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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Researchers Test New Ways To Contain Malaria

On World Malaria Day, which takes place each year on April 25, media outlets discuss efforts to control the disease.

VOA News: Trial: Malaria Chemoprevention Protects Children
“The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres, has launched a new malaria prevention campaign in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa aimed at protecting the illnesses’ most vulnerable population — children under the age of five…” (Berman, 4/24).

VOA News: Despite Gains in Controlling Malaria, Drug Resistance Remains a Concern
“Malaria is a disease that kills more than 600,000 people every year. It debilitates even more. Each year on World Malaria Day, we take stock of the disease, what’s been done to contain it, and what still needs to be done…” (Pearson, 4/23).

Financial Times: Researchers test new ways of controlling malaria
“From the biological point of view, malaria is a particularly complex disease. It is caused by an unusual pathogen, the protozoan Plasmodium parasite, which has an extremely involved lifestyle shuttling between two hosts: mosquitoes and humans. This triangular complexity involving protozoa, people, and insects presents a formidable problem to scientists looking for new treatments. But it can also be seen as an opportunity, because there are potentially more points of attack than for simpler diseases…” (Cookson, 4/25).

WHO: World Malaria Day 2014: WHO helps countries assess feasibility of eliminating malaria
“On World Malaria Day (25 April), WHO is launching a manual to help countries to assess the technical, operational, and financial feasibility of moving towards malaria elimination…” (4/24).

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White House Criticizes Provision In Bill Impacting Food Aid

News outlets report on the White House’s response to a provision in a spending bill that would impact food aid.

New York Times: Provision Could Limit U.S. Food Aid
“An obscure provision tucked inside a Coast Guard spending bill could prevent millions of people in troubled countries around the world from receiving American food aid and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in shipping costs, the Obama administration said this week. The provision, which is included in the Senate version of a House bill that passed this month, would require that three-quarters of the United States food aid that is shipped to places like South Sudan be sent on American vessels, up from the one-half now required by law. The administration, which has made overhauling the food aid program one of its top priorities, said the change would drastically increase the costs of shipping food aid overseas because it would limit the ability of the United States Agency for International Development, which runs the program, to use the most cost-effective shipping options available at the time of each shipment…” (Nixon, 4/24).

The Wall Street Journal: White House Warns Bill Would Crimp Foreign Food Aid
“A little-noticed provision in a bill passed by the House this month calls for relying more on U.S.-flagged ships to deliver food aid to foreign countries — a change backed by labor groups and criticized by the White House. The measure, tucked into a Coast Guard and maritime bill, would increase the proportion of food aid transported abroad on private ships flying the U.S. flag, which are required to employ primarily American mariners…” (Peterson, 4/24).

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U.N.-Backed Initiative Expands Efforts To Drive Medical Innovations For NTDs

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-backed initiative boosts knowledge-sharing to combat neglected tropical diseases
“Announcing that more than 50 partners are now on board its partnership initiative to fight against neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria, the United Nations intellectual property agency today hailed the watershed achievement as a significant step towards helping more than one billion people overcome such maladies…” (4/24).

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TIME Highlights Leaders, Innovators In Health

TIME: TIME 100: The People in Health You Need to Know
“The 2014 TIME 100 list — the annual determination of people who influenced the world in the past year for better or worse — is here, and we highlight the leaders making a difference in health. This year, TIME recognizes innovators who tackled issues from hunger and maternal health to marijuana and aging…” (Sifferlin, 4/24).

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New Research On Tsetse Fly Could Help Fight Sleeping Sickness

News outlets report on a study published by Science on the genes of the tsetse fly.

Los Angeles Times: Blunting the tsetse fly’s deadly bite
“…While Human African trypanosomiasis, or ‘sleeping sickness,’ has been declared a neglected tropical disease endemic to Sub Saharan Africa, new research is raising hopes that something might be done to slow its spread by targeting its sole carrier — the tsetse…” (Morin, 4/24).

New York Times: New Tool to Fight Deadly Tsetse Fly
“After 10 years of effort, a team led by scientists at Yale has finally decoded the genes of the tsetse fly, a bloodsucking scourge of Africa. With that knowledge, they hope to find new ways to repel or kill the insects, whose bite transmits sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease that, like rabies, drives its victims mad before they lapse into a coma and die…” (McNeil, 4/24).

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Aid Groups Struggle To Meet Humanitarian Funding Needs In South Sudan

Devex: Donors, NGOs scrambling to meet funding needs in South Sudan
“In war-torn South Sudan, the humanitarian situation not only doesn’t improve but seems to get worse each week — and funds are drying up…” (Ravelo, 4/24).

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U.N. Report Finds Humanitarian Aid To Syria Still Blocked

New York Times: U.N. Finds Humanitarian Aid Still Blocked in Syria, Despite Resolution
“Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have no access to medical supplies because the warring sides in the country’s civil war are blocking humanitarian relief, according to an advance copy of a report from the United Nations secretary general…” (Sengupta, 4/24).

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DRC Plans Vaccination Campaign For Yellow Fever

Global Dispatch: Yellow Fever Reported In Democratic Republic Of Congo, Mass Vaccination Campaign To Commence In One Week
“A total of 139 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of yellow fever, including 6 death[s] were reported in the North and in the South of Democratic Republic of Congo beginning in March, which has prompted a reactive mass vaccination campaign that is planned for 1 May 2014…” (Herriman, 4/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Malaria Vaccines Make 'A World Without Malaria' Possible

The Guardian: Malaria vaccines: from impossible to probable
Ashley Birkett, director of PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative

“At the turn of the last century, governments, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and the commercial sector mobilized to stem the tide against malaria, an ancient scourge. The result has been impressive — an estimated 3.3 million deaths averted since 2001. As we mark World Malaria Day and World Immunization Week this year, it’s important to reflect on this progress, but realize that the fight against malaria is far from over…” (4/24).

