National Security and Bioterrorism

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Respondents Overestimate Amount U.S. Government Spends On Foreign Aid, Poll Finds

A recent poll found that respondents “vastly overestimate[d]” the amount the U.S. government spends on foreign aid, PBS NewsHour reports. “The median answer was roughly 25 percent, according to the poll of 848 Americans. In reality, about 1 percent of the budget is allotted to foreign aid,” the news service writes (Sullivan, 12/6).

World Leaders Address Country Ownership, Accountability, Women At MDG Summit

“African leaders said on Tuesday they could do more to meet U.N. goals to slash extreme poverty and urged stronger leadership among developing countries to tackle hunger and disease and attract investment,” Reuters reports in an article that examines the leaders call for African nations to take greater ownership of their development.

Recent Releases In Global Health

New This Week In The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker: The President’s Malaria Initiative announced a new focus country and USAID released a new fact sheet on the agency’s reform initiative. Kaiser’s Policy Tracker provides a timely single reference point for the latest information on congressional and administration action on global health. Strengthening…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Under Shah’s Leadership, USAID Poised ‘To Regain Its Prominence’ In Global Nutrition, Lancet Opinion Says  Rajiv Shah’s appointment as USAID administrator “comes at a crucial time of challenge and opportunity for the Agency to improve the nutritional well-being of impoverished societies,” write the authors of a Lancet Comment that examines…

AP Examines Anticipated Changes To U.S. National Security Strategy, Use Of Health Diplomacy

The Associated Press looks at some anticipated changes to the “National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventive war.” The article focuses on the prospective strategy changes, but notes that the “revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the U.S. talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education.”

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. Science Advisory Board Asks Science, Nature To Omit Data From Bird Flu Studies Amid Security Concerns

The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on “Tuesday asked two scientific journals to leave out data from research studies on a lab-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon,” Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 12/20). The board “recommended that the journals Science and Nature publish only the general discoveries, not the full blueprint for these man-made strains,” the Associated Press notes (Neergaard, 12/20). “Editors at the journals … say they will not agree to the redactions until they are assured the data will be accessible to researchers” according to BBC News (12/20).

Yearlong Moratorium On H5N1 Research Soon Lifted, New Rules Implemented, Science Reports

“U.S. government officials say they expect to put the finishing touches this month on new rules designed to help funding agencies identify and regulate especially problematic H5N1 studies before they begin,” which would allow influenza researchers “to lift a year-old, self-imposed moratorium on certain kinds of potentially dangerous experiments,” Science reports. “The two developments would essentially end a long and bruising controversy over the risks and benefits of H5N1 research,” the magazine notes, adding the debate was initiated by two research teams that lab-engineered H5N1 strains to be transmissible among mammals. “The issue has been especially sensitive for the U.S. government, because its National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the two studies and is one of the world’s biggest funders of H5N1 research,” Science writes. The magazine discusses the moratorium’s impact on research worldwide and summarizes differing views about its effects (Malakoff, 1/4).

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