Posts Tagged USAID

Global Pulse 2010: Day 2

March 30th, 2010

(Note: to read any of the Global Pulse discussions, you need to register here first.)

 Today marks the second day of Global Pulse, the ongoing online collaborative event focused on global issues. In the last day, we’ve seen the global health discussion include some very interesting conversations, such as if the expansion of information technology and basic health capability are competitive or cooperative goals, what the role of communities is in health systems, and about the reasons for the uneven distribution of public health education opportunities. Perhaps the two most interesting threads are the welcome thread created by Amie Batson, USAID Director of the Global Health Initiative, which has turned into a sort of open discussion on global health, and a thread with many proposed answers taken from the Human Resources and Health document recently published by USAID.

 We’re also seeing a discussion of NTDs and NTD issues begin to emerge. In global health, the importance of NTD control was brought up, while in the separate “Fostering Science, Technology, and Innovation” discussion, the topic of promoting innovation in the face of a limited market was discussed.

Here were some great NTD related questions posed on one thread that wed like to post here as well and are open for discussion:

  1. What have been your experiences with the delivery of a package(s) of services or commodities through community-level platforms? What lessons have you learned about effective integrated programming? How much can we build onto a single platform and continue to see efficiency gains?
  2. How can we best utilize and motivate community-level health workers and volunteers as we extend the health system to reach rural populations?
  3. What changes to the targeting / approaches to water and sanitation would strengthen the impact on NTD control, in both the short and long term? What else can the NTD control community do to strengthen the sustainability of its control efforts?  

With 28 hours left in the event, we’ll see if these conversations continue to develop. Check back in tomorrow for further discussion of Global Pulse.

Reading List 3/18/10

March 18th, 2010

Today were reading a couple of pieces about the ongoing fight against Guinea worm, including a rather encouraging piece out of Mali, and a profile of the director of USAID.

MALI: Hoping to eradicate guinea worm in two years, IRIN Africa

Parasite lost: Exterminating Africas horror worms, Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah outlines priorities, role for business, Kristi Heim, Seattle Times

Global Network Joins Call to Fully Fund International Affairs Budget

March 5th, 2010

When the Obama Administration released its FY 2011 budget, it included $58.5 billion for International Affairs. This includes $8.8 billion allocated for global health issues. However, the United States’  struggling economy, record budget deficit, and huge debts has led to mounting political pressure to cut spending, including, unfortunately, the International Affairs account which supports global health initiatives and  a number of development programs that life people out of poverty and promote stability worldwide

Fortunately, the community is united! We’ve joined with a coalition of other non-profits, NGOs, faith-based organizations, and others to send a letter to members of the US House of Representatives and Senate, emphasizing the importance of the International Affairs budget in U.S. foreign policy. The full text of the letter is below.

If you’re interested in joining the dialogue, call your congressman to tell them you support U.S. foreign assistance.

Dear Member of Congress:

We the undersigned organizations support the president’s request of $58.5b, as the minimum amount needed for the International Affairs account for FY11. This amount is expected to be 1.4% of total outlays of federal spending in FY11.

Our support is based on factors as varied as our specific missions themselves. But we are united around a common belief that the budget for International Affairs is critical to U.S. foreign policy and our shared future with people and nations around the world.


