KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- Lawmakers, Activists Pressure Obama To Act On HIV/AIDS, USA TODAY Reports
“President Obama is facing renewed pressure from U.S. lawmakers and activists to take legacy-setting action to combat HIV/AIDS,” USA TODAY reports, noting recent actions by members of Congress and AIDS activists in the U.S. and abroad urging Obama to scale up the number of people receiving treatment under PEPFAR and “to agree to pledge up to $5 billion to the Global Fund over the next three years.” According to the newspaper, “Activists are also pushing Obama to quickly name a replacement for Ambassador Eric Goosby, who until last month served as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator tasked with directing the U.S. strategy for addressing HIV around the world.” The article includes comments from Gayle Smith, the senior director for development and democracy at the White House National Security Council; Tom Myers, general counsel for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; and Paul Zeitz, vice president of policy for the Endgame Campaign, a group working to eradicate AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (Madhani, 11/30).
- International Community Marks World AIDS Day
“While welcoming the solid progress being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, United Nations officials marked World AIDS Day [on Sunday] with urgent appeals for the international community to work even harder to end stigma, discrimination and complacency, to stop new HIV infections among children and to ensure access to care and treatment for all those that need it,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/1). “The global theme for this World AIDS Day is Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths,” Xinhua notes (Edwards, 11/30). A report (.pdf) released by UNAIDS ahead of World AIDS Day “shows that we are closer to the goal of an AIDS-free generation,” VOA News writes, noting the “number of people around the world who are newly infected with HIV [has dropped] by 30 percent over the past several years” (Pearson, 11/27). “However, health officials and support groups say the number is still too high and want much more emphasis placed on pediatric AIDS,” VOA News adds in a separate article (DeCapua, 11/29).
To commemorate the day, “President Obama said Wednesday an AIDS-free generation is ‘within our reach’ if research and development are prioritized,” according to United Press International (11/28). “On this World AIDS Day, as we reflect on the extraordinary progress we have made together, it is important to remember that our work is far from finished,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, adding, “With a sustained focus on strengthened results and shared responsibility, I know that we can get there” (11/29). “As we observe World AIDS Day 2013 …, “[w]e rededicate ourselves to working with our partners across the nation and around the globe to fortify and intensify our efforts in HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment, and research,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement (11/29). “Bono sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to talk about the dramatic turnaround in the battle against a virus that has killed more than 25 million worldwide since 1981,” ABC News notes (Kiwan, 12/1). “Pope Francis has called on Catholics to pray for people suffering from HIV and AIDS during an address on World AIDS Day,” VOA News writes in a third article (12/1).
- Media Outlets Publish Stories On Regional, National HIV/AIDS Epidemics In Recognition Of World AIDS Day
Media outlets around the world published stories related to World AIDS Day, observed annually on December 1. The following stories look at the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the regional or national levels.
- Al Jazeera America, “World AIDS Day: Has China’s PM Made Strides In HIV Prevention?” (Hayoun, 12/1);
- Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Report: Iran HIV Cases Increase Dramatically” (12/1);
- Associated Press/Washington Post, “HIV Rates In Haiti Drop Over Decade” (12/1);
- Bangkok Post, “HIV Sufferers Bear A Terrible Stigma” (11/30);
- Deutsche Welle, “‘We Can’t Get There On Science Alone‘” (Abbany, 12/1);
- EFE/FOX News, “Cuba Expects Slight Rise In HIV Cases By The End Of The Year” (12/1);
- The Guardian, “Malawi’s Success Story In Reducing HIV Infections” (Ford, 11/29);
- Xinhua/GlobalPost, “Nepal Shows Remarkable Improvement In Fighting HIV/AIDS” (12/1).
- UNICEF Report Shows Progress In Preventing Newborn HIV But Increase In Adolescents With HIV
“Great progress has been made to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, … with more than 850,000 infants being saved from the … infection between 2005 and 2012, said a U.N. report,” Xinhua reports. “However, the report raises the alarm on adolescents, citing the need for increased global and national efforts to address HIV/AIDS among this vulnerable age group,” the news service adds (11/29). UNICEF’s 2013 Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS, released on Friday, “said AIDS-related deaths among those aged 10 to 19 increased between 2005 and 2012 from 71,000 to 110,000,” and “[a]bout 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV last year,” according to the Associated Press/Straits Times (11/29). “Of those, it said, nearly 90 percent lived in just 22 countries. All but one of which are located in sub-Saharan Africa,” Deutsche Welle writes (11/29).
