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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

MCC, PEPFAR Partner For Sustainable HIV Efforts

Devex: How MCC partnership will help PEPFAR ‘go local’
“Last week, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief signed a new, three-year memorandum of agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corp. as part of a growing effort to improve the initiative’s long-term sustainability by transitioning U.S. support for HIV and AIDS programming toward greater host-country responsibility and ownership…” (Igoe, 3/25).

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Activists Question Whether U.S. Should Cut Aid To Uganda

News outlets discuss the implications of Uganda’s anti-gay law on U.S. foreign aid to the country.

New York Times: Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law Complicates U.S. Aid in Rebel Hunt
“On the February day that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda signed a law making homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison, the White House sharply criticized the measure as ‘more than an affront’ and warned that the administration would review the American relationship with Uganda in light of the law. A month later, administration officials have announced that President Obama is sending more Special Operations forces and additional military aircraft to help Mr. Museveni as he continues to hunt down Joseph Kony, the elusive rebel commander who is bent on toppling the Ugandan government. … On Monday, a number of [human rights advocates] questioned Mr. Obama’s support for advancing civil liberties in Africa…” (Cooper, 3/24).

Washington Blade: Activists differ over calls to cut Uganda aid
“LGBT rights advocates in Uganda and other countries continue to disagree over whether the East African nation should lose foreign aid over a law that imposes a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts…” (Lavers, 3/24).

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Air Pollution Kills 7M People Worldwide Each Year, WHO Estimates Show

According to media sources, new WHO estimates show air pollution kills seven million people worldwide annually.

Associated Press: WHO: Pollution kills 7 million people every year
“Air pollution kills about seven million people worldwide every year, with more than half of the fatalities due to fumes from indoor stoves, according to a new report from the World Health Organization published Tuesday…” (Cheng, 3/24).

Bloomberg News: Tainted Air Kills More Than AIDS, Diabetes, WHO Report Shows
“Air pollution killed seven million people in 2012, more people than AIDS, diabetes and road injuries combined. One in eight deaths worldwide can be attributed to breathing tainted air, making it the world’s largest environmental health risk, the Geneva-based World Health Organization said in a report today, doubling its previous estimates for pollution fatalities…” (Bennett, 3/25).

Reuters: Polluted air linked to 7 million deaths in 2012: WHO
“…The toll, a doubling of previous estimates, means one in eight of all global deaths in 2012 was linked to polluted air and shows how reducing pollution inside and outside of people’s homes could save millions of lives in future, the United Nations health agency said…” (Kelland, 3/24).

VOA News: Millions Die Every Year From Air Pollution
“The World Health Organization reports air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. A new report finds seven million people died from exposure to air pollution in 2012, more than double the number previously estimated in 2008…” (Schlein, 3/24).

WHO: 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution
“…In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases…” (3/25).

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WHO Confirms First Polio Case In Iraq In 14 Years

News outlets report on a case of polio detected in Iraq, the country’s first in 14 years.

IRIN: Displacement, violence likely cause of Iraq’s first polio case in 14 years
“Health officials in Iraq are stepping up polio immunization and surveillance following the first confirmed case of the virus in the country in more than a decade…” (3/24).

The National: Six-month-old boy is Iraq’s first polio case in 14 years
“The World Health Organization has confirmed Iraq’s first polio case in 14 years after a baby boy in Baghdad who developed paralysis tested positive for the virus. The government in Baghdad has yet to publicly acknowledge the outbreak, although a mass immunization and surveillance campaign is already underway in a bid to contain the highly contagious but easily preventable disease…” (Redvers, 3/24).

TIME: Iraq Sees First Confirmed Case of Polio In 14 Years
“Iraq has reported its first confirmed case of polio in 14 years, and the World Health Organization said displacement caused by the ongoing violence in the Anbar Province of Iraq and Syria may be to blame…” (Rhodan, 3/24).

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FAO Calls For Stronger Efforts To Improve Food Security In Africa

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency calls for concrete measures to end hunger in Africa by 2025
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warn[ed Monday] that despite notable recent economic progress, Africa remains the world’s most food insecure continent and calls on all African agriculture ministers to focus their investments and support efforts on smallholder farmers, including youth and women…” (3/24).

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U.S., U.N. Mark World TB Day

Media outlets recognize World TB Day, which takes place annually on March 24.

IIP Digital: Health Agencies Worldwide Join in World TB Day
“Health agencies around the world are working March 24 to raise awareness and action to combat a disease that claims a victim every 18 seconds: tuberculosis. Just over 8.5 million people a year fall ill with TB, which is exceeded only by HIV/AIDS in the number of lives taken by a disease caused by a single infectious agent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (3/24).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. marks World Day with calls for global solidarity to eradicate tuberculosis
“On World Tuberculosis Day, the United Nations is calling for intensified global solidarity to eradicate the preventable disease, particularly by mobilizing the resources to bridge the ‘substantial’ funding gap for TB care and control…” (3/24).