  1. Academy for Educational Development
  2. Action Against Hunger
  3. African Diaspora for Change
  4. Aid to Artisans
  5. American Red Cross International Services
  6. American Refugee Committee
  7. Better World Campaign
  8. Bread for the World
  9. CARE
  10. Church World Service
  11. Concern America
  12. Congressional Hunger Center
  13. Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
  14. Episcopal Relief & Development
  16. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  17. Friends of the Global Fight
  18. Friends of the World Food Program
  19. Global Campaign for Education
  20. Global Health Council
  21. Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sabin Vaccine Institute
  22. Helen Keller International
  23. INMED Partnerships for Children
  24. InterAction
  25. International Association of Black Professionals in International Affairs
  26. International Center for Research on Women
  27. International Relief and Development
  28. Joint Aid Management
  29. Lutheran World Relief
  30. Malaria No More
  31. Management Sciences for Health
  32. Mercy Corps
  33. Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
  34. Mothers Acting Up
  35. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  36. National Education Association
  37. National Association of Evangelicals
  38. National Peace Corps Association
  39. New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
  40. NuVsionPAC
  41. ONE
  42. Outreach Internationa
  43. Oxfam America
  44. Pact
  45. Pathfinder International
  46. Physicians for Human Rights
  47. Plan USA
  48. Plant With Purpose
  49. Population Action International
  50. PSI (Population Services International)
  51. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Washington Office
  53. Save the Children
  54. Sierra Club
  55. Trickle Up
  56. United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  57. United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
  58. US Fund for UNICEF
  59. White Ribbon Alliance
  60. Women Thrive Worldwide
  61. World Vision
  62. World Wildlife Fund

Obama Administration Appoints New USAID Leader for Global Health Initiative

February 25th, 2010

Yesterday the Obama Administration took another step towards implementing its Global Health Initiative by appointing Amie Batson to lead USAID’s efforts for the GHI.  She will also serve as deputy assistant administrator for USAID.

 Ms. Batson comes to USAID after an illustrious 20 year career in the health field. She has held various positions at WHO, UNICEF, and most recently the World Bank. She was one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization, a major global partnership advancing the cause of immunization worldwide. Her efforts and innovative thinking, especially in the fields of financing, have helped provide medical services to millions of people worldwide. She received the President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation from the World Bank in 2002.

 Read more about USAID’s announcement of Ms. Batsons appointment here.

Reading List 1/7/2010

January 7th, 2010

With Rajiv Shahs official appointment as Administrator of USAID today, and Secretary of State Hilary Clintons speech on development yesterday, the blogs and papers are buzzing with stories on how to effectively improve  foreign aid and global development in 2010 and beyond.

Here is just a small smattering of what we are reading right now:

  1.  The Huffington Post, Josh Ruxin: Taking an Oath to Improve Aid
  2.  The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof: Hillary Clinton on Development Issues
  3.  The New Times (Rwanda), Irene Nambi:2 Million New Bednets to be Distributed This Year
  4.  Chronicle of Philanthropys Give & Take Blog, Ian Wilhelm:Secretary Clinton Pledges to Work With Nonprofit World
  5. Politico, Laura Rozen: Previewing Clintons development speech: results oriented, transformational, focused

Dr. Rajiv Shah Officially Sworn in as USAID Administrator

January 7th, 2010

Read the transcript of of Dr. Shahs swearing in ceremony here

Night 7: Schistosomiasis

December 18th, 2009

By Dr. Alan Fenwick, Director, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative at Imperial College London

Schistosomiasis, which is also known as bilharzia or snail fever, is another of the most common NTDs with an estimated 200 million people infected globally, and many more at risk especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

S_mansoni_adult_Lammie1The serious effects of schistosomiasis can be controlled by regular treatment of early infections with the drug praziquantel; this treatment is usually better directed at children who have recently acquired infections before symptoms can develop. Before the year 2000, praziquantel had successfully been used in China and Egypt, but it was expensive at $1 per tablet. The price today from generic manufacturers is a more affordable 8 cents a tablet. Since 2002 the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative has expanded the number of countries with control programmes thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Legatum, and more recently the USAID.  WHO has identified the need for them to take a great interest in schistosomiasis because expansion of coverage has been slower than with the other NTDs mainly due to the absence of a large scale drug donation program. It is estimated that during 2009 less than 10% of those in need of treatment will actually have access to praziquantel, despite investment by USAID and the emergence of other NGOs taking an interest in treating schistosomiasis.

During the next 5 years if the MDGs are to be achieved it will be necessary for the world to donate more money for praziquantel and its distribution so that children can be given a healthy start to their life and perform better at school.

