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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Warns Number Of Cancer Cases Increasing Rapidly Worldwide

On World Cancer Day, news outlets report on the findings of the WHO’s World Cancer Report 2014 which say that cancer cases could hit 22 million a year within the next two decades.

BBC News: Cancer ‘tidal wave’ on horizon, warns WHO
“The globe is facing a ‘tidal wave’ of cancer, and restrictions on alcohol and sugar need to be considered, say World Health Organization scientists…” (2/4).

Reuters: We can’t beat cancer with drugs alone; prevention crucial: WHO
“Governments must make better use of vaccines and preventative public health policies in the fight against cancer as treatment alone cannot stem the disease, a World Health Organization (WHO) agency said on Monday…” (Kelland, 2/3).

TIME: WHO: Annual Cancer Cases to Hit 22 Million in 20 Years
“Cancer cases worldwide could hit 22 million a year within the next two decades, according to the World Health Organization. The agency’s World Cancer Report 2014 estimated that the cancer burden for 2012 was 14 million new cases a year, but said the rate was expected to jump much higher over the next 20 years as the number of elderly people worldwide increases…” (Sifferlin, 2/3).

U.N. News Centre: Treatment alone will not win war on cancer: prevention is crucial, U.N. reports
“With new cancer cases worldwide expected to rise from 14 million to 22 million per year within the next two decades, and annual cancer deaths rising from 8.2 million to 13 million, the United Nations today called for multipronged preventive action including treaties and laws extending tobacco-style restrictions to alcohol and sweetened beverages…” (2/3).

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Facing $1B Funding Shortfall, WFP Scales Back Projects In Some Countries

News outlets report on funding shortages at the World Food Programme, which are causing the U.N. organization to scale back operations in some countries.

Agence France-Presse/South China Morning Post: U.N. World Food Programme scales back projects to feed the hungry
“The U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling back projects in a number of countries as it confronts a US$1 billion funding shortfall, with costs mounting for missions such as Syria, its director said yesterday…” (2/3).

Associated Press: World Food Programme can’t meet demand in Syria
“Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by demand for food in Syria, with thousands surviving without a regular supply of nourishment for more than a year because of civil war in the Middle Eastern country, a United Nations official said…” (McGuirk, 2/2).

Humanosphere: WFP Struggles Under Financial Weight of Food Crises
“Funding shortages have led the World Food Programme to announce cuts to food rations in countries including Haiti, Kenya, Mali and Niger. The U.N. organization says it needs an extra $1 billion to meet the food needs of people around the world…” (Murphy, 2/3).

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U.N. Launches 'Ambitious' Strategy For Sahel Region Aid, IRIN Reports

IRIN: U.N. shifts approach to help Sahel’s 20 million hungry
“Over 20 million people in the Sahel will need humanitarian assistance in 2014, up 8.7 million over the number of people in need in 2013, estimates the U.N., which launched an ambitious three-year Sahel strategy today…” (Jefferys, 2/3).

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E.U. To Provide $190M In Humanitarian Aid To Sahel Countries

News outlets report the European Union will support humanitarian assistance programs to African Sahel countries.

RTT News: E.U. Announces EUR142 Million In Humanitarian Aid To Sahel Crisis
“The European Commission on Monday announced that it will give EUR142 million in humanitarian funds to the Sahel region of Africa in 2014, which is once again suffering because of a severe food and nutrition crisis. In addition, many people in Mali are in need of humanitarian aid as a result of the situation in the North…” (2/3).

United Press International: E.U. offers $190 million in aid to Africa’s Sahel region
“European Commissioner for Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva says quick action is needed to help millions of people at risk in the Sahel region of Africa. The European Commission announced Monday it would give more than $190 million in humanitarian assistance to countries in the Sahel region, which stretches west from Mauritania to Eritrea and includes trouble spots like Mali…” (2/3).

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A.U. Summit Ends With Commitment To Ending Hunger By 2025

The African Union Summit ended on Saturday with a commitment to ending hunger on the continent by 2025, media outlets report.

