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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senators Introduce Bill To Expand Violence Against Women Act Globally

The Hill: Senators propose going global with the Violence Against Women Act
“Senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at expanding the protections in the Violence Against Women Act to people around the globe. … [The] bill, introduced after nearly 300 girls were kidnapped in Nigeria, would make the reduction on violence against women and girls around the world a top diplomatic priority for the State Department…” (Cox, 5/9).

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Pakistan Faces Challenges To Vaccinating Against Polio

News outlets report on polio in Pakistan, one of three countries identified last week by the WHO as a main reservoir of the virus.

BBC News: Pakistan’s deadly descent into polio contagion
“Pakistan was close to eradicating polio 10 years ago. But conspiracy theories, a Taliban ascendancy and drive-by shootings of polio workers have reversed the gains. The BBC’s M. Ilyas Khan reports from the frontline of the government’s war against the virus and the militants’ war against its vaccinators…” (5/9).

Bloomberg News: Disease Rides the Dogs of War as Polio, Measles, Typhoid Capitalize on Chaos
“…So far this year, 74 cases have been reported globally, compared with 26 in the same period last year. Of those, 59 were in Pakistan, including 36 in North Waziristan, a Taliban-dominated tribal region along the country’s border with Afghanistan…” (Bennett et al., 5/9).

Christian Science Monitor: In Pakistan’s polio epicenter, workers struggle against threats and suspicion
“Peshawar is on the front-lines of Pakistan’s polio battle. Ninety percent of Pakistan’s polio cases were genetically traced to the city earlier this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO called the city the ‘world’s largest reservoir’ of the virus…” (Ahmad, 5/9).

New York Times: Disease of Pakistan’s Poor Now Worries the Affluent
“Until recently, polio was considered a poor man’s problem in Pakistan … But since the World Health Organization declared a polio emergency here last week — identifying Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon as the world’s main reservoirs of the virus — the disease has become an urgent concern of the wealthy, too…” (Imtiaz/Walsh, 5/10).

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Crimea Faces 'Human Tragedy,' Risks To Public Health, U.N. AIDS Envoy Says

Agence France-Presse/Medical Xpress: Crimea facing ‘human tragedy’ on AIDS: U.N. envoy
“The U.N. AIDS envoy for Eastern Europe on Thursday said Crimea faced a ‘human tragedy’ and risks to public health after a program for intravenous drug users was scrapped following Russia’s takeover…” (5/8).

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World Health Assembly To Vote On Fate Of World's Remaining Smallpox Stocks

NPR: Keep Or Kill Last Lab Stocks Of Smallpox? Time To Decide, Says WHO
“…The World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body, is set to May 19 to vote on a to destroy the stocks of smallpox virus held at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, and the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, in Russia…” (Stein, 5/9).

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Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Face Myriad Health Threats, PBS Reports

PBS NewsHour: Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls face serious risks
“The [276] Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by the extremist group Boko Haram face serious risks including malaria-carrying mosquitoes, unsafe drinking water and poisonous snakes. That’s according to Michelle Faul of the Associated Press, who spoke with Hari Sreenivasan from Lagos, Nigeria, about the ongoing situation…” (5/10).

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Schistosomiasis Could Make African Women More Vulnerable To HIV

New York Times: A Simple Theory, and a Proposal, on HIV in Africa
“While around the world a vast majority of AIDS victims are men, Africa has long been the glaring exception: Nearly 60 percent are women. And while there are many theories, no one has been able to prove one. … [A] Norwegian [infectious diseases] team believes that African women are more vulnerable to HIV because of a chronic, undiagnosed parasitic disease: genital schistosomiasis, often nicknamed ‘schisto’…” (McNeil, 5/10).

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Number Of MERS Cases, Deaths Rise In Saudi Arabia, Jordan

New outlets continue their coverage of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Agence France-Presse: Jordan reports new MERS death
“A man has died in Jordan after being infected with the MERS virus, the government said Monday, on the eve of a World Health Organization emergency meeting on the disease…” (5/12).

Agence France-Presse: Three new MERS deaths in Saudi Arabia
“Three more people have died from the MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said Sunday, taking the number of fatalities from the disease in the kingdom to 142…” (5/11).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia finds another 32 MERS cases as disease spreads
“Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it had identified 32 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), pushing the total number of infections in the country so far to 463…” (McDowall, 5/11).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia warns of MERS risk from camels as cases rise
“Saudi Arabia said people handling camels should wear masks and gloves to prevent spreading Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), issuing such a warning for the first time as cases of the potentially fatal virus neared 500 in the kingdom…” (Westall, 5/11).

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West Africa Sees Improvement In Controlling Ebola Outbreak

Associated Press: Dramatic improvement in controlling Ebola outbreak
“Health workers have made dramatic progress in controlling an Ebola outbreak in West Africa in recent weeks, a doctor with the World Health Organization said Friday. The outbreak has been blamed for the deaths of at least 168 people in Guinea and Liberia…” (DiLorenzo, 5/9).

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Activists Worry Criminalization Of HIV Transmission In Uganda Will Hamper Prevention Efforts

IRIN: Alarm as Uganda moves to criminalize HIV transmission
“Activists in Uganda, where HIV prevalence is on the rise, have warned that new legislation criminalizing deliberate transmission of the virus will further undermine efforts to stem the AIDS epidemic and erode the rights of those living with HIV…” (5/9).

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HIV Drug Treatment In Short Supply In Venezuela

USA Today: Anti-HIV drugs dry up in Venezuela
“The wretched condition of Venezuela under its socialist leadership is now worsening the ability of hospitals to treat people, especially patients with HIV. … Nearly 50,000 Venezuelans are taking antiretrovirals … [but t]housands of HIV patients are now without their medicines, non-profit groups here say…” (Wilson, 5/9).

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Food Aid Delivery Faces Challenges In DR Congo

Al Jazeera: DR Congo faces food insecurity despite aid
“…It seems like a clear problem with an easy solution — people are starving, and relief organizations have food. But the issue of aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is mired by social, political and economic stakes in a region that has faced two decades of fighting…” (McCluskey, 5/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Minimize Antibiotic Overuse, Develop New Antibiotics To Address Drug Resistance

New York Times: The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance
“…The growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens means that in ever more cases, standard treatments no longer work, infections are harder or impossible to control, the risk of spreading infections to others is increased, and illnesses and hospital stays are prolonged. … The most urgent need is to minimize the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, which accelerates the development of resistant strains. … The pharmaceutical industry needs to be encouraged to develop new antibiotics to supplement those that are losing their effectiveness…” (5/10).

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Without New Diagnostics, NTDs Will Remain Neglected

Financial Times: Neglected tropical diseases look set to remain that way
Mark Kessel, chair of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)

“…Take for example the pledge made in the London Declaration for Neglected Tropical Diseases to bring under control or eliminate by 2020 10 NTDs that plague the developing world. A major challenge in achieving the goals of the declaration lies in the lack of affordable, easy to use and accurate diagnostics to provide data for discerning the presence or absence of diseases and courses of treatment. If the declaration’s goals are to be realized, it will require significant diagnostic innovation for these low-resource settings…” (5/12).

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Militants Complicating Pakistan's Polio Vaccination Efforts

The Economist: Polio in Pakistan: Pariah state
Pakistan’s “national polio coordinator, Ayesha Raza Farooq, is attempting to make progress [against polio despite militant attacks]. She says the government is now working on ‘firewalling’ the tribal areas, with checkpoints where children crossing into the rest of Pakistan can be vaccinated. Still, just two years ago the world seemed tantalizingly close to eradicating polio for good. Pakistan’s trouble with its militants means it is going to take longer” (5/10).

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Destroying Smallpox Stockpiles 'Is A Terrible Idea'

Forbes: Why We Should Never Completely Destroy Smallpox
Alex Berezow, Forbes contributor

“This month, the World Health Assembly (WHA) will once again debate the future of smallpox virus. … According to an op-ed written in PLoS Pathogens, decision makers are leaning toward destroying the stockpiles and ending research. This is a terrible idea, for at least four reasons…” (5/12).

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Recent Releases

WASH Should Be Integrated With Maternal Health, AMREF Official Says

Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Lisa Meadowcroft on Integrating Water and Sanitation With Maternal Health Goals in Kenya
Donald Borenstein of the Wilson Center discusses a podcast featuring Lisa Meadowcroft of the African Medical and Research Foundation, who talks about integrating WASH with maternal health goals in Kenya (5/9).

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GAVI Alliance Provides Successful Example Of Public-Private Partnership

Natural Resources Defense Council’s “Switchboard”: GAVI: An Encouraging Partnership for Taking Action on Global Goals
Chelsea Phipps, a program assistant with the NRDC Action Fund and Global Strategy & Advocacy Program, discusses the GAVI Alliance as “an example of how governments, business, and civil society can work together to produce real, concrete results toward a global goal to improve human health…” (5/9).

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Institute Of Medicine Symposium Addresses Antimicrobial Resistance

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: (Guarded) Optimism that the world will begin to deal with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 2014
J. Christopher Daniel, a senior associate with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses antimicrobial resistance and a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) symposium on the issue (5/9).

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Conflict Affecting Efforts To Curb Drug Use, HIV Spread In Ukraine, Russia

Humanosphere: From Russia with alarm: Conflict fuels fast growing HIV epidemic
Natalie Flath, a health advocate and activist based in St. Petersburg, Russia, discusses drug use, the HIV epidemic, and how conflict between Russia and Ukraine is affecting efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in the region (5/9).

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