US Government

We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. But without intervention nearly 40 percent of mothers with HIV/AIDS in developing countries will transmit the virus to their newborns.

Strong leadership, governance, and management are the cornerstones of successful global, national, and local efforts to save lives and achieve the  maximum impact from health investments. Yet effective leadership, management, and governance skills and practices too often are the vital missing elements in public, civil society and even private health organizations. Fortunately, these skills can be developed. They are best developed working in teams, in one’s own setting, over time, while facing real challenges.

With our partners, MSH works to build capacity at all levels within public and private organizations to improve leadership and management practices. Improved capacity ensures sound governance policies, creates a work climate that supports staff motivation, increases flexibility, and realigns staff to focus on common, achievable objectives.

Tukuls in the process of construction which will house midwives and PHCC staff, as viewed from Muni PHCC, (Muni Payam, Terekeka County, Southern Sudan)

Terekeka, a growing county and town just 60 miles north of Juba, translates as “The Forgotten” in the local dialect.  Just five years ago, this area was awash in violence, poised close to the frontlines of a civil war which resulted in the death and displacement of millions. Villagers and returnees began repopulating the area after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, which heavily increased demand for health services. Today, Terekeka is heavily populated by southern returnees seeking refuge, land, and jobs, as well as internally displaced persons escaping nearby tribal violence.

The First Lady Michelle Obama said “Courage is Contagious” as she and Secretary Clinton honored women from around the world at the 2011 International Women of Courage Awards. This year’s event was notable because it was held on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day.

From speaking out against "so called honor crimes" to fighting for the rights of minority people, these diverse women from Afghanistan, Belarus, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Hungary, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, and Pakistan share a special quality: courage. They are making changes in their own countries to improve the lives of women and girls. Ms. Maria Bashir from Afghanistan risks her life daily to ensure that girls can live free from violence as the Prosecutor General of the Attorney General’s Office in Herate Province. She fights against gender norms, putting her own life at risk, by jailing abusive husbands. Her counterpart in Mexico, Ms. Marisela Morales Ibanez, is fighting dangerous criminals who traffic humans and corrupt the judicial system in Mexico.

Last week, the House of Representatives cut the international affairs budget by 20% of the FY 2010 levels. While these are tough times, these cuts are disappointing given investments made in international affairs account for only 1 percent of the overall US Government budget.  More plainly, these cuts affect the poorest and most vulnerable people around the globe.

A recent poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org/Knowledge Networks showed that most Americans support foreign assistance levels up to 10% of the budget.

Furthermore, such small cuts in spending will not solve the deficit problem. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has argued that investments made in development and diplomacy can help deter future needs for resources for defense and that America’s national security depends on the civilian diplomats and aid workers who also risk their lives every day to support our overseas interests.

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.

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