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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

U.S. Should Separate Diplomatic Pressures On N. Korea From Humanitarian Assistance, Provide Food Aid

A Seattle Times editorial says a “radical response” to North Korea’s rocket launch would be to “[k]eep diplomatic channels open with the 240,000 tons of food aid planned before” the launch. “Providing food aid is wholly apart from maintaining political and economic pressure on the country,” the editorial says, adding, “Sending food does not preclude international sanctions to deny North Korea access to electronic technology and military hardware.” The editorial suggests “[s]end[ing] the food aid with an insurance policy of sorts. Use the connections and credibility of nongovernmental organizations, including Mercy Corps and World Vision, to track the deliveries. … Get the United Nations involved as well.” The editorial concludes, “Keep diplomatic channels open. Move beyond the provocations and deliver basic food relief” to the more than one-quarter of North Koreans in need (4/15).

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Offer Hope Of Malaria Eradication Amid Growing Drug Resistance

“In recent weeks, the emergence on the Thai-Myanmar border of malaria strains resistant to artemisinin, a plant-derived drug, have led to pessimistic headlines and reminders of the setback caused by resistance to the drug chloroquine, which began in the 1950s,” columnist and author Matt Ridley writes in the Wall Street Journal’s “Mind & Matter,” noting, “April 25 is World Malaria Day, designed to draw attention to the planet’s biggest infectious killer.” He continues, “For this reason, prevention generally works better than cure in eradicating infectious diseases: Vaccination beat smallpox, clean water beats cholera, less crowded living beats tuberculosis and protection from mosquitoes beats malaria.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Global Fund’s Restructuring Shows Organization’s Viability

This post by writer Cynthia Schweer in Foreign Policy Blogs Network describes the recent restructuring of the Secretariat at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with a focus on grant management. The reorganization is “important” because “[a]fter an age of largesse in global health funding, the financial crisis has caused funding increases to come to a screeching halt,” Schweer writes, saying, “Despite commitments that far outstretch current revenues, the Global Fund is still the most viable multilateral providing funding for global health.” She concludes, “Slowing down the pace of progress at this critical juncture will have implications that reverberate far beyond the realm of current programs” (4/13).

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

‘Starvation Protocol’ Guidelines Would Help India’s Hunger Problem

In the final article of a six-part series titled “Starving in India” in the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog, series author Ashwin Parulkar of the Centre for Equity Studies writes that the research conducted for the articles shows “that India needs a new legal framework for dealing with chronic hunger and starvation.” He notes that “[t]he draft version of the National Food Security Bill that is being considered by India’s Parliament would guarantee discounted food-grains to 50 percent of the urban population and 75 percent of the rural population.” While “[m]uch of the debate on the measure has been over its cost and scope, … my biggest problem with the bill is the way it deals with starvation,” leaving it up to state governments to identify starving individuals and provide them with two meals a day for six months, Parulkar writes.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

No One Funding Model Is Sufficient To Ensure Availability Of Lifesaving Drugs

“Trade deals are threatening generic drugs — we need new ways to incentivize affordable drug development,” Daniele Dionisio, head of the research project Geopolitics, Public Health and Access to Medicines (GESPAM) and a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases, writes in this SciDev.Net opinion piece. “Just under three billion people live on less than $2 per day, in resource-limited countries where key medicines protected by patents are unaffordable,” he writes, adding, “Free-trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and governments adopting intellectual property (IP) policies that favor the brand pharmaceutical sector are also threatening the trade of legitimate generic medicines.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Recognizing U.S. Contributions To Zambia’s Fight Against Malaria

In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson examines anti-malaria efforts in Zambia, writing, “Zambia has been the main test case for anti-malaria efforts during the last several years — a focus of funding by the U.S. government, the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” He continues, “Now the Anglican Church, international aid groups and philanthropists … are attempting to fill remaining gaps in bednet coverage in remote border areas.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

G8 Should Discuss World’s Over-60 Population To Develop Policies For ‘Healthy, Active And Productive Aging’

“Within five years, for the first time in history, the number of adults 65 and older will exceed the number of children younger than five, the World Health Organization reports,” “which is why the aging global population’s impact on social stability, economic growth and fiscal sustainability should be part of the agenda at next month’s Group of Eight summit,” Michael Hodin, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “And yet, the agenda for the G8 summit appears deficient on the topic of how countries can work together to develop policy reforms that would create pathways for healthy, active and productive aging,” he writes, adding, “What’s needed are profound policy changes in health, education and urban living that facilitate an active aging.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Coordinated Response Needed To Capitalize On Momentum Of WHO’s Adoption Of Mental Health Resolution

“We commend the 130th session of the WHO Executive Board for adopting a resolution calling for a comprehensive response to the global burden of mental illnesses,” Rebecca Hock of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Mental Health, and colleagues, write in this Lancet opinion piece. “The resolution for mental health, led by India, the U.S., and Switzerland, is the result of a crescendo of political support for addressing mental illnesses and received unanimous support from countries on the WHO Executive Board,” the authors write, noting, “The resolution urges countries to protect and promote the rights of persons with mental disorders and to combat stigma against mental illness.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Daily Monitor Analysis Examines History Of Male Circumcision Debate

In this Daily Monitor analysis, Joseph Matovu, Rhoda Wanyenze and David Serwadda, all lecturers at Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda, respond to two articles related to male circumcision that were published in the Daily Monitor in March. In the analysis, the authors provide a brief overview of the articles — titled “Circumcision does not reduce HIV spread” and “Circumcision and HIV: are we being fed on half-truths?” — noting that they present anti-male circumcision perspectives, and write, “In writing this article, we intended to not only respond to these issues but also provide a more elaborate view of male circumcision and its role in HIV prevention based on scientific evidence at hand.” The authors recount the history of the male circumcision debate, referencing a number of relevant studies, and discuss the policy implications of this research. They conclude, “[M]ale circumcision is currently promoted as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package rather than as a single magic bullet, as anti-male circumcision crusaders would like to make us believe” (4/12).

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Next Five Years Important For S. Africa To Show It Can Effectively Respond To HIV, TB

South Africa’s recently released “National Strategic Plan on HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Tuberculosis (TB) 2012-2016” “marked an important milestone” in the nation’s fight against infectious diseases, a Lancet editorial states. “The plan [.pdf] has several broad goals: to reduce new HIV infections by at least 50 percent; to start at least 80 percent of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment; to reduce the number of new tuberculosis infections and deaths by 50 percent; to ensure a legal framework that protects and promotes human rights to support implementation of the plan; and to reduce self-reported stigma related to HIV and tuberculosis by at least 50 percent,” the editorial notes.

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