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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Experts Discuss Food Security, Disease Prevention, Family Planning In Light Of Climate Change

The Guardian: Climate change could make 175 million more people go hungry, report says
“…The U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis states that climate change is ‘projected to result in more frequent disruption of food production in many regions and in increased overall food prices’…” (Milman, 12/4).

The Guardian: Food at COP21: three new initiatives spotlight food insecurity, soils, waste
“…Agriculture accounts for almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet floods, drought, and the planet’s increasing climatic variability play with the fate of our food. Continuing on the current climate trajectory will mean a future of profound food insecurity, especially for developing nations…” (Bryce, 12/4).

Huffington Post: Voluntary Birth Control Is A Climate Change Solution Nobody Wants To Talk About
“…Access to voluntary birth control — which typically means pills, condoms, and IUDs — to reduce the 40 percent of unintended pregnancies per year worldwide will cut our collective human carbon footprint, and an increasing number of countries are factoring this in to their climate change plans, experts point out…” (Prois, 12/4).

Reuters: Lives depend on climate deal as islands bear brunt of health impact
“Small islands that bear the brunt of rising sea levels also face the greatest risk of diseases linked to a warmer planet, health leaders said on Saturday, as 13 million medical professionals added to the calls for a global climate pact. Hundreds of thousands more people will die every year from heat stroke and tropical illnesses unless negotiators in Paris can agree a strong global deal to cap global warming, the Global Climate and Health Alliance said…” (Lewis, 12/5).

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U.N. Launches Largest-Ever Humanitarian Funding Appeal For $20.1B

The Guardian: U.N. launches its biggest ever annual appeal for humanitarian funding
“…The U.N. is likely to ask for about $20bn (£13bn) to fund works next year in 37 countries, including Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and Ukraine. The funding appeal has risen almost sixfold since 2005, when the U.N. sought $3.7bn. Donor countries are increasingly struggling to meet the funding requirements: the 2014 appeal was only 50 percent funded…” (van der Zee, 12/7).

Reuters: U.N. launches record $20.1 bln aid appeal for 2016
“The United Nations launched a record humanitarian appeal on Monday, asking for $20.1 billion to help 87 million people in 37 national and regional crises in 2016…” (Miles, 12/7).

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Increase In Ebola Research Funding Masks Decline In 2014 NTD R&D Public Funding, G-FINDER Report Shows

SciDev.Net: Ebola boost masks fall in neglected disease funding
“…An overall increase in funding for [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] last year ‘was entirely the result of significant new investment in Ebola R&D in response to the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic,’ says the [2015 G-FINDER report], which was issued on 3 December by Australian health promotion charity Policy Cures. Excluding Ebola support, public funding for NTD research fell by three percent, or US$62 million, the study found…” (Rabesandratana, 12/7).

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Global Plan To End TB Includes Research For New Vaccines

The Guardian: Quest for tuberculosis vaccine begins as scientists aim to beat disease by 2035
“…Despite the [BCG] vaccine’s widespread use, more than nine million people around the world become ill with the disease each year. In 2014, it killed 1.5 million people. … The quest for a new vaccine is at the heart of an ambitious new strategy, introduced last month, to end tuberculosis as a public health threat by 2035. … The new Global Plan to End TB calls for a $56-58bn (£37-38bn) investment in TB programs, alongside $9bn for new research and development, including vaccines…” (Green, 12/7).

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ICASA Meeting Wraps Up With Focus On Antiretroviral Treatment For All

VOA News: AIDS Conference Ends in Harare
“…Delegates discussed a reported shortage of antiretroviral drugs to treat AIDS, and a lack of government funding for health care across the continent. Medical researchers, HIV activists, and health officials from across the continent met at the conference, known as ICASA, to look for ways to achieve an AIDS-free Africa…” (Mhofu, 12/4).

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Gavi Board Approves New Support Package For Measles, Rubella Vaccinations In Developing Nations

Express Healthcare: Gavi Board approves ambitious package to tackle highly-infectious disease
“A new package of support for measles and rubella immunization, approved by the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, [on Thursday] will contribute towards saving more than a million lives. The decision marks a significant step forward in the approach to tackling measles and rubella in developing countries…” (12/4).

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WHO's 'Safe Childbirth Checklist' Will Assist Health Care Workers In Helping Reduce Maternal, Newborn Deaths

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. ‘bedside tool’ will help prevent and reduce maternal and newborn deaths worldwide
“The World Health Organization (WHO) announced [Friday] a new checklist for health care workers that will help reduce maternal and newborn deaths with ‘a single and practical bedside tool’ designed to make a difference for women and infants in various settings around the world. … The agency’s new Safe Childbirth Checklist and Implementation Guide targets the major causes of maternal and newborn complications and deaths, including post-partum hemorrhage, infection, obstructed labor, preeclampsia, and birth asphyxia…” (12/4).

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Annual HIV Diagnoses In U.S. Down 19% Over Past Decade, CDC Report Shows

Reuters Health: HIV infections fall over last decade, progress uneven
“The rate of new HIV infections in the U.S. fell over the last decade, but progress wasn’t equal for all groups, according to a new government report…” (Seaman, 12/6).

Washington Post: Annual HIV diagnoses down 19 percent over the past decade
“…The data were released as a CDC-sponsored conference focused on preventing HIV infections began in Atlanta. About 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States last year, and an estimated 1.2 million are currently living with the virus, according to the report…” (Bernstein, 12/6).

