Nashville4Africa Benefit Concert

 

Nashville, Tennessee -

People from every corner of the music industry will come together April 22 for the inaugural Nashville4Africa benefit concert with the critically acclaimed African Children's Choir at 7 p.m. at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Hosted by Big Kenny (of Big & Rich) and Damien Horne, the music event will also include performances by Faith Hill, Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, Brad Arnold (3 Doors Down), Ashley Cleveland, The SteelDrivers, Michael Rhodes, and a starstudded line-up of very special guests to be announced.

Tickets go on sale Monday, March 30 at 10:00am and may be purchased at www.nashvillesymphony.org or by calling the Symphony Center box office at 615-687-6400.

For More Information, Click HERE.

For Press Release, Click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 07, 2009]
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report
      The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has helped prevent more than one million AIDS-related deaths and reduced AIDS-related mortality by an average of 10.5% annually in 12 African focus countries as more people gained access to antiretroviral drugs, according to a study published online Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Bloomberg reports. According to the study, the program did not have any effect on overall HIV prevalence. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provided funding for the study.


Eran Bendavid, an infectious diseases and health policy fellow at Stanford University, and Jayanta Bhattacharya, associate professor of medicine at Stanford, used data compiled by UNAIDS to examine HIV/AIDS data in sub-Saharan Africa (Chase, Bloomberg, 4/6). They examined the period prior to PEPFAR's launch -- 1997 to 2002 -- and the period during PEPFAR's implementation -- from 2004 to 2007. The researchers compared HIV/AIDS-related mortality and prevalence among residents of 12 PEPFAR focus countries with residents of 29 other sub-Saharan African countries that did not receive PEPFAR funds (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 4/6). The PEPFAR countries examined were Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The researchers did not include Guyana, Haiti and Vietnam -- three non-African countries receiving PEPFAR funds -- in their analysis (Bloomberg, 4/6).

According to the study, both the countries receiving and those not receiving PEPFAR funding had similar HIV/AIDS-related mortality rates during the period prior to PEPFAR's launch. After the target countries began receiving PEPFAR funds, the researchers found that mortality rates decreased by about 10.5% in the PEPFAR countries, compared with the non-focus countries. The researchers also estimated that the program helped prevent about 1.1 million AIDS-related deaths (Reuters, 4/6). According to the New York Times, antiretroviral treatment provision accounts for about half of PEPFAR funding (McNeil, New York Times, 4/6). The study also found that PEPFAR's cost per death averted was $2,450 between 2004 and 2007.

According to Bendavid, the study demonstrates that PEPFAR has allocated "a lot on treatment and treatment has worked" (Bloomberg, 4/6). Mark Dybul, former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and PEPFAR administrator, said that it is "great news that even in the first three years [of PEPFAR], the American people supported the saving of more than a million lives" (Dinan, Washington Times, 4/7). Peter Piot, former executive director of UNAIDS, added that the program "is changing the course of the AIDS epidemic." Piot said, "People are not dying. That is spectacular." However, he added, "The irony -- and it is a positive irony -- is that the more people are staying alive, the higher the percentage" of people living with HIV will be. According to Bendavid, any increase in HIV prevalence "probably reflects the decreasing death rate and may have several public health spillover benefits." For example, HIV-positive adults who live longer lives "may be able to support their children and dependent elderly family members, reducing the burden of orphans and elderly care" (Bloomberg, 4/6).

Despite the study's promising findings, challenges remain for reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence in high-burden countries, the researchers said. For example, as increased treatment distribution allows more HIV-positive people to live longer, the cost of providing treatment to the affected population will increase. According to the study authors, "The gap between the available funds and those needed will continue to increase unless the incidence of HIV in Africa is substantially reduced" by "striking the right balance between treatment and prevention."

