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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Canadian Health Officials Report North America's First H5N1 Case

News outlets summarize information reported on Wednesday by Canadian health officials, who recorded North America’s first known case of H5N1 avian influenza infection in an Alberta woman who died last week.

Canadian Press: Fatal case of H5N1 bird flu reported in Alberta, first North American case
“Canada has reported North America’s first case of H5N1 bird flu infection, in an Alberta resident who recently returned from a month’s visit to China…” (Goodman/Branswell, 1/8).

CTV Edmonton: Albertan dies from avian flu, health officials confirm
“Officials with the federal government and the provincial government said Wednesday that one Alberta resident had become the first case of avian flu in North America — and had died from the illness last week…” (Parrish, 1/8).

Bloomberg News: Canada Reports First Case in North America of H5N1 Flu
“…The individual had traveled to China in December and was admitted to hospital Jan. 1 before dying Jan. 3, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said in a statement. No more cases are expected in Alberta because of the rare nature of the flu and the precautions taken by authorities, Horne said in the statement…” (Argitis, 1/8).

Reuters: Canadian dies from H5N1 avian influenza on return from China
“…Officials at a briefing in Ottawa said that the case was isolated and there was minimal risk to the general public. The H5N1 strain — normally spread through contact with infected birds — kills about 60 percent of those infected, they added…” (1/8).

New York Times: Bird Flu Cited by Officials in Death in Canada
“…The [Canadian health] minister, Rona Ambrose, and several public health officials, insisted that the death was an isolated case and posed little or no risk to the general public. They said that the victim did not appear to have contracted the H5N1 virus from human contact during a trip to Beijing last month and was unlikely to have passed it along when returning to Alberta…” (Austen, 1/8).

BBC News: First N. America H5N1 bird flu death confirmed in Canada
“…Canadian federal health officials said they would not identify the patient’s sex, age or occupation. Ms. Ambrose said Canadian officials were working with Chinese authorities on the case…” (1/8).

United Press International: First H5N1 bird flu death in North America confirmed in Canada
“…There have been only 650 reported cases of H5N1, with more than 60 percent of them resulting in death. The World Health Organization recorded 38 cases of H5N1 last year, including 24 deaths. This is the first death in North America” (Baliga, 1/8).

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U.N. Senior Officials Urge G77 Nations To Work Collectively To Achieve Anti-Poverty Goals By 2015

U.N. News Centre: Senior U.N. officials urge ‘Group of 77’ nations to work collectively on anti-poverty goals
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the General Assembly President John Ashe, today urged the bloc of developing countries known as the ‘Group of 77 and China’ to work collectively towards reaching the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline…” (1/8).

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WHO Set To Review 8 Proposals Addressing Neglected Disease Research; Critics Worry Schemes Are Not Innovative

Nature: Projects set to tackle neglected diseases
“…Pharmaceutical companies say that poor customers cannot afford to pay the high prices needed to recoup development costs. Critics say that eight proposals, endorsed last month by reviewers for the World Health Organization (WHO) to break the stalemate for [kala-azar] and other neglected diseases, are noble, but no solution. The measures will do little, they say, to solve a broader problem: the disparity in spending on research and development for diseases of the rich and those of the poor. … The projects are part of an attempt to salvage a decade-long effort to create new funding mechanisms for neglected diseases. … But critics worry that the eight shortlisted pilot projects are not actually testing new ways of funding, and that more innovative ones have been shelved…” (Hayden, 1/7).

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'No Sex For Fish' Group Aims To Prevent HIV In Kenyan Region

Two articles examine a campaign in Kenya’s Lake Victoria region that aims to prevent the spread of HIV by ending some women’s practice of trading sex for fish.

IIP Digital: ‘No Sex for Fish’ Group Helps Fight Spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya
“In Kenya, Peace Corps volunteers have been working to end the practice of trading sex for fish, which has perpetuated the spread of HIV/AIDS among communities along Lake Victoria. … Working with Kenyan businesses and U.S. federal government partners, the volunteers have acquired boats for women involved in the fish trade and supported the development of their own fishing business…” (1/8).

The Star: No sex for fish, Kisumu women vow
“Despite many campaigns to end the practice, sex-for-fish trade in Lake Victoria is still prevalent. However, women are now taking it upon themselves to end the practice which has led to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. A project dubbed No Sex For Fish aims to end the practice known as Jaboya in Dholuo…” (Gichana, 1/7).

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U.N. Warns Of Worsening Humanitarian Situation In Two Unstable Iraqi Cities

IRIN: Iraq fighting slows aid to the displaced
“The U.N. is warning of a ‘critical humanitarian situation’ that is only ‘likely to worsen’ following sustained fighting among Islamic insurgents, tribal groups and government forces in the Iraqi province of Anbar that has displaced at least 5,000 families. Aid agencies are on standby to deliver food, water and other relief items to those affected by the violence, which erupted in and around the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, but they are struggling to gain access due to the fighting…” (1/8).

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NTD Prevention Efforts Overshadow Disease Morbidity Management

The Guardian: NTDs: disease control is about much more than drugs
“One of the top three recommendations of the latest annual report of the U.K. Coalition Against NTDs is to ‘ensure that NTD control and elimination programs reflect the full range of care and include morbidity management and disability prevention components to promote stigma reduction, support for mental health care and livelihood initiatives.’ … Yet morbidity management has been overshadowed by the successful drive to scale up prevention efforts with mass drug administration…” (Filou, 1/9).

