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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Save The Children Report Describes State Of Syria's Collapsing Health System

News outlets report on Save the Children’s new report (.pdf) released Monday on the state of Syria’s collapsing health care system.

New York Times: Report Cites ‘Devastating Toll’ on Health of Syria’s Children
“The Syrian civil war’s impact on the health of Syria’s children is far more insidious than has been widely understood, a leading children’s advocacy group reported Sunday, with large numbers dying or at risk from chronic and preventable diseases that have flourished because the country’s public health system has basically collapsed…” (Gladstone, 3/9).

Reuters: Save the Children describes health care disaster in Syria
“…[A] new report published on Monday paints a dire picture of Syria’s collapsing health care system. … In its report, Save the Children described the fallout from the collapse of the medical system as ‘horrific,’ as remaining hospitals and medical staff struggle to treat hundreds of thousands of people wounded by the fighting…” (Dziadosz, 3/9).

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GAVI To Support HPV Vaccination Of 1.5M Girls In 3 Countries

Media outlets report on the GAVI Alliance’s announcement that it will support vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) for 1.5 million girls in Rwanda, Uganda, and Uzbekistan.

UPI: 1.5 million girls in three countries to get HPV shot
“An alliance that helps developing nations said it will support vaccination of 1.5 million girls in Rwanda, Uganda, and Uzbekistan against cervical cancer. The GAVI Alliance, which brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, agencies and private philanthropists announced Saturday the vaccination of the girls against human papillomavirus — which prevents cervical cancer — will begin in Uganda and Uzbekistan in 2015…” (3/8).

GAVI Alliance: 1.5 million girls set to benefit from vaccine against cervical cancer
“The GAVI Alliance [Saturday] announced that it will support vaccination programs in Rwanda, Uganda, and Uzbekistan aiming to protect 1.5 million girls against the cause of cervical cancer…” (3/8).

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U.N. Officials Urge Continued Humanitarian Support For Countries Affected By Conflict, Natural Disaster

The U.N. News Centre on Friday published several articles highlighting comments from U.N. officials regarding the humanitarian crises in Central African Republic (CAR), Philippines, and South Sudan.

U.N. News Centre: ‘Extremely grave’ situation in Central African Republic demands urgent action — U.N. official
“Painting a grim picture of war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), where months of inter-religious violence has wrecked state institutions, left millions on the brink of starvation and now threatens to suck in the wider region, the top United Nations relief official today called for urgent international action — more peacekeepers and more aid — to end the crisis…” (3/7).

U.N. News Centre: Sustained global support vital as Philippines recovers from Typhoon Haiyan — U.N.
“The top United Nations relief official warned today that behind the signs of early recovery in typhoon-hit regions of the Philippines there are still millions of people who are extremely vulnerable, and urged the international community to sustain the emergency response and ensure a smooth transition to long-term development…” (3/7).

U.N. News Centre: South Sudan: U.N. says clashes in Upper Nile state prevent deliveries to needy populations
“The United Nations refugee agency today expressed its deep concern about the situation in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, where needy populations, including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, increasingly, host communities are being affected as security conditions have prevented the delivery of food and other relief items to several camps since February…” (3/7).

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Global Fund Approves Final Elements Of New Funding Model

Devex: Global Fund ‘country dialogue’ central to new funding model
“After implementing a series of reforms over the past two years to restore donor confidence, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has finally approved final elements of its new funding model that is expected to provide more result predictability, impact, and inclusive country dialogue. … The new funding model, which has been piloted in several countries in the past year, features a more flexible funding system, allowing countries to apply for Global Fund grants at a period that is in sync with their national budget cycle and needs…” (Santos/Ravelo, 3/7).

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U.N. Launches Campaign Urging Men To Support Women's Rights

News outlets report on the U.N.’s launch of a campaign encouraging men to support women’s rights.

New York Times: U.N. Women’s Rights Group Seeks Men’s Support
“In a campaign from the United Nations that seeks to promote women’s rights, there is not a woman in sight — and that is deliberate. The strategy behind the campaign, which is to begin on Friday morning, is revealed by its theme, ‘He for she’ — in other words, men ought to stand up for the rights of the women of the world who are their mothers, sisters and daughters…” (Elliot, 3/7).

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of International Women’s Day, U.N. asks men to ‘stand up and deliver’ on human rights for all
“On the eve of International Women’s Day, the United Nations has launched the ‘He for She’ campaign urging men to stand up for the rights of their mothers, sisters and daughters, while top U.N. officials stressed that human rights for girls and women are not a dream but a duty of all…” (3/7).