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agricultural agency hails ‘historic’ new commitment to end hunger in Africa by 2025
“The head of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has welcomed a breakthrough commitment by African leaders to end hunger on the continent by 2025, and has pledged the U.N.’s support as they work to ‘transform vision into reality’…” (2/1).

Xinhua/Forum on China-Africa Cooperation: 22nd A.U. summit ends with commitment of agricultural transformation, regional peace
“The 22nd African Union (A.U.) Summit concluded at A.U.’s headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa on Saturday, with commitment of transforming agriculture and restoring regional peace…” (1/31).

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India Donates To GAVI For First Time, Commits $4 Million To Programs

News outlets report on the GAVI Alliance’s announcement that India will commit $4 million to its vaccination and immunization programs.

The Hindu: India to donate $4 million to GAVI Alliance
“India has committed itself to contributing $4 million over the next four years to GAVI Alliance to immunize children worldwide against life-threatening diseases…” (Kannan, 2/3).

Vaccine News Daily: India commits $4 million to GAVI Alliance vaccine programs
“The GAVI Alliance announced on Thursday that the Government of India contributed $4 million to support child vaccination and immunization programs. The government of India will make its contribution during four years as part of the government’s 12th Five Year Plan…” (Clark, 2/3).

GAVI Alliance: India commits US$4 million to GAVI Alliance vaccine programs
“The GAVI Alliance today welcomed the announcement by the Government of India of its commitment to contribute US$4 million to support the GAVI Alliance in its mission of immunizing children against life-threatening diseases…” (1/30).

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Social Customs, Laws Hindering HIV Prevention Campaigns In Sri Lanka, Experts Say

Inter Press Service: HIV On a Dangerous Threshold in Sri Lanka
“Four thousand HIV infections in a population of 20 million should not be a difficult figure to manage. But experts in Sri Lanka say social customs and strict laws are hindering them from carrying out prevention and awareness campaigns among high-risk groups…” (Perera, 2/2).

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Progress On Reducing Child Mortality In Afghanistan In Jeopardy As Aid Community Withdraws

NPR: An Afghan Success Story: Fewer Child Deaths
“One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in average life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services. Yet Afghanistan still has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and there could be significant backsliding as the international community reduces aid after NATO troops withdraw at the end of this year…” (Carberry, 2/4).

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Tighter Regulation Of Fast Food Industry Could Help Curb Rising Obesity Rates, Study Says

News outlets report on a study published by the WHO that shows tighter government regulation of the fast food industry could help slow rising obesity rates.

Reuters: Study finds deregulation fueling obesity epidemic
“Governments could slow or even reverse the growing obesity epidemic if they introduce more regulation into the global market for fast foods such as burgers, chips and fizzy drinks, researchers said in a report to be released Monday. A study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that if governments took firmer action, they could start to prevent people becoming overweight and obese — conditions with serious long-term consequences such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer…” (Kelland, 2/2).

The Hill’s “Regwatch”: Fast food regs could curb obesity, study finds
“Tougher government regulations on the fast food industry could help curb a global obesity epidemic, researchers have concluded. A new study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) links the explosion of the fast food industry to general increase in the body mass index (BMI) in wealthier countries…” (Goad, 2/3).

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Guardian Launches Women's Rights And Gender Equality Section

The Guardian: Women’s rights and gender equality in focus
“…On Tuesday, The Guardian launched a women’s rights and gender equality section to provide a specific focus on the pressing issues affecting women, girls and transgender people around the world, and the critical work being carried out by women’s rights movements…” The newspaper features a data interactive, an opinion piece by Anna Turley of AWID and Zohra Moosa of Mama Cash, and other articles on women’s rights and gender equality (Ford, 2/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Help 'Stop The Myth' On Foreign Aid

Devex: It’s our responsibility to #stopthemyth on foreign aid
Joe Cerrell, managing director for global policy and advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…One constant refrain about aid that I’ve heard — particularly in more recent years living in Europe — is this: ‘We have to choose between helping the poor here at home and helping the poor abroad.’ … Quite simply, if one percent of the budget was redirected back to domestic issues in a donor country, it would only be a drop in the bucket — but invested in the developing world, it is helping to spur historic progress and prosperity. As Bill and Melinda Gates pointed out, by many measures the world is better today than it has ever been. Upwards of a billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty; many countries that used to be recipients of aid are now self-sufficient, and some have become emerging donors. What this says to me is that if more people knew what is undeniably true — that aid is a small piece of the budget and that it works — they would support it. We need to do a better job sharing the success stories and each of us has a shared responsibility to help #stopthemyth” (2/3).

