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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID To Shift $2.9B In Maternal, Child Health Funding To Target 24 High-Risk Countries

News outlets report on developments surrounding the “Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths” meeting, held Wednesday and sponsored by USAID and the governments of Ethiopia and India, in collaboration with UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners.

Devex: What USAID’s $2.9B maternal and child health ‘realignment’ means for you
“…As a result of [a two-year ‘blue ribbon’ review of the agency’s maternal and child health programs], led by Ray Chambers, the U.N. special envoy for financing the health Millennium Development Goals and malaria, and which involved such other health luminaries as Paul Farmer and Helene Gayle, USAID will ‘realign’ its $2.9 billion maternal and child health portfolio over the next three years in an effort to prioritize certain interventions over others, depending on a given country context — and, the agency hopes, save up to 500,000 lives…” (Igoe, 6/25).

Christian Science Monitor: Why USAID is shifting maternal health funds toward Africa, Asia
“The U.S. Agency for International Development announced today that 26 countries have done so well at achieving maternal and child health goals that they’re now on their own. Their funding will instead go to 24 countries where mothers and children are still dying at alarming rates…” (Zilrunick, 6/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Efforts to lower maternal and child deaths fall short, USAID targets 24 high-risk countries
“Countries are falling short in meeting the global goal to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035, despite a U.S.-led plan launched two years ago to accelerate progress, a report released on Wednesday said…” (Dawson, 6/25).

TIME: USAID Wants To Save 15 Million Kids by 2020
“…USAID’s new plan includes working in partnership with host countries, non-governmental and faith based organizations. Each of its proposed actions is grounded in data and tailored to the needs of individual countries…” (Rhodan, 6/25).

VOA News: New Plan Aims to Cut Maternal, Child Deaths By 80 Percent
“UNICEF, the United States and the governments of India and Ethiopia have issued a call to action — a new initiative to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and their children who die each year from preventable causes…” (Buckwalter, 6/25).

VOA News: USAID Unveils New Efforts to Reduce Child and Maternal Deaths
“…USAID also plans $650 million in partnership awards with nearly two dozen companies to help distribute life saving drugs like amoxicillin to 5,500 rural villages…” (Diallo, 6/25).

Washington Post: With help of private industry, USAID review finds $2.9 billion for maternal, child health
“…In an unusual move last year, Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, convened an external panel that included corporate executives and millionaire philanthropists to review every dollar the agency spent and hunt for inefficiencies. ‘They came up with a lot of things we didn’t think about,’ Shah said in an interview…” (Cha, 6/25).

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'Cargo Preference' Provision In Coast Guard Authorization Bill Stalled In Senate

Al Jazeera America: Food fight: Coast Guard bill could limit aid to hungry
“…The regulation in question is known as ‘cargo preference,’ a 60-year-old provision that says a certain percentage of U.S. food aid must get transported aboard U.S. vessels, even if foreign carriers offer a lower price. Researchers say the law has cost the U.S. government at least $140 million a year on unnecessarily expensive transportation — money that could have been spent on food for millions of people or used elsewhere entirely … The provision seems to have stalled for now…” (Katz, 6/25).

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WHO Says Immediate Action Needed On Ebola Outbreak In Africa

News outlets continue coverage on the ebola outbreak in West Africa and discuss the difficulty in studying the disease.

Agence France-Presse: WHO urges ‘drastic action’ on Ebola outbreak in Africa
“The World Health Organization warned Thursday that dramatic steps were needed to fight a deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, calling a meeting of health ministers from 11 countries to address the crisis…” (6/26).

Associated Press: WHO reduces Ebola death toll in Sierra Leone
“The World Health Organization on Wednesday announced it was changing the way it reports fatalities from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone at the request of the government…” (Schemm, 6/25).

Huffington Post: Why There Still Isn’t An Ebola Cure
“Ebola first appeared more than three decades ago, but there is still no cure or specific treatment for the disease, in part because the dangerous nature of the virus makes it difficult to study, experts say…” (Rettner, 6/24).

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UNICEF Urges Child Protection As Focus In International Development

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF: Governments must do more to protect the rights of children
“A new UNICEF report says violence and poverty are major factors affecting children’s well-being in both poor and rich countries. The document urges governments and businesses to do more to protect the rights of minors…” (6/25).

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Inadequate Funding, Harsh Laws Could Threaten HIV Fight In Uganda

IRIN: Flat funding, harsh laws could hurt Uganda’s battle against HIV
“Inadequate funding coupled with harsh laws targeting same-sex unions could erode the gains so far made in the fight against HIV in Uganda, activists warn…” (6/25).

