Chief executive of Save the Children UK calls for accelerated efforts to tackle to pneumonia

Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK, called for the development community to accelerate its efforts to tackle pneumonia ahead of major global summit on the issue in 2020 during an interview with the Financial Times. Pneumonia is the biggest killer of children in the world, causing nearly one million deaths each year.  Watkins argues that it is currently neglected by the development community and calls on every country in the world  to put in place an action plan to identify those at risk and for a collective effort to scale up diagnostics and the provision of antibiotics and vaccines to address the issue.

News article - Financial Times

Norway's Foreign and Defence Committee travel to Ghana to view global health projects

Representatives from Norway's Foreign and Defence Committee, Anniken Huitfeldt (Labour Party), Ingjerd Schou (Conservative Party), Per-Willy Amundsen (Progress Party), and Marianne Marthinsen (Labour Party) will travel to Accra, Ghana, to meet representatives from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UNAIDS, health authorities in Ghana and the foreign committee in Ghana's Parliament. They will also visit hospitals and local health centers during their visit. 

News article - Norwegian Parliament (in Norwegian) 

DFAT initiates an annual address on health security topics

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has initiated an annual event titled the 'Ruth Bishop Address on Health Security.' Professor Ruth Bishop is an Australian researcher who led a team to the landmark discovery of the rotavirus in 1973, which led to the development of a rotavirus vaccine.

Professor Sharon Lewin spoke at the first Ruth Bishop address on 'From HIV to Zika – building on lessons learnt to be fully prepared for what might be next.'  Professor Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, and a leading HIV researcher.

Event details - Eventbrite

Australia’s opposition spokeswoman on foreign affairs commits to continuing support for Asia-Pacific, health, should Labor win the election

Senator Penny Wong, Australia's opposition spokeswoman on foreign affairs, spoke at the University of Queensland on 'Rebuilding Australia’s international development program for a time of disruption.' She outlined her party's priorities for development policy, should the Labor Party win the upcoming May 2019 federal election. 

She committed to continuing Australia's development engagement with middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Health, education, climate change, infrastructure, and gender equality and inclusion would  be Labor's central themes. Her speech also included a new funding commitment to tackle cataract blindness in the region and the announcement that Labor would appoint a Global Human Rights Ambassador. Although she reiterated plans to rebuild the development budget, she would  not re-establish a separate development agency.  

Speech - Senator Wong's  website

Global Fund director Peter Sands addresses Dutch parliament on investment case

Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), spoke with Dutch parliamentarians about the fund's recently released investment case for its sixth replenishment conference and the Netherland's upcoming financial commitment. The meeting was supported by Dutch non-governmental organizations including Aidsfonds, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Cordaid, and HIVOS, which are calling upon the Dutch government to increase its replenishment contribution to €200 million (US$227 million) for 2020 to 2022, a €35-million increase from the previous replenishment cycle.

A full statement by Dutch NGOs on the investment case can be found here

Press release - Aidsfonds

Netherlands Global health

Swedish Minister for Gender Equality to attend Commission on the Status of Women

Swedish Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen will attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York from March 11-13, 2019. Lindhagen will present a new Swedish law on sexual consent, as well as other priority issues within Sweden's global work on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including gender-based violence, access to safe abortions. and sex education.

The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

Press release - Government of Sweden 

Sweden Global health

Sweden releases new strategy for engagement with Global Fund for 2019 to 2023

The Swedish government has approved a new strategy for engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) for 2019 to 2023. The strategy lays out a continued commitment from Sweden in support of the Global Fund in the run-up to its sixth replenishment conference, emphasizing the role of the Global Fund in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

Swedish priorities for the fund include promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and health system strengthening. The strategy does not yet lay out the financial commitment for the replenishment period, but indications are that funding will remain at current levels (around US$85-90 million; SEK800-850 million per year). Sweden is one of the top-ten donors to the Global Fund. 

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)         

Sweden Global health

Norway highlights World Bank's essential role in multilateral cooperation during recent meetings in Iceland

Norwegian Minister of Development Dag-Inge Ulstein met Nordic and Baltic counterparts and World Bank President Kristalina Georgieva in Iceland.

One of the topics discussed was the upcoming replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank. Norway emphasized that the World Bank is a key driver of multilateral cooperation and one of Norway's most important partners in eliminating poverty and contributing to inclusive and sustainable growth. 

News update - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Official development assistant reform in Norway still on hold after 10 months

10 months after the former Norwegian Minister of Development, Nikolai Astrup, launched a development assistance reform, there is still no further clarification on the division of roles and responsibilities between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad, Norway's development agency. One month into his tenure as the Norwegian Minister of Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, met with colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad and confirmed that he needs more time to decide on the way forward, although the government's platform will guide their work.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

UK sets up global fund to end period poverty

The UK government has pledged to give £2 million (US$2.5 million) to organizations working to end period poverty globally, and has also set aside £250,000 (US$321,000) to create a taskforce comprising government departments, charities, and private enterprises to tackle the issue. The UK government estimates that half of all women and girls in poor countries are forced to use rags, cloths, grass, and paper when they menstruate due to the high cost of sanitary products. 

News article - Reuters