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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines U.S. Foreign Assistance, USAID Agendas In 2014

Devex: U.S. aid reform in 2014: 8 issues Congress may tackle
“Congress has long avoided comprehensive reform of U.S. development cooperation, and 2014 will likely be no different. But there’s a good chance lawmakers will consider a number of issues that could affect international development…” The news service says the “eight issues to watch in 2014” include food aid reform, Electrify Africa, aid transparency and accountability, USAID organizational changes, international trade, AGOA reauthorization, emergency relief, and Foreign Assistance Act overhaul (Igoe et al., 1/6).

Devex: A new year’s resolution for U.S. aid
“For U.S. foreign aid, 2013 set bold aspirations against a backdrop of dysfunctional budgetary and legislative decision-making in Congress. If the U.S. government is going to drive a relevant foreign assistance agenda forward, it will have to take advantage of opportunities early next year to embed a growing list of goals within a clearer vision of how U.S. development professionals can serve a world where poverty and fragility increasingly intersect…” (Igoe, 12/23).

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Prospects For 2014 U.S. Foreign Aid Budget Remain Unknown, Devex Reports

Devex: Despite progress, 2014 budget outlook still murky for U.S. foreign aid
“With a signed bipartisan budget deal in their hands and tens of billions of dollars to spend, U.S. appropriators are the center of attention at the start of this New Year. Aid advocates are urging them to look at a growing list of global conflicts and crises and put some of that money to work for U.S. foreign assistance goals. However, sources in touch with lawmakers told Devex it is too early to tell how much, if any, of the additional spending pie freed up by the the deal signed on Dec. 26 by President Barack Obama could be carved out for U.S. foreign aid…” (Igoe, 1/3).

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U.N. Relief Coordinator Voices Concern Over Multiple Humanitarian Crises In 2014

Two articles examine U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos’s warning that global humanitarian crises will continue to prove challenging in 2014.

U.N. News Centre: Multiple emergencies pose great test of the global humanitarian system, U.N. official says
“An unprecedented number of people are beginning 2014 either internally displaced or as refugees, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned today, urging sustained support for millions who have been driven from their homes by violence and bloodshed or uprooted by devastating natural disasters…” (1/2).

World Bulletin: U.N. unable to keep up with humanitarian crises
“The U.N. is entering 2014 with four major humanitarian crises on its plate — civil war in Syria, sectarian conflicts in the Central African Republic (CAR), disaster in the Philippines and political tensions in South Sudan. To deal with this, some $12.9 billion will be needed all together to help over 52 milion people in 17 countries, the Under-secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said Thursday in New York…” (1/3).

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Withdrawal Of U.S., NATO Troops From Afghanistan Threatens Continued Humanitarian Aid

Reuters: If U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, much civilian aid may go too
“For years, U.S. officials have pointed to the improvements in the everyday lives of Afghans made possible by billions of dollars in aid from the United States and elsewhere. … The specter of an abrupt departure of all U.S. and NATO soldiers from Afghanistan at the end of next year now imperils these gains, they warn, and endangers progress on the massive development challenges that remain…” (Ryan, 12/26).

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WHO Urges Donors To Scale Up Operations In South Sudan

The WHO has called for international donors to scale up their operations in South Sudan as the humanitarian situation escalates and poor conditions in camps pose health risks to displaced persons.

Vaccine News Daily: WHO calls for funding for health initiatives in South Sudan
“The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is worsening and is calling for donor agencies to provide funding to health partners to maintain access to health care services…” (Limardo, 1/6).

WHO: Health response to the conflict in South Sudan
“A new wave of civil conflict and violence in South Sudan has left around 189,000 newly displaced people in a dire humanitarian situation. The precarious sanitary conditions in IDP camps, the disruption of health services and the risk of communicable diseases have prompted WHO to scale up its operations in the country. The organization is appealing for $4.1 million for immediate support for coordination, emergency health care and disease surveillance…” (1/6).

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CAR Conflict Could Escalate Into Religious War, U.N. Official Warns

U.N. News Centre: Strife in Central African Republic could turn into religious war and spill over borders, U.N. warns
“The worsening strife in the Central African Republic (CAR) with its Muslim-Christian overtones risks escalating into sustained violence along religious lines and spilling beyond the country’s borders, further destabilizing the whole region, the United Nations top political officer warned today…” (1/6).

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Two New Cases Of H7N9 Cases Confirmed In China

WHO reports two new cases of H7N9 bird flu in China, while the Chinese government continues to take surveillance and control measures.