According to the authors, about 20% of PEPFAR funding was allocated to prevention under the Bush administration, with about one-third earmarked for abstinence-only efforts (Reuters, 4/6). When Congress reauthorized the program in 2008, the abstinence provision was removed. Bendavid said that the challenge will be to make prevention a "serious component of the program in the next five years" (Bloomberg, 4/6). Smita Baruah, government relations director for the Global Health Council, said that although PEPFAR initially focused on treatment, it should now expand its focus to prevention. She said, "As you move from emergency to sustainability, it's not going to work just to treat your way out of the infection. You now need to figure out how do we prevent new infections" (Washington Times, 4/7). According to Bendavid, "You need to reduce the number of new people infected by at least as many as the number of people you're keeping alive" (Bloomberg, 4/6).
The study is available online.

April 7, 2009

By Bill Frist and Colleen Conway-Welch

Tennessee Voices

Quick quiz: What kills the most children under 5? HIV/AIDS, malaria or pneumonia?

If you are like most Tennesseans, you said HIV/AIDS or malaria. That is what 3 out of 5 Americans answered when asked by a pollster commissioned by the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival.

The correct answer is pneumonia, which kills more than 2 million children each year, making it the largest single killer of children under 5 worldwide, although HIV/AIDS and malaria are also enormous public health problems.

Almost four children die from pneumonia every minute. Many deaths take place at home in crowded living conditions where bacteria can flourish or in remote neighborhoods in poor countries, where doctors and nurses are out of reach and antibiotics are hard to come by.

The good news is change is coming.

Consider 3-year-old Sweety, who lives in an extremely poor and rural area of western Bangladesh - to reach her home, you need to travel down a narrow dirt path and then walk across several bamboo logs spanning the water below. Sweety fell ill with extreme pneumonia at age 2. Can you imagine the fear her parents felt at seeing their child struggling to breathe, and being so far away from the nearest health clinic?

Thanks to a pilot health program put in place by local non-profit clinics with U.S. government assistance, Sweety was cured with antibiotics, costing less than $1, due to being treated without delay at home by a community health worker trained by Save the Children.

Save the Children has helped pioneer treatment of children with pneumonia at home with medicines, and recent global research shows that such treatment is just as effective as treating children in hospitals with antibiotic injections. This important work could help change the way life-threatening childhood illnesses are managed in developing countries.

Indeed, the World Health Organization is now on record as saying the potential of these results is enormous in helping improve child survival. As a result, the World Health Organization recommends that severe childhood pneumonia after being assessed and diagnosed at a health facility can be treated at home with oral amoxicillin in low HIV settings. When every breath counts, it's critical that children like Sweety get the help they need nearby and not hours away on foot or by bicycle.

Treating pneumonia, though, is only part of the equation. We have to stop it from occurring in the first place through preventative measures like childhood immunization and breastfeeding. We need to train and equip community health workers and get proper medicines to hard-to-reach communities. And, we need to inform parents that when their young infant or child has fast or labored breathing, she needs immediate treatment.

But, first, as we see from the polling results, we need to get the word out that this neglected disease claims more young lives than AIDS, malaria and measles combined every year. That's why some of the top child health leaders and advocates in the nation, including Save the Children, PneumoADIP at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hedge Funds vs. Malaria & Pneumonia, and the GAVI Alliance, are calling to establish Nov. 2 as World Pneumonia Day.

The idea is to inform and unite communities around the globe to fight the disease in simple ways. Whether you're a high school student in Nashville creating a new cause page on pneumonia on Facebook, or you're a mother in Nepal helping to educate other moms in your village about ways to prevent childhood pneumonia, every action counts. Won't you join us?

Go to http://www.worldpneumoniaday.org

Bill Frist, M.D., is chair of Save the Children's Survive to 5 campaign, and Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., C.N.M., is dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is also involved in Save the Children's Survive to 5 campaign – an effort to reduce child mortality globally.

 

By Michael Gerson

Friday, April 3, 2009; A19

The broad American belief that foreign aid is stuffed down tropical rat holes has been recently reinforced by a young Zambian, Oxford-trained economist named Dambisa Moyo. Her book, "Dead Aid," has launched her as a conservative celebrity, feted by Steve Forbes and embraced by the Cato Institute.

