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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

High-Level Panel Discusses Importance Of Universal Health Care In Development Framework

Devex: New high-level support for universal health coverage
“World Bank President Jim Kim convened an impressive panel on the sidelines of the bank’s spring meetings on Friday to lend their voices to the growing chorus of support for a global goal for universal health coverage by 2030. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala were among those who, on Friday, discussed the importance of including a universal health coverage goal in the global development framework that is currently being drafted by world leaders…” (Stephens, 4/11).

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44 Developing Countries Commit To Accelerating WASH Efforts

Devex: Developing countries, partners renew WASH pledges
“Up to 44 developing countries and their partners committed on Friday to accelerate efforts to provide basic sanitation to 2.5 billion people and clean drinking water for another 750 million across the globe. At the Sanitation and Water for All high-level meeting in Washington, D.C., participants renewed their promise to work toward universal access to clean water and toilets by 2030, as well as eliminate open defecation…” (Santamaria, 4/14).

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Modest Reforms Of U.S. Farm Bill Provide Some Flexibilities For Food Aid

IRIN: New U.S. Farm Bill provides hope for food aid reform
“Efforts to improve the way the U.S. government distributes roughly U.S.$2 billion in international food aid each year achieved some successes in the recently enacted Agriculture Act of 2014 — commonly referred to as the Farm Bill — but the food aid mechanism used by the world’s largest donor continues to prioritize the needs of U.S. commercial interests…” (4/14).

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World Bank's Kim Calls For Renewed Urgency, More Coordination To Fight Cholera In Haiti

Miami Herald: World Bank head Jim Yong Kim calls for renewed urgency in Haiti’s cholera fight
“The head of the World Bank is calling for a renewed sense of urgency and more coordination from the international community to help Haiti eliminate cholera, which has killed thousands of Haitians since its outbreak in October 2010…” (Charles, 4/12).

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U.N., U.S., E.U. Call For Action On South Sudan; U.N. Official Expelled From Sudan

News outlets report on the humanitarian situation in Sudan and South Sudan.

Devex: UNFPA chief’s expulsion: Another humanitarian crackdown in Sudan?
“The international aid community was dealt another blow this week in Sudan, when the government ordered the head of the U.N. Population Fund to leave the country…” (Ravelo, 4/11).

U.N. News Centre: U.N., United States, European Union issue joint ‘call for action’ on South Sudan
“Expressing deep concern about the crisis in South Sudan and its impact on civilians, the top United Nations humanitarian official joined [on Saturday] with her counterparts from the United States and the European Union to urge more support for the war-torn country’s people, who have been severely affected by conflict, displacement and food insecurity…” (4/12).

VOA News: U.N. Warns of Child Deaths and Malnutrition in South Sudan
“The United Nations says a famine in South Sudan likely will kill up to 50,000 children this year if more action is not immediately taken. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, says an additional quarter-million children will suffer severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year unless treatment is scaled up…” (4/11).

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UNICEF Calls For Increased Investment In Syria's Children

The Guardian: Syria’s children need guaranteed funding to prevent a ‘lost generation’
“The crisis in Syria, which has left 5.5 million children in need of urgent educational and psychological support, will become an even greater humanitarian catastrophe if the international community does not come up with three years’ guaranteed funding, UNICEF has warned…” (Jones, 4/14).

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Private Sector Must Play Role In Maternal, Child Health Initiatives, Canadian Minister Says

Canadian Press/CBC News: Private sector a key partner in Harper maternal health initiative: Paradis
“Canada must have help from private-sector companies to meet its key development goal of reducing infant mortality and improving the health of young mothers in poor countries, says the country’s aid minister. Tying Canada’s overseas development assistance to private-sector partnerships has been a controversial proposition for the Harper government, and one that Development Minister Christian Paradis makes no apologies for…” (4/13).

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Filipino Health Worker Dies Of MERS In UAE; Five Others Infected

News outlets report on the death of a health worker from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United Arab Emirates. Yemen also reports its first case of MERS.

Agence France-Presse: Filipino paramedic dies of MERS in UAE
“The United Arab Emirates announced Friday that one of six Filipino paramedics in the UAE who have been infected by the MERS coronavirus has died from the respiratory disease. The announcement comes just days after a 24-hour shutdown of the emergency department at a major hospital in Saudi Arabia, where most cases have been reported, amid fears of a spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome among medical staff…” (4/11).