“One reason cited for the increase is that across sub-Saharan Africa, many young people who were infected at birth are now teenagers who need additional support to remain on treatment,” GlobalPost states (Conway-Smith, 12/1). “‘It’s a matter of reaching the most vulnerable adolescents with effective programs — urgently,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake,” TIME writes (Liljas, 11/29). “The report, which comes ahead of Sunday’s World AIDS Day, shows that by increasing investment in high-impact interventions to about $5.5 billion by 2014, two million adolescents, particularly girls, could avoid becoming infected by 2020,” the U.N. News Centre reports, noting, “Investments in 2010 were $3.8 billion” (11/29). “High-impact interventions include condoms, antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, voluntary medical male circumcision, communications for behavior change, and targeted approaches for at-risk and marginalized populations,” a UNICEF press release states (11/29). PANA/AfriqueJet notes the WHO on Tuesday launched “new guidelines on HIV to address needs of adolescents” (11/27).
- UNAIDS Launches 'Zero Discrimination' Campaign, Conference
Nobel Peace Prize Winner and UNAIDS Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on World AIDS Day launched “a new ‘zero discrimination’ campaign,” Agence France-Presse reports. Suu Kyi and Sidibé “unveiled a new campaign Sunday targeting prejudice against HIV/AIDS sufferers, with the world’s first Zero Discrimination Day to be held on March 1, 2014,” the news service writes, noting, “The pair were speaking in Melbourne at the Australian launch of AIDS 2014, a major global health and policy conference to be held in the city in July with 14,000 delegates from almost 200 countries” (12/1). “For the AIDS response, discrimination towards people living with HIV and key populations at higher risk of HIV is a major obstacle to expanding access to HIV services,” UNAIDS states in a press release, adding, “Country surveys found that one in seven people living with HIV have reportedly been denied access to health care and more than one in 10 people living with HIV have been refused employment because of their HIV status” (12/1).
- New HIV Case Numbers Increasing In Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Report Says
“A report published by the [WHO’s] European office and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed a steady increase in new HIV cases over the last year, but by far the majority of cases were in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” Reuters reports. More than “131,000 people were newly infected with HIV in Europe and nearby countries in 2012, an eight percent rise from a year earlier and a worrying reversal of a recent downward trend in AIDS cases in the West,” the news service writes (Kelland, 11/27). Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost notes “the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region … accounted for 102,000 new infections” (11/27). “The report noted that some 76,000 new HIV infections were reported in Russia alone,” according to VOA News (11/27).
“In much of the former Soviet Bloc, the number of people diagnosed with AIDS has increased 113 percent from 2006 to 2012, yet AIDS cases in Western Europe decreased by 48 percent over the same period,” TIME writes (Alter, 11/27). “Experts are now calling for ‘accelerated action’ to contain the spread of HIV, such as providing clean needles and syringes for drug users, free condoms and easy access to HIV testing for sex workers and gay men, and early access to treatment,” The Independent adds (Saul, 11/27). “Equal access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care for all population groups throughout the region is essential to reach the global goal of universal access for all in need,” the WHO states in a press release (11/27).
- African Countries Promote Voluntary Male Circumcision Ahead Of World AIDS Day
“As activists and educators worldwide prepare to mark the 25th observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, efforts to curtail the spread of HIV infection in parts of Africa include scaling up efforts to promote voluntary circumcision among adult males,” USA Today reports (Healy, 11/28). “Nearly two million men have volunteered to be circumcised using U.S. funding in 14 African countries to protect themselves against [HIV], health officials said Wednesday,” NBC News writes, noting PEPFAR “said in 2011 it would help pay for 4.7 million or more voluntary circumcisions over the next two years.” The news service adds, “It’s a small step forward in the fight against the deadly virus, which infects 35 million people globally and has killed another 36 million people, according to the United Nations” (Fox, 11/27). Deutsche Welle examines voluntary male circumcision efforts in Rwanda (Johannsen, 11/29).
