KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Donors Pledge $3.8B For Syrian Humanitarian Response, Nearly Half Of U.N.'s Original Appeal

The Guardian: Donors pledge $4bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians
“The international community has pledged $3.8bn to tackle the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Syria — less than half the amount the U.N. says is needed this year to help the millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict…” (Jones, 3/31).

The Guardian: E.U., U.S. and Kuwait pledge more than $2bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians
“The E.U., the U.S., and Kuwait have pledged more than $2bn of the $8.4bn the U.N. is appealing for to help tackle the dire humanitarian situation caused by the war in Syria as the country enters its fifth year of conflict…” (Jones, 3/31).

The Nation/Agence France-Presse/Reuters: Syria aid pledges hit $3.8 billion as IS kills 37 civilians
“… ‘Today, the international community has come together in solidarity with the people of Syria and neighboring countries bearing the heavy burden of hosting millions of Syrian refugees,’ U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who chaired the gathering, to a press briefing after the pledges were announced…” (4/1).

New York Times: Conference to Aid Syrians Falls Short of Expectations
“…While no specific target had been set for the conference, emergency aid advocates expressed alarm over what they saw as an anemic response to the record $8.4 billion that the United Nations requested in December for all of 2015…” (Gladstone, 3/31).

U.N. News Centre: Donors pledge $3.8 billion in aid to people affected by Syria crisis at U.N.-backed conference
“…The pledges come as the situation in Syria continues its downwards spiral. Some 12.2 million people, including 5.6 million children, now need humanitarian assistance…” (3/31).

Wall Street Journal: Nations Pledge Nearly $4 Billion for Syrian Humanitarian Efforts
“…Aid officials attributed the shortfall to multiple regional crises, including the war against Islamic State and an armed conflict in Yemen, have stretched resources and caused the Syrian humanitarian crisis, which has been continuing for more than four years, to fall in priority. But as funding dwindles, the need is increasing…” (Abdulrahim, 3/31).

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Kenya Court, Human Rights Groups Call For Change To Law Criminalizing Mothers Who Pass HIV To Baby

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya court urges change to law criminalizing women who pass HIV to baby
“Human rights groups have welcomed moves to change a Kenyan law passed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, which criminalizes pregnant women who pass HIV/AIDS to their babies, saying it discouraged people from finding out their status. The 2006 law says that a person who knows they are HIV positive must tell ‘any sexual contact’ of their status in advance and could be jailed for seven years if they ‘knowingly and recklessly’ placed another person at risk of being infected…” (Migiro, 3/31).

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World Bank Backs Access To Contraceptives, Improved Sexual Health In Sahel Region

Reuters: World Bank backs contraception, sexual health in Sahel region
“Broadening access to contraceptives in Africa’s arid Sahel region and improving women’s sexual health are key parts of a $200 million World Bank project in the conservative Muslim region, its coordinator said…” (Piper, 3/31).

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Improved Access To Postnatal Care Can Reduce Maternal, Neonatal Deaths, WHO Report Says

VOA News: WHO Calls for Improved Access to Postnatal Care
“Governments in developing countries must make access to postnatal care a priority to significantly reduce the mortality rates of women and infants, the World Health Organization says in a new report…” (Schlein, 3/31).

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USG Awards Pharmaceutical Company Funds To Develop Ebola Treatment

The Hill: Feds award company up to $35M to develop Ebola drug
“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday awarded about $12 million to a North Carolina pharmaceutical company that has been developing Ebola treatments. The company, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, has created a ‘promising’ experimental drug that prevents the Ebola virus from reproducing; it has been effective in preliminary studies, according to a release Tuesday…” (Ferris, 3/31).

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U.K. Scientists, NHS Medics Develop Rapid Ebola Diagnostic Kit In Sierra Leone

The Guardian: Ebola rapid diagnostic kit developed by U.K. scientists in Sierra Leone
“A rapid Ebola diagnostic kit similar to a pregnancy kit has been developed by British military scientists and NHS medics in Sierra Leone. It can be administered at the bedside and return its first results within 20 minutes, slashing dramatically the normal 24-hour turnaround for lab results…” (O’Carroll, 3/29).

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Guinea Detects Three New Ebola Cases, Authorities Say

Reuters: Guinea finds three Ebola cases in the alumina hub of Fria
“Guinea has detected at least three new cases of Ebola in the alumina hub of Fria, according to the national coordination of the fight against the disease, as authorities blamed popular resistance for hampering the battle against the virus…” (Samb, 3/31).

