In his weekly address, President Obama summarized recent U.S. government actions to address the H1N1 flu virus.
During a speech at the Plenary Session of the Foreign Affairs Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed some of the priorities for the State Department and USAID including agricultural productivity and a reduction on USAID contracting. More specifically, Secretary Clinton stated that she wants “to move more of AID’s work back inside AID instead of having it out with contractors because we are wasting an enormous amount of money. Fifty cents on the dollar doesnâ€™t even get into the pipeline to actually be delivered. We only have four engineers in all of USAID now. And I think itâ€™s important that we get back to the United States Government providing these services.”
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summarized how the State Department is assisting and coordinating with other U.S. departments and agencies to address the H1N1 virus. Secretary Clinton testified that the State Department has established an influenza monitoring group, is “tracking how other governments are responding to the threat and what assistance we might offer,” and is in regular contact with the World Health Organization (WHO). Secretary Clinton also discussed food security and staffing needs in relation to the FY09 War Supplemental Request.
Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced the decision to “begin moving 400,000 treatment courses to Mexico to help slow the spread of the H1N1 virus.”
The State Department released a “100-Day Report” summarizing the “objectives” and “accomplishments” established by the new administration under the direction of Secretary of State Clinton. The report includes statements on recent budget increases, the use of “smart power,” and commitments to health and providing health services abroad.
USAID announced it will provide “an additional $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in emergency support for efforts to detect and contain the disease in Mexico.”
During the daily press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs read a letter President Obama sent to the chairs of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees asking that $1.5 billion be added to the supplemental budget request for the purpose of “enhancing our nation’s capability to respond to the potential spread” of the H1N1 swine flu virus. The President’s letter states that the funds would be used for “supplementing antiviral stockpiles, developing a vaccine, supporting the monitoring, diagnostic and public health response capabilities, and assisting international efforts to stem this outbreak.”
President Obama nominated Eric Goosby for Ambassador at Large and Global AIDS Coordinator at the Department of State.
Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department for Homeland Security held a press conference detailing the U.S. response to recent cases of swine influenza A (H1N1), or swine flu. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano announced that HHS had declared a “public health emergency”. This designation enables the USG to mobilize treatment stockpiles and allocate additional resources for detection and tracking of the flu. The USG also announced that it is working closely with health officials from Mexico and Canada and with the World Health Organization to monitor the situation and the CDC has deployed staff domestically and internationally to provide guidance and technical support.
President Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, U.S. Malaria Coordinator Admiral Tim Ziemer, and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. summarized and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the fight against malaria in official statements observing World Malaria Day.