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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Aid Agencies In Earthquake-Hit Nepal Struggle To Reach Remote Areas As Concerns Over Disease Outbreaks Rise

Deutsche Welle: Aid trickles into Nepal to deal with quake disaster
“Recovery efforts resumed on Wednesday, five days after the Himalayan country’s worst tremor in decades destroyed whole towns and claimed thousands of lives, plunging the nation into a state of emergency. ‘The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief on a war footing,’ Koirala said. ‘It is a challenge and a very difficult hour for Nepal,’ said the country’s prime minister, Sushil Koirala…” (4/29).

The Guardian: Nepal earthquake: tensions rise over slow pace of aid — live updates
In a livestream, The Guardian provides updates, including, “Protests and scuffles over relief supplies; British national killed and 500 Americans unaccounted for; ‘No one has come’: villagers wait for aid to flow; Man pulled alive from rubble 80 hours after earthquake…” (4/29).

IRIN: Health concerns grow in Nepal quake camps
“…As the true extent of the displacement around the capital emerges, so concerns about public health are rising. ‘There are urgent needs for safe drinking water, emergency toilets, hand-washing soap, and ORS (oral rehydration solutions) in evacuation centers,’ said Dharma Raj Pandey, head of the disaster unit for the [Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS)]…” (Newar, 4/28).

NBC News: Cholera Fear: Will Haiti’s Hell Come to Nepal After Earthquake?
“The earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people has set the stage for a potential cholera crisis in Nepal — the same country that unwittingly exported the devastating disease to Haiti after its quake five years ago. … And last week’s quake created conditions under which cholera and other water-borne diseases thrive: compromised water supply, lack of sanitation, and survivors crowded into tent camps, health officials say…” (Connor, 4/29).

Reuters: A friend in need: China, India turn on aid diplomacy in Nepal
“…Nepal’s government has struggled in the wake of the country’s worst earthquake in nearly a century, and its officials have been largely absent from public view. Not so India and China: both promised rescuers, sniffer dogs, tents, and food within hours, winning praise from stranded Nepalis. … Nepal is sandwiched between India and China and the two have used aid and investment to court Kathmandu for years…” (Miglani/Adkin, 4/28).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. allocates $15 million in emergency funds for Nepal earthquake response
“In response to severe devastation caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and many strong aftershocks that have hit Nepal since 25 April, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator [Tuesday] released $15 million through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to enable humanitarian aid organizations to rapidly scale up operations and provide immediate assistance to people in desperate need…” (4/28).

Wall Street Journal: Nepal’s Airport Provides Shelter, Relief and Treatment After Earthquake
“…Since the quake, this capital city’s single-runway airport and an adjoining military airfield have become the hub of a massive international rescue and relief effort as the impoverished country struggles to care for the huge number of people wounded and displaced in the disaster…” (Mandhana/Pesta, 4/29).

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National Plans To Reduce Spread Of Antimicrobial Resistance Lacking In Most Countries, WHO Report Says

Reuters: Most countries woefully unprepared to fight resistant superbugs: WHO
“Only 34 countries have national plans to fight the global threat of antibiotic resistance, meaning few are prepared to tackle ‘superbug’ infections which put even basic health care at risk, the WHO said on Wednesday…” (Kelland, 4/29).

WHO: WHO report finds systems to combat antibiotic resistance lacking
“…A new report, ‘Worldwide country situation analysis: Response to antimicrobial resistance,’ which outlines the survey findings, reveals that while much activity is underway and many governments are committed to addressing the problem, there are major gaps in actions needed across all six WHO regions to prevent the misuse of antibiotics and reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance…” (4/29).

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WHO Aims To Stop Spread Of Ebola In West Africa Before Rainy Season

Associated Press: U.N. says it will try to identify all Ebola cases by June
“The World Health Organization says it aims to identify and isolate all new Ebola cases in West Africa by the end of May to stop the spread of the lethal virus before the rainy season. In a new Ebola plan released on Tuesday, the U.N. health agency said it hopes to limit transmission of the virus to the coastal areas of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone before the rainy season begins, normally in April or May…” (Cheng, 4/28).

