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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Deborah Birx Sworn In As U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Media sources report on the swearing in of Deborah Birx as the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.

New York Times: New Global AIDS Chief for U.S. Assumes Post
“Dr. Deborah Birx, a former chief for global AIDS for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was sworn in on Friday as the nation’s global AIDS coordinator…” (McNeil, 4/4).

Science Speaks: Dr. Birx sworn in as PEPFAR leader
“Two days after her confirmation as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Ambassador at large, Dr. Deborah Birx was sworn in today to her new office, the U.S. Department of State has announced…” (Barton, 4/4).

PEPFAR: Dr. Deborah Birx Sworn In as New U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
“Dr. Deborah Birx was sworn in today as the new Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator to lead all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. Ambassador Birx now oversees implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history, as well as all U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…” (4/4).

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U.S.-Funded HIV Project Raided In Uganda Under Country's Anti-Gay Law

News outlets report on a raid at a U.S.-funded HIV project in Uganda, aimed at enforcing the country’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Law.

Agence France-Presse: Uganda police raid HIV project for ‘homosexuality training’
“Uganda police raided a U.S.-funded HIV project for ‘training youths in homosexuality,’ the government said, weeks after the president signed a widely criticized anti-homosexuality law. … It appeared to be the first such move since Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in February signed a bill that calls for ‘repeat homosexuals’ to be jailed for life and requires people to report gays…” (4/4).

Associated Press/ABC News: Uganda: Police Raid U.S. Project That Assisted Gays
“…The Makerere University Walter Reed Project in the Ugandan capital of Kampala was targeted for ‘training youths in homosexuality,’ spokesman Ofwono Opondo said on Twitter Friday. He offered no further details but said a ‘top diplomat’ was involved in the alleged training. The project said in a statement Friday that it was suspending its activities in Uganda after one of its staff, a Ugandan citizen, was arrested and briefly detained by police on Thursday…” (Muhumuza, 4/4).

Reuters: Uganda arrests U.S.-funded health project staffer over gay law
“…In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday that the United States is ‘deeply concerned’ about the incident, saying it ‘significantly heightens our concerns about respect for civil society and the rule of law in Uganda, and for the safety of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) individuals’…” (Biryabarema, 4/5).

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Airport Passengers In Guinea Screened For Ebola; Mob Attacks Treatment Center

News outlets continue to report on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, including precautions taken at airports and a mob attack at a treatment center.

Associated Press: Guinea: Airport passengers screened for Ebola
“Health officials in Guinea say all passengers departing from the capital city’s airport must fill out a health form and have their temperature taken as part of an effort to combat the spread of the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever…” (4/6).

Associated Press: Crowd attacks Ebola treatment center in Guinea
“A crowd angry about an Ebola outbreak that has killed 86 people across Guinea attacked a center where victims were being held in isolation, prompting an international aid group to temporarily evacuate its team, officials said Saturday…” (Diallo, 4/5).

Reuters: Mob attacks Ebola treatment center in Guinea, suspected cases reach Mali
“An angry crowd attacked an Ebola treatment center in Guinea on Friday, accusing its staff of bringing the deadly disease to the town, Médecins Sans Frontières said, as Mali identified its first suspected cases…” (Diarra/Hussain, 4/5).

VOA News: Mob Attacks Ebola Treatment Site in Guinea
“The Guinean government appealed for calm Saturday, after a mob attacked a center where Ebola virus victims were being treated…” (4/5).

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'Women In The World Summit' Addresses Maternal Health, Women's Voices

News outlets report from the “Women in the World Summit,” which took place in New York last week.

Daily Beast: Fighting Maternal Mortality
The article discusses the “Breakthroughs in the Fight Against Maternal Mortality” panel, sponsored by Merck, that took place at the “Women in the World Summit” Friday in New York City (Barr, 4/4).

Huffington Post: Jon Stewart At Women’s Summit: ‘I Still Naively Believe That We Can All Make A Difference’
“As its name suggests, the ‘Women in the World Summit’ focuses on defiant and determined women who are making this planet a safer and more empowered place for their gender. But, because he is such an ardent advocate for women’s issues, Jon Stewart was invited to take to the main stage. The usually sardonic comic had a surprisingly hopeful message to share…” (Goldberg, 4/4).

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UNICEF To Immunize 20M Children Against Polio In Iraq, Syria, Egypt

News outlets report on UNICEF’s polio vaccination campaign launched over the weekend in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.

Deutsche Welle: Massive polio vaccination underway in Syria and Iraq
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a vaccination campaign Sunday as part of an international response to a major polio outbreak in war-torn Syria that was confirmed last October. Amid fears that the disease has spread to neighboring countries, UNICEF aims to vaccinate more than 20 million children, including 5.6 million in Iraq alone, over the next five days…” (4/6).

