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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Gates, Summers Present 'Global Health 2035' Initiative

New York Times “Deal Book”: Gates and Summers Push Global Health Drive as Moral Imperative
“Pouring money into improving health care in developing countries is a profound moral mission, according to Bill Gates and Lawrence H. Summers — and huge achievements are well in reach. The two men teamed up on Friday to present a new initiative, ‘Global Health 2035,’ that aims to reduce deaths and improve health for low- and lower-middle-income countries within 21 years…” (de la Merced, 1/24).

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South Sudan Cease-Fire Deal Signed, But Aid Groups Continue To Face Challenges

News outlets report progress on a South Sudan cease-fire deal, but humanitarian groups continue to struggle to provide aid and health care.

New York Times: South Sudan Cease-Fire Signed After More Than a Month of Fighting
“The government of South Sudan and rebels loyal to the country’s ousted former vice president signed a cease-fire agreement on Thursday, holding out the prospect of peace after more than a month of fighting that has torn the new nation apart…” (Kulish/Muchler, 1/23).

Reuters: South Sudan looters steal food to feed 220,000 for a month: U.N.
“Looters in South Sudan have stolen more than 3,700 tonnes of food, enough to feed 220,000 people for a month, the World Food Programme said on Friday…” (Miles, 1/24).

Reuters: South Sudan rebels accuse army of attacks after ceasefire deal
“South Sudanese rebels said on Friday government forces had attacked their positions a day after the two sides signed a ceasefire deal, but the government denied the accusation…” (Odera, 1/24).

VOA News: Measles Reported Among South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda
“The U.N. refugee agency is starting a mass immunization campaign to contain the spread of measles among South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda…” (Schlein, 1/24).

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Aid Agencies Face Challenges To Delivering Supplies In CAR

News outlets report on continuing challenges for aid agencies attempting to deliver supplies in the Central African Republic (CAR).

IRIN: Troops deployed to protect aid convoys in CAR
“As humanitarian needs mount amid unrelenting violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), getting relief supplies into and across the country is proving to be one of the main challenges for aid agencies there…” (1/24).

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: despite insecurity, U.N. provides food for hundreds of thousands
“The United Nations today called for security to be re-established along the main roads in strife-torn Central African Republic (CAR) to allow access for vital aid and humanitarian staff as 38 trucks with a month’s supply of food for 155,000 people remained blocked at the frontier…” (1/24).

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Humanitarian Groups Aim To Deliver Aid In Syria

News outlets report on the state of humanitarian aid in Syria, where conflict began nearly four years ago.

Devex: Syrian breakthrough? Aid convoy expected in Homs
“Following moderately successful diplomatic efforts in Switzerland over the weekend, the Syrian city of Homs is expected to receive on Monday its first convoy of humanitarian aid in 18 months, under a tentative agreement between government and rebels that will also allow for the evacuation of thousands of civilians…” (Santamaria, 1/27).

Reuters: U.N. agency says unable to deliver aid despite Syria govt assurances
“A United Nations agency seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to a besieged district of Damascus said on Sunday state checkpoint authorities had hampered its work, despite government assurances it would allow the distributions…” (Solomon, 1/26).

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U.N. Urges Global Community To Continue Support For Unstable DRC

Agence France-Presse: U.N. urges world not to forget ‘crisis’ in eastern DR Congo
“The United Nations on Friday called for continued support for the strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, amid fears that aid efforts risked being overshadowed by the crises in Syria and the Central African Republic…” (1/25).

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Deutsche Welle Examines Africa's Plan To Fight Hunger With Genetically Modified Crops

Deutsche Welle: Can genetically modified crops end hunger in Africa?
“The U.N. estimates that 223 million people in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from malnutrition. … At an African Agriculture Conference in 2012, 24 African countries agreed to allow the use of genetically modified (GM) crops. But so far, commercial use of genetically engineered seeds is permitted only in South Africa, Egypt, Sudan and Burkina Faso. … This year — the Year of Food Security — agriculture and food security are the focus at the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It remains to be seen what role GM plants will play in the AU goal to conquer hunger in Africa by 2025” (Shoo, 1/24).