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Ebola Epidemic Damaged Ability Of Sierra Leone's Limited Health System To Cope With Other Diseases, Report Says

The Guardian: Too many dying in Sierra Leone as result of Ebola response not virus itself — report
“Too many people are dying in Sierra Leone not from Ebola but as a result of the response to it, according to a report on the collapse of health care in the West African country. Ebola has killed at least 3,900 people in Sierra Leone so far, but the epidemic has critically damaged the ability of the country’s limited health care system to cope with anything else, including soaring HIV and tuberculosis rates…” (Boseley, 4/28).

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SciDev.Net Spotlight Features News, Commentary, Analysis On Ebola's Lessons For Health Systems, Outbreak Response

SciDev.Net: Managing health crises after Ebola
“…This Spotlight presents an in-depth analysis including opinions, facts and figures, and key resources. It features commentary by Sylvie Briand of the WHO, Rosamund Southgate of Médecins Sans Frontières, and Annie Wilkinson of the Institute of Development Studies. It includes first-hand accounts by researchers with experience in the field, and interviews with social science expert Melissa Leach and communications managers at Médecins Sans Frontières-U.K. and BBC Media Action…” (Multiple authors, 4/29).

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Drug-Resistant Malaria, Insecticide-Resistant Mosquitoes Threaten Progress To Eliminate Disease

Devex: No ‘plan C’ drugs available, malaria progress threatened
“Although a scale up of effective interventions has led to a reduction in global malaria mortality rates by nearly half since 2000, a number of challenges pose a serious threat to gains made. One of the most concerning is growing resistance in Southeast Asia to artemisinin by the malaria parasite, according to the head of international nongovernmental organization Malaria Consortium…” (Donelli, 4/28).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Scientists race to beat mosquito resistance in fight against malaria
“…Scientists are racing to develop new insecticides, warning that tens of thousands of people in Africa could die every year if mosquitoes develop full resistance before replacements are found. The issue will be a concern when the World Health Assembly meets in Geneva next month to look at proposals to eliminate malaria in 35 countries by 2030…” (Whiting, 4/29).

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India, Gavi Discussing Alliance's Withdrawal From Country Over Next 5 Years

LiveMint: Gavi to withdraw funding to India
“In a move that could potentially undermine India’s immunization program, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) plans to withdraw funding to the country. … Gavi is now in talks with the government to decide the course of action for the next five years, [Seth Berkley, chief executive of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,] said. Gavi’s withdrawal of implementation and technical support means the central and state governments’ contribution to public health will have to make up for the shortfall…” (Punj, 4/29).

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Experts Discuss Rwanda's Success Reducing Child Mortality On BBC Program

BBC News: How has Rwanda saved the lives of 590,000 children?
“…[O]ne of the biggest success stories [in reducing child mortality] is Rwanda. Between 2000 and 2015, it achieved the highest average annual reduction in both the under-five mortality rate and the maternal mortality ratio in the world. The U.N. estimates that 590,000 children have been saved. So how did Rwanda do it? And could other nations follow its example? Four experts spoke to the BBC World Service Inquiry program…” (4/29).

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Air Pollution-Related Death, Disease Costing Europe $1.6T Annually, U.N. Report Shows

U.N. News Centre: Air pollution in Europe costs $1.6 trillion a year in deaths and diseases, U.N. study shows
“The United Nations health agency reported today in a first-of-its-kind study that air pollution across Europe is costing ‘a staggering’ $1.6 trillion a year in deaths and diseases, which amounts to nearly one tenth of the region’s gross domestic product…” (4/28).

