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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Midwives Can Prevent Two-Thirds Of Maternal, Newborn Deaths, U.N. Report Says

Media outlets highlight a new U.N. report, titled “State of the World’s Midwifery 2014.”

Humanosphere: Midwives can avert two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths, says U.N.
“…Increasing the number of midwives could prevent as many as two-thirds of all maternal and newborn deaths, says a new report released today by the U.N.’s Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and the International Confederation of Midwives. Making investments in the training and education of midwives can go a long way to save lives…” (Murphy, 6/3).

Reuters: Poorer countries lack midwives to cut birth deaths: report
“The majority of the world’s poorer countries, which account for nearly all childbirth-related deaths among newborns and mothers, are facing a critical shortage of professional midwives who could ease the problem, global health experts said on Tuesday…” (Heavey, 6/3).

U.N. News Centre: Midwives can prevent two-thirds of deaths among women and newborns — U.N. report
“…The report urges countries to invest in midwifery education and training to contribute to closing the glaring gaps that exist. Investments in midwifery education and training at agreed international standards can yield — as a study from Bangladesh shows — a 1,600 percent return on investment…” (6/3).

VOA News: Report Warns of Midwife Shortages
“A new report said there’s a severe shortage of midwives in more than 70 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Those countries suffer 96 percent of the world’s maternal deaths and more than 90 percent of stillbirths and newborn deaths…” (DeCapua, 6/3).

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U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation To Overhaul Restrictions On Food Aid

Reuters: U.S. senators set new bid to overhaul pricey food aid rules
“Two U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday to end U.S. restrictions on international food aid programs, which they said would free up hundreds of millions of dollars per year and get aid to some nine million more hungry people around the world. U.S. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, chairman of the Africa subcommittee, introduced the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014…” (Zengerle, 6/3).

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Devex Talks To USAID About New Nutrition Strategy

Devex: The story behind USAID’s new nutrition strategy
“The international community has struggled to deliver when it comes to nutrition, but the issue is gaining unprecedented traction, and aid donors are looking for ways to take advantage of that new momentum. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s new ‘multi-sectoral nutrition strategy’ will allow the agency to combine resources from a variety of initiatives and program areas to tackle malnutrition and childhood ‘stunting’ like never before, said Richard Greene, senior deputy assistant to the USAID administrator…” (Igoe, 6/3).

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Saudi Arabia Revises Number Of MERS Cases, Deaths Upward; Fires Deputy Health Minister

News outlets report on the continuing outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

Agence France-Presse: UAE coronavirus death toll rises to 10
“The MERS coronavirus has killed 10 people and infected 68 in the United Arab Emirates since March 2013, the health minister said in comments published by local media on Wednesday…” (6/4).

Associated Press: Saudi review finds over 100 more MERS infections
“Saudi Arabia, which is grappling to contain the spread of a frequently deadly respiratory virus, announced Tuesday that a review of the illness led authorities to sharply revise upward the number of confirmed infections and deaths from the disease…” (Schreck, 6/3).

New York Times: Saudi Arabia: MERS Toll Revised
“…After a review of medical records, the country’s total number of cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome since the virus was isolated in 2012 is now 688, up from 575; the death toll is 282, not 190…” (McNeil, 6/4).

Reuters: Saudi MERS data review shows big jump in number of deaths
“…The sharp increase in deaths now attributed to MERS, which causes coughing, fever and pneumonia in some, means the mortality rate from the virus in Saudi Arabia is now 41 percent, instead of the 33 percent previously thought…” (McDowall, 6/3).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia sacks minister criticized over handling of MERS
“Saudi Arabia has sacked Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish who has been criticized by some international scientists over his handling of the deadly MERS virus that has infected 575 people in the kingdom and spread around the world…” (McDowall/Kelland, 6/3).

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U.N. Launches Video Campaign To End Sexual Violence

U.N. News Centre: ‘It is time to act,’ Ban declares at launch of video campaign to end sexual violence
“Speaking at the launch of a video campaign on ending sexual violence through gender equality, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that it is time to demand action to eliminate a scourge that harms millions of women and girls around the world. … The launch of the video campaign was organized by the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the U.N. and comes ahead of a global summit to be held next week on the issue…” (6/3).

