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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

MSF Criticizes U.N. For 'Shocking Indifference' Toward Displaced In S. Sudan

News outlets report on Médecins Sans Frontières’s criticism of the U.N. over the living conditions in displacement camps in South Sudan.

Agence France-Presse/Al Jazeera: U.N. accused of ‘shameful attitude’ in S. Sudan
“A leading international aid agency has issued a stinging attack on the United Nations mission in South Sudan, accusing it of a ‘shameful attitude’ and leaving thousands of displaced people living in squalor…” (4/9).

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: U.N. hits back at aid agency criticism of South Sudan mission
“The United Nations on Wednesday hit back at criticism of its mission in South Sudan after a leading international aid agency accused it of ‘shocking indifference’ towards thousands of displaced people living in squalor…” (4/10).

BBC News: South Sudan conflict: MSF accuses U.N. of ‘indifference’
“A medical charity has accused the U.N. in South Sudan of showing ‘shocking indifference’ towards displaced people sheltering at one of its compounds. About 21,000 people were ‘living in flood water contaminated with fecal matter’ at the U.N.’s Tromping base in the capital, Juba, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said…” (4/9).

New York Times: U.N. Ignores South Sudan Camp Crisis, Charity Says
“The United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan was severely criticized on Wednesday by Doctors Without Borders, the emergency medical charity, over what it called a shameful indifference to the squalid living conditions of 21,000 displaced people forced to shelter in a flooded portion of a peacekeeping base in the capital, Juba…” (Gladstone, 4/9).

Médecins Sans Frontières: South Sudan: U.N. Indifferent to Displaced People
“In a shocking display of indifference, senior officials with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have refused to improve living conditions for 21,000 displaced people living in a flood-prone part of a U.N. peacekeeping base in the capital Juba, where they are exposed to waterborne diseases and potential epidemics, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today…” (4/9).

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WHO Releases Hepatitis C Treatment Guidelines Amid Calls For Lower Cost Treatment

Media sources report on the WHO’s first-ever hepatitis C treatment guidelines and increased efforts to lower the cost of the most effective treatments.

Financial Times: Price of hepatitis C drug attacked
“Gilead Sciences is facing mounting pressure over its new $1,000-a-day hepatitis C drug after the World Health Organization joined U.S. politicians and health care companies in voicing concerns over the price…” (Ward, 4/9).

The Guardian: WHO calls for access to drugs for hepatitis C
“Hepatitis C suddenly has a high profile after lurking in the shadows for so many years. This is thanks to Big Pharma, which has developed excellent new drugs that appear able to cure most people. It can cause liver cancer and cirrhosis and the prognosis for many in the poorer countries is death. Once a disease that caused doctors in poor countries to wring their hands, it is now a campaigning issue. The question now is who will get these drugs and how soon?…” (Boseley, 4/9).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency issues first hepatitis C treatment guidelines
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C, a chronic infection that affects an estimated 130 million to 150 million people, in a bid to help improve access to more effective and safer medicines to those who need them…” (4/9).

VOA News: WHO Issues Guidelines for Hepatitis C Treatment
“The World Health Organization is issuing its first-ever global guidelines on treating hepatitis C, a liver disease that kills between 350,000 and 500,000 people every year. WHO said the guidelines will reduce deaths from hepatitis C by helping countries improve treatment and care…” (Schlein, 4/9).

WHO: WHO issues its first hepatitis C treatment guidelines
“…The new guidelines make nine key recommendations. These include approaches to increase the number of people screened for hepatitis C infection, advice as to how to mitigate liver damage for those who are infected and how to select and provide appropriate treatments for chronic hepatitis C infection…” (4/9).

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World's Preparation For Flu Pandemic Improved But Challenges Remain, Expert Says

CIDRAP News: Fineberg: 5 years after H1N1, world still not ready for pandemic
“Five years after the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus emerged, the world’s ability to cope with a flu pandemic is a bit better than it was in April 2009, but there’s still a long way to go, says Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD, who chaired the international committee that was assigned by the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the global response to the pandemic…” (Roos, 4/9).

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U.K. MPs Urge Development Programs To Prioritize Disability

The Guardian: Disability must be a priority within development programs, say MPs
“Disability as an issue needs to be a priority within development programs, according to U.K. [members of parliament (MPs)]. A report published on Thursday by the parliamentary international development committee stresses the close links between disability and poverty…” (Bramley, 4/10).

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E.U. Supports Private Sector Involvement In Africa

Devex: Private sector must be our partner in Africa — Piebalgs
“The European Union acknowledges that the overall goal of providing electricity to over two million people in sub-Saharan Africa cannot be met by the bloc on its own, without help from the private sector. ‘The private sector… needs to be considered as a partner and not as something considered antagonistic,’ said European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who sat down with Devex on the sidelines of last week’s E.U.-Africa Business Forum in Brussels…” (Jones, 4/9).

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Devex Interviews U.N. Official About Steps To Reach Women's Health MDGs

Devex: Leith Greenslade: We have a long way to go on women’s health
“As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, there has been ‘fairly strong’ progress in some health areas — but not all. In particular, we have a long way to go in many aspects of women’s health, according to Leith Greenslade, vice chair at the Office of the U.N. Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs, who sat down with Devex Impact reporter Adva Saldinger for a video interview in New York…” (Santamaria, 4/9).

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Anti-Gay Laws, Cultural Attitudes Prevent Access To HIV/AIDS Programs In Caribbean

Reuters: Anti-gay laws undermine fight against HIV/AIDS in Caribbean — experts
“Anti-gay laws and cultural attitudes are preventing the most vulnerable people accessing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs in parts of the Caribbean, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has said…” (Moloney, 4/9).

