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In The News

USAID's Shah Discusses How Foreign Aid Contributes To U.S. Security

Huffington Post: Does Foreign Aid Help U.S. Security? (VIDEO)
“On the Season 2 premiere of ‘Conversations with Nicholas Kralev,’ Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), talks about how $33 billion in U.S. foreign aid contributes to American security…” (Kralev, 3/26).

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U.S. Provides $83M In Humanitarian Assistance To S. Sudan

VOA News: U.S. Announces $83 Million More for South Sudan Refugees, IDPs
“The United States is providing nearly $83 million in additional humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of people suffering more than three months of violence in South Sudan, U.S. officials said Tuesday…” (Doki, 3/25).

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Advocates Demand More Funding For U.S. Global Health R&D

Devex: U.S. global health research funding falls short of innovation rhetoric — NGOs
“Despite the Obama administration’s emphasis on science, technology, and innovation for international development, United States funding for global health research and development is not what it could or should be, according to an advocacy coalition of 30 global health nongovernmental organizations. On Thursday, the Global Health Technologies Coalition will make its case on Capitol Hill in a Senate briefing aimed at convincing lawmakers that American global leadership demands funding for U.S. global health technologies and products — including low-cost vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and devices that can combat diseases endemic to the developing world…” (Igoe, 3/27).

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Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces $50M To Support Family Planning Services In LAC, Africa

The Guardian: Family planning groups in developing countries set for Bloomberg boost
“Grassroots organizations are to share in a multi-million dollar project to improve family planning and reproductive health services for women and girls in Africa and Latin America. Groups in Uganda, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Nicaragua will be able to apply for advocacy grants as part of a three-pillar, $50 million package to support family planning services. The scheme was announced on Thursday by Bloomberg Philanthropies, set up by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York…” (Ford, 3/27).

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Wall Street Journal Examines India's Efforts To Eliminate Polio

The Wall Street Journal looks at India’s efforts to eliminate polio.

Wall Street Journal: How India Put an End to Polio
“It took three decades to be able to do so and it certainly wasn’t easy. But, from Thursday, India can boast of being polio-free. A new case of the crippling and, at times, deadly disease has not been recorded in the country for three consecutive years…” (Sugden/Dutta, 3/27).

Wall Street Journal: Building Trust With Indian Muslims Key to Polio Fight
“…A critical ingredient in reaching this major public-health milestone: Building trust in Muslim communities. It is a lesson that has been applied to vaccination campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic…” (Lalwani, 3/26).

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Health Officials Say Ebola Outbreak Contained In Guinea; 63 Reported Dead

News outlets report on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which Guinean officials say has been contained.

Agence France-Presse: Terror grips Ebola-hit west Africa
“Guinea battled Wednesday to contain an Ebola epidemic threatening neighboring countries as fear and confusion gripped communities under siege from one of the deadliest viruses known to mankind…” (Bah, 3/26).

Associated Press: Death toll in Guinea Ebola outbreak reaches 63
“Health officials in the West African nation of Guinea say the death toll from a rare Ebola outbreak has risen to 63…” (3/26).

BBC News: Guinea Ebola outbreak: Bat-eating banned to curb virus
“Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, its health minister has said…” (3/25).

International Business Times: Ebola Economics: Tourists, Vaccines And Some Very Expensive Monkeys
“The deadly Ebola virus is back, and the latest outbreak has killed [at least] 59 people in West Africa’s Guinea, but despite its horrifying effects, finding a cure or vaccine is not a high priority for drug firms. That leaves much of Africa prone to economic shock from continuing episodes…” (Caulderwood, 3/26).

New York Times: Guinea: Government Bans Bat Soup to Halt Ebola Outbreak
“To help quell its first Ebola outbreak, the West African nation of Guinea has banned bat soup…” (McNeil, 3/26).

Reuters: Guinea says has contained Ebola outbreak, death toll rises
“Guinea said on Wednesday it had stopped an outbreak of deadly Ebola fever from spreading beyond the country’s remote southeast, although the number of deaths from suspected infections rose to at least 63…” (Samb, 3/26).

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Australia Asks Opponents To Stop Stalling WTO Tobacco Packaging Case

Reuters: Australia demands opponents stop stalling WTO tobacco case
“Australia asked five countries challenging its tobacco policies on Wednesday to stop delaying the progress of their cases at the World Trade Organization and took the unusual step of speeding up one of the complaints against itself. … Australia hopes the stringent packaging laws will reduce smoking and improve public health, and other countries around the world have said they may follow suit, based on the WTO case, raising the stakes for a speedy resolution…” (Miles, 3/27).

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Health Agencies Warn Of Polio Outbreak In Syria

BBC News: Polio in Syria: An outbreak that threatens the Middle East
“As summer approaches, health agencies are warning of the risk of polio spreading across the Middle East from Syria — where now more than 100 children show symptoms of the disease — despite a massive campaign to vaccinate millions of children in surrounding countries…” (Whewell, 3/25).

