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S. 589 – Global Service Fellowship Program Act of 2009

The bill directs the Administrator of USAID to establish an “Office of Volunteers for Prosperity” that will fund and oversee a fellowship program aimed at creating volunteering opportunities abroad. Fellowships would be award to individuals working on projects that address a variety of challenges facing developing countries including: “reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, providing medical and dental health care and prevention, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases.” The bill authorizes $15 million per year from 2010 to 2012.

Co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology supports increased U.S. involvement in addressing global health issues

During an interview, Dr. Harold Varmus, Co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology stated that the U.S. should increase its role in addressing health issues in developing countries. He stated that he would ask President Obama to endorse a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that calls on the U.S. to double its funding for global health by 2012.

H.R. 3560 – 21st Century Global Health Technology Act

The proposed bill would establish the “Health Technology Program” within USAID to “develop, advance, and introduce affordable, available, and appropriate technologies specifically designed: a) to improve the health and nutrition of developing country populations; b) to reduce maternal and child mortality; and c) to improve the diagnosis, prevention and reduction of disease, especially HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other major diseases.” The bill requires that program funding be provided by USAID on a competitive basis and that the USAID Administrator provide an annual report to Congress on the progress and outlook of the program. Finally, the bill authorizes the appropriation of $5 million for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014.

USAID releases “Report to Congress – The USAID Strategic Plan for Microbicide Research and Development: Current Initiatives and Next Generation Leads”

This report summarizes USAID’s microbicide research and development programs including past efforts and current priorities. The report also details the objectives of USAID’s strategic plan for continued microbicide research and development.

USAID releases “Report to Congress: Health-Related Research and Development Activities at USAID, An Updated on the Five Year Strategy, 2006-2010″

USAID released “Report to Congress: Health-Related Research and Development Activities at USAID, An Updated on the Five Year Strategy, 2006-2010.” The report provides an update on USAID’s “strategy for using research funds to stimulate the development and introduction of key products” and highlights research in the following areas: maternal and newborn health; child, environmental, and urban health; nutrition; reproductive health and family planning; HIV/AIDS; malaria; tuberculosis; and health systems strengthening.

PEPFAR, USAID, and General Mills announce partnership to improve food processing in Africa

During the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, PEPFAR and USAID announced a partnership with General Mills to “improve the capacity of small and medium-sized food businesses across sub-Saharan Africa to produce healthy, fortified food products.”

In a press release about the partnership, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, stated that “if PEPFAR HIV/AIDS programs and broader health and development efforts are going to be sustainable, they must be owned and led by partner countries . . . This partnership with General Mills and USAID will support local food companies to help meet the nutritional needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, while bringing health benefits to the larger population through improved nutrition and broader economic development.”

President Obama discusses U.S. global health and food security strategies at Clinton Global Initiative

During a speech at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama summarized the U.S. global health strategy as “building on successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS and working to end deaths from malaria and TB and to end polio.” The President stated that “these efforts will only be sustained if we improve the capacity of public health systems to deliver care, especially for mothers and children.” Finally, the President stated that new U.S. investments in food security would focus on sharing “new methods and technologies so that countries and communities can become more self-sufficient.”

United States Customs and Immigration Services officers directed not to deny status adjustments based solely on HIV+ status

As a result of the proposed removal of HIV from the list of diseases that are designated as a “communicable disease of public health significance,” U.S. Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS) sent a memo to officers directing them “to hold in abeyance any waiver application and associated benefit request (such as adjustment of status or refugee), which would be denied under current law, if the only ground of inadmissibility is that the applicant has been diagnosed with HIV infection.”