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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Highlights Foreign Policy Issues Presented In Obama's SOTU Address

Devex highlights U.S. foreign policy issues President Obama addressed in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.

Devex: Obama highlights U.S. aid priorities in SOTU
“As expected, foreign aid was barely a footnote in U.S. President Barack Obama’s annual address to the nation — but a few interesting tidbits did come out. … [T]he U.S. president mentioned several priority areas for aid, like building democracy ‘from Tunisia to Burma (Myanmar),’ supporting energy access for all and fighting poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and responding to natural disasters like the recent typhoon in the Philippines…” (Santamaria, 1/29).

Devex: SOTU 2014: Share your vision for U.S. foreign aid
“…On Tuesday, the eve of this year’s SOTU, Devex asked several Washington insiders to imagine what they’d want the president to say if his speech contained a detailed section on development cooperation. … Here are a few thoughts from your development experts in and around Washington…” (Igoe, 1/28).

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Palliative Care Reaches Only 1 In 10 Who Need It, Report Says

News outlets discuss the first-ever report assessing the state of palliative care worldwide.

The Guardian: Palliative care unavailable for majority of patients in developing countries
“Nine out of 10 people in need of palliative care to relieve the pain and symptoms of a life-threatening illness — the majority of whom live in poor countries — are not receiving it, according to a report published on Tuesday…” (Ford, 1/28).

Medscape: Report Finds Huge Unmet Need for Palliative Care Worldwide
“Globally, only one in 10 people who need palliative care get it, according to the first-ever Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life, published jointly today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA)…” (Brooks, 1/28).

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. report identifies unmet need for palliative care worldwide
“…The ‘Global Atlas of palliative care at the end of life,’ published jointly by the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA), is the first tool to map the need for, and availability of, palliative care globally as well as to identify the barriers to this important element of patient and family care…” (1/28).

WHO: First ever global atlas identifies unmet need for palliative care
“…The Atlas calls on all countries to include palliative care as an essential component to every modern health-care system in their moves towards universal health coverage…” (1/28).

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More Needs To Be Done To Eradicate Abuse Of Women In War Zones, U.N. Official Says

Bernama: More Work Needed To Fight Against Women Abuse In War Zones — U.N. Official
“Former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is now executive director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women), says more needs to be done to eradicate abuse of women especially in war-torn countries…” (1/28).

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Saudi Arabia, Jordan Report New MERS Cases

News outlets report on new cases of MERS recorded in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Agence France-Presse: New MERS death raises Saudi toll to 59
“Saudi health authorities announced Wednesday a new MERS death, bringing to 59 the number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the country with the most fatalities…” (1/29).

RTT News: Two Cases Of MERS Infection Reported In Saudi Arabia, Jordan: WHO
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that it was informed of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), one in Saudi Arabia and the other in Jordan…” (1/28).

WHO: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) — update
“…Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 180 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 77 deaths…” (1/27).

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H7N9 Bird Flu Continues To Spread In China As Chinese New Year Approaches

News outlets report on the continuing spread of H7N9 bird flu in China.

Reuters: Hong Kong reports third H7N9 bird flu death
“A 75-year-old man infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus has died in Hong Kong, the government said on Wednesday, the third such death in the city…” (Woodhouse, 1/29).

VOA News: Chinese New Year Increases Risk of Spreading Bird Flu
“In January, China saw a rise in the number of people diagnosed with bird flu. As the Chinese New Year approaches, millions of people will begin their annual journey home for the holiday, increasing the opportunity for the virus to spread…” (Van Sant, 1/28).

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Challenges Remain For Humanitarian Groups Despite Ceasefire In South Sudan

Devex: Even after ceasefire, challenges remain for NGOs in South Sudan
“Access remains a challenge for most humanitarian groups in South Sudan, even after the government and opposition forces finally agreed to a cessation of hostilities last week in Addis Ababa…” (Ravelo, 1/28).

