Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who Needs Netflix When You Have Bread for the World Videos?

Remember that great video featuring Bread for the World activist Connie Wick of Indianapolis? In the video, she tells her story about the impact of her letters on her legislators, including a letter that was mentioned by Sen. Richard Lugar at a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House.  

So where can you view this video? The answer is Bread for the World's own YouTube site. This depository contains dozens of videos dating back to 2008 on topics ranging from food stamps, immigration, the various hunger reports, the 2011 National Gathering and much more.  Some of the videos are in Spanish, including La Ofrenda de Cartas 2011 (and soon La Ofrenda de Cartas 2012). And of course the, the five videos for the 2012 Offering of Letters are also found here. Check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Circle March 18 on Your Calendar

If you like hyperbole, consider this statement. The workshop for the 2012 Offering of Letters is more important than ever! While I exaggerate a bit, I think you might have some questions after you look at your Offering of Letters packet. At first glance, it seems straightforward.  The campaign is called Expanding the Circle of Protection, and you know how much this concept has been at the center of Bread for the World's advocacy efforts for nearly a year.  But we are given options on areas in which we can focus our energies. 
You might have some questions on which one of these topics is more important for our legislative efforts in New Mexico.  (And you might want to know that your church can do offerings on more than one of these.)

So if you're confused, uncertain, or simply want something clarified, Bread for the World western region organizer Robin Stephenson will be on hand at our Offering of Letters workshop.  Here are the details: 

Sunday, March 18
5301 Ponderosa Ave. NE 
(near Comanche and San Mateo)
2:00 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

In keeping with our theme of the Circle of Protection, Rev. Kay Huggins will offer a reflection based on the Book of Isaiah.

See you there!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekly Service Celebrates Community and Hope


The words community and hope carry positive connotations.  When you put the two words together, the message is even more powerful. So the name Community of Hope is appropriate for a service that brings people from all walks of life together every Sunday afternoon to celebrate a unity that our Creator wished for all humanity.

The inaugural Community of Hope service is scheduled for this Sunday, January, 29, at 1:00 p.m. on the south lawn of Central United Methodist Church, 201 University Blvd. NE.  This is one of the churches in Albuquerque that reaches out in various way to the local homeless community.

"The intent of this service is to bring together people who are housed and unhoused, churched and unchurched. All are welcome," said Pastor Greg Henneman. "We would like to make this an ecumenical and community event."

There are ample opportunities for the community to become involved in this worship experience, such as serving food, helping with music, or simply by being present. For more information,please contact Pastor Greg at 505-243-7834 or gregh@centraltolife.org

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Urge the State Legislature to Consider Bills Addressing Human Needs

This is the year when the New Mexico State Legislature meets for the short 30-day session (as opposed to the 60-day session every other year).  So there is a little more sense of urgency to push through some important human needs.  Some of the legislation is already in motion, and I'd like to share this update from the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, courtesy of director Ruth Hoffman.

Family-Sustaining Income
Families living in poverty need quality child care assistance to be able to work without worrying about their children. New Mexico needs quality earlychildhood education programs that will help give our children a good start. The Invest in Kids Now! campaign is working to increase the amount our state spends on early childhood education. HJR15 (Rep. Rick Miera) and SJR9 (Sen. Michael Sanchez) would place a constitutional amendment on the 2012 general election ballot asking voters to approve an increase in the distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to provide more funding for early childhood programs throughout New Mexico. HJR15 is now in the House Education Committee & SJR9 is in the Senate Rules Committee.