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Women's Safety Linked To Access To Toilets, Experts Say After Indian Rape, Murder

Associated Press: Indian gang rape case highlights lack of toilets
“…Beyond highlighting the rampant sexual violence in India, last week’s horrific crime is drawing attention to a glaring problem across the country that threatens women’s safety: the lack of toilets. … ‘Around 65 percent of the rural population in India defecates in the open and women and girls are expected to go out at night. This does not only threaten their dignity, but their safety as well,’ UNICEF representative Louis-Georges Arsenault said in a statement…” (Banerjee, 6/3).

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Liberian President Makes Reducing Maternal Death Top Priority

VOA News: Liberia’s Sirleaf Tackles One of Africa’s Highest Maternal Death Rates
“Upon assuming the presidency in 2006, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf promised to tackle many national problems made worse by a decade of civil war. One of her goals was to curtail the maternal death rate, which has soared to 994 out of every 100,000 live births. … This year, President Sirleaf announced that reducing maternal deaths was among her government’s top priorities…” (Flomo, 6/3).

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Number Of Chikungunya Cases In Caribbean Nations Spikes, PAHO Says

CIDRAP News: Chikungunya cases surge in Dominican Republic, Haiti
“Chikungunya infections in Caribbean countries spiked last week, led by quickly growing numbers mainly in the Latin parts of the region, according to the latest update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). … The outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease has now reached 107,424 suspected or confirmed cases…” (Schnirring, 6/2).

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Declining Aid, Ongoing Conflict Leave Millions Hungry In DRC

News outlets continue coverage on the humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

U.N. News Centre: Insecurity, funding shortfall leaves millions hungry in DR Congo — U.N.
“Senior United Nations officials for the Great Lakes region of Africa are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to draw attention to continuing insecurity there, while the world body reported today that the fighting and a decrease in financial resources is causing millions of people to go hungry…” (6/3).

VOA News: Millions Going Hungry in Democratic Republic of Congo
“A new report by the World Food Programme finds millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are going hungry, and malnutrition rates are climbing due to a decline in foreign aid and ongoing conflict…” (Schlein, 6/3).

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Japan Agrees To Provide Food, Medical Aid To N. Korea With Caveats

Kyodo News International/GlobalPost: N. Korea asked Japan for food, medical aid in talks in May
“During talks last week in Sweden, North Korea asked Japan to provide it with food and medical supplies, and Tokyo agreed as long as the assistance was provided through nongovernmental organizations or private-sector entities, a Japanese government source said Tuesday…” (6/3).

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More Efforts Needed To Sustain Decreasing Stunting Rates In Timor-Leste, Experts Say

Huffington Post: Stunting Stalls in Timor-Leste, Exposing ‘Human Infrastructure’ Investment Gap
“New data indicate that stunting among under-five children is being reduced in Timor-Leste, but experts warn much greater investment is needed in areas such as micronutrient supplementation, salt iodization, and education to bring levels down further…” (Knight, 6/3).

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Humanitarian Aid From WTO, Russia, Norway Arrives In Flooded Serbia

Xinhua/Shanghai Daily: WTO, Russia, Norway send humanitarian aid for Serbian flood victims
“Urgent humanitarian aid containing medical equipment, medicines, water filtration systems and reservoirs on Tuesday arrived at Belgrade airport to help Serbia cope with the consequences of the heavy floods that hit country in mid-May…” (6/4).

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Growing Illicit Drug Market In Myanmar Could Increase HIV Cases, Report Says

Eleven Media: Surge in injecting drug use fueling AIDS epidemic in Myanmar, report warns
“Efforts to curb illegal drug production, distribution and use in Southeast Asia have failed, and the area known globally as the Golden Triangle has seen opium cultivation more than double since 2006, a new report by a European nongovernmental organization warns. … The surge in injecting drug users could fuel an expansion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Myanmar…” (6/4).

