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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

MERS No Longer Concern For South Korean Public, Officials Say, Stopping Short Of Declaring Outbreak Over

Associated Press: South Korea sees end of MERS threat after outbreak killed 36
“South Korea said Tuesday it is now virtually free of the deadly MERS virus that killed 36 people and sickened nearly 200 since an outbreak was declared in May…” (Kim, 7/28).

Bloomberg Business: South Korea Says MERS Outbreak That Hit Economy No Longer Worry
“…Since the first reported cases of MERS on May 20, the virus has infected 186 people and killed 36 in South Korea. It prompted thousands of schools to close at one point and led to the cancellation of concerts, trips, and other public activities vital to growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy…” (Kim, 7/27).

Deutsche Welle: South Korea declares end to MERS outbreak
“… ‘After weighing various circumstances, the medical personnel and the government judge that the people can now be free from worry,’ Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn told a meeting of government officials in Seoul…” (7/28).

New York Times: South Korea: Government Declares End to MERS Outbreak
“…South Korea’s outbreak was the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, where the virus, known as MERS, first emerged in 2012…” (Choe, 7/27).

Reuters: South Korea declares country effectively out of MERS danger
“…Hwang said it was too early to declare the outbreak over but urged the public to return to normal daily life. He added that the government would implement reforms to fix health care shortcomings exposed during the outbreak, although he did not specify what steps it would take…” (Kim, 7/28).

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Sanofi's Experimental Dengue Vaccine Lowers Hospitalization Risk In Older Children, Data Show

Agence France-Presse: Data analyses back Sanofi dengue vaccine
“A dengue vaccine candidate by French drugmaker Sanofi protects more than three quarters of participants, an analysis found Monday. The experimental drug allowed 80.8 percent of children aged nine and older to avoid hospitalization, according to three trials analyzed by the New England Journal of Medicine…” (7/27).

CIDRAP News: Dengue vaccine may drop hospital risk in older kids but not younger
“Long-term follow-up results in three large phase 2 and 3 trials suggest that an experimental dengue vaccine, CYD-TDV, lowers dengue-related hospitalization risk in older children but may increase the risk in younger ones, according to a report [Monday] in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Roos, 7/27).

Reuters: Sanofi says new data analyses support its dengue vaccine
“…Protection against severe dengue reached 93 percent, while prevention of hospitalization due to the disease reached 80 percent in the volunteers, who were aged nine and above, Sanofi said in a statement. ‘The dengue vaccine candidate has the potential to significantly reduce disease burden in endemic countries,’ Sanofi said…” (Regan, 7/27).

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Deworming Data Re-Analysis Raises Questions About Effectiveness Of Simple Solutions To International Development Issues

Vox: This academic debate about worms has an important lesson for the future of global poverty
“This past week, the international development and global health community has been torn apart by a debate about parasitic worms that has grown so fierce it’s been dubbed the ‘worm wars.’ … [T]he reason this has caught mainstream attention is that the worm wars are threatening one of the holy grails of international development: the idea that somewhere out there is a simple, easy intervention that will have a huge positive effect on a complex, difficult problem…” (Taub, 7/27).

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Investment In NTDs Would Generate Large Returns, Report Says

New York Times: Fight Against Tropical Diseases Is Framed as Efficient
“In the battle for the billions of dollars spent fighting global diseases, doctors who tackle neglected tropical diseases have labeled their struggle a ‘best buy.’ In a report issued in June, a consortium called United to Combat NTDs argued that every $1 invested in fighting tropical diseases would generate $50 to almost $200 in productivity gains by 2030…” (McNeil, 7/27).

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'Shocking' HIV Rates Among Transgender Women Worldwide, WHO Report Co-Author Says

NPR: Transgender Women Face Inadequate Health Care, ‘Shocking’ HIV Rates
“Transgender people are not getting adequate health care, and widespread discrimination is largely to blame, according to a recent World Health Organization report. And the story is told most starkly in the high rates of HIV among transgender women worldwide. JoAnne Keatley, one of the authors of that study, puts it plainly. ‘Just shocking rates,’ she tells NPR’s Arun Rath…” (7/26).

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Kenya To Benefit From DREAMS Project Aimed At Preventing HIV Among Young Women

VOA News: Kenya Joins HIV DREAMS Project
“Kenya will be getting new support to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS among adolescent girls. President Obama announced Sunday that Kenya would be included in the DREAMS project. It’s funded by the U.S., the Nike Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…” (DeCapua, 7/27).

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Oxfam, U.N. Relief Official Express Concern Over Food Security, Access To Health Care In Yemen

The Guardian: 13 million people in Yemen struggling to find enough to eat, Oxfam says
“Since March, nearly 25,000 people a day have slipped into hunger in Yemen, and every second person — or nearly 13 million people — is now struggling to find enough to eat, according to Oxfam. Conflict, air strikes, and a naval blockade have killed thousands in the country, and reduced people to begging and polishing shoes in rubble-filled cities where water, food, and medicines are scarce and disease is a growing threat, aid workers say…” (Chonghaile, 7/28).