Hunger
Alleviating hunger is a core issue for Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM. New Mexico's food banks bring much-needed food to many, many people living in poverty around our state. Since about 2002, the food banks have received funding to purchase and distribute produce statewide. That funding has been cut in the last 4 state budgets. HB71 (Rep. Ed Sandoval) & SB102 (Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort) would appropriate an additional $100,000 for use by the food banks. HB71 is in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee and SB102 is in the Senate Committee on Committees.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness:
We are advocating for programs that assist children and adults experiencing homelessness. In 2005, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM helped to create the state Housing Trust Fund which was initially funded with $10 million. Only an additional $5 million has been appropriated to the Trust Fund since then. This fund provides a much-needed flexible source of funding for projects designed to meet affordable housing needs for low-income people throughout our state. Since the Trust Fund was created, because loans awarded by the Trust Fund have been paid back, over $20 million has been available for the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing projects. That $20 million has leveraged about $200 million in other housing funding and over 1,300 units of low-income housing have been or are being built or rehabilitated. SB78 (Sen. Nancy Rodriguez) asks that $5 million be appropriated to the state Housing Trust Fund. SB78 was heard in the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Immigration
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM opposes the repeal of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. The current law was enacted in 2003 and has worked to improve public safety as licensed immigrants are more likely to stay at the scene of an accident and exchange information. Local, state and federal law enforcement are able to track outstanding warrants, repeat offenders and citations when all drivers are a part of NM's MVD records. The uninsured motorist rate has decreased from 21% to 9% since 2003. Revisiting this issue is a distraction from other very important issues. HB103 (Rep. Andy Nunez) would repeal driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. HB103 is now in the House Labor Committee. 

How to Contact Your Legislators
Go to the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry NM website and enter your zip code in the "Contact Your Legislators" box on the left of the home page. Your legislators' contact information can be found by clicking on their names when your legislators are identified. If you know who your legislators are, you can also go to the Legislature's website to find their contact information. You can call them, send an email or even better----write them a note and mail it to: State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM 87501.) 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Not One, but FIVE, Bread for the World Offering of Letters Videos

By now you've probably heard that there is something different about this year's Offering of Letters. Flexibility. 

But there is an important reason for this flexibility. While we are still working under the Circle of Protection umbrella (and our campaign is appropriately entitled Expanding Our Circle of Protection), this year we are offered the opportunity to focus on an area that we think is more important in our community or more relevant to our congregation.  More importantly, we have the chance to respond in a more timely manner to an issue that comes before Congress.

Here's what Bread for the World says:
Depending on how the work of Congress unfolds in 2012, churches or groups may want to conduct the overall campaign and/or one or more of the mini-campaigns. For example, when Congress’ budget process is in full swing, a congregation’s Offering of Letters might focus on poverty-focused foreign assistance within the budget debate—especially if the congregation’s district or state is represented on the appropriations committees.
There are four mini campaigns and one overall campaign.  I know, Bread is giving us more homework than we've had in the past.  We now have to decide,  

So you will also be faced with the all-important question: Which of these mini campaigns should I pick?  The answer might not be apparent right now.  That's why it would be great to have you at our Offering of Letters workshop on Sunday, March 18, in Albuquerque.  Stay tuned for more details.  In the meantime, here are links and videos for each of the campaigns. A sixth video for Spanish-language congregations is due out by the end of this week.

Circle of Protection Overall Campaign



Poverty Focused Foreign Assistance



Domestic Nutrition Assistance



Tax Credits for Low-Income Families



International Food Aid Programs

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Twenty Nine Percent

The message coming out of the Occupy Wall Street movement (including Unoccupy Albuquerque) is that our current economic system continues to foster major inequities between the very wealthy at the top and the rest of the population. Surely by now you've heard about the 1 percent versus the 99 percent.  

This reality hits home in New Mexico.  A few days ago, New Mexico Voices for Children (NMVC) released its annual Kids Count report, just in time for the start of the start of this year's session of the State Legislature.

The report said the number of children living in poverty in our state over past decade (2000-2010) has increased on a steady pace. 

"More than half of our children—250,800 (a number three times the population of Santa Fe or twice that of Las Cruces)—live in poverty or in low-income families that have trouble making ends meet," said the report.

The figure that stood out from the report was 29%. That means nearly one out of every three children in New Mexico lives in poverty. Click here to download the report in PDF format.  (If you look carefully on the graph on the left on page 5, you'll see a huge increase from 2008 to 2010)

New Mexico has an overall poverty rate that is higher than that of the United States as a whole. Our state currently ranks 46th among the states in terms of children living in poverty—which means only four other states have a higher percent of children in poverty. In eight New Mexico counties, more than one-third of children live in poverty.

