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Senate Committee Approves Measures on Global Poverty, Child Survival

On February 13, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved, by unanimous consent, several measures en bloc, including the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) and the Global Child Survival Act (S. 1418).

Global Poverty Act (S. 2433)

Sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) would require the president to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day. The House passed an identical version of the bill on September 25 (see The Source, 09/28/07)

During consideration of the bill, the committee adopted, by unanimous consent, an amendment by Sen. Obama that would require the secretary of State to designate a coordinator to oversee and draft the report on the global poverty reduction strategy.

Global Child Survival Act (S. 1418)

The Global Child Survival Act (S. 1418), sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), would require the president to develop a strategy to reduce mortality and improve the health of newborns, children, and mothers in developing countries, and authorize funding for its implementation.

The measure would authorize $600 million for FY2008, $900 million for FY2009, $1.2 billion for FY2010, and $1.6 billion in FY2011 and FY2012 to support activities that improve newborn care and treatment; improve child and maternal nutrition, including the delivery of iron, zinc, vitamin A, iodine, and other key micronutrients, and the promotion of breastfeeding; treat childhood illness, including increasing access to appropriate treatment of diarrhea, pneumonia, and other life-threatening childhood illnesses; improve the capacity for health governance, health finance, and the health workforce, including support for training clinicians, nurses, technicians, sanitation and public health workers, community-based health work[ers], midwives, birth attendants, peer educators, volunteers, and private sector enterprises; and address antimicrobial resistance in child and maternal health. In addition, the bill would support activities to integrate and coordinate the assistance with existing health programs for: the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other HIV/AIDS counseling, care, and treatment activities; malaria; tuberculosis; and child spacing.

The bill also would establish the Interagency Task Force on Child Survival and Maternal Health in Developing Countries to assess, monitor, and evaluate the progress and contributions of relevant United States government agencies and departments in achieving the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. These MDGs seek to reduce the mortality rate of children under the age of five by two-thirds and maternal mortality rate by three-fourths in developing countries.

During consideration of the bill, the committee adopted, by unanimous consent, a substitute amendment that would require the president to submit to Congress a report on the task force’s strategy and findings no later than January 31, 2009, and every four years thereafter.

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