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Focus On GHI Principles Necessary To Ensure Success Of U.S. Global Health Programs

Noting that the Global Health Initiative (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, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Politics” blog that “the three agencies will be responsible for ensuring that the GHI principles are implemented in the field to achieve global health goals.” She continues, “A focus on the GHI principles — especially principles of health sector integration, equal rights for women and girls, country ownership, and health systems strengthening — is indeed necessary to ensure U.S. global health programs are effective. The principles are the most important piece of GHI, and what has given global health advocates optimism since it was launched in 2009.”

“Although progress has been made in GHI’s implementation, … the full vision of a comprehensive approach to global health through GHI principles has not yet come to fruition,” Sippel states, adding, “While the administration claims that it is holding on to these principles, it is in fact putting the principles at risk by shuttering the GHI.” She continues, “If administration officials truly believe that these principles are the best way to save lives, they need to show they’re willing to give a real second effort — and not by occasionally referring to the principles while going back to business as usual.” Sippel concludes, “No matter what happens in November, we still expect the administration to keep the vision and promulgate the principles in the field. But the question will need to be answered, who is accountable for keeping GHI’s promise alive?” (10/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.