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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Community Marks International Day Of Zero Tolerance To Female Genital Mutilation

Media sources mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, recognized on February 6.

BBC News: Female genital mutilation: Hospitals to log victims
“Doctors and nurses in the U.K. are to be told to log details of the injuries suffered by victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). The move is designed to gather more information on the practice, which was outlawed in the U.K. in 1985…” (2/6).

The Guardian “DataBlog”: What is female genital mutilation and where does it happen?
“Between 100 million and 140 million women and girls are thought to be living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organization…” (Boseley, 2/6).

United Nations: Secretary-General, in Message, Says Operationalizing Resolution Declaring ‘Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’ Can Have Profound Effect
“As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I hold high the banner of empowering women and girls, promoting their health and defending their rights. The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an opportunity to confront this persistent problem — and to find hope in initiatives proving that it can end. We should strive to preserve the best in any culture, and leave harm behind. There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman…” (2/4).

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
“…USAID has supported FGM/C abandonment efforts since the 1990s, after being approached by many African women who asked why we were doing nothing about this issue. … When communities as a whole understand the physical and psychological trauma FGM/C causes, social transformation takes place — and this has proven to be the best way to ensure lasting support and an eventual end to the practice,” Katie Taylor, deputy assistant administrator for global health, writes (2/5).

USAID: International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joins the global community in observing February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, an internationally recognized day to foster awareness of the devastating effects of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) and to renew the call for the abandonment of this harmful traditional practice…” (2/6).

WHO: 6 February: International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
“…As part of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, we profile Dr. Jasmine Abdulcadir, a physician in a multidisciplinary group of healthcare providers offering services to women in Geneva who have been subjected to FGM” (2/6).

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Devex Outlines Changes To U.S. Food Aid Program Under Farm Bill, Reaction From Shah

Devex: Rajiv Shah: Farm bill to bring more flexibility, greater impact for USAID
“…With U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature, the Agriculture Act of 2014 is expected by a broad coalition of government officials, development experts, NGOs and independent analysts to make the nation’s international food aid system more efficient and more flexible. … One of the champions of these reform measures is U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, who we asked about the expected impacts of the reform for the agency’s international food assistance programs…” (Igoe, 2/5).

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Relief Agencies Call For Support As Humanitarian Conditions Worsen In South Sudan

News outlets report on the worsening humanitarian conditions in South Sudan. Articles focus on the U.N.’s crisis response plan calling for $1.27 billion in humanitarian funding, the country’s food and nutrition crisis, the recent looting of humanitarian supplies, and an interview with MSF’s emergency coordinator.

The Guardian: South Sudan: escalation of violence on unprecedented scale, says relief agency
“The speed and scale of the violence over the past six weeks in South Sudan has been unprecedented, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Earlier this week, the U.N.’s humanitarian agency called for $1.27 billion (£780 million) to help the 3.2 million people estimated to be affected by the humanitarian consequences of the crisis in South Sudan…” (Lamble, 2/5).

U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization: South Sudan facing major food and nutrition crisis
“FAO [Tuesday] warned of a major food security and nutrition crisis in South Sudan, where some 3.7 million people are now facing acute or emergency levels of food insecurity. The organization is calling for $77 million for critical food security and livelihood support for the crisis-affected population as prices of staple crops soar and basic commodities run out…” (2/5).

U.N. News Centre: Strife-torn South Sudan faces major food and nutrition crisis, U.N. warns
“Up to seven million people in strife-torn South Sudan, nearly two thirds of the total population, are at risk of some level of food insecurity, with 3.7 million already facing acute or emergency levels, the United Nations warned [Wednesday], painting a much grimmer picture of a major nutrition crisis than just three weeks ago…” (2/5).

Inter Press Service: U.N. Outraged by Looting of Humanitarian Supplies in South Sudan
“The United Nations has responded with outrage and disappointment at the recent looting of humanitarian supplies in South Sudan. The issue has drawn serious attention after South Sudanese SPLA government forces were photographed wearing UNICEF backpacks slung over the same shoulders as their firearms, and U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) warehouses, along with many other humanitarian locations, have been raided…” (Rozen, 2/5).

