Archive for the ‘Global Health’ Category

Secretary Clinton reveals international development goals: focus on investment

January 8, 2010

Secretary Clinton focused on investment in international development as the U.S. administration’s 2010 mantra.

The approach is country-led investment with a focus on results. This isn’t a new idea, of course. Millenium Challenge Corporation has taken this successful approach for the past five years. 

Discussions between defense, diplomacy and development departments as well as development organizations led to decisions about approach to development. Or at least, the beginning stages of changes. Clinton’s speech on definitive changes, incidentally, evoked an encouraging  roar of applause from both the development agencies and heads of state departments present at for her speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics  on January 6th.

“But through investment, we seek to break the cycle of dependence that aid can create by helping countries build their own institutions and their own capacity to deliver essential services. Aid chases need; investment chases opportunity,” said Secretary Clinton.

With a focus on results, international development programs will look to achieve five goals:

1. Partnership

Countries must demonstrate a commitment to development by practicing good governance, rooting out corruption, making financial contributions to development. Strong economic policies are also a prerequiste. Secretary Clinton cited two examples: levying taxes on those who can afford them and managing  natural resources sustainably and devoting some of the profits to people’s development.

Partnerships with other organizations also play an important role in international development. Some foundations are also combining philanthropy and capitalism through entrepreunerial programming such as Acumen Foundation. Private companies also play a valuable role in sustainable development, according to Secretary Clinton.

“A company like…Unilever/Hindustan, which has created soap and hygiene products that the very poor – long-overlooked by private business –can afford,” said Secretary Clinton.

2. Integrate development more closely with defense and diplomacy efforts

Intregated efforts between the three Ds of forien policy, (defense, diplomacy and development) is essential for success abroad, according to Secretary Clinton. The U.S. government can ” leverage the expertise of our diplomats and our military on behalf of (international) development (workers),” said Secretary Clinton.

3. Coordinate development across Washington,D.C.

A growing problem is the number of agencies broaden their scope internationally, adding  important expertise and capacity, and working the same developing issues from different angles. This creates overlap and contradiction between development efforts. 

As attracting investment and expanding trade are critical to development, the U.S. administration encourages coordination between development programs  (USAID, MCC, and other agencies) with the trade and investment initiatives (USTR, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation).

Regional efforts are also being supported and recognized as examples of regional coordination like the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.

Also, there is also an effort underway to bring contractor workers  back to work for government agencies. 

 “It is not financially sustainable, said Secretary Clinton. “We cannot continue to send so many dollars out the door with no monitoring, no evaluation, no accountability.”

By bringing contract workers back into government organizations, the return on the investment in human capital will be greater, according to Secretary Clinton.

4. Sectoral work

In the past, the U.S. worked in all areas possible for international development. The U.S. administration is taking a new approach. Investment and technical expertise of U.S. development agencieswill be focused on a few key sectors: health, agriculture, security, education, energy, and local governance.

“Rather than helping fewer people one project at a time, we can help countries activate broad, sustainable change,” said Secretary Clinton.

5. Technology

Through technology rural neighborhoods in developing nations can move decades ahead with just access to the internet and mobile phones.

Secretary Clinton cited farmers learning the latest local market prices and know in advance when a drought or a flood is on its way through mobile phones. Mobile banking gained access to savings accounts or money sent from overseas  through cell phones as well, according to Secretary Clinton. Activists used blogs and social networking sites to hold governments accountable for how they use resources and treat their citizens: an opportunity to raise transparency on corruption and repression in developing countries, said Secretary Clinton.

Secretary Clinton also mentioned that the sees expanding development programming coming State department, USAID, multi-lateral institutions such as World Bank and even stimulus money. She pointed out that the administration would “very much like to see (American technology) used” and supporting development programs is one way to creatively development American economy and help developing countries at once. The details of how this would work is still being considered. Clinton says  that as the Geneva Accord will be the subject of meetings throughout the year. She is hopeful that ideas such as American technologies use in developing countries might be a consideration.

