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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Kathleen Sebelius Resigns As HHS Secretary

News outlets report on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation.

Financial Times: Kathleen Sebelius to resign as U.S. health secretary
“Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. health secretary, is preparing to resign having overseen the disastrous rollout of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law…” (Jopson/Chon, 4/11).

The Hill: Sebelius to resign as HHS chief
“Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will resign from President Obama’s Cabinet on Friday, ceding her role as the top official in charge of Obamacare. Obama intends to replace Sebelius, who has come under fire for the botched rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange, with Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The announcement will be made at the White House on Friday morning…” (Viebeck et al., 4/10).

New York Times: Sebelius Resigns After Troubles Over Health Site
“Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning, he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said…” (Shear, 4/10).

Reuters: Health secretary resigns after Obamacare launch woes
“U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, a White House official said on Thursday…” (Rampton, 4/11).

Roll Call: Sebelius Resigning; Burwell to Take Place
“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and President Barack Obama will replace her with OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell…” (Dennis, 4/10).

Washington Post: Kathleen Sebelius to step down as HHS secretary; OMB director will take her place
“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning, ending a tumultuous tenure as the public face of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama will nominate his budget director on Friday as her successor, according to White House officials…” (Eilperin/Goldstein, 4/10).

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Ugandan Police Accuse U.S.-Funded HIV/AIDS Project Of Gay 'Recruitment'

Agence France-Presse: Uganda police accuse HIV/AIDS project of gay ‘recruitment’
“Police in Uganda have accused a U.S.-funded AIDS project that they raided last week of paying young men to become homosexuals, a report said Thursday. Quoting a police statement explaining the operation, the Daily Monitor newspaper said the Walter Reed Project, which provides treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, had been ‘infiltrated’ by officers and was found to be recruiting gays…” (4/10).

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Humanitarian Aid System 'Stretched To Breaking Point,' U.K. Development Secretary Says

The Guardian: Justine Greening: global humanitarian aid system is near breaking point
“The global humanitarian aid system is being ‘stretched to breaking point’ by climate change, war, population growth, and extremism, and must be overhauled to ensure that more is done to prepare for disasters rather than merely relieve them, the British government will warn on Friday…” (Jones, 4/11).

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Some Countries Win Lower Pricing For Hepatitis C Treatment; Pharma Defends High Cost

News outlets report on developments surrounding the pricing of Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment, Sovaldi.

Bloomberg News: Developing Countries Pay 1% of U.S. Price for Gilead’s Sovaldi
“Developing countries such as Egypt, India, and Brazil won discounts to pay one percent of the $84,000 price Gilead Sciences Inc. is charging U.S. patients for its new hepatitis C drug. Wealthier countries such as Ukraine and China may not be so lucky, according to Doctors Without Borders, the nonprofit international aid group…” (Kitamura, 4/10).

Reuters: U.S. drug industry group defends price of Gilead hepatitis drug
“The leading U.S. pharmaceutical industry trade group on Thursday defended the cost of Gilead Sciences Inc’s new hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, saying such treatments offer a priceless breakthrough for patients with the liver-destroying virus…” (Heavey, 4/10).

Reuters: Doctors welcome hepatitis C drug rivals, Gilead still leads
“Doctors at a key medical conference welcomed the prospect of more new drugs to treat the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus, while agreeing that Gilead Sciences Inc continues to lead the effort…” (Beasley/Hirschler, 4/11).

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World Trade Organization Addresses Food Security, Agriculture Issues

Financial Times: World Trade Organization takes on food security conundrum
“…Following what turned out to be the success in Bali, the WTO is now engaged in a monumental debate over what comes next. As Roberto Azevêdo, the Brazilian diplomat who took over as director-general of the WTO last September, has made clear, that means having to tackle prickly issues such as agriculture — and food security — head on…” (Donnan, 4/11).

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Global Fund's New Funding Model Launched In West, Central Africa

Media sources discuss the launch in West and Central Africa of the new funding model of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Bernama: African Countries Discuss New Funding Model To Fight Diseases
“Twelve countries from the eastern and southern African regions met here over the past four days to discuss the new funding model of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria. Countries which attended the meeting were hosts Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eritrea, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Sudan and Swaziland, Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) reported…” (4/11).

UNAIDS: Launch of the new funding model of the Global Fund in West and Central Africa
“The new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) funding model was presented to key actors in the AIDS response in West and Central Africa during a workshop organized by UNAIDS and the Global Fund in Dakar, Senegal, from 2 to 3 April…” (4/10).

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Aid Organizations Work To Contain Spread Of Ebola In West Africa

News outlets report on international aid organizations’ efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Agence France-Presse: Aid groups take emergency steps against Ebola onslaught
“International aid organizations launched a series of emergency measures across west Africa on Thursday in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, which is threatening every country in the region…” (Taggart, 4/10).