- South Africa Facing ARV Shortages, NGOs Warn In New Report
“One in five South African clinics are running short of life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs, affecting nearly half a million people and undermining the success of the world’s largest treatment program, medical charities said on Thursday,” Reuters reports (Motsoeneng, 11/28). The Stop Stock Outs project, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Treatment Action Campaign, and the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa, released the report (.pdf), IRIN notes (11/29). “According to the report, mismanagement by the municipal health department has resulted in stacks of the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs used to treat HIV infection lying in storage while patients are turned away from clinics,” Al Jazeera states. “The South African government has made major investments to provide ARV pills to the many people who rely on the drug for their survival,” the news service adds (Motema, 11/30). “The health ministry acknowledged some problems but said MSF was exaggerating the situation,” Reuters notes (11/28).
- U.N. Urges Breastfeeding Among Infants In Wake Of Philippines Typhoon Damage
“United Nations agencies are promoting breastfeeding to avoid unnecessary illness and deaths of children in the wake of the disaster wrought on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) earlier this month,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘The estimated 12,000 babies to be born in the worst-affected areas this month need to be exclusively breastfed, meaning that they get nothing but breast milk, which protects them from potentially deadly infections,’ the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the [WHO] said in a joint news release,” the news service writes (11/29). “Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province, and its neighboring municipalities have so far averted any major public-health scare despite being among the worst-hit districts, thanks to steady progress in restoring piped-water supply and help from international medical-relief groups,” the Wall Street Journal states, adding, “But even as the region’s hospitals and clinics steadily restore operations and prepare for growing numbers of respiratory and chronic ailments, health officials and doctors worry that many pregnant women and babies remain vulnerable” (Wong et al., 11/29).
- USA TODAY Examines Resurgence Of Polio In Some Muslim-Majority Countries
“Once close to eradication worldwide, the dreaded disease polio is resurfacing in Muslim-majority countries where vaccinations are hard to come by due to war, religious edicts and ignorance, experts say,” USA TODAY reports. The newspaper highlights outbreaks of the disease and efforts to immunize children in countries such as Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Nigeria. “Polio outbreaks have been growing in Pakistan, Nigeria and Somalia, and people from those countries have traveled and spread it elsewhere,” the newspaper writes, adding, “Not all countries check for polio vaccinations among foreign visitors from countries where polio is considered endemic” (Teepu, 11/30).
- Police Officers Guarding Polio Vaccinators Shot In Pakistan; One Killed
“Gunmen in northwest Pakistan attacked police officers guarding a team of polio vaccination workers, killing one officer, police said,” United Press International reports (11/30). “Officials say the police were attacked Saturday in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,” VOA News writes, adding, “No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.” The news agency notes, “Militants frequently attack polio workers in Pakistan, accusing them of being Western spies or part of a plot to sterilize Muslims” (11/30).
- U.N. Official Denounces Killing Of Two Health Workers In Darfur, Sudan
“Two Sudanese health ministry workers helping to vaccinate children in the Darfur region have been killed, the United Nations said on Friday, condemning their deaths,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The victims, a vaccinator and a driver, were part of a team inoculating vulnerable children against measles in West Darfur state, Ali Al-Za’tari, the U.N.’s chief in Sudan, said in a statement,” the news agency writes (11/29). “I call on all parties to ensure the protection of all personnel working to deliver assistance to populations in need throughout Sudan,” he said, according to the U.N. News Centre (11/29).
- Hunger, Malnutrition Remain Despite Increase In N. Korea's Cereal Production
“A new assessment by the United Nations has found that harvests in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are up for the third year running, but warns that chronic malnutrition persists,” the U.N. News Centre reports (11/29). “A mission by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) visited North Korea’s nine agricultural provinces in late September and early October around the main annual cereal harvest,” Reuters notes, adding that even with a five percent increase in food production, “the food security situation remains unsatisfactory with 84 percent of households having borderline or poor food consumption” (11/28). Dierk Stegen, WFP representative in North Korea, “said that about 80 percent of North Korean households lacked the essential amount of vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins in their diets,” according to the Associated Press/New York Times (11/28).
- PBS NewsHour Examines Humanitarian Situation In Syria
PBS NewsHour features a report on the growing number of refugees and internally displaced persons resulting from ongoing fighting in Syria. “Fighting and a government blockade are preventing food from reaching tens of thousands of civilians in the suburbs around the capital [of Damascus] that are under rebel control,” the news service reports, adding, “Government and rebels are now allowing vaccines across [some] lines, but more food and other medicines are urgently needed. War has brought in its wake an era of hunger and disease that no Syrian could have imagined in this century” (Hilsum, 11/28).