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Health Workers To Search For Possible Ebola Patients In Guinean Capital

Reuters: Health workers in Guinea’s capital to hunt for Ebola cases
“Health workers will fan out in Guinea’s capital of Conakry to try to identify people who may have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 4/10).

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Chronic Malnutrition In Côte d'Ivoire Highest In Northern Region

IRIN: Chronic malnutrition dogs Côte d’Ivoire’s north
“Forty percent of Ivoirian children in the northern region are chronically malnourished, the country’s highest rate, which has not fallen for the past six years. The effects of a drawn-out conflict, desertion by aid groups and inadequate medical staff have contributed to the situation. Food scarcity here is often due to harsh weather and high food costs…” (4/9).

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Al Jazeera's 'Lifelines' Series Posts New Content

Al Jazeera: Lifelines: The Quest for Global Health
The news service posts new information in its “Lifelines” series, including pages focused on rabies, river blindness, trachoma, malaria, and schistosomiasis (4/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Conflict Must Stop In Order To 'Build A Better Future' For S. Sudan

Washington Post: Saving South Sudan from chaos
“South Sudan, a new nation midwifed into being by the United States out of the ashes of war, is sinking into a mire of senseless violence and chaos. President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are wrecking their country in a conflict that has lasted more than 100 days and threatens more severe human suffering in the months ahead. … The violence has impeded humanitarian work everywhere in the country. Diseases including measles, malaria, meningitis, and diarrheal illnesses threaten the population. … South Sudan’s independence was a foreign policy success for the Obama administration, but it is turning into a nightmare. The United States can still help the people of South Sudan build a better future, but first, and urgently, Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar must step back from the abyss” (4/9).

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Understanding Ebola Is Vital, But Helping Those In Need Is A Priority

New York Times: Ebola Virus: A Grim, African Reality
David Quammen, author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic”

Ebolaviruses’ “invisible immanence makes them all the more dangerous during those lulls between outbreaks, and for that reason ecological research — efforts to find the reservoir hosts, and to learn how host-to-human spillovers occur — is vitally important. … [But] Ebola in Guinea is not the Next Big One, an incipient pandemic destined to circle the world, as some anxious observers might imagine. It’s a very grim and local misery, visited upon a small group of unfortunate West Africans, toward whom we should bow in sympathy and continue sending help. It’s not about our fears and dreads. It’s about them” (4/9).

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Three Recommendations For Improving Provision Of Health Care In Africa

Huffington Post: Three Recommendations to Foster Development in Africa’s Health Markets
James Bernstein, co-founder, chair, and CEO of Eniware LLC, and Aline Wachner, PhD candidate at the International Research Network on Social and Economic Empowerment at Zeppelin University, Germany

“First, we all need to transcend our conceptual hesitations and start to act. … [Then, in] order to do this, we need to encourage risk-taking and understand failure as a learning opportunity. … Third, we must make sure we don’t lose sight of the very poor. … These three recommendations represent changes to the way that we typically conceptualize the provision of health care in East Africa, but also represent concrete ideas that can be implemented by business leaders, investors, donors, and policymakers. The demographic and economic realities clearly call for a shift in the ‘business as usual’ (or lack thereof) approach to saving lives and improving health in the developing world. Although the prospect of moving beyond the donor-based system that has formed the basis for global health for the last 50 years is daunting, it presents an exciting opportunity to build a new health sector almost from scratch” (4/7).

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Lack Of Access To Sanitary Products Interrupts Girls' Education, Impacts Society

Huffington Post: For Many Girls, the Key to Education is Sanitary Napkins
Maureen Shaw, founder and editor-in-chief at sherights.com

“While [in the U.S.] we’re trying to perfect the art of fishing a tampon out of a backpack unnoticed, there are millions of girls around the world who don’t have access to pads. And that’s not even the worst of it: Because of a lack of sanitation and resources, many girls miss large swaths of school or drop out altogether once they start menstruating. … The bottom line: while it may seem farfetched to some, menstruation literally marks a decline in the quality of life for many girls. Without access to menstrual supplies and sanitation, girls’ health and educational opportunities are marginalized, the long-term consequences of which create a ripple effect among their communities and, collectively, the global economy” (4/9).

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Recent Releases

U.S. Investments In Global Health Save Lives, Maintain National Security

In an opinion piece published in the latest edition of PSI’s Impact magazine, Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) write, “As lawmakers and co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, we have a fiscal responsibility to ensure that American dollars are being spent wisely and effectively. In that spirit, we believe in concentrating on what we do well and where we can have the greatest impact. Such opportunities are abundant in the field of global health. … Congress can continue to help improve the lives of women, newborns and children in developing countries by maintaining our investments in cost-effective, high-impact solutions that have the power to end preventable deaths. Targeted investments in innovative programs save lives, create new allies and markets, and improve our national security…” (4/8).

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Global Health Experts Express Concern Over Uganda's Anti-Gay Law In Letter To GAC

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on a letter sent on Wednesday to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx expressing concern over the impacts of Uganda’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Law on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs in the country. Leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s HIV Medicine Association and the Center for Global Health Policy sent the letter “amidst reports that health services have been curtailed following donor cuts to government and faith-based programs, and that plans to accelerate treatment access in Uganda were being reconsidered,” according to the blog (Barton, 4/9).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has published Issue 41 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue features an article reporting from a regional meeting in Dakar focused on how gender, maternal and child health, and human rights should be integrated into the new funding model; an article on viral load HIV testing; and a piece by John Rae, a documentary and commercial photographer who works for the fund, among other articles (4/10).

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