USAID - the US government’s overseas development assistance agency - has a new chief. Dr Rajiv Shah was sworn in on 7th January - see USAID press release.
Dr Shah is sure to be hearing from many people who would like to see changes in USAID policy, particularly as regards health. Amongst them will be Dr Orin Levine Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University. Writing in the Huffington Post, Dr Levine says USAID’s health policies should be more “child friendly”. He refers in particular to the two biggest killers of children, both of them the result of infections - pneumonia and diarrhoea. He notes that USAID funding has tended to focus more on diseases that kill adults, particularly AIDS. Interventions are available, proven by research to be effective, that USAID should fund in order to save children’s lives.