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Iran's Parliament Moves To Criminalize Permanent Contraception In Effort To Boost Population

Washington Post: Iran’s baby shortage leads to a plan to ban permanent contraception
“Iran’s parliament on Tuesday took a step closer to criminalizing permanent forms of contraception, in a move intended to turn around a decreasing population rate…” (Rezaian, 6/25).

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PBS NewsHour Profiles Guatemala's Malnutrition Crisis

PBS NewsHour discusses malnutrition in Guatemala and the country’s efforts to address the problem.

PBS NewsHour: How Guatemala finally ‘woke up’ to its malnutrition crisis
“…Nearly 50 percent of Guatemala’s children are malnourished, which often leads to physical and mental stunting. … Until a few years ago, Guatemala’s high society in the bustling capital was ignorant of the country’s malnutrition problem. … Then a social movement … began to stir the nation’s conscience…” (Thurow, 6/25).

PBS NewsHour: In a land of plenty, a reporter’s snapshots of malnutrition
“Half the children in Guatemala are malnourished — as many as three-fourths in the rural areas. And long-term studies have shown that malnutrition at an early age can cause ‘stunting’ in physical and intellectual development. In the last few years, the government, industry, and NGOs have joined forces to raise awareness of the problem throughout the country…” (Sreenivasan, 6/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Efforts To End Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths

The following opinion pieces address issues surrounding child survival and the “Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths” meeting that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

GlobalPost: Building on a movement for maternal, newborn, and child survival
Kate Rogers, senior program manager for Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed at UNICEF, and Nicole Schiegg, senior consultant to Speak Up Africa

“…Strengthening the supply of medicines and health care services is, of course, a critical step towards saving mothers, newborns and children from preventable deaths. But, it must be followed by a second step: increasing the public demand for life-saving interventions. … Under the banner of A Promise Renewed, leaders from the private and public sectors are calling on citizens to rally around national strategies for maternal, newborn, and child survival…” (6/25).

Huffington Post: Let’s Use Evidence-Based Interventions to Save the Lives of Children and Mothers
Agnès Binagwaho, minister of health of Rwanda, and Mark Shriver, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Save the Children

“…The U.S. and African presidents will come together in August to talk about investing in future generations. Together, we have an opportunity to use this summit to accelerate action in Africa to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths worldwide. Our hope is that this summit will increase collaboration between the U.S. and African partners to promote and deliver the most effective interventions and identify new and innovative resources…” (6/25).

Huffington Post: All Parents Deserve to See Their Child’s Fifth Birthday
Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services

“…More governments, especially those of the 24 nations that account for 70 percent of maternal and child deaths globally, need to be encouraged to sustain and increase efforts to reduce the staggering number of unnecessary and preventable child deaths. Now is the time to build upon the significant advances in promoting maternal and child health to ensure that no woman or child dies of a preventable death. Achievements that include efficient delivery of child immunizations, bed nets, clean water and sanitation, and quality care at birth must continue and maximize the momentum to achieve these goals…” (6/25).

Huffington Post: U.S. NGOs Investing to Help Children Reach Their 5th Birthday
Samuel Worthington, president of InterAction

“…We have an opportunity: if we invest in these communities, giving parents the tools to raise healthy and productive children, we can sustain the massive decline in child mortality that we have seen over the past two decades. U.S. NGOs will continue their private spending, and stand ready to partner with and support the U.S. government’s investments to let these children reach their fifth birthday” (6/25).

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U.S. Actions Against Uganda's Anti-Gay Law Should Mark Beginning Of Bilateral Relationship Re-Evaluation

The Hill: Obama’s wake-up call to Uganda
Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch

“…While the steps taken by the U.S. [in response to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law] show an overdue willingness to reflect on Uganda’s deteriorating human rights situation, much remains to be done. … [T]he U.S. and other donors to Uganda will need to continue to press for free expression, assembly, and association in Uganda and take prompt action whenever the authorities violate the rights of Ugandans, LGBTI or otherwise. The announcement from the White House should be just the beginning, not the end of this difficult road” (6/25).

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World Bank's Move To Focus On Women, Girls Vital To Economic Development

Huffington Post: As the World Bank Turns
Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute

“The World Bank, which for decades has been criticized has overly focused on the construction of dams and other infrastructures as the cure for poverty, is turning its focus to the real engine of economic progress in the developing world: girls and women. … There will always be a need and a role for economic infrastructure improvements, but unless the World Bank and the broader international donor community realize the ‘human capital’ potential of girls and women, the economic potential of many developing countries will remain untapped. The realization of ‘voice and agency’ for girls and women is not just a moral imperative, it’s an economic one, and the World Bank, it appears, is taking that imperative seriously” (6/25).

