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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Meeting With West African Leaders, Obama Pledges U.S. Support, Marks Progress In Ending Ebola Epidemic

Agence France-Presse: Obama pledges U.S. aid in wiping out last traces of Ebola
“President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with the leaders of three Ebola-stricken West African nations, vowing U.S. help in wiping out the last vestiges of the often deadly disease…” (4/15).

Bloomberg News: Obama Hosts Heads of Ebola-Stricken Nations as Schools Open
“…Obama also used the meeting to mark progress the U.S. has made in helping West African nations combat the Ebola epidemic, which has waned after killing more than 10,000 people last year…” (Olorunnipa, 4/15).

The Hill: Obama: World must remain ‘fully engaged’ against Ebola
“President Obama on Wednesday warned that the world cannot be ‘complacent’ in the fight against Ebola, even as the number of new cases drops to zero in parts of West Africa…” (Ferris, 4/15).

New York Times: As Ebola Retreats, Obama Urges Vigilance and Preparation in West Africa
“Now that the Ebola crisis in West Africa finally appears to be petering out, President Obama on Wednesday called for renewed international efforts to rebuild the shattered health systems in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, to shore up the response to future pandemics in the region…” (Cooper, 4/15).

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U.S. Senate Committee Debates Food Aid Program Reform

Devex: Reformers look for the refresh button on U.S. food aid
“The United States’ six decades-old food aid program might finally see reforms. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear April 15 arguments for reforming the way the U.S. pays for, ships and dispenses food aid internationally. The hearing is the first of its kind in the committee’s history, and many food aid reform advocates hope it will be a turning point in a battle they’ve waged against red tape and jurisdictional infighting…” (Anders, 4/15).

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Contingency Fund Could Allow Federal Agencies To Address Disease Outbreaks More Quickly, U.S. Congressman Says

CQ HealthBeat: Appropriator Mulls Contingency Fund for Disease Outbreaks
“Creating a contingency fund to address health crises such as the Ebola outbreak might speed the time it takes federal agencies to respond, according to the chairman of the House panel that funds the Department of Health and Human Services…” (Young, 4/15).

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Global Fund, Other Organizations Exploring Innovative Finance, Approaches To Meet Development Goals

Devex: Innovative models, finance, and approaches to tackle the SDGs
“…The Global Fund recently created an innovation hub to bring together private sector partners from a number of industries to help tackle challenges around supply chains, financial and risk management, as well as program quality. Companies across a wide range of industries are partnering to design solutions to Global Fund challenges. … New funding models are also critical to finance the sustainable development goals…” (Saldinger, 4/15).

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U.N. Envoy Urges Security Council To Address Sexual Violence In Conflict

U.N. News Centre: Women’s empowerment key to end sexual violence in combat, U.N. envoy tells Security Council
“As the great moral issue of our time, sexual violence in conflict is used to terrorize, displace, and subjugate victims, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue told the Security Council today, urging the body to take action to deal with this growing threat…” (4/15).

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Increasing Conflict In Yemen Threatening Food Security Of Millions, FAO Says

Reuters: Yemen war puts 2015 crop at risk, food security worsening — FAO
“Conflict in Yemen is disrupting the crop planting season and threatens to create food shortages, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday. The FAO has been working since 2014 to support Yemeni farmers but it says only $4 million of the required $12 million have been made available for its livelihood programs…” (El Dahan, 4/15).

U.N. News Centre: Millions of Yemenis face food insecurity amid escalating conflict, U.N. agency warns
“…According to the agency’s latest assessment, increasing conflict in nearly all major towns across the country is disrupting markets and trade, driving up local food prices, and hampering agricultural production, including land preparation and planting for the 2015 harvests…” (4/15).

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Elderly In War-Torn Ukraine Face Problems Accessing Health Care, Medications

New York Times: In Rebel Territory of Ukraine, Older Residents Fight to Live
“…Even before the war, it was tough here in the Donetsk coal basin [in Ukraine] to navigate the aches and pains of old age on a meager pension. Now, it is a battle for survival, and looking grimmer by the day as fighting intensifies despite a shaky cease-fire. … Doctors Without Borders can provide very limited help because Ukraine restricts the kinds and amounts of supplies that the organization can bring into the country…” (Roth, 4/15).

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Distrust, Under-Resourced Health Care System Slow Efforts To Eradicate Polio In Pakistan

The Guardian: Suspicion slows dangerous work to eradicate polio in Pakistan
“…Since the Taliban issued a ban on vaccinations, and compared female health workers to prostitutes for working outside the home, more than 80 vaccinators and the armed guards assigned to protect them have been gunned down. … Added to this are the problems of keeping track of the million or so people internally displaced from places such as Waziristan because of the U.S. drone-strike campaign, an under-resourced health care system, and a lackluster campaign against what the World Health Organization has called a ‘public health emergency of international concern’…” (Hedayat, 4/16).

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Female Circumcision Persists In Indonesia, GlobalPost Reports

GlobalPost: The custom of female circumcision remains good business in Indonesia
“…Indonesia is home to some 210 million Muslims, the world’s largest population. Researchers believe most Muslim women here are circumcised. The authorities banned the practice in 2006, but backpedaled in 2010 following pressure from some of the country’s powerful religious organizations. … [F]emale circumcision is not mandatory according to Islamic law. But in some interpretations it is ‘strongly recommended’…” (Dhumieres, 4/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Senate Hearing On U.S. Food Aid Program Is 'Logical Next Step' In Reform Discussion

Devex: Richard Lugar: ‘Kudos’ on U.S. food aid reform hearing
Richard Lugar, former U.S. senator from Indiana, president of The Lugar Center, and honorary co-char of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“April 15 may be tax day, but this year it is also the day on which an important conversation will take place about the accountability of taxpayer dollars in reaching the greatest number of people in crisis with food. Thanks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, members of the committee will be asking whether the time has come to reform our nation’s food aid program. … Regrettably, both natural and man-made crises continue to leave people across the globe in need of food aid, and the U.S. — through both its moral leadership and its understanding of the relationship between hungry populations and national security — is stepping up to provide this aid. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing is the logical next step to discuss how we can improve the program to serve more people in need for the best value to the taxpayer” (4/15).

