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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Eliminating Violence Against Women Must Be Included As Development Goal, Leaders Say

“Violence against women and girls is so pervasive that the next set of United Nations development objectives must include it as a priority when the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] expire in 2015, panelists at a U.N. ministerial meeting on gender violence and the post-2015 agenda said on Wednesday,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports, noting Finland, Liberia and U.N. Women co-hosted the event. “According to a June 2013 report by the [WHO], the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women (VAW), no part of the world is free from gender-based violence,” the news service writes. “Ending the global pandemic of VAW must be a priority as the U.N. works on the post-2015 development agenda, said [U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile] Mlambo-Ngucka,” Reuters states. Mlambo-Ngucka said, “Indeed, it is the missing MDG and we must correct this glaring omission,” the news service notes, adding, “Many ministers at the meeting agreed with Mlambo-Ngucka that stopping violence against women must be spelt out in the next set of objectives.” Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Erkki Tuomioja said, “What is needed now is more attention to freedom from violence for women and girls, from now until after 2015,” according to Reuters (Anderson, 9/26).

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Europe Risks Re-Introduction Of Polio From Israel, Report Says

“Europe is at risk of a re-introduction of polio, more than a decade after the region was declared free of the disease, after the disfiguring virus was found in sewage in Israel, according to a European Union report [.pdf]” released this week, Bloomberg News reports. “Poliovirus was identified in 91 sewage samples in Israel between February and August, and in the feces of 42 people in the same area, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control [ECDC] wrote,” the news service states, adding, “No cases of polio disease have been reported, the Stockholm-based ECDC said.” According to Bloomberg, the ECDC said, “Israel is a popular destination for E.U. travelers and vice versa. … Orthodox religious groups, among whom low vaccination coverage is often reported, are likely to be at increased risk.” The news service adds, “Israeli authorities have acted to prevent the spread of the virus, and European nations should make an effort to identify and target people who aren’t adequately protected by vaccine, the ECDC said” (Bennett, 9/25).

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U.S. Census Bureau Updates World HIV/AIDS Database

“The U.S. Census Bureau announced [this week] that it had updated its world HIV/AIDS database to include new data on more than 100 countries, including China, Ghana, Ethiopia, India and Cameroon,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “The U.S. Census Bureau HIV/AIDS Surveillance Database is a compilation of data from 219 countries or regions, and tracks the prevalence of HIV infection, AIDS cases and related deaths,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The primary purpose of the database is to collect and disseminate information from developing countries, and is used by [USAID]” (Morin, 9/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Technology Act Would Encourage New Health Product Development

Noting a worldwide resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) and the development of drug-resistant diseases, Reps. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) write in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” “New vaccines, drugs, tests, and other health tools are desperately needed to combat the spread of disease both in the United States and abroad. But progress cannot be made without a sustained investment in research.” They continue, “That’s why we have come together to introduce the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act (HR 1515),” which “would encourage the development of health products that are affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy to use in low-resource health systems” and “would require no new funding.”

In addition, “[t]he bill also supports a comprehensive, smart and deficit-neutral approach to research for new global health technologies at [USAID], which has played a critical role for decades in supporting global health research and development (R&D),” they write, adding, “This bill would strengthen and support the agency’s product development activities, while also expanding its capabilities in health research to new areas, such as TB vaccines, which the agency currently does not support.” Sires and Diaz-Balart conclude, “By supporting this bill, Congress can help make an immeasurable difference in the lives of women and children …, while also safeguarding the health of American citizens and supporting our economy” (9/26).

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GAVI Alliance To Establish 'Centre Of Excellence' To Receive Private Sector Advice On Supply Chains

Noting vaccine “supply chain inefficiencies may be contributing to the deaths of 1.5 million children each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, the vast majority in developing countries,” GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Berkley writes in a Devex opinion piece, “As the world’s largest purchaser of vaccines for developing countries, GAVI is now urgently seeking innovations that will allow governments to reach more children and maximize the dollars spent.” He continues, “The stakes are high. Since 2000, the value of GAVI-funded vaccines has increased tenfold, from $94 million to $921 million in 2011.” Therefore, “starting in 2014, we are working to convene a supply chain ‘Centre of Excellence’ of committed global corporations that would provide advice to GAVI on our broader supply chain strategy and individually work with partner governments and technical specialists to tackle several of the most pressing problems, such as stock monitoring, cold chain breakdowns and poor data quality,” he notes.

