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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Save The Children Releases Annual State Of The World's Mothers Report

News outlets report on findings from Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report, which was released on Monday.

Agence France-Presse/Global Post: Somalia worst place to be a mother
“Somalia is the worst country on Earth to be a mother, according to a report published by Save the Children on Monday which calls for more action to protect mothers and children in crisis-hit areas…” (5/5).

Australian Associated Press/The Guardian: Australia is the ninth best place to be a mother, Save the Children says
“Australia has nudged higher in the rankings of the best country in the world to be a mother but needs to boost the number of women in parliament, Save the Children says…” (5/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Save the Children ranks the best and worst places to be a mother
The report “ranks 178 countries around the world according to five factors: maternal and under-five death rates, expected number of years of formal schooling, gross national income per capita, and the percentage of seats held by women in national government…” (Migiro, 5/6).

VOA News: Report: Millions of Maternal and Child Deaths Can Be Prevented
“The international aid agency Save the Children says millions of maternal and child deaths can be prevented by improving access to health care and other essential services. The agency’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report ranks 178 countries on how likely mothers are to survive childbirth…” (Schlein, 5/5).

Wall Street Journal: Singapore Gets Top Marks for Moms
“Singapore is the best place in Asia to be a mother, according to a global ranking by an international charity of the best and worst places for moms. The island city scored 15th place out of 178 countries in Save the Children’s 2014 global mothers’ index, putting it just behind Portugal and above New Zealand…” (Watts, 5/6).

Washington Post: Where is the best place to be a mom? Scandinavia.
“Save the Children released its annual ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ report Monday, including a list of the best places in the world to be a mom. Here’s a hint: It’s not the United States. In fact, the U.S. didn’t even crack the top 10, and fell one spot from last year’s ranking to 31st out of the 178 countries on the list. The best place to be a mom, according to the report, is Finland…” (Williams, 5/5).

Xinhua News: More efforts needed to improve mothers, children’s well-being: report
“Maternal deaths and child mortality can be dramatically cut when efforts are made to improve services for mothers and children, a new research published by an international NGO said on Monday…” (Wang, 5/6).

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Polio's Spread Within, Out Of Pakistan At Root Of WHO's Global Health Emergency Declaration

News outlets continue to report on the WHO’s declaration of polio as a global emergency.

ABC News: Polio, Spreading Abroad, Threatens U.S.
“A resurgence of polio in the Middle East and Africa has sparked a dire warning from public health officials, including U.S. experts who fear the deadly virus is just a plane ride away…” (Moisse, 5/5).

CNN: WHO sounds alarm on spread of polio
“…At the end of 2013, 60 percent of polio cases resulted from the international spread of the virus, and ‘there was increasing evidence that adult travelers contributed to the spread,’ according to the [WHO] statement…” (Hayes, 5/5).

CNN: Pakistan grapples with polio fight
“…The country faces challenges within its health system including restricted access to its federally administered tribal areas and violence against polio campaign health workers. Vaccine workers have been tortured, shot, bombed, and even have had their family members kidnapped…” (Park, 5/6).

New York Times: Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning
“Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007…” (McNeil, 5/5).

NPR: The Comeback Of Polio Is A Public Health Emergency
“…The global drive to wipe out the virus had driven the number of polio cases down from 300,000 in the late 1980s to just 417 cases last year. The World Health Organization has set a goal of wiping out polio by 2018. But this year, polio has been reported in 10 countries, and there are fears the number could rise…” (Beaubien, 5/5).

Reuters: Pakistan’s failings to fight polio spark global emergency response
“Pakistan’s failure to stem the spread of polio triggered global emergency health measures on Monday, with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country…” (Miles, 5/5).

ScienceInsider: Calling Polio an International Emergency, WHO Recommends Travel Requirements
“Under the new recommendations, which are not legally binding but carry tremendous weight, the three countries deemed to pose the greatest risk of further spread — Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria — must now ensure that all residents and long-term visitors have proof of recent polio vaccination before leaving the country. WHO is also encouraging the seven other nations known to have polio infections to implement similar measures…” (Roberts, 5/5).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency declares global health emergency to stem potential resurgence of polio
“…The Committee also identified countries where the wild poliovirus is active but currently not being transmitted to neighboring countries. That group includes Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Nigeria…” (5/5).

USA Today: Polio spread is a global health emergency, WHO declares
“…WHO reported 413 cases of polio worldwide in 2013. There have been 74 cases so far in 2014 and 59 of those occurred in Pakistan, the agency’s Bruce Aylward said in a phone conference with reporters…” (Painter, 5/5).

VOA News: WHO Calls Polio’s Spread a Global Emergency
“…WHO’s assistant director general, Bruce Aylward, said the situation was particularly serious because the new polio infections have occurred between January and April, traditionally the disease’s low transmission season…” (Behn, 5/5).

Wall Street Journal: Spread of Polio Is World Health Emergency, WHO Says
“…Pakistan’s government said on Monday that it would step up its efforts to improve vaccination and fight the disease…” (McKay/Shah, 5/5).

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U.S. MERS Patient To Leave Hospital Soon; Number Of Cases Growing In Saudi Arabia

News outlets report on the status of the U.S. patient diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as well as other developments in the outbreak.

Associated Press: 1st American MERS patient may leave hospital soon
“The first American citizen diagnosed with a mysterious virus from the Middle East is improving daily and could be released soon from an Indiana hospital, although he will be isolated at home, health officials said Monday…” (Coyne, 5/5).

Deutsche Welle: Likely camel-to-human MERS virus has human-to-human transmission risks
“In recent weeks, the number of those infected with the MERS virus has grown. Though almost every case has been confined to the Arabian Peninsula, many are asking if the virus could spread further…” (Heise, 5/5).

IRIN: Alert over spike in Middle East flu virus
“Health authorities around the world are on high alert after a sudden spike in the incidence of a deadly Middle Eastern flu bug that began in Saudi Arabia but has now spread to Asia and the USA…” (Redvers, 5/5).

Reuters: All workers test negative for MERS at Indiana hospital: official
“All workers at the Indiana hospital where the first U.S. case of the often deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was confirmed last week have tested negative for the virus, officials at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, said on Monday…” (Steenhuysen/Plume, 5/5).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia: MERS cases reach more than 400, more than 100 dead
“Eighteen more people in Saudi Arabia have contracted the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bringing the number of cases in the kingdom to 414, its health ministry said on Monday, more than a quarter of whom have died…” (Westall, 5/5).

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American Doctor Shows Brain Swelling Responsible For Malaria Deaths

PRI: An American doctor may have solved a deadly mystery about malaria
“…[Terrie Taylor, a medical professor at Michigan State University,] and her colleagues used the MRI on dozens of sick patients, and they noticed an unmistakable pattern: Children whose brains swelled dramatically and irreversibly died. Children whose brains did not swell — or swelled, but then returned to a normal size — lived. … Taylor’s discovery is important because it suggests an alternative way of treating malaria. Rather than focusing on the parasite that causes the disease, doctors could focus on the swelling that results…” (Kelto, 5/5).

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Belief In Witchcraft Undermining Health Care In Papua New Guinea

IRIN: Witchcraft and PNG’s disappearing health service
“…[S]tories [of people being treated by traditional healers because they believe they are cursed] are not uncommon in [Papua New Guinea (PNG)], a largely traditional society with 836 languages and where belief in witchcraft or sanguma as it is known in Tok Pisin, the lingua franca, continues to undermine health care in the country…” (5/5).

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New Bug Spray Stronger Than DEET Could Save Lives

CNN: A bug repellent that could save lives
“When is bug spray more than just bug spray? When it’s a compound that, according to researchers at Vanderbilt University, is thousands of times stronger than DEET, works on many different insects and could very well save lives. Scientists at the school say they’ve developed just such a repellent. Known merely as VUAA1 for now, they say it works not just on mosquitoes, but also ants, flies, moths, and a host of other bugs that, at best, are a nuisance and, at worst, carry deadly diseases like malaria…” (Gross, 5/5).

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Sanaria Looks To Use Robot For Malaria Research

New York Times: A Goal to Combat Malaria With the Help of a Robot
“In its effort to develop a unique malaria vaccine, the American company Sanaria wants to build a robot that will do what now requires a line of trained humans with microscopes: dissecting half-frozen mosquitoes with tiny needles to extract their salivary glands. Inside the glands are malaria parasites, the key ingredient of Sanaria’s vaccine…” (5/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Government Views Global Health Security As 'Top Priority'

CNN: Why global health security matters to U.S.
CDC Director Tom Frieden and Andy Weber, assistant secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs

Writing about the first meeting on the world’s Global Health Security Agenda, the authors conclude, “…Global health security is an essential investment for the United States and a top priority of the Obama administration. A broad-based, bipartisan coalition recognizes the critical importance of better protecting Americans by strengthening our nation’s global partnerships to increase health security capacity around the world. The U.S. government and our international partners have an unprecedented opportunity to make the world — and ourselves — stronger and safer through our commitment to closer cooperation on global health issues. Helping other countries protect their own people also means greater security for Americans” (5/5).

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World Must Take Action On Antibiotic Resistance

Washington Post: Time is short to address antibiotic resistance
“The World Health Organization came out last week with a warning that resistance to antibiotics has become a ‘major threat to public health.’ … Given the rapid movement of goods and people, a problem for one nation is a problem for everyone. Both Mumbai and Muncie are vulnerable. For years, alarms have been ringing about antibiotic resistance. In many cases, the alarms were followed by silence and inaction. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is nearing conclusion of its own study, and we hope it will outline a serious effort to address the problem. The WHO has reminded us that it is not a distant threat. It is next door, today” (5/5).

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Foreign Aid Can Help Prevent Global Spread Of Diseases Like Ebola

Detroit Free Press: Why Ebola isn’t just Africa’s problem
Utibe Effiong, a Nigerian physician, research associate at the University of Michigan, and a New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute

“…[P]eople — and their infections — are not bound by borders. To those who claim we can’t afford foreign aid, I respond that we can’t afford to think of health threats as ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic.’ … [T]here is nothing ‘foreign’ about foreign aid. When it comes to infectious diseases, aid can be about self-protection, not altruism. … By investing in research for early diagnosis, treatment and vaccines for ‘African’ diseases such as Ebola, we can make the type of progress that we have made with heart disease, diabetes and cancer. After all, we are more connected than we realize” (5/3).

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Silo-Based Approach To Development Will Undermine Food Security, Nutrition Goals

The Guardian: People first: green goals should not override ending hunger
Shenggen Fan, director general at the International Food Policy Research Institute

“…Continuing a silo-based approach to sustainable development will undermine the food security and nutrition of poor people and vulnerable groups. … The post-2015 development agenda must work to achieve the goals of environmental sustainability, food security and improved nutrition. A people-focused approach will require concerted action to maximize synergies and minimize trade-offs, but ultimately, it can lead to wins for all — especially poor people and vulnerable groups. We can no longer afford to work in silos if we want to achieve truly sustainable development” (5/6).

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Disaster Relief Network In Philippines Concerned About Onset Of Typhoon Season

Devex: Nowhere to run
James Shepherd-Barron, disaster management consultant, disaster epidemiologist, and Shelter Cluster coordinator in the Philippines

“…Within a week after [Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines], the organizations that together form the Shelter Cluster had distributed tarpaulins, blankets, mats, and cooking sets to 35,000 of the worst-affected families. … Despite these achievements, the Shelter Cluster is increasingly concerned by the imminent start of this year’s typhoon season and the deadly threat it poses to the population, more than 100,000 of whom are still living in tents. … We’re doing as much as we can to give families the support and advice they need to build back safer. But a whole lot more remains to be done if we are to protect the Filipino people from what comes next” (5/5).

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Recent Releases

U.S. Provides Humanitarian Aid In CAR

Writing in the U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote” blog, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard discusses the U.S. response to the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic. “…In addition to diplomatic efforts, State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the humanitarian offices of USAID fund food, improved shelter, medical care, and other emergency relief. U.S. contributions to humanitarian efforts so far this year total $67 million and are making a difference, supporting the work of scores of international and non-governmental organizations spread out across the country in an effort to help communities beset by violence…” (5/5).

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U.N. Reports Examine Trends, Causes Of Maternal Deaths

“New United Nations data show a 45 percent reduction in maternal deaths since 1990,” according to a WHO press release. A new study from the U.N. discusses the steady progress made in estimating deaths and female births, emphasizing the need for accurate data. Another report from the WHO and published in The Lancet Global Health, examines data for the causes of maternal deaths. The report “finds that more than one in four maternal deaths are caused by pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, malaria, and obesity, whose health impacts can all be aggravated by pregnancy. … ‘Together, the two reports highlight the need to invest in proven solutions, such as quality care for all women during pregnancy and childbirth, and particular care for pregnant women with existing medical conditions,’ says Dr. Flavia Bustreo, assistant director-general of family, women’s and children’s health at WHO…” (5/6).

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Program Uses Private-Sector Approaches To Address Maternal Mortality

Writing in the Harvard Business Review blog, Michael Rosenblatt, chief medical officer of Merck, discusses Merck for Mothers, an initiative focused on creating “a world where no woman dies from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.” Rosenblatt says, “Maternal mortality is an enormously complicated problem. … But by applying a business lens to the challenge — looking beyond traditional health models to identify private-sector approaches — Merck for Mothers and our partners are making progress toward creating a world where no woman dies needlessly in childbirth. … Problems as complex and heartbreaking as maternal mortality will require continued analysis and constructive solutions” (5/5).

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Blog Examines Studies On HIV Treatment Eligibility, Access

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” reports on a letter published in this month’s Clinical Infectious Diseases “from Gabriela Patten of Médecins Sans Frontières, and others, [that] recounts their findings from an analysis of the impact of 2010 World Health Organization guidelines that expanded eligibility for HIV treatment.” The blog also discusses “a study looking at data on more than 300,000 adults enrolling for HIV care in facilities across four African countries…” (Barton, 5/5).

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