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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

India Marks Three Years Since Last Reported Polio Case; WHO Prepares To Formally Announce Country As Polio-Free

News outlets highlight India’s recognition of not recording a polio case for three years.

Associated Press/Washington Post: India marks 3 years since last polio case reported
“India marked three years Monday since its last reported polio case, putting the country on course to being formally declared free of the disease later this year…” (1/13).

Al Jazeera: India marks three years without polio
“India is marking three years without any new recorded cases of polio — a feat that is expected to prompt the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the country polio-free in March…” (1/13).

BBC News: India hails polio-free ‘milestone’
“…It is seen as confirmation of one of India’s biggest public health successes, achieved through a massive and sustained immunization program. India’s health minister hailed it as a ‘monumental milestone’…” (1/13).

The Guardian: 1.2 billion reasons to celebrate: India set to be polio-free
“…[I]t’s been a long road to get here. With poor sanitation, densely populated areas and large numbers of people living in extreme poverty, northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were the ‘perfect storm’ when it came to the spread of polio. And without the vital collaboration between the Indian government and the global polio eradication initiative — a partnership among Rotary International, UNICEF, WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — this may not have been possible…” (Sheldrick, 1/13).

LiveMint: India to get polio-free status amid rise in acute flaccid paralysis cases
“…The last case of polio in the country was reported on 13 January, 2011, from West Bengal. Following the ‘polio-free’ status, India will be certified as a polio-free nation by March, leaving Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria as the remaining polio endemic countries…” (Krishnan, 1/13).

New York Times’ India Ink: A Conversation With: Deepak Kapur, Chairman of India National PolioPlus Committee
“…Deepak Kapur, the chairman of the Rotary International’s India National PolioPlus Committee, has been at the helm of the campaign since 2002. He spoke with India Ink about the end of polio in India and next steps for the country to ensure that the disease doesn’t return…” (Chabbra, 1/13).

Reuters: India breaks free of polio in boost to global immunization drive
“… ‘We give huge credit to the government … It makes us extremely proud and highly responsible for having helped the government to reach this incredible achievement,’ India’s WHO representative, Nata Menabde, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Menabde said the WHO would officially declare India as polio-free by the end of March, when the legal process for certification was completed…” (Bhalla, 1/13).

The Telegraph: Landmark moment as India to be declared ‘polio-free’
“…Now the campaign will turn to Nigeria where the number of cases were halved last year, Afghanistan where infections fell from 30 in 2012 to eleven last year, and Pakistan, the final frontier…” (Nelson, 1/12).

Wall Street Journal: India Manages to Free Itself of Polio
“…The success with polio has also emboldened India to announce that it will now try to eliminate measles as well. At the same time, India faces significant public health challenges such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. In epidemiology, elimination of a disease means wiping it out regionally, while eradication gets rid of it globally…” (Naik/Lalwani, 1/12).

Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time: India Conquers Polio, But Problems Remain
“…Still, for many affected by the disease in India, its lasting effects are crippling and shouldn’t be forgotten in the glow of this initial victory, experts say. As recently as 2009, India reported about half of the polio cases confirmed globally that year…” (Dutta, 1/13).

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Health Workers In Pakistan Refuse To Administer Polio Vaccine

News outlets report on the halting of polio vaccination efforts in Pakistan because of security threats to health workers.

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: Vaccinators refuse to join polio campaign in Pakistan
“Health workers in part of a troubled Pakistani tribal region Friday refused to participate in a polio vaccination campaign because of security threats, officials said. … Efforts to stamp out the crippling disease in Pakistan have been seriously hampered by militant attacks on health workers inoculating children. The Pakistani Taliban banned polio vaccinations in the tribal region of Waziristan in 2012, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage…” (1/10).

The National: Pakistan is new front line in war on polio
“…Since September, more than a dozen polio vaccinators or their security personnel have been killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in north-western Pakistan and Karachi in the south. As a result, about 300,000 children have not been immunized in a country that had 91 new cases confirmed last year — more than in the world’s other two polio endemic nations, Nigeria and Afghanistan…” (Khan, 1/12).

DAWN.com: 70 workers in Khyber refuse to administer polio vaccine
“As many as 70 ‘front-line health workers’ in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency have refused to take part in a three-day polio vaccination campaign beginning in the region on Saturday, citing security concerns. … Haji Sadeeq, a spokesman for the 70 health workers, told Dawn that the circumstances, especially in Jamrud, were not favorable for his colleagues to take part in the campaign…” (Shinwari, 1/13).

