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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

New Malawi President Joyce Banda Offers Women ‘Hope For A Better Future,’ But Donor Support Necessary

“On Saturday April 7th, Joyce Banda became Africa’s second sitting female president,” Lyndon Haviland, a senior strategy fellow at Aspen Global Health and Development, notes in this AlertNet opinion piece, writing, “President Banda offers women in Africa a second chance to experience women’s leadership (Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent Nobel Peace Prize demonstrates what can happen when women lead) — and for the women of Malawi that cannot come soon enough.” As “[a] longtime advocate for women’s health, education and gender equality, Banda offers women in Malawi hope for a better future,” Haviland writes, noting, “As a founding member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, Banda has been working on the international stage to accelerate progress toward universal access to reproductive health.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Nigerian Vaccine Summit An Opportunity To Translate Political Will Into Action

In this post in the Huffington Post Blog, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), reports on the Nigerian Vaccine Summit, where Nigeria’s leaders will meet this week to discuss children’s health in the country. “With the world’s second largest number of child deaths each year, many of which are due to diseases that could be prevented with vaccines, yet with immunization coverage rates that are lower than many other countries in the region, Nigeria has a major opportunity to save lives by raising immunization coverage and introducing new vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea, the leading killers of children worldwide,” he writes. Levine recounts progress made in recent years to address immunization and child mortality, but notes that “more remains to be done.”

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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

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

‘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

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

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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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

Jim Kim’s ‘Experience And Humility’ Make Him A Good Nominee For World Bank President

In this Washington Post opinion piece, Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor and co-founder of Partners In Health, and John Gershman, a professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, discuss the nomination of Jim Yong Kim, a global health expert and Dartmouth College president, to be president of the World Bank. “Recent claims from some economists that Kim is ‘anti-growth’ are based on a willful misreading and selective reporting of passages from Kim’s co-edited volume ‘Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor,’ to which we both contributed,” they write, adding, “The book’s objective was to ask questions about what types of growth and what kinds of policies were beneficial for those struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.”

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