As is true with each new presidential administration the global health community hangs in the balance. According to KFF.org the US global health funding was set at $11 billion in FY 2019 and in 2020 the funding was significantly decreased. This funding goes towards programs in more than 70 countries for HIV, malaria, maternal and child health among other health challenges. But now with the Biden administration the global health imperative is back on the table with increased funding and a dedication to countries’ health. Here are four reasons why.
At the start of the last administration the lamentations were heard around the world about the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy or the Global Gage Rule, that cut overseas funding from advocating for the legalization of abortions, provide abortions, mention the word, or even refer women to health practionioners that provide safe, legal abortions. Biden has already revoked the Mexico City Policy, but according to Time magazine the Trump effect may take some time to undo.
The Trump administration also withdrew from the World Health Organization (WHO), something that seemed unfathomable, but was a stark wakeup call for the global health community. Biden stopped the United States’ official withdrawal from the WHO. This is important as the US provides significant funding for global health and by re-entering the worldwide health community, the US will help stabilize the global COVID-19 response.
Not only did the Trump administration withdraw from the World Health Organization, it also withdrew from The Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015. Make no mistake, while the Agreement sets conditions and milestones for countries to reach to stave off and prevent further climate extremes it is very much a health agreement. Again, Biden rejoined The Paris Agreement, putting the United States back on a solid footing on climate change initiatives.
Biden’s nominee for administrator of USAID is Samantha Power. With years of global health and administration experience under her belt, Power is the former US ambassador to the United Nations under Obama. Additionally, Power served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council. Power will certainly raise the profile of USAID and usher a renewed sense of the United States’ responsibility to global health and security.
In the first few weeks of Biden’s administration there have been several notable changes in how the United States approaches global health. This is especially imperative with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging out of control with new variants and a backed-up vaccine rollout. Now, there is a plan in place not only for the United States, but also for global distribution of the vaccine where the vast majority of the vaccines have gone to high-income countries according to Duke Univeristy’s Global Health Instutute.
It has been an historic week with the announcement of Kamala D. Harris as the first black woman nominee for vice president. Pundits and political experts alike will without doubt parse through her record from her time working as DA of San Francisco and Attorney General of California as well as serving in the United States Senate. One thing is clear: Senator Harris has worked tirelessly on maternal health issues as it pertains to black women who are three times more likely than white women to die due to pregnancy and delivery complications.
Harris joined forces with Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a series of nine bills that take racial disparities out of the maternal health outcomes, funds communty-based maternal health organizations, improves data collection, and invests in digital health tools among other pertinent issues.
In February of this year, Harris convened a Black Maternal Health Roundtable where women recounted their experiences with health care providers during their pregnancies and experts discussed racial disparities in maternal health care.
During the holidays $511 million dollars was donated online on Giving Tuesday. That marks an increase of 28% from 2018. While the total number of charitable donations have yet to be tallied for the entirety of 2019, estimates hover around $430 billion. Given that, what cities and states are giving the most money online and volunteering the most time to charities? WalletHub dug into the statistics and discovered the most charitable states and drilled down to the most caring cities.
Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama, by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama. I particularly liked
When I was in high school I was a volunteer at my local Red Cross donation center. I did a variety of things like give donors cookies and juice after they donated blood, separated the vials (sans any blood) between autologous, directed, and regular blood donations, and also registered donors into the system. I loved every bit of that volunteer work and am always happy to talk about the lifesaving work the American Red Cross does all year long.
Every January since 1970 the American Red Cross has celebrated National Blood Donor Month. This time of year there is always a heightened need for blood donations due to the increase in communicable diseases and also because it is after the holidays when most people put off giving blood. Additionally, inclement weather keeps many away from donation centers. The American Red Cross is asking the public to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. In order to sustain the blood supply for 2600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers, 13,000 donations are needed per day during National Blood Donor Month.