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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Cuban Health Officials Raise Alarm Over Country's Condom Shortage

The Guardian: Cuba’s condom shortage raises fears of imminent health crisis
“From potatoes to deodorant, toilet paper and bottled beer, Cubans have come to accept chronic shortages as an inevitable part of life after more than half a century of communist rule. Now a shrinking supply of condoms has upset residents of the Caribbean island nation and alarmed health officials who are worried by the possibility of an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies…” (Luscombe, 4/18).

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New York Times Examines U.N.'s Attempts To Stem Cholera Epidemic In Haiti

New York Times: U.N. Struggles to Stem Haiti Cholera Epidemic
“For three years, the United Nations has refused to address whether its peacekeepers brought a deadly strain of cholera to Haiti, insisting instead that it was more important to help the country stanch the disease once and for all. But on that score, it is still very far behind. In some ways, Haiti is even less equipped to tackle cholera than it was three years ago…” (Archibold/Sengupta, 4/19).

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Pope Calls For End To War, Waste Contributing To Hunger In Easter Address

Reuters: On Easter, Pope calls for end to war, condemns waste exacerbating hunger
“Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, on Sunday denounced the ‘immense wastefulness’ in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, and Africa…” (Pullella, 4/20).

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GlobalPost Interviews Paul Farmer About Rwanda's Health Care Success

GlobalPost: Q&A with Paul Farmer: Rwanda as a health care success story
“…Partners in Health, an organization dedicated to providing good health care to the poor in several countries around the world, has worked with the Rwandan health ministry since 2005. … Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer reflects on the lessons of Rwanda’s remarkable turnaround since the country’s genocide 20 years ago…” (Savchuk, 4/18).

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News Outlets Examine UNICEF's 'Take The Poo To The Loo' Campaign

News outlets highlight UNICEF’s “Take The Poo To The Loo” public education campaign in India.

CNN: Can Mr. Poo stop public defecation in India?
“India has an unlikely new public health hero: a giant, anthropomorphic stool that chases people to squat in toilets. Mr. Poo, who appears in commercials accompanied by a groovy techno anthem, is the face of the latest public health campaign by United Nations Children’s Fund in the country…” (Khullar, 4/21).

PBS NewsHour: Using bathroom humor to try to improve India’s rural sanitation
“It will take all of three seconds to recognize UNICEF India’s recent ‘Take The Poo To The Loo’ is not your average public service announcement. The Indian government and private aid groups have struggled with the country’s rural sanitation for years. UNICEF India’s video campaign is an attempt to curb public defecation — by employing a catchy song…” (Tam, 4/18).

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New Cases Of MERS Reported In UAE, Saudi Arabia

News outlets report on the ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Agence France-Presse: UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS
“Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks…” (4/20).

Agence France-Presse: Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub
“Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom’s commercial hub…” (4/19).

Associated Press: Saudi Arabia reports 3 more deaths from MERS virus
“Saudi Arabia’s health ministry says three more patients who contracted a potentially fatal Middle East virus related to SARS have died amid a recent increase in infections…” (4/21).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia announces jump in new cases of deadly MERS virus
“Saudi Arabia confirmed 20 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Saturday and Sunday, adding up to 49 infections in six days, a sudden increase of a disease that kills about a third of the people infected and has no cure…” (McDowall, 4/20).

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Malaria Vaccine Close To Being Licensed

The Guardian: Malaria: is a vaccine the silver bullet?
“… Malaria control efforts have taken many forms. … But with parasite species becoming resistant to the drugs and insecticides used to treat them, members of the global health community are putting more hope in vaccines as a promising new tool in the fight to control and eventually eradicate the disease…” (Scott, 4/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Some Indian Enterprises Incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility Endeavors

Forbes: Corporate Social Responsibility: Should It Be A Law?
Esha Chabbra, contributor

“India is the first country to have corporate social responsibility (CSR) legislation, mandating that companies give two percent of their net profits to charitable causes. Innovative? Perhaps on a policy level. But some small-medium size enterprises within India have already embedded social impact into their company ethos…” Chabbra discusses several of these enterprises and their public health-related endeavors (4/18).

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Saudi Arabia Should 'Report Openly And Honestly' About MERS

Washington Post: New killer virus should be fought with the help of Saudi honesty
“…In the last week or so, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reported clusters of [Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)] cases in hospitals and among health care workers. … Unfortunately, there is far too little information about the virus coming from Saudi Arabia. … More than a year and a half after the virus was identified, there is a dearth of information about its genetic make-up and a lack of case-control studies that could offer clues about how it spreads. It isn’t comforting that Saudi officials are urging people not to panic. The most reassuring thing they can do is to report openly and honestly what is going on” (4/18).