RTT News: Two New Cases Of Human H7N9 Infections Reported In China
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) revealed Monday that China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission had notified it in mid-December of two new laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus…” (1/6).

WHO: Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus — update
“On 18 and 19 December 2013, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of two new laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus…” (1/6).

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Bono Commends U.S. For Bipartisan Support Of HIV Treatment, Prevention

Upon accepting an award this weekend, U2 lead singer and activist Bono commended the U.S. for bipartisan support in efforts to provide HIV treatment and prevention worldwide.

Fox News: Bono thanks U.S. for lead role in global fight against AIDS
“The Irish rock band U2 took home the Sonny Bono Visionary Award for their song ‘Ordinary Love’ from the film ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ at the 25th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday. Well-known for his activism, particularly in the space of AIDS intervention and awareness, lead singer Bono took the opportunity to thank America for its efforts in combating the global epidemic…” (McKay, 1/6).

ONE Blog: AIDS: Bono thanks U.S. for bipartisan leadership
“Bono and the Edge accepted the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Visionary Award this week on behalf of U2 with a speech on the power of activism and American bipartisan leadership in delivering more antiretroviral treatment to AIDS patients. This is the first time the award was given to someone other than a filmmaker, and Bono took the opportunity to speak about his band’s advocacy work. The following is a transcript of his entire speech, which Bono delivered at the awards gala on Saturday night…” (Gharib, 1/6).

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China To Ease Family Planning Policy In Early 2014

News outlets report on China’s efforts to ease its one-child policy in early 2014, noting the country’s legislature approved changes first proposed by President Xi Jinping in November.

Bloomberg Businessweek: China’s Legislature Approves Relaxation of One-Child Policy
“China’s legislature approved a policy to let some couples have a second child, after President Xi Jinping last month proposed relaxing population controls to help counter a shrinking workforce…” (12/28).

CNN: China moves forward in bid to ease one-child policy
“China’s plan to relax its controversial decades-long, one-child policy has taken a significant step forward, with the country’s top legislative body poised to approve its implementation early next year…” (Armstrong, 12/24).

TIME: China To Ease One-Child Policy in Early 2014
“Plans to ease China’s decades-old one-child policy will be rolled out early next year, Chinese state media have said…” (Paramaguru, 12/24).

Reuters: China to ease one-child policy early next year
“Changes to China’s strict one-child policy, which will allow more parents to have a second child, will begin to roll out early next year, state media said…” (12/24).

Wall Street Journal: China’s One-Child Policy to Change in New Year
“China’s family-planning agency aims to roll out changes to the country’s one-child policy, allowing some parents to have a second child, in the beginning of next year, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency…” (Burkitt, 12/23).

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More Effort Needed To Improve Myanmar's Family Planning Services

IRIN: Burmese family planning left behind
“Despite donor funding to advance Myanmar’s health care system, experts say more work is needed in life-saving family planning services, which have yet to receive the support they need. … At 200 deaths per 100,000 live births, Myanmar’s maternal mortality rate is one of the worst in the region, according to a recent UNFPA report. This number has been halved since 1990, but the Millennium Development Goal of 130 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015 is still unlikely to be reached, U.N. officials warn…” (1/7).

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HIV Relapse In Patients Thought Virus-Free Spurs Researchers To Push More For Cure

Reuters: Relapse of ‘cured’ HIV patients spurs AIDS science on
“Scientists seeking a cure for AIDS say they have been inspired, not crushed, by a major setback in which two HIV-positive patients believed to have been cured found the virus re-invading their bodies once more. True, the news hit hard last month that the so-called ‘Boston patients’ — two men who received bone marrow transplants that appeared to rid them completely of the AIDS-causing virus — had relapsed and gone back onto antiretroviral treatment. But experts say the disappointment could lay the basis for important leaps forward in the search for a cure…” (Kelland, 1/2).