Medecins Sans Frontières: South Sudan: ‘Living in impossible conditions’
In an interview with Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “MSF’s Emergency Coordinator, Forbes Sharp, gives an update on the dire conditions for people in this camp, how MSF is responding, and what more must be done. …’Living in such congested and harsh conditions, people are incredibly vulnerable to disease which makes each day a battle. The worrying part for me is that Tomping [a camp in Juba] is only a fraction of the suffering of the more than 800,000 people who have been displaced from their homes across South Sudan'” (2/5).

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HIV Prevention, Treatment Should Include Research On Effective Vaccine, Fauci Says

The current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features a perspective piece and interview exploring different strategies to prevent and treat HIV worldwide.

NEJM: Interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the need for an HIV vaccine and the advances that will help fulfill that need
NEJM Managing Editor Stephen Morrissey interviews Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who discusses different strategies of HIV prevention needed to end AIDS and a perspective piece published in NEJM that he co-authored (2/6).

NEJM: Ending AIDS — Is an HIV Vaccine Necessary?
“…[W]hile continuing to scale up the delivery of [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] and deploying nonvaccine prevention methods, the HIV prevention community should hold fast to its commitment to vaccine science. Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of nonvaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine” (Fauci/Marston, 2/6).

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E.U. Pledges $431M To UNICEF To Improve Maternal, Child Health

News outlets report that the European Union has pledged more than $400 million to UNICEF to improve maternal and child health.

EurActiv: E.U. donates €320 million to UNICEF for child health, nutrition
“The European Union announced yesterday (4 February) that it will give €320 million to UNICEF for projects tackling under-nutrition and infectious diseases, which are among the main causes of child mortality. The 15 countries receiving the €320 million include Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia and Nigeria. The only non-African country to benefit from the funds is Timor-Leste…” (2/5).

RTT News: E.U. Pledges EUR 320 Mln. For Improving Child, Maternal Health
“The European Union announced Wednesday it has allocated EUR 320 million ($431 million) through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improve the health and nutrition of children and women in 15 developing countries and to help speed progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals…” (2/5).

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Sectarian Violence In CAR Hindering Aid Delivery, Evacuations

Media sources report on continuing sectarian violence in Central African Republic (CAR).

IRIN: Aid and evacuations under threat in CAR
The news service reports on how sectarian violence is hindering aid deliveries to displaced persons and preventing evacuations from embattled areas (2/5).

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Condemns Sectarian Violence in the Central African Republic
“The United States is deeply concerned by recent sectarian attacks against both Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR). … The United States, working with other governments and international organizations, will support the efforts of the transition government to end the conflict and re-establish a functioning state. We call on all in C.A.R. to join this effort and work toward reconciliation rather than revenge” (Psaki, 2/5).

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U.N. Responds To Humanitarian Situation In Syria

The U.N. News Centre reports on humanitarian efforts in Syria.

U.N. News Centre: U.N. begins polio vaccination campaign at besieged Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
“The United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees said today it has begun a large-scale polio vaccination campaign targeting thousands of children in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus…” (2/5).

U.N. News Centre: Syrians internally displaced by war expected to nearly double to 6.5 million by year’s end — U.N.
“The number of people displaced by the civil war inside Syria is expected to nearly double from some 3.5 million today to 6.5 million by the end of the year, a senior United Nations official said today…” (2/5).

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U.N. To Support Myanmar In Tackling Malnutrition

Two news outlets report on Myanmar’s partnership with the U.N. to combat malnutrition in the country.

Bangkok Post: Myanmar to tackle malnutrition with U.N.
“Myanmar on Thursday joined a United Nations program to improve nutrition in a country where one-third of children under five have stunted growth…” (2/6).

DVB: U.N. pledges support in Burma’s fight against malnutrition
“Thursday 6 February saw the government launch of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. The program will aim to combat malnutrition in Burma, where a third of all children under five are stunted in their growth. It will be run in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF…” (2/6).

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Security Threats Negatively Affect Health Care Delivery In Nigeria's Borno State

IRIN: Violence grinds health care to a halt in Nigeria’s Borno State
“Persistent attacks by Boko Haram (BH) militants in Nigeria’s Borno State have forced dozens of clinics to shut down and hundreds of doctors to flee, leaving many residents to seek medical attention across the border in Cameroon, health professionals and residents told IRIN…” (2/5).

