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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Ethiopia, U.S. President Obama Says Feed The Future Initiative Helping To Reduce Child Hunger, Stunting

Associated Press: Obama delivers frank words about Africa’s problems
“President Barack Obama arrived in East Africa with no big American aid packages, no ramped up U.S. military resources for fighting terror groups, and no new initiatives with billions in government backing. Instead, he brought a frank message on democracy, corruption, and security that could perhaps be delivered only by a Western leader viewed in Africa as a local son…” (Pace, 7/28).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Obama says aid to farmers cuts child stunting across Africa
“U.S. President Barack Obama, wrapping up a visit to the continent of his father’s birth, toured an Ethiopian factory making baby food on Tuesday to show how investment in farming can cut hunger and stunting. Child stunting has fallen by up to one-third over the past few years in African countries targeted by the U.S. government’s global hunger initiative, Feed the Future, a report released on Tuesday said…” (Migiro, 7/28).

VOA News: Obama Sows Seeds of Nutrition in Ethiopia
“…Obama visited a factory on Addis Ababa’s outskirts that, with help from American companies, manufactures fortified foods such as bread and baby cereals. Faffa Foods manager Zeco Ebro said his factory represents a new model for Africa that allows the continent to improve its destiny from within. Because Faffa Foods is a local manufacturer, it creates jobs and adds to the economy while providing a necessary product…” (Powell, 7/28).

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On World Day, WHO, Partners Urge World To 'Act Now' To Prevent Hepatitis

U.N. News Centre: ‘Prevent hepatitis; Act now,’ declares U.N. on World Day targeting hepatitis B and C
“Marking World Hepatitis Day 2015, which falls on 28 July in honor of the birthday of the scientist who discovered the hepatitis B virus and its first vaccine, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are urging policymakers, health workers, and the public to act now to prevent infection and death from the infectious disease…” (7/28).

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Stakeholders Begin To Examine Funding Needs To Prevent, Treat Global Hepatitis Infections

Devex: Where should money go to manage global health’s ‘silent epidemic’?
“…Unlike other diseases like HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis — which would need an estimated $22 billion to $24 billion, and $8 billion, respectively, according to statistics released by relevant stakeholders — hepatitis does not yet have a ballpark estimate attached to it. But with the introduction of a World Health Organization draft action plan for the prevention, care, and treatment of viral hepatitis, stakeholders have started working on estimates on what would be required to address this silent epidemic, which kills at least one million people every year…” (Ravelo, 7/28).

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Suniti Solomon, HIV/AIDS Researcher Who Detected India's First Case In 1986, Passes Away

EH News Bureau/Financial Express: Dr. Suniti Solomon, pioneer in HIV research and treatment in India, passes away
“Dr. Suniti Solomon, whose team was the first to document evidence of HIV infection in India in 1986, died at her residence in Chennai on Tuesday morning…” (Janardhanan, 7/29).

Huffington Post India: Suniti Solomon, Doctor Who Awakened India To HIV, Passes Away
“…She was [in her mid-70s] and diagnosed with cancer three months ago…” (Bose, 7/28).

Quartz: The doctor who detected India’s first HIV case has died
“…AIDS cases were first reported in the U.S. in 1981, but for the next five years, Asia’s second-most populous country did not detect even a single person with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). But Solomon, then a professor of microbiology at the Government General Hospital in Chennai, burst that bubble for India…” (Balachandran, 7/29).

