1997, [it] has distributed more than 78 million dollars to 339 projects around the world, but even these resources fall far short, meeting less than five percent of demand.” Noting that the Fund “provides services to women and girl survivors of violence, including legal aid, health care, shelter and psychosocial support,” the news service highlights a number of programs supported by the Fund through past grants and writes, “This year alone, more than 2,500 applications requesting about 1.2 billion dollars for programs across 123 countries have been received.”

Bloomberg Examines Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Initiative And Potential Impact To U.S. Global Efforts To Tackle HIV

Bloomberg examines how a trade agreement being negotiated by leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries — Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States — could potentially make it more difficult for people in TPP nations to get new generic drugs and may impact U.S.-led global efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS as outlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent speech at the NIH.

Relief Officials Concerned Over Malnutrition Among Children In Ethiopian Refugee Camps Despite Food Aid

Humanitarian aid officials are concerned about high levels of malnutrition among young children at the Dolo Ado refugee camps in southern Ethiopia “despite the free availability of Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based paste in a plastic wrapper for treatment of severe acute malnutrition,” the Guardian reports. “‘Maybe they’re not eating it properly,’ said Giorgia Testolin, head of the refugee section of the World Food Programme Ethiopia. ‘The food is there, there is easy access, but why is the situation so bad? This needs to be investigated,’” the newspaper writes, adding a report (.pdf) out last month from USAID and the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) noted some refugees, including children, sell or trade Plumpy’nut for other supplies, such as sugar, tea leaves, powder milk and meat. Overcrowding in the camps also presents problems, as 8,000 people await the opening of a fifth camp, which has been delayed because proper sanitation facilities are not yet ready, according to relief officials, the newspaper notes (Tran, 11/22).

Guardian International Development Journalism Competition Results Posted

The Guardian this week posted the results of its 2011 International Development Journalism Competition. “Sixteen finalists — eight amateur, eight professional — were sent to the developing world to write a feature on a theme suggested by the non-governmental organization that hosted their trip,” the newspaper notes. Many of the themes are health-related, including fighting malaria in Ghana, improving medical care in India, using insecticide-treated bed nets in Nigeria, access to family planning services in Zambia, and gender-based violence in Haiti (George, 11/22).

IPS Reports On Child Poverty In Lesotho

“The triple threat of HIV, poverty and food insecurity is increasingly exposing children to abuse, exploitation and other human rights violations” in Lesotho, Inter Press Service reports in an article examining child poverty in the small southern African country. “In the country of 1.8 million, a good 500,000 out of 825,000 boys and girls live under 1.25 dollars a day and without proper shelter, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Almost 40 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition and are stunted. Both under-five and infant mortality have persistently gone up in the past decade,” IPS writes, adding, “To make matters worse, Lesotho is one of the three countries in the world worst affected by HIV/AIDS. Every fourth Basotho is infected with the virus, leaving a quarter of children orphaned” (Palitza, 11/23).

Why Foreign Aid Should Matter To GOP Presidential Candidates

“I suggest that GOP presidential candidates apply … personal finance principles to evaluate why foreign aid is worth the investment,” Samuel Worthington, president of InterAction, writes in a CNN opinion piece. He says foreign aid is “like an insurance premium” because it is a small portion of the federal budget but “small cash outlays can prevent major expenses later,” such as investing in food security to prevent famine. Small investments now will help “today’s aid recipients [become] tomorrow’s consumers of American exports,” which helps support domestic jobs, he writes.