U.N. News Centre: Top U.N. relief official in Yemen warns of conflict’s ‘catastrophic’ consequences; urges humanitarian access
“Witnessing first-hand the ‘shocking’ devastation in Yemen’s main port city of Aden, the top United Nations relief official in the country [Monday] declared that the humanitarian consequences of the conflict are ‘catastrophic,’ making an urgent plea for safe, unhindered access for aid workers and a major scale-up of funding…” (7/27).

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Funding Gap, Health Care Shutdowns Threaten People In War-Torn Iraq

U.N. News Centre: ‘Paralyzing’ funding gap forces shutdown of 80 percent of frontline health services in war-torn Iraq — U.N.
“The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq today declared as ‘devastating’ the ‘inexplicable’ closures of life-saving services in Iraq for people in need, citing the most recent shut-downs of basic health care will directly impact more than one million people, including some 500,000 children who now will not be immunized, spreading risk of a measles outbreak and resumption of polio…” (7/27).

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Nepalese Children Continue To Need Humanitarian Support 3 Months After Earthquake, UNICEF Says

U.N. News Centre: Nepal: children still at risk three months after devastating quake, UNICEF warns
“Three months after Nepal’s devastating 25 April earthquake and its aftershocks, children continue to face multiple risks as their families have been pushed deeper into poverty and they remain in need of aid, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). … Although the humanitarian situation has improved over the past three months, hundreds of thousands of Nepalese children still need shelter, food, access to water and sanitation, medical care, education, and protection…” (7/27).

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Emergency Aid Slowing 4 Months After Cyclone Hits Vanuatu; Food Security Future Remains Uncertain

The Guardian: Vanuatu reconstruction moves ahead in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam
“More than four months after Cyclone Pam, one of the most powerful ever recorded in the South Pacific, emergency aid is winding down in the Vanuatu archipelago, leaving inhabitants of rural islands facing an uncertain future…” (Bolis, 7/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Government Action Key To Sustaining Nutrition Promotion Efforts In Africa

Huffington Post: Good news: African Governments are Seriously Stepping Up Their Fight Against Malnutrition
Marc Van Ameringen, executive director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

“…At the recent Financing for Development conference held in Addis Ababa on 14-16 July, the government of Ethiopia took the opportunity to reiterate its willingness to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. … This is an excellent example of how government action can help shape nutrition policies to promote nutritious foods for the population, and at the same time, effectively engage other stakeholders. … It is impressive to see these African governments leading by example, but we need to keep momentum going. Leveraging these efforts, in order to stimulate commitment from more governments will be essential if we are really serious and committed on the global platform to reach the upcoming sustainable development goals and to keep nutrition high on the development agenda now and in the future” (7/28).

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Malawi's Action Plan Aims To Accelerate Progress Toward Ending Preventable Maternal, Newborn, Child Deaths

Devex: Every Newborn Action Plan: Malawi’s road map for change
Jean Kalilani, Malawi’s minister of health

“…This week I will help officially launch Malawi’s Every Newborn Action Plan. … My aim is that this newborn action plan will guide the efforts of the Ministry of Health, our district officers, and all stakeholders to design specific plans for accelerating progress toward ending preventable deaths among mothers and newborns and avoidable stillbirths. I am confident that the plan sharpens the focus on implementation of existing and new initiatives, and that is why we are recommending it to all stakeholders. It is vital that Malawi make use of every means and innovation possible to maximize use of health services and to avert preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths” (7/27).

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Recent Releases

U.S., Partners Help African Countries Drive Own Development

USAID’s “Impact”: Equipping Africa to Support Its Own Development
Alex Thier, assistant to the administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, discusses how “the U.S. and [its] partners [are] working to put African countries in the driver’s seat on their respective development paths” so that African nations can effectively use their own resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (7/27).

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President Obama Discusses Human Rights Concerns During Visits To Kenya, Ethiopia

Humanosphere: Obama presses Ethiopia and Kenya on human rights during visits
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses U.S. President Obama’s visits to Ethiopia and Kenya, where he publicly discussed the East African nations’ human rights concerns, including women’s rights, corruption, and gay rights (7/27).

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WHO, Partners Urge Vaccine Manufacturers To Step Up Production Of Meningitis C-Containing Vaccine

WHO: Africa risks large meningitis outbreak
“With Africa at risk of a large meningitis outbreak, an acute shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccine threatens to severely limit the world’s ability to minimize the number of people affected, four international public health organizations warned [Tuesday]. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO) (…which together constitute the International Coordinating Group for Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis Control — ICG) are therefore calling today on vaccine manufacturers to step up meningitis C-containing vaccine production by five million doses before the 2016 meningitis season starts in January…” (7/28).

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