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Experimental Malaria Test Would Not Require Blood Sample

New York Times: A New Test for Malaria, No Blood Required
“Rice University researchers have developed a rapid malaria test that uses a laser pulse, eliminating the need to draw blood. The test has not yet been tried on humans with the disease, but in experiments with blood samples and mice, it detected malaria when only one red blood cell in a million was infected, with no false positives, the inventor said. The results were described in a study published online last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…” (McNeil, 1/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

New York Times' 'Room For Debate' Feature Discusses Birth Control

New York Times: Thinking Beyond the Pill
“More than 50 years after its introduction, the birth control pill — and altering hormonal levels in general — still seems to be the best contraceptive available. Has progress on developing new birth control methods stalled? What can be done to promote innovation?” The newspaper features opinion pieces from Natalie Rechberg, chief executive officer of Valley Electronics AG, a supplier of natural fertility monitors; Amy Ong Tsui, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health; Elaine Lissner, director of the Male Contraception Information Project and of Parsemus Foundation; Evette Dionne, a writer at Bustle, The Root, theGrio and other publications; and Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute.

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World Must Continue Efforts To Prevent, Treat, Research A Cure For HIV/AIDS

Tampa Bay Times: No time to let up in fight against AIDS
“Representatives from around the world made financial commitments in Washington last month that would allow the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to continue to operate for the next three years. … Separately, [President] Obama announced plans to give $100 million to a National Institutes of Health project aimed at finding a cure. This is what the United States, other countries and philanthropists should be doing. But it is not enough. … The world’s health depends upon our ability to advance the message and the research, and now is not the time to let up” (1/3).

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Recent Releases

U.S. Continuing To Assist In Mental Health Support For Syrians

Jack Myer, Syria regional disaster assistance response team leader in the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, writes in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” about the ongoing conflict in Syria and how “9.3 million people now find themselves in need of humanitarian assistance,” particularly women and children. “The U.S. will continue to provide mental health support to people affected by the Syria crisis as they cope with the daily challenges of war — all part of the $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance for the crisis,” he states (1/6).

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Report Examines HHS Global Health Strategy

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has published a new report by Katherine Bliss, senior associate with CSIS Global Health Policy Center, titled “Global Health within a Domestic Agency: The Transformation of the Office of Global Affairs at HHS.” The summary states, “The HHS Global Health Strategy, with its emphasis on disease surveillance, food and drug safety, basic research, and health diplomacy, is noteworthy for its success in shining light on the important linkages between global and domestic health challenges. However, its development should be seen less as a stand-alone event and more as critical step within an ongoing process that has made global health a key element of the department’s work and made the department a critical player in the overall development and execution of U.S. global health policy and programs…” (1/6).

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Paper Examines Connection Between UHC, Women Health Agenda

Jonathan Quick, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health, and colleagues write in PLOS Medicine about improving women’s health through universal health coverage. “There is an emerging consensus that universal health coverage (UHC) is an essential means of achieving post-2015 health goals and may represent a valuable goal or target in itself. … In this article we analyze the connection between UHC and the women’s health agenda, recommending policy measures that can help to ensure that adoption of UHC, as part of the post-2015 framework and implementation of UHC in national health systems, will directly contribute to improving women’s health…” (1/6).

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Blog Looks At Global Fund's Multi-Tier Pricing Framework

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s multi-tiered pricing framework for commodities, including comments from Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul and Suerie Moon of the Harvard Global Health Institute, as well as quotes from a commentary by Médecins Sans Frontières (Barton, 1/6).

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Paper Examines Global Fund's Regional Procurement Costs For Malaria-Related Commodities

A paper published in the Malaria Journal “presents an analysis of malaria-related commodity procurement data from 79 countries, as reported through the Global Fund’s price and quality reporting (PQR) system for the 2005–2012 period. … This paper concludes that global procurement costs do vary by region and have reduced overall over time. This suggests a mature market is operating when viewed from the global level, but regional variation needs further attention. Such analyses should be done more often to identify and correct market insufficiencies” (Wafula et al., 12/30).

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State Department, Global Health Corps To Host Google+ Hangout

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman and CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps Barbara Bush will participate in a Google+ Hangout on ‘How Young People Are Transforming the Health World’ at 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, January 8,” according to a State Department press release. “The Hangout will be broadcast live on the Department of State’s YouTube channel and Google+ page” (1/6).

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Peru Poised To Pass Food Security Law

“…Peru’s proposed food security law, which has been under discussion for nearly two years, will take action to address this problem. The bill is the result of a consensus among different political parties, and last year was passed unanimously by two Congressional committees. It was brought to the plenary just before the holidays, but the debate over last-minute amendments delayed its final passage until after the New Year. When Peru’s Congress reconvenes today (January 6th), it is hoped the final bill can be swiftly approved,” Stephanie Burgos, senior policy adviser at Oxfam America, writes in the group’s “Politics of Poverty” blog (1/6).

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