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Clinton Links Women's Reproductive Rights To Human Development Goals

News sources highlight a speech at the U.N. by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who linked women’s reproductive rights to human development.

CNN: Clinton ties ‘broader human development’ with women’s reproductive rights
“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a Friday speech at the United Nations to tie women’s reproductive rights with the broader goal of human development…” (Merica, 3/7).

Politico: Clinton stresses reproductive rights at U.N.
“Hillary Clinton said Friday that it is a ‘bedrock truth’ that humanity cannot progress as a whole if women lack reproductive rights. The former secretary of state and likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate delivered those remarks at the United Nations as her party continues to charge that Republicans are engaged in a ‘war on women’…” (Glueck, 3/7).

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Overhaul Global Food System To Adequately Address Nutrition, Hunger, U.N. Official Says

The Guardian: Food system that fails poor countries needs urgent reform, says U.N. expert
“The existing food system has failed and needs urgent reform, according to a U.N. expert who argues there should be a greater emphasis on local food production and an overhaul of trade policies that have led to overproduction in rich countries while obliging poor countries — which are often dependent on agriculture — to import food. In his final report, Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, offers a detailed critique of an industrial system of agriculture that has boosted food production over the past 50 years, yet still leaves 842 million — 12 percent of the world’s population — hungry…” (Tran, 3/10).

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As Many As 1,000 NIH Researchers Drop Out After Budget Cuts, Data Show

ScienceInsider: Up to 1,000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year
“New data show that after remaining more or less steady for a decade, the number of investigators with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding dropped sharply last year by at least 500 researchers and as many as 1,000. Although not a big surprise — it came the same year that NIH’s budget took a five percent cut — the decline suggests that a long-anticipated contraction in the number of labs supported by NIH may have finally begun…” (Kaiser, 3/7).

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Economic Empowerment Critical To Poverty Reduction, Report Says

The Guardian: Generate decent jobs ‘or a billion people will remain in extreme poverty’
“Up to a billion people will remain in extreme poverty by 2030 unless countries focus on inequalities and confront social, economic, and cultural forces that block their escape or pull them back into impoverishment, a major report warns. The report by the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN) asserts that many people may rise above the poverty line of $1.25 a day, only to tumble back when they are hit by a combination or sequence of shocks such as drought, illness, and insecurity or conflict…” (Tran, 3/10).

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NTDs Threaten Indonesia's Economic Growth, Researchers Say

Wall Street Journal: Diseases Threaten Indonesia’s Economic Health
“Indonesia’s high rate of economic growth could fall victim to its high rate of tropical disease, warns a study by a team of U.S.-based academics and disease experts from the World Health Organization. Published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, ‘An Emerging Market Economy Beset by Neglected Tropical Diseases’ reports that Indonesia has some of the world’s highest concentrations of these diseases, including dengue and leprosy…” (Schonhardt, 3/8).

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Law Stigmatizing MSM In Myanmar Hinders HIV Efforts

IRIN: Reaching out to men who have sex with men in Myanmar
“A colonial-era law criminalizing ‘unnatural’ sex is reinforcing the stigma that leaves men who have sex with men (MSM) in Myanmar ‘hidden, silenced, and shamed,’ hindering efforts to contain HIV/AIDS among this highly at-risk group, AIDS experts and activists say…” (3/7).

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Lesotho's HIV 'Expert Patient' Program Suffering Funding Shortfalls

Deutsche Welle: Cutbacks threaten Lesotho’s HIV sufferers
“… Around half of Lesotho’s expert patients [who fill the gap between doctors and their patients] are funded directly by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Now, due to contribution shortfalls from donor countries, support from the Global Fund for the expert patient program is being reduced…” (Geoghegan, 3/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

NIH To Conduct Trials To Test HIV Treatment In Newborns

New York Times: Great Hope for Babies With HIV
“America’s National Institutes of Health will soon sponsor clinical trials abroad to evaluate whether early and very aggressive drug treatments for babies infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can effectively clear the virus from their bodies. The hope is that such treatments might ‘cure’ at least some of them, as seemingly happened in one famous case in the United States. But no one yet knows whether such therapy can be successful on a broad scale. … The babies would be put on high-dose drugs within 48 hours of birth and be followed for several years. If the results are promising, this treatment could spare more than 250,000 infants who are born infected each year from a lifetime of illness or costly and toxic treatments” (3/8).