And the book is something of a marvel: Seldom have so many sound economic arguments been employed to justify such disastrously wrongheaded conclusions.

For More, Click HERE.

America Has Gone Quiet on HIV/AIDS

Kaiser Family Foundation

Apr 03 2009

April 2, 2009

by Drew Altman

Kaiser has had a focus on HIV/AIDS since we remade the Foundation in the early nineties. It cuts across all of our program activities, from policy analysis, to our large scale media campaigns in the U.S. and around the world, to our web initiatives, to our public opinion research program. We have just completed a major survey of the American people on HIV/AIDS and global health. As new health priorities take shape in Washington, one set of findings deserves early attention while we continue to analyze the overall survey for release.

FOR MORE: CLICK HERE.

 

http://www.mcc.gov/media/video-031209-boardmembers.php   

 

The video features the opinions of MCC’s private-sector Board Members, including Senator Bill Frist, on some of the most important issues related to U.S. foreign assistance including country ownership, results and accountability, and the urgent need to combat global poverty.  Their voices and experience showcase the unique contributions of MCC’s Board in forging constructive partnerships worldwide and offers further evidence of long-term U.S. foreign assistance as a tool of “smart power.”

 

Please share with your contacts and friends who follow MCC’s work to reduce poverty through growth.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   

April 2, 2009                          

 

Contact: Jenny Dyer (615) 818-5579, jenny@hopethroughhealinghands.org

Sara Knoll, (301) 652-1558, sknoll@burnesscommunications.com

Bethanne Fox, (301) 576-6359, bfox@burnesscommunications.com

 

ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION COMMISSION SAYS HEALTH CARE REFORM WON’T SOLVE NATION’S HEALTH PROBLEMS – REFORMS TO SUPPORT HEALTHIER CHOICES URGENTLY NEEDED

 

Children Face Grim Prospect of Sicker, Shorter Lives than their Parents Commission Calls for: All Sectors of Society to Join in Eliminating Obstacles to Good Health; Banning Junk Food and Requiring Physical Activity in Schools; Significant Support for Early Education

 

Washington, DC, April 2, 2009 – Senator Bill Frist, M.D. is supporting the Commission findings for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America in Washington D.C. today. As the Steering Committee Chair for Tennessee SCORE, a State Collaborative on Reforming Education, he is interested in the interface of education and its role in America’s health.

 

Essential as health care reform is, it will not be enough to close most of the gap between how healthy Americans are and how healthy they could be. Without urgent action to take proven steps that can make a big difference in health, America’s children could have sicker, shorter lives than their parents, according to a prominent national commission.

 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America today urged all Americans to make healthier choices and society to help remove the obstacles so many people face in making those choices, issuing 10 cross-cutting recommendations for improving the nation’s health. According to the Commission, how long and how well Americans live depend more on where we live, learn, work and play than on medical care, which accounts for only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of preventable early deaths. Building a healthier nation requires a broader view of health, the Commission said.

 

The Commission paid particular attention to crafting effective measures for meeting the needs of children and families. “To build a healthier America, it’s essential to put improving health front and center on the national agenda outside of health care and health programs,” said Commission Co-chair Mark McClellan, former head of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Today’s children are at greater risk for a lifetime of poor health, limiting their opportunities for productive and long lives. This is unacceptable, but the evidence is clear that it doesn’t have to be that way.”

 

According to the Commission, Americans are not nearly as healthy as they should be – regardless of where they live and their income, education and racial or ethnic group. Good health begins with personal responsibility, but the nation’s health will not improve unless individuals do more to incorporate health into all aspects of everyday life, and unless leaders do more in their decision making to support healthier decisions – from education to child care to community planning to business practices, the Commission said. The Commission spent a year exploring the state of America’s health and how health is shaped by where and how people live their lives.

 

Senator Bill Frist, M.D., notes that “Where we live, learn, work and play dramatically affects our health.  In Tennessee, some people can expect to live more than six years longer than others, simply based on where they live in the state.  Factors such as education also make a real difference in how healthy you and your children are.  In Tennessee, mothers who have not finished high school are more than twice as likely to have babies who die before their first birthday as mothers who have finished college."  

