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Recent Releases In Global Health

Fact Sheets Examine U.S. Role In Global Health Programs

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released three new fact sheets examining the U.S.’s role in global health programs, including PEPFAR, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (11/20).

Lancet Comment Looks Back On Tenure Of UNICEF’s Veneman

In looking ahead to whether or not President Barack Obama will nominate a new leader for UNICEF, a Lancet comment reflects on Executive Director Ann Veneman’s first term at the agency, which began in 2005. The editorial summarizes the success and failures of Veneman’s tenure, as described by technical and policy experts in child health. “UNICEF’s Executive Director is an important global leader in health. The person appointed should not be in the gift of one powerful government,” the author writes, proposing that instead the next UNICEF director should be selected “through a transparent, merit-based appointment process. …UNICEF is too important an agency to leave to the contingency of domestic U.S. political pay-back. Such an appointments process only erodes the integrity of the U.N. It is time to stop that erosion” (Horton, 11/21).

Lancet Comment Calls For ‘Democratisation Of Data’ To Improve Global Health

“Despite the instant availability of an abundance of statistics in the information age, accurate statistics about our most basic need – our health – remain elusive,” write the authors of a Lancet comment that examines the need for improved data collection and program evaluation. “Democratisation of data – encouraging those who collect data to participate in analysis and publication – would ensure that local health workers and researchers have a vested interest in data quality,” the authors write. “The new culture of sceptical optimism and international communication creates the perfect environment for renewed sharing and standardisation of health data, changes that could increase the effectiveness of national health systems and global initiatives alike. Future work in global health should rest in local and international involvement—working together to improve health” (Birnbaum et al., 11/21).

Global Health Leaders Send Letter To Obama

The “Science Speaks: HIV & TB News” blog writes of a letter sent to President Obama on Thursday “urging him to maintain robust scale up of AIDS services as part of his Global Health Initiative.”  The blog, which links to the letter, says, “The missive to Obama comes as the Administration hones a new approach to global health” and “argues we cannot effectively address other health threats by pitting AIDS funding against other health needs, as some in Washington seem to be advocating” (Shesgreen, 11/19).

Blog: Malaria Experts Hold Capitol Hill Briefing

The Malaria Policy Center blog reviews a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, PATH and Malaria No More.  Experts “called for further funding for research into vaccines that could ultimately block malaria infection.” The blog concludes, “Hopefully, Congress will continue to demonstrate the United State’s leadership in this crucial area” (Brophy, 11/18).

Blog: Sheldon Brown Appeals For TB To Be ‘Focal Point’ of Global Health Initiative

The blog, “Science Speaks” examines the recent letter (.pdf) by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to President Obama asking that the White House make tuberculosis “a focal point” of its Global Health Initiative (Shesgreen, 11/18).

Senate Committee Approves Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009

After a mark-up, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved S.1524, the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (Policy Tracker, 11/17).  More information on recent U.S. global health policy developments is available on Kaiser’s Policy Tracker tool.

Blog Examines Global Fund Round Nine Grants

In light of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria round nine grants, the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog looks at “how and where the Global Fund has made cuts to address the funding gap between what is being requested in proposals and what is being provided by donors” (Wendt, 11/17).

Blog: Veneman Reflects On Child, Maternal Nutrition In Huffington Post

UNICEF head Ann Veneman reflects on the UNICEF report, “Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Nutrition,” released last week, in the Huffington Post: “Undernutrition steals a child’s strength and makes illnesses that the body might otherwise fight off far more dangerous. But far more devastating is the fact that more than one-third of the children who die from pneumonia, diarrhea and other illnesses could have survived had they not been undernourished,” she writes. “Global commitments on food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture are part of a wider agenda that will help address the critical issues raised in this report. Unless attention is paid to addressing the causes of child and maternal undernutrition today, the costs will be considerably higher tomorrow” (Venemen, 11/16).

Blog: Shah ‘A Different Kind Of Leader’

Jonathan Greenblatt on Huffington Post writes that Rajiv Shah, who was nominated by President Barack Obama last week to head USAID, “is a different kind of leader, someone with origins far from the Beltway and whose point of view promises a very new approach to development … [and] can reassert our enduring and interlinked values of compassion and democracy around the world.” Greenblatt highlights the work of “a small group of social entrepreneurs who are caring for the world through action,” and how Shah and “USAID needs to learn from their examples” (11/15).  

Blog: Health System Strengthening

The Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog examines growing interest in health systems strengthening (HSS). “What is HSS and how does it occur? Most importantly, how will it be measured? Questions abound, and answers do too – especially here in Washington where the Obama Administration says that HSS will be central to its new Global Health Initiative,” the blog writes. The blog includes a link to a free, 10-unit course on health systems (Nugent, 11/13).

Journal of Health Care For The Poor and Underserved Study Examines Factors Contributing To Child Survival

A Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved study examines the contributing factors to child survival in developing countries. The authors find, among other things, “[n]utrition, external resources, and per capita income were shown to be significant factors in child survivability.” The authors conclude, “countries should also make commitments to good governance, equitable distribution of resources, and transparency, and to making child survival a priority. With the global economy in a major recession we are at risk, not only of failing to meet the international goal, but of actually losing ground” (Lykens et al., 11/09).

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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.