Associated Press: Aid workers back at Ebola center that mob attacked
“Doctors Without Borders is again caring for Ebola patients at a Guinean health center it fled when an angry crowd attacked last week. Spokesman Sam Taylor said Thursday the organization was back at work in Macenta, where a mob accused aid workers of starting the outbreak. Guinea has never before had a case of Ebola…” (4/10).

U.N. News Centre: Providing West African communities with sound information crucial to curbing spread of Ebola — U.N.
“Together with Ministries of Health and other partners across seven countries in West Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is using culturally sensitive communication strategies to disseminate life-saving information in order to contain the often-fatal Ebola virus, through text-messaging, radio shows, TV programs, and door-to-door campaigns…” (4/10).

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Food Security Deteriorating In CAR As U.N. Approves Peacekeeping Mission

News outlets report on food security in the Central African Republic (CAR), as the U.N. approves a peacekeeping mission for the country.

IRIN: Priced out of food in the CAR
“The mass exodus of Muslims from the Central African Republic (CAR) amid insecurity is having an adverse impact on access to basic foodstuffs, say retailers and local people…” (4/10).

U.N. News Centre: INTERVIEW: WFP chief declares ‘the time is now’ for Central African Republic
“Racing against time and bad weather, prodding fickle donors and an indifferent general public, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working on all fronts to support millions of desperate people in the Central African Republic (CAR) and to keep international attention focused on the escalating crisis…” (4/10).

Reuters: U.N. Security Council OKs peacekeepers for C. African Republic
“The United Nations Security Council authorized on Thursday the creation of a nearly 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic in a bid to end violence between Christians and Muslims that has threatened to spiral into genocide…” (Nichols/Dembassa-Kette, 4/10).

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Polio Immunization Efforts Continue In Iraq, Cameroon

News outlets discuss efforts to vaccinate populations against polio in Iraq and Cameroon.

Associated Press: Iraq scrambles to fight polio surge amid conflict
“Across parts of Iraq, medical teams in white coats and gloves again roam the streets giving children polio vaccines and marking the walls of their homes, fighting a resurgent virus once more taking advantage of the country’s turmoil…” (Salaheddin, 4/10).

IRIN: Vaccines alone cannot beat polio in Iraq
“A countrywide vaccination campaign is under way in Iraq following the country’s first confirmed case of polio in 14 years, but public health experts warn it will take more than immunization to beat the virus. Inadequate sanitation, contaminated water sources and poor public health systems are also major factors in the spread of polio…” (Redvers, 4/10).

VOA News: Cameroon Polio Vaccination Targets CAR, Nigerian Refugees
“Cameroon has announced a special polio vaccination campaign for all children after half a dozen cases were identified. There are fears that children fleeing dangerous situations in neighboring countries, such as terrorist violence in Nigeria — one of a few nations which have not eradicated polio — are spreading the virus…” (Kindzeka, 4/10).

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UNICEF's 'Take Poo To The Loo' Campaign In India Meets Criticism

Wall Street Journal: U.N. Campaign Targets Open Defecation in India
“He’s lumpy and brown. But, boy, can he dance. Meet the unlikely face of UNICEF’s latest public health campaign in India: Mr. Poo. The anthropomorphized feces is part of a campaign — ‘Take Poo to the Loo’ — that tries to tackle a problem that has been surprisingly resistant to solutions: More than half of Indians don’t use toilets. … Joking about something so taboo — and, for many, a source of national embarrassment — could backfire…” (Lalwani, 4/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Health Workers Play 'Critical Role' In Delivering Quality Care Worldwide

Huffington Post: Thank a Health Worker — Unsung Heroes of Global Health
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health at USAID

“…Health workers — whether a doctor, nurse, midwife or physician’s assistant — are an integral part of a well-functioning health system and necessary for the delivery of quality health care not only in the United States, but all around the world. As the world comes together to celebrate World Health Worker Week, we are reminded of the critical role health workers play both in the developed world as well as some of the poorest countries plagued with an unimaginable shortage of health services and limited access to care. … USAID’s leadership in the field of [Human Resources for Health (HRH)] advances our goals by building foundational components for a health system. … By collaborating with U.S. government sister agencies and engaging in public-private partnerships, USAID strives to ensure our collective U.S. government support in HRH is well-coordinated and producing the best value for our investment. … As we look ahead, USAID wants to make sure we continue to recognize those health workers who go above and beyond each day…” (4/10).