 

“Everyone must be involved in the effort to improve health because health is everyone’s business,” said Co-chair Alice M. Rivlin, former head of the White House Office of Management and Budget and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office. “People should make healthy choices by eating better, getting enough physical activity and not smoking. Communities and employers should support those choices by creating healthy environments. And the federal government should make and enforce healthy policies, like ensuring that all subsidized food is healthy and junk food is eliminated from schools.”

 

The RWJF Commission is a national, independent and nonpartisan group comprising innovators and leaders with a rich diversity of experience and depth of knowledge. (See attached list of Commission members.) The Commission’s charge was to focus on factors beyond medical care to identify practical and innovative strategies for improving the nation’s health.

 

The Commission’s recommendations are rooted in the twin philosophy that good health requires individuals to make responsible personal choices and society to remove the obstacles blocking too many Americans from making healthier choices and leading healthier lives. Given the seriousness of the nation’s economic downturn, the Commission also focused on developing proven and feasible recommendations that offer the strongest potential to leverage limited resources. Among the Commission’s key recommendations are:

 

·         Give kids a healthy start. Ensure that all children, especially very young children in low-income families, have high-quality education and child care. This means increasing federal government spending to support early childhood development for young children in low-income families. This recommendation is critical, because evidence is now very strong that early childhood has a tremendous impact on a person’s health across a lifetime.

 

·         Ban junk food from schools. Feed children only nutritious foods in schools. Federal funds should be used exclusively for healthful meals.

 

·         Get kids moving. All schools (K-12) should include at least 30 minutes every day for all children to be physically active. Although children should be active at least one hour each day, only one third of high school students currently meet this goal.

 

·         Help all families follow healthy diets. More than one in every 10 American households lack reliable access to enough nutritious food. Federal supplemental nutrition programs should be fully funded and designed to meet the needs of hungry families with nutritious food.

 

·         Eliminate so-called nutrition deserts. Create public-private partnerships to open grocery stores in communities without access to healthful foods. Many inner-city and rural families lack this access; for example, Detroit, a city of 139 square miles, has just five full-service grocery stores.

 

A full list of the Commission’s recommendations is attached.

 

“For too long we have focused on medical care as the solution to our health problems, when the evidence tells us the opposite,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. “We must make it possible for more people to make healthy decisions and avoid getting sick in the first place. The Commission has provided us with a principled, sensible and experience-driven blueprint. We cannot afford to wait to implement these recommendations.”

 

Social Factors Play a Dominant Role in Determining a Lifetime of Health

 

Some Americans can expect to die 20 years earlier than others just a few miles away because of differences in education, income, race or ethnicity and where and how they live. On average, Americans who graduate from college can expect to live five years longer than those who do not complete high school. And they can expect to be healthier, too. People who are poor are more than three times as likely as those who are affluent to suffer physical limitations from a chronic illness. The Commission’s report, Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America, explains that many people live and work in circumstances and places that make good health difficult. Many very young children do not get the quality of care and support they need and grow up to be less healthy as a result; many Americans do not have access to grocery stores that sell nutritious food; still others live in communities that are unsafe or in disrepair, making it difficult or risky to be physically active.

 

“While each of us must make a commitment to our own health, society must improve opportunities for choosing health, especially for those of us facing the most challenging obstacles,” said Rivlin. “We must acknowledge that some families and communities have a higher hill to climb than others. We cannot build a healthier America if we leave them behind.”


Commission Recommendations Link to Economic Stimulus Package

 

Several of the RWJF Commission’s recommendations reinforce elements of the economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress. For example, the new law provides additional funding for nutrition assistance to low-income families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food Stamps. The law also provides an additional $500 million to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The Commission believes that adequate funding of SNAP and WIC is essential to ensuring that the nutritional needs of all families are met.