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World Must Consider Links Between Human Health, Environment To Prevent Irreversible Damage

Forbes: Where Health And Environment Converge
Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands

“…Global ecosystem degradation has a major impact on health that we often overlook. It can result in the spread of disease, malnutrition, and contaminated drinking water. … We must come to view the human relationship with the earth as we have the relationship between our own mind and body. They are intrinsically intertwined such that a decision about the environment will impact the health of humanity. Where (and how) we live, learn, work, and play has a greater impact on how long and how well we live than medical care. We must be good stewards of our planet so that future generations are not burdened with a sicker, poorer humanity, and an irrevocably damaged earth” (4/15).

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Global Development Efforts Important In Interconnected World

Huffington Post: The Price of Development and the Cost of Inaction
Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)

“…Three billion people live in the rural areas of developing countries, and those areas are also home to three-quarters of the world’s poor and hungry. Why should we invest in transforming this forgotten world? One reason is that inequality is the biggest threat to the global economy in the coming decade, according to the World Economic Forum. Another is that small farmers in the developing world are responsible for about four-fifths of food production. Another is that it is the right thing to do and it’s absurd to talk about development while leaving nearly a billion people hungry. Another is that, as Ebola showed, what happens in a remote village affects us all. So whether you’re a banker, a scientist or just someone who cares, development is your business. And you can help make 2015 a year of important decisions” (4/15).

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Providing HPV Vaccine To Women Worldwide Vital To Preventing Cervical Cancer Cases, Deaths

Project Syndicate: Stopping Women’s Next Biggest Killer
Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…For the first time, the number of deaths caused by cervical cancer every year is poised to outstrip the total caused by childbirth. … The tragedy is that these deaths are almost entirely preventable. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, coupled with screening and treatment, could prevent the vast majority of cervical cancer cases. But almost 90 percent of the women who die from cervical cancer are in developing countries, where, for too many of them, screening services are unavailable, and treatment even less so. … It is imperative to act now to ensure that every girl has access to HPV vaccines and a healthy future free from cervical cancer, no matter where she lives” (4/14).

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Global Investments Critical In Ending Malaria

Huffington Post: We Can Defeat Malaria
Leslie Mancuso, president and CEO of Jhpiego

“…The theme for World Malaria Day 2015 is Invest in the Future, Defeat Malaria. While at face value this might seem like an obvious declaration, in the fight against this relentless killer of an estimated 584,000 each year, significant investments in improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment can mean the difference between life and death. From public-private partnerships that train health workers to programs that focus on prevention and buy-in from local communities, we know these investments work. … For decades, malaria seemed to have the upper hand, but today, we are seeing real progress in ending this 100 percent preventable and treatable disease. Using what we know works and building on investments from stakeholders around the globe, we can finally defeat malaria” (4/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Supports Programs To Prevent, Treat, Eliminate NTDs

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Ending the ‘Neglect’ in Neglected Tropical Diseases
Rabab Pettitt, a senior communications advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, and Katherine Sanchez, a knowledge manager for USAID’s END in Africa Project, managed by FHI360, discuss USAID’s efforts to end neglected tropical diseases through the support of the delivery of preventive drug treatments, “support for programs addressing existing disabilities caused by these diseases — which lead to long-term suffering and trap individuals in poverty — and support for research to discover new drugs and accelerate progress toward disease elimination…” (4/15).

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CSIS Primer Examines Reasons For U.S. To Support International TB Efforts

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Hope for a more reasoned U.S. approach to global TB
CSIS Senior Associate Phil Nieburg; Talia Dubovi, associate director and senior fellow with the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS; and Sahil Angelo, program coordinator and research assistant at the Global Health Policy Center, introduce a “new TB primer, Tuberculosis — A Complex Health Threat. Our goal was to provide a clear explanation of the real threats and burdens of global TB to enable U.S. policymakers to make informed and reasoned choices about funding and other resources for control of this important global disease” (4/15).

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Unsafe Abortion Common In Senegal, Study Shows

Guttmacher Institute: Despite Legal Restrictions, Unsafe Abortion Is Common In Senegal And Thousands Of Women Are Injured Each Year
“In the first national study of abortion incidence in Senegal, researchers found that clandestine abortions — almost all of them unsafe — pose a serious threat to the health of Senegalese women. The study, which was conducted by the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute and Senegal’s Centre de Recherche pour le Développement Humain, found that an estimated 51,500 induced abortions were performed in Senegal in 2012, a rate of 17 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. More than half of those abortions resulted in complications requiring medical treatment, for which many women did not receive care…” (4/15).

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Local Zambian Health Organization Gains Confidence Of Donors

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: In Zambia, an infectious disease response aims for excellence: ‘This is what a local organization looks like’
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, profiles Dr. Chalres Holmes, chief executive officer at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), and discusses the work and success of the organization in responding to HIV and other infectious diseases (4/15).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 264 of the “Global Fund Observer.” This edition includes articles on how countries’ programs are working under the new funding model and a commentary on data quality (4/15).

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