Fars News: Mass Polio Vaccine Campaign Starts in Iraq, Syria, Egypt
“According to UNICEF, the program aims to vaccinate more than 20 million children, including 5.6 million in Iraq alone…” (4/6).

The National: U.N. to vaccinate 20 million children after Iraq polio case
“A massive polio vaccination campaign was launched on Sunday in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt after health officials found a suspected case of the virus in a young boy near Baghdad. The five-day campaign aims to vaccinate more than 20 million children, including 5.6 million in Iraq alone…” (4/6).

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Health Officials Confirm Chikungunya Outbreak In Dominican Republic

News outlets report health officials have confirmed an outbreak of chikungunya in the Dominican Republic.

Associated Press: Mosquito-borne virus arrives in Dominican Republic
“Health authorities in the Dominican Republic have reported the first outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus that has spread quickly in the Caribbean in the weeks since it was first detected in the region. Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo says blood samples analyzed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first cases in the country of the virus known as chikungunya…” (4/4).

CIDRAP News: Action urged against insect-borne threats in the Americas
“Officials from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and their global health partners today urged countries in the Americas to step up their efforts to battle insect-borne diseases, a point that was underscored by news of the first chikungunya outbreak in the Dominican Republic…” (Schnirring, 4/4).

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Clinical Trial Of Drug To Prevent Excessive Bleeding After Childbirth Set To Begin

The Guardian: Drug to prevent excessive bleeding after childbirth could save thousands of lives
“The trial of a new drug to prevent excessive bleeding in women after childbirth, which could potentially save thousands of lives annually, is to begin in 12 countries in June…” (Ford, 4/4).

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Laws Banning Abortion In Senegal Pose Risk To Women's, Girls' Health, Guardian Reports

The Guardian: Senegalese law bans raped 10-year-old from aborting twins
“A 10-year-old girl who is pregnant with twins after she was raped by a neighbor has been forced to continue with her pregnancy after human rights campaigners lost their fight to secure a legal route to abortion. The plight of the girl, who is five months pregnant and lives in Ziguinchor in the south, highlights the heavy cost women and children are paying for a Napoleonic law on abortion that is still in force in the former French colony…” (Smith, 4/4).

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Carter Center Working To Eradicate Guinea Worm Disease

VOA News: Carter Center Marks Progress in Fight Against Guinea Worm, River Blindness
“Guinea worm disease and river blindness are among 17 tropical diseases the World Health Organization considers neglected. Thanks to the efforts of the Atlanta-based Carter Center — founded by former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn — focused treatment and prevention are leading to the elimination of one, and the extinction of another…” (Farabaugh, 4/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address World Health Day Issues

The following opinion pieces and editorial discuss issues surrounding World Health Day, recognized on April 7 and this year focused on vector-borne diseases.

CNN: World Health Day: The neglected diseases that plague 1 in 6
Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…It’s easy to focus on the bleak side of NTDs, but the truth is their control and elimination potentially represents the next major public health success story. … When treatments are given to a community over a sustained period of five to seven years, elimination of NTDs as a public health threat is achievable. … It is paramount global leaders prioritize NTDs on the post-2015 development agenda to make NTDs a plague of the past…” (4/7).

Devex: Governments need to ‘join up and scale up’ on health
Tanya Barron, CEO of Plan U.K.

“…The approaching deadline for the Millennium Development Goals presents us with a real opportunity. Now … is the time for bold steps toward realizing the right to health for all. That means deep reflection on how we need to shape our approach to global health going forward. For me, one word stands out: integration. … More than 60 years on from the first World Health Day, we live in times of great uncertainty. But that should not obscure the fact that the world has sufficient resources and tools to bring child deaths from unpreventable causes down to zero…” (4/7).

Financial Express: Editorial: Once bitten
“In advance of the World Health Day, April 7, WHO has warned that close to half of the world population is now at risk from vector-borne diseases. While mosquito-borne dengue is the world’s most rapidly spreading vector-borne disease — 2.5 billion people in 100 countries now risk contracting the disease, the WHO says — the threat from such diseases is especially grave for South East Asia. … Which is why stepping up R&D on finding cures and vaccines — for example, for dengue which has no cure or vaccine — becomes all the more important. … This is where countries like India, which stand to lose the most if vector-borne diseases assume the drastic proportions WHO has warned about, need to step in and ease policy to facilitate discovery of cures and vaccines” (4/5).

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IPCC Report Demands Action On Climate Change

Washington Post: The new IPCC report shows that work to limit climate change must begin now
Noting the findings of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “its first comprehensive report since 2007 on the changes that might accompany a rising global temperature and on humanity’s potential to cope with them,” the editorial states, “It isn’t encouraging. A more rational Washington wouldn’t have needed this document to formulate a better plan for handling the many risks; that would have happened long ago. … The experts leave little doubt about the right response: Cut pollution to head off the worst possible consequences and prepare for the risks the world is unlikely to avoid, given its inability to slash emissions quickly. Delaying action, they note, reduces the world’s options and affords vulnerable people less time to cope. … [Action] demands that both [Democratic and Republican] parties admit there is a dangerous problem that demands attention — now” (4/5).