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Partnerships, Innovation, Political Will Needed To End TB Epidemic In Mining Industry

Huffington Post: An Ounce of Gold for a Pound of Cure
Kari Stoever, vice president of external affairs at Aeras

“[M]ore than being a precious metal and a hedge against financial apocalypse, the world’s gold binge is fueling one of the world’s most deadly epidemics — tuberculosis (TB). … Through innovative thinking and financing, this commodity has driven investor profits and national economies. Now it must drive solutions. The TB epidemic won’t be halted in our lifetimes without accelerated efforts, multi-sector collaboration and innovation. Political will, adequate investment and a focus on innovation can save a struggling gold mining industry in South Africa — and beyond. The failure to act now would reduce this precious metal to foolish gold” (1/23).

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Rotavirus Vaccine Is Critical Component Of 'Our Collective Anti-Diarrhea Toolkit'

Huffington Post: Reducing Diarrheal Disease With Rotavirus Vaccine
Marion Roche, technical adviser with the Micronutrient Initiative (MI)

“…Rotavirus causes about one-third of diarrheal deaths in children; vaccinating children against it could save hundreds of thousands of lives and make life easier for so many parents. … The rotavirus vaccine definitely belongs in our collective anti-diarrhea toolkit, along with access to clean water and proper sanitation, access to health services, and, of course, access to life-saving treatment with zinc and oral rehydration salts for when children get sick. Governments are taking on the challenge of tackling diarrhea, working in partnership with MI, DefeatDD and other NGOs, U.N. agencies and civil society groups, to best reflect the needs of [each] country. Diarrhea may not be glamorous, but the rotavirus vaccine is a shining star in the public health world” (2/3).

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Better Data Collection Necessary To Formulate, Evaluate Post-2015 Development Goals

Morning Star: Rethinking The Millennium Development Goals For The World Of Today
Sarah Edwards, head of policy and campaigns at Health Poverty Action

Noting the release of a new report from Health Poverty Action on the post-2015 development agenda, Edwards writes, “…The report states that current methods of data collection, which fail to break down health information by ethnic group, are covering up huge disparities between the health of ethnic minorities and majority populations. … It is nothing less than shameful that the deaths of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable women remain hidden and unaddressed through the failure to collect vital information about them. Many, many more could face the same fate, without decisive moves by Britain, other nations, institutions and non-governmental groups. We cannot stand back and let avoidable tragedies continue to cut short so many lives” (2/3).

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Recent Releases

Blog Examines Conundrum In Using 'Scientific Data' To Evaluate Development Aid

Development blogger Tom Paulson writes in Humanosphere about recent discussions on the effectiveness of development aid. “There’s a popular trend today among many humanitarians, aka the aid and development sector, to try to show the benefit of their projects — be it digging a well, feeding kids or improving access to basic health care — with scientific data. That’s good in principle, if you have a well-designed study that produces meaningful data. But that can be a big if when what you are trying to test is a reduction in poverty, social and economic improvements, healthy behavior change or many of the other aims of aid and development…” (2/3).

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amfAR Launches 'Countdown To A Cure For HIV/AIDS' Initiative

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research on Tuesday announced its “Countdown to a Cure” initiative, “a research initiative aimed at finding a broadly applicable cure for HIV by 2020. ‘Countdown to a Cure’ is designed to intensify amfAR’s cure-focused HIV research program with plans to strategically invest $100 million in cure research over the next six years. … To reach the ambitious goal of a cure by 2020, amfAR is changing the way it funds research by moving away from a passive investment strategy to one that will be more aggressive and focused on collaborative approaches to addressing the unanswered questions. To help direct the research and to ensure that investments are made in the most promising areas, amfAR will establish a ‘Cure Council,’ a volunteer group comprising some of the world’s leading HIV/AIDS researchers…” (2/3).

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