KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

As Death Toll Rises Above 5K In Nepal Earthquake, Aid Groups Struggle To Reach Areas Outside Kathmandu

BBC News: Nepal earthquake: Eight million people affected, U.N. says
“Eight million people have been affected by the massive earthquake in Nepal — more than a quarter of the country’s population — the United Nations says…” (4/28).

The Guardian: Nepal earthquake: death toll could reach 10,000, says PM — live updates
In a livestream, The Guardian reports “More than 5,000 are confirmed dead and 6,500 injured; Nepal’s PM says death toll could more than double; Authorities struggling to cope despite aid efforts…” (Davey et al., 4/28).

International Business Times: Nepal Earthquake 2015: Aid Groups, Governments Ramp Up Relief Efforts As Death Toll Climbs
“…The United Nations said roughly 30 international medical and search-and-rescue teams have been dispatched to Nepal since the tremor that affected nearly the entire country. Online fundraising websites have begun pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars for earthquake relief, and aid groups have indicated their plans to send emergency supplies and equipment to survivors. Among the countries contributing to the effort are Australia, China, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, the U.K., and the U.S., the BBC reported…” (Ross, 4/27).

New York Times: Nepal Villages Cut Off by Earthquake Wait for Aid as Death Toll Passes 4,000
“…[O]utside the capital, many of the worst-hit villages in the ridges around Katmandu remain a black hole, surrounded by landslides that make them inaccessible even to the country’s armed forces. The Nepali authorities on Monday began airdropping packages of tarpaulins, dry food and medicine into mountain villages, but an attempt to land helicopters was abandoned, said Brig. Gen. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, an army spokesman…” (Fuller/Barry, 4/27).

Reuters: Quake overwhelms Nepal’s weak health care system
“A massive earthquake in Nepal has exposed the woeful state of its medical facilities as hospitals struggle to treat vast numbers of injured with limited supplies and staff. The country of 28 million has only 2.1 physicians and 50 hospital beds for every 10,000 people, according to a 2011 World Health Organization report…” (Nair, 4/26).

TIME: U.S. Sends Personnel, Funds to Aid in Nepal Relief Effort
“The U.S. government is sending troops and aid to Nepal as the nation struggles to recover from a massive earthquake that killed thousands. … Secretary of State John Kerry also announced Monday the U.S. government is sending an additional $9 million to aid in the relief effort, bringing the total funds sent thus far to $10 million…” (Rhodan, 4/27).

Wall Street Journal: Rescuers Struggle to Reach Outlying Villages Hit by Nepal Earthquake
“…Badly damaged roads, landslides, and at-times heavy rains that limited the number of helicopter flights in parts of the country prevented search-and-rescue specialists as well as supplies of medicines, water, tents, and other critical aid from reaching people in need…” (Pesta/Bhattacharya, 4/27).

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Devex Examines WHO Reform Agenda After Ebola

Devex: Inside WHO’s reform agenda
“The past few months has seen the embattled World Health Organization embark on a sea change…” (Ravelo, 4/27).

Devex: Harsh criticism of its Ebola response pushes WHO to open up, do better
“…[The WHO] has suffered intense scrutiny not just from the media, but also among experts and peers from the global health community. … An independent panel of experts, headed by former Oxfam GB chief Barbara Stocking, is expected to submit a report at the upcoming World Health Assembly containing findings of its assessment of the whole institution’s response to the pandemic, and recommendations on what and where can it do better next time…” (Ravelo, 4/27).

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Global Surgical Shortage Contributes To One-Third Of All Deaths Worldwide, Report Says

New York Times: Routine Surgeries Could Save Millions of Lives, if They Were Available
“Millions of people worldwide die from appendicitis, obstructed labor, compound fractures, and other treatable conditions for lack of routine surgeries, according to a report released Sunday. Because too few surgeons and anesthetists practice in most poor and middle-income countries, five billion of the world’s seven billion people cannot get lifesaving surgeries or cannot pay for them, the report said…” (McNeil, 4/27).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Shortfall in operations causes a third of deaths worldwide: Lancet
“…The lack of operations causes a third of all deaths worldwide, with nearly 17 million people dying from conditions needing surgical care in 2010, a report published by the [Lancet Commission on Global Surgery] on Monday said…” (Whiting, 4/27).

