September 21, 2010
Good morning. Thank you for allowing me to join you today, even though I cannot be there in person.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the Obama Administration's global health agenda and the key role that we feel universities can play in furthering this agenda.
When I joined you last year at your first annual conference, I was moved by your strong interest to engage with the U.S. government on our global health efforts. As I will discuss later, the U.S. government has taken concrete steps since then to strengthen our partnerships with universities.
But first, let me begin by saying that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are committed to America's leadership in saving lives, building capacity, and relieving suffering, especially among the world's poorest people.
The U.S. is leading this effort through the Global Health Initiative, or GHI, which was announced by President Obama last year.
Through GHI, the United States is investing 63 billion dollars to help partner countries improve health outcomes through strengthened health systems. The initiative places a particular focus on improving the health of women, newborns and children through programs including infectious disease, nutrition, maternal and child health, and safe water.
GHI activities are being implemented in the more than 80 countries where U.S. government global health dollars are already at work.
GHI is the umbrella that will link and connect U.S. global health programs. As the cornerstone of GHI, PEPFAR will continue to expand our efforts to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment.
Both the overall GHI and the next phase of PEPFAR are marked by some broad themes which I'd like to touch upon briefly. These include: encouraging country ownership, building health systems, and promoting research and innovation.
First, we are supporting partner countries in leading the response to their epidemics. This includes building partner government capacity to define their unmet needs, prioritize those unmet needs, oversee and manage programs, and ultimately finance health programs.
Strong government leadership of the health system is integral to the long-term success and sustainability of health programs.
At the same time, we are working to build the capacity and engagement of universities, non-governmental organizations and civil society in our partner nations because they are key partners in the fight.
Second, we are committed to strengthening and expanding platforms for the delivery of health care, because achieving improved health outcomes requires improved health systems.
The dramatic expansion of HIV and other programs in recent years has done much to build systems that address the full range of people's health needs. As we expand our programs, we will ensure that they include a purposeful focus on system-strengthening.
Third, we are committed to promoting research and innovation so that we can learn from the health programs that we support. This will help us to make programs more effective, ultimately saving more lives.
PEPFAR's Medical and Nursing Education Partnership Initiatives are examples of putting these principles in action, in partnership with universities.
Announced earlier this year, the initiatives will leverage existing partnerships between African and U.S. medical and nursing educational institutions.
For the medical school initiative, for example, the U.S. will fund ten African medical schools, working in partnership with U.S. medical schools and universities. The direct funding of African medical schools will encourage country ownership by placing our indigenous partners in the lead.
The initiatives will strengthen medical and nursing education systems and enhance the quality of education and clinical training of new health care professionals. This includes supporting excellence in faculty and providing opportunities for career development through linkages to research.
U.S. partner universities will play a critical role in helping to strengthen education curriculum by sharing innovative educational approaches, like a problem-oriented approach to learning. U.S. universities will also help set up residency programs, which are a key part of medical education in the United States. The training students will receive through this innovative curriculum will prepare new doctors and nurses to practice in the diversity of medical and community settings where health needs are greatest.
The Medical and Nursing Education Partnership Initiatives will also contribute to PEPFAR's goal to train at least 140,000 new health care workers.
The U.S. is proud to be able to work in partnership with universities to build the capacity of our partner countries to lead their response to HIV/AIDS. We recognize that the solutions to the challenges ahead depend on concerted, collective efforts.
We look forward to continuing to partner you as we work to save lives under the Global Health Initiative. Thank you.
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