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Jack Valenti, 1921-2007, A Friend of the Fight

Jack Valenti, the White House insider who became a legendary lobbyist for the movie industry, died yesterday - and some of the obituaries have missed an important contribution Jack made in his later years. For the past three years, Valenti was President of the Friends of the Global Fight, a Washington-based organization that works to build awareness about public policies to support the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. (Friends of the Global Fight was founded by Ed Scott, who also co-founded CGD.

A Reflective Moment for PEPFAR

It is a rare moment when researchers, policymakers, and implementers are in the same room talking about the same thing. But this is happening next week at the IOM workshop on Design Considerations for Evaluating the Impact of PEPFAR. Held Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1 at the National Academies in downtown Washington, this public meeting is being convened to discuss methodological, policy and practical design considerations for the future evaluation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

World Bank Board Pushes Back on Family Planning

Reuters reported today that World Bank's Executive Board yesterday postponed a decision on a proposed new Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) strategy in a tussle over words with potentially far-reaching impact. According to the report, the U.S. executive director wanted to amend the strategy to recommend “age appropriate access to sexual and reproductive healthcare" -- language that the Europeans said could restrict younger women's access to contraception and other reproductive services in poor countries.

On the Road to Universal Access: Are We There Yet?

Treating people seemed relatively easy compared to existing prevention efforts when ARVs emerged on the AIDS scene. Largely due to activist efforts, drugs were quickly produced in large enough quantities and eventually at an affordable price for donors to provide to millions of people in the developing world. Expectations for rapid scale up of treatment programs were hopefully high, but hopelessly unrealistic.

MeTA: Spotlight on the Supply Chain

As new funders, like UNITAID, buy more new drugs on behalf of the poorest countries, weak links in the supply chain are more visible than they have ever been - and the stakes are higher. Among the signs of a supply chain under pressure: procurement bottlenecks, high mark-ups by intermediaries, uninterpretable signals to suppliers about effective demand and stock-outs. And the result: reduced access to life-saving drugs, high out-of-pocket spending, rapid emergence of drug resistance and other negative consequences for individuals, families and communities.

Is Access Taking a Backseat to Quality in Healthcare?

It's much easier to tell if a child gets a vaccination than it is to tell if a pregnant woman gets proper prenatal care. The first you can easily observe, and therefore count or measure; the second is trickier. But determining the appropriateness of a health service involves first defining what is considered to be high-quality is and then being able to measure it. There are lots of good ideas about how to do both, but it is not nearly as standardized as measuring number of assisted deliveries or utilization rates at clinics.

Not Yet Breathing Easy About TB

Pop quiz: What disease killed John Keats at age 26, John Harvard at 30, Simon Bolivar at 47, Puccini's Mimi right after "Sono Andati?" - and now kills 4,400 people every day, most in the prime of their lives? Answer: TB, an ancient scourge whose current manifestations demonstrate both the highs and the lows of global public health.

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