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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Makes Funding Appeal For Philippines Relief Efforts As Humanitarian Agencies Struggle To Reach Worst-Hit Areas

“The race to save survivors and bring relief to typhoon-ravaged areas of the Philippines escalated Tuesday as the United Nations appealed for as much as $301 million in aid, and several nations deployed supply ships in an attempt to ward off the growing threat of a public health crisis,” USA Today reports (Macleod, 11/12). “More than 11 million people have been affected by what the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has called the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year and one of the most intense on record,” the U.N. News Centre writes, noting “aid workers are laboring around the clock to get in urgently needed survival supplies, such as food, clean water, shelter and basic medicines” (11/12). “With tens of thousands of people now homeless, there is mounting concern that crowded living conditions and contaminated drinking water could lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases,” according to BBC News, which adds, “Unsafe food and a lack of access to safe water, lack of facilities for personal hygiene and safe sanitation arrangements all create a breeding ground for infections, such as cholera” (Mazumdar, 11/12).

“International relief efforts have intensified with the launch of a U.N. appeal and the dispatch of American, British and Japanese troops to the affected regions of the Philippines. But minimal amounts of aid have reached the worst‑hit areas,” The Guardian reports (Branigan, 11/12). “In Haiyan’s wake, the relief effort must deal with an enormous zone of destruction, making it very difficult to get food, water, temporary shelter, and medical supplies and personnel to millions in need,” NPR’s “Shots” blog states (Knox, 11/12). “The U.N.’s World Food Programme began distributing food in Tacloban, handing out rice to 3,000 people on Wednesday, the agency said,” CNN notes (Pearson/Walsh/Coren, 11/13). “WHO has already deployed medicines and supplies to perform 400 surgeries and cover the basic health needs of 120,000 people for one month,” according to the Global Dispatch, which adds, “Therapeutic food for children, health kits, water and hygiene kits to support up to 3,000 families in the affected areas have already been mobilized from supplies available in the country” (Herriman, 11/12). The BBC in a separate article provides statistics on relief efforts so far (11/13).

Additional coverage is available from BBC News, France 24, The Guardian, International Business Times, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Philippine Information Agency, Press TV, Reuters, Scientific American, United Press International, U.N. News Centre, USA Today, and Washington Post.

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WHO, UNICEF, GAVI Alliance Highlight Essential Actions To Prevent Pneumonia

WHO, UNICEF and the GAVI Alliance marked World Pneumonia Day, observed Tuesday, “by highlighting essential actions that can help end child deaths” from pneumonia, the U.N. News Centre reports, noting the theme of this year’s day is “Innovate to End Child Pneumonia” (11/12). “Pneumonia remains the single biggest killer of children under [five] globally, claiming the lives of more than one million girls and boys every year,” a joint press release from the organizations states (11/12). “Most of the pneumonia deaths occur in developing countries,” VOA News writes, noting  younger children are more vulnerable, as well as those who are malnourished or HIV-infected (11/12). “Global health advocates … commemorated the fifth annual World Pneumonia Day by calling on global leaders to scale up existing interventions and invest in new diagnostics and treatments to defeat pneumonia,” a press release from the International Vaccine Access Center states (11/13). Xinhua highlights interventions recommended by the U.N. and partners to prevent and treat pneumonia: “[E]xclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding complemented by nutritious solid foods up to age two; vaccination against whooping cough (pertussis), measles, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and pneumococcus; safe drinking water, sanitation and hand washing facilities; improved cooking stoves to reduce indoor air pollution; and treatment, including amoxicillin dispersible tablets and oxygen” (11/13).

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Wired Magazine Examines Global Health, Philanthropy

Wired on Tuesday featured three separate articles examining philanthropy and global health. In an interview with journalist Steven Levy, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and former President Bill Clinton, discuss their health and development work (11/12). In a separate interview, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor and co-founder of the non-profit Partners in Health, examine “the best ways to improve health all over the world” (Roper, 11/12). Writing in an essay, Bill Gates reflects on how innovation has driven his health and development work (11/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must Recognize Threat Of H7N9 Pandemic

“While Congress is preoccupied with the shortcomings of Obamacare and the mangled launch of Healthcare.gov, another disaster is brewing that deserves the immediate attention of Congress,” Clare Lopez, vice president of the Intelligence Summit and a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” referring to the H7N9 avian flu virus that “emerged in China early this year.” She states, “In light of the deadly threat from this new and not fully understood virus, it might be expected that [HHS] would be moving aggressively to fund vaccine production as expeditiously as possible,” adding, “But, according to a report issued by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the HHS approach is [a] laid-back one.”

“That is, even though vaccine clinical trials are underway, the decision to conduct a ‘large-scale vaccine manufacturing campaign’ depends on HHS’s assessment of the ‘risk of emergence of sustained human-to-human transmission,’” Lopez continues, adding, “In other words, once HHS decides an H7N9 pandemic is imminent, only then it will decide about ramping up vaccine production.” She concludes, “The H7N9 threat is very real, and the CDC did not mince words in its assessment of the danger. Congress must ensure BARDA gets that message before it is too late” (11/12).

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PAHO Resolution On Health Disparities For LGBT Community A 'Huge Victory'

“At the annual meeting of the Pan American Health Organization [in October], delegates from governments throughout the region unanimously passed a resolution [titled] ‘Addressing the Causes of Disparities in Health Service Access and Utilization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Persons,’” HHS Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Nils Daulaire writes in the Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices” blog. “By passing this resolution, health authorities in the Americas have pledged to promote equal access to health services for those in the LGBT community, taking into account the widespread stigma, discrimination, and persecution experienced by many in the population,” he states, adding, “This is a huge victory, as approval of the resolution marks the first time any United Nations body taken steps to address discrimination in the health sector against LGBT persons.”

