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In This Newsletter March 2004

U.S. Senate Outlines Its Priorities for Fiscal Year 2005 Budget
Child Survival and Maternal Health Programs on the List

During the week of March 8, 2004, the U.S. Senate debated its fiscal year (FY) 2005 budget resolution. This document layout the priorities for the coming year and provide direction to the Appropriations committees who will determine funding levels for federal agencies over the next six months.

Debate of the budget resolution included significant discussion of funding for foreign assistance programs and several senators joined forces to offer amendments to increase funding for foreign assistance. Of particular interest to the global health community were two amendments ­ one spearheaded by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and the other by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

On March 9, 2004, Sen. Mike DeWine, joined by Sens. Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Norm Coleman (R-MN), offered an amendment that requested an additional $330 million for child survival and maternal health programs. This requested increase, if provided by the Appropriations Committee, would be in concert with the funding request being advocated by the US Coalition for Child Survival and would double current U.S. government funding for these programs.

During his comments, Senator DeWine stated, "We can do simple things to save millions of children's lives, but the reality is that we just aren't doing enough right now. Candidly, we are tolerating these deaths and saving them simply hasn't been a priority. Our amendment would change that and it is, indeed, a step in the right direction. "This amendment was accepted by the full Senate as a Sense of the Senate during debate of the Budget Resolution.

Sen. Lugar was joined by more than 10 of his Senate colleagues in offering an amendment to increase overall funding for foreign assistance programs by $1.1 billion. This increase was proposed because the Senate Budget Resolution proposed a funding level that was $1.1 billion less than the Presidentıs proposed budget released in February. Ultimately, this amendment was increased by an additional $300 million in order to accommodate larger requested increases by some senators, notably Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), for global HIV/AIDS. This amendment was approved by the full Senate as well.

During the week of March 22, the full House of Representatives debated their version of the FY 2005 Budget Resolution. The House passed a budget, which reduced the allocation for foreign assistance by $4 billion below the Presidentıs request level.

Further updates will be provided in the next edition of the newsletter. If you have any questions or would like to get involved in the Public Policy Committee of the US Coalition for Child Survival, please contact Michele Sumilas at or at x3207.

Member Spotlight: The Vaccine Fund

Vaccines are a miracle of modern science. Still, millions of children are denied their life-saving potential. More than 30 million children still do not receive basic immunization, resulting in two to three million deaths each year from vaccine- preventable diseases.

The Vaccine Fund was launched in 2000 as the financing arm of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a public-private partnership aimed at ensuring that children in the world's 75 poorest countries have access to immunization. GAVI brings together a wide range of stakeholders - UNICEF, the World Health Organization, governments in developing and industrialized countries, established and emerging vaccine manufacturers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank. In addition to providing basic vaccines to more children in the world's poorest countries, GAVI programs provide underused Hep B, Hib and yellow fever vaccines, and are accelerating the introduction of new vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease. The Vaccine Fund's goal is to raise the funds necessary to support GAVI's efforts in immunization so that every child, everywhere, has access to life-saving vaccines.

Since GAVI's launch in 2000, results have far surpassed expectations. More than 500,000 lives are being saved by vaccines delivered with support from GAVI, The Vaccine Fund and their partners. The alliance has, for the first time, enabled 40 of the world's poorest countries to immunize 35.5 million children against hepatitis B, making it the largest cancer1 prevention effort ever undertaken by vaccination.

Countries have also increased access to all vaccines - more than eight million additional children have received basic vaccines. Furthermore, six million children have been vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and 2.7 million children have been vaccinated against yellow fever. Additionally, 48 countries have received financial support for capacity building and to improve health care infrastructure, paving the way for delivery of new vaccines and better health care.

The Global Campaign for Child Immunization
Building upon the success of the last four years, The Vaccine Fund and GAVI launched the Global Campaign for Child Immunization in February 2004. The goal is to save the lives of at least one million children from 2004 to 2006 by providing immunization services to millions of children in the world's poorest countries.

The Global Campaign for Child Immunization seeks to do two things: increase awareness of the gross inequity in access to vaccines, and work with donors to correct this. The launch of the campaign took place in London, and was the first in a series of advocacy and fundraising efforts by The Vaccine Fund designed to raise a total of $400 million a year to allow GAVI to continue its work.

The Vaccine Fund's goal over the coming years is to work with all partners to build upon the initial success and expand the availability of child immunization to children not yet reached. The Global Campaign for Child Immunization will allow GAVI, its partners and The Vaccine Fund to continue their critical role in increasing worldwide access to vaccines, paving the way for the introduction and delivery of new vaccines such as vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease, and saving at least one million children from deadly, preventable diseases in the next three years.

1 - After tobacco, hepatitis B is the second greatest preventable cause of cancer.

