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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Measles Deaths Decline 78% Since 2000, WHO Data Show

News outlets report on new data from the WHO showing a significant decline in global deaths from measles since 2000.

BBC News: Measles global deaths decline by 78%, WHO estimates
“Global deaths from measles dropped 78 percent between 2000 and 2012, the World Health Organization estimates. New figures from the WHO suggest that around 13.8 million deaths were prevented during this time and reported cases declined by 77 percent…” (2/6).

Bloomberg: Measles Deaths Plunge 78% Since 2000 as Elimination Target Nears
“Deaths from measles have dropped 78 percent since 2000 as global vaccination campaigns curb outbreaks of the pneumonia-causing disease, the World Health Organization said. About 122,000 people died globally from measles in 2012, down from 562,000 in 2000, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today. Reported cases fell by a similar proportion…” (Bennett, 2/6).

UNICEF: UNICEF notes strong results in new global estimates for measles mortality 2000-2012
“UNICEF today noted that the drop in measles demonstrates the importance of investing in vaccines and immunization — both routine and mass campaigns — as estimated global measles deaths decreased by 78 percent from more than 562,000 in 2000 to 122,000 in 2012…” (2/6).

WHO: Measles deaths reach record lows with fragile gains toward global elimination
“…Despite the impressive gains made, progress towards measles elimination remains uneven with some populations still unprotected. Measles continues to be a global threat, with five of six WHO regions still experiencing large outbreaks and with the Region of the Americas responding to many importations of measles cases…” (2/6).

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Communities Renounce FGM; Surgery Offers Hope To Some Victims

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), news outlets report on efforts to stop the practice and help victims.

Agence France-Presse: Mali communities renounce female circumcision
“Community leaders gathered in Mali Thursday to mark an international day of campaigning against female genital mutilation, publicly renouncing a practice that is still legal in the deeply-conservative west African nation…” (2/6).

Agence France-Presse: U.K. hospitals required to report female genital mutilation
“British hospitals will be required for the first time to record patients who have been subjected to female genital mutilation, the government announced on Thursday. The Department of Health estimates that 66,000 women in England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM, and a further 23,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk every year…” (2/6).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Surgery offers hope to Senegal FGM victims but questions remain
“Doctors in Senegal have been overwhelmed by demand for clitoral reconstructive surgery from victims of female genital mutilation after the U.N. agency for women launched a pilot scheme in the West African country, a surgeon said…” (Hussain, 2/6).

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U.S. Donates Therapeutic Food To Pakistan To Aid Malnourished Children

NNI/Frontier Post: U.S. donates 1,330 metric tons of therapeutic food supplies to Pak children
“The United States will donate 1,330 metric tons of therapeutic food supplies to more than 80,000 acutely malnourished children in Pakistan. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Nancy Estes presented the food shipment to UNICEF Pakistan Country Director Dr. Dan Rohrmann and Mr. Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Government of Pakistan, says a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy here Thursday…” (2/6).

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Reaching MDG Child Mortality Target Will Require Continued Investment, Innovation

Devex: Who’s winning the battle against child mortality?
“Around the globe, child mortality rates are dropping … thanks to investments and partnerships among governments, investors, aid groups, and other stakeholders. … ‘The data show that tremendous progress has been made during the past few decades’ in improving the well-being of children, including reducing under-five mortality rates, according to UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2014 report released recently. … That said, many countries are still not near the goal of reducing the number of under-five deaths by two-thirds come 2015. A majority of them are located in Africa…” (Villarino, 2/6).

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UNAIDS Praises Kenyan First Lady's Maternal, Child Health Campaign

The Star: U.N. praises First Lady’s maternal health project
“The United Nations has lauded the Beyond Zero Campaign launched by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. It said the initiative will improve maternal and child health in [Kenya]. ‘Fifteen women die every day due to pregnancy related complications in Kenya and 20 percent of all deaths among mothers in the country are AIDS-related, this initiative will improve maternal and child health outcomes in the country,’ UNAIDS said in a statement…” (Koech, 2/6).