Associated Press: UAE: Paramedic dies from MERS, others infected
“A paramedic in the United Arab Emirates has died after contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and five others have tested positive for the virus, the Gulf nation’s interior ministry said Friday…” (Schreck, 4/11).

Reuters: One foreign health worker dies, five infected with MERS in UAE: agency
“One expatriate health worker has died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and five others have been infected with the disease in the United Arab Emirates, state news agency WAM reported on Friday…” (Aboudi, 4/11).

Reuters: Yemen reports first case of deadly MERS coronavirus
“Yemen reported its first case of the deadly MERS coronavirus on Sunday in a further spread of the deadly strain in the Middle East two years after its outbreak in neighboring Saudi Arabia…” (Ghobari, 4/13).

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Bangladesh Makes Strides In Ending Newborn Deaths, Report Says

VOA News: Q&A with Ishtiaq Mannan: Preventing Newborn Deaths
“Save the Children says that over a million babies die each year on their birthday. These are preventable deaths. However, some Asian countries are bright spots in this sad reality. In its newest report, Ending Newborn Deaths, Bangladesh figures prominently. It’s the region’s greatest success at making successful strides in reining in this statistic. Ishtiaq Mannan told VOA’s Frances Alonzo that the deaths happen because of premature birth and complications during birth…” (Alonzo, 4/13).

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Chilean President Bachelet Vows To Revise Nation's Abortion Ban

GlobalPost: Is Chile about to end Pinochet’s total ban on abortion?
“…Chile is one of just six nations in the world, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, which have blanket bans on abortion, permitting them in no circumstances, even if the mother is at the point of death. Those six countries are the tiny Mediterranean island state of Malta plus five from Latin America: Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. That may be about to change. Michelle Bachelet, a socialist pediatrician who recently won re-election as Chile’s president after four years running the United Nations Women initiative, has vowed to revise the national abortion ban imposed by General Augusto Pinochet in 1989 in one of his last acts as dictator…” (Tegel, 4/13).

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Clinical Trials Of Hepatitis C Treatments Show Success

News outlets examine recently released clinical trial results of hepatitis C treatments.

Financial Times: Drug groups step up race for hepatitis C treatments
“Drugmakers are stepping up the race for multibillion-dollar hepatitis C treatments after trial data showed how the disease had become one of the most promising areas of drug development…” (Ward, 4/13).

Los Angeles Times: New drugs provide cure for hepatitis C, research finds
“…In a series of clinical trial results, a new generation of antiviral medications was able to clear the liver-ravaging virus from virtually all patients’ bloodstreams in as little as eight weeks. Even in patients with the most stubborn infections, the new drugs were capable of suppressing the virus completely at rates well over 90 percent. The treatments, however, come with a steep price tag…” (Healy, 4/11).

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U.S.-Funded Research On Ebola Treatments Shows Progress

CQ HealthBeat: U.S.-Funded Ebola Drugs Make Gains in Testing
“While global health agencies confront the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa, researchers funded by federal agencies are gaining ground in efforts to develop medicines to combat the deadly virus…” (Young, 4/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Has 'Moral Obligation To Lead On Global Health'

TIME: White House, Congress Should Remember Pope Francis During Budget Process
Emily Conron, coordinator of faith-based outreach for END7, and a member of the Young Leaders Council of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

“…After his meeting last month with the Holy Father, President Obama said he and the American people had been inspired by the new pope’s global leadership on poverty. … One of the biggest indicators of a country’s priorities from a moral perspective is how it chooses to spend its revenue. The United States has steadily increased its aid in important global health efforts, most notably those that improve the lives of the poorest people on earth. … The United States must not back away from its global leadership on these issues. President Obama and leaders in Congress, who have found new inspiration in Pope Francis, must act on his call ‘to remember the people, especially the poor, who are affected by the economic decisions we make.’ The Holy Father is right: governments must work together to protect the poor. And as the richest country on earth, the United States has a moral obligation to lead on global health…” (4/10).