 

In addition, the stimulus package offers opportunities for states and communities to act on the Commission’s recommendations that health be incorporated into all facets of policy and decision making. For example, when stimulus funds are to be used to rebuild roads, communities should also build sidewalks and bike lanes to expand opportunities for physical activity.

For more information about the Commission and for a copy of the Commission’s report, Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America, go to www.commissiononhealth.org.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION COMMISSION TO BUILD A HEALTHIER AMERICA

 

1. Ensure that all children have high-quality early developmental support (child care, education and other services). This will require committing substantial additional resources to meet the early developmental needs particularly of children in low-income families.

 

2. Fund and design WIC and SNAP (Food Stamps) programs to meet the needs of hungry families for nutritious food.

 

3. Create public-private partnerships to open and sustain full-service grocery stores in communities without access to healthful foods.

 

4. Feed children only healthy foods in schools.

 

5. Require all schools (K-12) to include time for all children to be physically active every day.

 

6. Become a smoke-free nation. Eliminating smoking remains of the most important contributions to longer, healthier lives.

 

7. Create “healthy community” demonstrations to evaluate the effects of a full complement of health-promoting policies and programs.

 

8. Develop a “health impact” rating for housing and infrastructure projects that reflects the projected effects on community health and provides incentives for projects that earn the rating.

 

9. Integrate safety and wellness into every aspect of community life.

 

10. Ensure that decision-makers in all sectors have the evidence they need to build health into public and private policies and practices. 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION

COMMISION TO BUILD A HEALTHIER AMERICA

 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America was asked to identify practical, feasible ways to reduce barriers to good health and promote and facilitate healthy choices by individuals, for themselves and their families.

 

Commissioners solicited advice and information from experts, innovators, stakeholders and the public through activities including field hearings, public testimony, roundtable discussions, experts’ meetings and fact-finding site visits. Commissioners and staff met and consulted with elected and executive agency officials, representatives of business, advocacy and professional and policy organizations and members of the public. The Commission also solicited information about successful interventions through its website (www.commissiononhealth.org).

 

The Commission reached consensus findings and recommendations through a series of internal meetings, monthly teleconferences and one-on-one discussions among Commissioners and with senior Commission and Foundation staff.

 

Mark B. McClellan Director, Engleberg Center for Health Care Reform Senior Fellow, Economic Studies and Leonard D. Schaeffer Director’s Chair in Health Policy, Brookings Institution

 

Alice M. Rivlin Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Program, and Director, Greater Washington Research Program, Brookings Institution Visiting Professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute

 

Katherine Baicker Professor of Health Economics, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard University

 

Angela Glover Blackwell Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PolicyLink

 

Sheila P. Burke Faculty Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

 

Linda M. Dillman Executive Vice President of Benefits and Risk Management, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

 

Senator Bill Frist University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University Page 6 of 6

 

Allan Golston U.S. Program President, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

Kati Haycock President, The Education Trust

 

Hugh Panero Co-Founder and Former President and Chief Executive Officer, XM Satellite Radio Venture Partner, New Enterprise Associates

 

Dennis Rivera Chair, SEIU Healthcare

 

Carole Simpson Leader-in-Residence, Emerson College School of Communication Former Anchor, ABC News

 

Jim Towey President, Saint Vincent College

 

Gail L. Warden Professor, University of Michigan School of Public Health President Emeritus, Henry Ford Health System

 

 

 

 

Greenwire <http://www.greenwire.com>

An E&E Publishing Service

 

WATER: Stakeholders press Obama on foreign aid (Thursday, March 19, 2009)

 

Katherine Boyle, E&E reporter

 

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Coca-Cola Co. Chairman Neville Isdell yesterday joined a chorus of stakeholders pressing Congress and the Obama administration to tackle water and sanitation issues in developing countries.

The United States pledged to help the United Nations halve by 2015 the proportion of the world's population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, a U.N. Millenium Development Goal, Frist noted.

Though the United Nations is on track to meet the safe drinking water target, it is unlikely to meet the sanitation goal. About 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to improved sanitation, while about 1.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.

