This Tuesday, Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator for U.S. Agency for International Development gave a major speech
at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on USAID’s Global Health Initiative
. With $63 billion earmarked for GHI over the next six years, there are high expectations for the program.
Shah laid out some details of GHI’s main priorities, which include improving family planning services, enhancing nutrition initiatives, and building stronger and broader-based healthcare systems across the developing world, with special attention paid to the health needs of mothers and their young children. He offered a number of examples of the benefits of integrating family planning with other health services for women and children, including maternal health
Shah did not, however, mention integrating family planning with environmental programs, the benefits of which USAID-funded programs have amply demonstrated. He also did not delve into the emerging nexus of family planning, population growth, and climate change, a subject of much discussion at last month’s Women Deliver conference in Washington, D.C.
On the other hand, Shah did say that GHI’s emphasis on improving nutrition for the world’s poor will complement another major Obama administration outreach effort, the Feed the Future initiative—repeating a point he made at the recent launch of the food security effort.
Shah also highlighted the need for establishing benchmarks for measuring success that revolve around people, not diseases. He suggested one way of achieving this would be to ensure that clinics—particularly in rural areas—broaden their mandate to offer a variety of health-prevention services, rather than providing resources that treat primarily one type of illness.
For a full transcript of Shah’s speech, click here.
More analysis of Shah’s speech and USAID’s Global Health Initiative to come in the weeks ahead.
Photo Credit: “Statesman Forum: Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator,” courtesy of flickr user CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies.