by Raynard Jackson

Whenever the U.S. government enters into a state of fiscal austerity, politicians always look for budget cuts from programs they deem to be less important or have little or no constituency. Foreign policy budgets, especially those directed towards Africa seem to always show up near the top of that list.

The left will blame it on the "mean" Republicans who don't care about Africa. The truth is that Africa seems to benefit more from Republican control of Congress/White House than from Democratic control. Isn't it amazing that former President George W. Bush did more for Africa than any president in the history of the U.S.? But, yet, he gets little or no credit for his policies towards Africa.

It was the Bush administration that first labeled what was going on in the Sudan as genocide (made by then Secretary of State, Colin Powell before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). Bush played a critical role in helping to end the civil war in the Sudan.

Under the Bush administration, development aid to Africa quadrupled from $ 1.3 billion in 2001 to more than $ 5 billion in 2008. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was created by Bush. Africa has received in excess of $ 3.5 billion from the fund so far. The MCC was established to reward poor countries that encouraged economic growth, good governance, and social services for its citizens.

The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was created in 2000 and expanded under Bush in 2004. The bill provides trade benefits with the U.S. for 40 African countries that have implemented reforms in their countries to encourage economic growth.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was created by Bush and had $ 15 billion appropriated over five years (2003-2008). I find it amazing that the program has been cut by the Obama administration (though Obama pledged to increase it by $ 1 billion annually during his presidential campaign).

Along with PEPFAR, Bush established the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (or the Global AIDS Act) established the State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to oversee all international AIDS funding and programming

Bush's policies are credited with saving the lives of millions of Africans.

The political right would argue that America just can't afford to continue some of these programs. They don't question the merits of the programs, just the financial ability of the U.S. to continue to fund them.

I put the blame for this type of myopic thinking on two groups. The first is U.S. supporters of these programs (this includes, politicians, faith based groups, American citizens, etc.). America must do a better job in explaining why and how these programs impact the U.S. If we don't spend the money on the front end (for prevention), we will spend the money on the back end (for treatment, humanitarian intervention, nation building, etc.).

I would put most of the responsibility on the second group

How many African diplomats can pick up the phone right now and get Congressman Chris Smith (at home, on his cell, or in his office)? Smith represents New Jersey's 4th congressional district and is one of the biggest supporters of Africa that most people have never heard of. He also happens to be a member of the House's Committee on Foreign Affairs and chairs the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.

African diplomats constantly complain about what the U.S. is not doing for them or their country's interests. They hire high powered lobbyist who have little ability to translate their needs into a language that is understood in the political arena. They rarely engage the American people as to why their country is important to the U.S and why they should care. They have no media strategy, no advocate within the halls of the U.S. Congress, and they lack the "friends in high places."

Africans must understand that it is important to engage the American people whether there is a crisis going on in their country or not; whether there is an adverse policy percolating through Congress or not.

The new Congress convened in January and there are many new members in both the House and the Senate who are new to their respective African committees. African diplomats have made little, if any, effort to establish relations with these new members beyond any perfunctory meet and greet.

There will most definitely be across the board budget cuts for the foreseeable future. How deep they are relative to Africa will depend on how well the African diplomatic community communicates their country's importance to the American people and relevant members of both the House and the Senate.

Based on my private conversations with members of Congress, the White House, members of civil society, and NGOs, Africa doesn't make the cut in terms of understanding how to make things happen in the U.S.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com <http://www.excellstyle.com> ) & U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com). —African heads of state and their designated U.S. ambassadors! African leaders and their ambassadors show very little understanding of how to get things done through our political process here in Washington, DC. Most African ambassadors have no relations with relevant members of Congress on the African committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

This is my first post. I want this journal to be exciting, insightful, and encouraging. Most of all, I want to share the resilient spirit of these families, and encourage you to help better the lives of children around the block and around the world.

Located on the north coast of South America, Guyana is the only anglophone ("primarily English-speaking") nation on the continent. 83,000 square miles large, only 750,000 people call it home, making Guyana one of the most sparsely populated countries in the western hemisphere. It also has some of the largest, undisturbed tropical rain forests anywhere on earth! The infrastructure is very underdeveloped: power outages are not uncommon, many roads are in disrepair, telecommunications are unreliable, and tapwater is not always safe to drink. The people, however, are some of the most welcoming and kindhearted folks I've ever met; I've been treated well and respected everywhere I go.
Physiologically, people are essentially the same no matter where you go. Yet, when I first arrived in Guyana, I was surprised at how quickly death came for many. Infections, head injuries, road accidents, malaria…they all take their toll. There is no fanfare, drama, or ceremony. The body is covered and taken away and another patient placed in the bed. Relatives grieve, but they don't seem surprised. It is as if the boundaries between life and death are much narrower. Life seems much more fragile.
As my brief time at Kijabe hospital has come to an end, I'm amazed at all that I have been able to experience over the past 4 weeks. I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived, but I found a resourceful medical center in a beautiful rural town, full of hardworking, enthusiastic and selfless individuals, with the primary goal of providing the best possible health care to the people of East Africa. The hospital is short on funding, resources and supplies when compared to American standards, but the incredible work they are able to accomplish with the little that they have is truly remarkable.

by Senator Bill Frist, M.D.

If you are a health professional, what can you do to influence global health? How can you get involved in health care around the world? What does health diplomacy mean?

This short video serves as an introduction to a lecture on health diplomacy and global health for those who currently serve in medicine in the United States. We invite you to watch and let us know what you think.

Hope Through Healing Hands Announces The Water=Hope Campaign’s Continued Partnership with The Brad Paisley H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour

Nashville, TN --Today on World Water Day, a day to draw attention to the one out of eight people around the world who lacks access to safe drinking water, Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) announces The Water=Hope Campaign's continued partnership with CMA Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley and his H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour presented by Chevy.

Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) is excited to partner again with the Brad Paisley's H2O Tour in 2011 with a campaign for clean, safe water. The Water=Hope Campaign will promote awareness and advocacy for safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene, especially in low-income countries. At each U.S. show, HTHH will have a booth to distribute literature and encourage people to learn more about how they can get involved. Prior to the show, fans will have the opportunity to text "H2O" to 25383 to donate $10 to support clean water initiatives around the globe.

Last year, HTHH built three wells in Liberia, Uganda, and Ethiopia and installed water purification systems in homes lacking access to water in Appalachia. This year, we hope to build more wells and service more homes for families to have clean, safe water at home and around the world.

H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour will bring back the very popular and fan favorite "Water World Plaza," turning every city into a water festival. Focal point in the Plaza area will be the "Water World Plaza Stage" featuring emerging new stars Brent Anderson, Edens Edge and Sunny Sweeney. Special guests on the tour will be Blake Shelton and Jerrod Niemann. The tour extravaganza will open each day at 4:00pm with music starting at 5:00pm. In addition to the music stage there will be multiple water-themed activities – including a Chevy H2O FLW fishing simulator, dunking booth, slip n slide, The Water=Hope Campaign booth and more.

For concert date volunteer opportunities with The Water=Hope Campaign, visit www.WaterEqualsHope.com/volunteer.

About Hope Through Healing Hands:

Hope Through Healing Hands is a Nashville-based 501(c) (3) that promotes improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. HTHH supports health students and residents to do service and training in underserved clinics around the world. For more information, go to www.HopeThroughHealingHands.org.

About Brad Paisley:

CMA Entertainer of the Year and Grand Ole Opry member Brad Paisley is a consummate singer, songwriter, guitarist and entertainer, which has earned him three GRAMMY's, 14 Country Music Association Awards and 13 Academy of Country Music Awards. He has 18 #1 singles and has released nine critically acclaimed studio albums, the most recent Hits Alive which is a two disc release of original studio hits as well as live performances from concerts. Paisley's innovative and entertaining H20 World Tour played to over 879,000 fans in 2010 and placed #1 country tour for attendance by Pollstar. Paisley's current single "This Is Country Music" is the title track from his next album which will be in-stores May 24.

H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour dates:

*Paisley only shows.