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Sweden, U.S. Partner On Development Assistance

Huffington Post: Sweden and America Link Arms on Development Assistance
Mark Brzezinski, U.S. ambassador to Sweden, and Bjorn Lyrvall, Swedish ambassador to the U.S.

“… As we move forward together, U.S. and Swedish development experts will continue to seek innovative partnerships, solicit inventive ideas and solutions, and encourage involvement of the private sector. … Whatever else the future may bring, the United States and Sweden are working toward a brighter, more hopeful, and more prosperous 2030 for the 1.2 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. We can achieve this, and look forward to collaborating with governments, businesses, groups and individuals that want to join us” (3/8).

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Opinion Pieces Address International Women's Day

The following opinion pieces address issues surrounding International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8.

The Hill: Nigerian Ambassador Ade Adefuye: Remembering International Women’s Day
Ade Adefuye, Nigerian ambassador to the U.S.

“…We cannot forget the barriers that women had to overcome and we must celebrate what women have accomplished throughout our history. It is our duty to remember that everyone must continue to help, mentor and teach future generations of women as they embark upon life’s challenges and obstacles…” (3/8).

Huffington Post: International Women’s Day: The Overlooked and Underemphasized Role of Men in Maternal Health
Naveen Rao, lead of Merck for Mothers

“…[I]f we are to make real strides in reducing maternal deaths, we need all hands on deck — hands of both women and men. The U.N. Women’s ‘He for She’ campaign stresses this truth. I believe it is especially important to highlight the role of men in maternal health. If men value the mother of their children and support her health, we will no doubt see fewer and fewer women suffer fatal complications during childbirth…” (3/7).

Devex: This International Women’s Day, invest in our future
Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver

“…This International Women’s Day, while we should honor and appreciate the hard-won battles of advocates of the past, we all have the duty and opportunity to invest in those that will carry the torch after us. It’s time to invest more in girls and women — their health, their rights, their education and their leadership opportunities. We have the evidence that this is not just the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do because everyone benefits…” (3/7).

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Recent Releases

Birx Responds To Questions On PEPFAR At Senate Confirmation Hearing

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Deborah Birx, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next U.S. global AIDS coordinator, answered questions regarding PEPFAR and the U.S. global AIDS response during a confirmation hearing, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “A Senate vote on her nomination will follow, but has yet to be scheduled,” the blog notes and summarizes Birx’s comments at the hearing (Aziz, 3/7).

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USAID, Kerry Recognize International Women's Day

USAID’s “IMPACTblog” marked International Women’s Day, recognized annually on March 8, with a post by Margaret McGlynn, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, about the development of an AIDS vaccine and its potential impact on women’s equality (3/7). In addition, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released a press statement commemorating the day, saying, “When we invest in our mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, we invest in a brighter future for the world. The United States stands ready to protect and advance the health, education, and human rights of women and girls everywhere, because women’s progress is human progress” (3/8).

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USAID, DHS Release Report On Women's Equality And Empowerment

On Friday, “the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Demographic and Health Surveys Program released ‘Women’s Lives and Challenges: Equality and Empowerment since 2000,’ a report that assesses gains in women’s status and gender equality worldwide. This report, among the most extensive recent assessments of women’s status, looks at women’s progress in four continents and more than 45 countries. ‘Women’s Lives and Challenges’ evaluates trends in women’s employment, domestic decision-making, exposure to violence, and access to education and health care,” according to a USAID press release (3/7).

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Campaign In Myanmar Making Progress Against NTDs

“Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have a crippling affect on the people of Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Asia. … Despite this, Myanmar is making progress in the fight against NTDs due in large part to an unprecedented and ambitious campaign that took place over just one week in September 2013. Our new video shows how thousands of health workers and volunteers came together to help end the burden of NTDs in Myanmar,” Alex Gordon, a communications associate with the Sabin Vaccine Institute, writes in the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog. “…With the support of END7 and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Myanmar Ministry of Health protected more than 36 million people from lymphatic filariasis (LF) and intestinal worms…” (3/7).

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Blogs Report On Findings Presented At CROI 2014

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports from the Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2014 on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV in resource-limited settings (Lubinski, 3/7). The blog also discusses a study that debunks theories on drivers of HIV transmission (Barton 3/7). The AIDS.gov blog reports from CROI 2014 on scientific advances on the HIV care continuum (Forsyth, 3/7). The blog also discuss an update on two cases of HIV-positive infants in remission after very early treatment (Gomez, 3/7).

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