TIME: Dr. Suniti Solomon, Pioneering Indian HIV/AIDS Researcher, Dies at 76
“…In 1986, her discovery of the infection in six blood samples collected from female sex workers in southern India generated headlines internationally. Speaking to TIME in September 1986, after the first Indian cases had been documented, a former senior medical official said: ‘We in India have been shaken and face a moment of truth’…” (Farooqui, 7/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Additional Funding, More Efficient Spending Needed To End AIDS Epidemic

Toronto Star: The future of AIDS is up to us
Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Lee Waldorf, policy director at the foundation

“Win or lose? This is the question posed by a series of reports on the state of the global AIDS epidemic — reports … produced by UNAIDS, in collaboration with a Lancet Commission and the Kaiser Family Foundation — [that] present us with two dramatically different scenarios for the future. … The moment has arrived. We will either chart a course to bring about the end of AIDS in Africa, or, for the lack of adequate funding, watch as the epidemic regains its stranglehold. … [T]he commission’s report also makes it very clear that in addition [to more funding], there must be a critical shift in how this money is being used. … Everything will depend on the decisions made in the next five years about the level and allocation of funding for the HIV and AIDS response…” (7/28).

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Stopping Asia's Hepatitis Epidemic Requires More Urgent Resources, Political Will, Financing

Wall Street Journal: Confronting Asia’s Hepatitis Epidemic
Ding-Shinn Chen and Stephen Locarnini, co-chairs of the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific

“…Hepatitis has not received funding commensurate with the magnitude of the problem. … We can stop the increasing burden of hepatitis B and hepatitis C with resources and political will. … Implementing these solutions requires a broad, concerted program of activities which include two critical areas of work. The first is to build strong linkage between screening and treatment. … The second critical area of work required is adequate financing. … We know how [to] put in place the policies, resources, and capacity needed to effectively fight viral hepatitis. With more than 1.4 million people dying every year, what’s needed now is a sense of urgency” (7/27).

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Eliminating Malaria Deaths Requires Focusing Attention On Rapid Diagnosis, Effective Treatment

Huffington Post: While Working to Eradicate Malaria, Let’s Eliminate Malaria Deaths
Terrie E. Taylor, professor and malaria researcher at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine

“Last week, there was a glimmer of hope for everyone that suffers from malaria: the world’s first-ever malaria vaccine received a green light from European authorities. … While RTS,S does provide hope for a tomorrow without malaria, we cannot be lulled into complacency — this is not a panacea for malaria. … The elimination of malaria deaths (before we manage to eliminate the parasite) could be pursued by combining two existent strategies: prompt diagnosis and effective treatment. This would prevent most early infections from progressing to life-threatening disease. … It will take time, perhaps a long time, to eradicate this nefarious, tenacious foe. In the meantime, we should be encouraged by recent breakthroughs — but we need to continue focusing attention and resources on saving lives through rapid diagnosis and prompt effective treatment…” (7/28).

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Low-Cost Oral Rehydration Solution Can Save Many Lives Worldwide

Skoll World Forum: ORS Is a Magic Elixir That Saves Lives
Helen Matzger, senior program officer on the Vaccine Delivery Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Anita Zaidi, director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases Program at the foundation

“…One critically important intervention the health community has used for decades is a low-cost sugar and salt mixture called oral rehydration solution (ORS) which helps rehydrate children in a matter of hours. … There is no doubt that this simple solution is a magical elixir, and many people have worked hard to promote its continued and increased use. … We must continue to work to promote the use of ORS wherever people may benefit from it — from heat waves in Pakistan, to Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, to parents throughout the world with young children experiencing diarrhea…” (7/27).

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Global Agriculture Must Support Small-Scale Farmers To Become More Climate Resilient

The Guardian: Just growing more food won’t help to feed the world
Richard Ewbank, climate adviser for Christian Aid

“…A Christian Aid briefing paper argues that if we are to reverse [the catastrophic environmental degradation of the last 50 years while also making production more efficient] in the face of climate change, agriculture needs a transformative change in the way it addresses climate resilience. Small-scale farmers and pastoralists, who manage 60 percent of agricultural land and produce 50 percent of the planet’s food, should be central to this agenda. … The World Bank’s call for climate-smart agriculture includes focusing on sustainable water use, countering gender inequality, and increased research. … Such an approach would include plans to strengthen the review of World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards to ensure lending enables, rather than undermines, climate resilience for small-scale farmers and pastoralists in developing countries” (7/29).