"Over the past decade,New Mexico has been consistently ranked in the national KIDS COUNT data book in the bottom five states in terms of the percent of its children living in poverty," said the report.  

The situation is worsened by the economic crisis that has gripped our country and our state. "New Mexico is facing a slow recovery from the Great Recession, facing budget shortfalls that have led to cutbacks in education, health care and Medicaid, early child care and education, unemployment benefits, and other programs and services meant to boost child well-being and help families struggling with income and asset loss," said the report.

Bu Kids Count Director Christine Hollis says the solution is to create a funding mechanism to support early care and education. "That's why we're looking at trying to push in this legislative session for a resolution to put a constitutional amendment on the 2012 General Election ballot that would take a very small amount of money from our very large land grant permanent fund here in the state to help fund early childhood care and education," said Hollis.

Hollis said New Mexico Voices for Children is proposing to take about  $150-million from the state's Land Grant Fund, which is currently around $10 billion, to create the fund. We might get to vote on this if the NMVC is able to get this on a future ballot.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do You Provide Support to Food and Agricultural Entrepeneurs in New Mexico? Please Fill Out this Survey

Do you represent an organization, business, school, farm, agency, or program that works with food or agriculture in New Mexico? If so, we would greatly appreciate your help!

This quick survey is designed to gather and disseminate information about technical assistance, funding and other types of organizations that support food and agricultural entrepreneurs in New Mexico. The intention is to use this information, along with regional roundtables and workshops, to increase general awareness about the rich web of existing resources and to help facilitate partnerships and referrals between organizations.

This survey is being conducted by the New Mexico Finance for Food working committee, which is comprised of organizations and individuals from around the state working to address food systems issues.

This information will initially only be shared with the immediate groups involved in this project. However, we hope to use this information later on to help populate a searchable database that may be made public (we envision this being something like a scaled-down version of Local Harvest:  There will be a question at the end of the survey where you can request that your information and/or responses be kept confidential if you so choose.

If you have any questions, please contact Lora Roberts Logan, call 505-724-3619, o e-mail to localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov

USE THIS LINK TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Introducing the 2012 Offering of Letters

Bread for the World’s 2012 Offering of Letters urges members of Congress to create a circle of protection around programs that give hungry and poor people in this country and abroad the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. 

Within this broader campaign are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative topics that will come before Congress in 2012: nutrition, poverty-focused development assistance, tax policy, and food aid.  

“The materials we have developed for the 2012 Offering of Letters are wonderful resources for activists and other people of faith who want to protect the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Bread for the World President David Beckmann. Materials include a handbook, videos, instructions on how to plan an Offering of Letters, and stories of people struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.   Here is more information from Bread for the World

We are planning a workshop in Albuquerque sometime March.   Stay tuned for  more details.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Could This be Happening In Our Own Back Yard?

The Raramuris peoples lives in isolated communities in the Sierra Tarahumara in the mountains of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. For those of us who live in New Mexico and western Texas, Chihuahua is our immediate neighbor to the south, and the Sierra Tarahumara is just a stone's throw away from El Paso and Tucson.

Perhaps if you've taken the Copper Canyon train from the city of Chihuahua to the Mexican west coast, you might have encountered some members of the Raramuris selling arts and crafts at the stations in Creel and other communities in the mountains. But for the most part, the members of these indigenous communities are out of sight and out of mind, not only for us but for most Mexicans.  
Hunger is a very real problem in this area, and the situation has worsened in many of these communities because of drought. Climate change can have devastating effects on subsistence agriculture, and by some accounts, local corn production was down about 20,000 tons in 2011.  Most of the time, we hear about these statistics after the fact.

One of those "after-the-fact" accounts has created shock waves in Mexico.  This weekend, a video was released on YouTube quoting the secretary of the community of Carichi, who was appealing for help for the Raramuris people.  In the video, the secretary not only mentioned problems with widespread hunger in 23 municipalities in the Sierra Tarahumara, but more shockingly, said the problem had become so bad that it led about 50 people to commit suicide.  The shocking revelation was that one group, including many mothers, became so desperate that they jumped off a cliff.  Others were said to have hung themselves.

