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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Climate Change Framed As Public Health Issue At Roundtable Discussion Including President Obama

CNN: President Obama, others link climate change to public health
“…[A] new way to talk about climate change is emerging, which shifts focus from impersonal discussions about greenhouse gas emissions and power plants to a very personal one: your health. … This new way of talking about climate change — and linking it to public health issues — was part of a roundtable discussion Tuesday at Howard University’s College of Medicine. President Barack Obama joined U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a roundtable discussion on the topic as part of National Public Health Week…” (Tinker, 4/7).

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Though Development Assistance To LDCs Decreased, Foreign Aid Spending Exceeded $135B In 2014

The Guardian: Foreign aid close to record peak after donors spend $135bn in 2014
“Aid spending by the world’s richest states hovered around an all-time high last year, but development assistance to the least-developed countries (LDCs) fell by 16 percent from the year before, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said. Member states of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) spent more than $135bn (£90bn) on official development assistance (ODA) last year, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2013, when a record amount of development aid was sent, according to the OECD…” (Anderson, 4/8).

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U.N., WHO Heads Speak About Food Safety On World Health Day; FAO Report Addresses Food Security

Agence France-Presse: Food safety focus of new health campaign
“The United Nations launched a food safety campaign Tuesday for an era in which millions are dying of hunger or tainted produce even as more and more people fall ill from eating too much. ‘Food safety, quality, and quantity must go together,’ Margaret Chan, director general of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), said at Paris’ Rungis wholesale market…” (4/7).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. stresses importance of food safety — from farm to plate — on World Health Day
“With the United Nations health agency highlighting food safety on World Health Day, the secretary general [Tuesday] called for unified efforts to ensure that production, distribution, and preparation of food is done safely. ‘The health, agriculture, trade, and environment sectors need to work together,’ said Ban Ki-moon. ‘We all have a role to play in keeping food safe — from farm to plate’…” (4/7).

U.N. News Centre: Geothermal energy can help developing countries boost food security, says U.N. agency report
“A new report released today by the United Nations agricultural agency says that the heat energy generated by the earth’s core can be used for cost efficient, sustainable food production and processing in developing countries…” (4/7).

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U.N. Ebola Envoy Optimistic On Ending Epidemic But Vigilance Remains High

Financial Times: U.N. envoy upbeat on progress against Ebola
“…David Nabarro, the U.N. special envoy on Ebola, says he is ‘upbeat’ about progress but not yet ready to declare victory over an epidemic that has killed more than 10,000 people in the past year in west Africa. ‘People think that as we get towards the end it gets easier,’ he told the Financial Times. ‘It doesn’t. It gets harder the closer you get to zero. The fewer cases you have, the harder it is to find them’…” (Ward, 4/8).

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Sierra Leone Mistakenly Reported Ebola Case In Kailahun, Ebola Response Center Spokesman Says

Reuters: Sierra Leone says Kailahun Ebola case report was mistaken
“Sierra Leone said on Tuesday that it had mistakenly reported an Ebola positive case in Kailahun, a former hotspot for the virus which has not seen a case for nearly four months…” (Fofana, 4/7).

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Governance, Leadership Critical For Effective Health Systems Performance In Africa, Ethiopian NGO Official Says

SciDev.Net: The neglect of health governance in Africa
“The importance of effective leadership in health services provision has been neglected for too long by many African countries, says Jemal Mohammed, country director for the Leadership, Management and Governance Project in Ethiopia. In this interview, he talks about the project’s work in strengthening governance in the Ethiopian health system, the importance of effective management across Africa, and why the ongoing Ebola epidemic can be seen as a failure of governance and leadership…” (Spaull, 4/7).

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Health Experts, Economists, Scientists Work To Develop Cleaner Cookstoves To Cut Pollution

Associated Press: Push for cleaner stoves in poor countries to cut pollution
“…A team of economists, scientists, and health experts working with The Gold Standard Foundation have developed a uniform way to calculate how much black carbon is released from cooking stoves that use different technologies or fuels. It’s a first and necessary step, they say, in accessing the tens of billions of dollars it will cost to provide cleaner cookers worldwide for some 2.8 billion people still using firewood, kerosene, or sundried patties made of hand-packed cow dung…” (Daigle, 4/8).

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Health Situation Of Internally Displaced In Ukraine Is 'Serious Concern', U.N. Says

U.N. News Centre: U.N. relief wing spotlights deteriorating health situation for conflict-affected Ukrainians
“…According to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the U.N. secretary general, at the end of March, the Ukraine Ministry of Social Protection reported that there were nearly 1.2 million registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country. However, difficulties in verifying residence procedures for them are affecting their ability to access to social services. OCHA said there is a high incidence of cardiovascular disease, mental health, and acute respiratory infections. Reportedly, cases of malnutrition and acute diarrhea are also increasing in non-government controlled areas…” (4/7).

