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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

State Department Disagrees With SIGAR Report On Funding For Afghanistan

News agencies report on a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction and the State Department’s response to allegations of funding misuse.

Associated Press/Washington Post: Watchdog points finger at USAID over Afghanistan
“Money is still flowing to Afghan ministries from the U.S. Agency for International Development despite assessments that they can’t manage or account for the funding, according to a report from federal inspectors published Thursday…” (1/30).

United Press International: Questions raised over USAID funding to Afghanistan
“The State Department said it disagrees with the notion that Afghan development funds from the U.S. government were misused by the country. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction published a 107-page report Thursday on U.S. development aid to Afghanistan. The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying it disagreed with the way in which the report was interpreted…” (1/31).

State Department: SIGAR Ministerial Assessments Audit
“…While there is no way to completely eliminate risk, USAID applies stringent oversight and accountability mechanisms to ensure that its assistance to the Afghan government is implemented properly. We disagree with the impression left by the SIGAR audit report, and conveyed in some of the surrounding media and social media campaign, that USG funds are being subjected to unnecessary risk in Afghanistan because of the deficiencies identified in the Afghan Ministries…” (1/30).

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Number Of Cancer Cases Will Rise To Nearly 22M Worldwide By 2030, Report Says

On the eve of World Cancer Day, news outlets examine a new report (.pdf) from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Agence France-Presse: Cancer cases ‘set to rise by half by 2030’: U.N.
“New cases of cancer will rise by half by 2030, reaching 21.6 million per year compared to 14 million in 2012, the U.N. said on Monday in a global analysis of the scourge…” (Le Roux, 2/3).

Associated Press: Cancer cases worldwide to jump to 22 million
“…Monday’s report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated in 2012 there were 14 million new cases but predicted that figure would jump significantly due to global aging and the spread of cancers to developing countries. The Lyon-based cancer arm of the WHO said more than 60 percent of the world’s cancer cases are in Africa, Asia, Central and South America…” (2/3).

The Guardian: Worldwide cancer cases expected to soar by 70% over next 20 years
“…The latest World Cancer Report says it is implausible to think we can treat our way out of the disease and that the focus must now be on preventing new cases. Even the richest countries will struggle to cope with the spiraling costs of treatment and care for patients, and the lower income countries, where numbers are expected to be highest, are ill-equipped for the burden to come…” (Boseley, 2/3).

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U.N. Calls For Additional Funding For Sahel Region

News outlets report on the U.N.’s call for additional funding in Africa’s Sahel region to address humanitarian issues such as those in Central African Republic and Mali.

Reuters: U.N. seeks $2 billion for Sahel, fears donor fatigue
“The United Nations appealed on Monday for more than $2 billion to feed and care for a record 20 million people across Africa’s Sahel belt, but aid workers said they feared donor fatigue and a weak global recovery may prevent them from reaching the target…” (Hussain, 2/3).

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: U.N. calls on donors to close massive funding gap
“Unless additional funding is secured for the Central African Republic (CAR), nearly two million desperate people will be forced to go without food and basic necessities, the United Nations said today, as regional leaders attending an African Union summit in Ethiopia discuss ways to stop the ongoing fighting…” (1/31).

Washington Post: Aid groups warn of food crisis in northern Mali
“Humanitarian groups are warning that northern Mali soon could be facing a serious food crisis unless more money is raised. The agencies warned Friday that more than 800,000 people need immediate food aid and some three million people nationwide are at risk…” (1/31).

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Access To Clean Toilets, Education Improves Children's Lives, UNICEF Reports

NPR: Access To Toilets And Books Improves Life For Kids Across The Globe
“The world is in the midst of a porcelain revolution. Nearly two billion people have gained access to clean toilets, or at least a decent outhouse, since 1990, the non-profit UNICEF reports Thursday. … That rise in sanitation has led to big health improvements, the agency says. … But toilets aren’t only the reason the world is becoming a better place for kids. Children around the globe today have more access to education, medicine, and food than they did two decades ago, UNICEF finds…” (Beaubien, 1/30).

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Connectivity Makes Threat Of Emerging Infectious Diseases High In Asia, Experts Say

IRIN: Connectivity and emerging infectious diseases in Southeast Asia
“Experts sometimes describe Southeast Asia as a ‘hotspot’ for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) because several major outbreaks have started in this region. Now, with unprecedented levels of connection between animals and people through urbanization, and of people with other people through increased air travel, scientists say the threat level for new diseases is high…” (2/3).

