In the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Sarah Jane Staats, director of the Center for Global Development’s Rethinking Foreign Assistance Initiative, compares the foreign assistance positions of President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “The U.S. presidential campaign has been more about saving jobs at home than saving lives abroad,” but “America’s role in the world was center stage at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York last week, where President Barack Obama decried modern slavery and Mitt Romney unveiled his vision for foreign assistance,” she writes. “The surprise: so far, Romney sounds a lot like Obama on foreign aid,” she continues.
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.
“[W]omen and children everywhere deserve quality health care,” Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “As many in the development community say, investing in the health of women and children isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do,” she continues, adding, “When women and children are healthy, they can learn more and earn more, which leads to more stable and productive communities.” Though the world has made “important progress on this front,” “[w]e must continually assess our progress and talk about where we need to do better, because when the international community mobilizes, we can generate meaningful change,” she says, noting “we have more work to do … in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which set critical targets for reducing child and maternal mortality by 2015.”
In the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, Smisha Agarwal, co-founder and India country director of Global Health Bridge, examines the global migration of health workers, highlighting a book titled “Insourced,” in which Kate Tulenko, senior director for health systems innovation at IntraHealth International, “argues that the U.S. drains health care workers from poor countries.” Agarwal writes, “A quarter of physicians in the U.S. are imported mostly from developing countries; a quarter of which come from India, where the deficit of health care workers is amongst the largest in the world.” She continues, “Billions of dollars of health care aid from the U.S. may help with improving infrastructure, but there is no replacement for the lost health care providers.”
IRIN examines unsafe abortion and access to contraceptives in Kenya, writing, “Despite the medical risks associated with unsafe abortions, many women in Kenya continue to seek these services. Experts say only a scale-up of access to, and promotion of, contraceptives among sexually active women can reduce it.” According to the news service, “[e]xperts say that for practical purposes, the government must do more to enable women and girls to prevent unwanted pregnancies.” The 2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey showed that about one-quarter of married women in Kenya “have an unmet need for family planning — they would like to space their children or stop having children but are not using any form of contraception,” IRIN notes. According to the news service, “Shahnaz Sharif, director of public health, told IRIN the government was working to increase awareness and uptake of contraceptives” (10/3).
Integrating reproductive health and other services, such as HIV care, “makes sense, and there is emerging evidence that it can be associated with a host of benefits, such as improved uptake of services, enhanced program efficiency, and even improved health outcomes when compared to separate services,” Gavin Yamey, who leads E2Pi in the Global Health Group at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), and Craig Cohen, a professor in-residence in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, write in the PLoS blog “Speaking of Medicine.” They describe five key themes that emerged last month at the Integration for Impact conference, co-hosted by the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Kenyan government, and UCSF. They write, “The emphasis was on presenting the latest research findings, exploring the policy implications of this evidence, and laying out the unanswered research questions,” and describe the five themes, including keeping human rights at the forefront and better defining and measuring integration (10/3).
Devex features three video segments from an interview with Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in which he discusses health systems innovation and the challenge of addressing non-communicable diseases. In one clip, Quick describes the founding principles of MSH and how the organization works to build local capacity in the communities where it works. In a second clip, he talks about how health systems innovation — organizing people, processes and resources — will help deliver health technologies more quickly and efficiently (Rosenkrantz/Schwetje, 10/3). And in a third clip, Quick says the international community has made “stunning progress” in the past decade against HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, but a growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases are killing more people than those three diseases combined. He says synergies of care and treatment and integration will be important to address these illnesses, instead of the more vertical models that have worked over the past decade (Rosenkranz/Schwetje, 10/2).
“The government of Uganda is planning to establish a $1 billion HIV trust fund to finance local HIV programs,” IRIN reports. “According to a working paper released in September, ‘Justification for Increased and Sustainable Financing for HIV in Uganda,’ the fund will generate cash through levies on bank transactions and interest, air tickets, beer, soft drinks and cigarettes, as well as taxes on goods and services traded within Uganda,” the news service writes, adding, “Small fees will also be levied on civil servants’ salaries; corporate and withholding tax will be increased slightly; and a small tax will be added to telephone calls and to each kilowatt of electricity consumed.”
“A malaria drug made by India’s Cipla has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), an important step towards its roll-out across Asia, where millions of people are infected with the mosquito-borne disease every year,” Reuters reports. “The drug, which has already been used to treat 18,000 adults in India, is intended as the first-line treatment in a number of South East Asian countries, Cipla and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative said in a joint statement on Wednesday,” the news service writes (10/3). “The pre-qualified status means the drug meets WHO standards of quality, safety and efficacy, making it eligible for bulk procurement under programs that receive funding from international agencies like the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Fox Business notes (Ahmed, 10/3). The pill is the first to offer a combination of drugs in one tablet, and it requires a single daily dose of one or two tablets over three days, according to a video report from Al Jazeera (10/3).
“Zimbabwe is set to attain ‘universal’ coverage for AIDS treatment thanks in part to an $84 million disbursement [on Tuesday] by the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the U.N. News Centre reports (10/2). “The new disbursement will cover the cost of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for an additional 10,000 new patients, bringing the total number of people on treatment with Global Fund support to 203,440 by the end of the year,” the Global Fund announced in a press release. The funding also will support a six-month ARV buffer stock to prevent treatment interruptions for the 480,000 patients on therapy in Zimbabwe, the press release notes (10/2). The Global Fund’s announcement to support additional patients comes together with an announcement from PEPFAR to increase the number of patients supported by its program from 80,000 to 140,000, with a goal of having 160,000 patients on therapy by the end of next year, Zimbabwe’s Herald notes.
Family Planning Experts Launch Task Force In Support Of International Conference On Population And Development Goals
“Gathered at the Ford Foundation in New York Monday, international luminaries, family planning experts and women’s rights activists” gathered “to mark the launch of a new 26-member high-level task force to galvanize support behind the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD),” Inter Press Service reports, adding, “That conference took place nearly two decades ago, in Cairo, Egypt in 1994” and “resulted in a Programme of Action that become the guiding document for the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.”