“Certainly, the majority of issues will still need to be addressed by the governments involved, together with major GAVI Alliance partners, such as UNICEF and the [WHO],” Berkley writes, adding, “My belief is that Centre members will bring a fresh perspective and dynamic to the good work already underway and help develop long-term sustainable solutions in key areas.” He continues, “We can learn a lot from the private sector while helping them gain market knowledge and possibly catalyzing commercial solutions at the same time.” Berkley concludes, “This type of collaborative partnership would be a win for all involved, but most importantly for those children who await the opportunity of a healthier life” (9/26).

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Opinion Pieces Address U.K.'s Global Fund Pledge, Organization's Work Against AIDS, TB, Malaria

On Monday, the U.K. announced it would donate £1 billion ($1.6 billion) over the next three years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. However, disbursement of the funds is dependent upon other donors dedicating enough funding to reach the Global Fund’s $15 billion Fourth Replenishment goal. The following summarize several opinion pieces on the U.K.’s donation and the Global Fund.

  • Lucy Chesire, Huffington Post’s “Big Push” blog: Following the U.K.’s “historic” commitment, “[w]e now look at the rest of the world to ensure that this year’s replenishment (for 2014-2016) is a huge success,” Chesire, executive director and secretary to the Board of the TB ACTION Group, writes. “This is a substantial increase from the U.K.’s previous commitment” and “[w]e know that for every pound pledged to the Global Fund, more lives will be saved,” she says (9/24).
  • Amanda Glassman, The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog”: Noting “[e]arly indications from major donors are strong” for the Global Fund, Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow with the Center for Global Development, writes, “But there is something far more valuable than $15 billion alone — results.” She continues, “The Global Fund’s headline figures are extrapolated from the number of products purchased or the number of services reported by funding recipients themselves,” and “[m]onths of analysis and questioning led to the conclusion that the Global Fund tracks receipts better than it tracks results.” She suggests “very basic reforms,” adding, “The Global Fund must put as much energy into getting results as delivering rhetoric, pursuing performance verification with no less vigor than advocacy” (9/27).
  • Robin Gorna, Huffington Post U.K.’s “Politics” blog: The U.K.’s Global Fund pledge “is a truly remarkable outcome — and could prove to be a turning point in the history of global health, Gorna, founder of AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy, writes. “The confidence in the Global Fund — and the acknowledgement that defeating the three diseases should be a priority — happened because of an intelligent, savvy coalition of advocates with smart tactics,” she states, adding, “The U.K. met this smart advocacy with a smart solution” of conditioning its donation to the goal of meeting the Global Fund’s $15 billion replenishment goal. “For the remainder of the year we can expect lots of back and forth as each government seeks to prove they care about global health more than the other,” she writes, concluding, “The U.K.’s £1 billion is not only very generous; it’s also very clever” (9/26).
  • James Whiting, Huffington Post U.K.’s “Politics” blog: The U.K.’s “support has the power to save, protect and transform millions of lives,” Whiting, executive director of Malaria No More U.K., writes, adding, “This positive momentum needs to be sustained. Investing now, sets us on course to achieve something truly amazing and avoid staggering costs in the future, [and] this is why the U.K. government’s ambitious and continued support needs to be echoed by others.” He summarizes the work of the Global Fund and the U.K. government in response to malaria (9/25).

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Recent Releases

Kerry, African Presidents, Ambassador Discuss Global Health Partnerships

At an event on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended an event with Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool to discuss partnerships aimed at addressing global health issues, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports (Aziz, 9/26). A transcript of Kerry’s opening remarks to the press is available online (9/26).

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New Innovations In Contraception Essential For Women's Health

Noting “222 million women have an unmet need for modern contraceptive methods” and summarizing some of the reasons for this lack of access, Judy Manning, health development officer with USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health, and Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of the International Partnership for Microbicides, write in the Carnegie Council’s “Policy Innovations” blog, “New sexual and reproductive health innovations have the potential to revolutionize women’s options by diversifying delivery forms, varying product duration, and targeting multiple health risks simultaneously.” They continue, “We are excited about a number of cutting-edge technologies now in development,” and they describe several research projects, focusing on “multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) [that] can help address women’s overlapping health needs in a single product.” They conclude, “New tools are not developed overnight — they take time, effort, and dedicated resources. But it is an investment that will help make modern contraception a reality for the millions of women whose lives and well-being depend on it” (9/26).

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