Student Campaign for Child Survival Comes to DC

The Student Campaign for Child Survival (SCCS) held its 2nd Annual National Conference in Washington, D.C., on the weekend of Feb. 28 - March 1. Drawing some 100 students from 39 schools and 25 states, the conference, entitled "End the Neglect: Join the Movement," included an exciting weekend of workshops, speakers and breakout sessions, and a lobby day on Capitol Hill with over 60 congressional meetings.

On Saturday and Sunday, students heard speakers including Global Justice Executive Director Adam Taylor and Managing Director Nicole Lee, and Global AIDS Alliance's Paul Zeitz, and attended a panel featuring experts in fields related to international children and health. These experts included Global Justice's Will Pritchard and Sean Barry (on trade justice and the Global Action for Children Campaign), InterAction's Erin Tunney, and David Oot of Save the Children and the US Coalition for Child Survival. Students also attended workshops led by fellow-SCCSers, on topics ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to the relationship between UNICEF and SCCS and from the basics of child survival to related issues such as debt cancellation.

On Monday, after an intense afternoon of advocacy training on Sunday, students gathered on the steps of the Capitol to start off a day of congressional meetings. Students attended meetings with congressional members from their home states and/or their school states, and with congressional members who are key in the development process of the child survival budget. In some 62 meetings, SCCSers voiced their concern for the state of international children's health and the desperate need for improvement in U.S. policy and global engagement in child survival and related issues. Students discussed issues including basic child survival facts and stagnant funding in the child survival budget in the past few years, as well as issues such as the Millennium Challenge Account and President Bush's AIDS policy. After each meeting students wrote evaluations, which were collected and will be used by SCCS's coordinating team to help guide the advocacy work of SCCS.

As conference attendees left D.C. on Monday by air, car, bus and train, it seemed that all were inspired and mobilized to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with their chapters around the country and further the movement to "end the neglect" of children around the world. Thanks to all who helped organize or spoke at SCCS's National Conference this year!

U.S. Leadership Can Prevent Needless Child Deaths

In the next 24 hours, almost 30,000 children under age 5 will die, most from preventable and treatable causes. Nearly all live in developing countries. In the issue brief, U.S. Leadership Needed to Finish the Child Survival Agenda, released in January by Save the Children, the following areas where the greatest gains can be made are identified: increasing federal funding for critical services that will save the most children and their mothers; and focusing harder on saving newborn lives, protecting the health of mothers and reaching the poorest children and their mothers.

Click here to read the issue brief and learn how you can get involved through the Save the Children Action Network.

US Coalition News

The Steering Committee, which provides leadership to the Coalition, recently underwent elections for the position of chair. David Oot, director of Health, Population and Nutrition, Save the Children, was re-elected to serve a second one-year term. The Steering Committee also announces new committee member Mathu Santosham, director of Health Systems, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University.

The US Coalition is actively working toward improving survival, health, and nutrition of children in developing countries through a range of activities. Through support provided by The Partnership for Child Health Care, Inc., the Coalition recently tested child survival messages with focus groups comprised of Hill staffers. Findings included information about current knowledge levels on child survival issues and insight into which issues are of greatest concern to Congress. The results of the research provided the Coalition with a foundation for developing core messages. A summary of the findings from this research is available in the resource section of the website as a PowerPoint entitled Hill Staff Reactions to Child Survival Messaging.

A new Coalition brochure, designed by the communications working group, is being printed. The brochure will raise awareness about the Coalition and its main messages, as well as highlight facts about child survival, point out the importance of successful interventions and explain the need for increased resources. All Coalition members will receive a copy of the brochure and may request additional copies for outreach and educational purposes.

The public policy working group has coordinated several advocacy efforts. On Feb. 20, Coalition members met with House Budget Committee members to discuss the Foreign Affairs portion of the budget, stress the importance of child survival programs and urge the Committee to provide at a minimum the President's request for the Foreign Affairs Account. On March 2, through the Global Health Action Network, a group of nearly 50 public health and medical students from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and George Washington University's School of Public Health joined forces to visit 16 congressional offices. The groups urged members of Congress to fully fund the Global AIDS Initiative, but not at the expense of other core global health programs such as child survival, TB and malaria. A focus was placed on educating members about the upcoming Child Health Investment for Long-term Development Act of 2004. The knowledgeable students were well received by the members and reported positive results of these meetings.

In addition to Hill visits, the Coalition sent letters to senators asking them to vote YES on amendments that seek to increase funding for foreign assistance programs in the FY 2005 budget. All members were encouraged to contact their senators either individually or through their organization networks.

Many other working group projects are currently underway, including the development of a speakers' bureau, the collection of success stories for use in a range of materials and advocacy, and awareness-raising activities. All Coalition members are invited to participate in one of the action-oriented committees: Public Policy, Membership Outreach, Communications, or Research and Analysis. For more information please e-mail .

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This newsletter published by the US Coalition for Child Survival.