6.  Investment on women and girls

Women and girls are critical to advancing a country’s social, economic, and political stance globally. Future development programs  with a focus on improve women’s health, income, and access to education and food.

Programming is in progress which focuses on women farmers, or women health educators to improve outreach to women and girls. Also, there is more discussion with partner countries to play a more central role in development work. Senator Clinton mentioned new scholarships  for female agricultural scientists in Kenya.

These goals mentioned above might be altered or adjusted according to the results of the inaugural Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review  (due to be completed in earl spring) and  The Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy.

For access to Clinton’s entire speech visit: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/134838.htm

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Solutions to AIDS Funding Cuts

December 13, 2009

The candles lit and voices rallying for greater funding for AIDS/HIV wasn’t enough to stop cuts in AIDS/HIV programming, just in time for World AIDS Day.

Despite major progress reached in AIDS/HIV programming, 90 percent of countries with infected populations enacting HIV testing and counseling policies,  funding is still greatly in need. In an attempt to improve upon the success of the past five years and align with Millenium Development Goal #6, health care organizations are investing in techniqus to improve the efficiency and sustainability of health programming.

Out of concern for developing sustainable health programming, PEPFAR plans to integrate AIDS/HIV programming into an overall country health programming model.

This past week, World Health Organization (WHO) also proposed a mandate advising doctors to give patients AIDS drugs a year or so earlier due to rising numbers of AIDS/HIV patients. That’s moving the tally from 5 to 8 million patients. The mandate could leave insufficient funding further strained. Meaning even more people might go without assistance. 

Prenatal and maternal services could be paired with HIV services, according to Christine Lubinski, Director of Center for Global Health Policy.  She considers treatment possibly more effective if two programs are located in the same facility. 

Yet, would this mean that  HIV/AIDS patients could also expect to share the same health care budget with maternal care?

In the past, PEPFAR has made many valiant attempts to find viable solutions to the AIDS crisis:  introducing public-private partnerships.  This would be a truly sustainable way to resolve health care programming in developing countries. Thus far, public-partnerships have been in development for over 4 years between PEPFAR.

Motorolla provided a portion of their proceeds to fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. The exact amount hasn’t been disclosed. Voxiva,  a technology firm for health care solutions, worked with the Ministry of Health in Rwanda to develop TRACnet. The application collects, organizes and shares data regarding HIV/AIDS care and treatment services.

Increasing accountability is another viable solution for sustainable health care programming. Parners in Health has established partnerships with the governments of participating countries  in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Irish Aid, and Mission Aviation Fellowship. Their success has led to open, revitalize, and renovate 21 public clinics in just 5 years. Partners in Health has also had great success in developing sustainable programming in Haiti over the past 28 years.

PEPFAR has been praised for developing ways to track programming activities throughout the life of grants. The Center for Global Health Policy and other health advocates support the continuation of accountability programming.

PEPFAR is running capacity building health programming in developing countries, i.e.: human, communications and organizational capacity. The agency is running training and task-shifting programming in hospitals and health clinics. The goal is to train 140, 000 new healthcare workers in 15 target countries by 2014.

PEPFAR’s greatest challenges include the low number of medical service providers, the knowledge gap between those providers, and the lack of medical records and longitudinal information needed to evaluate the successes and failings of prevention, care and treatment programs. These challenges are compounded by difficulties in data management capacity, such as the scarcity of trained technology professionals and information management systems. Without this culture of data and information management, implementing technological solutions in resource-challenged environments requires an intensive manual record keeping process.                                                       

Yet, programming adjustments take time which AIDS patients don’t have.  

 The Center for Global Health feels health care funding in developing countries is still insuffient. The agency has sent out a call to action last week for 25.1 Billion towards global health investments by 2010.

For more information on AIDS/HIV programming, visit: http://www.globalhealth.org/hiv_aids/, http://www.who.int/topics/hiv_aids/en/index.html and http://www.pepfar.gov/.