Blog: Global AIDS Coordinator Goosby Speaks About Uganda HIV Treatment
As part of a series in advance of AIDS 2010, the "Science Speaks" blog features an interview with U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby "about his expectations for the conference, what was behind the Uganda problem with shortages of AIDS medicine, and whether The New York Times was right when it reported in May that the Ugandan drug shortfall was 'the first example … of how the war on AIDS is falling apart.'" The series, "Looing Toward Vienna," also features interviews with Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the HIV department at the World Health Organization, Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group, and Daniel Kuritzkes, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (Donnelly, July 2010). Goosby writes of his recent trip to Uganda on the State Department's "Dipnote" blog (7/13).
Brookings Paper Discusses Housing Haiti
A paper from the Brookings Institution discusses "the question of temporary shelter and permanent housing" in Haiti which the authors say has "received little attention in the media and which bridges the immediate relief and long-term reconstruction efforts." The piece examines "economic pressures that might impinge on long-term recovery and the particular challenges of reconstruction in an urban context." The authors also discuss Haiti's need for urban transitional shelters, the cost of "building back better" and the challenges of delivering and administering aid money (Ferris/Petz, 7/15).
Lancet Infectious Diseases Review Changes In Incidence, Prevalence Of Malaria In Sub-Saharan Africa
A Lancet Infectious Diseases review examines "studies that have reported recent changes in the incidence or prevalence of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa." The article looks at changes in African regions including southern Africa, where researchers found that malaria control to show "substantial lasting declines linked to scale-up of specific interventions." In some countries, a change in drug treatment or "scale-up of insecticide-treated bed nets" were associated with malaria reduction," the authors report (O'Meara, 7/15).
Nature Supplement Examines Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Nature features a supplement "Outlook: HIV/AIDS," which examines how "miraculous drugs" have "blunted the urgency with which people talk about the AIDS epidemic," and looks at the "renaissance afoot in HIV/AIDS research, with renewed focus on a cure, more powerful drugs and innovative approaches to prevention." The series of articles includes "Developing Solutions," in which the author argues that "there is more to combating HIV in the developing world than providing affordable drugs" (Padma, 7/15) and "Grassroots Initiatives," which looks at a Cambodian group that has "developed a pioneering community-based approach to HIV and TB care" that is being "expanded to other war-torn countries" (Maxman 7/14).
Blog: Little Praise For Obama On Africa
"Eighteen months into the Obama administration, there is precious little to praise. Africa is fighting the same enemies we fear in the United States. But they are also fighting extreme poverty, famine, preventable diseases, AIDS/HIV, war, and for their lives on every front imaginable. Funding has been cut," according to a post on the Daily Caller. After looking at the records of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in Africa, the piece concludes by asking the "human rights community [to] recognize that pursuit of President Obama and the Democratic majority's domestic agenda has placed real action in Africa on the altar for sacrifice. All the advocacy in the world does not matter if we look away when our own political team fails" (Blackney, 7/13).
Blog: Former USAID Adminstrators Reflect On The Future Of USAID
A Huffington Post blog post reflects on the future of USAID, writing that while "a national investment that pays dividends in the forms of greater national security, economic growth, and revitalized American values would be a wise investment in the future of our country … the International Affairs budget - which funds America's vital development and diplomacy programs - is burdened with a disproportionate share of the budget cuts now being made by Congress." The authors continue, "We recognize that Congress is faced with agonizing choices - and many competing priorities - on the budget front. However, cuts to the International Affairs budget will only weaken USAID and other agencies that make vital contributions to global development and our national security," the authors argue.
"America needs a vibrant USAID with improved capacity to be a force for good around the globe. But USAID's leader needs a full team to implement new initiatives," the authors continue. "We call upon the administration to work tirelessly and fill the vacant senior leadership positions. And we call upon Congress to ensure that USAID is adequately funded and has the resources to do its important work," the authors conclude (Atwood/Holsman/McPherson/Natsios, 7/14).
