Opinions: Sanitation And Women, Child Health; GM In Global Food Security Bill; U.S. Malaria Strategy; GHI On NTDs; Haiti Recovery

Chronicle Herald Opinion Examines Connection Between Water, Sanitation And Women, Child Health

“If Stephen Harper is serious about maternal health and child health [as suggested by his plans for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits], he needs to recognize that healthy mothers come from healthy communities,” Maude Barlow and Meera Karunananthan of the Council of Canadians write in a Chronicle Herald opinion piece that examines the connections between the health of women and children and access to drinking water and sanitation.

“While several countries are working to have water recognized as a human right through a covenant at the U.N., the Canadian government has opposed it,” they write, noting, “Aid packages will do little to alleviate the conditions of poor women as long as Canada promotes an agenda of water privatization, opposes the right to water, and allows its extractive industries to destroy watersheds around the world” (4/28).

Lugar: Global Food Security Act Does Not Include GM Mandate

In a letter appearing in The Hill, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) challenges recent claims that the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act includes a mandate for genetically-modified crops: “It does NOT require the use of GM technology by any farmers or government agencies. Under terms of the bill, the use of any technology is left to individual farmers, based on their particular circumstances. … The Lugar-Casey bill helps focus U.S. foreign assistance on hunger and streamlines the aid process with an emphasis on long-term agricultural development. We should not let all those benefits be overshadowed by a canard regarding nonexistent ‘mandates'” (4/28).

U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Outlines Control Strategy

“Across [Africa], malaria control programs are scaling up efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat infections with highly effective new drugs. Emerging data show significant reductions in malarial illnesses and deaths. But as we expand and consolidate these gains, it is vitally important to ensure our efforts maintain momentum and continue to adapt to emerging challenges,” Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer (Ret.), the U.S. global malaria coordinator, writes in a special report in The Hill outlining the U.S. government’s work to control malaria in different parts of the world.

Ziemer says the U.S. government strategy is “a key component” of President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative. “During the past 50 years the U.S government has been a major player in coordinated global efforts to beat back major killers like smallpox, polio and measles. With sufficient and sustained international commitment, we can take out malaria next,” Ziemer concludes (4/27).

GHI Overlooks Several Neglected Tropical Diseases

Though the Obama administration’s Global Health Initiative “has vowed to devote unprecedented resources to the fight against five parasitic and bacterial diseases damaging impoverished and remote communities throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America[,] … the initiative is undercut by a bewildering and glaring omission: So far, several neglected diseases – including sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and Buruli ulcer – have been completely left out,” Unni Karunakara of Medecins Sans Frontieres and Bernard Pecoul of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative write in a Bellingham Herald opinion piece.

The authors write of the impact such diseases are having on the developing world, before concluding, “Allocating just 10 percent of the Global Health Initiative neglected disease budget toward research and development, for instance, could help deliver better treatments to patients within five years” (4/26).

Haiti Recovery ‘Encouraging’ So Far, But Moving Vulnerable Populations Should Be ‘Top Priorty’

A Miami Herald editorial notes “several small but encouraging signs that Haiti has started the long and painful process of recovery. … Most important, perhaps, is that epidemics of contagious disease that many feared would ravage the population have failed to materialize — so far.”

“Nonetheless, too many camps are just a major storm away from sliding down a hillside or turning into disaster zones. Closing these camps and moving the vulnerable population to safer sites should remain the top priority for the authorities in Haiti,” according to the editorial, which lists other recommendations for the recovery effort.

It concludes: “The $5.3 billion pledged by international donors … is no more than the promise of a better future for the people of Haiti. This level of aid will likely be slow in coming, if at all, until Mr. Preval’s government shows credible signs that it is up to the job of leading the recovery” (4/25).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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