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Concern Over Data Sharing Ethics May Hinder Disease Control During Outbreaks, Scientists Say

SciDev.Net: Focus on Poverty: Sharing genetic data in health crises
“Genetic information that could help slow disease outbreaks may be kept private by researchers out of fear of violating patients’ rights — that was one of the concerns expressed in a Nature article recently. … That’s problematic, since the open sharing of data is essential to designing effective responses to outbreaks…” (Mohdin, 3/31).

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U.N. Agricultural Agency Announces Plan To End Sheep And Goat Plague

U.N. News Centre: Eliminating sheep and goat plague will boost livelihoods and nutrition, says U.N. official at conference
“The United Nations agricultural agency…outline[d] a strategy in Côte d’Ivoire [Tuesday] for the total eradication of sheep and goat plague by 2030 at an international conference that began [Tuesday] in the country’s capital, Abidjan. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) aim to tackle the disease, known as Ovine Rinderpest — or Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) — and free hundreds of millions of rural families from one of the major risks to their food security and livelihood…” (3/31).

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FGM Continues To Occur In Thailand's Muslim South, Despite WHO Ban

The Guardian: In Thailand’s Muslim south, authorities turn a blind eye to FGM
“Female genital mutilation, banned by the WHO, seems to be common in the three Muslim-majority southern provinces, but officials are taking no action…” (Paluch, 4/1).

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Malaria Test Identifies Asymptomatic Malaria Carriers, Study Says

SciDev.Net: Diagnostic tests plumb depths of ‘hidden malaria’
“A self-styled ‘ultrasensitive’ malaria test could lead to more accurate identification of the potentially significant pool of people who carry the disease without showing any symptoms, a paper has found. The paper indicates that these ‘asymptomatic carriers’ are far more common than thought. They are an emerging front line in the fight to eradicate malaria, as they act as a hidden reservoir, allowing the parasite to carry on being circulated from humans to mosquitoes…” (Willmer, 4/1).

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Disease Models Should Better Allow For Uncertainty, Study Says

SciDev.Net: Disease models need room for randomness, paper urges
“Models used to manage disease outbreaks such as the ongoing Ebola epidemic must make greater allowances for uncertainty, according to a paper published today by the Royal Society in the United Kingdom. … ‘Attention to uncertainty helps one prepare rationally for a range of likely scenarios,’ says author Aaron A. King, who researches evolutionary biology and mathematics at the University of Michigan…” (Park, 4/1).

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Lesbian, Bisexual Women In Cuba Receive Unequal Health Services, Activists, Health Experts Say

Inter Press Service: Lesbians Receiving Unequal Treatment from Cuban Health Services
“In addition to other forms of discrimination, lesbian and bisexual women in Cuba face unequal treatment from public health services. Their specific sexual and reproductive health needs are ignored, and they are invisible in prevention and treatment campaigns for women…” (González, 4/1).

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Red Cross Federation Head Condemns Attack On Aid Workers, Urges For Their Protection

Thomson Reuters Foundation/New York Times: Red Cross Federation Condemns Killings of Workers
“The head of the Red Cross and Red Crescent on Tuesday condemned deadly attacks on three of the organization’s workers this week as ‘profoundly shocking and unacceptable’…” (3/31).

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Web Search Data May Help Estimate NCD Risk In Populations, Study Says

Reuters: Web searches may predict disease risk among populations
“Internet search data might someday help estimate the prevalence of non-communicable diseases like stroke, heart disease, or cancer, a new study suggests…” (Doyle, 3/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance Aims To Immunize 300M More Children

Huffington Post: Be Bold: How Gavi Will Immunize Another 300 Million Children
Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General for the Nordic Council of Ministers and Chair of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Board

“A challenge stands before us: ensuring immunization of the world’s poorest children. If we as global citizens can meet it, we will help protect the lives of millions in places too poor to afford vaccines. Despite remarkable progress made by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in helping to immunize half a billion children since 2000, nearly one-in-five children are still missing out, such that every year, 1.5 million still die from vaccine-preventable diseases. … Serious disparities remain with coverage high in some regions but virtually non-existent in others. Our challenge by donors on behalf of the world’s children is clear: End this disparity in coverage. Help countries establish equitable, sustainable vaccine programs. We must reach the unreached, giving children a chance to live to their full potential. We will continue to be bold” (3/31).