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Ebola Outbreak In Guinea Threatens To Spread To Nearby Nations

News outlets report on the response to an Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

Agence France-Presse: African health workers battle Ebola; suspected Canada case
“Health officials in Guinea battled to contain west Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus as neighboring Liberia reported its first suspected victims and a traveler returning to Canada was hospitalized with suspicious symptoms…” (Bah, 3/25).

Associated Press: Ebola outbreak in Guinea may spread to Liberia
“An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus is believed to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea and may already have spread to neighboring Liberia, health officials said Monday…” (Diallo, 3/24).

Associated Press: Officials rush to contain Ebola virus in Guinea
“Health officials rushed Monday to contain the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea, where at least 59 people are believed to have died from an outbreak of the virus that can cause severe internal bleeding…” (Diallo, 3/24).

BBC News: Virus in Guinea capital Conakry not Ebola
“Tests on the suspected cases of deadly Ebola virus in Guinea’s capital Conakry are negative, health officials say. On Sunday, United Nations officials said that the virus had spread to the capital, a port city of up to two million, from remote forests in the south, where some 61 people have died. … However, it is not clear whether they had Ebola…” (3/24).

Bloomberg Businessweek: Ebola Virus Suspected to Have Spread From Guinea to Liberia
“Africa’s biggest Ebola outbreak in seven years has probably spread from Guinea to neighboring Liberia and also threatens Sierra Leone…” (Camera/Zoker, 3/25).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Guinea: ‘There is no treatment and no vaccine for Ebola. The priority is to isolate suspected cases’
“The Ebola epidemic confirmed by the Ministry of Health on March 22 is the first to affect Guinea. The latest official statistics put the toll at 86 suspected cases and 59 deaths. The priority of the teams on site is to identify patients with Ebola symptoms and isolate them, while providing high-quality care…” (3/24).

New York Times: Ebola, Killing Scores in Guinea, Threatens Nearby Nations
“The first outbreak of Ebola fever in the West African nation of Guinea has killed at least 59 people and may be spreading into nearby countries, international health agencies warned on Monday…” (McNeil, 3/24).

Reuters: Guinea Ebola outbreak believed to be deadly Zaire strain
“Scientists tackling an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea believe they have identified the virus as the Zaire strain, the most lethal of all that ‘raises the already high level of concern’, according to France’s Institut Pasteur…” (Hussain, 3/24).

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Haiti's Cholera Epidemic Worst In World, U.N. Envoy Tells Security Council

Associated Press/Washington Post: U.N.: Haiti has more cholera than any other nation
“Haiti’s cholera outbreak is still the worst in the world, the top U.N. envoy there said Monday. Sandra Honore briefed the U.N. Security Council about the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, crime rates, public health, and the cholera outbreak…” (3/24).

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After Polio, UHC Is Next On India's Health Agenda

Wall Street Journal: After Polio, What’s Next on India’s Health Agenda
“In January, India celebrated three years without a single case of polio. On March 27, the country will officially be certified polio-free. That landmark achievement is now prompting the question ‘What next?’ On the campaign trail, leaders of both major national parties, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, are urging action on even tougher health challenges, including the ultimate reform: universal health coverage for all citizens…” (Reddy/Khan, 3/25).

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Burkina Faso Should Rethink, Improve Family Planning Services, Study Says

IRIN: Staunching Burkina’s abortions
“One-third of all pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended and a third of them end in abortion, according to a study published this month by the University of Ouagadougou and the reproductive health think tank Guttmacher Institute, which also found that more than 100,000 abortions were carried out in the country in 2012, most of them performed in unsafe conditions or by untrained health workers…” (3/24).

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China Employs WHO TB Strategy, Shows Reduction In Disease Rate

New York Times: China Reports Gains in Fighting Tuberculosis
“China has cut its rate of tuberculosis by more than half over the last 20 years, according to health officials there. Its success shows that the tuberculosis-fighting strategy endorsed by the World Health Organization in 1995 works well if it is rigorously applied…” (McNeil, 3/24).

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UNHCR Releases Videos Detailing Women's Stories Of FGM

Huffington Post: U.N. Videos Tell Heartbreaking Stories Of Female Genital Mutilation Victims
“The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released a series of informative videos about female genital mutilation to continue raising awareness on the widespread assault on human rights…” (Couch, 3/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Public Private Partnerships Will Advance Immunization, Global Health

Devex: The benefits of PPPs in global health
Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI Alliance

“… It is imperative that both the public and private sectors work together. Businesses have invested in GAVI because they know that one of the strongest ways to promote global health is through immunization. And quite simply, vaccines provide a strong return on investment. Through collaboration between the public and private sectors, GAVI has been able to raise additional funds and, most importantly, bring significant private-sector expertise, skills, advocacy and visibility to its work…” (3/25).

