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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Meeting In S. Africa Prompts Media Coverage Of Issues Surrounding Maternal, Child Health

News outlets report on the Partners’ Forum 2014, sponsored by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and taking place this week in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as other issues surrounding maternal and child health.

Agence France-Presse: High-birth Niger strives to lower maternal mortality
“…The West African state and humanitarian groups have worked to slash both birth and maternal mortality rates, but despite strides results are not good enough, the U.N. warned this week…” (Hama, 6/28).

Associated Press: Studies question U.N. strategies to save mothers
“In the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent trying to save the lives of mothers in developing countries using strategies — usually inexpensive drugs — deemed essential by the U.N. health agency. Yet two large analyses of maternal health programs — including one conducted by the U.N. itself — report that the efforts appeared almost useless, raising troubling questions about why all that money was spent…” (Cheng, 6/29).

Ghana News Agency/GhanaWeb: Global Leaders meet in Johannesburg on Maternal Child Health
“…The 2014 Partners Forum, which spans June 30-July 2, will identify success factors and outline the remaining challenges the world must collectively overcome to improve the health, education, equality and empowerment of every woman and child…” (6/30).

The Hindu: More education among women helps reduce maternal and child mortality in Bangladesh
“Bangladesh is a classic case of a low- and middle-income country achieving the unachievable which many others failed to. It reduced its maternal mortality by 66 percent between 1990 and 2010; the reduction was 40 percent between 2001 and 2010 alone…” (Prasad, 6/30).

U.N. News Centre: Ban urges focus on adolescent girls to reduce maternal mortality
“To triumph over maternal mortality, initiatives must focus on adolescent girls, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said, ones that allow them to go to school, marry whom they choose, shield them from harmful traditional practices and provide them with appropriate family planning services…” (6/28).

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West Africa, WHO Take Steps To Respond To Ebola Outbreak

News outlets continue to cover responses from the WHO and African health officials to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Associated Press: A look at how West Africa is combating Ebola
“The Ebola outbreak in three West African countries is already the deadliest to date with 635 cases and 367 fatalities, and is expected to be the longest on record, as some of the poorest countries in the world scramble to confront the fatal disease…” (Schemm, 6/28).

Associated Press: Sierra Leone warns of contact with Ebola infected
“Sierra Leone warned Friday that it is a serious crime to shelter someone infected with the Ebola virus. The statement from the Health Ministry also lamented the fact that a number of patients had discharged themselves from hospital in Kenema district where the outbreak is taking place and gone into hiding…” (Macaulay, 6/27).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola outbreak ‘not out of hand,’ U.N. health agency says readying response
“The United Nations health agency and partners are working with the governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to control an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, an official today said, announcing an international meeting next week to agree on a coordinated regional response…” (6/27).

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News Outlets Report On Possible Source Of, Response To MERS In Saudi Arabia

News outlets report on the possible sources of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus and Saudi Arabia’s response to the outbreak.

New York Times: Flawed Saudi Response Fueled Outbreak of MERS, Middle East Virus
“…Saudi officials know how urgently they need to beat the disease, and they say they now have the latest outbreak under control. But the fact that the number of cases and deaths have more than tripled since the end of 2013 has led health experts to cite grave flaws in the way this ultraconservative and staunchly private monarchy has handled the crisis…” (Hubbard/McNeil, 6/29).

Reuters: Exclusive: In virus hunt, Saudi Arabia suspects African camel imports
“Saudi Arabia suspects a virus that has killed hundreds of people there may have arrived in camels from the Horn of Africa, and could ban such imports until it knows more, the kingdom’s chief scientist told Reuters…” (Kelland, 6/27).

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U.N. SG Ban Urges Strong Voice For New Body Focused On Sustainability

U.N. News Centre: Saying ‘change is in the air,’ Ban urges new U.N. body to galvanize global sustainability agenda
“With the close of the Millennium Development Goal era just months away, and work already beginning on a successor agenda to reign in poverty and put the planet on a sustainable course before it is too late, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [Friday] the ‘timing could not be better’ for the launch of a strong U.N. body tackling all issues relating to the environment…” (6/27).

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Longer Lives Mean Increase In Diseases Of Age, Including Dementia, Cancer

Financial Times: Longer lives mean more diseases of old age and rising costs
“…The good news in health care is that life expectancy around the globe continues to rise — and with it the total population, now in excess of seven billion. … The bad news is the corollary: the global population is living longer and aging, bringing with it both greater vulnerability to infection and a propensity for diseases linked to longevity — such as dementia and many types of cancer…” (Jack, 6/29).

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Iraqi Health Services Strained By Conflict, Large Number Of Displaced Persons

IRIN: Violence and displacement stretch Iraq’s health services
“Hospitals and clinics in areas of fighting in central Iraq are struggling to operate at full capacity due to crossfire, electricity and fuel shortages, and an exodus of staff, officials say…” (6/27).