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More Than 300 Dead Of Flu This Year In Mexico

Huffington Post: Flu Season Hits Mexico With Death Toll Over 300 In 2014
“There have been 314 confirmed deaths in Mexico from influenza during the first month of 2014, according to the Health Secretariat in the country, and of those, 290 were from what is known as the swine flu, or the AH1N1 strain of the influenza virus…” (Gillette, 2/6).

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High Rate Of TB Among Indian Weavers' Villages

Associated Press: Weavers’ villages in India suffer TB epidemic
“This cluster of poor villages, long known for its colorful silk saris, now is known for something else: tuberculosis. Nearly half of Lohata’s population has it — some 100,000 people — and the community’s weaving tradition is part of the reason it is on the front line of a major Indian health crisis…” (Banerjee, 2/7).

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Chikungunya Fever Detected In Caribbean

Scientific American: Mosquitoes Carry Yet Another Tropical Disease toward the U.S.
“It began last October, with a simple mosquito bite on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. … By mid-December, two dozen cases of the viral disease had been confirmed. More than 1,000 cases have since scattered across the Caribbean isles, inching ever closer to the U.S. The disease — chikungunya fever (pronounced chik-un-GUHN-ya) — is named for its trademark overwhelming joint pain…” (Maron, 2/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Cooperative Partnerships Will Help Global Community Address Cancer

Huffington Post U.K.: To Combat Cancer in Developing Countries, We Must Learn The Lessons of HIV And Malaria
Allan Pamba, director of public engagement & access initiatives at GSK

“…By 2020, across developing countries, more people are expected to die from cancer than from malaria, HIV and TB combined. … The battle against infectious disease has taught us a lot. Building the health care infrastructure and capacity of countries is essential for improving prevention, identification and management of disease. Effective partnerships between governments, charities and business provide an effective model to do this. … We can learn from and influence each other, enhancing the way our own organizations operate, and how we work together. Just as importantly, we can share our resources, expertise and knowledge to make a contribution to health across all of the communities we work in…” (2/6).

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HIV Cure Research For Children, Adults 'Could Be The Catalyst' To End AIDS

Huffington Post: Setting the Stage for an HIV Cure
Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), and Nicholas Hellmann, EGPAF’s executive vice president of medical and scientific affairs

“…Cure research is an essential step to keeping HIV-positive children alive. It is imperative that children be included in the early stages of cure research and development, as we would not want to repeat the mistakes of the past by delaying the availability of a cure for children. Just as the recent success of adult HIV prevention research benefited greatly from earlier findings that virus transmission from a pregnant woman to her child could be readily prevented with ART, HIV cure studies in children can also prove valuable in advancing adult HIV cure research. This is why President Obama’s political commitment is so important — expanded research into a cure for children and adults could be the catalyst that will allow us to see the end of AIDS within this lifetime” (2/3).

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Listen To Children To Help Those Affected By Conflict, Poverty

Devex: What does the future hold for children in conflict zones?
Matt Scott, director for peacebuilding at World Vision

“…Children in war zones today overwhelmingly suffer from the multiple ‘hangovers’ of war: hospitals without medicines, equipment or staff; schools stripped of teachers and supplies; and governments unable to deliver even the most basic needs, like clean water. … [I]f the world is to make progress lifting the world’s most vulnerable children out of poverty tomorrow, we need to start listening to them today. Let’s not leave the world’s conflict-affected children behind” (2/6).

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Faith-Based Organizations 'Vital' To Ensuring Access To Family Planning

Huffington Post: Family Planning and Serving Families in Kibera
Katherine Marshall, senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University

“…Faith-linked providers are vital to the global challenge of ensuring access to family planning. The many providers tend to be driven by concern for their clients more than by theology and they are keenly aware that family planning is essential for building strong families. That’s as true in Kibera as it is in Washington, D.C.” (2/6).