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Despite Kinks In Progress, Kenya Takes Steps Toward Zero New HIV Infections

Inter Press Service: Kenya’s Journey Towards Zero New HIV Infections Falters
In Kenya, “PMTCT [prevention of mother-to-child transmission treatment] coverage fell by 20 percent in 2011-2012, says the Progress Report 2013 of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).” However, “[e]xperts agree on the main reason behind the reduction in PMTCT — disruptions in the health services. In December 2011, doctors went on strike to pressure the government to put more money into health care. In March 2012, nurses staged a two-week long strike, and five months later doctors again went on strike for nearly three weeks. … ‘But overall, PMTCT uptake has been on the rise’…” (Gathigah, 1/29).

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Private Sector Playing Increasing Role In Rebuilding Typhoon-Hit Philippines

Devex: Private sector stepping up in the Philippines
“The Philippines has been battered by crisis after crisis recently, but a positive storyline coming out of the country is the role business is playing in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. One of the most predominant and game-changing concepts in global development today is the burgeoning role of the private sector…” (Troilo, 1/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Financial Times Publishes Commentaries From Easterly, Sachs On Development Aid

The Financial Times recently published an opinion piece by William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University, and a response from Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and founder of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). “…The obsession with international aid is a rich-world vanity that exaggerates the importance of western elites. It is comforting to imagine that benevolent leaders advised by wise experts could make the poor world rich. But this is a condescending fantasy. The progress that Mr. Gates celebrates [in his annual letter] is the work of entrepreneurs, inventors, traders, investors, activists — not to mention ordinary people of commitment and ingenuity striving for a better life…,” Easterly writes (1/24). Sachs responds, “William Easterly’s claim that foreign aid makes little contribution to the health of the poor is an affront to the field of public health he so blithely criticizes. For all of Mr. Easterly’s vaunted ‘entrepreneurs, inventors, traders, investors, activists,’ lifesaving tools such as vaccines, antibiotics, antiretrovirals, bed nets and oral rehydration solutions don’t reach the poor without public health…” (1/27).

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Hunger, Nutrition Should Be Central Component Of U.S. Policy

Huffington Post: Hunger Emergencies Cast Shadow Over State of the Union
William Lambers, author and member of the Feeding America Blogger Council

“As President Obama delivers the State of the Union, there are hunger emergencies both at home and abroad. … It’s vital, therefore, that Congress support international aid through Food for Peace as well as other initiatives including the McGovern-Dole global school meals plan. UNICEF also needs funding for its programs that combat infant malnutrition. President Obama also needs a hunger relief coordinator in the White House. … [T]he well-being of any nation depends on nutrition. This is why defeating hunger must always take center stage in both domestic and foreign policy” (1/28).

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Coalition Aims To Give Voice To Millions Of People Living With Chagas In The Americas

Huffington Post: Chagas Disease: Urgent Measures Are Needed
Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine

“…[T]oday approximately 100 million people in the Western Hemisphere also live on less than $2 per day. About 10 percent of these ‘bottom 100 million’ currently live with a serious and life-threatening neglected disease known as Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis. … In response to this public health crisis, a Global Chagas Disease Coalition of organizations has been established … Our coalition is calling for urgent measures to increase access for patients to diagnostic testing and essential medicines to treat Chagas disease, support for research and development for new and improved drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and other health technologies, and expanded efforts for transmission control. … It would be amazing and life-saving to turn this situation around in 2014. Chagas disease is silently devastating millions of people throughout the Americas — we need to give a voice to those most in need” (1/28).

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World Vision's 'Child Health Now' Ghana Campaign Calls For Global Action

The Chronicle: Child Health And Survival — A Collective Duty Of All
Micah Ayo Olad, national coordinator for World Vision’s Child Health Now Campaign in Ghana

“The risk for maternal death (during pregnancy or childbirth) in sub-Saharan Africa is 175 times higher than in developed countries, and risk for pregnancy-related illnesses and negative consequences after birth is even higher. … Child Health Now (CHN) is World Vision’s five-year global campaign launched in 2009 to see an end to the more than six million deaths of children under five that are preventable. … The goal of the campaign in Ghana is to contribute to a sustained reduction in maternal and under-five child mortality rate in line with MDG 4 and 5 through the promotion of government policy dialogue and citizens empowerment by 2015…” (1/28).