The government of the the state of Chihuahua immediately dismissed the accounts of suicide as "an attempt by unscrupulous individuals to fool people of good will with false information."  Read account in Spanish 

There was an opposite reaction in the social networks in Mexico once the video was shared widely on YouTube.  One of the most widely used tools to mobilize citizens to help the situation was Twitter. 

"With the hashtag #SierraTarahumara, users of the social network Twitter have started a movement to support the Raramuris community after the secretary of the community of Carichi posted a video appealing for help," said the newspaper El Informador.

The Twitter campaign urged citizens to bring donations to central points in the major cities in Mexico.  In Mexico City, the location was the Z├│calo square.  Some private foundations, such the Fundacion Telmex, as well as the federal government's Social Development Ministry moved to provide assistance.
A few years ago, it would have been very difficult to mobilize citizens in such a quick manner.  But thanks to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, the word spread very quickly.  But many are asking the question, how as a society, could we (not only Mexico but the international community) allow this to happen in the first place? One article, Hambruna Tarahumara: La la desverg├╝enza, calls the Mexican government's inaction over the years as extremely shameful.

But there is hope.  It's very possible that some of the very citizens who participated in the social networking campaign will start looking at the root of the problem and on long-term solutions. 

Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere

At the Matin Luther King Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and his transformative legacy on our country, I want to share this short video from Sojourners. In an interview with Lisa Sharon Harper, Rev. Bill Love, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dadeville, talks about his experiences growing up in Montgomery, Ala.


Sojo Short: Pastor Bill Love- First Presbyterian Church, Dadeville, Ala. from cathleen falsani on Vimeo.

The video is part of a post in Sojourners' God's Politics blog entitled Martin Luther King Day: Healing Prayer and the Lies We Believe.  In the post, Ms. Harper talks about healing and prayer, using some ideas from the Richard Foster's book, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home  Drawing the link between prayer, repentance and transformation, here is what Ms. Harper says.

On Monday, we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a man who called America to face the lies embedded in its soul.
He called us to face the lie that any amount of poverty is acceptable.
“I have the audacity to believe that people’s everywhere can have three meals per day, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” (Norway, 1964)
He called us to face the lie that might makes right.
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thinking Ahead to Next Christmas

I missed this clever video from Oxfam America about mindful giving during the Christmas season.  And I don't want to wait until the next Christmas.   So now you have about 11 months to start planning your Christmas gifts. (By the way, did you know that Oxfam America has its own YouTube Channel? Check it out

Monday, January 09, 2012

An Early Look at the Congressional Elections in New Mexico

If the Iowa caucuses and upcoming presidential primaries in New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina have gotten your political juices going, you also might be gearing up for congressional elections in your community and state.  

Chances are your local newspaper has carried numerous articles about candidates who have tossed their hat into the ring to compete for a seat in Congress or the U.S. Senate.  These elections are especially important when there is an open seat (as we in New Mexico have in the First Congressional District and the U.S. Senate).

Digging for information
But where else besides the local newspapers do political junkies go to find out about elections? You can track developments on Politico.  The C-SPAN Campaign 2012 site currently has information about the presidential race, but is set up to provide developments on congressional races.  One new site I recently discovered is Ballotpedia.  As the name implies, this site provides information about state and federal elections for each of the 50 states. Here is the page for the elections in New Mexico for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Because the situation is still fluid ahead of the signature filing deadline of Feb. 14, and because the redistricting process was up in the air until last week, the Ballotpedia page for New Mexico is not complete.  (A judge left the boundaries for New Mexico's three districts largely unchanged.)  Gary Smith, who jumped into the Republican primary for the First District in December is not listed. And the rumors persist that Jon Barela, who lost the general election to Rep. Martin Heinrich in 2010, could throw his hat into the ring at any time in the next few weeks.  The candidates will face off in primaries on June 5, 2012.

There are other potentially great sites with candidate information, including Project VoteSmart's VoteEasy site.  I say "potentially" because this site contains no data at present, but I suspect that Project VoteSmart, a well respected organization, is waiting until the fields have been narrowed after the primaries in each state.
 
Continuing the push for a Circle of Protection
And our Bread New Mexico blog will be following the electoral process, particularly since we're interested in knowing which candidate will eventually be the person on Capitol Hill with whom we will interact.

