April 10, 2014

Research Roundup: What we’re reading this week

Senior Program Assistant

In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has formally launched its Global Development Lab—an initiative that hopes to bring greater innovation to ending extreme poverty. At an event in New York City, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Raj Shah officially launched the Lab, which will focus on six thematic areas: food security and nutrition, maternal and child survival, energy access, sustainable water solutions, child literacy, and “connected technologies.”

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, official development assistance grew by 6.1 percent worldwide in 2013 to $134.8 billion. Foreign aid for development in low- and middle-income countries hit record highs, especially in countries like the United Kingdom, Iceland, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said this week that health is a “great global connector” and that ignoring diseases in other nations will punish people everywhere. She added that nations not only have practical and economic reasons to fight diseases in other countries, but that they have a humanitarian reason as well.

On World Health Day this week, the United Nations (UN) urged the international community to support a global health agenda that gives higher priority to fighting vector-borne diseases. Vector-borne diseases—like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis—“cause chronic illness and immense suffering for hundreds of millions [of people],” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.