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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Younger, Childless Individuals And Men More Likely To Drop Out Of HIV Treatment In S. Africa

News sources report on a study published in PLOS ONE that examines why HIV-positive people in South Africa drop out of treatment.

Counsel & Heal: Young, Male, Childless Most Likely to Quit HIV Treatment
“Treatment is extremely important for curbing the spread of HIV. However, new research reveals that younger people, men and people without children are most likely to drop out of HIV care in South Africa. … Researchers analyzed data collected in a previous study that followed 380 HIV-positive people who were eligible for HIV treatment in a rural part of South Africa over a four-year period. Researchers said they wanted to understand factors that increased the likelihood of dropping out of HIV care…” (Hsu, 2/20).

Royal Holloway, University of London: Younger people, men and those without children more likely to drop out of HIV care in South Africa
“Analysis carried out by an academic at Royal Holloway, University of London has revealed that younger people, men and those without children are more likely to stop attending clinics for HIV treatment in South Africa…” (2/21).

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News Outlets Report On Anti-Gay Laws, Actions In Several African Nations

News outlets report on several issues surrounding anti-gay laws in African nations.

Associated Press: Quiet diplomacy faulted for Africa’s anti-gay laws
“…The anti-gay bills are overwhelmingly supported by the general public in both Uganda and Nigeria, providing opportunities to win political points for two presidents eyeing re-election. But international gay rights activists also blame donor countries, including the United States, which favor behind-the-scenes diplomacy intended to avoid a backlash that might come from more forceful engagement…” (Corey-Boulet/Muhumuza, 2/20).

Agence France-Presse: S. Africa frees Uganda gay activist from detention
“South African authorities on Thursday released a gay Ugandan activist after four days in custody, following an outcry from rights groups that he would be targeted if deported home…” (2/20).

Science Speaks: Anti-gay laws, rhetoric, impact, response: Good news, bad news and no news
The Center for Global Health Policy’s blog summarizes anti-gay news from Uganda, Gambia, and Nigeria (Barton, 2/20).

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USAID Commits $15M Toward Maternal Health In Zimbabwe

Bernama: Zimbabwe Receives US$15 Million For Maternal Health
“The U.S. government will provide US$15 million as support towards the reduction of maternal and child deaths in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana reported. U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton said at a closing ceremony of the USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) here Thursday that the U.S. government was committed to saving the lives of Zimbabwean mothers, newborns and children through the provision of financial and technical support…” (2/21).

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U.N. Releases Results From MyWorld2015 Survey

Washington Post: The illuminating — and perhaps alarming — results of a huge survey answered by 1.4 million people around the world
“Thursday, the United Nations is releasing some of the results of what is thought to be its largest global survey ever, part of a worldwide initiative called MyWorld2015. The idea behind the survey, conducted by [the] United Nations Millennium Campaign, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Overseas Development Institute plus other partners, is relatively simple: People from all around the world were asked which six factors, out of 16 possibilities, would improve their lives and those of their families…” (Taylor, 2/20).

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Dengue Cases High In SE Asia As Summer Season Nears

The Global Dispatch reports on the dengue fever outbreaks occurring in Southeast Asia.

Global Dispatch: Dengue fever outbreak warning issued as Thailand nears summer season
“After recording 153,000 dengue fever cases in 2013, the most in two decades, the Thailand Ministry of Health is sending out a warning of a possible dengue outbreak in the country this year as the hot season arrives, according to a National News Bureau of Thailand report Wednesday…” (Herriman, 2/20).

Global Dispatch: Dengue fever cases still high in Malaysia, Singapore
“The number of dengue fever cases in these two Southeast Asian countries continue to increase at a considerable pace, according to the latest stats from Malaysia and Singapore…” (Herriman, 2/20).

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Greek Financial Crisis Affecting Country's Health Care System, Study Shows

News sources report on a study published in The Lancet detailing how Greece’s financial crisis is impacting health care in the country.

Associated Press/Washington Post: Greek financial crisis tied to worsening health
“Researchers say they have found new evidence that Greece’s financial crisis is taking a toll on the health of its citizens, including rising rates of HIV, tuberculosis, depression and even infant deaths. Since the economic crisis hit several years ago, the government’s health spending has been slashed and hundreds of thousands of people have been left without health insurance. As cuts have been made to AIDS prevention programs, rates of HIV and tuberculosis in drug users have spiked…” (2/21).

University of Oxford: Greece’s deepening health crisis
“Greece’s health crisis is worsening as a result of continued health care budget cuts, says a new study published in the medical journal, The Lancet. Researchers say the harmful effects of austerity are linked to the increasing inability of patients to access the health system, large rises in the incidence of infectious disease, and a deterioration in the overall mental health of Greek people…” (2/20).

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FAO Outlines Critical Food Security Issues In Near East, North Africa

U.N. News Centre: Water scarcity among critical food security issues in Near East and North Africa — U.N.
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) [Thursday] warned that water scarcity is one of the most urgent food security issues facing countries of the Near East and North Africa, with fresh water availability in the region expected to drop by 50 percent by 2050…” (2/20).

