Bipartisan foreign aid, and Obama’s Global Health Initiative

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The following is a collection of recent articles and news pieces making headlines in HIV/TB and global health:

A call for more effective foreign assistance: An opinion piece in The Daily Caller calls for more effective foreign assistance programs and bipartisan efforts to strengthen U.S. global leadership. Mark Green, Jim Kolbe, and Rob Mosbacher argue that the new Congress should make a bipartisan effort to improve foreign aid – just one percent of the federal budget – rather than slash budgets.

Report explores Global Health Initiative (GHI) programs worldwide: A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the GHI, the Obama administration’s six-year foreign aid program, found that the U.S. provided $5.7 billion to 73 different countries and 12 regional programs. The breadth of the six program areas in the GHI – HIV/AIDS; TB; malaria; maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning and reproductive health; and nutrition – varied widely from country to country.

Spreading energy through the developing world: A Time Magazine story highlights the importance of increasing access to electricity to rural communities worldwide. From the piece:

Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack reliable access to electricity. That means they don’t have electric lights for students to study by at night. They can’t easily charge cell phones — assuming they even have them — which means they can’t easily create markets or sell goods. Without regular power, their hospitals are severely limited — after all, you can’t even keep vaccines cold without a refrigerator. Agriculture is essentially peasantry if farmers lack powered machinery. As long as those hundreds of millions remain in the dark, they will remain poor — yet solving energy poverty isn’t even one of the U.N.’s ambitious Millennium Development Goals.

The article goes on to discuss how clean energy fits into the equation. With much of the developed world struggling now to find cleaner sources of energy, the developing world has the opportunity to get it right the first time – as long as that technology comes quickly.

New report from IOM finds government policies can exacerbate barriers to HIV screening and care: The Institute of Medicine released a report exploring how federal, state, and private health insurance policies affect access to HIV screening and care. The report comes from a workshop in June of 2010 and concludes that government programs can exacerbate many barriers to care – especially in areas already ripe with anti-HIV stigma.

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