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Senators Russ Feingold and Roger Wicker launch bipartisan Senate Working Group on Malaria

The Senate Working Group on Malaria states that it will work “to help raise awareness and support for efforts to combat the disease, . . . expand and improve U.S. leadership in the fight against malaria and will share information to combat the disease with other working groups on malaria around the world.”

Other Senators joining the Working Group include:

- Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM);

- Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS);

- Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL);

- Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA);

- Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA);

- Senator Patty Murray (D-WA);

- Senator Jim Risch (R-ID);

- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT);

- Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME); and

- Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA).

S. 1591 – 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.

President Obama discusses global health issues during speech before Ghanaian Parliament

In a speech before the Ghanaian Parliament, President Obama listed health as one of “four areas that are critical to the future of Africa and the entire developing world.” President Obama also stated that “because of incentives — often provided by donor nations — many African doctors and nurses go overseas, or work for programs that focus on a single disease. And this creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention.” Finally, President Obama summarized his global health initiative stating that his administration “will carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will pursue the goal of ending deaths from malaria and tuberculosis, and we will work to eradicate polio. We will fight — we will fight neglected tropical disease. And we won’t confront illnesses in isolation — we will invest in public health systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children.”

USAID releases report on child survival and maternal health programs

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a report titled “Decades of Progress: USAID’s Child Survival and Maternal Health Program” summarizing USAID’s efforts and approach towards improving child and maternal health globally.

H.R. 2639 – Global Poverty Act of 2009

The proposed bill directs the President to develop and implement a strategy to reduce global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Among other things, the bill requires that the strategy include measurable goals, benchmarks, and timelines, and that it build upon, leverage, and better coordinate existing efforts to address issues relevant to global poverty such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, water, and hunger. Finally, the bill requires the President to report back to Congress regularly on the progress of the strategy.

Secretary of HHS Sebelius addresses World Health Assembly

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, addressed the Plenary Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. In her comments, Secretary Sebelius dicussed the international response to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Secretary Sebelius also discussed President Obama’s new Global Health Initiative stating that “our world demands a new, integrated approach to public health – one that seeks to understand and target the many factors that that can threaten the lives and livelihoods of all our citizens.”

President Obama announces new $63 billion Global Health Initiative

President Obama announced a new Global Health Initiative and his request of Congress to approve $8.6 billion in FY 2010 and $63 billion over six years to support this effort. The President stated that the initiative will continue to support and build upon efforts to address AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis initiated by the previous administration, but it will also “do more to improve health systems around the world, focus our efforts on child and maternal health, and ensure that best practices drive the funding for these programs.”