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U.K. House Of Lords Debates Scale Up Of NTD Response Strategy

Vaccine News Daily: U.K. House of Lords debates NTD response plan
“Vice-chair of the [U.K.'s] All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropic Diseases Baroness Helene Valerie Hayman chaired a debate of the United Kingdom House of Lords that addressed health initiatives regarding neglected tropical diseases. The debate looked at the progress made towards countering NTDs since the 2012 London Declaration established a plan for what is needed to successfully overcome the diseases…” (Limardo, 2/20).

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UNAIDS Executive Director Expresses Concern Over Crisis In CAR

Business Day: UNAIDS boss alarmed at looming CAR humanitarian tragedy
“Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director, on Wednesday night expressed concern at the looming humanitarian tragedy in the Central African Republic (CAR), characterized by the unprecedented political, social, and security crisis. Sidibé, who was visiting CAR to participate in a joint mission of the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a bid to evaluate the needs for a humanitarian corridor, said if there was no immediate action, CAR might lose a whole generation…” (2/20).

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Cameroon To Regulate Illegal Clinics In Effort To Address Health Care Crisis

NPR: As Health Crisis Looms, Cameroon Cracks Down On Illegal Clinics
“…Cameroon is tackling a health care crisis. … But public health care is too expensive, or simply not available, for many families. So they’ve turned to unauthorized clinics for care. … [However,] the government sees these private, unauthorized facilities as a threat to public health. And it has kicked off a campaign to shut them down: The clinics that meet standards in regards to their staff, equipment, and hygiene will be asked to legally register, the Ministry of Public Health says. The ones that do not successfully register will be closed…” (Caballero, 2/19).

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Nigerian First Lady Attributes High Maternal, Child Mortality To Lack Of Health Information

Nigerian Tribune: First Lady links high maternal, child mortality to lack of information about health issues
“The wife of the president [of Nigeria], Dr. Patience Jonathan, has attributed the high maternal and child mortality in the country to lack of information and knowledge about health issues…” (Okeke, 2/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Ugandan Scientist Responds In Open Letter To Country's Proposed Anti-Gay Law

New York Times: An Open Letter on Homosexuality to My Fellow Ugandan Scientists
Dean Hamer, scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health

“President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is about to sign into law a vehement anti-gay law after ‘medical experts presented a report that homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior,’ according to a tweet from Ofwono Opondo, a Ugandan government spokesman. … The president’s action, which would result in lifetime imprisonment for homosexual acts, is based on a report that was issued in the form of a press release with no supporting evidence, citations or analysis. I am writing to urge my fellow scientists at Makerere University, the Ministry of Health, and throughout Uganda to reconsider and issue a revised report…” (2/20).

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Recent Releases

Organizations Send Letter To Congressmen Asking For Birx Confirmation Hearing

“Signers from 28 organizations advocating for global HIV responses called on United States Senators Robert Menendez and Robert Corker to schedule a confirmation hearing in the next week for Dr. Deborah Birx, nominated by the White House last month to serve as the next U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and lead the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief…,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports (Barton, 2/20).

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Guest Blogger Questions Whether Global Health Research Perpetuates Disparities

In a Humanosphere guest post, Johanna Crane, a medical anthropologist and assistant professor at the University of Washington, writes, “…As interest in and funding for global health exploded, American universities have seen a proliferation of programs, institutes, and departments dedicated to ‘global health.’ Hundreds of U.S. (not to mention Canadian) institutions are now competing for research and training sites in low-income countries, especially in Africa. In some ways, these efforts bring helpful resources to underfunded health care systems, but at the same time they generate a ‘scramble’ for desirable — read: poor — research and clinical sites where Americans can go to ‘do’ global health. In short, global health needs inequality, even values it, in a way that deeply troubles the field’s defining goal of redressing global health disparities…” (2/20).

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Service Delivery Must Be Evaluated To Achieve Improved Health Outcomes

In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Dana Hovig, director of integrated delivery at the foundation, discusses service delivery strengthening and writes that in order “to do this work well, we need to deeply understand the context in which we work, help demand intersect with the supply of products, leverage private and public sectors, and encourage the mix of incentives and institutions that is most likely to produce sustainable, well-managed health services that poor people need most. … We hope that with the growing global focus on getting delivery right, we can also be sure that we’re also continuing to get evaluation right. At the end of the day, results are only as good as the extent to which they are integrated into future decisions, better policies and programs, achieving more impact for the people we serve” (2/18).

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Report, Policy Brief Examine Malaria Elimination Financing

The UCSF Global Health Group and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates has released a new report and policy brief, titled “Financing for Malaria Elimination.” The report examines global and domestic resource allocation trends to malaria-eliminating countries and makes recommendations for new and additional funding sources. The report finds that the Global Fund is the largest financier of malaria-eliminating countries — only seven percent of its total malaria portfolio has been allocated to the 34 malaria-eliminating countries, and this proportion is falling (1/23).

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