"Our government's commitment remains far below what is necessary if we are to meet these goals," Frist said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum. "The United States has got to establish a national strategy for water."

The international community has demonstrated an inability to effectively combat the problem without U.S. aid, Frist said. The Tennessee Republican described the circumstances in the developing world as dire, saying one child dies every 15 seconds of waterborne disease.

He also discussed the billions of work hours lost each year because women must fetch water from faraway sources and said that sometimes even that water is unsafe for use.

"These [issues] really have huge implications for economic development," Frist added.

Frist's call for action followed the introduction of water legislation by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) earlier this week. The bill would boost the U.S. government's ability to respond to water crises around the world by creating new staff positions focused on water within the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.) have introduced similar legislation in the House.

The Senate bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), also aims to provide 100 million people around the world with sustainable access to clean water and sanitation by 2015 by helping to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005.

That initiative received $300 million in funding for safe water programs in developing countries in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill signed by Obama earlier this month (E&ENews PM <http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2009/03/17/archive/9> , March 17).

Advocates were unsuccessful in pushing for more funding in the appropriation. "That money is such a drop in the bucket," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Food & Water Watch. "We're hoping there will be new leadership on these issues, and foreign aid will help provide basic services like water for people and be distributed to the people who need it most."

Frist said he had not yet read Durbin's legislation but that based on what he had heard about it, he generally supported its goals. He predicted the United States would see major changes in foreign aid under President Obama.

The legislation dovetails with a declaration by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, co-chaired by Frist and Isdell, emphasizing the need to make drinking water and sanitation issues an administration centerpiece. It called for the creation of new government positions focusing on the water problems plaguing developing nations and additional public-private partnerships.

 

Business benefits

 

Isdell addressed business concerns about safe water issues. His company, Coca-Cola, ramped up support for water initiatives in 2004 amid allegations that the company had depleted and polluted groundwater supplies near one of its plants in India (Greenwire <http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2008/10/14/archive/2> , Oct. 14, 2008).

Isdell said businesses need to reduce their own water footprint, make a positive impact on the developing world and help shape public policy.

"You understand why the Coca-Cola Co. cares about water," he said. "It's the key ingredient in our beverages, and it's essential to the health of the communities we serve."

About 85 percent of Coca-Cola facilities presently return water to the ecosystem at a level that supports the community and aquatic life, Isdell said. By the end of 2010, he added, that number would reach 100 percent.

"Each piece of society has a role to play," Isdell said. "Business, government and civil society."

He and Frist both emphasized the interconnections among water, health, energy, security and agriculture.

 

Doubling foreign aid?

 

Increased funding is one significant change in the United States' foreign aid policy that could be on the horizon. President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget proposal would put the United States on the path to doubling foreign aid over several years, according to the White House, and set off a flurry of lobbying efforts by international advocacy groups.

Next year, the White House plan would provide $51.7 billion for the State Department and other international programs in fiscal 2010, a more than $10 billion increase from the $40.9 billion allocated in fiscal 2008. It is not clear how much of the money would go toward international development projects, but aid organizations are angling for cash for pet projects.

Water nonprofit groups are suggesting that clean water projects would provide the most bang for the government's buck in a time of economic crisis, noting that each dollar invested in water projects provides an $8 investment return in terms of economic benefits.

"We're very much worried about the economic recession," said Paul Faeth, president of the nonprofit Global Water Challenge. "It's not clear where government aid is going to go. Last summer, food prices went up, and it increased hunger. [The crisis] affects the same thing with water."

John Oldfield, executive vice president of Water Advocates, a Washington-based nonprofit dedicated to boosting U.S. efforts to improve sanitation abroad, suggested more aid could mean more water funding.

"We don't want to encourage the United States to invest in water and sanitation at the cost of other projects," Oldfield said. But he noted that waterborne diseases kill six times as many people as the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and said water issues deserve attention. Waterborne diseases are also more likely to prove fatal for people with HIV or other immune system-compromising diseases.

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