Category Archives: Politics

New Congress, renewed administration


Heather Ignatius, a senior policy and advocacy officer with PATH’s Advocacy and Public Policy team in Washington, DC, recently wrote about her thoughts on global health and development priorities for the second-term Obama administration and the 113th Congress. Thanks to PATH for allowing us to share her piece.

As President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term yesterday, I wondered: will he return to the idealism of his early presidency? Or will the nation’s challenging fiscal and political climate dampen his aspirations for improving the health of people in impoverished countries?

Four years ago, I was optimistic that nearly a decade of strong bipartisan support for global health programs would continue. President Obama came out of the gate fast, launching the Global Health Initiative (GHI) within months of his inauguration. The GHI made some notable progress. It encouraged planning led by the countries it was formed to help, improved the health status of women and girls, and promoted changes to integrate health programs and strengthen capacity within those countries.

Outgoing secretary of state Hillary Clinton emphasized support for women and girls. Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.

But Congress has paid out only a little more than half of the funds needed to achieve the program’s bold goals. This has forced the administration to lower its targets, jeopardizing the future of global health programming and overall health gains. Continue reading

Innovation to Fund Global Health

Last Friday, The Hill’s Congress Blog highlighted the innovative ways governments, NGO’s and the private sector are using to aid for global health. Programs like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are not only ensuring that health interventions are getting to the people that need them most, they are helping to promote market growth and drive down prices.

Here’s an excerpt on public-private partnerships from the blog:

“Millions of lives are saved today in developing countries because of bold, innovative financing arrangements over last 10 years. These financing mechanisms are good examples of private sector partnership with public sector for common good.

These financing initiatives have pooled large public sector funding with private sector resources, thus allowing tax payers funds to have much larger impact than would otherwise be possible. Some of the examples are given below.”

USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Program is one such collaboration. In a press statement released last fall, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau, states:

“To date, USAID’s NTD program is the largest public-private partnership collaboration in our 50 year history. Over the past six years, USAID has leveraged over $3 billion in donated medicines reflecting one of the most cost effective public health programs. Because of this support, we are beginning to document control and elimination of these diseases in our focus countries and we are on track to meet the 2020 goals.”

To read more about NTDs in national and international public policy, visit the policy section at www.globalnetwork.org.

You can also read about how Sabin in helping countries create sustainable access to immunization financing here.

 

 

NTDs and the US elections

By: Alanna Shaikh

The United States is the largest supporter of neglected tropical disease programs in the world. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administers a long standing – and successful – program for NTD control, with a particular focus on rapid impact packages of NTD drugs. In a recent article on PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Dr. Peter Hotez points out that if we want to maintain the global leadership, NTD advocates have some work to do.

If President Obama is elected to a second term, we can safely assume that support for NTD programs will continue. Both he and Secretary Clinton have shown their commitment to fighting neglected tropical diseases. However, there is no guarantee of re-election. The Republican presidential candidates will need to be educated on the importance of addressing NTDs, as well as being made aware of the vital role that the US plays in combating them.

Dr. Hotez is right, of course. The NTDs are, well, neglected. Your average presidential candidate is unlikely to know much about this particular corner of global health. Worms and obscure bacterial infections aren’t exactly glamorous. I think, too, that this would be a great opportunity to educate the general public about neglected tropical diseases and why we should support the programs that combat them. The Republican presidential candidates are likely to share the same general concerns and questions about NTDs as interested members of the public have as well.

The question is, how do we do that?

 

Alanna Shaikh is an expert in health consulting, writing about global health for UN Dispatch and about international relief and development at Blood & Milk. She also serves as a frequently contributing blogger to ‘End the Neglect.’ The views and opinions expressed by guest bloggers are not necessarily the views and opinions of the Global Network. All opinions expressed here are Alanna’s own and not those of any employer or the US government.

Africa Looks to the East

By: Charles Ebikeme

In April, China released its first white paper on foreign aid, detailing and outlining its strategy
on aid towards Africa, from financial resources, debt relief, humanitarian aid, and infrastructure
projects. Some saw the white paper as a response to claims of self-serving neocolonialist
tactics by the Chinese, driven by the need for China to sustain its economic development.

While much of the debate on international interest in Africa as an investment destination has
focused on China, India is also showing increased engagement on the African continent. In
May, India offered loans totaling US$5 billion. This came at the top of the second India-Africa
Forum Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The extent of India’s involvement in Africa, looking to
match China’s stake-hold, ranges from a new Ethio-Djibouti railway, increased African airline
access to Indian cities, new institutions, as well as lines of credit. India, like China, are also
looking towards political and diplomatic alignment.

China and India, tout a shared common interest with their foreign aid, as both donor and recipients are themselves developing countries. The Indian Prime Minister commenting on a shared former colonial past; “India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggles against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease.”

The “post-American world” is seeing the rise of this brand of South-South development cooperation. Indeed, the development landscape is changing as emerging countries become more prominent. In a not-so-hypothetical future development aid will be ruled by China, India and Brazil. However, not often enough does the aid debate focus on disease. Aid seems to be still fueled by an interest to grow markets. At a time when some nations in Africa are calling on more donor support in fighting tropical diseases.

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