GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog examines the issue of HIV/AIDS in the presidential election, writing, “This campaign season, the fight against HIV/AIDS has been absent from the press materials released by both President [Barack] Obama and [Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt] Romney — as well as from the conversation.” The blog provides examples of Obama’s actions addressing HIV domestically and abroad and summarizes remarks on the epidemic made by Romney during the campaign. The blog includes quotes from several experts and officials (Judem, 10/8).
The Lancet examines the history of the Obama administration’s attempt to “reform the way the country delivers development assistance for health abroad” by establishing the Global Health Initiative (GHI). “Despite unusual bipartisan support in Congress and broad consensus among development practitioners about the goals of reform, it proved surprisingly difficult for the multiple entities involved in U.S. global health assistance to agree on a way forward,” the journal states, noting that GHI leadership and the three core entities of GHI — USAID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and PEPFAR — announced the closure of the GHI office and an end to the initiative’s current phase on July 3. The Lancet outlines several challenges the initiative faced, including collaboration among the three agencies, leadership, and external factors, such as “the austere budgetary climate.”
The PEPFAR scientific advisory board met this week to discuss implementation science; reaching key populations, such as drug users and men who have sex with men; and coordinating HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care efforts, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “When [efficiency, impact, and the relevance of targets] are weighed against intentions and costs, the discipline at work is called ‘implementation science,’ and that is the science, PEPFAR leadership is hoping, that will bring the possibilities of biomedical advances and commitment to fruition,” the blog writes. U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby discussed the disconnect between the people planning HIV/AIDS services and those for whom services are intended, according to the blog (Barton, 10/4).
“Zimbabwe is set to attain ‘universal’ coverage for AIDS treatment thanks in part to an $84 million disbursement [on Tuesday] by the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the U.N. News Centre reports (10/2). “The new disbursement will cover the cost of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for an additional 10,000 new patients, bringing the total number of people on treatment with Global Fund support to 203,440 by the end of the year,” the Global Fund announced in a press release. The funding also will support a six-month ARV buffer stock to prevent treatment interruptions for the 480,000 patients on therapy in Zimbabwe, the press release notes (10/2). The Global Fund’s announcement to support additional patients comes together with an announcement from PEPFAR to increase the number of patients supported by its program from 80,000 to 140,000, with a goal of having 160,000 patients on therapy by the end of next year, Zimbabwe’s Herald notes.
In this Foreign Affairs opinion piece, Todd Moss, vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and former deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, reflects on President Obama’s approach to Africa, discussing various policies by the current and previous administrations. Moss compares Obama’s approach to Africa with that of his predecessors, highlighting former President Bill Clinton’s African Growth and Opportunity Act, “which reduced trade barriers on more than 1,800 products exported from the continent to the United States,” and former President George W. Bush’s launching of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Domestic Health Reform Receiving More Attention Than Global Health In U.S. Presidential Campaigns, Lancet Reports
The Lancet examines the domestic health positions of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before briefly outlining their positions on global health. “Compared with domestic health reform, global health has received little attention during the [U.S. presidential] campaign,” the journal reports, adding, “[T]he U.S. budget crisis might have more effect on global health initiatives than presidential politics, some experts say” (Jaffe, 9/29).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflects on changes in U.S. global health diplomacy since taking office in this Global Health and Diplomacy opinion piece. “America had been leading the global health fight for decades,” but “we recognized that to sustain the impact of our work, we needed to change the way we did business,” she writes. “For example, while our agencies were providing tremendous leadership in isolation, they could still do more to collaborate effectively,” she writes, adding, “[W]e weren’t doing enough to coordinate our efforts with other donors or our partner countries,” and “we weren’t building sustainable systems to eventually allow our partner countries to manage more of their own health needs.” She says, “We were unintentionally putting a ceiling on the number of lives we could save.”
NPR’s “Shots” blog profiles Vanessa Kerry, a physician and daughter of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and her work to develop the Global Health Service Partnership to send nurses and doctors to work abroad in exchange for a pay-down in their student loans. The partnership’s goal “is to reduce the severe shortage of medical workers in developing countries,” according to the blog, which adds Kerry “thinks the partnership will also strengthen health care here stateside by infusing U.S. doctors with a worldview centered on making the most of available resources.” The program is working with the Peace Corps and receives funding through PEPFAR, the blog notes (Doucleff, 9/26).
“Meeting the needs of children, including both children living with HIV and those affected by the disease in other ways, is not peripheral to PEPFAR’s mission — it is central,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in USAID’s “DipNote” blog, adding, “It’s a responsibility, and an opportunity as part of our push toward an AIDS-free generation.” Goosby discusses how PEPFAR is working to expand HIV care and treatment; implement prevention programs, including preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission; promote resiliency among children “by reducing adversity, and building services and systems”; and address “the socio-emotional effects of the epidemic.” He continues, “But it goes without saying that PEPFAR cannot meet all the needs on our own. Achieving a generation that is truly free from AIDS and its devastating effects requires that we all support families and communities together,” and he describes how different stakeholders can work together toward the goal (9/25).
On Monday in Maputo, Mozambique, U.S. Ambassador Douglas Griffiths signed funding agreements with 29 community-based organizations that will receive a total of $1.4 million through PEPFAR’s small grants program “to strengthen health systems, boost professional training and implement income generating activities for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS,” the Mozambique News Agency/AllAfrica.com reports. “Because of your local knowledge, we can reach the most affected communities and spread messages about preventing HIV, treatment, and the available care and support,” Griffiths said, according to the news service, which notes the money “from the U.S. embassy for the fight against HIV/AIDS is not new” (9/24).