Recent Reports on Global Health Policy for May 8
Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Survey of Americans on U.S. Role in Global Health
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released yesterday found that about two-thirds of the U.S. public supports maintaining (39%) or increasing (25%) U.S. government funding to improve health in developing countries. Less than one-quarter, or 23%, of the public said that the government spends too much on global health. According to the survey, levels of support are similar for spending to address HIV/AIDS in developing countries, but the public sense of urgency about HIV/AIDS around the world has declined. The large majority, or 71%, of U.S. residents said that because of the current economic crisis, the country cannot afford to spend more on global health at the moment.
The survey also examined perceptions of global health as part of the development agenda. It found that 59% of Americans said fighting terrorism and promoting peace should be a "top priority" for the president and Congress when it comes to helping developing nations, followed by improving education (55%). Next in line are reducing poverty (41%), improving health (38%), protecting the environment and fighting climate change (37%), and promoting the rights of women (34%) (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 5/7). The survey is available here.
Increased Condom Use, Partner Reduction Leads to Decreased Prevalence of HIV in Dominican Republic
According to a report in the May issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), increased condom use and partner reduction in the Dominican Republic has led to a decrease in the prevalence of HIV between the mid-1990s and 2005. The researchers caution "there is a danger of complacency, and some recent data suggest that HIV prevalence is no longer declining (and may even be increasing) in some populations" (Halperin et al., JAIDS, May 2009).
Breaks In Schistosomiasis Control Program Lead to Rebounding Levels of Disease in Mali
Over 10 years after the "successful conclusion" of a donor-sponsored schistosomiasis control program that ran in Mali from 19821992, the national incidence of the disease rebounded to pre-intervention levels, according to a study appearing in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The authors write that the long-term stability of clusters of the disease suggest that better understanding the historic data of the disease should be taken into consideration when planning future schistosomiasis control programs (Clements et al., PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 5/5).
Local Leadership Essential for Research in Developing Countries
Although recent reports show that the international community supports the idea of research in developing countries, locals should lead study projects to ensure sustainability, according to a comment in the journal Lancet. The new African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) could provide the "lynchpin for concrete actions to strengthen research and development capacity in Africa" (Mboya-Okeyo et al., Lancet, 5/2).
Methods To Control Neglected Tropical Diseases Affecting the 'Bottom Billion'
The journal Lancet published a viewpoint that outlines low-cost ways to control neglected tropical diseases through preventive chemotherapy among the world's poorest people, or the "bottom billion." It also proposes financial strategies that could provide poor individuals with "essential drugs" (Hotez et al., Lancet, 5/2).
Former USAID Reproductive Health Programme Directors Recommend Funding Increase for Agency's Family-Planning Budget
Five former directors of USAID's population and reproductive health programme recommend in a Lancet comment that the agency's family-planning budget be increased from the present level of $457 million to $1.2 billion in 2010, with modest further annual increases thereafter. The authors write that there are more than "200 million women who want to delay or to bear no more children" and that the recommended investment "would benefit not only women's and children's health but also overall development" (Gillespie et al., Lancet, 5/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.