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Chinese Poultry Industry's Desire To Drop 'Bird' Or 'Avian' From Flu Reporting Is 'Madness'

Bloomberg’s “The Ticker”: China Pretends Bird Flu Doesn’t Exist
Adam Minter, a Shanghai-based contributor to Bloomberg View

“…According to a Feb. 4 report by Xinhua, China’s state-owned newswire, poultry companies and associations in Guangdong province, home to a significant percentage of China’s most recent H7N9 bird flu infections, are proposing to require local authorities drop ‘bird’ or ‘avian’ and simply refer to the disease as ‘the flu.’ … This is madness. Timely, accurate disclosure of avian influenza cases (of which there have been hundreds of confirmed cases in China since early 2013), including information on how those cases were transmitted, is a critical means of educating the Chinese public about the disease and how to avoid it. And teaching the public also includes disclosing the probable source of the disease: birds…” (2/6).

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Recent Releases

Deborah Birx Urges AIDS Research To Marry Prevention With Care, Colleagues Say

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog examines the way Deborah Birx, former director of the United States Military Research HIV Program and nominee to lead PEPFAR, plans to address the next phase of PEPFAR: by “marrying prevention to care,” noting that this “was the ethical way to do research. By bringing treatment to trial sites they would add value from their presence, whatever the outcomes of trials…” (Barton, 2/6).

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London Declaration On NTDs Showing Success

Writing in Humanosphere, development blogger Tom Paulson highlights the success of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. “…In the first annual progress report for the London Declaration issued last month, the authors noted the 1.12 billion NTD treatments distributed, new donor funding to help endemic countries develop integrated disease control plans for the long term, new funding for research aimed at improving treatments for some afflictions and plans for how to scale this up even more in the near future,” he writes and includes comments from Julie Jacobson, a physician and program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2/6).

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Global Fund Accepts Panel's Recommendations To Reprimand Mosquito Net Suppliers

“The Global Fund has accepted recommendations of its Sanctions Panel to reprimand two international suppliers of mosquito nets and to set mandatory terms for continued engagement in the future. … On 14 November, 2013, the Global Fund announced that it had suspended the contracts of the two suppliers after an investigation report uncovered evidence that they committed serious financial wrongdoing in Cambodia. … [T]he Sanctions Panel developed an innovative and practical approach that holds the suppliers accountable while creating value for Global Fund grant programs in the fight against malaria…,” according to a press release from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2/5).

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Doctors, Organizations Issue Open Letter About Homosexuality In Ugandan Paper

“In an open letter appearing [Thursday] in a Uganda newspaper, more than 60 doctors and eight organizations provide answers to questions posed by President Yoweri Museveni on homosexuality in a December 28 letter. The president wrote the letter as he considered the fate of the Anti-Homosexuality bill the nation’s Parliament voted to pass before Christmas…,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog notes (Barton, 2/6).

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TB R&D Is 'Integral Part Of Making Southern African Mines Safer'

In a guest post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog, “Kari Stoever, vice president of External Affairs at Aeras, writes about how mine workers are disproportionately affected by tuberculosis (TB) and why there’s an urgent need for new tools against this deadly disease,” the introduction states. “…Supporting R&D for new tools to diagnose, treat, and prevent tuberculosis will be an integral part of making southern African mines safer. This week, Aeras is at Investing in African Mining Indaba, the world’s largest mining investment event, to discuss potential ways to partner with governments and mining industry officials to address the TB threat…” (Taylor, 2/6).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of ‘Global Fund Observer’

Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 236 of its “Global Fund Observer.” The issue includes an article on the signing of a $100 million grant for a Southeast Asian malaria initiative; a news story on Russia’s transition of being a recipient to donor of Global Fund grants; and a commentary on monitoring global health programs, among other articles (2/6).

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