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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.”

H.R. 2103 – International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009

Among other things, the bill states that “child marriage undermines United States investments in foreign assistance . . . to reduce maternal and child mortality, reduce maternal illness, halt the transmission of HIV/AIDS [and] prevent gender-based violence.” The bill requires the President to establish a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage and authorizes the President to implement a variety of foreign assistance programs directed at the needs of girls including “access to water and suitable hygiene facilities . . . [and] access to health care services and proper nutrition for adolescent girls.” The bill authorizes “such sums as necessary.”

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces additional $80 million in food assistance under McGovern-Dole Program

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced “that an additional 51,700 tons of agricultural commodities, valued at nearly $80 million, will be provided to children in low-income, food-deficit countries under USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program for fiscal year 2009. This assistance is in addition to $95.5 million allocated for fiscal 2009 for the McGovern-Dole Program that were announced in December 2008.”

H.Res. 278 – Global Security Priorities Resolution

The resolution calls on the President to continue efforts to address the threat of international terrorism and protect international security by reducing nuclear weapons. The savings that would result from this reduction should be directed to child health, food, and education programs in the world’s most need countries including $5 billion over five years for the “implementation of integrated packages of high impact and low-cost health and nutrition interventions at the community level” and an additional $1.5 billion annually over five years “targeted at reducing the incidence of child hunger and increasing child nutrition and educational opportunities” through Food for Peace and the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for education and Child Nutrition Program.

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.

H.R. 1410 – Newborn, Child, and Mother Survival Act of 2009

The bill authorizes the President to provide the level of assistance necessary “to reduce mortality and improve the health of newborns, children, and mothers in developing countries.” The bill also requires the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to address child and maternal health issues and creates an Interagency Task Force on Newborn, Child, and Maternal Health in Developing Countries that will oversee U.S. progress in helping to meet relevant Millennium Development Goals.