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Group Helps Zambian Women With HIV Raise Goats To Support Families

Christian Science Monitor: International Fund for Agricultural Development helps Zambian women with HIV raise goats
“In the Batoka area of Southern Province, Zambia, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is providing support to the Harmony Women’s Club, which helps women living with HIV raise goats…” (Ng, 6/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Provision Mandating Food Aid Be Shipped On U.S.-Flagged Ships Would Hurt Efficiency

Seattle Times: Protect U.S. food aid from the shipping industry
Rick Steves, travel writer and member of Bread for the World

“…Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision, hidden inside Coast Guard reauthorization bill H.R. 4005, … [that] mandates that 75 percent — an increase from 50 percent — of U.S. food aid be shipped on U.S.-flagged cargo ships. … This provision is opposed by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as a host of religious groups and nongovernmental organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services, Bread for the World and Mercy Corps. … Including this provision to increase restrictions on how our food aid is shipped would be a major setback to the world’s hungry, as well as to the efficiency of America’s food-aid programs…” (6/3).

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Midwifery Report Provides Outline To Broaden Maternal, Child Health Care In LMICs

The following opinion pieces address the availability of midwifery care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as well as the “State of the World’s Midwifery 2014” report.

Huffington Post: Midwives: An Essential Resource for Ensuring Safer Deliveries
Ward Cates, president emeritus of FHI 360, and Patsy Bailey, senior scientist with FHI 360

“…As the 30th Triennial International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Congress begins in Prague, we must recognize that midwives provide a critical entry point for pregnant women and their newborns to receive life-saving health care services that are respectful and women-centered. … The State of the World’s Midwifery 2014 report will offer a blueprint for maximizing the contributions that midwives can make to health systems worldwide…” (6/3).

Huffington Post: How My Great Grandmother Influenced Thousands Of Lives
Sharon D’Agostino, vice president of corporate citizenship at Johnson & Johnson

“…The world has changed dramatically since my great-grandmother’s day [as a midwife], but in communities around the world midwives still face the same challenges she faced at the turn of the twentieth century. … The State of the World’s Midwifery report provides an excellent springboard for advocacy at national and local levels in countries where midwives’ skills are desperately needed…” (6/3).

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'World Needs To Ensure' Women, Infants Survive Pregnancy, Childbirth

Huffington Post: Healthy Babies
Michael Møller, acting director general of United Nations Office at Geneva

“…Babies should be born healthy and the world needs to ensure this happens. … The public launch of the Every Newborn Action Plan will be in Johannesburg at the end of June. Experts here in Geneva will be working hard with groups and individuals around the world to ensure that the plan is implemented so future generations everywhere are born and grow up healthy” (6/3).

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Bringing Sustainable Energy To More Than 1B People Will Improve Health, Development

Huffington Post: An Overlooked Health Challenge — and Opportunity
Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation

“Parents everywhere want their children to grow up safe and healthy — but more than one billion people face health risks simply because they don’t have modern energy services. … We need strong commitments from governments, businesses, and advocates to support increased access to sustainable energy. And we need people all around the world to raise their voices in support for action on these issues…” (6/3).

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Recent Releases

Secretary Kerry Provides Remarks At 2014 PEPFAR Annual Meeting

U.S. Department of State: Remarks for 2014 PEPFAR Annual Meeting in Durban, South Africa
The department presents video remarks from Secretary of State John Kerry for the 2014 PEPFAR annual meeting in Durban, South Africa (6/3).

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Letter Asks U.N. SG Not To Appoint Ugandan Official As Head Of General Assembly

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: With Uganda foreign minister set to lead United Nations General Assembly, human rights, HIV treatment advocates urge action
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses an open letter addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, asking him to prevent the appointment of Uganda Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa to head the U.N. General Assembly because of his support of his country’s anti-homosexuality laws (6/3).

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Gates Foundation Announces Winners For Grand Challenges Exploration Grants

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Bold Ideas for Big Shifts in Global Health
Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery & translational sciences in the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announces the Phase I and II winners for the foundation’s Grand Challenges Exploration grants, which “fund scientific work on unproven ideas that could potentially be ground breaking in solving major global health and development problems” (6/2).

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