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U.N. Appeals For More Aid To CAR, South Sudan

In two articles, the U.N. News Centre reports on the U.N.’s request for more aid to Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan as the refugee crisis worsens in and around each country.

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: amid ongoing violence, U.N. rights expert calls for more aid
“A United Nations human rights expert today called for urgent protection and increased assistance to the growing number of persons displaced by violence in the Central African Republic. ‘The number of displaced persons has increased dramatically over the past few weeks, and immediate access by humanitarian agencies, including to those sheltering in the airport in Bangui, must be granted without delay,’ said U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani…” (1/8).

U.N. News Centre: As crises worsen, U.N. seeks $99 million more for refugees in Central African Republic, South Sudan
“Facing worsening refugee crises in strife-torn Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, the United Nations today appealed for $99 million in additional funding to aid 1.3 million people for the next 100 days, less than three weeks after launching an initial $360 million appeal…” (1/10).

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U.N. Agencies Ensure Peacekeeping, Medical Operations In South Sudan

Several articles examine multiple U.N. agencies’ responses to the violence and humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

U.N. News Centre: South Sudan: U.N. calls for end to fighting, rights abuses; urges unimpeded access for aid
“With the Security Council renewing its call on all parties in strife-torn South Sudan to end the violence, protect civilians and ease access for relief workers, the wider United Nations organization today continued its efforts help alleviate the ‘extremely volatile’ situation by moving to reinforce peacekeepers and scale up its humanitarian response. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he would dispatch Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, to the country this weekend to look into cases of rights violations believed to have been committed by both sides in the conflict which has displaced more than 230,000 people, more than a quarter of whom are on U.N. bases seeking refuge from fighting between pro- and anti-government forces…” (1/10).

U.N. News Centre: South Sudan: U.N. releases $15 million in urgent aid but peacekeeper surge will take longer
“While the United Nations has released $15 million from its rapid response fund for immediate humanitarian operations in war-torn South Sudan, even amid ‘very substantial progress’, it could take up to eight weeks before the full 5,500-strong surge in U.N. peacekeepers and equipment is deployed on the ground…” (1/9).

WHO: WHO ensures wounded in South Sudan get to hospital for life-saving treatment
The WHO announces in a press release that “more than 2,500 people have been injured in the ongoing crisis in South Sudan [and] WHO is working with partners on the ground to ensure they get the medical care and supplies they need…” (1/8).

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Analysts Examine Aid Disbursement In Haiti; U.N. Calls For Continued Support 4 Years After Earthquake

News outlets report on development and relief aid to Haiti four years after a devastating earthquake hit the Caribbean nation.

Inter Press Service: Four Years Later, USAID Funds in Haiti Still Unaccounted For
“As the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti approaches on Jan. 12, development analysts are decrying an ongoing lack of transparency in U.S. foreign aid to the country, even as those assistance streams are drying up…” (Harris, 1/10).

U.N. News Centre: Marking fourth anniversary of Haiti earthquake, U.N. pledges ongoing support to country’s recovery
“United Nations officials are calling on the international community to increase aid to Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the impoverished country, as well as pledging the organization’s ongoing solidarity with the Haitian people and government…” (1/12).

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Top U.N. Relief Official Urges International Community To 'Do More' In Syria

U.N. News Centre: ‘World must do more’ to aid besieged communities in Syria, urges top U.N. relief official
“United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos sounded the alarm today on behalf of more than nine million desperate Syrians — particularly people trapped in areas cut off from aid by months of fighting between government and rebel forces — and called on the world to also do more for those that have been displaced by violence or otherwise impacted by the ongoing crisis…” (1/12).

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China Reports Additional Cases Of H7N9 Bird Flu

News outlets report the latest data on H7N9 bird flu in China.

Reuters: China reports second H7N9 bird flu death in a week
“China reported one more death from the H7N9 strain of bird flu in southwestern Guizhou province, state news agency Xinhua said on Monday, in the second death from the virus in the past week…” (1/13).

Xinhua: East China reports 3 new human H7N9 cases
“Three new human cases of H7N9 bird flu were reported in east China’s Zhejiang Province over the weekend, the provincial health authorities said on Monday…” (1/13).