- MERS Found In Camels, Raising Suspicion As Animal Reservoir
“Scientists have found cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in camels in Qatar, health officials said on Thursday, fueling speculation that camels might be the animal reservoir that allowed the virus to infect and kill humans,” Reuters reports. A statement from Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health said the virus was found in three camels among a herd of 14 and two human cases of the disease linked to the barn had since recovered, the news agency notes (Bakr/Kelland, 11/28). “It was the second reported case of animals infected with MERS after Saudi Arabia announced a camel had tested positive for the virus [earlier in November],” Agence France-Presse adds (11/28). “Two new cases of the potentially deadly MERS respiratory virus … have been reported in the United Arab Emirates, media Friday cited health authorities as saying,” AFP reports in a separate article (11/28).
- Wired Magazine Features 4-Part Interview With Bill Gates, Bill Clinton
The December 2013 issue of Wired magazine features a four-part interview with Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and President Bill Clinton. In part one, Gates and Clinton discuss technology and “the positive impact of being plugged in on a global scale.” In part two, they examine “the significance of building a future of shared success and responsibility in order to create a thriving global economy.” In part three, “the two describe their health- and education-focused initiatives, and explain why their statuses don’t mean squat when they’re helping out in developing nations.” In part four, they “share their thoughts on the rapid pace and excitement of today’s innovations, and how humanity’s balance between conflict and cooperation will continue to fuel economic opportunity for years to come” (December 2013).
Editorials and Opinions
- Opinion Pieces Published In Recognition Of World AIDS Day
The following summaries represent some of the many opinion pieces published to recognize World AIDS Day, December 1.
- Chris Beyrer and Michel Kazatchkine, BBC News: “[T]he recurring themes of stigma and discrimination at the social, cultural and political levels” are preventing key affected populations, such as men who have sex with men and female sex workers, from benefiting from advances in science and technology to prevent and treat HIV, Beyrer, president-elect of the International AIDS Society (IAS), and Kazatchkine, the U.N. Secretary General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who serve as co-chairs of the “Nobody Left Behind Campaign,” an IAS initiative, write. “Here we are, we have all the technology, we have extraordinary scientific progress, and we just cannot translate that into making a difference in these populations,” they state, adding, “[T]here is an urgent need for re-think of how we approach the epidemic” (11/28).
- Agnes Binagwaho, U.S. News & World Report: “Over the past decade, we have made extraordinary gains against the world’s deadliest diseases thanks to [PEPFAR] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria,” the Rwandan health minister writes, adding, “These initiatives are saving millions of lives every year. In order to make these gains truly sustainable, we must now address a critical challenge in low-income countries: an acute shortage of highly trained health professionals.” She concludes, “The achievements of PEPFAR and the Global Fund, and the launch of new initiatives such as the Human Resources for Health program, show us how much is possible with true solidarity” (11/29).
- Philippe Douste-Blazy, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “On World AIDS Day, … the international community should remember commitments made at the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS in 2011 to accelerate access to HIV medicines and to facilitate the development of needed medicines for children,” Douste-Blazy, U.N. under-secretary general and chair of UNITAID, writes, noting, “UNITAID and the Medicines Patent Pool … are working to address the needs of people living with HIV, including children.” He adds, “My vision is for a World AIDS Day in the near future where we can say with pride that we have achieved universal access to treatment” (11/29).
- Mark Dybul and Timothy Hallett, Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog: “[S]cientific advances and the programs that have been developed over just the last few years,” as well as “the falling costs of medication,” “are making it possible to defeat the disease,” Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, and Hallett of Imperial College London write. “So as the world enters what could be a final stretch in the fight against this modern-time plague, our challenge is to invest smartly, follow the epidemiology and build up the systems that have been in place over the last years to make sure we reach all risk groups and geographical areas to get to low levels of HIV transmission,” they add (11/28).
- Anthony Fauci, Huffington Post’s “Healthy Living” blog: “Through concerted, cooperative and sustained effort, we can strive toward an AIDS-free reality,” Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, writes, adding, “In that pursuit, even if total elimination eludes us, at the very least much suffering will be averted and the health and economic well-being of people, families, communities and entire nations will be boosted” (12/1).
- Tom Frieden, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “In June, CDC, together with our sister PEPFAR implementing agencies, achieved a dramatic milestone: the prevention of HIV infection in one million babies globally over the past 10 years,” CDC Director Frieden writes, adding, “On this World AIDS Day, CDC continues to bring the best prevention and treatment tools at our disposal to the communities that need them most” (12/1).
