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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Health Day Places Focus On Food Safety, 'From Farm To Plate'

News outlets report on World Health Day, recognized on April 7. The theme of this year’s day is “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

Devex: When one country’s food safety problem becomes a global concern
“…The U.N. health agency is scheduled to publish by the fourth quarter of this year a final report providing a full picture of the global burden of foodborne diseases. Initial data already suggests that unsafe food is causing more than 200 diseases globally, from diarrhea to cancer. It is killing an estimated two million people annually. And, if left unchecked, it could spread like wildfire, threaten global health security, and leave a negative social and economic impact — similar to what Ebola did in West Africa…” (Ravelo, 4/6).

International Business Times: World Health Day 2015: Facts and figures to highlight the importance of food safety
“Food safety is the focus of this year’s World Health Day, to draw attention to the global threat of foodborne illness and disease — a problem largely under-reported and often overlooked. With the food supply chain stretching around the world, the need to strengthen food safety systems within and among countries is essential…” (Smith, 4/7).

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Congressional Authorization Of Feed The Future Would Ensure Initiative Exists Beyond Obama Administration

Devex: Will Feed the Future become an Obama legacy?
“In the coming weeks, the U.S. Congress will likely jump-start authorization of Feed the Future — a potential legacy initiative of the Obama administration — with a committee mark-up in the House expected as early as mid-April. If it passes, the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 1567) … will authorize the $1 billion Feed the Future initiative and ensure its existence beyond the Obama administration…” (Anders, 4/6).

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Less U.S. R&D Funding, Vaccine Opposition Highlight Dangers To Global Health Progress, Reports Show

SciDev.Net: Budget cuts and vaccine fears threaten health progress
“Cuts to global health research budgets and people’s wariness of vaccines could hamper efforts to improve health around the world, two separate reports have warned in the run-up to World Health Day, which is marked [April 7]. One of the reports, published by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), reveals that total U.S. government spending on global health research and development (R&D) is now US$185 million — or 11 percent — lower than it was in 2009. … The launch of the GHTC report on 26 March coincided with a report released by the Vaccine Confidence Project, a research group funded by the World Health Organization, highlighting the danger of opposition to vaccination in many countries…” (Hazelton, 4/7).

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Climate Change, Human Interference Create Greater Threat Of Animal-To-Human Disease Outbreaks, U.N. Official Warns

The Independent: World warned: Prepare for more Ebola-like outbreaks
“Outbreaks of deadly animal-to-human viruses such as Ebola could become more likely due to climate change and human encroachment into untouched natural habitats, a leading United Nations expert has warned. Dr. David Nabarro, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy on Ebola, told The Independent the world should prepare for more major outbreaks of zoonotic diseases — those which can pass from animals to humans — which he said were a ‘local and global threat to humanity’…” (Cooper, 4/5).

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Africans' Role In Fighting Ebola Overlooked By Major Media Outlets, A.U. Official Says

The Guardian: Ebola: media ‘overlooked Africa’s role in combating crisis’
“Africa’s efforts to tackle the Ebola crisis have been largely overlooked even though Africans have taken the lead in providing frontline staff and shown themselves ‘better placed to fight infectious diseases in their continent than outsiders,’ according to the African Union (A.U.). Dr. Olawale Maiyegun, director of social affairs at the A.U. commission, said that despite the fact that Africans had proved both willing and able to deal with Ebola, the focus had been on the work of international agencies and those with the greatest media clout…” (Jones, 4/7).

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WHO To Revise Guidelines On Antibiotics For Infants After Studies Show Oral Administration Effective

New York Times: Oral Antibiotics Are Found to Save More Infant Lives
“…[R]esearchers have found that giving oral antibiotics to newborns in danger, a simpler protocol than the injectable antibiotics recommended by the World Health Organization, could save the lives of many of the 630,000 newborns who die each year. As a result of three large studies published in The Lancet and Lancet Global Health last week, the WHO will soon be revising its guidelines, Tarik Jasarevic, an organization spokesman said…” (McNeil, 4/6).

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Continued Violence In Yemen Could Create Humanitarian Crisis, U.N., Aid Groups, Residents Warn

The Guardian: Medics in Yemen: ‘We are on lockdown inside the hospital’
Valerie Pierre, project coordinator at Médecins Sans Frontières’ surgical project in Aden, describes her experience working in a hospital in Aden, Yemen, as the city experiences “heavy fighting and air strikes in recent weeks” (Pierre, 4/7).