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Candidate Vaccine Against Malaria Brings Hope To End Disease

Financial Times: An effective vaccine against malaria may at last be in sight
Joe Cohen, adviser to the malaria vaccine project at GlaxoSmithKline

“…While huge progress has been made during the past decade, thanks to bed nets, better treatments and diagnostic tools, [malaria] still claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year — mostly young African children. The need for new approaches is as relevant now as it was then. … We will always need to look for better approaches to stay ahead and, I hope, to make malaria history” (4/25).

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Changing The Way The U.S. Gives Foreign Assistance

Politix: Getting Our Money’s Worth On Foreign Aid
Diana Ohlbaum, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“…[F]oreign aid is only about 1 percent of our budget — and the part that is used to help the world’s poorest people is less than half that amount. These percentages have been the same for decades. But what is changing is the way we give foreign assistance, and the impact it is having on people’s lives. We’ve started to do independent, scientifically-sound evaluations that show what works and what doesn’t. … Together, greater accountability and country ownership in our foreign aid programs will build the human resources that enable countries to take responsibility for their own development. Promoting this kind of sustainable development is not just the right and moral thing to do. In this increasingly interconnected world, it’s essential for the health and well-being of our own people, and for the security and prosperity of our nation” (4/24).

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Senegal Leads By Example In Fight Against Malaria

Skoll World Forum: The Battle to End Malaria: Senegal Leads by Example
Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Senegal’s Minister of Health, and Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…Certainly, World Malaria Day is a time to consider the great progress we have made globally against the disease. But it is also an opportunity to consider what remains to be done to truly defeat it once and for all. … In the years ahead, the Global Fund will deepen its work with governments and encourage increased private sector investments and domestic co-financing. On this World Malaria Day, will you join us in mobilizing the resources needed to seize the opportunity to defeat malaria once and for all — and give all communities the chance to be malaria-free like Richard Toll?” (4/24).

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Recent Releases

Humanosphere Discusses Gates Foundation's Focus On Science, Delivery of Global Health

Writing in Humanosphere, Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist of the blog, discusses the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s focus on developing new products to fight diseases. Paulson writes, “The world’s biggest philanthropy has reorganized to devote its global health program, run by former Novartis executive Trevor Mundel, almost entirely to supporting research aimed at finding new drugs or vaccines. … The focus will continue to be on supporting innovative research and on infectious diseases, Bill [Gates] said in answer to one question [at the Global Health Product Development forum]. But that focus will incorporate a much more deliberate early-stage discussion about how the innovation will be designed to ensure it is not just a cool new technology the poor never see” (4/24).

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Highlighting World Malaria Day

Several sources recognize World Malaria Day, held annually on April 25. The President’s Malaria Initiative highlights a number of resources and events that underscore this year’s theme, “Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria,” most notably its Eighth Annual Report to Congress, “which describes the U.S. Government’s contributions to the global fight against malaria” (4/25). In The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Alan Magill, director of the Foundation’s malaria program, takes a look at the global progress made addressing malaria, and describes his optimism for achieving “a world free of malaria” (4/25). In UNICEF’s “Connect” blog, Linda Tom, chief of external communication for UNICEF Central African Republic (CAR), describes her experiences and UNICEF’s role in addressing malaria in CAR (4/24).

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USGLC Honors American Innovator For 'Miracle Food' That Can Beat Malnutrition

A U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) blog post honors Mark Moore, founder of MANA Nutrition. MANA (Mother Administered Nutritive Aid) is a ready-to-use therapeutic food that “[a]t around 500 calories per packet, three servings a day of this powerful peanut paste, for six to eight weeks can bring a child back from the brink of starvation. … [MANA] has become a major player in the battle to prevent child deaths due to severe acute malnutrition…” (Chang, 4/24).

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USAID Official Calls For Urgent Humanitarian Assistance In South Sudan

USAID’s “Impact” blog discusses the U.S. call for humanitarian action in South Sudan, highlighting a PBS NewsHour interview with Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID, and Khalid Medani of McGill University (Ramundo, 4/24). The U.S. State Department’s “DipNote” blog features the assistant administrator’s reflections on her trip to South Sudan. Lindborg writes, “The leadership on both sides of the conflict must do everything in their power to enable immediate and unconditional access for U.N. and humanitarian organizations to ensure that this urgently needed assistance reaches those in need across all areas of South Sudan. They must act now to lead their country toward peace” (4/21).

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Development Banks Play A Role In Addressing NTDs

In a blog for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, the authors outline how “[p]artners from multiple sectors, including development banks, play an important role in the response to control and eliminate NTDs.” Examining the activities of a number of specific banks, they conclude that “[t]he ability to bring together diverse partners and encourage cross-sectoral coordination is a hallmark that is unique to these development banks and is critical to meeting the 2020 NTD control and elimination goals” (Jain/Tantri, 4/23).

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Blog Lists University Centers To Receive World Bank Funding

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought” blog lists 19 university-based centers in West and Central Africa to receive $150 million in World Bank funding for advanced specialized studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related disciplines, agriculture, and health (4/23).

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