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HIV/AIDS, population and reproductive health, women's health, social science methods and public health research, India, South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa
Nandini Oomman was director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the Center for Global Development from March 2006 until December 2011. As director, Oomman led three research teams in Uganda, Mozambique, and Zambia to track the effectiveness of the three main aid responses to the epidemic: the Global Fund, the HIV/AIDS Africa MAP program of the World Bank, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This collaborative initiative, the first of its kind at CGD, allowed country-based researchers to examine key issues in the design, delivery and management of these donor programs, and provided timely analyses to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of each initiative.
Oomman, N. & J. Gittelsohn. (2002) Qualitative Methods in Gynecological Morbidity Research, in Research Approaches to the Study of Reproductive tract Infections and Other Gynaecological Disorders (eds. Shireen J Jejeebhoy, Michael A Koenig and Christopher Elias). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK
Oomman, N. (2000) Gynecological Morbidity in India: A Decade of Research on Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) and other Gynaecological Morbidity in India: What we know and what we don’t know, In Readings in Women’s Reproductive Health in India, (eds. R. Ramasubban, & S. Jejeebhoy). Centre for Social and Technological Change, Rawat Publications, Mumbai, India.
Oomman N, & B. Ganatra. (2002) Sex Selection: The Systematic Elimination of Girls Reproductive Health Matters, 10 (19): 184-188
Chris Elias, President & CEO at PATH, will step down from his current position and join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as President for global DEVELOPMENT in February 2012. Yes, that’s global development, not global health. First reactions from many in global health lamented the "loss" of one of the field’s most accomplished and visible experts. But as we digested the details of the announcement and discussed its implications, we realized that the Foundation’s decision could be a bonanza for global health. Here are two reasons why:
Since the launch of the Obama administration’s $63 billion Global Health Initiative (GHI) in May 2009, we have followed its ups and downs with great enthusiasm (see for example: here, here, here and here), trying to better understand its structure and role within the U.S. government’s complicated global health architecture. One recurring question we have continually raised has focused on leadership: who, exactly, was to be in charge of this massive undertaking? Who would be accountable for meeting the initiative’s eight high-level targets and adhering to its seven guiding principles?
Last December, the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) appeared to put those questions to rest. According to the 200+ page document, USAID would assume leadership of the GHI by September 2012, contingent upon fulfilling a set of 10 benchmarks to demonstrate its capacity. But upon closer inspection of the GHI over the last year, the QDDR provision only seems to have generated a new set of questions that are more difficult to resolve. While there are no easy answers, the administration should consider these issues as it thinks through the tough decision of pulling the GHI together under one leader and demonstrating success by meeting its targets:
At a recent CGD breakfast with Johnny West on his new book Karama! Journeys Through the Arab Spring, our colleague Mead Over asked how women would benefit from the Arab Spring. Though he speaks Arabic and has spent 20 years in the region, West didn’t have much to share about the role and prospects of women. As West explained, he had very few opportunities to interact with women. Unfortunately, this is a piece of a broader reality: even when women have played a huge role in protest movements, they are rarely represented in accounts of the revolution.
New York City’s annual high level UN bash is an occasion for grand, development-related announcements and commitments. This year’s meeting, which took place last week, focused on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), but I was particularly pleased to see follow up from one of last year’s big announcements--the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Following its launch at last year’s UN Leaders’ Summit for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2010, the strategy inspired over $40 billion in financial commitments, aiming “to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.” This year, on September 20th, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) released its one-year assessment of progress under this strategy.
Looming budget cuts for FY2012 and recent reports about the decline in AIDS funding from the USG in FY2010 relative to FY2009 have triggered the classic Washington, D.C. tug-of-war; global health and development advocates are pushing to maintain funding levels, if not to increase them, and the U.S. Congress is looking for ways to increase oversight and management of taxpayer dollars. Advocates are rightly pointing out what would happen if we don’t have the money and Congress is rightly signaling that the party is over. What’s new? Nothing.
On Tuesday, January 24, President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address to Congress, the American public, and global audiences seeking to better understand the domestic and foreign policy priorities for the United States in 2012. With a presidential election year in full swing and a still-uncertain U.S. economic recovery, it’s unlikely global development will get much mention in the president’s address. But that won’t stop us at CGD from tuning in to assess the president’s remarks using our state-of-the art policy proclamation evaluation instrument: CGD State of the Union Bingo.
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Together with CGD friends and colleagues, we’ll track in real-time how the president measures up to his commitment to development by listening for the key development-relevant words listed on our bingo cards. Will he mention his new pledge to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment? Pakistan? Climate? Trade?
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the single largest funder of global AIDS relief programs, but it does not regularly release data on how its money is spent. In this report, CGD's HIV/AIDS Monitor Team analyzes a newly available dataset of PEPFAR funding. They find, among other things, that only 30% of funds in 15 focus countries have gone to local organizations. They urge PEPFAR to regularly publish such funding data to improve transparency and strengthen coordination with host country governments and other stakeholders, and they suggest actions PEPFAR should take to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of its programs.
Donors spend billions of dollars to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries, but poor integration between donors and host country health systems risks undermining international efforts to prevent and treat AIDS. In this analysis, CGD’s HIV/AIDS Monitor argues that donors need to pay more attention to their overall effect on health systems, finding that the big international donors often create duplicate AIDS-specific systems that competitively draw on the health resources of developing countries. The report recommends taking specific steps to more broadly improve health information systems, improve supply chain systems, and strengthen the health workforce.
This report by the UNAIDS Leadership Transition Working Group argues that the new executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS should focus on a few essential tasks: promoting evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies, ensuring that UN agencies adequately support countries severely affected by HIV, and pressing rich-country governments to live up to their pledges to help poor countries respond to the epidemic.
Gender inequality drives the HIV epidemic, increasing the burden on women and girls and undermining the global response to the disease. A new HIV/AIDS Monitor report finds that despite well-meaning language and admirable broad goals, three of the biggest HIV/AIDS funders have yet to translate their concern for women and girls into systematic, effective programming. The report shows how to make that happen.
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provides more than $5 billion per year to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Exactly how is that money spent? Donors, recipients, and even PEPFAR staff are often left guessing, because much of the extensive data the U.S. government collects on the program isn't released. In this new CGD note, Michael Bernstein and Sarah Jane Staats (Hise) urge the U.S. Congress to require that PEPFAR regularly release this data. They argue that this would improve coordination between PEPFAR and other donors, help PEPFAR staff assess progress and hold recipients accountable, and increase cost-effectiveness. Some of the data will soon be available anyway: CGD's HIV/AIDS Monitor is preparing to release PEPFAR funding data for Fiscal Years 2004-2006 obtained by a partner organization through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Nandini Oomman, director of CGD's HIV/AIDS Monitor, calls on President-elect Obama to push PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)to release official data on obligations to prime partners, subpartners, and program areas to improve transparency and accountability.
For the past decade, global AIDS donors have responded to HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa as an emergency and have mobilized health workers from weak and understaffed workforces. They must begin to address the long-term problems underlying the shortages and the effects of their efforts on the health workforce more broadly.