U.N. News Centre: Civilian casualties, humanitarian concerns mounting as Yemen fighting continues — U.N.
“The violence in Yemen continues to wreak havoc upon the country’s civilian population and restrict humanitarian access to those most in need amid a spate of aerial attacks and ground incursions, the United Nations has reported…” (4/6).

Wall Street Journal: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Embattled Yemen City
“Yemeni civilians trapped by battles between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed fighters in the southern port city of Aden are quickly running out of clean water and food supplies, residents warned on Monday…” (Abi-Habib, 4/6).

Washington Post: Fighting in Yemen is creating a humanitarian crisis
“The fighting in Yemen threatens to cause widespread hunger and thirst and displace huge numbers of people, creating another humanitarian disaster in a region already reeling from the crisis in Syria, according to analysts and aid workers…” (Naylor, 4/6).

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India's Prime Minister Launches New Index To Monitor Air Quality In 10 Cities

Associated Press: Modi blames changing lifestyles for India’s rising pollution
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday blamed the changing lifestyles that have come with India’s economic development for rising pollution levels that have given the country some of the world’s dirtiest air. With his government rolling out a new air quality index to 10 of the nation’s cities, Modi urged Indians to curtail waste and conserve resources even as they become wealthier, in order to prevent an environmental catastrophe…” (Daigle, 4/6).

VOA News: India to Monitor Air Pollution in 10 Cities
“…Using a global standard, the new air pollution index will track eight pollutants and use color coding to describe health impacts, with green denoting the cleanest and red the dirtiest air. That will make it easy for citizens in crowded cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai to assess air quality…” (Pasricha, 4/6).

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Brazil-Mozambique Training, Research Partnership Aims To Reduce 'Brain Drain,' Could Be Replicated

SciDev.Net: Brazil-Mozambique exchange model boosts health
“Brazil is helping to increase the research capacity of Mozambique’s under-resourced health system. The Brazilian Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), working with the Mozambican National Institute of Health, has developed a model for training postgraduate researchers in Mozambique that could be replicated elsewhere in Africa. The set-up reduces the risk of ‘brain drain’ and ensures students’ research is relevant to national needs, according to the Oswaldo Cruz Institute director Wilson Savino…” (Spaull, 4/7).

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IAS President Chris Beyrer Discusses HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment In Public Radio Interview

MPR News: What will it take to end AIDS pandemic?
“AIDS has been largely kicked out of the headlines by newer concerns like Ebola and avian flu. But Minnesota still sees about 300 new HIV infections every year. And around the world, around 35 million people are living with HIV. MPR News’ Mike Mulcahy talked to Dr. Chris Beyrer, who was there at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and has spent his career working on the issue. He is the first gay man to lead the International AIDS Society, [and] is in town to speak at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs…” (4/6).

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Financial Times Special Report Examines Sustainable Health Care Solutions

Financial Times: Special Report: Sustainable Healthcare
“As sedentary lifestyles and population longevity spread from industrial societies to the developing world, health systems across the globe will need to turn from fighting infectious diseases to coping with chronic health conditions…” The special report includes 10 articles, including pieces on how increasing life spans are altering health care needs and how mobile technology is helping to improve tuberculosis treatment in India, as well as an opinion piece by Amir Attaran, professor in law and medicine at the University of Ottawa, on how negotiations can lower drug prices (Multiple authors, 4/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

PEPFAR Joins Gates, Nike Foundations To Launch Initiative To Ensure AIDS-Free Generation For Women, Girls

Huffington Post: Right Things. Right Places. Right Now.
Deborah L. Birx, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS

“Right things. Right places. Right now. Six simple words that are strategically guiding the largest U.S. foreign assistance program — PEPFAR — the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. … PEPFAR joined with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation to launch the $210 million DREAMS Partnership to ensure that adolescent girls and young women have an opportunity to live Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe lives. DREAMS will provide a core package of evidence-based interventions that have successfully addressed HIV risk behaviors, HIV transmission, and gender-based violence combined with intense ongoing evaluation to measure impact and ensure the ability to continually improve programs. … While the epidemic is not yet over, we can see an AIDS-free generation on the horizon, but we must run toward it with the focus to succeed. And what better reason is there than that to keep us all moving forward” (4/6).

