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Rachel Silverman is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, focusing on global health financing and incentive structures. During previous work at the Center from 2011 to 2013, she contributed to research and analysis on value for money, incentives, measurement, and policy coherence in global health, among other topics. Before joining CGD, Silverman spent two years supporting democratic strengthening and good governance programs in Kosovo and throughout Central and Eastern Europe with the National Democratic Institute. She holds a master's of philosophy with distinction in public health from the University of Cambridge, which she attended as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She also holds a BA with distinction in international relations and economics from Stanford University.
While PEPFAR and the Global Health Initiative (GHI) have dominated the global health community’s attention over the past few years, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has largely flown under the radar. Surprisingly little had been written about the PMI; still the few available materials painted a reasonably positive picture. But just this month, the PMI released the results of an external evaluation which confirms what we’ve long suspected: PMI is doing a remarkably good job and generating “value for money” in U.S. global health efforts. Such results are all the more impressive in light of the common criticisms of USAID past and present – that it is ineffective, incompetent, and hampered by a complex and arcane bureaucracy. The PMI is a USAID success story that helps validate its ongoing efforts to reform and rebuild into the U.S.’s premier development agency.
Originally conceived in 2005 as a five-year, $1.2 billion scale-up of America’s malaria control efforts, the PMI was extended and expanded by the 2008 Lantos-Hyde Act, receiving $625 million in funding for FY2011. While its funding pales in comparison to PEPFAR, which received almost $7 billion for the same period, the PMI is among the largest global donors for malaria, aiming to halve the burden of malaria for 70 percent of at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Led by USAID under a U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, the PMI is jointly implemented with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As the Global Health Initiative moves into its third year of implementation, Nandini Oomman and Rachel Silverman summarize the current status of this major development initiative, highlight the challenges for the GHI, and propose specific recommendations for a way forward.
Yesterday the global health community celebrated a much anticipated anniversary: one year has passed since India’s last reported case of polio. While still tenuous, this achievement is an important milestone for the international effort to attain polio eradication. If India can maintain this progress, then only three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan – will remain polio-endemic, down from 125+ countries worldwide in 1988. (As an aside, the WHO describes India as “one of the largest donors to polio eradication being largely self financed.” Are donations to oneself – or “unilateral” donors, if you will – the way of the future?)
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:
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.