If you recall, last November and December, we sat down with five of the candidates seeking the seat in the First Congressional District (Janice Arnold-Jones, Martin Chavez, Eric Griego, Dan Lewis, and Michelle Lujan Grisham) to talk to the about creating a Circle of Protection around programs that help the most vulnerable in our country and in other countries. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is running for the Senate seat left open after Sen. Jeff Bingaman's retirement. 

So we'll follow developments in the First Congressional District as well as the Senate race.  Rep. Heinrich is facing State Auditor Hector Balderas and community activist Andres Valdez in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat. The Republican candidates are former Rep. Heather Wilson, Lieutenant Gov. John Sanchez, business owner Greg Sowards and entrepreneur Bill English.  John Barrie is running as an independent.

And if you're wondering why we've put so much emphasis on the First Congressional District, it's because incumbents Ben Ray Lujan in the Third District and Steve Pearce in the Second District are expected to face only token opposition both in the primary and the general election.

For the record, the candidates who have declared in the Democratic primary for the chance to face Rep. Pearce are Evelyn Madrid Erhard and Frank McKinnon.  Rep. Pearce had not drawn any primary opponents.

In the Third District, Sean Closson had declared his candidacy in the primary against Rep. Lujan. There was one candidate in the Republican primary, Rick Newton.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Founder of the The Food Project to Speak in Silver City in February

What happens when you bring together youth training, sustainable agriculture and community empowerment?  You get The Food Project.

And who better to tell you about the program than the program's founder Greg Gale? He is a featured presenter at a workshop in Silver City on Friday, February 24, and Saturday, February 25.

Mr. Gale will offer his presentation at the Global Resource Center at Western New Mexico University on Friday, 6:30-8:00 P.M.  

Two interesting workshops are scheduled at at the Grant County Business and Conference Center on HWY 180, next to Ace Hardware during the two-day period.
  • Innovative Approaches to a Sustainable Local Food System, Friday, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
  • Dynamic Youth Programming, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
The workshops are free but Pre-Registration is Required.  Contact Martha Egnal  (martha@guadalupemotessori.org) to pre-register

The presentation and workshops are sponsored by the Freeport/McMoRan Community Enhancement Fund, The Guadalupe Montessori School and  The Volunteer Center of Grant County, The Wellness Coalition and Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Grant County

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Walking in New Orleans for a Circle of Caring

You've heard of the expression Walking in a Circle.  Let's turn that phrase around a bit to Walking for a Circle. Actually, let's call it Walking for a Circle of Caring.

This is where we invite you to join the New Orleans chapter of Bread for the World in their 31st annual walk for the hungry, which they have appropriately entitled A Circle of Caring.  This a variation on A Circle of Protection, the theme that Bread for the World, Sojourners and many of our partners have promoted to preserve the federal programs that help the most vulnerable people in our country and in many poor countries around the world.  The Circle of Caring is intended primarily to raise funds to meet the needs of poor people in New Orleans. 

So how can you help?  If you live in New Orleans or are planning to travel to New Orleans on the first weekend in March, please join the walk, which will start at St. Anthony of  Padua Catholic Church on Canal Street.  Here is more information, courtesy of Sister Jane Remson, director of Bread for the World New Orleans.

No One Should
Suffer from Hunger
No person should go hungry. We can help end hunger by placing a Circle of Caring around programs that provide food for poor and hungry people whether they live in the United States or in developing countries.

Put your prayers for poor and hungry people into action and join the Circle of Caring by participating in the 31st annual Walk for the Hungry on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

The 4-mile Walk begins at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church yard, 4640 Canal St. and proceeds up Canal St. to Claiborne Ave. The Walk turns on Claiborne Ave. and continues down Canal St. returning to St. Anthony of Padua Church yard.

Walk schedule
Registration – 8:00 am
Prayer – 9:00 am
Walk – 9:30 am
Walk ends – 11:30 am

Registration fee includes your t-shirt
Adult - $15
Student - $10
Child - $7 (7 and under).

Walkers are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Second Harvest Food Bank.