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Kenyan First Lady Will Run London Marathon To Promote Health Care Foundation

Two news outlets report on Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s launch of her health care foundation.

The Star: First Lady Kenyatta launches foundation for maternal health
“First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has embarked on a campaign to fight new HIV/AIDS infections and increase access to maternal and child health services. The First Lady hosted a breakfast meeting today for corporates, donor community, and individuals to officially launch ‘Beyond Zero Foundation,’ a platform which she intends to reach the disadvantaged groups countrywide by mobilizing resources to improve health care…” (Nyakundi, 1/24).

Agence France-Presse: Kenyan First Lady to run London marathon
“Margaret Kenyatta, the wife of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, will compete in the London marathon in April in a bid to raise money for local charity, her office said. The Kenyan First Lady will join other celebrities in the April 13 race to create awareness on health issues facing Kenyan women and children…” (1/24).

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Controversial Legislation In Ukraine Affecting Country's HIV Response

Inter Press Service: Ukraine Crackdown Hits Fight Against AIDS
“Groups battling one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics say their task may get ‘catastrophically’ harder following the introduction of controversial laws in Ukraine in response to months of anti-government protests. … The International HIV/AIDS Alliance Ukraine has told IPS that under the new laws it will not be able to pass on Global Fund financing to its local partners as the subsequent taxes would force them to close…” (Stracansky, 1/25).

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Widespread Malnutrition In Afghan Children Threatens Country's Future

The Guardian: Half of Afghan children suffer irreversible harm from malnutrition
“Afghanistan is raising a stunted generation whose hobbled development could spell disaster for the country’s feeble economy and undermine the impact of billions of dollars in aid poured into health, education and other areas…” (Graham-Harrison, 1/26).

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U.N., Malawi Government Launch Initiative To Combat Childhood Stunting

Inter Press Service: U.N., Malawi Government Collaborate to Fight Against Childhood Malnutrition
“The United Nations, working in conjunction with the World Food Programme (WFP), Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and Malawi’s government in a series of relief operations, has launched another initiative to combat the effects of stunted child growth and development in the southern-African country…” (1/24).

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Scientists In Senegal Make Progress In Preventing Schistosomiasis

Al Jazeera: Scientists make breakthrough on bilharzia
“A parasitic disease known as bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, has infected more than 200 million people, but scientists in northern Senegal say they have made a breakthrough in treating it…” (Haque, 1/24).

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Genetic Mutations Helping TB In Russia Spread More Efficiently

Nature: Russia’s drug-resistant TB spreading more easily
“Bacterial ‘superbugs’ are getting ever more potent. Tuberculosis (TB) strains in Russia carry mutations that not only make them resistant to antibiotics but also help them to spread more effectively, according to an analysis of 1,000 genomes from different TB isolates — the largest whole-genome study of a single bacterial species so far…” (Callaway, 1/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Private Sector Plays Critical Role In Ending AIDS

Huffington Post: The $22 Million Domino Effect
Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED)

“The domino effect can be a truly beautiful thing. But in the case of the AIDS fight, when every domino is a private sector player, we don’t want dominos down. We want as many as possible standing proud if the match is to be won. And winning is the virtual elimination of AIDS. We are at a tipping point in the fight against AIDS. We now know that we can end this pandemic — a possibility that was considered impossible 10 years ago — but only if the world keeps its foot on the gas…” (1/25).

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Importance Of Locally Driven And International Responses To TB 'Cannot Be Overstressed'

The Lancet Global Health: Rebalancing the global battle against tuberculosis
Mario Raviglione and Mukund Uplekar of the WHO Global TB Programme; Cheri Vincent and Ariel Pablos-Méndez of USAID

“Meetings of health ministers from the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have produced two joint statements in less than a year: the Delhi Communiqué (Jan 12, 2013) and the Cape Town Communiqué (Nov 7, 2013). Both statements bode well for global tuberculosis control. … In the new era of a globalized world and growing importance of global public goods, the economic transition in health calls for rebalancing of health development aid, international cooperation, and scientific leadership. Collective, coordinated, and country-led responses for a healthier world are the appropriate and responsible way forward. In this endeavor, the importance of country ownership with local advocacy and capacity, and international technical assistance and cooperation, cannot be overstressed” (February 2014).