“Unequal treatment against LGBT people exists both in and outside of the health sector in the Americas region,” Daulaire continues. “This resolution will improve norms and standards in the Americas to promote equal access to health services for all people” and “also creates an important precedent for other World Health Organization (WHO) regional bodies as well as for WHO itself,” he states. “The U.S. government stands firm in our resolve to capitalize on this significant step forward for LGBT health” and “will continue our work at WHO to raise these issues,” he writes, and concludes, “I am proud of the leadership role the United States continues to play to advance LGBT nondiscrimination, and we will continue to push ahead to provide equal and quality health outcomes for all citizens of the world” (11/12).

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Let Family Planning Be Africa's Legacy

“Under the theme of ‘Full Access, Full Choice,’ it is believed that the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning will again shed light on the fact that despite wins achieved in the area of access to family planning services, much work remains to be done,” Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus writes in an AllAfrica.com opinion piece. “As a continent, we must do better – both in our actions, and our words,” he states, adding, “[W]e must ensure that every girl and woman has access to family planning services and information, while providing support for healthcare workers who have the tools, skills and education to help keep our families healthy and strong.”

“Through the efforts of African countries working in partnership with leading [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] such as Women Deliver, UNFPA, Partners in Population and Development and the Global Poverty Project, awareness about and demands for improved access to family planning services is growing,” Ghebreyesus continues. “From leaders in the Global North to leaders in the Global South, the private sector to NGOs, we cannot achieve universal access to family planning services alone. We need every country in Africa to give due consideration to the necessity for family planning to be a priority in the new development agenda,” he writes, and concludes, “Let this be the legacy of Africa. The future of our continent depends on it” (11/12).

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Implementation Models For Dissemination Of Mental Health Research Needed

“In recent years, growing interest and awareness has resulted in global mental health finally stepping out of the narrow field of psychiatry and beginning to occupy space in public health discourse,” Julia Beart, head of business development for the U.K. charity Basic Needs, and Shoba Raja, director of policy and practice for the charity, write in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Yet when it comes to investing in global mental health, the majority of the big players have largely constrained their scope to research,” they continue, adding, “The challenge, however, is translating such findings into the ‘real world’ delivery of services. What do these findings mean for the wide-scale implementation of affordable, sustainable services?” “There is a clear need to invest in the capacity of implementers to disseminate learning and share delivery knowledge,” they state, adding, “Innovative multi-sector partnerships which place implementers at the heart of delivery solutions are therefore key to achieving transformative systems change in mental health” (11/11).

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Recent Releases

Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis Examines Donor Government Assistance For Family Planning In 2012

“[A] new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds donor governments provided about $900 million in bilateral funding for family planning programs in 2012, and an additional $432 million in core contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),” an email alert from the foundation reports. “[T]his report establishes a baseline level of donor government funding for family planning activities in 2012 that can be used to track total international assistance funding levels for family planning over time as well as commitments donor governments made at last year’s London Summit on Family Planning,” according to the report summary (11/13).

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Paying Tribute To Ambassador Goosby

In a post in the AIDS.gov blog, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH, pays tribute to Ambassador Eric Goosby, who stepped down from his posts as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and head of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy on November 1. He discusses Ambassador Goosby’s work while in office and writes, “The global AIDS community thanks Eric for a trailblazing run as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and for a career devoted to helping people living with HIV/AIDS and putting an end to this modern-day plague. We will miss him greatly, and wish him enormous success in the next stage of his extraordinary career” (11/12).

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Save The Children Official Examines Data Presented At 3rd Global Forum On Human Resources For Health

In two separate blog posts, Louise Holly, a health advocacy adviser for Save the Children, examines data presented at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. “The overarching message from the Forum is that UHC depends on health workers,” Hill writes in the UHC Forward blog, adding, “However, new data published at the forum warns that we face a current shortage of more than 7.2 million doctors, nurses and midwives, not to mention those uncounted community health workers who are often the only healthcare providers available to the poorest people” (11/13). “To coincide with the forum, Save the Children has launched a website that explores the steps that countries need to take to build a health workforce that is fit to prevent and treat the causes of maternal, newborn and child mortality,” she notes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog (11/12).

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New Resource Aims To Improve Women's Access To Family Planning After Childbirth

“A new resource for health program managers and policy makers released [at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday] aims to improve access to family planning for women after childbirth and during the first 12 months of motherhood,” the WHO reports in a joint press release with USAID and USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). “‘Programming strategies for postpartum family planning’ provides interventions at all levels of health care to expand access to scientifically-sound family planning methods for new mothers” and “identifies three critical areas of work for countries to ensure successful implementation of the strategies,” the press release notes (11/13).

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Blog Posts Address World Pneumonia Day

The following is a summary of blog posts addressing World Pneumonia Day, observed on Nov. 12.

  • Yehuda Benguigui, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog: Benguigui, child health team lead for USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), examines two challenges in preventing pneumonia deaths in children younger than age five: prompt care seeking, which “is crucial to early detection of pneumonia, prompt treatment, and survival,” and treatment compliance “to ensure that their children complete courses of treatment in the right dosage” (11/12).
  • Kerry Ann Dobies and Kelli Cappelier, USAID’s “IMPACTblog“: “Today, on World Pneumonia Day, MCHIP celebrates that this disease is preventable with safe, effective and affordable tools,” Dobies, a program coordinator at John Snow, Inc., and Cappelier, technical manager of USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) at John Snow, Inc., write in the blog (11/12).
  • Tina Musoke and Sean Bartlett, United Nations Foundation Blog:  The authors, both senior communications officers at the foundation, explore seven important facts about pneumonia and highlight “a number of efforts to fight” the illness (11/12).

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