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Researcher Examines How Mathematical Models Can Help Responses To Disease Outbreaks, Food Aid

Financial Times: Mathematical models and national security
The newspaper interviews Lawrence Wein, a professor of management science at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who teaches courses on operations, mathematical analysis, and inventory and queuing theory. “…Such theories form the backbone of business operations for companies like McDonald’s, so that it knows how many cashiers and people flipping burgers are needed to serve the lunchtime rush at any given franchise. But the main focus of his research applies these theories to questions of public health and national security…” (Dembosky, 2/2).

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Forbes Profiles Young Entrepreneur Using Financial Incentives To Encourage Health, Development

Forbes: Why This Social Entrepreneur Is Paying African Women To Go To Free HIV Clinics
“Svetha Janumpalli thinks you can save a child for the cost of a pair of shoes. The 26-year-old, who was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list this year, is moving to Nigeria from San Francisco in two weeks time to prove her point. For the past few years Janumpalli has been building New Incentives, an organization that pays people in poverty small sums of money regularly to go to an HIV clinic or give up child labor and go to school…” (Slade, 1/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Fund Support Is Critical To Ending AIDS, TB, Malaria

Huffington Post: Our Shared Responsibility: Ending AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Susan Blumenthal, public health editor for the Huffington Post, and Shaina Vinayek, Allen Rosenfield public policy fellow at amfAR

“…[I]n this year of the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day with its theme of ‘Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation,’ what better time to reaffirm every nation’s support for the lifesaving work of the Global Fund. There is still time for donor countries, private sector organizations, and individuals to contribute and it is vital that they do so for at least two important reasons: building a healthier future for people worldwide, and fostering critical partnerships and collaborations that connect communities and countries in a shared mission and responsibility. Just think: If all high income countries were to contribute just $4 per person annually over the next three years of this replenishment cycle (approximately 0.03 percent of their 2012 GDPs) — and several have made this commitment already — an AIDS-free generation might be achievable in our lifetimes. And what a victory that would be for humanity” (1/31).

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Response To Syrian Polio Outbreak Faces Challenges But Is Progressing

The Lancet: Polio in Syria
Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director-general for polio and emergencies, and Ala Alwan, director of WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean

“…Fully implementing [a response plan to the polio outbreak in Syria] … has required overcoming immense hurdles to reach every child amid the wreckage of Syria’s public infrastructure and health system, the active conflict and insecurity, the dearth of trust, and one of the largest refugee crises since World War 2. These challenges have been compounded by erroneous allegations that — rather than doing everything possible to protect all Syrian children and the huge international investment in global polio eradication — U.N. agencies, and WHO in particular, had ‘blocked a vaccination campaign,’ were ‘obstructing the testing of polio samples,’ and by extension disregarding fundamental humanitarian principles. … Halfway through the Syrian polio outbreak response, many critical program indicators are improving, particularly in terms of access to vaccine, coverage, and surveillance performance…” (1/31).

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Increased Family Planning Will Lead To Economic Development

Huffington Post: The Unsung Heroine of Economic Development
Suzanne Ehlers, president of Population Action International

“…[T]he Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter, all about the myths that block progress for the poor. Economic development is a complicated puzzle, and there are no easy solutions. But as the letter points out, there are things we can do — and things that many in developing countries are already doing — to fight poverty and encourage growth. One of these that often gets overlooked, and that has also become a signature issue for Melinda Gates, is family planning. Right now, 222 million, or one in four women of reproductive age in the developing world, do not want to become pregnant, but need modern contraception. … We need more political will and more family planning champions … to ensure that governments keep their promises to women. We know that these women and their families will pay it forward in ways that will reap tremendous dividends” (1/31).

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'High Time' To Eradicate Polio

The Nation: Polio eradication: A true story
Tariq Iqbal Bhutta, chair of Pakistan’s National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG)

“With around 40 years of experience in the field of pediatrics and public health, heading different medical institutions in the country, I feel it is my responsibility to provide a true perspective to the anti-polio effort that has saved millions of children from falling prey to permanent irreversible disability. In January 2014, India completed its polio free status. Now only three countries … Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan are endemic for wild polio virus. … It is high time we all launched a final blitz to eradicate polio forever” (2/1).

