“The beauty of this place,” case studies, cost-effectiveness, and more . . .

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“What I love about the Senate”: “I love that instead of fighting against each other, Bill Frist, the former Republican leader, and I were able to join forces to fight HIV and AIDS around the globe and to convince an unlikely conservative named Jesse Helms to support and pass a bill unanimously that has saved millions of lives on our planet. That’s what makes this place special.” This is what Sen. John Kerry told his colleagues as he left the place he had served for 30 years. Reading the entire speech, which is available in the link, recounting the legislation that has moved this country forward and the people with whom he worked, makes it all the more memorable that he singled out that achievement to show what the Senate can do, as he told his colleagues: “I leave here convinced that we can keep our republic strong.” Then, as he assumed his next position, he again talked about the power this country has to change the world, in remarks at his swearing-in ceremony. “The beauty of this place . . .” he said, is that, “We can help people to help themselves. We can protect children as we did in Africa, where PEPFAR has saved millions of lives.” Again the whole text is worth reading for the context it gives to his goal: “to work for peace.”

Efficient and Sustainable HIV Responses: Case Studies on country progress: Together, these case studies tell how to sustain a response with impact, by examining realities on the ground. In Cambodia a modelling exercise looks at the cost-effectiveness of shifting resources to where they will matter most, among people who inject drugs, men who sex with men, and entertainment workers. In Malawi, introducing airlines and telecommunications levies to help fund HIV treatment efforts helps identify sources of additional revenue and the need for continued donor support. Swaziland, with the highest HIV prevalence in the world, shows how revising antiretroviral drug tenders can bring immediate savings.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Generic Antiretroviral Therapy in the United States: This recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine was reported in the popular press, and raised a buzz in the global health community, for whom generic antiretroviral drugs are a cornerstone of treatment in the developing world. But the study described in the article, which examined the potential savings and costs of a switch from one pill to three, wasn’t applicable to PEPFAR-funded countries, and, in any case, concluded generics offered a huge cost saving that could be applied to other life-saving HIV interventions. The article is now open access.

Donor Funding for Health in Low- & Middle Income Countries, 2002-2010: While donor funding for global health rose steeply in the last decade, “the era of rapid growth has come to an end,” this analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation says. It tracks spending on basic health care, health workforce, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition, and other needs during the first decade of this century, and finds year to year increases reached their height in 2007, and have declined each year since.


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