**Paisley, Shelton, Niemann only

*** Paisley, Shelton, Niemann and Darius Rucker

May 28 Heinz Field Pittsburgh, PA ***

June 3 Virginia Beach Amphitheatre Virginia Beach, VA

June 4 Comcast Theatre Hartford, CT

June 11 Progressive Field Cleveland, OH

June 16 Riverbend Music Center Cincinnati, OH

June 17 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre St. Louis, MO

June 18 Verizon Wireless Music Center Indianapolis, IN

June 24 Wild West Arena-Nebraskaland Days North Platte, NE**

June 25 Tuttle Creek State Park Manhattan, KS**

July 2 Lavell Edwards Stadium Provo, UT*

July 15 PNC Band Arts Center Holmdel, NJ

July 16 Comcast Center Boston, MA

July 17 Scarborough Downs Scarborough, ME

July 22 Toyota Pavilion Scranton, PA

July 23 Darien Lakes PAC Darien Lakes, NY

July 30 Pizza Hut Park Frisco, TX

August 4 WE Fest Detroit Lakes, MN**

August 6 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre Chicago, IL

August 7 Columbus Crew Stadium Columbus, OH

August 17 O2 Arena London, UK*

August 19 Olympia Theatre Dublin, IRE*

August 24 Cirkus Stockholm, SWE*

August 26 Spektrum Oslo, NOR*

August 27 Lisebergshallen Goteburg, SWE*

August 28 Forum Copenhagen, DEN*

September 9 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre Tampa, FL

September 10 Cruzan Amphitheatre West Palm Beach, FL

September 23 Susquehanna Bank Center Philadelphia, PA

September 24 Jiffy Lube Live Washington, DC

September 25 Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion Raleigh, NC

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Contact: Jenny Dyer

615-386-0045

I have learned a lot from my time in Guyana. It is amazing to see how long patients will wait patiently to be seen. Crowded onto benches for hours just waiting their turn.

The "asthma room" as it is termed is one of my favorite areas of A&E. Patients magically appear there from the waiting room and are started on breathing treatments. All doctors have heard the term "all that wheezes is not asthma." So daily I would make my way through the group placed in the asthma room searching for the one who didn't have asthma but some other process. I found one elderly lady in heart failure and another baby who had a murmur and heart issue as well. Largely though the asthma room works as it gets those who need breathing treatments quickly the medicine they need. Teaching the residents at GPHC to be cautious about those other kind of wheezers was enjoyable and they will be on the lookout in the future as well.
These last two weeks at Kijabe I've been working on the pediatric service. I've worked on a fabulous team in pediatrics. My main "partner in crime" is a Kenyan clinical officer who loves kids and has a tremendous fund of knowledge and experience. Between the two of us, we see all the patients every morning in preparation for team rounds, write their daily notes and orders, and see outpatient pediatric consultations and admit patients in the afternoon. Everyday we go on rounds with a short-term family practice volunteer doctor from the US with years of experience, and a brilliant Kenyan pediatrician who trained at the top national hospital in Kenya.

Senator Bill Frist, M.D. is board member of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a collection of new resources examining global health and HIV/AIDS funding in the Obama Administration’s budget plan for fiscal year 2012.

On global health, a new fact sheet breaks down the $9.8 billion in the budget request for the Administration’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), a proposed six-year, $63 billion effort to develop a comprehensive U.S. government strategy for global health. The fact sheet reviews proposed funding for the initiative, including breakouts by program area (HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc.) and by agency, including trend data where available.  It also examines support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  The Foundation also has updated its Global Health Budget Tracker to reflect the President’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget; the tracker will be updated to reflect changes as Congress considers and acts on global health appropriations.

A second fact sheet examines the $28.3 billion in proposed funding for HIV/AIDS programs both within the U.S. and overseas.   On the domestic side, the fact sheet breaks out support for programs that provide health care, drugs and other services to people with HIV or AIDS, as well as prevention and research funding.  The global budget examines spending for HIV/AIDS through bi-lateral and multi-lateral efforts.

In addition, the Foundation has updated the relevant Kaiser Slides charts to reflect the President’s budget proposal.  The charts can be downloaded for use in presentations or slide decks.

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information and analysis on health issues.

I've spent my first 2 weeks at Kijabe Hospital working on the internal medicine team of the men's ward. Inpatient medicine at a tertiary care hospital is a quite a change of pace from rural primary care at Lwala. We have more diagnostic and treatment abilities, but also "sicker" patients. The variety in what I've seen has been tremendous – everything from the "bread and butter" medicine cases I see in the US like COPD, CHF, and diabetes but also lots of infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB infections in every manifestation (brain, lung, abdomen), meningitis).

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