Opinions: U.S. Support For Maternal, Child Health; Infection Control At Borders; The AMFm Model; International Affairs Budget; Organizations Supporting Women
U.S. Government Must Continue To Support Maternal And Child Health
When Mother's Day is recognized on Sunday, "let's honor motherhood itself by giving all moms the gift they want most the chance to deliver and raise healthy children," former Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), who serve as co-chairs of the Save the Children's Newborn and Child Survival Campaign, write in The Hill's "Congress Blog." They note that worldwide, approximately 1,000 mothers and more than 22,000 children under age five die every day, "a daily death toll on par with the recent Japanese disaster repeated day after day."
"The United States has a long, proud and bipartisan history of leadership in the fight to save children's lives. We must stay the course," Frist and Corzine write. The authors call on members of Congress who "suggest that development assistance is irrelevant to national security, and as a result, foreign aid is ripe for cuts" to "listen to those who know firsthand the threats we face," citing recent comments from retired Army Col. John Agoglia and others. "U.S. assistance can help empower some of the world's poorest nations to deliver a child survival success story through strategic choices that deliver the greatest returns with limited resources," they write, concluding, "It's difficult to find much that politicians can agree on these days, but saving the life of a child is surely a goal we can all support" (5/4).
Use National Security Funds To Stop Infectious Diseases At U.S. Borders
Measles and other infectious diseases brought into the U.S. by unvaccinated people "are a real threat to public health, and while we're spending billions on national security, almost all that money goes towards 'security theater,' such as full-body scanning equipment at airports, which does almost nothing to protect the public," Steven Salzberg, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, writes in a post on Forbes' "Science Business" blog.
Though measles "is a dangerous and incredibly infectious virus," the "vaccine is highly effective, which means the real challenge is getting people to take it," Salzberg says. "If the U.S. really wants to use its security dollars wisely, we should implement greater screening at the border to keep these diseases out. We could start by telling people to get vaccinated before they leave the country. If they refuse, we could require them to be tested for infections when they return. We could implement this using funds we'd save when we stop telling everyone to take off their shoes at the airport," he concludes (5/4).
AMFm Is A Model Worth Replicating In Global Health
In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Philippe Douste-Blazy, U.N. under-secretary-general and president of Unitaid, write about the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria (AMFm), a program aimed at making ACT medication as "widely and cheaply accessible as possible."
"Early results indicate that AMFm is working and has brought dramatic falls in over-the-counter drug prices in Nigeria and several other African countries," according to Kazatchkine and Douste-Blazy, who highlight cases from Kenya and Madagascar. "With the Global Fund's traditional donors facing severe budgetary strains as the world emerges from a deep financial crisis, there is a need for more innovative health programs such as AMFm," they write (5/3).
Listen To Military, Business Leaders' Perspective On Funding For The International Affairs Budget
"The International Affairs Budget always seems to be an easy target for politicians to aim their fire at. For one thing, most Americans think it makes up a huge part of our federal spending -- even though it's really only about 1 percent of the budget," Mark Green, senior director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and a former member of Congress, writes on The Hill's "Congress Blog."
"Outside the political world, however, leader after leader appears to understand that International Affairs programs deserve support because they're good for us, for America, for our national security, and for our economic future," he writes before quoting top U.S. officials and business leaders who support fully funding the International Affairs budget. "These are tough times both fiscally and politically, and the most important advice in my experience comes from outside the beltway. Right now we need to listen to the experts who create jobs and work to keep our nation secure every day, like the leaders quoted above. And what they are all saying is a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is good for America," he concludes (5/3).
The Danger Of Hopping On The Women Bandwagon
"As the attention continues to increasingly focus on the benefits of engaging women in development and environmental efforts, investment for women will continue to grow. And where there is money, there are expert fundraisers armed with spin and great anecdotes. Nonprofits that encourage this approach need to recognize that such a strategy is short sighted, dishonest, and, most importantly, it can actually undermine the condition of the women that the rest of us are trying to improve," Jamie Bechtel, co-founder and CEO of New Course, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece. "I have worked on $20 million dollar donations and I have worked with $25 donations. They have this in common: they are both capable of saving lives, improving the world, making a difference. Just make sure that your investment, no matter how big or small, is making the difference that you intended it to make," she warns (5/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.