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Crucial Civilian Aid 'In Jeopardy' In Afghanistan

Foreign Policy: Let Me Down Easy
Anja Manuel, partner at Rice Hadley Gates LLC and lecturer at Stanford University, and Justine Isola, associate at Rice Hadley Gates LLC

“…Since the war in Afghanistan began more than a decade ago, U.S. civilian aid to Afghanistan has largely — if unintentionally — been coupled with military aid. And now that military assistance is on the chopping block, civilian aid is also in jeopardy. … Even if the United States can’t sustain the current level of $2.1 billion in civilian aid over the long term, it should taper the reduction of assistance so as not to jeopardize the significant gains made by the international community in rebuilding Afghanistan’s economy and society. … As Afghanistan prepares for the first democratic power transition in its history, the patient support of the international community is more critical than ever. Continued civilian support for Afghanistan is a crucial — and not overly costly — insurance policy against renewed war and instability in the region” (4/4).

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Solving World's Problems Requires Women's Rights, Gender Equality

Devex: The SHE imperative
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, U.N. under-secretary-general and executive director of U.N. Women

“…It is now widely recognized that women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict and that peace agreements and national institutions that include women are more durable and democratic. … As the head of U.N. Women, I am working to make sure that women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are at the heart of all development, humanitarian and peace and security efforts. In this effort, I am promoting the SHE imperative. S stands for safety and security from violence; H stands for human rights; [and] E stands for empowerment and equality. We cannot solve the major problems facing our world today — poverty, inequality, conflict, or climate change — without the full and equal participation of women. We also need men and boys, and this is why U.N. Women launched the He for She campaign so men and boys can stand up for women’s rights and equality….” (4/2).

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Counterterrorism Measures Must Stop Using Vaccination Teams As Covers

Foreign Policy: The Shots Heard Around the World
Laurie Garrett, journalist and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“New shots are jeopardizing humanity’s battle to eradicate polio, and they don’t include syringes or vaccines. Rather, they’re the gunshots of Islamic terrorists. … The collective forces of global health are watching their efforts backtrack, thanks to warfare and to the growing belief within Islamist circles that the polio-eradication effort is a secret CIA plot, designed to harm or contaminate Muslim children. … As predicted, in 2012 several Taliban leaders and mullahs issued decrees, linking polio vaccination to U.S. military use of drones and accusing vaccinators of being CIA spies. They called for a jihad against immunizers. … In the end, polio will be eradicated when counterterrorism no longer includes fakery, and Islamists cease believing in jihad against health workers” (4/4).

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Recent Releases

Gender Equality, Empowerment Of Women, Girls Remains Critical To Post-2015 Agenda

In the U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote” blog, Catherine Russell, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, reports from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and discusses challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls. Russell writes, “After lengthy negotiations the member states of the CSW reached consensus on the Commission’s principal outcome document, known as the ‘Agreed Conclusions.’ This document notes that the MDGs have made some good progress — including on primary education enrollment, decreasing child deaths and maternal mortality, and slowly increasing women’s representation in government. Disappointingly, the Commission failed to agree to language recognizing the unique challenges faced by members of certain groups, including LGBT women and girls. … The United States will continue to work through multilateral bodies, such as the CSW, and collaboratively with other governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to make certain gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the forefront of the new Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Agreed Conclusions and the CSW were a critical step to making this a reality” (4/4).

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Capitol Hill Briefing Highlights Impacts Of Anti-Gay Laws In Africa

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog summarizes a recent Capitol Hill briefing at which a panel of experts discussed the public health impacts of emerging laws in Africa criminalizing homosexuality. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Population Council Vice President Naomi Rutenberg, Ugandan HIV treatment and gay rights advocate and physician Paul Semugoma, amfAR Vice President Chris Collins, and an unnamed spokesperson from the Population Council spoke at the briefing, according to the blog (Barton, 4/4).

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IFRC Brings Attention To Dengue In New Report

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has published a special report on dengue, titled “Dengue: Turning up the volume on a silent disaster.” The report’s homepage states, “To end the silent suffering of individuals, families, children and communities who continue to bear the burden of this preventable disease, the facts about dengue and methods to contain and reduce it must be brought into the open. The IFRC is turning up the volume on this silent disaster and advocates for a shift in approach from responding to isolated outbreaks of dengue to investing in long-term, integrated programming including community initiatives leading to sustainable behavioral change…” (4/4).

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