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Small Investments In Cholera Research 'May Lead To Large Savings'

Huffington Post: In the Time of Cholera
Adam Levine, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown Medical School

Cholera is “not something in which wealthy governments around the world invest much of their research dollars. … The situation is not completely bleak. New funders, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are pumping millions of dollars each year into research focused on diseases affecting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. And some wealthy countries do set aside a substantial amount of funding for global health research (though they could still do much more). … As for the lack of researchers and research infrastructure in poor countries, the answer lies in building sustainable institutions that can bring together researchers from leading universities in wealthy countries with local researchers and physicians in poor ones. … Hopefully, a small an investment in research now may lead to large savings down the line, both in terms of money spent and lives saved” (3/24).

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Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding TB, Recognize World TB Day

The following opinion pieces discuss issues surrounding tuberculosis (TB), in recognition of World TB Day.

CNN: Diabetes and TB: A growing threat
Susan Fisher-Hoch, a professor at the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health and a board member of Stop TB USA

“…Today, the biggest risk for tuberculosis is not HIV/AIDS, which led to a surge in cases in the late 1980s, but diabetes. … Research largely depends on government funding since the pharmaceutical industry shows little interest in TB. Congress has not made TB a priority despite the increasing risk to the public at large. … Diabetes could reverse the achievements of several decades in TB control, but, if we combine good science, adequate funding and above all, political will, we can get ahead of this looming crisis…” (3/24).

The Guardian: Tuberculosis is an old disease with a new face — and it needs to be stopped
Jennifer Hughes, a medical officer working in South Africa for Médecins Sans Frontières

“…I’m sick and tired of using plasters to patch up gaping wounds. I need something I can really work with, something that can save lives. We need a new treatment regimen against TB that actually works. Treatment that has not been dredged up from the dark ages of modern medicine and reused because, well, it’s better than nothing. … The only way to beat this disease is for governments, donors, pharmaceutical firms and research organizations to find new combinations of drugs that are simple, accessible and more tolerable than current treatment and can be implemented rapidly in countries where DR-TB is rife…” (3/24).

The Guardian: Tuberculosis: waging a new war on an old disease
Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American

“…In this day and age, there is no reason why people should be dying of TB. With early diagnosis and early, effective treatment for both HIV and TB, supported by an integrated health information and management system and with continuity of personalized care, it can be beaten…” (3/24).

The Hill: On World TB Day, TB is not dead
Kari Stoever, vice president of external affairs for Aeras

“…Despite longstanding recognition by the U.S. government of the importance of new TB vaccines, support for TB vaccine research and development has been limited. This must change. … Decades of research have taught us much about the TB epidemic, leading to a robust pipeline of vaccine candidates being tested in the clinic today. This World TB Day, let those lessons inform our future. Alongside its current TB programs, the U.S. government must improve support for the ultimate TB solution: contribute to the global effort to develop new TB vaccines. It’s an investment that makes sense” (3/24).

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Recent Releases

MCC, PEPFAR Launch Partnership For Sustainable HIV/AIDS Response

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and PEPFAR on Friday launched a three-year partnership to more effectively respond to HIV/AIDS. In MCC’s “Poverty Reduction Blog,” Deborah von Zinkernagel, acting U.S. global AIDS coordinator, and Daniel Yohannes, CEO of MCC, write, “MCC’s experience with country-owned assistance programs together with PEPFAR’s excellence in providing support to national programs will come together to help evolve and enhance how PEPFAR resources are planned strategically together with partner countries, with the aim of making real and impactful progress toward an AIDS-free generation. … To be sustainable, it is critical that partner countries increasingly lead, manage, and implement their own HIV/AIDS response. These solutions must truly be national and include stakeholders across government and party lines, civil society, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and donor partners…” (3/21).

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Blogs Discuss TB In Recognition Of World TB Day

Several blogs recently featured posts recognizing World TB Day, held on March 24 each year. Writing in the AIDS.gov blog, Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, discusses funding for and the development of new tools to address the HIV/TB co-epidemic (3/24). Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Julia Martin writes in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, “Through innovations in science, key partnerships, and the tireless work of all those fighting for a 50 percent reduction in TB deaths by 2015 in conjunction with an AIDS-free generation, we have made real progress in tackling the staggering effects of TB and HIV co-infection” (3/24). In the PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, patient advocate Goodman Makhanda and Jennifer Hughes of Médecins Sans Frontières reflect on the successes and challenges of treating and preventing TB in Khayelitsha, South Africa (3/24). The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog features a roundup of recent news on TB (Lubinski, 3/24). The blog also features a guest post by Madhukar Pai of the McGill International TB Centre, Prashant Yadav of the Montreal & Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and Ravi Anupindi of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who discuss TB control (Aziz, 3/24).

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