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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Finding Resolution On Syria Proving Difficult For International Community

News outlets report that Russia is denouncing a U.N. humanitarian resolution on Syria and peace talks between the government and opposition forces have stalled.

The Hill’s “Global Affairs”: Russia ‘starving civilians’ in Syria, Obama says
“President Obama said Tuesday that Russia was complicit in starving civilians in Syria in blunt comments designed to pressure the Kremlin to stop blocking U.N. action. The comments come after Russia and China skipped a Security Council meeting on a draft resolution that would force Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and the opposition to allow humanitarian access to besieged parts of the country. The world body is expected to bring the resolution up again Tuesday…” (Pecquet, 2/11).

Reuters: Russia says will veto Syria aid resolution in current form
“Russia said on Wednesday it would veto a U.N. resolution on humanitarian aid access in Syria in its current form, denouncing the draft as an effort to lay a foundation for military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Moscow had already dismissed the Western-Arab draft debated in the Security Council on Tuesday as a non-starter, but a senior diplomat’s unequivocal condemnation indicated Russia would seek major changes before dropping its opposition…” (Gutterman, 2/12).

Reuters: Syria peace talks make little progress, says envoy
“Peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition are not making much progress, the international mediator said on Tuesday after a face-to-face meeting of the warring parties in Geneva that both sides called fruitless…” (Holmes/Oweis, 2/11).

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India Celebrates Three Years Of No Polio Cases

News outlets report on India’s achievement of being polio free for three years.

Agence France-Presse: India celebrates eradication of polio
“Indian leaders celebrated the eradication of polio on Tuesday, reminding doubters that something once thought impossible had been achieved and promising to tackle other diseases which still blight the country…” (Plowright, 2/11).

The Telegraph: Ending polio in India is world’s greatest health achievement, says Bill Gates
“Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the world’s biggest charitable donor, has hailed the Indian government’s eradication of polio as the greatest health achievement he has seen…” (Nelson, 2/12).

Times of India: U.S. lauds India for success in fight against polio
“United States on Tuesday congratulated India for completing three years without a single new case of polio being reported anywhere in the country…” (2/11).

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Afghan Polio Case Tied To Pakistan; Vaccination Efforts Prove Challenging

News outlets report on a new polio case in Afghanistan and vaccination efforts in Pakistan.

New York Times: Rare Afghan Polio Case Tied to Pakistan
“A three-year-old girl in Kabul has contracted polio, the first confirmed case in the capital in 12 years, health officials said Tuesday. Afghanistan is one of only three countries where polio is still endemic, and it has been inching closer to its goal of eradicating the disease. But it is next door to Pakistan, where polio is much more widespread, especially in the tribal areas along the border, and most of Afghanistan’s remaining polio cases are traceable to Pakistan…” (Nordland, 2/11).

UPI: One police officer dead, one wounded in attack on polio workers
“One police officer was killed and another wounded in an attack on polio immunization workers Tuesday in northwest Pakistan, officials say…” (2/11).

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USAID, Ethiopia To Expand Partnership With Country's Urban Health Program

Addis Standard: U.S., Ethiopia launch urban health program
“The U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health, launched the Strengthening Ethiopia’s Urban Health Program, which will promote greater health access and improved health status for more than 1.6 million households in 49 cities through high-quality health services…” (2/12).

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U.N. Calls On African Countries To Protect Sexual Rights

VOA News: U.N. Urges African Nations to Protect Sexual Rights
“African countries have been called upon to accept ‘sexual rights’ as an integral and inalienable part of basic human rights and remove all barriers preventing women and girls from claiming such rights…” (Kindzeka, 2/10).

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U.S. Children Born To Immigrants Have Higher Risk Of TB Infection

Medscape: Tuberculosis: U.S.-Born Children of Immigrants at High Risk
“Children born in the United States are six times more likely to have tuberculosis (TB) if at least one parent was born abroad, according to a study published online February 10 in Pediatrics. The finding prompted an accompanying editorial calling for the United States to help reduce TB infections in poorer countries…” (Harrison, 2/10).

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'Brain Drain,' Migration Fosters Exports In Africa, Could Bring Development, Study Says

The Atlantic: Why ‘Brain Drain’ Can Actually Benefit African Countries
“…Migration, then, is considered inversely proportional to success in African development. But a fascinating new paper from the World Bank turns this logic on its head. ‘Does Migration Foster Exports?­’ has a title with an unnecessary question mark. According to the authors, migration does indeed foster exports in Africa, and in numbers large enough that they should catch the attention of development and policy leaders worldwide. Their findings ‘suggest that one additional migrant creates about 2,100 dollars a year in additional exports for his country of origin’…” (Raviv, 2/11).

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Access To HIV Prevention In Prisons Is Crucial To Curbing Transmission

IRIN: HIV interventions also needed behind bars
“Providing access to HIV prevention and treatment services in closed settings, such as prisons, is crucial to curbing the transmission of HIV, particularly among women, say public health experts…” (2/12).

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Pulitzer Center Features Articles On Maternal Health Care In Guinea

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting features two articles on maternal health care in Guinea.

Pulitzer Center: Guinea: Realities of Maternity Care
“The West African nation of Guinea has some of the world’s highest rates of maternal and infant death. For families that can afford improved medical facilities and services at private health institutions, money can buy higher quality maternity care. But for the over 70 percent of Guineans living in poverty, this is not an option…” (Camara, 2/11).

Pulitzer Center: Maternity Care at Guinea’s First Private Clinic
“At certain times of the year at the clinic in Conakry, electricity comes on only at night and piped water is available only one day a week in the morning. Such was the case when I visited the Centre Medical, the first private clinic in Guinea, in January 2013…” (Camara, 2/11).