- Patrick Gaspard, Sunday Independent: Recounting some successful efforts against HIV/AIDS in South Africa, including programs supported by PEPFAR, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa writes, “We take hope from the thousands of positive stories like these, but we also know that there is still so much more that needs to be done.” He adds, “By working together, we have created a better future for millions of South African men, women and children, and going forward we will continue this partnership and together achieve our shared goal of an AIDS-free generation” (12/1).
- Elton John, USA TODAY: “I hope and pray that science will find a cure for AIDS very soon. But more than a new medical breakthrough, we need a breakthrough in our understanding of what really drives this epidemic, and how our lack of compassion for those suffering from HIV/AIDS is making the epidemic so much worse,” singer and songwriter John, who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, writes (11/28).
- New York Times Opinion Piece Series Examines AIDS Eradication
The New York Times published a “Room For Debate” series examining how AIDS will be eradicated. The series includes commentaries written by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé; singer and songwriter Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation; Kartik Venkatesh, a clinical fellow in obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital; Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Phill Wilson, founder, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute; Kathleen Wirth, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership; and Tim Dean, a professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture at the State University of New York at Buffalo (11/28).
- Opinion Pieces, Editorials Address Global Fund Ahead Of Replenishment Conference
The following is a summary of editorials and opinion pieces published ahead of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s replenishment conference scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on December 3.
- Ray Chambers, The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog: “The Global Fund represents the best there is when it comes to smart spending to save lives and defeat disease,” Chambers, the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy for financing the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for malaria, writes. “While its processes are rooted in the smartest financial management, its impact is as human as it gets: saving or improving more precious lives,” he states (11/28).
- Bill Gates, CNN: “We still need the entire world’s support to continue the incredible progress we’ve made,” Gates writes, noting the upcoming meeting. He concludes, “This World AIDS Day, we need governments, private donors, [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)], activists and leaders to reaffirm their commitment to an organization that has helped change the course of three epidemics” (12/1).
- New York Times: Noting a congressional push “to double the number of people abroad who will be treated for infections with HIV” by the end of 2016 through PEPFAR, the editorial states, “It’s not clear what the cost of raising the treatment goal might be, but Congress and the Obama administration should cooperate in finding the money, either by reprogramming existing funds or providing additional appropriations.” The editorial continues, “In the long run, treating infected people before they get sick makes economic sense. It keeps them productive and supporting their families, reduces the cost of caring for those who might otherwise become sick and prevents new infections.” The newspaper adds, “The United States is by far the biggest contributor to the [Global Fund]. Other nations need to contribute their fair share” (11/27).
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Investment in the Global Fund will save not only millions of lives, but also tens of billions of dollars in treatment costs,” the editorial notes. “But that can happen only with U.S. leadership,” the newspaper continues, writing, “To reach the Global Fund’s goal, the United States needs to pledge $5 billion over three years” (12/2).
- Stamford Advocate: “The Global Fund estimates that it saves roughly 100,000 lives per month. It is impossible to do a true count, but one thing is certain: Lives can be saved by supporting it, and lives will be lost if it is neglected,” the editorial states. Noting “[a] bipartisan group of legislators is asking President Barack Obama to provide resources so the number of people being treated for HIV in poor nations can be doubled to 12 million over the next two years,” the editorial writes, “Even as we struggle with our own challenges in the arena of health, the United States is helping to nourish a healthier planet” (11/29).
- Desmond Tutu, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “Our world’s leaders will have this opportunity on December 3, when they come together in Washington, D.C., to make funding commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and honorary chair of endgame, writes, adding, “These commitments will be quantified in lives saved and access to health for the most vulnerable people living in our world’s most vulnerable places. We are all part of the human family, and no one should be left behind” (12/1).
- Judy Zizzo, Missoulian: “The key to success is a $5 billion pledge from the U.S.,” Zizzo, co-chair of the Missoula Chapter of RESULTS, states, adding, “Since the U.S. already contributes $1.65 billion to the Global Fund this year, a U.S. pledge of $5 billion would be the equivalent of maintaining our current contribution over the next three years.” She writes, “Continued support is essential to extend treatment to all who need it” (11/28).