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As Conflict Continues, Increasing Number Of South Sudanese Seek Shelter On U.N. Compounds

New York Times: More South Sudanese Seek Shelter at U.N. Bases
“In a sign of worsening problems in South Sudan, convulsed by civil war and intensifying hunger for more than a year, the United Nations said Tuesday that an increasing number of displaced South Sudanese are seeking shelter and protection at its peacekeeping outposts…” (Gladstone, 4/7).

U.N. News Centre: New arrivals at U.N. camp add to largest number of displaced in South Sudan since conflict began
“Around 4,500 people have recently sought shelter on the premises of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Malakal, Upper Nile state, the spokesperson for the secretary general said during a press briefing at headquarters [Tuesday]. … That takes the number of displaced people being sheltered in U.N. compounds to its highest level since the start of the conflict in December 2013…” (4/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Health Day 2015 Focuses On Commitment To Food Safety

Devex: World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe
Keiji Fukada, assistant director-general for health security at the World Health Organization

“…The problem is that similar to so many headline-grabbing topics, interest in food safety dies down as swiftly as it flares up — forgotten until the next big emergency. Creating more sustained awareness is one of the keys to better public health. … As part of our global strategy to decrease the burden of foodborne diseases, WHO is promoting the ‘Five Keys to Safer Food’ — keep clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, and use safe water and raw materials — that are relevant no matter where you are…” (4/7).

EurActiv: From farm to fork: Investing globally in food safety on World Health Day
Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for health and food safety, and Neven Mimica, European commissioner for international cooperation and development

“…We remain committed to working with international partners, as well as E.U. Member States, to tackle new and emerging threats. The Commission joins the World Health Organization in calling for strengthened efforts to secure the highest possible levels of health protection and food safety throughout the world. Let’s use the unique opportunity the European Year for Development 2015 provides us with to put food safety, health, and development in the spotlight. After all, it’s improving the lives of millions that we are talking about here. Let’s make this year count, together” (4/7).

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Financial Protections Must Be Accounted For In Successful Universal Health Care Targets

The Guardian: Health sustainable development goal must tackle inequity head on to succeed
Nouria Brikci, health policy specialist at Oxford Policy Management

“…There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to universal health care. Health finance reforms must be country-specific and based on in-depth analysis. But it is clear that universal health care can only be achieved when financial protection is fully accounted for, at all levels and across all sections of the population. Without adequate financial protection, only the wealthiest would be able to afford good quality health care, widening the gap between the richest and the poorest and thus accentuating, rather than tackling, one of the root causes of poverty…” (4/7).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Care, Treatment

Slate: All Lives Matter
Karin Huster, registered nurse and humanitarian aid worker

“…More than 800 health care workers across West Africa who contracted Ebola were unable to receive the same level of care our American colleague is receiving. It simply wasn’t, and isn’t, available. Horrifyingly, some 500 of them died. So who is to blame for this iniquity? What can we do differently? … These are profoundly tough and troubling questions. Ebola demands soul-searching discussions—on access to treatment, on standards of care, on how much one person’s life is worth compared with another’s. Let’s get that discussion started…” (4/6).

SciDev.Net: Focus on Disability: The next hurdle for Ebola survivors
Hannah Kuper, co-director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…Very little is known about Ebola’s long-term health impact on survivors. Most previous outbreaks have been too small to shed light on this question, and so most information comes from anecdotal evidence or small studies. The scale of the current epidemic is a unique opportunity to learn more about this disease. … Research into the long-term impact of Ebola will help make the case for [disability] care, secure funds, and plan which services are needed the most” (4/8).

The Guardian: Women’s organizations fighting Ebola should be funded as a first-line defense
Niamani Mutima, executive director of Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group; Shira Gitomer, program director of Geneva Global; and Sarah Hobson, executive director of the New Field Foundation

“…Women’s community organizations and women’s rights organizations are critical first responders and need to be funded as such. They’re also there for the long haul and will remain on the frontline long after outside help has moved on. They provide an opportunity for long-term strategic funding with measurable impacts in the shifting landscape of Ebola, and other crises in the future” (4/8).

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Health Care Privatization Can Lead To Unethical Medical Practices

The Guardian: I’ve seen first-hand how palliative care in India is compromised by privatization
Hannah Fox, general practice trainee currently working in India

“…India is a stark example of how commodifying health care can lead to corruption, erode doctors’ integrity, and damage relationships with patients. Money ultimately distorts decision making regardless of the culture or country. In the U.K. there is a system that supports ethical decision making, regulates practice, and ensures patients’ best interests are at the heart of NHS care, and we must fight to preserve this. Market forces, competitive health care, and the selling of lucrative sections of NHS care to the private sector are solutions we embrace at our peril” (4/8).