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U.N. Report Reveals Health Care Disparities Between Rural, Urban Populations

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. report finds bulk of world’s rural populations excluded from health care access
“The majority of the world’s rural populations continue to live and work without essential health care services, in stark contrast to their urban-dwelling counterparts, according to a new report released [Monday] by the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO)…” (4/27).

VOA News: Report: People in Rural Areas Lose Out on Health Care
“…New data from 174 countries reveal a huge gap in access to health care between rural and urban areas worldwide. The report, by the International Labor Organization, for the first time presents comprehensive global evidence on the extent of the inequities between these populations…” (Schlein, 4/27).

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Humanitarian Assistance Programs In Conflict-Torn CAR Remain Underfunded, U.N. Warns

Agence France-Presse: U.N. sounds alarm over ‘forgotten’ C. Africa crisis
“The United Nations warned Monday it had received only a fraction of the funds needed to address strife-torn Central African Republic’s towering humanitarian crisis, forcing it to cut desperately needed aid…” (4/27).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. warns Central African Republic is becoming largest forgotten humanitarian crisis
“The Central African Republic (CAR) is quickly becoming the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time with some 60 percent of its population in need of aid, including nearly 900,000 people forcibly displaced by conflict, but assistance programs remain ‘dramatically underfunded,’ the United Nations refugee agency said [Monday]…” (4/27).

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Poverty Index Tool Could Be Used To Evaluate SDG Progress, Researcher Says

SciDev.Net: Existing poverty index ‘ideal for assessing the SDGs’
“The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, which is a tool for measuring acute poverty, … gathers information on education, health, and living standards for 5.4 billion people from 110 developing countries and uses it to assess the scale and distribution of poverty. It is currently used in the U.N.’s annual human development reports. But it is also well suited to assess national performance on the SDGs, according to Sabina Alkire, the director of the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), the U.K. research center at the University of Oxford that produces the annual index…” (Correa, 4/27).

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Joint U.S.-South Africa Research Program To Focus On HIV/AIDS, TB

SciDev.Net: U.S.-South Africa program funds new TB, HIV research
“A five-year collaborative research program to promote HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) research in South Africa has announced new first-year grants worth US$8 million. The U.S.-South Africa Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research … is worth US$40 million, with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) each funding half the amount…” (Owings, 4/28).

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Illegal, Unsafe Abortions In Tanzania, East Africa Contribute To High Maternal Mortality Rates

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Tanzanian women endangered by illegal abortions
“…Abortion is illegal in Tanzania except to save a woman’s life and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In Tanzania and other parts of East Africa, the estimated number of unsafe abortions was 2.4 million in 2008, or 36 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age — the highest regional unsafe abortion rate in Africa, according to the Guttmacher Institute…” (Makoye, 4/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Childhood Immunization Plays Essential Role In Building Resilient Health Systems

Foreign Policy: The Next Victims of Ebola
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Seth Berkley, president and CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…After more than a year of lost lives, lost economic growth, lost schooling, and, for many, lost hope, the temptation to rejoice about zero [Ebola] cases is great. And with two Ebola vaccines now in advanced testing, there is a chance that the next time the disease strikes, the world may already be better prepared to prevent its spread. But until childhood immunization rates rise significantly and health systems are strengthened, this ordeal will not really be over. The process of rebuilding is not just about one infectious disease; it is about fighting poverty by giving every child access to all lifesaving vaccines” (4/27).

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International Community Must Invest More In Vaccines, Reduce Gaps In Access

Huffington Post: The Steps It Will Take to Get Every Child Vaccinated
Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The global health community must work together in three major ways to reach our immunization targets. We must ensure that vaccine supplies are affordable and sustainable. We must continue to develop more efficient ways of storing and distributing vaccines. And we must encourage governments to make funding vaccines a top priority. … Vaccines are one of the best investments we can make to give every child a healthy start at life. The world must come together to get more vaccines to all children who need them. By focusing together on clear steps forward, we can begin to reduce the gap between who gets vaccines and who does not…” (4/27).