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Number Of Dengue Deaths In Malaysia Double In 2013

Wall Street Journal: Dengue Deaths Up in Malaysia
“Deaths from dengue in Malaysia shot up [in 2013], doubling that of 2012, as the tropical country battles with a raging mosquito-borne virus that claims hundreds of lives annually in Southeast Asia…” (Gangopadhyay, 12/28).

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Scientists Decode Genome Of Cholera Strain From 1849

New York Times: With Help of Victims From 1849, Scientists Decode Early Strain of Cholera
“Using bits of human intestine stored in a Philadelphia medical museum in 1849, scientists have decoded the genes of an early form of cholera, the deadly diarrheal disease that first swept the globe just a few decades earlier. … Right now, there is no obvious practical use for the 1849 genome. Cholera vaccines protect against the modern El Tor strain…” (McNeil, 1/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

New Monterrey Consensus Could Lay Foundation For Emerging Powers' Full Participation In Post-2015 Agenda

Huffington Post: A New Development Framework for Emerging Powers
Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health

“…[W]ith the Millennium Development Goals approaching their due date in 2015, important discussions are heating up in capitals around the world about what will come next. … Perhaps it is time for a new Monterrey Consensus to define the principles and framework for the engagement of emerging powers in development. This new consensus would not replace the sound principles of the current agreement, but would identify the unique role of an important group of important countries — membership in which will grow over time — within that framework. … As the first Monterrey Consensus laid the lasting foundations for a new approach to development, round two could establish the framework for the productive engagement of emerging powers. It is only with the full participation and leadership of these countries that we can achieve a harmonious, sustainable world in the post-MDG era” (1/8).

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5 Actions To Promote Global Health In 2014

Devex: 5 ways to accelerate global health in 2014
Allan Pamba, director of public engagement and access initiatives at GSK

“…If we’re to cement the progress already made in helping people live healthier lives — regardless of where they live — we must start making last year’s conversations a reality. From the conversations I had last year at places like the U.N. General Assembly, I think there are five ways in which we can accelerate global health in 2014…” Pamba lists and describes these five actions as “put partnerships into practice,” “fight HIV, AIDS and malaria,” “manage noncommunicable diseases,” “support innovation in developing countries,” and “get on the phone” (1/8).

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Afghan Insecurity, War Taking 'Heavy Toll' On Children

Epoch Times: Afghan Children Pay the Price of Brutal War
César Chelala, an international public health consultant

“Decades of insecurity and war [in Afghanistan] have provoked a heavy toll on children’s lives and well being. An under-five mortality rate of 199 per 1,000 live births as reported by UNICEF is among the highest in the world. … In addition, health and education systems suffer from lack of funds and qualified professionals, a situation worsened by the security situation…” Chelala describes respiratory and intestinal infections, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio, diarrhea, hunger and malnutrition, and “psychological trauma resulting in serious mental health problems, including psychiatric disorders and post-traumatic stress syndrome,” as contributing to child morbidity and mortality in Afghanistan (1/8).

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Mobile Technology Can Help Patients Adhere To, Doctors Monitor TB Treatment

Fox News: How smartphones have become a powerful tuberculosis treatment tool
Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon vice president of global corporate social responsibility and president of the Verizon Foundation

“Mobile technology can not only improve medication adherence, it can deliver disease education, send behavioral intervention reminders, increase access to specialty care via video and remotely monitor biometrics. Yet, the current use of mobile technology in health care systems is a fraction of its potential. That is why it is so essential that this promising success of TB adherence through mobile technology be widely communicated…” (1/1).

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Recent Releases

Volunteer Physician Discusses Importance Of Funding For NTD Research

The Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog interviews volunteer physician Brian D’Cruz, who has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Congo Brazzaville and Central African Republic. D’Cruz discusses the “urgent need for USAID to support R&D for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like sleeping sickness,” and he says that with USAID’s support of NTD research, “We would save a lot of lives. We would prevent a significant amount of suffering. … Increased funding for programs to find patients and treat them, and for better and more patient-adapted diagnostic and treatment tools, would be game-changers” (Taylor, 1/8).

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Blog Examines Two Recent Reports Addressing HIV/AIDS In Africa

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” examines the “Afrobarometer research project’s recent cross-continent survey [.pdf] of What People Want from Government, Basic Survey Performance Ratings, 34 Countries, released in December,” and a supplement from the Journal of the International AIDS Society that discuss progress and challenges in efforts addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa (Barton, 1/8).

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Food And Nutrition Security Should Be 'Major Component' Of Post-2015 Development Goals

Josh Lozman, deputy director of program advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, “[F]ood and nutrition security should be a major component of the post-2015 framework, either as its own goal, or at least with key targets on sustainable agricultural productivity, efforts to fight malnutrition through reductions in stunting, and reduction in post-harvest loss and food waste. In the coming months, the world has an exciting opportunity to link sustainability and food and nutrition security as the post-2015 development framework emerges. Making this link is a critical step on the road to a new development agenda that sets ambitious goals with an achievable pathway to their realization” (1/5).

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New Issue of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has published Issue 35 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue notes the new funding application materials are available online and includes an obituary for Rangarirai Chiteure, coordinator for the Country Coordinating Mechanism in Zimbabwe, as well as an article on Bangladesh’s community health workers (1/8).

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