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The Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report summarizes the latest, most relevant information on U.S. global health policy developments and related news from hundreds of sources. RSS feeds are available.

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HHS Secretary Sebelius Helps India Mark One Year Since Last Recorded Polio Case

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “administered polio vaccination drops to children in New Delhi on Friday as India marked one year since its last case of the crippling disease,” the Associated Press reports (1/13). The Hill’s “Healthwatch” reports that “[o]fficials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] say U.S. funding and experience were key to beating back the disease,” but “[t]he news comes as federal funding for global health programs now faces sharp cuts from Tea Party lawmakers and others worried about the deficit” (Pecquet, 1/12). “­Globally, the U.S. government has provided $2 billion for the polio eradication campaign, Rotary International has raised about $1 billion from its members, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $1 billion,” and the CDC “weighed in with crucial expertise,” the Washington Post writes (Denyer, 1/12).

U.S. Army Working To Bring Virtual Health Care To Albanian Hospitals

The U.S. Army in a news article on its website reports on how it is working to “bring virtual health care to Albanian hospitals” through a telemedicine program that “aims to link different levels of health care to ensure a better functioning and sustainable system.” According to the article, “Currently, five of the 12 major regional hospitals in Albania are connected via a hub-and-spoke information technology system to the central e-heath center in Tirana,” and, “[b]y March of this year, three additional hospitals will have the infrastructure in place to connect to the network.”

Women’s Health, Rights Especially Vulnerable During An Election Year

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, writes, “In 2012, there is a presidency at stake — so what does that mean for women’s health and rights in the coming year? How will political posturing and the race for votes affect what really matters?”

Journalists Discuss Challenges Of Reporting On Global Health Issues

The Global Post’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on a December seminar held by GlobalPost, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, at which “journalists discussed the challenges in telling compelling global health stories in the digital age.” Participants discussed marketing their products, securing funding, finding an audience, forming partnerships, and covering expenses. The news service includes quotes from several people who spoke at the seminar, including photographers Kristen Ashburn and John Stanmeyer; Penny Duckham, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship Program; Nathalie Applewhite, managing director of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting; and Charlie Sennott, executive editor at GlobalPost (Kriel, 1/12).

Nutrition, Agricultural Development Programs Improving Lives Of Poor Hondurans

In this post in the Department of State’s “DipNote” blog, Ertharin Cousin, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, examines how improved nutrition and agricultural development are helping to bring Hondurans out of poverty and hunger. Reflecting on a recent trip to the country with “five journalists from Central and South America to see the work the United States and the U.N. Food and Agriculture agencies are doing in the field,” Cousin highlights a number of projects “improving the lives of poor and hungry rural families in the region” and concludes, “All the projects we saw are making a difference. Now we must scale them up, so more people can participate and benefit, and ultimately break free of assistance” (1/6).

China Considering Loosening Family Planning Policy, Al Jazeera’s ‘101 East’ Reports

Al Jazeera’s “101 East” reports on how, “[a]s China faces social dilemmas such as a widening gender imbalance, it is considering loosening its [so-called] one-child policy.” According to the 25-minute video program, “China’s fertility rate is below the replacement level, providing fewer workers to support a rapidly growing elderly population,” and “with a cultural preference for boys, China faces an alarming gender imbalance with projections of 30 million more men than women by 2020” (Nettleton, 1/5).

Political Turmoil In Yemen Causing Breakdown Of Social Services, Increased Threats To Child Welfare

“Yemen’s populist uprising and the political crisis that followed have pushed the country to the brink of a humanitarian emergency, according to the United Nations and aid agencies,” the Washington Post reports, noting that “children have been hit especially hard.” The newspaper continues, “Fresh conflicts, including a raging battle between the government and Islamist militants, have disrupted basic services; water, fuel and electricity shortages affect nearly every aspect of life, from hospital operations to trash collection. Food prices are rising, and health services have collapsed. In a nation in which half the population is younger than 18, many aid workers fear that the political crisis and the problems it has spawned will be felt beyond this generation of children” (Raghavan, 1/8). The newspaper also provides a graphic on malnourishment rates in Yemen and select other countries (1/8).

Congressional Delegation Visits Africa To Assess Impact Of U.S.-Sponsored Projects

A Congressional delegation consisting of six senators and one representative arrived in Africa on Thursday for an eight-day trip that “includes oversight of Department of Defense, Department of State, and USAID activities in Africa,” the Daily Republic reports (Lawrence, 1/8). “According to [Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-S.C.)] office, the delegation assessed ‘the impact of U.S. sponsored counter-terrorism programs and projects relating to health, economic development, and strengthened trade relationships with African nations,'” the ONE blog writes.

Nigerian Leaders Sign Onto Gates Immunization Challenge

“Nigeria’s 36 Executive Governors and the Federal Capital Territory have signed up to the Nigeria Immunization Challenge launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year,” a Gates Foundation press release states. “The Nigeria Immunization Challenge sets specific objectives that need to be met during each quarter of 2012. If met, Nigeria will significantly improve its chances of stopping polio and protecting more children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough,” the release adds, noting, “As of December 30, 2011, 51 cases of wild poliovirus had been reported in eight Nigerian states” (1/5).

Haiti Faces ‘Largest’ Cholera Epidemic In Modern History, PAHO Says

“Almost two years after the devastating 7.0 earthquake destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, full recovery appears to be years away,” the Miami Herald reports, noting that “[t]housands of people continue to live in makeshift shelters and tents [and] rubble from dilapidated buildings still line some streets” (Lee, 1/7). In addition, “[t]he cholera outbreak in Haiti is ‘one of the largest epidemics of the disease in modern history to affect a single country,’ the U.N. World Health Organization’s Pan-American Health Organization [PAHO] said in a news release,” according to United Press International (1/7).