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Violence, Low Vaccine Coverage Fuel Polio Outbreak In Cameroon

IRIN: Regional insecurity fuels polio in Cameroon
“Three new polio cases have been confirmed in Cameroon over the past two weeks, making it the country’s first outbreak since 2011 and causing alarm among health officials who link the virus’s spread to weak vaccine campaign coverage and displacement following violence in neighboring northeastern Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR)…” (3/26).

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Huffington Post Examines Final Document Of U.N. Women's Commission

Huffington Post: U.N. Women’s Conference Does Well on Sexual Rights But Gays Lose Out
“Usually one searches for all the good proposals that were deleted or changed in the annual U.N. women’s conference that helps set the agenda for the world body. This year the end result was relatively positive. There were some bad deletions (like the one on sexual orientation). But the conclusions in the 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) were better than expected on sexual and reproductive rights, including safe abortion, emergency contraception, and sex education…” (Leopold, 3/26).

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2.4M S. Africans On ARVs, Accounting For 30% Of Those Worldwide, Health Minister Says

Health24: South Africans make up a third of those on ARVs
“There are currently 2.4 million people in South Africa on [antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)], and this makes up 30 percent of the eight million people worldwide on ARVs, according to SA’s Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi…” (Erasmus, 3/27).

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Cambodian Agencies Will Not Be Charged In Case Of Alleged Corruption, VOA Khmer Reports

VOA Khmer: No Charges, Despite Major Corruption Allegation by Global Fund
“Authorities at the [Cambodian] government’s Anti-Corruption Unit say they do not have enough evidence to charge officials from the National Malaria Center and other government agencies with corruption. The center and others are under investigation at the Global Fund, for alleged fraud and financial abuse of grants from the donor…” (Sothanarith, 3/26).

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Expert Panel Discusses Sustainable Sanitation In Guardian Forum

The Guardian: 14 ways to make sanitation sustainable
“What has more impact, new technology or behavioral change? Is there such a thing as a scalable solution that is also sensitive to cultural needs? Our panel of experts share their thoughts…” (Young, 3/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Better Coordination, Incentive Needed For WHO Framework On Neglected Disease R&D

Nature: WHO: Steering plans for neglected diseases
Bernard Pécoul of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, and Manica Balasegaram of Médecins Sans Frontières

In an earlier Nature opinion piece, “Mary Moran criticizes plans by the World Health Organization (WHO) for tackling neglected diseases in the developing world. Her arguments are misleading and trivialize global efforts to fix the research and development (R&D) system that is failing to address the health needs of people in these countries. After 10 years’ effort by WHO member states, the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D Financing and Coordination has proposed a framework to tackle these R&D shortcomings. … Moran contends that the current drug pipeline for neglected diseases is ‘successful.’ In the past 10 years, however, only four percent of all new drugs and vaccines and one percent of all new chemical entities were for neglected diseases — and none was suitable for the 17 neglected tropical diseases. Increased funding and better coordination will help, but what is really needed is a greater global incentive for needs-driven R&D…” (3/26).

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Climate Change Already Affecting Food Security In East Africa

Foreign Policy: Big Trouble in Farmville
Richard Schiffman, author and journalist

“…Food production all over the globe is in the crosshairs, but East Africa is the prime target. The impacts of climate change are already serious here, and expected to get a lot harsher in coming decades. … In fact, the tectonic and often unpredictable changes in the environment threaten not only the food security of millions of people, they also pose risks to the economic development and political stability of East Africa, a region that has made significant progress in recent years, and other parts of the world. … No place on earth will be spared the cost of global warming. But the irony is that developing countries like Tanzania, which are least responsible for spewing the greenhouse gases that are heating up the atmosphere, are the ones that will be handed the lion’s share of the bill for climate change…” (3/26).

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'1,000 Days' Engages Individuals With Online 'March For Nutrition' Campaign

The Guardian: March for Nutrition
1,000 Days Campaign

“… Researchers have identified the first 1,000 days of a child’s life — from a woman’s pregnancy through a child’s 2nd birthday — as a critical window of time that sets the stage for a person’s intellectual development and lifelong health. We now know that by focusing on improving nutrition during the 1,000-day window, millions of lives can be saved every year and a country’s GDP can be boosted by as much as 11 percent annually. Yet despite all the evidence and the growing momentum within the global nutrition community in recent years, the foundational role of early nutrition is just beginning to break through. The reality is that the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger will not be possible without attention to the foundation of human development — nutrition. For this reason, 1,000 Days is leading an online March for Nutrition to engage individuals and partners — both within the global health community and beyond — on the critical importance of good nutrition…” (3/26).

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Recent Releases

Health Systems Strengthening More Important Than Individual Health Interventions

Writing in a Humanosphere guest post, Dave Algoso, director of programs at Reboot, discusses “best buys” in global health and health systems strengthening. “…That means health systems, service delivery, and community ownership are the most important places to invest in global health. … What seems significant now is the recognition that investment in health systems is more critical than any specific health intervention…” (3/26).

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