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Allowing Higher Food Prices, Instituting Social Protections Can Waste Less, Feed More

Inter Press Service: Higher Food Prices Can Help to End Hunger, Malnutrition and Food Waste
Andrew MacMillan, former director of the Field Operations Division of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

“…The idea that low food prices will reduce the scale of the hunger problem is flawed since the main reason for people being hungry is that they cannot afford the food they need, even when prices are low. Rather than, as now, shielding all consumers from paying a full and fair price for food, it seems to make more sense to let prices rise and increase the food buying power of the poor. … But to eliminate hunger quickly, income transfers, targeted on poor families and with their value indexed to food prices, are also needed, at least until countries begin to manage their economies more equitably…” (6/25).

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New Hookworm Vaccine Could Have 'Tremendous Impact' On World's Poorest

Huffington Post: A New Malnutrition Vaccine for the World’s Poor
Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, and Remko van Leeuwen, director of acquisitions at the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development (AIGHD) Foundation and coordinator of the HOOKVAC consortium

“…[A] report just released in the prestigious medical journal, Blood, reveals that anemia is now one of the most important causes of global illness, especially among women and children. … [A] neglected tropical disease (NTD) called hookworm is one of the leading causes of anemia. … The good news is that the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) is developing the world’s first human hookworm vaccine, which could have a tremendous impact on the health, economic, and social landscape of countries with high burdens of this disease. … [This] human hookworm vaccine has been referred to as an ‘antipoverty vaccine’ because of its potential ability to improve child development, pregnancy outcome, and the health and productivity of agricultural workers. By conquering a leading cause of anemia in the developing world, the vaccine could become a truly important global health intervention…” (6/25).

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Malaria Chemoprevention, Though Effective, Presents Risk Of Antibiotic Resistance

New York Times: Malaria Prevention, With Both Reward and Risk
Amy Maxmen, science journalist

“…With a limited lifetime, chemoprevention is not an ideal solution for malaria. But the situation is desperate. Malaria remains the No. 1 killer in several countries, and a vaccine that reliably and permanently prevents the disease may be more than a decade away from the market. … Despite its flaws, chemoprevention could prevent 8.8 million cases of malaria and 80,000 deaths annually — but right now, it lacks the political support to fund and carry it out to the full extent…” (6/25).

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Recent Releases

Fact Sheet Examines U.S. HIV/AIDS Funding In President's FY15 Budget Request

Kaiser Family Foundation: U.S. Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS: The President’s FY 2015 Budget Request
The foundation has published a new fact sheet examining HIV/AIDS funding contained in President Obama’s FY 2015 federal budget request, released on March 4, 2014. The budget request includes an estimated $30.4 billion for combined domestic and global HIV efforts, with $24.2 billion requested for domestic HIV programs and $6.2 billion for global programs, the fact sheet notes (6/25).

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U.S. State Department Working To End Sexual Violence In Conflict

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict: Turning Commitment Into Action
Catherine Russell, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, outlines several steps the State Department is taking to end sexual violence in conflict, writing, “[W]e remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing the status of women and girls in all aspects of our diplomatic work, and to raising the importance of gender equality at every level…” (6/23).

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State Department's Office Of Global Food Security Under New Leadership

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Secretary Kerry Appoints New Leadership for the Office of Global Food Security
Elizabeth Buckingham, a nutrition and gender adviser in the Office of Global Food Security, notes Nancy Stetson was sworn in on Monday as the secretary’s special representative for global food security. “Her staff will be led by Foreign Service Officer Chris Hegadorn, who also started working on Monday, as the director of the Office of Global Food Security,” Buckingham notes (6/25).

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Blog Post Examines Benefits, Challenges Of State Department's ForeignAssistance.gov

Center for Global Development: ForeignAssistance.gov Is Getting Bigger; Here’s How to Make It Better
Sarah Rose, senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, discusses the State Department’s release of foreign assistance data on the ForeignAssistance.gov website, outlining “why it’s still a good investment, the big challenges it faces, and how it can be improved” (6/23).

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U.N. Official Outlines 6 Lessons From The SUN Movement

Food Tank: Rebuilding the International Nutrition System So it’s Fit-for-Purpose
David Nabarro, special representative of the U.N. secretary general for food security and nutrition and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement coordinator, discusses six lessons learned over the past four years in the 50 countries of the SUN Movement (6/23).

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Blog Post Discusses Anti-Gay Legislation, HIV Criminalization

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Anti-gay legislation, HIV criminalization and harm… We’re reading doctors’ warnings on how human rights abuses hurt public health
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, provides a roundup of news and recent releases regarding anti-gay legislation and its impact on health (6/25).

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