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Implementing 'Treatment As Prevention' HIV Strategy In Canada Could Lead To AIDS-Free Generation

Huffington Post British Columbia: In Canada, We Have the Strategy and the Tools to End AIDS
Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre For Excellence In HIV/AIDS

“…In Canada, we can lead the way forward towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but a federal level commitment is sorely lacking. … Treatment as Prevention [(TasP®)], pioneered at the [B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE)] and based on the concept of providing full access to immediate antiretroviral treatment, has been successful in reducing HIV morbidity and mortality by over 90 percent and decreasing new cases by over two thirds since the early ’90s in British Columbia. … [I]mplementing TasP® in Canada would mark just the beginning of a disease elimination strategy that would improve the lives of thousands of Canadians — in a highly cost-effective fashion and contributing to the long-term sustainability of our cherished national health care system” (4/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. State Department Blog Features Several Posts Recognizing World Health Day

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Reflections on World Health Day
Deborah L. Birx, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS, writes, “The 2015 World Health Day theme is food safety. At first glance, some may wonder how this theme fits with President Obama’s three global health priorities; however, by looking a bit deeper, one can see how food safety and security are linked with: 1) achieving an AIDS-free generation; 2) ending preventable maternal and child deaths; and 3) enhancing global health security by preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats…” (4/7).

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: World Health Day: Food Safety and Food Security
Julia Duncan and Elizabeth Buckingham of the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Food Security and Joshua Glasser of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs’ Office of International Health & Biodefense write, “Better food safety means better nutrition, and less waste. In turn, better nutrition and more efficient food systems pay strong, lifelong dividends for health, productivity, and economic growth. The United States is working to address both stunting and post-harvest loss through comprehensive strategies within President Obama’s signature food security initiative — Feed the Future. Significant progress has been made, but there is still work to be done…” (4/7).

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Making Progress on Health Now and Post-2015
Tony Pipa, the U.S. special coordinator for the post-2015 development agenda, and Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator, write, “President Obama called upon our nation to join with the world in ending extreme poverty in the next two decades. Today, we have new tools that enable us to achieve a goal that was simply unimaginable in the past: the eradication of extreme poverty and its most devastating corollaries, including widespread hunger, malnutrition, and preventable child and maternal death” (4/7).

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: The World Health Organization and the Fight Against Ebola
“April 7th is World Heath Day and each year on this day we remember the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 by the United Nations. … The Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Doug Frantz, spoke with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan about the current status of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, lessons learned from the international response to contain the outbreak, and the organization’s reform agenda…” (4/7).

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CDC, World Bank Blog Posts Recognize Food Safety As Global Priority Needing Shared Responsibility

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Food Safety: A changing landscape in a global world
Laura Burnworth and Suzie Heitfeld of the CDC discuss the globalization of food production and the importance of making food safety a global priority (4/7).

World Bank’s “Voices: Perspectives on Development”: Why we’re standing for food safety on World Health Day
Amy Evans, head of the Global Food Safety Partnership Secretariat at the World Bank, discusses how food safety is a global public health issue and requires shared responsibility among national governments and partners (4/7).

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SDGs Should Include Funding For Both Health Systems And Specific Disease Initiatives

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: SDGs require both systems and disease-specific funding
Nellie Bristol, a senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses a session held at the recent Consortium of Universities for Global Health meeting in Boston. “Sandro Galea, dean of the school of public health, Boston University, and Olusoji Adeyi, director of health, nutrition, and population global practice, the World Bank, ably and convivially debated the statement, ‘investment in the [Sustainable Development Goal] framework should be in strengthening health systems, not specific diseases,'” she notes (4/7).

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World Bank Highlights Work, Sacrifices Of Frontline Ebola HCWs

World Bank: Health Workers on Ebola Frontlines Serve Countries, Risk Own Lives
In this World Bank feature story, Communications Officer Melanie Mayhew writes, “…On this year’s World Health Day (April 7) and during World Health Worker Week (April 6-10), many are paying tribute to [Ebola health care providers’] heroic work, as well as to the foreign medical teams that came to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to lend a helping hand…” (4/7).

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Blog Post Reviews Several Recent Journal Articles On Ebola, Lessons Learned

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola lessons reiterate need to recognize global health realities
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, highlights several recent journal articles discussing various aspects of the Ebola epidemic and the lessons learned (4/7).

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