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Governments Can Make 'Transformative Change' For Women With Correct Economic, Social Policies

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: U.N. Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women

“Our world is out of balance. … In our flagship report ‘Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights,’ we investigate what this failure means — and propose solutions. … Our public resources are not flowing in the directions where they are most needed: for example to provide safe water and sanitation, quality health care, and decent child- and elderly-care services. Yet water is essential, families still have to be nourished, the sick still have to be tended, children brought up, and elderly parents cared for. Where there are no public services, the deficit is borne primarily by women and girls. … With the right mix of economic and social policies, governments can make transformative change…” (4/27).

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Humanitarian System Stretched Beyond Capacity To Adequately Respond To World's Concurrent Crises

Washington Post: Aid groups knew a Nepal earthquake would be a disaster. But they couldn’t raise enough money to help
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast

“…For the U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations specializing in disaster response, this earthquake [in Nepal] could not have come at a worse time. … Between crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Yemen, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and Syria, there have never been as many huge humanitarian crises happening all at the same time. … Our humanitarian system is stretched beyond capacity right now. Unless donors step up in a big way, this earthquake will only exacerbate the problems faced by relief organizations around the world, and they’ll be further stretched when the next natural disaster strikes” (4/27).

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Modern Conveniences Exist Alongside Lack Of Access To WASH, Food, Health Care In Developing Countries

Washington Post: The ills of modern life spread easily across borders
Frances Stead Sellers, senior writer at the Washington Post magazine

“…The health of the developing world is everyone’s health. Not only are we all at risk from flu and other emerging infectious diseases, often incubated in rural villages like those in Vietnam where people live alongside their livestock. But the gas-fueled chaos of Hanoi is a reminder that diabetes, hypertension, and the other ills of modern mechanized life are spreading insidiously…” (4/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Pledges $16M In Additional Humanitarian Aid To South Sudan

USAID: United States Pledges $16 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of South Sudan
“The United States announced the commitment of more than $16 million in new humanitarian assistance for nutrition, shelter, water, and health services for people suffering from the ongoing effects of the conflict that began in South Sudan in December 2013. … With this additional pledge, U.S. emergency assistance for South Sudan now exceeds $1 billion since the start of the crisis in December 2013…” (4/24).

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Public, Private Collaboration Important Piece Of Reaching Zero Ebola Cases

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: 21st Century Tools To Tackle Ebola and Improve Health
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, director of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s Ebola Program, discusses efforts of the foundation to develop solutions for getting to zero Ebola cases in West Africa through public-private partnerships, including the Ebola Innovation Summit (4/27).

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Ebola Outbreak Leading To Shifts In Health Systems Strengthening Strategies

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola outbreak changes meaning of health systems strengthening
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, reports from a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that addressed how “[Ebola-affected] countries are developing recovery plans that put health systems strengthening at the forefront, but are pushing for strengthening areas that are not typically part of the traditional framework, which focuses on strengthening governance, finance, human resources, health service delivery, and information, among other areas…” (4/27).

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Immunization Coverage Tool Helps Health Workers Track Children Who Receive Vaccines In India

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Vaccinating Each Child to Build a Village
Gunjan Taneja and Anjali Vaishnav, consultants for USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program in India, recognize World Immunization Week and discuss a tool that helps community health workers track the number of children who are vaccinated in India (4/27).

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USAID Adviser Discusses Oxytocin Procurement In Developing Countries

Maternal Health Task Force’s “MHTF Blog”: What we must do to get oxytocin to the women who need it
Helen Petach, senior MCH science adviser at USAID, discusses the need for “quality-assured oxytocin [as] a key commodity in national procurements” and other “key focus areas [that] might include highly effective procurement with volume pricing and quality assurance, education of health care workers, in-country distribution networks, and tracking systems…” (4/27).

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