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Cuts To U.S. Global, Domestic TB Program Funding Would Be Detrimental

The Hill: Not the time to reduce TB funding
Gerald Friedland, professor at Yale School of Medicine and member of the scientific advisory committee for the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Center for Global Health Policy

“In testimony supporting the president’s budget request [last] week, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah asserted that the funding proposed for his agency would allow it to ‘continue to make cost-effective interventions that save lives’ and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. But in the tightened spending environment that lawmakers and Shah cited repeatedly, a cut that is anything but cost-effective went unnoted in his remarks. Although the challenges to USAID’s work in such an environment are many, few cuts could be more expensive in the long run than reductions in spending to confront the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. … An approach to global health that does not address the threat that TB continues to pose globally will come with a price that we will continue to pay for years to come. Fortunately, Congress rejected a similarly myopic approach to global health spending in the president’s last budget proposal. That was encouraging, and a hopeful sign of enlightenment not evidenced in the president’s global health budget request, or Shah’s response to it, for the coming year” (4/11).

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Russia's Takeover Of Crimea Negatively Impacting HIV Prevention Services

The Independent: Battling AIDS: Former health secretary claims Russia is causing setback in efforts to defeat the virus
Norman Fowler, former British health secretary

“…One of the unwelcome first results of the Russian takeover of Crimea has been a radical change in policy on the treatment of injecting drug users. … For Crimea’s 805 registered methadone users, the future is bleak. Its health ministry confirmed on Thursday the ban on methadone therapy. In the next few weeks, the drug will have run out and the likelihood is that most of the users will be forced back to injecting. From the point of view of HIV prevention, this is disastrous. No one expects the Russians to do what in Britain we started doing in the 1980s, and provide a ready supply of clean needles. Many users will have no other option but to share needles. This is a sure way to spread the HIV virus. … AIDS activists rallied in Kiev last week, calling on Crimea’s new government to think again. There is little hope it will do so. … The past 30 years have seen so many strides forward in helping those seeking to combat the HIV virus. But in Crimea, a life-saving medical service will no longer be offered and the patients who had been seeking help abandoned” (4/13).

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Recent Releases

Ambassador Birx Highlights Principles Of PEPFAR's Public Health Approach

Ambassador Deborah Birx, who was confirmed as the new U.S. global AIDS coordinator last week, released a statement on the principles of PEPFAR’s public health approach. She notes, “We have delivered results by following sound science, focusing on impact, targeting efforts where the virus is most prevalent, and grounding our work in approaches that protect the human rights of all people. PEPFAR is a public health program, and the principles of good public health demand that we strive to reach all affected populations with core HIV services even — and, I would argue, especially — when facing difficult cultural contexts, severe stigma and discrimination, or challenging security environments. These principles have underpinned PEPFAR from the outset, and we will never waver from them…” (4/11).

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Blog Summarizes Recent Discussion On WASH, NTDs, Poverty Reduction

“[An] important conversation also occurred this week: ‘Why water and toilets matter in foreign aid,’ hosted by WaterAid at the National Press Club. Barbara Frost, chief executive of WaterAid U.K.; Henry Northover, head of policy at WaterAid U.K.; and Lisa Schechtman, director of policy and advocacy at WaterAid America spoke about how WASH can advance many U.S. interests. WaterAid also invited Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Global Network’s managing director, to weigh in about the health implications of poor WASH circumstances,” according to a post on the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End The Neglect” blog. The post summarizes the conversation (Elson, 4/11). A separate post on the blog notes, “This week, the former President of the Republic of Ghana and the Global Network’s Special Envoy for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), John A. Kufuor, joined partners from the U.S. government, NGO community and private sector to discuss ways to increase access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)…” (Gordon, 4/11).

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Gates Foundation's 'Reinvent The Toilet Challenge' Exhibits Progress For WASH In India

In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Doulaye Koné, senior program officer for sanitation technologies and tools at the foundation, discusses progress made in and future steps for the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: India” (RTTC), a program aimed at developing safe and affordable sanitation. After visiting New Delhi to review progress on the program, Koné notes, “It was amazing to see so many ideas and technologies integrated into devices that can safely collect and processes human waste. … I left Delhi full of optimism and confident that the sanitation challenges faced by the community, and particularly girls and women, in Jain Mandir Cluster can be resolved with innovative technologies and great services. I remain very optimistic that our partners are on the right paths to transform the health and lives of billions people in years to come” (4/11).

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