To register ahead or for information contact
504-458-3029
jfremson@loyno.edu

Chances are most of you reading this blog won't be able to participate in the walk.  In which case, I encourage you to do a virtual walk or a solidarity walk.  All this means is for you to send in a donation (whatever amount you chose). Here is the address:

Bread for the World New Orleans
The Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice
Loyola University New Orleans, Campus Box 12
New Orleans, LA 70118-3565

Monday, January 02, 2012

Steve Garnaas-Holmes: A New Year Blessing

At Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City
In the new year I do not wish for you
that God will bless you,
since God already intends
only the deepest blessings for you.
I don’t wish that good things will happen to you,
since I don’t know
what will most beautifully shape your soul—
in what losses you will receive grace,
in what challenges you will gain wisdom,
in what struggles you will become more truly yourself.

Instead I hope for you this blessing:
that your heart be at peace,
that your mind be open
and your will be lovingly present;
that you live each day this year with love, courage and beauty,
with gentleness, trust and gratitude.
that you speak and be the truth,
that you find joy and wonder in your life,
that you be deeply mindful
of God’s indwelling presence,
God’s deep delight in accompanying you
in every breath.

May your work be fruitful,
your hope vibrant,
your voice clear,
and your friends faithful.

Whether you feel it or not,
deep blessing will be yours this year.
May you know it, and rejoice,
and live n harmony with God’s grace.

from Unfolding Light blog

Affordable Medications and the Millennium Development Goals

The humanitarian organization Medicins sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders (MSF) posted a great article at the end of 2011, entitled Ten Stories that Mattered in Access to Medicines in 2011. The article was part of MSF's effort to boost availability of medications through its Access Campaign.  The affordability of medications is a key element in the fight against global poverty.  Health is an important aspect of three of the Millennnium Development Goals: Child Health, Maternal Health, and Combat HIV/AIDS.

A major obstacle to meeting these goals has been the high price of medications charged by multinational pharmaceutical companies.  A handful of companies and organizations in middle-income countries like India and Brazil have stepped up to offer affordable medications, but they have faced battles with the multinational companies, which cite a right to "protect intelletual property."

Photo: Bruno de Cock for MSF
Much of the price war has occurred behind the scenes.  But the MSF article notes that a milestone development occurred in 2011.
The fight for more affordable vaccines for children in developing countries was boosted this year when UNICEF - for the first time - published the prices it pays for all the vaccines it buys.

This move revealed huge price disparities in what different companies are charging for similar vaccines.

For instance, the drug company Crucell, is charging UNICEF nearly forty percent more than the Serum Institute of India for its pentavalent vaccine that protects children against five diseases in one shot.

There’s been no price transparency until now over vaccine prices and purchasers have had no benchmark figures on which to negotiate the best deal. Now the information is public, competing vaccine manufacturers are likely to drive prices down, meaning that more children can be immunised against life-threatening diseases.
Transparency on the price of medications was one important development.  But there were other milestones (mostly setbacks) in the effort to address global health concerns that affect children, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, Chagas disease and cryptococcal meningitis. 

“For the diseases our medical teams encounter every day in places where we work, 2011 was a year of both critical progress and dangerous backsliding,” said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “At a time of so much promise, it is crucial to continue pushing forward, and refuse to accept a double standard in care between rich and poor countries.”

  Read More

And of course, there is the ever-present issue malnutrition.  Here's what MSF said about developments in 2011.
The emergency response to the Horn of Africa crisis shows the quality of nutritional programmes in emergency situations is at least improving: the food aid provided in the refugee camps did contain the nutrient-dense foods adapted to children’s nutritional needs.
However emergencies – while attention-grabbing – are only part of a much larger story of on-going childhood malnutrition that occurs outside the media spotlight in areas like South Asia and Africa.
Providing nutritious food to young children is the cornerstone of every attempt to fight malnutrition in both rich and developing countries. In 2010, MSF witnessed a reduction by half in the mortality among children in Niger who received nutrient-dense foods as part of supplementary feeding programmes. Niger has undertaken large-scale distributions of supplementary foods for children under two at risk of malnutrition in both 2010 and 2011.
With a new year ahead of us, here's hoping that developments in global health in 2012 are more positive than negative.