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Uganda's Anti-Gay Law Illustrates Limits Of U.S. Influence In Africa

The Hill: The Ugandan anti-gay bill and the limits of U.S. influence in Africa
Joshua Meservey, assistant director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center

“…[Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni’s decision [to sign an anti-gay bill] is the latest instance of Washington being unable to influence an allied African leader, the result of shifting geopolitical trends and blundering diplomacy. Limited influence over our friends is a challenge that will remain and may well grow, and policymakers need to adopt far smarter and more strategic ways to apply effective pressure at critical moments. … U.S. influence with a number of our African allies has eroded recently, exacerbated too frequently by fumbling diplomacy. It is past time to adopt a more informed and strategic approach to ensure the United States remains a relevant and trusted actor on a continent that is only becoming more important economically, politically, and militarily” (4/10).

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Strengthen Political, Financial Commitments To Sustain NTD Control

The Lancet: Neglected tropical diseases: becoming less neglected
“…Looking ahead the focus must be on long-term sustainability and continued equity in NTD control, including expansion of NTDs tackled beyond the selected ten. Putting in place coherent and sustainable health and social protection systems is also key. This can only be achieved by countries committing to universal health coverage and anchoring NTDs in the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Access to NTD control interventions and increasing their impact on reducing chronic disability must top the agenda. … Unfortunately, there was too little time for discussions in Paris last week [at a meeting of global health leaders] to refine targets and indicators to assess access and impact of NTD control as part of any future SDGs. To be sure, political and financial commitments need to be strengthened much more if the London Declaration and the WHO Roadmap are to be fulfilled…” (4/12).

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Learning From HIV To Treat, Prevent HPV, Other Cancers

The Hill: HPV may be the new HIV
Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, founder of BFFL Co.

“In May, I will be traveling with a group of physicians to Botswana for a conference sponsored by the Ministry of Health and several other organizations in hopes to inspire discussion around cancer care in Botswana and to work toward setting up a sustainable system for regular cancer treatment. Using knowledge from the AIDS epidemic, we will formulate a plan for treating the related cancers that will include education, health care training, vaccination, screening, treatment and follow-up. … However, careful planning must be undertaken first to develop an infrastructure capable of screening, diagnosing, treating and following patients. The country must be introduced to the idea of cancer care and cancer prevention, integrated into the health care system that already exists. Health care workers require training to screen, diagnose and present viable treatment plans while medicines, equipment and tools are desperately needed. Together, with the team of qualified physicians, we hope to build a model that can be transferable with other countries facing similar epidemics, to work to improve the quality of life for people across the globe, starting one country at a time” (4/10).

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Recent Releases

USAID's Shah Testifies Before Congress On Global Health Budget

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s lack of mention of global tuberculosis and HIV in his opening remarks during the FY 2015 congressional budget hearings on Capitol Hill earlier this week (Aziz, 4/10).

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Blog Examines Prospects For FY15 U.S. Foreign Aid Budget

Writing in Humanosphere, development blogger Tom Murphy discusses the prospects for the FY 2015 U.S. foreign aid budget. “…Everyone is not happy with the White House plan, though nobody is ever completely happy with the U.S. foreign aid budget. Despite that, foreign aid supporters are more concerned with fending off potential cuts…” (4/10).

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White House Expert Says Global Health Is National Security Issue

Elizabeth Cameron, White House national security expert, served as the keynote speaker for the April 9 “New Avian Influenzas in East Asia: Global Health Security and Policy” symposium at Georgetown University, according to a press release. She said, “The challenge we face as a global community is how to leverage resources and funding across disparate streams and interests to move toward similar goals and targets … so we can better detect and respond [to disease threats].” The press release states, “Over the past decade or so, public health threats such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and an array of flu strains, including H5N1 and H1N1, have set local, regional, and national governments scrambling to coordinate a response. These threats exposed an acute need ‘to galvanize world leaders around an agenda’…” (4/10).

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Working Together, Global Community Can Defeat Vector-Borne Diseases

Katherine Bliss, senior associate at the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), writes in the center’s “Smart Global Health” blog about this year’s World Health Day, the theme of which was “preventing vector-borne diseases.” She writes, “With more than one billion people globally infected by vector-borne diseases each year, and with one million deaths occurring annually as a result, this year’s World Health Day message is that strengthening prevention activities and protecting the most vulnerable social sectors from vector-borne diseases are essential. Through international, regional, and local level cooperation in managing educational campaigns and vector-management activities, community members and public officials can work hand in hand to take a bite out of vector-borne diseases” (4/10).

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Blog Features Video Of CSIS Panel On Global Food Security

Global Food For Thought,” the blog of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative, features a video of a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) panel on global food security. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) gave the keynote address, which was followed by a discussion with Peter McPherson, former USAID administrator; Jonathan Shrier, acting special representative for global food security at the State Department; and Margaret Zeigler, executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative (4/10).

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