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Blog post originally appeared on Global Health Magazine.

Six years ago the Malawi health system was on the verge of collapse due to severe shortages of health workers. Every year the College of Medicine would train 20 doctors and every year, half of them would leave the country. Nurses were overwhelmed by the demand for services.

In mid-June the United States Government continued to show its commitment to global health by announcing the first Global Health Initiative (GHI) Plus countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, and Rwanda. The GHI is a six-year, $63 billion initiative to help partner countries improve measurable health outcomes by strengthening health systems and building upon proven results. The GHI focuses on women, newborns, and children using an integrated approach including programs that address HIV & AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning and reproductive health, and neglected tropical diseases. These initial countries will receive additional technical and management resources to quickly implement GHI’s approach.  They will be used as “learning labs” – using best practices and lessons learned when implementing programs in other countries. MSH works in seven of the eight countries, so we asked our country experts: What’s working? Please stay tuned for a continuing series.

Last week, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report analyzing US Government foreign assistance spending on global HIV & AIDS and other health programs.

The report found:

In fiscal years 2001-2008, bilateral U.S. spending for HIV/AIDS and other health-related programs increased overall, most significantly for HIV/AIDS. From 2001 to 2003--before the establishment of PEPFAR--U.S. spending on global HIV/AIDS programs rose while spending on other health programs dropped slightly. From fiscal years 2004 to 2008, HIV/AIDS spending grew steadily; other health-related spending also rose overall, despite declines in 2006 and 2007.

The GAO commissioned this study in response to President Obama’s proposal to spending $63 billion through 2014 on global health programs under the new Global Health Initiative.

Read the full report.

Originally appeared in Global Health Magazine.

Over the last several decades, millions of dollars have been invested in capacity building interventions, and the chorus of capacity building enthusiasts continues to grow. Yet, both in description and practice, capacity building remains somewhat fuzzy. In many developing countries, one of the greatest obstacles to achieving the health MDGs - in particular those relating to child survival, maternal health, and combating major diseases such as HIV & AIDS - is the deep, persistent lack of organizational capacity among those responsible for attaining these goals.

Some of the essential capacity components that are often lacking include human capacity - adequate numbers of skilled, motivated and well distributed health providers who are supported by strong leadership; financial capacity - money management skills, financial accountability, and costing expertise; systems capacity - information and logistics, monitoring and evaluation, and governance structures and processes.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

As world leaders gather next week at the U.N. to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate poverty, hunger, and disease by 2015, a new integrated approach to funding and delivering health services in developing countries is critical if the UN's global health targets -- especially for women and children -- are to be met. Currently, the health goals are competing with each other for money, people, and other scarce resources. How can we get back on track?

There is much to celebrate next week: over four million people are currently receiving antiretroviral drugs to treat AIDS; eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV is within reach by 2015; malaria deaths have been reduced by over half in some countries; the global burden of TB is falling; and more than 500 million people are now treated for one or more neglected tropical diseases.

On Friday, September 17th, Washingtonians representing UN offices, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governmental organizations, and general civil society gathered in Farragut Square, Washington, D.C. from 12 to 1:30 PM to “Stand Up Against Poverty.” Joining millions of global citizens in Stand Up Against Poverty events in 1,328 registered events in 74 countries, we voiced our commitment to fight poverty and inequality, demanding urgent and concrete action on the Millennium Development Goals from our world leaders as they attend the 2010 United Nations MDG Summit from Monday, September 20th through Wednesday, September 22nd.

The event was emceed by Sarah Farnsworth, Senior Advisor for the North America Campaign, and welcomed by Fred Tipson, Director of the UNDP Washington office.  Like others around the world, Washingtonians energetically clacked noisemakers, blew whistles, cheered, and recited the Stand Up pledge that was read by Will Davis, Director of the UN Information Center, Washington DC, and Greg Smiley, Senior Policy Officer of UNAIDS, and accompanied by drummers from the Rhythm Workers Union.  Personal testimonies were given by individuals from UN offices, Save the Children, Jubilee USA, and InterAction on why they Stand Up Against Poverty.

Earlier this summer, the Center for Global Development hosted a guest lecture by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with a panel of experts from Zambia, Mozambique and Uganda and representatives from United States Government (USG) agencies to discuss one of the most challenging concepts to define right now - Country Ownership.

For the last two years, the USG has tried to find a way to partner with developing country governments while they balance their accountability to Congress.  In recent development reform plans like the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future, there are numerous references to country ownership, country driven, country-led, and country guided but neither actually come out and define the term “country ownership.”

So, what is country ownership? How will we know when we achieve it? It is an end in itself or the best way to ensure long-term sustainability?

This article was originally posted on K4Health’s Blog.

Twelve months ago the K4Health project began its needs assessment to better understand how the flow of knowledge, information, and communications could be improved with regards to Family Planning and Reproductive Health, and HIV & AIDS, in support of the K4Health project.

This blog was originally posted on Global Health Council’s Blog 4 Global Health. This is a guest blog written by Arianna Levitus, policy and advocacy associate with PATH, one of the sponsors of the event.

“This is a pivotal month, in a pivotal year, when the world will take stock of promises made to women and children,” Sallie Craig Huber, global lead for results management at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), announced today to a standing room-only crowd at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Ms. Huber was introducing a panel of speakers to address the challenging topic of improving monitoring, transparency and accountability for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). The three panelists who followed Ms. Huber demonstrated the need to improve the way we monitor and evaluate programs for maternal and child health to capture and use data that can inform meaningful and effective program design and policy change.

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