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Congressional Approval Of Global Food Security Act Would Provide U.S. 'Historic Opportunity' To Reduce Global Hunger, Improve Nutrition

Roll Call: Global Food Security Act a Critical Step Forward in Ending Hunger
Ambassador Daniel Speckhard, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief

“…[T]he Global Food Security Act of 2015, introduced by Reps. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and nearly a dozen others on both sides of the aisle could make … a significant impact. With more than 800 million hungry people around the world, the U.S. must have a smart approach for addressing global hunger. The act sets forth a comprehensive strategy for assistance to developing countries to increase sustainable and equitable agricultural development, reduce global hunger, improve nutrition and, ultimately, achieve food and nutrition security. With this act, the United States has a historic opportunity to help some of the world’s poorest communities get a hand up on developing sustainable solutions to poverty and food insecurity…” (4/7).

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International Partnership, Cooperation Brings Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine To More Children

Devex: New Japanese encephalitis vaccine ‘a historic moment for global health’
Lance Gordon, director for neglected infectious diseases in the global health program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The new [Chinese developed and manufactured Japanese encephalitis] vaccine is now available [through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] to the world’s poorest countries for a fraction of the price of other vaccines on the market and is expected to reach an estimated 290 million children outside of China by 2017. It’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved in expanding affordable access to health in developing countries when partners work together to address the needs of the world’s poorest. … There remains work to be done to make sure all communities have access to this lifesaving vaccine, but thanks to the steadfast commitment from our partners we are much, much closer to a world where families can live without fear of brain fever…” (4/6).

Skoll World Forum: Partners Unite to Battle Brain Fever
Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…When nearly half the world’s population is in danger of contracting a disease, fast action is not only desirable, but critical. Last week, an immunization session held in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, marked the beginning of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s support of a campaign that is helping the country reach all of its children with lifesaving vaccines against JE. It also marked a key moment for a new and powerful player in the global vaccine marketplace: China. … Now that affordable JE vaccines are available to children in need, and countries like China can be part of the global solution, I know we can and will diminish its presence in every country — so that no nation’s name will be connected to this disease” (4/5).

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'New Architecture For Global Health Delivery' Should Result From Ebola Epidemic

New York Times: Yes, We Were Warned About Ebola
Bernice Dahn, chief medical officer of Liberia’s Ministry of Health; Vera Mussah, director of county health services in Liberia’s Ministry of Health; and Cameron Nutt, Ebola response adviser to Paul Farmer at Partners in Health

“The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013. … The conventional wisdom is wrong. … When the history of this epidemic is written, it will chronicle the myriad ways that … we were not prepared. But none of us can in good conscience say there was no warning. Ebola was here already. … A lasting legacy of this terrifying health crisis must be a new architecture for global health delivery, with a strong focus on building local capacity to respond effectively to such crises. Equity must be an indispensable goal in protecting from threats like Ebola, and in the quality of care delivered when prevention fails. Only then can we leave behind the rubber plantation model of international health and draw on the science that must inform these endeavors” (4/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID-Funded Program Aims To Train Frontline Liberian HCWs In Infection Control, Prevention Skills

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Moving Beyond Ebola: Rebuilding Liberia’s Health Care System
Kelly Dale, a senior program coordinator with Jhpiego, writes, “With the ongoing possibility of future Ebola cases, now is the time to build momentum toward a stronger Liberian health system that can stop the disease in its tracks before it turns into another large-scale outbreak. That’s where frontline Liberian health care workers … come into the picture…” Dale discusses a program funded by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and led by Jhpiego that “aims to boost the [infection prevention and control (IPC)] skills of more than 3,200 health care workers from hundreds of Liberian health care facilities…” (4/6).

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President's Plan To Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Focuses Little On Antibiotic Use In Animals

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Obama Action Plan Falls Short on Antibiotic Use in Animals
Kimberly Elliott, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, discusses how the president’s new National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria details steps “to increase stewardship of antibiotics in human health … [but] remains oddly cautious in tackling antibiotic use in livestock, despite the fact that American cows, pigs, and chickens consume most of the antibiotics used every year in the United States…” (4/6).

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