- Data-Collection Systems Will Show Progress On Access To Family Planning
“For women to fulfill their amazing potential, they tell me over and over again, they need the power to decide when to have children, so they can keep their families healthy, well-nourished and educated,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. “Now, after nearly a year and a half, the seed planted [at a summit meeting on family planning in London in July 2012] is starting to bear fruit for women in more than two dozen countries,” she states. “And for the first time we’ll be able to observe the progress because … a groundbreaking family planning data-collection project is just beginning,” Gates continues, noting, “As I write, eight countries in Africa and two in Asia are beginning to roll out data systems.” She writes, “In 2014 we’re going to start making progress on the global goal of ensuring that 120 million more women have access to contraceptives — and we’re going to be able to track that progress” (11/27).
- Family Planning Efforts Must Address Health, Survival Of Infants
“There are a variety of reasons why women in traditional or less-developed societies give birth to many children: religious, cultural, economic, status and lack of adequate information. But one reason that seems so obvious once you think about it — but which seldom tops the list — is the fear that the children they do bear might not survive,” Jane Otai, a senior program adviser for Jhpiego, writes in the New York Times’ “Motherlode” blog. “In such societies having numerous children is a kind of social insurance, a guarantee that those who do survive will help the parents financially and take care of them in old age,” she states, adding, “For family planning programs to succeed in helping women have smaller, healthier families, it is necessary to vastly improve basic medical care so they can begin to believe that their children will survive.” Otai continues, “Equating family planning to survival is key to effectively communicating the importance of breastfeeding both for the nutritional benefit of the child and in allowing the mother to regain her health by spacing pregnancies.” She concludes, “Only by addressing their needs in the context of their reality can we truly help them find their own way to healthier lives” (12/1).
- Stronger Measures Needed To Protect Polio Workers From Attacks In Pakistan
“Attacks on polio workers have become dangerously frequent, and so security measures are being ratcheted up,” an editorial in Pakistan’s The Nation states. “But even in cases where apparently ample security is provided, attacks happen. Instances where police patrols accompanying the health workers, have themselves come under fatal attack, are not unheard of,” the editorial writes. “Religious extremism is not going to go away by just glossing over it with a false sense of security or with half-baked measures such as providing police mobiles to polio workers,” the editorial states, concluding, “These measures only demonstrate how the state is incapable of doing what it should be doing: providing the bare essentials of safety and security to its citizens. … So long as the terrorists and the creed that gives birth to them in the first place are thought of as something to fall back on during hard times, there is neither any hope for polio workers nor the ordinary Pakistani” (12/2).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Recent Releases Published Ahead Of Global Fund Replenishment Conference
The following is a summary of blog posts and a press release published ahead of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s replenishment conference scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on December 3.
- Global Fund press release: The Global Fund “announced new results [Wednesday] that show a substantial increase in the number of people being treated for HIV, in the distribution of insecticide-treated nets to combat malaria and in treatment for TB,” the press release states, adding, “The results show that 6.1 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy under programs supported by the Global Fund by the end of 2013, up from 5.3 million six months ago and from 4.2 million at the end of 2012” (11/27).
- Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog: In a video report, Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and a senior director at the National Security Council, “explains why the [Global Fund] matters today and discusses the United States’ leadership role in supporting the fund” (11/22).
- Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog: A video report in the blog examines how, “[i]n the face of tightened budgets, the fund will need to continue demonstrating it is getting the best ‘bang for the buck’ in improving the health of the world’s neediest.” The blog states, “With sufficient resources, dynamic leadership, and continued support from the United States and others, the fund will be well-positioned to continue addressing the world’s three most deadly infectious diseases” (11/26).
- Melinda Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog: “Thanks to the Global Fund, nine million lives have been saved,” Gates, co-chair of the foundation, writes. “The Global Fund is also helping countries train a new generation of doctors, nurses, and health care workers so that they can take ownership of the response to these epidemics using their own resources,” she continues, adding, “A decade ago, the world had no good plans for fighting these diseases. Now, we’ve turned the tide” (11/27).
- Suerie Moon, PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog: Moon, research director and co-chair of the Forum on Global Governance for Health at the Harvard Global Health Institute, “warns against falling back on stale solutions for ensuring access to essential medicines.” She writes, “[T]he Global Fund and broader global health community should explore new ideas that will ensure that all countries can afford essential medicines” (12/1).
- New Issue of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has published Issue 32 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue examines the fund’s upcoming replenishment meeting, its new funding model and deadlines for proposal submissions (11/28).
- December 2013 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online
The December issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on public health during mass gatherings, a public health news round-up, and a research article on managing infants exposed to tuberculosis, among other articles (December 2013).