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eJournal USA: A Healthy Future

02 December 2011

Few issues matter more to people around the world than health. Good health increases a person’s chances of getting an education, earning a living, starting a family and leading a long and fulfilling life. Improvements in public health make communities more robust, advances in development more sustainable and economic growth more rapid.

Disease knows no border; malady in one region can affect health and security in another. In the era of globalization, all countries have a stake in promoting good health. Today, in many developing countries, the threat posed by HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases is compounded by such chronic conditions as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Traditional, disease-specific approaches are proving inadequate to address this compound burden. Health systems in both developed and developing countries are straining to treat those suffering from mental illness and trauma.

This issue of eJournal USA considers the factors that contribute to success in improving health — and health systems — in many parts of the world. Increasing the capacity of developing countries to care for their populations themselves is an element common to many successful programs. Physicians Vanessa Bradford Kerry and David Bangsberg call for steady investments by the United States and other donor countries to bolster recipient countries’ health care systems, with an emphasis on training health care workers. Involving the recipients of development aid in planning and managing health programs is another recurrent element. The U.S. Global Health Initiative described in this issue takes its cue from new thinking about health based on these and other approaches. Other articles make the case for engaging communities, patients, diaspora groups and idealistic innovators in efforts to attack disease on many fronts and from many directions.

— The Editors

A Marshall Plan for Global Health: Greater Power, Better Results
David Bangsberg, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health; director of international programs at the Ragon Institute; director of the International Program of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research
Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry, associate director of Partnerships and Global Initiatives at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health; director of the Global Public Policy and Social Change Program at Harvard Medical School
Increasing countries’ capacity to provide health care depends on coordinated, sustained investment.

What Works in Global Health Programs?
Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development
Success requires political leadership, adequate funding, affordable innovation and effective information.

The Global Health Initiative: Maximizing Impact in Global Health
Lois Quam, executive director of the Global Health Initiative
The U.S. program aims to make investments in global health smarter and more fruitful.

Health Program Evaluations Add Up
Suz Redfearn
Measuring outcomes is key to designing more effective health programs.

HIV-Infected Mothers for Healthy Babies
Maya Kulycky
Women help each other to get treatment and deliver healthy children.

Midwives Live Up to Their Calling
Kathryn McConnell
In Indonesia, midwives not only deliver babies, they also save lives.

To Russia with Heart (Skills)
Alexandra Draggeim
American surgeons work with Russian doctors to treat young patients with heart disease.

Women’s Wellness Is in Vogue in Tashkent
Jeff Baron
Health services are as much in demand as information.

Listening to the Community to Lay a Health Foundation
Lisa Armstrong
Partners in Health listens to local communities to meet their health needs.

Attacking Ills with Simple Devices
Andrzej Zwaniecki
Student innovators focus on simple, affordable medical devices for poor countries.

Additional Resources

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)