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Sudanese Children Facing Crisis, UNICEF Says

Voice of America: U.N.: Millions of Sudan’s Children Facing Acute Crisis
“The U.N. Children’s Fund said Sudan today is home to one of the biggest children’s crises in the world. UNICEF warns conflict, displacement, and underdevelopment are putting children at risk of death, disease, and disability…”

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Global Health Corps Welcomes 6th Class Of Fellows

Associated Press: Bush’s daughter leads global health group
“…[Barbara] Bush, twin sister Jenna Bush Hager and four others went on to create Global Health Corps in 2008. The group places young professionals and recent college graduates in fellowships with health organizations in the United States and Africa for a year of service to improve health care access. … She spoke to the Associated Press on Friday as Global Health Corps planned to welcome its sixth class of fellows at Yale University for more than two weeks of training…” (Christoffersen, 6/28).

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Sri Lanka Turning To Weather Forecasting To Help Reduce Dengue's Spread

Inter Press Service: Plagued By Dengue Fever, Sri Lanka Looks to the Weatherman
“…Given that so many strategies have been tried and failed, experts are now suggesting that the authorities call in help from the national Meteorological Bureau as the latest weapon in the fight against the virus. Faseeha Noordeen, head of the department of microbiology at the University of Peradeniya in central Sri Lanka, told IPS that there is a clear connection between changing climate patterns and the spread of dengue…” (Perera, 6/30).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Gates Foundation's Leadership Role

SPIEGEL Online: Interview with Melinda Gates: ‘Simple Things Can Have a Huge Effect’
“…In a SPIEGEL interview, Melinda Gates explains [her and her husband's, Bill Gates,] start in philanthropy, the challenges of combating disease in conflict zones, and the unique responsibility of the wealthy…” (Shafy/von Rohr, 6/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. 'Must View Food Security As Integral To Its National Security'

Huffington Post: Food Security Is National Security
Toni Verstandig, chair of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs and senior vice president at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace

“In order to set effective food and nutrition priorities, as well as strengthen access to nutritious foods and sustainable agriculture, America must view food security as integral to its national security. … This will require sustained and patient thought leadership to incubate a global set of values through which leaders can influence security factors and collaborate across sectors and geographies…” (6/29).

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Congress Must Support Efforts To Prevent FGM, Support Survivors

Roll Call: The Underground Epidemic: U.S. Female Genital Mutilation
Kristy Kumar, a Scoville fellow with the Center for National Policy and the Truman National Security Project

“…In a letter to Attorney General Holder, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Sebelius, Secretary Duncan, Administrator Shah and Director Burwell, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) urges the development of a comprehensive plan to implement the General Assembly resolution and the Girls Protection Act. Spearheading the anti-FGM movement are survivors like 24-year-old Jaha Dukureh, a Wells Fargo banker from Atlanta. … Congressman Crowley and former Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack’s reintroduction of the Girls Protection Act, along with Dukureh’s petition letter that garnered over 212,000 signatures, have proliferated a campaign to publicize an epidemic faced by up to 140 million women and girls around the world. … Survivors like Dukureh have exposed an underground epidemic onto the national stage. It is critical that members of Congress join Rep. Crowley in signing this letter so that the Obama administration feels the pressure to address the needs of FGM survivors…” (6/30).

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West Africa Needs Better Response To Control Ebola Outbreak

Washington Post: West Africa can’t manage the Ebola outbreak
“…West Africa had not seen a major Ebola outbreak and was unprepared. Its public health infrastructure is weak. There was no quick incident response system with a command-and-control structure, and no comprehensive public health plan for a mobile population. … Other West African countries must heed the lesson of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Deaths can be prevented if their leaders face the danger and implement complete, proven methods of control” (6/29).

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Recent Releases

Senate, House Taking Steps To Codify Obama's Power Africa Initiative

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Turning on the Lights to Energize U.S. Leadership in Africa
Ashley Chang, deputy policy director at USGLC, writes, “…The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the ‘Energize Africa Act’ this week and, like the ‘Electrify Africa Act’ that passed the House in May, it would codify and expand the administration’s Power Africa initiative. Taken together, these bills could transform America engagement on a continent that is home to seven of the 10 fastest growing economies…” (6/27).

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Industry Leaders Discuss Global Health Delivery

Mediaplanet: Investing in our Future: A Roundtable Discussion
Mediaplanet interviews six health business leaders and officials on global health service delivery: Stephan Bart, Sr., chief medical officer at Accelovance; Gustavo Doncel, executive and scientific director at CONRAD; Abebe Aberra, senior health adviser for Episcopal Relief and Development; Pape Amadou Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International; Mark Ansermino, chief medical officer at LionsGate Technologies; and Mark Stibich, chief scientific officer at Xenex (6/30).

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