NEJM Examines HIV Vaccine 'Renaissance'
"If we are to control [the HIV] pandemic, we must recognize the urgent need to develop and deploy better prevention tools and, most important, a safe and effective HIV vaccine," write the authors of a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective piece. Looking ahead to AIDS 2010, the authors write, "among the most exciting developments the delegates will hear about this year are a series of recent advances that collectively represent a renaissance in HIV infection vaccine development. These include the first demonstration of protection - albeit modest protection - against HIV infection in humans through immunization … in Thailand, new vaccine approaches that have significantly improved control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in rhesus monkeys," and the identification of " antibodies against HIV that have revealed vulnerable targets on the virus " (Koff/Berkley, 7/14).
Priority Setting To Benefit MNCH Policy
A PLoS Medicine Essay examines "evidence-based priority setting" to "support policy in maternal, neonatal, and child health in Africa." The authors conclude that "the key challenges that need to be overcome in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the processes of prioritization in health care and health research include the following: increased acceptability and popularity with local policy makers, appreciation of the local context, clarity about the criteria used, transparency in the input from the stakeholders, and more specific guidance on translation into policy" (Rudan et al., 7/13).
Blog: 'Bolder' Solutions For Haiti
"What if the idea of Haiti as a country simply won't work? They have been trying for two centuries. Even before the horrific tragedy of the earthquake six months ago, Haiti festered," according to a Foreign Policy blog post. "[A]fter decades of watching Haiti (and many other countries) struggle with resource limitations, cultural obstacles, competitive disadvantages and chronic crises ... it is worth asking whether we need to be bolder in our approach to finding solutions and to truly ask ourselves what we would and could do if we sought to truly serve the people of these countries rather than the ideas of long dead founders, the consequences of long-forgotten geopolitical twists and turns or the objectives of elites who benefit from old ideas that no longer benefit anyone other than the few," the author writes (Rothkopf, 7/13).
Blog: President Should Lead On Foreign Aid Reform
A Huffington Post blog post calls for the President Barack Obama's leadership on foreign aid reform writing, "At a policy level, the administration should be commended for its approach to development" but "[p]rogress on actual nuts and bolts of turning policy into action has been less forthcoming." The author continues, "it is time to act on the broad recognition that multiple agencies carrying out similar or inconsistent programs is not good practice; that assistance programs need greater transparency and accountability; and that the legislative foundation for our foreign assistance system, a 500-page Cold War-era statute, lacks clear goals and objectives and is bursting at the seams with outdated, overlapping, and duplicative and conflicting provisions." The author outlines "three immediate steps" that the President can take to reform foreign aid, including: the creation of "America's first-ever Global Development Strategy," by expressing his commitment to work with Congress on foreign aid reform, and empowering USAID with clear authority" (Ingram, 7/14). Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network has posted "core principles" and examples it "believes should provide the underpinnings of foreign assistance reform" (7/12).
Blog: Haiti Needs Sustainable Solutions
In a Huffington Post blog post, the executive director of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, writes about Haiti's "need for sustainable answers." The differences between life and death in an earthquake, he writes, are "rooted locally. They include geography and topography, but especially the robustness and integrity of infrastructure - which, in Haiti's case, has been tragically neglected as a result of that nation's abject poverty." In order to improve infrastructure in the developing world, the author argues, "standards must reflect the deep understanding of local economic realities, locally available resources, and recognition that only those standards that can be locally executed will be sustained to the benefit of those most directly affected" (Loughlin, 7/12).
USDA Report Analyzes Current, Future Food Security Situation In Developing World
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report summarizing the current state of food security in 70 developing countries. The report forecasts that the "number of food-insecure people at the aggregate level will not improve much over the next decade, declining by only 1 percent. While there will be notable improvements in Asia and Latin America, the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to deteriorate after 2010" (Shapouri et al., July 2010). More information on the report is available on Kaiser's Policy Tracker tool (7/8).