WHO: Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus — update
“On 10 January 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China notified WHO of six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including one death…” (1/13).

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CGIAR Announces Increased Funding To Address Food Insecurity

VOA News: Expanded Research Puts Global Food Security on the Horizon
“Scientists and food experts have high hopes in achieving global food security as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) recently announced a billion-dollar funding milestone. The world’s largest agriculture research partnership says funding for research and development went from $500 million dollars in 2008 to $1 billion dollars in 2013…” (Lewis, 1/10).

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Providing HIV Treatment To Children Remains Difficult In Kenya

Inter Press Service: Many Kenyan Children Miss Out on Life-Saving Drugs
“Thanks to antiretroviral drugs, HIV-positive children can now live to adulthood. Yet a significant number of children living with HIV in Kenya will die due to delay in receiving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), inconsistent use of ARVs or, simply, no ARVs. … [A] UNICEF report lists several barriers to pediatric ART [antiretroviral therapy]. Among them are limited availability of fixed-dose ARV combinations, poor palatability of recommended drug formulations for infants, lack of technology to test HIV infection among children under 18 months and fewer ART options for children than for adults…” (Gathigah, 1/10).

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TIME Features Articles On India's Food Security Law

TIME: India’s Plan to Feed 800 Million People Is Either Amazing or Insane
“…In an unprecedented experiment, the central government is now legally bound to provide each of over 800 million people — just shy of the combined populations of the U.S. and the European Union — 5 kg of subsidized food grains every month…” The news magazine features several articles examining India’s food security law, including a feature article and a commentary (Mahr, 1/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

South Sudan Offers 'Unique And Exceptional Role For Principled American Leadership'

Washington Post: How Obama is losing South Sudan
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a leading congressional expert on Sudan who has traveled to the region six times since 1989

“…With South Sudan racked by violence that has displaced thousands and prompted rumors of mass graves, many people who have spent years working on this issue, myself included, are grieved at the prospect of a country at the brink of catastrophic war — not simply because of the human suffering it represents but because of the unfulfilled promise that is South Sudan. … Clearly, there is a vital role for the international community in the days to come. But there is also a unique and exceptional role for principled American leadership. Obama must meet this crisis with the urgency, the ingenuity and the moral clarity it demands” (1/10).

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Despite Country's Relaxed Family Planning Policy, Many Chinese Say They Will Not Have More Than One Child

Washington Post: Chinese parents can now have more than one child. Why many say they won’t.
Lauren Sandler, author of “One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One”

“…Until recently, having another child was only hypothetical to most Chinese parents. … Permitting more than one child is surely a step toward freedom, one that will curb the forced abortions and fearful abandonments that have characterized so much of family planning in China for the past 35 years. Still, many Chinese aren’t going to rush to have more children…” (1/10).

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Recent Releases

Bill Gates Discusses Achieving A Polio-Free India

In a post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates discusses the success of India’s polio elimination efforts. He writes, “India’s victory galvanized the global health community to commit to achieving a polio-free world by 2018.” He notes that “India’s success is cause for celebration — but not complacency. … India showed us what is possible — we can end polio, and protect all children everywhere from this debilitating disease forever…” (1/13).

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Development Community Beginning To View Child Marriage As Health Issue

“The development community is starting to pay closer attention to the problem of child marriages. Long considered an issue of human rights, the conversation about child marriage is shifting to that of health and education. Girls married too young are denied the educational opportunities of their peers and are put at greater health risks, such as HIV and teen pregnancy,” development blogger Tom Murphy writes in Humanosphere (1/10).

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CSIS Event Examined Saving Mothers, Giving Life Initiative

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Senior Associate Janet Fleischman and Alisha Kramer, program coordinator at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, write in the center’s Smart Global Health blog about an event held last week and convened by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center that “focused on the first phase results and lessons learned from the Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) Initiative.” The blog includes links to video of the event (1/10).

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Gates Foundation Support Enables Indonesian TB Treatment Program

Gabrielle Fitzgerald, director of Global Program Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog about a TB treatment program in Indonesia. “…I visited Dr. Hasan Sadikin Hospital with colleagues from the [Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] and Tahir, a prominent Indonesian businessman who is the largest individual private donor to the Global Fund. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Tahir’s funding and together these contributions will support the majority of the fund’s TB treatment programs in Indonesia…” (1/10).

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