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Developing Nations Face Double Burden Of Infectious Diseases, Cancer

Forbes: There Is An Urgent Need To Address The ‘Terrible Situation Of Chronic Disease In Developing Countries’
Geoffrey Kabat, an epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine

“…The cancer burden in low-resource countries has doubled in the past 25 years and is projected to double again by 2030. In September 2013 the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI) issued a nearly 500-page report entitled ‘The State of Oncology 2013’ assessing the growing burden of cancer and other chronic diseases in developing countries. Last week The Cancer Letter, a newsletter for oncologists and cancer researchers, published an interview with IPRI’s president Peter Boyle, professor of global health at Strathclyde University and former head of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in which he explains the purpose of the new report. … Although the dimensions of the problem are so great that it would be easy to throw up one’s hands, Boyle holds up positive accomplishments and programs that can serve as models. He points to tremendous success of the AIDS movement over the past 20 years and to the ‘fabulous lesson’ of PEPFAR…” (2/2).

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Uganda Can Do More To Lower Mortality Caused By TB, Malaria, AIDS

The Observer: Cheers for halving TB death figures
“Uganda has been recognized by the World Health Organization for halving tuberculosis-related deaths down from 9,900 in 1990 to 4,700 in 2012. … However, much more remains to be done. MDG 6 sets out to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other infectious diseases by 2015. Therefore, what has been achieved is just MDG 6c, which is tracked by the incidence, prevalence and death rates caused by TB. … The challenge now is not only to consolidate this achievement but to work harder and lower TB-related deaths even further. An even bigger challenge is to do the same for HIV and malaria. It’s indeed possible to reduce HIV prevalence and malaria deaths by half in the next 10 years” (1/30).

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Recent Releases

U.S. Continues To Support Humanitarian Efforts In CAR

In a post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg describes a recent trip to Central African Republic (CAR), where conflict has caused “the suffering of the more than one million women, children, and men who have been forced from their homes as a result of the recent violence in a country already struggling with chronic poverty.” She continues, “…On the heels of my visit to CAR, I traveled to Brussels, accompanied by colleagues from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, where the international community collectively pledged nearly $500 million in new funds to address the rising humanitarian crisis in CAR, including $54 million from the United States to provide urgent food, water, and medical assistance to the millions of Central Africans in need as well as support for courageous religious and community leaders who are promoting calm and peace among their communities…” (1/31).

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Nigeria's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Could Impact Country's Aid Flow

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines how Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act might impact foreign aid to the country. “…This week, the Global Forum on MSM and HIV has issued a statement endorsed by 83 organizations, including the IDSA Center for Global Health Policy, which produces this blog, calling on global HIV donors including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to take specific actions. Those actions include establishing a civil society task force, redirecting funds toward security, legal help and advocacy for affected groups, scrutinizing use of funds, and barring Nigeria from participating in leadership positions in their responses…” (Barton, 1/31).

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China Making 'Great Strides' Against HIV But Must Do More To Prevent Sexual Transmission

“…To the credit of the government and international health agencies, China has made great strides in HIV/AIDS prevention and control over the past decade. … Interventions to reduce risks for sexual transmission have nevertheless not been successful. Cases attributed to unsafe sex continue to increase,” Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Center for Foreign Relations, writes in the center’s “Asia Unbound” blog. “…As HIV/AIDS is spreading from the most-at-risk population to the general population, it becomes even more difficult for the government to track HIV/AIDS cases and further bring down new infections” (1/31).

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Health Systems Must Reform To Meet The Needs Of Women, Newborns

Margaret Kruk, assistant professor in health policy and management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and Nana A.Y. Twum-Danso, a senior program officer for family health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, write in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog about several myths surrounding maternal and neonatal health. “…If we want the best health outcomes for mothers and babies, perhaps it’s time to listen to women and reform the health system to best meet their needs — identifying innovative solutions to enable them to access quality facility services,” they conclude (1/30).

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Frontline Health Workers 'Critical' In Addressing Burn Injuries

“…The global health crisis of burns afflicting more than 10 million people in developing countries annually can be tackled, but an expanded and improved health workforce is needed. … Beyond increasing the number of health workers, these workers must also be equipped to provide appropriate burn care by focusing on three areas: prevention, training and treatment,” Susan Hayes, president and CEO of ReSurge International, writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “…With National Burn Awareness Week approaching, let’s remain mindful that 95 percent of severe burns occur in developing countries. Frontline health workers will be critical in addressing the hidden crisis of burns, and policymakers here in the United States and around the world must ensure that more is done to ensure that burns are be prevented, managed and treated through an expanded and strengthened health workforce” (1/30).

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February Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

The February issue of the WHO Bulletin features a commentary about the importance of strong local health systems, an article about solar energy’s potential impact on health in Africa, and a research article on the global research agenda for family planning, among other articles (February 2014).

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