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Recent Releases

Funding For USAID NTD Program Increased In U.S. FY14 Budget

A post in the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog examines the potential impact of increased U.S. funding for NTD programs. In the federal FY 2014 budget, “[f]unding for USAID’s NTD Program was ramped up from $85.5 million ($89 million less five percent for sequestration) to $100 million, representing the greatest increase in U.S. NTD funding since FY 2010. … To date, USAID’s NTD Program has distributed more than 800 million treatments to nearly 250 million people across 25 countries, leveraging more than $6.7 billion worth of donated drugs, which represents one of the most successful public/private partnerships between government, non-profit and pharmaceutical partners. This new injection of funds will enable USAID to continue treatments in established program areas, monitor and evaluate national progress, reach new endemic populations and maximize drug donations that are currently available yet unable to be used. Most importantly, this puts the global community one step closer towards reaching the London Declaration’s control and elimination goals…” (Gunderson, 1/28).

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amfAR Issue Brief Calls For Investment In Global AIDS Funding

In its January 2014 issue brief, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research says investing now in global AIDS efforts “is essential to maximize the return on investments.” The brief asserts, “Investing now to bring essential HIV prevention and treatment services to scale enables the global response to outpace the epidemic itself, saving both lives and money over the long run. By contrast, shortchanging HIV spending now merely allows the epidemic to expand, adding to long-term health and economic costs” (1/27).

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Proposed Farm Bill Will Prevent Expanded Food Aid, Blog States

“The word from the hollowed halls of Congress is that there’s bipartisan agreement on a new five-year Farm Bill that makes some cuts in food stamp payments and farmer subsidies, outraging both special interests in the agriculture industry along with advocates for the American poor. Almost totally ignored is the fact that the proposed bill also means millions more of the poor overseas will not get American food aid…,” development blogger Tom Paulson writes in Humanosphere (1/28).

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Blog Highlights Post On PEPFAR Funding

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog highlights a recently published blog post on PEPFAR, “written by amfAR Public Policy Director Chris Collins and Health GAP Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Kavanagh, [which] warns that with current funding levels and proposed continued funding cuts, the pace of treatment enrollment will stall, and the numbers of new people receiving treatment through PEPFAR will plunge. With the Obama administration making final budget decisions this week for fiscal year 2015, to be released to Congress on March 4th, the post makes the case for returning to 2011 funding levels for PEPFAR for more rapid scale-up of HIV treatment…” (Aziz, 1/28).

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Creating Partnerships In Global Health Research Helps Build Bridges Among Stakeholders

“…To create partnerships with communities in global health research, we need to build bridges so that the process of mutual learning can take place. The community will have the opportunity to share their perspectives about emerging technologies, and the research teams can listen and respond to their concerns. We build effective bridges by creating and sustaining quality relationships with our community partners. … When we build bridges in global health research, it is not just with communities, but will all of the diverse stakeholders in global health research,” Fil Randazzo, deputy director for the Discovery and Translational Science team of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog (1/28).

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Blog Post Debunks Myth That 'Africa's Farmers Will Always Be Poor'

In a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “Impatient Optimists” blog post, Mercy Karanja, senior program officer and senior regional adviser to East Africa for Agriculture Development at the foundation writes, “Following the theme of this year’s Annual Letter by Bill and Melinda Gates, I would like to debunk the myth that Africa’s farmers will always be poor. … Of course, for this myth to be truly debunked, the right conditions need to be in place for farmers to seize opportunities and make a good living. That is why civil society across Africa — supported by NGOs like ONE and ActionAid, and individuals like Nigerian singer D’Banj — have come together as part of the #DoAgric campaign to ask governments to provide the support necessary to enable farmers to make a good living. … This July’s African Union summit provides the opportunity to commit that support and kill off once and for all the myth that Africa’s farmers will always be poor” (1/28).

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