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Media Outlets Interview Shah During Life Sciences Conference In Seattle

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah was in Seattle on Tuesday to speak at the annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, the Seattle Times’ blog, “The Business of Giving,” reports. The blog outlines the Obama administration’s global health and development goals, including the six-year $63 billion Global Health Initiative (GHI), as well as some of the challenges facing Shah at USAID.

“The Business of Giving” looks at the agency’s work in Haiti, which it writes “has become a testing ground for whether USAID can overcome challenges of a dysfunctional bureaucracy, and for the larger project of ‘rebranding America across the world.'”

In Haiti, “Shah said USAID was able to source the first 6,500 metric tons of rice for emergency aid to Haiti from local producers.” He said, “It just created a mindset that these are capable resilient communities and we need to respect and work with them,” according to the blog, which writes of Shah’s view on “[b]uilding local capacity.”

“The model of wealthy countries sending money to poor ones is outdated, Shah said.” He also noted the role of emerging countries, such as China, India and others, which can help build infrastructure and do other development work in Africa (Heim, 3/17).

Xconomy also reports on Shah’s visit to Seattle. According to the publication, at the conference Shah discussed how public-private partnerships are “needed to get new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines out in the field and actually helping people in poor countries.”

The article includes a Q&A with Shah, which addresses USAID’s role in life sciences research, development, the GHI and public-private partnerships. In response to a question about the problems he would most like research to address, Shah said: “At the top of the list would be effective, safe, easy-to-use vaccines for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. If we can develop those breakthroughs and get them in wide use, that would change the level of suffering around the world in a huge way” (Timmerman, 3/17).

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