Health Diplomacy

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Donors Need To Look Beyond Emergency Funding To Long-Term, Strategic Solutions

“Americans are among the most generous people in the world, giving more money to charities than citizens of any other nation in the world,” but “[m]uch of our charity goes to disaster relief,” entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson writes in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices.” She adds, “I believe we can do more. We need to think long-term and become true partners in reshaping history. We need to boldly invest in innovative responses to Africa’s problems that are relevant locally, and that put Africans in the driver’s seat of determining the future of their continent.”

Disconnecting Global AIDS From Reproductive Health Stalled Efforts to Expand Family Planning Services, UNFPA Head Says

Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPFA), said in an interview with the Guardian that “efforts to expand family planning services in the developing world stalled for a decade while global health organizations turned their energies to fighting HIV/AIDS. ‘We made a mistake. We disconnected HIV from reproductive health. We should never have done that because it is part and parcel,’ he said.” The newspaper adds, “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health.”

A Call For Continued Investment In Global Health, Development

In this Politico opinion piece, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who chairs the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes, “Continued investment in the fight to end global AIDS is more than an investment in the lives of families and communities in developing nations — it is an investment in security, diplomacy and our moral image worldwide.” He says the goals announced by President Barack Obama on World AIDS Day — including providing antiretroviral treatment to a total of six million people by the end of 2013 — “must have the support of Congress.” Frist continues, “Under the current budget cuts, more than four million people will likely lack mosquito nets, a cheap way to prevent malaria. More than 900,000 children will lack access to vaccinations for measles, tetanus and pertussis.” He stresses the “need for accountability, transparency and results,” citing the Millennium Challenge Corporation as “a good example of promoting aid effectiveness from ‘input to impact.'” He concludes, “Foreign aid is less than one percent of our national budget, so cutting it would have a miniscule effect on our deficit reduction” (12/14).

U.S. Postpones Decision On Food Aid To North Korea; Aid Groups Worry Situation Could Worsen

“Humanitarian groups fear that the death of Kim Jong-il could worsen North Korea’s dire food situation, after the U.S. postponed a decision on potential aid,” the Guardian reports (Branigan, 12/21). “‘We need to see where (the North Koreans) are and where they go as they move through their transition period,’ said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressing questions about food aid on Tuesday. ‘We will obviously need to reengage at the right moment, but … we haven’t made any internal decisions here,'” MSNBC.com notes.

Blog Examines Potential For Success Of Office Of Global Health Diplomacy

Writing in the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) “Smart Global Health” blog, J. Stephen Morrison, CSIS senior vice president and director of the center’s Global Health Policy Center, discusses the history of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) and the recent creation of the State Department’s Office of Global Health…

Working Paper Examines Global Health Governance In China, India

“In my new working paper, ‘Enter the Dragon and the Elephant: China’s and India’s Participation in Global Health Governance,’ I examine these two leading emerging countries’ role in global health governance (GHG) and how further participation can be complicated by domestic health challenges,” Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global…

BMJ News Examines Ongoing Investigation Of WHO’s Handling Of H1N1

BMJ News reports on the ongoing external investigation of the WHO’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, following recent statements to the WHO’s executive board meeting by review committee chairman, Harvey Fineberg. Despite initial expectations that the external review committee would produce a draft of its findings in January, Fineberg “said the panel was planning a meeting on 28-30 March, and it would distribute in advance to all WHO member nations copies of a draft summary of its principal findings, conclusions, and recommendations, for comments and reactions, before it finalises the report.”

AP Reports On Global Fund Grant Money Lost To Corruption, Global Fund Responds

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a “$21.7 billion health fund championed by the rich and famous has come under harsh scrutiny amid revelations it’s bleeding money to corruption,” the Associated Press reports. The piece examines the organization’s response to an article published by the AP on Sunday that highlighted the findings of an internal investigation led by “Robert Appleton, a veteran former U.S. federal prosecutor whom [the fund’s inspector general John] Parsons hired last fall to root out corruption,” the AP writes (Heilprin, 1/24).

Researchers Report ‘Surprisingly Little’ Evidence That Economic Downturns Are Associated With Deep Development Aid Cuts

Despite concerns expressed by the World Bank and the WHO that the current economic climate would lead donor countries to scale back development assistance, a study (.pdf) published online Friday in the WHO Bulletin finds what the authors “described as ‘surprisingly little’ evidence that economic downturns are associated with deep cuts in aid, at least in the first few years of a financial crisis,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 2/25).

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