Read more: Night 7: Schistosomiasis

The First Schistosomiasis PCT Campaign: Part 3 of a Students Perspective on NTD Fieldwork

December 4th, 2009

Emily Cotter is a second-year medical student at George Washington University in Washington DC.  This summer, through Global Network founding collaborator Helen Keller International, Emily worked on NTDs in Sierra Leone.  Below is part 3 of her 4-part series detailing her experiences.

Sierra Leone pulled off its first national preventive chemotherapy campaign for schistosomiasis this summer and luckily my internship coincided with the timing of this event.  I was able to spend a week and a half supervising the prophylactic chemotherapy (PCT, aka mass drug administration) program with the HKI program coordinator for NTDs, Mustapha Sonnie. This event was a huge undertaking: surveillance for schisto was done throughout SL and any district that had a prevalence of schistosomiasis (either mansoni or haematobium) greater than 10% was included in this drug treatment program.  This turned out to be planning treatment for more than 640,000 children!  Funding for this program came from USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease program, with the funding passed through RTI (Research Triangle Institute) and HKI on its way to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

IMG_3838It was fascinating to see the implementation of such a large-scale public health campaign!  Sierra Leone has previously implemented PCT campaigns for other diseases such as onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminths using an approach called Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin.  This approach uses community-based drug distributors who are trained volunteers that distribute ivermectin and albendazole in their communities.  The PCT campaign for schistosomiasis did not use these volunteers; instead, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation trained the peripheral health unit staff to distribute praziquantel using a height-pole for accurate dosing.  Mebendazole was also given to children during this campaign so children were simultaneously treated for soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis.  Praziquantel needs to be given with food so funding was also distributed to provide a meal at school before children were given the medications.

Read more: The First Schistosomiasis PCT Campaign: Part 3 of a Students Perspective on NTD Fieldwork

Raj Shah for USAID Head

November 10th, 2009

The Center for Global Development is reporting the news that Dr. Rajiv Shahcurrently Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at USDA and formerly with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationwill be tapped by the Obama Administration to head USAID.  Like most members of the global health and development communities, we have awaited this  decision for months; weve been particularly interested to see how the appointee might guide the implementation of the Administrations Global Health Initiative.

Now, we are anxious to make up for lost time and hear the new leaders vision for the agency.  We are hopeful that moving forward there will be greater USAID emphasis on country ownership, systems strengthening, cost-effectiveness through better integration and coordinationand of course NTDs.  Well stay tuned!

4 Million Children Dewormed in Rwanda

October 16th, 2009

denise_mupfasoni By Denise Mupfasoni, MD National Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program The Access Project

On October 9th, the first lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, launched the Integrated Measles Campaign which included a mass drug administration against intestinal worms and schistosomiasis in Gashora, Bugesera District.

During the campaign, an estimated four million children of 1-16 years were dewormed nationwide using mebendazole or albendazole tablets. In addition, school aged-children of 5-16 years in schistosomiasis endemic districts of Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Gakenke, Gicumbi, Nyagatare and Ngoma also received praziquantel tablets.

Rwandan schoolchildren excited to receive their deworming medication.  Photo courtesy of The Access Project

Rwandan schoolchildren excited to receive their deworming medication. Photo courtesy of The Access Project

In her remarks during the launching ceremony, Mrs. Kagame applauded the important contribution of the Ministry of Health’s partners including Columbia University’s NTD Access Project, which provides ongoing support to Rwanda’s Ministry of Health in its efforts to build a foundation for sustainable NTD control.

“People are very excited to receive medicine for worms and schistosomiasis because they all now understand the importance of de-worming their children” said Cyprien Ntawuguranimana, deputy head of Gashora Health Center.  “We are not only administrating drugs but we are also educating them to practice preventive measures against NTDs since we all know that prevention is better than cure,” he added.

Read more: 4 Million Children Dewormed in Rwanda

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    • The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is a major advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)--a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.
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