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System-Wide Change Critical In Efforts Against Antibiotic Drug Resistance

Project Syndicate: A Fair Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance
Gerald Bloom, physician and health economist at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex

“…Meeting the challenge of drug-resistant microbes will be difficult. … Implementing a system-wide change in the use of antibiotics will require the creation of national and global coalitions. One core aim must be to establish basic standards of conduct for health workers and drug companies that reflect the needs of patients and communities. Governments will need to build their capacity to play an effective role in this process, and companies that develop, produce, and distribute drugs and diagnostic technologies will have to contribute actively to the search for collaborative solutions. Only if we manage antibiotics in a fair and sustainable way will we be able to benefit from them at all” (4/1).

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Vigilance Needed To Prevent Polio Re-emergence In Ukraine

GlobalPost: In the midst of conflict, Ukraine’s children are vulnerable to polio outbreak
John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International

“While the global health community has been rightly focused on containing West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak, a potential health crisis involving another infectious virus — polio — worries many of the same experts. … Polio’s potential re-emergence in Ukraine would be a huge setback to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative… The only way to stop polio for good is to achieve total eradication and wipe it out in the endemic countries, cutting off the virus at its source. This is the goal of the global polio initiative by 2018. Until that goal is reached, the global community must remain vigilant in its resolve to vaccinate every child. … The world cannot stand by and wait for a public health emergency to emerge in a region whose people have endured so much over the past year” (3/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Special Issue Shares Experience Of Scaling Up Maternal, Newborn Health Care In Uganda

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: How to Bend the Curve on Newborn Mortality — Key Learnings from Uganda
Peter Waiswa, Ugandan medical doctor and health systems researcher; Stefan Swartling Peterson, public health physician and professor of Global Health at Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet, and Makerere University; and Mariam Claeson, director of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discuss the launch of a special issue on newborn health in Global Health Action. The study “share[s] the experience of how to scale up a cost-effective package of newborn care that involves families, community health workers, and health facilities” in Uganda (3/31).

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GHTC Provides Roundup Of Recent Global Health Research News

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: clinical trials for experimental Ebola vaccines, genetic traits that affect malaria risk, and progress toward a hookworm vaccine
Kat Kelley, senior program assistant at GHTC, highlights some of the past week’s news in global health research (3/30).

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Mapping Health Facilities Accurately Saves Lives

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Mapping health facilities supports accountability, saves lives
Anita Datar, senior policy adviser for the Health Policy Project at Futures Group, discusses the importance of using accurate data for mapping health facilities (3/31).

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Humanosphere Provides Roundup Of Recent Global Health News

Humanosphere: News in the Humanosphere: Syria humanitarian pledging conference kicks off in Kuwait
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy provides a roundup of recent global health news, including the start of a pledging conference for humanitarian aid to Syria (3/31).

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Ugandan Government's Decision To Send Medical Professionals To Caribbean Sparks Controversy

Humanosphere: Government scheme sparks brain drain controversy in Uganda
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses issues surrounding the Ugandan government’s decision to send nearly 300 medical professionals to the Caribbean (3/31).

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CDC, State Department Blog Posts Discuss Ebola, Response Efforts

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Working collaboratively to support Ebola response efforts in Sierra Leone
Bao-Ping Zhu, CDC Epidemiologist and Uganda FETP resident adviser, discusses his trip to Sierrra Leone and the CDC’s response efforts to work collaboratively with other partners to end the Ebola outbreak (3/31).

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: From the Ebola Frontline: A Survivor’s Story
This State Department blog post features a podcast with Marie Claire Tchecola, an Ebola survivor and emergency room nurse in Guinea, and her experience with the virus (3/31).

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State Department, USAID Blog Posts Discuss Humanitarian Response To Crisis In Syria

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Syria: ‘The Greatest Humanitarian Crisis in a Generation Demands the Response of a Generation’
The blog post discusses U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power’s comments at the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria (3/31).

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Why You Should Still Care About Syria
Jack Myer, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) Leader for the Syria humanitarian crisis response, discusses issues surrounding the Syrian conflict that has left an “estimated 5.6 million children in Syria … in need of humanitarian assistance…” (3/31).

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