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New Study On Ancient Plague Outbreak Shows How Disease Spread

ScienceNow: Roads and Floods Help Plague Spread
“Coughs and sneezes may spread diseases, but transport routes and wet climates may help spread the plague. That’s the conclusion of a new study that uses a novel analytical approach to track how a plague epidemic moved across China beginning in the mid-19th century. The results pinpoint which environmental and social factors are most important for plague transmission and could help scientists refine disease control measures in the future…” (Randall, 2/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Nations That Criminalize Homosexuality Unlikely To 'Reach Their Full Economic Potential'

New York Times: Demonizing Gays in Africa
“As acceptance of gays and lesbians has grown in the United States and Europe, intolerance and persecution has been rising in other parts of the world. African nations are leaders in this cruel and dehumanizing trend. … Such laws [criminalizing homosexuality] violate commitments made by United Nations members in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents. … It is unlikely that any of these countries can reach their full economic potential because many foreign entities may find it too risky to invest in such hostile environments. These governments, in abusing their citizens, are moving in dangerous and destructive directions” (2/11).

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Obama Administration Should Focus Energy Development In Africa On Gas Electrification

USA Today: Lomborg: Obama energy policy hurts African poor
Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…If Obama spends the next $10 billion on gas electrification, he can help lift 90 million people out of poverty. If he only uses renewables, the same $10 billion can help just 20 million-27 million people. Using renewables, we will deliberately choose to leave more than 60 million people in darkness and poverty. … The only way to sustainably tackle global warming is to dramatically increase investment in green R&D which will eventually make green energy so cheap everyone will want to switch. But right now, we have a moral responsibility to help lift as many people out of poverty as possible. Our development aid should be used to help 60 million more people out of poverty, not as a tool to make us feel virtuous about facile, green choices” (2/8).

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Congress Must Prioritize 'Hunger As A Health Issue'

Huffington Post: A Broader Dialogue: Addressing Hunger for a Healthier Tomorrow
Tony Hall, executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger

“…To address hunger as a health issue, my organization, the Alliance to End Hunger, has joined forces with ProMedica to host the Come to the Table Summit on Feb. 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This half-day event will bring together leaders from health care, Congress, social service agencies, anti-hunger organizations, and government institutions in order to share viewpoints and knowledge, with an end goal of encouraging national health care organizations to be part of the solution to this national problem. It is clear that too many individuals are suffering on a daily basis from preventable, chronic health ailments stemming from malnutrition and lack of access to affordable, nutritious food. We must broaden the dialogue about addressing hunger as a health issue and make it a policy priority within our Congress…” (2/11).

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Private-Public Partnerships Can 'Positively Impact Health' Worldwide

Huffington Post: Dr. Brundtland’s Impact on Global Health; We Must Stay the Course
Derek Yach, executive director of the Vitality Institute

“During [Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland's] time at WHO [as director general] and since, she has been a powerful advocate of the use of private-public partnerships to tackle many complex issues. … We owe it to Dr. Brundtland and to the many others who have made it their life’s work to improve global health to continue the fight. For their efforts to not be in vain, we need to stay the course and continue to conduct global research to build stronger evidence of what works implement programs using partnerships with purpose and impact in order to positively impact health and quality of life worldwide” (2/11).

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Treating, Preventing NTDs Will Help Lift People From Poverty

Huffington Post: Science for the Poor: Making Vaccines to Combat Poverty
Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine

“…Beyond their staggering public health impact, the economic losses from [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] are also impressive: our studies with collaborators at Johns Hopkins University show that Chagas disease results in more than $7 billion lost annually, mostly in the Western Hemisphere. There are similar data available for many other NTDs. … Science can offer a lot to prevent these infections, thereby making poor people well enough to go back to work, children healthy and intellectually vibrant, and improving pregnancy outcomes. One approach now underway is annual mass treatment with a package of essential medicines that targets several NTDs at once, and costs only 50 cents per person. … For other NTDs, however, we need new technologies…” (2/11).

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Recent Releases

Rwanda, Global Fund Sign $204M Grant To Fight HIV

On Monday, “Rwanda signed a $204 million (around Rwf 138 bn) grant with the Global Fund for implementation of the five-year national strategic plan (2013-2018) to curb HIV/AIDS through this innovative financing mechanism. The innovative approach is expected to significantly contribute to improve the efficiency of the fight against HIV in Rwanda in terms of increasing impact…,” according to a press release from the Government of Rwanda (2/11).

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'No Child Should Die' Of Rotavirus

“Several organizations working on rotavirus have excellent websites including PATH, GAVI and WHO and masterfully use social media to get the word out. But we need more widespread attention to rotavirus,” Helen Matzger, a senior program officer on the Vaccine Delivery Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. She concludes, “The GAVI Alliance supports rotavirus vaccine introduction for low-income countries that apply for support. Country introduction, especially in areas of high burden, will have a large impact on the number of global deaths due to the disease. I hope there is a day soon when I see as many (if not more) Tweets about the reduction of rotavirus burden in children as I do in horses. No child, anywhere, should die from diarrhea” (2/10).

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Blog Highlights Debate Around South Africa's Delayed Patent Reforms

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses details on “Pharmagate,” a plan with the aim “to derail proposed patent reforms in South Africa, [however,] those involved indicated that the plan, dubbed ‘genocidal’ by South Africa Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, was the product of a misunderstanding…” (Barton, 2/11).

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New Issue Of ‘Global Fund News Flash’ Available Online

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has published Issue 37 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue features an article on Rwanda’s advancements in public health as well as one on Belarus’ efforts to address TB. The issue also discusses core features of the fund’s new funding model and provides a link to the list of eligible countries (2/12).

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