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More Aid Needed To Tackle Zimbabwe's Food Shortage, WFP Says

Deutsche Welle: More aid needed to stave off hunger in Zimbabwe
“An estimated two million people in Zimbabwe are said to be facing starvation. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been finding it hard to raise funds to ease their situation due to demands from more recent crisis regions on the African continent…” (Mavhunga, 2/4).

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Nigeria Reinforces Commitment To Achieving MDGs

This Day Live: U.N. Envoy Pushes for More Progress on Health-related MDGs
“With about 694 days to the dateline for health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Special Envoy for Financing Health, MDGs, and Malaria, Ray Chambers, has called for [a] more concerted effort to accelerate the progress of the various programs under the MDGs…” (Obi, 2/6).

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Gilead To License New Hepatitis C Drug To Indian Generic Drug Manufacturers

Reuters: Gilead to license hepatitis C drug to lower-cost manufacturers in India
“Gilead Sciences plans to license its breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi to a number of Indian generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, allowing for lower-priced sales of the medication in that developing nation, according to the company…” (Beasley, 2/6).

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Pharma Companies Urge U.S. To Intervene As India Aims To Issue Compulsory Licenses For Some Drugs

Reuters: Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India over patent worries
“Global pharmaceutical firms are pressuring the United States to act against India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said…” (Chatterjee/Hirschler, 2/6).

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Climate Change Brings Risk Of Malaria In Previously Unaffected Regions

Motherboard: The Burden of Malaria Is Shifting with the Changing Climate
“Thanks to warming climates, malaria will likely spread its influence to places where it hasn’t been a problem before. That means the burden of treating one of the world’s most resilient illnesses will shift to locales that aren’t necessarily ready…” (Koebler, 2/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

The Guardian Launches Campaign To End FGM

The Guardian: Female genital mutilation: end it
The Guardian launches “a national and international campaign to end FGM” asserting that “we want everyone to be aware that FGM is illegal [in the U.K.]. We want potential victims — and parents who are perhaps under pressure from family elders — to know there are people and organizations ready to offer support.” The editorial concludes by urging British Parliament’s Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to take action (2/5).

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Completion Of Polio Vaccine Campaign In Middle East Critical To Eradication Efforts

Huffington Post: Polio: Why It Matters To You
Batoul Abuharb, a student at the University of Houston College of Optometry and co-founder of Dunia Health, and Cherie Fathy, a student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a project assistant at Dunia Health

Discussing a recent outbreak of polio in Syria and the risk of the virus spreading to other countries, including the U.S., Abuharb and Fathy write, “The World Health Organization has recently announced that over 20 million children need to be vaccinated throughout the Middle East. The one-time vaccination campaign will take anywhere from six to eight months to complete and will require over 50 million doses of vaccine. This complex task, only complicated by the regional strife, stands as the only solution to preventing the spread of this crippling disease. The ultimate goal is to ensure that this preventable disease does not ravage the future of the Middle East by paralyzing the future of the youth. And with countries like India reaching a milestone of three years since the last reported case of polio, we are hopeful that eradication of this disease is within reach” (2/5).

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Recent Releases

NEJM Article Examines Weaknesses Of Health Care Systems In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

In a New England Journal of Medicine review article, Anne Mills of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine “…briefly reviews the main weaknesses of health care systems in low- and middle-income countries, lists the most common responses to those weaknesses, and then presents three of the most popular responses for further review. These responses, which have attracted considerable controversy, involve the questions of whether to pay for health care through general taxation or contributory insurance funds to improve financial protection for specific sections of the population, whether to use financial incentives to increase health care utilization and improve health care quality, and whether to make use of private entities to extend the reach of the health care system…” (2/6).

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Increased TB Incidence In Zimbabwe Associated With Food Insecurity, Economic Collapse

Results of a study released by the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and published in PLOS ONE state that the “rise of tuberculosis (TB) in Zimbabwe during the socio-economic crisis of 2008-9 has been linked to widespread food shortage.” According to the University of Toronto’s press release, “‘This was the first study to detect the recent TB outbreak in Zimbabwe, and the first anywhere to suggest an association between rising TB incidence and national economic decline in the absence of armed conflict,’ said Michael Silverman, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and senior author of the study. Although the same phenomenon may occur with other infectious diseases, the study focused on TB — one of the largest causes of morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, especially among people living with HIV…” (2/5).

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