Amanda Glassman on the need for a new U.S. global health strategy

For this week’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Amanda Glassman, vice president for global health policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Glassman is one of the world’s leading experts on the fight against diseases of poverty. The Washington, D.C.,-based think-tank where she works – which I will refer to as the Center or CGD – performs research and analysis to find the best policy pathways aimed at reducing poverty and inequity worldwide. The Center just issued a report titled White House and the World in which the team of experts offer an extensive list of recommendations aimed at enhancing the U.S.’s role in development, with an emphasis on why this is good for Americans as well as the poor in other countries. And at no incremental cost to taxpayers, it says (we’ll have to ask Amanda about that one …) The entire report is a bit too much to digest here, so Humanosphere’s editor Tom Paulson wanted to focus on Amanda’s area of expertise – global health – in part because fighting diseases of poverty has long been the top dog in the development hierarchy. We’ll explore the analysis done by the CGD on global health by Amanda and Rachel Silverman. Is global health still top dog on the development agenda? Should it be? And what do we need to do to make our efforts in global health even more successful and sustainable as we move forward? Amanda has three main recommendations, all of them aimed at bringing some coherence to what has been a fragmented, somewhat arbitrary agenda that, arguably perhaps, helped make the West African Ebola outbreak worse than it might have been. Listen and learn!

But, as always, before we dig into global health policy with Amanda, Tom and I talk about some of the big stories out there. This includes calling on everyone to pay attention to the political instability in Burundi (which experienced the same ethnic civil war and killing as its neighbor to the north in the 1990s, to little outside notice), a story about the high rate of HIV and risk to Ugandan fisherman and a little-covered meeting in Ethiopia, called Financing for Development, which many think is the best barometer gauging to what extent the international community is committed to the next set of anti-poverty goals known as the Sustainable Development Goals. Paulson proclaimed it a ‘dud’ but some see progress at least in terms of civil society and many developing country governments demanding to play a more active role and not just accept the prescriptions and goals set by rich countries.

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About Author

Gabe Spitzer

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago.