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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S., International Community Bolster Humanitarian Response To Philippines

News outlets on Tuesday continue their coverage of the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on Friday. “The United States said Monday it is fully committed to helping the Philippines recover from one of the most powerful typhoons on record, and is providing $20 million in immediate aid,” the Associated Press reports (11/12). According to a statement from USAID, “$10 million will go to food assistance, and another $10 million will go to other emergency supplies,” ABC News’ “The Note” blog states (Good, 11/11). “The United Nations humanitarian affairs office [on Monday] released an initial $25 million from the world body’s emergency fund in quick response to the devastation caused by the super typhoon,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/11).

“The [WHO] is supporting the Philippines Department of Health in strengthening its early warning alert and response network to watch for disease outbreaks and other public health threats related to food scarcity, water contamination and other environmental hazards,” CNN writes (Christensen, 11/11). “In the aftermath of the typhoon, reaching the affected areas and people has proven to be a sizeable logistical challenge,” the U.N. health agency notes in a news release, adding, “The true extent of the death and destruction has yet to be quantified” (11/11). Reuters provides a “non-exhaustive list of donations and efforts from different countries and organizations, supplementing supplies being flown in from elsewhere in the Philippines” (11/12). ABC News’ “World” blog provides information about how readers can contribute to relief efforts (Hunter, 11/11).

Additional coverage is available from the ABC News’ “World News,” Associated Press, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, IRIN, NBC News’ “World News,” PBS NewsHour, the State Department’s “Dipnote” blog, The Telegraph, UNICEF, a USAID fact sheet, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and a separate WHO press release.

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WHO Confirms 3 Additional Cases Of Polio In Syria, Links Outbreak To Strain From Pakistan

“[T]he number of confirmed cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have increased by three in the Syrian Arab Republic, bringing the total cases confirmed in the war-torn country to 13,” the Global Dispatch reports (11/11). The outbreak in Syria “has been confirmed as being caused by a strain of the virus that originated in Pakistan and is spreading across the Middle East, the [WHO] said,” Reuters adds (Nebehay, 11/11). “Closely related wild poliovirus strains have also been detected in environmental samples in Israel, (the) West Bank and Gaza Strip since February 2013,” the WHO said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse (11/12). “The WHO also warned against the rapid spread of the virus, saying, ‘The risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high,'” Press TV reports (11/12).

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Polio Vaccination Efforts In Sudan Have Stalled, U.N. Reports

John Ging, operations director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that efforts to vaccinate 165,000 children against polio in Sudan’s violence-wracked South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have failed,” the Associated Press/Guardian reports (Lederer, 11/11). “The areas are under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), with which the Government of Sudan has been unable to resolve differences over the technical plans for the campaign,” according to the U.N. News Centre (11/11). Ging “said the two sides had agreed how the vaccination would be carried out, but the SPLM-N asked for a ‘final meeting’ and the government refused the talks,” Agence France-Presse notes (11/11). “Ging described the lack of access as sad and typical,” VOA News adds (11/11). “Ging, who briefed the U.N. Security Council on the situation on Monday, said if the United Nations were given the green light for the campaign, the world body could be on the ground the following day and able to vaccinate the 165,000 children in those two states in just four days,” Reuters writes (Nichols, 11/11).

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Guardian Examines U.S. Food Bill, Proposed Changes To Food For Peace Program

“After 18 months of fitful negotiations, [U.S.] the farm bill — a five-year omnibus piece of legislation that covers a range of domestic and international policies — could become law before the end of December,” The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog reports, noting, “Legislators from the Senate and the House of Representatives have met in recent days to negotiate a merger of the versions of the farm bill that each body passed this year.” The blog examines proposed changes to the Food for Peace international aid program and provides quotes from an interview with Nancy Lindborg, USAID assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, who “said having a more flexible approach to food aid would make the program far more effective” (McClanahan/Provost, 11/11).

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WHO Report Predicts Increased Shortage Of Healthcare Workers

A WHO report released Monday at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, held in Recife, Brazil, “warned of the serious implications for billions worldwide due to the shortage of healthcare workers, which is estimated to grow to 12.9 million by 2035 from the current deficit of 7.2 million,” the U.N. News Centre reports (11/11). “The report, ‘A universal truth: No health without a workforce,’ identifies several key causes” for the shortage, including “an aging health workforce with staff retiring or leaving for better paid jobs without being replaced, while inversely, not enough young people are entering the profession or being adequately trained” as well as “[i]ncreasing demands … on the sector from a growing world population with risks of noncommunicable diseases,” a WHO press release notes (11/11). “The report recommends a number of actions to address workforce shortages, including increased political and technical leadership in countries to support long-term human resource development efforts, and maximizing the role of mid-level and community health workers to make frontline health services more accessible and acceptable,” the U.N. News Centre adds (11/11).

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Wall Street Journal Examines Theft, Black-Market Sale Of Malaria Drugs In Africa

“U.S. investigators are leading a probe into the widespread theft and black-market resale of malaria drugs donated to Africa by the U.S. government,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper examines how “[o]rganized theft is plaguing the multibillion-dollar aid effort, according to people familiar with the investigation, raising questions about the supervision of donations in corruption-ridden nations,” and notes “the effort has been partly hijacked by organized networks that steal large quantities of donated malaria drugs and ship them from East to West Africa, where they end up for sale at street markets, according to people familiar with the U.S. investigation” (Faucon/Bariyo/Whalen, 11/11). The article is accompanied by a video report from the Wall Street Journal’s “The Foreign Bureau” (11/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address International Conference On Family Planning In Ethiopia

The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing the International Conference on Family Planning, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 12-15.

  • Ward Cates and Rose Wilcher, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “At this week’s International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), we are examining the latest evidence on integrating family planning and HIV service delivery,” Cates, President Emeritus with FHI 360, and Wilcher, a technical adviser in research utilization with FHI 360, write. “It shows that stronger linkages between family planning and HIV programs are critical to helping us realize these ambitious goals for global health,” they note, adding, “This new evidence can help us advance the science and practice of family planning and HIV integration to meet the reproductive health needs of women living with HIV and move closer to an AIDS-free generation” (11/11).
  • Melinda Gates, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog: “Just a few hours after [Glamour's Women of the Year Awards in New York City], I’ll be on my way to Ethiopia to attend the family planning conference, where 3,000 delegates are advancing that movement,” Gates, co-chair of the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes. “Ultimately, I’ll be thinking about the single thread that runs through both days, despite the distance in miles,” she states, adding, “It is this: Whether it’s Glamour readers, family planning advocates, or the Ethiopian women I meet in villages, they all want the same thing, fundamentally. The dignity that comes with the power to make decisions about the future” (11/11).
  • David Olson, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “The great need of young people for integrated family planning, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV prevention services is not limited to Ethiopia, and is one of the great challenges facing conference participants,” Olson, a global development communications expert, writes. “This is particularly true of youth from marginalized groups such as people living with HIV, sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people and people who inject drugs, who may be particularly vulnerable to sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV, and other reproductive health issues,” he states (11/11).

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'Spirit Of Shared Responsibility' In Africa Can Help To Defeat AIDS, TB And Malaria

“Africa has shown us how we can build partnerships that can help us invest for maximum impact, especially in our fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Big Push” blog. “The shared responsibility in African societies where we work with many partners has inspired us in our battles against the three dreadful diseases affecting such a tenacious continent,” he states, adding, “This spirit of shared responsibility now encompasses many facets of our work: from raising funds for our interventions, to investing in programs that have seen our partners save many lives.”

“This year, 13 African heads of state serve as champions for efforts to secure resources for the next three years, ahead of a replenishment conference to be hosted by the United States in early December,” Dybul continues, noting, “African countries have [also] resolved to increase domestic spending on health in line with the Abuja Declaration of 2001, which saw African countries pledge to boost government funding for health to at least 15 percent.” He writes, “By pulling together to deliver on this goal, Africa will bring us ever closer to the transformative moment, when we can proudly declare that we have turned HIV, tuberculosis and malaria into endemics at a low level, rather than pandemics, and no longer big concerns for public health,” and concludes, “Together, we will defeat these diseases” (11/11).

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Recent Releases

Blog Posts Address International Conference on Family Planning In Ethiopia

The following is a summary of blog posts addressing the International Conference on Family Planning, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 12-15.

  • Julie Bernstein, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog: Bernstein, a senior communications officer at the Gates Foundation, interviews Elizabeth Lule, the foundation’s family planning director, ahead of the conference. According to the transcript, Lule reflects on her work since joining the foundation and examines the importance of this year’s event, among other topics (11/11).
  • Pape Gaye, IntraHealth’s “Vital” blog: “As reproductive health policymakers, advocates, and practitioners are gathering at the African Union in Ethiopia, some of us, who would like to clone ourselves to be there with you — and feel like we are there in spirit — are gathered in Brazil for the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health,” the IntraHealth CEO writes in a letter to the editor of Addis Fortune. “Two significant global health conferences are taking place and the links between them are evident,” he states, adding, “The theme of this year’s family planning conference is ‘full access and full choice.’ We all know that there is no access and no choice, without health workers” (11/11).
  • Michael Holscher, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog: “Many of us are reconvening at [the] International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and will surely be asking: how will we keep our promise? And, what will we have to do to deliver full access and full choice to these women?” Holscher, an international development professional, writes. “Firstly, we need resources and partnerships that will allow us to reach all of the women who are in need of family planning” and “to see that the financial resources pledged at FP2020 flow”; “[s]econdly, for FP2020 to succeed, we must improve the way we count the women we reach”; and “[f]inally, for FP2020 to succeed in spirit as well as fact, we must ensure that the women we reach have full access and full choice,” he states (11/8).

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World Food Programme Examines Report On Hunger Risk In CAR

“An Emergency Food Security Assessment, conducted jointly by the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and the government of [the Central African Republic (CAR)],  shows that  1.1 million people — around 30 percent of the population living outside the capital Bangui — are unable to meet their daily food needs on a regular basis or require food assistance in order to get by” and “warns the situation could worsen because of poor harvests and a drastic slowdown in economic activity following months of violence,” the World Food Programme (WFP) reports in an article on its webpage. “At least half the estimated 395,000 people internally displaced people in CAR are considered to lack access to enough safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life,” the article states (11/8).

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