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'A Little Money' Could Bring Greater Road Safety In Developing World

The Economist: Reinventing the wheel
“Road crashes now kill 1.3 million people a year, more than malaria or tuberculosis. … Yet few places tackle road deaths with the same determination as infectious diseases … In most countries more than half of all deaths happen on under a tenth of roads. Roads bring hope to poor people, and misery as well. A little money spent on safety can tip the balance sharply, to everyone’s benefit” (1/25).

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Warring Factions Must Compromise To Help Prevent Polio's Spread

Washington Post: Polio is on the rise in war zones worldwide
“In Syria, engulfed in civil war, slow and gradual progress is being made in efforts to vaccinate against polio after an outbreak last year, but there are still tens of thousands of children trapped in conflict zones who are receiving no humanitarian aid at all, much less vaccinations. … Both rebels and government forces must realize that polio does not take sides. More than one million Syrian children are refugees. Much needs to be done, and soon, to deny polio the opportunity to take a larger toll” (1/26).

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Optimism Plays Important Role In 'Eradicating Ill-Health And Poverty'

The Guardian: Bill Gates: reasons to be cheerful
“We have, according to Bill Gates, never had it so good. The billionaire philanthropist’s Supermac-style appraisal of the state of the globe comes in his sixth annual letter from the Gates Foundation. … [T]here is good reason for optimism — and good reason to spread it. As he points out, there is nothing so damaging to the cause of eradicating ill-health and poverty than the myth that we can’t do anything to combat it” (1/26).

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Recent Releases

Countries Need Support To Provide 'Their Own Development With Their Own Resources'

Gargee Gosh, director of development policy and finance at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, “It’s tempting to think that development assistance — aid from the outside — is the biggest force supporting development today. … But aid is really just a drop in the bucket of resources funding development in poor countries. More often than not, poor countries are in fact funding their own development with their own resources. … [T]he real question on our minds can’t be ‘how should aid support development’ but ‘how should aid be used to help and encourage countries to support their own development'” (1/24).

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Elimination Of NTDs, Poverty Go 'Hand-In-Hand'

Ashley Schmidt, program and operations associate for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, writes in the “End The Neglect” blog, “Not only are [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] found in what I like to call ‘poverty pockets’ in our society, but these diseases keep people trapped in poverty by prohibiting productivity of those infected. … Treating and controlling NTD is known as a ‘best-buy’ in public health — offering low cost interventions and yielding high returns for populations. Yet NTDs still thrive in our world today for many complex and often interconnected reasons. … But one message is clear and also was re-iterated recently by the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon: ‘Poverty reduction and the elimination of NTDs go hand-in-hand’…” (1/24).

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Humanosphere Podcast Examines Different Ways To Approach Aid, Development

Humanosphere features a podcast on aid theory with Owen Barder of the Center for Global Development. “Much of aid and development today is done more like an engineer building a bridge — with a precise blueprint, clear end goal done according to quantifiable steps. Barder, who is a big fan of metrics and quantification, nevertheless thinks we need to approach the fight against poverty more like [a] biologist, letting the process of change unfold, adapting and learning along the way. It’s a discussion that also reveals why the semantics of aid and development are part of the problem,” journalist Ansel Herz writes (1/24).

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Kangaroo Mother Care Helps Mothers Bond With Infants

Writing in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Mariam Claeson and Cyril Engmann of the foundation’s family health team, and Gary Darmstadt, a senior fellow in the foundation’s Global Development Program, discuss “Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), a practice of holding a newborn baby skin-to-skin, [that] was introduced over three decades ago in Bogotá, Colombia, as an alternative for incubator care for preterm babies. … Most importantly, we need to challenge local and global myths about KMC as a method of care for those who can’t afford better care for their preterm babies. Every mother, irrespective of where she lives and what resources she has at her disposal, should have the opportunity to bond, protect, and optimize the chances for her newborn to live a healthy and productive life” (1/24).

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