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ARV Therapy Following Male Circumcision Could Reduce HIV Transmission To Female Partners, Study Says

VOA News: Study: Give ARVs After Male Circumcision
“Male circumcision has been proven to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. But a new study shows that in the short-term, the surgical technique could actually increase the risk of infection for female partners unless precautions are taken. … The study recommended that men be placed on antiretroviral therapy at the time of circumcision. However, it’s not known yet how long the therapy should last or which drugs are most effective in such cases” (DeCapua, 4/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

'High Time' Congress Updates U.S. Food Aid Program

The Hill: Taking the pork out of food aid
Diana Ohlbaum, co-chair of the Accountability Working Group of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, and a principal of Turner4D

“…Creating more flexibility in our food aid programs, which would allow the United States to buy food locally and regionally or provide cash vouchers when appropriate, is a long overdue reform that would increase the cost-effectiveness and impact of our aid. Making these changes ought to be simple, but nothing in Washington ever is. … It’s high time that our outdated food aid and cargo preference laws — written more than half a century ago — were modernized to reflect today’s realities. Reaching more vulnerable people faster and at no extra cost ought to be a matter of government accountability and sheer common sense” (4/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR, U.S. Department Of Treasury Aim To Raise Awareness Of Economic, Fiscal Challenges Of HIV/AIDS

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: PEPFAR-Treasury Collaboration to Combat HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
Deborah L. Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. representative for global health diplomacy, and Ramin Toloui, assistant secretary for international finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, discuss efforts by PEPFAR, the U.S. Treasury, and other international partners to raise awareness of the economic impact and cost of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world (4/28).

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amfAR Infographic Examines Potential PEPFAR Funding Scenarios

amfAR: Infographic: Investing for Impact: Accelerating the U.S. and Global AIDS Response in FY2016
This infographic examines different PEPFAR funding scenarios, stating, “If PEPFAR is flat funded in 2016, it will not be able to meet the growing demand for treatment, jeopardizing progress in curbing the global epidemic. Investments in PEPFAR must increase to expand access to treatment, which, in addition to saving lives, is highly effective at preventing new infections…” (4/23).

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Global Fund Partnership Announces Human Rights Complaints Procedure

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund Launches Human Rights Complaints Procedure
“…The complaints mechanism allows individuals to submit a complaint to the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General if any of five minimum human rights standards is believed to have been violated by an implementer of Global Fund grants, in line with the partnership’s commitment to the highest standards of accountability…” (4/27).

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Clinical Reproductive Health Services Inadequate, Unsafe In India's Bihar, Report Says

Humanosphere: Investigation: Family planning services unsafe in India’s Bihar state
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy highlights a yearlong investigation by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), which found “[c]linical reproductive health services provided to women in India’s Bihar state — where few use family planning resources — are woefully insufficient…” (4/28).

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Rotavirus Vaccines Essential For Childhood Diarrhea Prevention

Global Health NOW: For Rotavirus, Prevention is the Best Medicine
Mathuram Santosham, co-chair for the Rotavirus Organization of Technical Allies (ROTA) Council, director of the Center for American Indian Health, and a professor of international health and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recognizes World Immunization Week, writing, “Rotavirus vaccines offer the best protection for children and are an essential part of comprehensive diarrhea control…” (4/26).

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SwitchPoint Conference Brings Innovators Together To Address Global Health, Humanitarian Change

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Can Creative Innovators Drive Global Health and Humanitarian Change?
Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, discusses the SwitchPoint conference, “IntraHealth International’s flagship conference where experts, and storytellers, and doers on the ground (wherever in the world that is) convene for two days for a conversation about ways to partner, collaborate, and innovate on ideas…” (4/28).

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Blog Posts Recognize World Malaria Day

Humanosphere: Malaria vaccine disappoints, shifts strategy for eradication
In a guest post, science writer Robert Fortner discusses recently released data on an experimental malaria vaccine, as well as efforts to eradicate the disease (4/24).

MEASURE Evaluation: Invest in the Future: Strengthen Malaria Programs with Gender Data
“…On April 25, World Malaria Day, MEASURE Evaluation encourages all public health workers and decision makers to consider the impact of gender on treating one of the world’s worst killers and to make the commitment to increase and improve gender-related data collection to assist in strategy and planning for effective malaria prevention and response…” (4/24).

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Together we can invest in the future and #DefeatMalaria
Nick Moenck, communications associate at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, highlights the malaria eradication efforts of USAID, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and USGLC members including ExxonMobil, RTI International, PSI, and the U.N. Foundation (4/24).

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