KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Convenes Emergency Meeting On Polio

News outlets report on a WHO emergency meeting convened to discuss the cross-border spread of polio in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Agence France-Presse: WHO starts emergency polio talks
“The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it had convened emergency talks amid rising concern over polio after cases were discovered in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Equatorial Guinea…” (4/28).

Reuters: WHO holds emergency meeting on cross-border spread of polio
“The World Health Organization (WHO) began an emergency meeting with experts on Monday on how to halt the spread of the crippling polio virus across international borders in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East…” (Kelland, 4/28).

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Devex Discusses 3 Questions Regarding GAVI's Replenishment

Devex: 3 questions as GAVI approaches next replenishment
“The GAVI Alliance is gearing up for a new replenishment, in which the organization plans to ask for more funds than it ever has before.” Devex discusses three questions to consider “before donors are once again requested to help vaccinate children around the world…” (Saldinger, 4/28).

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Upcoming Conference Will Show Canada's Commitment To MCH, Harper Says

Canadian Press/Huffington Post Canada: Stephen Harper Says Maternal And Child Health A Priority For Canada
“An upcoming Toronto conference on child and maternal health in developing countries, that will bring together international leaders, experts and philanthropists, will help keep the world focused on a ‘great cause,’ Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday…” (Mehta, 4/28).

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NIH's Fogarty Center Launches New Strategic Plan For Global Health Research, Training

Media sources report on NIH’s new strategic plan for global health.

Science Codex: NIH center sets new goals for global health research and training
“Global health research and training efforts should focus on combating the growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases, better incorporating information technology into research and training, and more effectively converting scientific discoveries into practice in low-resource settings, according to the Fogarty International Center’s new strategic plan…” (4/29).

NIH/Fogarty International Center: Fogarty launches strategic plan to meet new global health needs
Innovation in global health research and training to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are “among the goals detailed in Fogarty’s new strategic plan, developed with input from the global health research community and in consultation with its many partners and grantees…” (April 2014).

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Lawyers, Academics Urge U.N. To Deliver Aid In Syria Without Government Consent

Newspapers report on an open letter from lawyers and academics urging the U.N. to deliver aid without the Syrian government’s consent.

The Guardian: Syria: U.N. urged to defy Assad on aid or risk lives of hundreds of thousands
“The lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians are at stake because of the U.N.’s ‘overly cautious’ interpretation of its mandate to deliver humanitarian aid, a group of more than 30 of the world’s top legal experts claims…” (Borger, 4/28).

New York Times: Lawyers Say U.N. Aid Does Not Need Syria’s Consent
“United Nations agencies and other charitable organizations do not need the permission of the Syrian government to deliver humanitarian relief to civilians trapped in the fighting and destruction from the three-year-old civil war there, a group of international lawyers and academics argued in an open letter released on Monday…” (Sengupta, 4/28).

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IPPF Head Criticizes 'One Of Us' Campaign In E.U.

The Guardian: Religious campaign to halt E.U. abortion funding ‘lacks mercy’
“A religious-backed initiative to prevent E.U. aid money being spent on programs that support abortion lacks compassion for women, the head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation has said. Tewodros Melesse said the One of Us campaign, launched with the backing of the Catholic church, failed to prioritize women’s rights and judged women for taking control of their bodies…” (Ford, 4/28).

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Network Of Low-Income Countries Working To Implement UHC

Devex: To tackle UHC implementation challenges, developing countries look to each other
“A network of nine low-income countries has been working over the past five years on a joint learning effort to make universal health coverage a reality. Global health experts see the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage as one of the most important efforts underway in this sector…” (Stephens, 4/28).

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Uganda Drafts New Law Tightening Anti-Gay Legislation, Limiting Foreign NGOs

Reuters: Uganda says planning tougher law limiting gay sex, foreign NGOs
“Uganda has drafted a new law that would bar non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from promoting homosexuality, tightening rules further after anti-gay legislation in February was widely condemned as draconian…” (Biryabarema, 4/29).

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WFP Warns Over Agricultural, Food Crises In CAR

Devex: CAR ‘can’t wait anymore’ — WFP
“With almost its entire population in desperate need of food, the conflict-ridden Central African Republic is on the brink of a total humanitarian catastrophe. … On a visit to the country just two weeks ago, Arif Husain, the World Food Programme’s chief economist, warned that the CAR economy was ‘on its knees’ and that the agricultural sector — the backbone of economic output — has been absolutely decimated…” (Donelli, 4/28).

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Sanofi Reports Promising Clinical Trial Results Of Dengue Vaccine

New York Times: Results Are Promising in Clinical Trial of Dengue Fever Vaccine
“The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi said on Monday that its experimental vaccine for dengue fever had succeeded in its first late-stage clinical trial. The results could help pave the way for the introduction of the first vaccine to prevent a disease that afflicts an estimated 50 million to 100 million people a year…” (Pollack, 4/28).

