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State Department official discusses new U.S. strategy for countering biological threats

In an address to the annual meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher summarized the Administration’s new National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats including the strategy’s objective to “promote global health security.” During her comments, Under Secretary Tauscher stated that “if we improve a country’s ability to respond to natural outbreaks, we have improved their capability to deal with bioterrorism.” Additionally, she announced that, as part of the U.S. effort to address biological weapon and infectious disease threats, “the Center for Disease Control will soon become the world’s first World Health Organization Collaborating Center for implementing International Health Regulations (IHRs). It will assist the WHO and other international partners to help build the necessary global infrastructure to fully implement the IHRs in all six WHO Regions.”

State Department’s Office of Inspector General releases report titled “The Exercise of Chief of Mission Authority in Managing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Overseas”

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of State released a report titled “The Exercise of Chief of Mission (COM) Authority in Managing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Overseas” (PEPFAR). The report was part of an annual oversight plan required by the PEPFAR Reauthorization Act of 2008 and coordinated by the OIGs for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of State.

According to the report, “the purpose of the inspection is to determine how COMs are fulfilling their responsibilities to coordinate, direct, and support the PEPFAR program at overseas posts. The report describes and evaluates program oversight by COMs, including their role in policy and program implementation, the challenges they face, the effectiveness of mission support, and implications for sustainability.”

“Joint Statement between Prime Minister Dr. Singh and President Obama” includes commitments on global health issues

In a Joint Statement released by the White House, Prime Minister Dr. Singh and President Obama “agreed to build on existing strong ties across academia and scientific communities by advancing public health and biomedical research collaborations between the United States and India. The two countries plan to establish a Regional Global Disease Detection Center in India and to build a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The leaders also pledged to enhance collaboration in controlling diseases such as polio, and discovering new and affordable technologies and treatments for the benefit of their peoples and for those of other countries who seek their assistance.”

CRS Report – The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview

The report summarizes “key events in the H1N1 pandemic response, followed by information about select federal emergency management authorities and actions taken by DHS, HHS, and state and local authorities. It then lists congressional hearings held to day; discusses appropriations and funding for pandemic flu preparedness and response activities; summarizes U.S. government pandemic flu planning documents; and lists sources for additional information.”

President Obama announces end to HIV/AIDS travel ban

In remarks during the signing of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, President Obama stated that “if we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it. And that’s why, on Monday (November 2, 2009) my administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the travel ban effective just after the New Year.”

USAID launches Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program

USAID launched an Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program that will work “to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health” by focusing “resources on detecting dangerous pathogens at an early stage, building appropriate laboratory capacity to support surveillance, responding in an appropriate and timely manner, strengthening national and local response capacities, and educating at-risk populations on how to prevent exposure to these dangerous pathogens.”

H.Con.Res. 74 – Supporting the goals and ideals of a decade of action for road safety with a global target to reduce by 50 percent the predicted increase in global road deaths between 2010 and 2020

Among other things, the proposed resolution “urges the Obama Administration to take a leadership role at the First Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow and for the United States to work with nations around the world to achieve the goals and ideals of a decade of action for road safety and to reduce the impact of this health epidemic on the global community.”

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.