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Global Community Must Support 'Virtually Bottomless' Needs In CAR

Washington Post: International aid can’t arrive soon enough for the Central African Republic
“The unanimity with which the United Nations Security Council approved a peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic early this month attested to the dire situation in that impoverished country. … Much more aid, however, is needed. A U.N. appeal for $547 million had attracted only about a fifth of that amount by the beginning of this month. The Obama administration has provided or pledged $67 million in humanitarian assistance as well as $100 million for the training, equipment, and transport of the African Union mission and $7.5 million for human rights and other programs. That’s generous support, but the needs of the Central African Republic are virtually bottomless” (4/20).

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N. Carolina Can Serve As Global Health Innovation Hub

News & Observer: How N.C. is helping U.S. stay ahead of the curve in global health
Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International

“…So today, we’re changing the way we work. We’re emerging from our silos in global health and throwing open our gates to get experts and creative novices from across industries working together, merging good ideas and concepts to create great ones. North Carolina is the perfect place for this. … SwitchPoint is an annual two-day gathering hosted by IntraHealth International. … For the third year in a row, creative minds from around the world will gather to create unlikely partnerships and find unusual solutions to all kinds of development issues. … Let’s harness the creativity and energy and spirit concentrated in our state. Let’s create switchpoints and solve big problems…” (4/18).

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Kenya Can Lead On African Gender Equality

The Guardian: Does Kenya have the courage to lead on women’s rights in Africa?
Faiza Jama Mohamed, Nairobi director of Equality Now, which acts as the secretariat of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights

“…If it chooses, Kenya can take a lead in Africa on gender equality, but it needs to be much more consistent in its legislative policy and it must deter from enacting harmful discriminatory laws that ignore previous commitments. In the African Women’s Decade, we should focus not only on ending all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls in Kenya, but on being proactive about making the country a more just society for all. This will take true leadership and an abundance of political will, and we hope that Kenya has the guts to make this leap” (4/21).

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Recent Releases

Humanosphere Examines Effects Of Migration On Health Worker 'Brain Drain'

Writing in Humanosphere, Martin Drewry, director of Health Poverty Action, examines the effects of migration on the “brain drain” of health workers. Drewry writes, “The health worker brain drain is one topic within a myriad of issues when it comes to migration — and within the broader debate it will doubtless bump up against other considerations. But, in view of its impact on poverty and global health, and despite the complexities, the inequitable distribution of health workers is an issue the world simply must address” (4/18).

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Polio Movement Achieves Successes, Faces Challenges

Writing in PSI’s “Impact” blog, founding director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Pakistan and co-director of research in global child health at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Zulfiqar Bhutta, shares reflections on polio efforts made in 2013 and looks ahead to 2014. Bhutta notes, “The cost of not achieving polio eradication is basically that you burn the investment of the last decade-and-a-half completely, and you go back to the state we had before. … Even now the model for polio is very expensive, with the campaigns that have to be done. It costs millions, and it distracts people and health workers from their day job. For this to go forward, what we have to do is win the polio war…” (4/18).

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Global Fund's TB, Malaria Efforts In China Reveal 'Mixed Legacy'

Writing in the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) “Asia Unbound” blog, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at CFR, discusses TB control and malaria eradication efforts in China, noting that while efforts to control these two diseases have been successful, “a comparison of the role of the Global Fund in China’s fight against TB vis-à-vis malaria… reveals the uneven progress in grant performance in China. In the case of malaria, there is a low value for money problem.” Huang examines the Global Fund’s “mixed legacy” in China further with Jia Ping, chief executive director of the Health Governance Initiative, in a working paper (4/18).

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Canada Announces Funding Contribution To Address Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada on Friday “announced a joint funding contribution of $1,285,000 [CAD] to address the current outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.” The agencies “will continue to work closely together with the WHO and other partners as the situation in West Africa evolves” (4/18).

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U.S. State Department Releases Fact Sheet On GBV Initiative

The U.S. State Department released a fact sheet outlining the objectives of the recently launched Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Emergency Response and Protection Initiative. “This Initiative fills a critical gap by providing urgent assistance to threatened individuals with rapid, targeted, short term assistance. … [and] can assist individuals facing harmful traditional practices such as early and forced marriage, ‘honor’ killings, and female genital mutilation, as well as other forms of GBV, such as female infanticide; child sexual abuse; sex trafficking and forced labor; sexual coercion and abuse; neglect; domestic/intimate partner violence and elder abuse…” (4/18).

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