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New Drug Regimen Can Prevent Seasonal Malaria

New York Times: Even a Few Pills Can Put a Dent in the Malaria Rate
“A new way to prevent malaria in areas where it waxes and wanes with the weather appears to be working in West Africa, the medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders said last week. The tactic, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, involves giving children regular doses of malaria medicine during the rainy season when mosquitoes are everywhere…” (McNeil, 4/28).

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Scientists Identify MERS Antibodies That Could Lead To Treatments

Media sources report on a new discovery that could lead to treatments for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus.

Reuters: Scientists find MERS virus antibodies that may lead to treatments
“Scientists have found natural human antibodies to the newly emerging Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and say their discovery marks a step towards developing treatments for the often fatal disease…” (Kelland, 4/29).

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Scientists identify antibodies against deadly emerging respiratory disease
“…Currently there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for MERS, a severe respiratory disease with a mortality rate of more than 40 percent that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012…” (4/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Preventing Malaria Can Help Release 'Full Potential' Of Future Generations

Huffington Post: We Can Be the Generation to End Malaria Deaths
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister and board member for Friends of the Global Fund Africa

“Friday [April 25] is World Malaria Day, an opportune moment to recognize the recent, remarkable progress to save lives from malaria as well as the challenges ahead as we forge a path to sustain success against one of the world’s oldest preventable killer diseases. … This World Malaria Day we have the opportunity to continue to dismantle malaria’s grip on African households and indeed entire economies. In doing so, we will help release the potential of future generations to flourish and move our world decisively to a healthier, more stable and prosperous future” (4/25).

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U.S. Government, Pharma Companies Should Test Ebola Vaccine Candidate

Foreign Affairs: An Unnecessary Plague
Jessica Hatcher, journalist

An Ebola outbreak in Guinea “has spread to neighboring Liberia, with additional cases suspected in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Mali. … What’s particularly disturbing about the present crisis, however, is that some infections could have been prevented. For years, the United States has been developing preventatives and treatments for Ebola, which would both provide defense if Ebola were used in warfare and reduce the spread of an outbreak of the disease. But, despite lobbying from scientists amid this latest outbreak, the drugs have not been put to the test. … If anything is capable of expediting the release of safe and effective Ebola drugs, it may be the U.S. government…” (4/28).

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Car Wash Started By Ethiopian Youth Provides HIV/AIDS Education

Huffington Post: Cleaning up Ethiopia — One Car at a Time
Anne Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International

“…Ethiopia is on track toward meeting all eight MDGs, from eradicating extreme hunger and poverty to improving maternal health to reducing child mortality. … In Gulele, a sub-city of the capital, Addis Ababa, a group of 20 young people have started a car wash. … The youth working at the car wash not only distribute educational leaflets and posters that provide information about safe choices and the risks of HIV/AIDS to the 40 to 50 vehicles they service each day, but they also give out condoms to their customers. … The spirit of innovation, propelled by the knowledge that tangible progress is reaching unprecedented levels, has literally and figuratively helped Ethiopia clean up its act…” (4/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief Explores U.S. Government And Global LGBT Health

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released an issue brief, titled “The U.S. Government and Global LGBT Health: Opportunities and Challenges in the Current Era.” The brief summarizes main points of discussion raised at two Kaiser Family Foundation-convened roundtable discussions that included representatives from the U.S. government, multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academia. The discussions focused on opportunities, challenges, and potential next steps for the U.S. government to consider in addressing the health needs of LGBT individuals around the world. The brief also provides an overview of global LGBT health issues, and reviews U.S. government efforts to address global LGBT health to date (Kates, 4/29).

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CGD Blog Post Examines Ownership In Post-2015 Development Agenda

Writing in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Development: Views From The Center” blog, Charles Kenny, senior fellow at CGD, examines the Sustainable Development Goals Working Group’s ongoing discussion surrounding the post-2015 development agenda. “…We want global ownership of goals and country ownership of financing — especially around aid. At the moment it looks like we might be headed in completely the other direction. That would be a shame” (4/28).

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Better HIV/AIDS Data Can Improve Policy, Program Implementation

Writing in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog,” CGD Senior Fellow Mead Over and Research Assistant Rifaiyat Mahbub discuss how better national HIV/AIDS data can play “an important role … in shaping policy.” They write, “Now is the time to dramatically improve [survey] frequency, granularity, and precision as the foundation for improved program implementation. The first step is including this strengthened survey function in estimates of the cost of the future HIV/AIDS response” (4/22).

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New Guide Examines Combining HIV Prevention Strategies

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses a new guide (.pdf) from Pathfinder International that “looks at the web of interacting factors that influence the effectiveness of HIV interventions among sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who use injecting drugs, and other ‘key affected populations.’ It provides examples of activities to strengthen individual and collective abilities to access treatment, prevention measures, and economic strengthening pulled from actions that the organization has employed in work in India, Kenya, Mozambique and Brazil” (Barton, 4/28).

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