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Recent Releases

White House Fact Sheets Discuss U.S. Efforts, Progress On Global Health Security Agenda, Food Security, Power Africa

White House: FACT SHEET: The Global Health Security Agenda
This fact sheet on U.S. efforts to improve global health security states, “…The U.S. Government is now announcing its intent to invest more than $1 billion in resources to expand the Global Health Security Agenda to prevent, detect, and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks in 17 countries, and will continue to work in others around the world to extend this effort. More than half of this significant investment will be focused on Africa…” (7/28).

White House: FACT SHEET: Partnering with Africa on Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation
In this fact sheet, the White House discusses how the U.S. government is building partnerships with African governments to adapt to climate change impacts, highlighting the Feed the Future initiative and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (7/28).

White House: FACT SHEET: Power Africa
In this fact sheet, the White House describes U.S. progress on the Power Africa initiative, “an innovative partnership to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 600 million people currently lack access” (7/25).

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USAID Report Links Health Systems Strengthening To Measurable Impacts On Health Outcomes

USAID Health Finance and Governance Project: “Groundbreaking” Report Links HSS Interventions to Health Outcomes
On Tuesday, “USAID’s Office of Health Systems (OHS) released a major new report, which for the first time presents a significant body of evidence linking health systems strengthening interventions to measurable impacts on health outcomes. The Impact of Health Systems Strengthening on Health identifies 13 types of health systems strengthening (HSS) interventions with quantifiable effects. … The report, which was prepared by a team from the Health Finance and Governance Project, presents evidence on how to strengthen health system performance to achieve sustainable health improvements at scale, particularly toward ending preventable child and maternal deaths, fostering an AIDS-Free Generation, and protecting communities against infectious diseases…” (7/28).

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UNAIDS Urges Trade Negotiators To Ensure Agreements Do Not Impede Access To Medicines

UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls on trade negotiators to uphold governments’ commitments to public health and access to medicines
“…Various trade agreements are currently in negotiation and concerns have been expressed that they could involve so-called ‘TRIPS-plus’ measures such as broadening patentability criteria and extending patent duration. … If the global AIDS response is to attain the 90-90-90 treatment target by 2020 — 90 percent of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90 percent of people who know their status on treatment, and 90 percent attaining viral suppression — HIV treatment must be accessible and scale-up must be financially sustainable” (7/28).

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WHO Holds World Hepatitis Day Event In Egypt

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: WHO commemorates World Hepatitis Day in Egypt, where HCV infection rates are high, as are prices to critical medicines
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses WHO’s recognition of World Hepatitis Day on July 28. She highlights the agency’s “flagship event,” held in Egypt to call attention to “the enormous impact of the disease there” (7/28).

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Eastern Europe, Central Asia Should Expand HIV Treatment Access For Drug Users, U.N. Envoy Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: IAS 2015: HIV surges in Eastern Europe and Central Asia while drug users are denied lifesaving services and donors retreat
Reporting from the 2015 International AIDS Society conference, Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a presentation made by Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, during which he compared the HIV/AIDS epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and “called for ramping up investment, getting serious about HIV prevention, expanding treatment access, [and] finding ‘new paths to strengthen human rights'” (7/28).

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Poor Preparedness Responsible For Human Displacement Following Disasters, Report Says

Humanosphere: Disasters didn’t have to displace 19.3 million people in 2014
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which examines the causes of natural disasters and displacement from the effects of disasters. “…IDMC says it is humans who shoulder the responsibility,” Murphy writes, noting early warning systems, better constructed buildings, improved infrastructures, and similar improvements can bolster communities’ resilience (7/28).

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PLOS Adds New Content To Blue Marble Health Collection

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Update to Blue Marble Health Collection
“This week sees a major update to the PLOS Collection ‘Blue Marble Health: the mismatch between national wealth and population health’ with the addition of 50 new papers, including two new editorials published [Tuesday] in PLOS Medicine and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases…” (7/28).

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