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Dramatic Drop In Afghanistan's Maternal Mortality Rate Since 2002 Questioned In New Report

New York Times: Reported Gains in Afghan Maternal Health Are Found to Be Implausible
“…In 2010, a study financed by the United States Agency for International Development determined that Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate had dropped to 327 [from 1,600 for every 100,000 live births in 2002], a stunning improvement. … In a paper commissioned by the British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group, an organization representing aid groups from the British Isles, researchers from Harvard, the University of Aberdeen, the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and HealthProm, a charity based in Britain, compared the two studies and found the improvement in maternal health implausible…” (Nordland, 12/4).

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With 8M People Needing Food Aid In Drought-Hit Ethiopia, U.N. Sends Health Team To Assist In Response

Deutsche Welle: No rain and too little drought aid in Ethiopia
“…Ethiopia is once again in the iron grip of a potentially devastating drought. While the worst-affected regions including Somali, Oromia, Tigray, and Amhara have yet to record the loss of human lives, the dying of livestock — a major export earner of much-needed hard currency — has set alarm bells ringing in government offices in Addis Ababa and at international food agencies. Some eight million Ethiopians currently need food aid…” (Bula, 12/4).

U.N. News Centre: As Ethiopia battles devastating drought, U.N. sends in emergency health team
“With Ethiopia battling its worst drought in 30 years due to the El Niño weather pattern, with 8.2 million people already in urgent need of food aid, the United Nations has sent an emergency health team to help support the government’s response to a crisis that is expected to become even worse over the next eight months…” (12/4).

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Foreign Policy Examines Abortion Policies, Impacts In Palestine

Foreign Policy: Palestine’s Abortion Problem
“…While abortion is outlawed by the Palestinian government, there is no punishment for women who end their own pregnancies: This has led to the spread of at-home abortion methods, such as jumping off of staircases or inserting sharp instruments into the body…” (Schwartz, 12/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Action On Climate Change Taken At COP21 Critical To Global Food Security

The Hill: U.S. leadership at Paris climate talks critical to future of agriculture
Douglas Bereuter and Dan Glickman, both former U.S. representatives and current co-chairs of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

“…[T]he United States must lead for the world in acting to adapt and mitigate [climate change]. … [W]e co-chaired a report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014 that examined ways to achieve food security in the face of climate change. Our top finding then remains our top recommendation now: make agriculture central to any agreement on climate change. For COP21 Paris to be a success, and for American farmers to thrive long into the future, the United States must lead on climate change and must see to it that Paris ends in an actionable agreement. Likewise, the U.S. agriculture community and consumers alike ought to support efforts to mitigate climate change. It is critical to ensuring that the future of agriculture — in the United States and around the world — thrives” (12/4).

Huffington Post: A Pledge to Tackle Climate Change is a Pledge to Feed the World
Jason Clay, executive director of the Markets Institute at World Wildlife Fund

“…[C]limate change is contributing not just to melting ice caps and rising sea levels, but also to drought, food shortages and, ultimately, to global instability. As illustrated around the world, humanity’s future hinges in large part on our ability to feed a growing and increasingly urban and wealthy population amid variable and extreme weather conditions. … While producers, consumers, financial institutions, the scientific community, and the world’s most powerful food companies all share a responsibility in tackling these challenges, it will take the political will of global leaders to drive a global climate change agenda. We must move beyond isolated crises from one country or region to the next and pledge to address the climate challenges that threaten global food security and the wellbeing of our planet. This year’s climate change conference is a critical step toward our global leaders realizing this long-awaited commitment” (12/4).

Huffington Post: Will Climate Change Break the Global Food System?
David MacLennan, chair and CEO of Cargill, and Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund

“…The [global food] system has enough resilience to absorb shocks. But add population growth, failed states, armed conflict, and political instability to the mix and the picture starts looking a lot more combustible. … Food security … is often under-appreciated in climate discussions. It shouldn’t be. What we’ve already seen in recent years should serve as a warning. Increased volatility is the new normal. It’s not a matter of whether some hotspots will erupt, but when. It’s up to all of us to be ready to respond. … The longer we go without action, the deeper the problem will get and the more disruptive the measures we’ll ultimately need to take. We can meet the challenges ahead, but we must get started now, so we can avoid frantic steps at the eleventh hour” (12/7).

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U.S. Quarantines Of Returning Health Workers Made Efforts To Stem Ebola 'More Difficult'

New York Times: The Unfair Treatment of Ebola Workers
Editorial Board

“…Instead of helping, quarantines [of Ebola workers who returned to the U.S.] actually made the fight against Ebola more difficult by discouraging health care workers from going to Africa. Quarantines and monitoring also needlessly strain state and local health budgets without making the public any safer than self-monitoring would. Health experts around the world are assessing the epidemic in West Africa for clues about how to respond to the next outbreak of an infectious disease that could spread to other countries. Health officials in the United States should study our own response to the epidemic for lessons about what should — and should not — be done when the next germ threatens to hit these shores” (12/5).

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Governments Worldwide Must Commit To Proven Prevention, Treatment Strategies To End Child Deaths From Pneumonia, Diarrhea

Project Syndicate: Stopping the Child Killers
Anita Zaidi, director of the enteric and diarrheal diseases program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…To end child deaths from [pneumonia and diarrhea] once and for all, governments must commit to scaling up simultaneously the full suite of interventions identified by the World Health Organization and UNICEF two years ago, in their integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea. … Governments have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the poorest and most marginalized communities have access to critical health services, by providing the right training, tools, supervision, funding, and logistical support for health workers. This … will require a strong and sustained political commitment, one that civil society and the media, by keeping their governments accountable, can help to secure. There are still far too many children around the world who do not have access to the essential health services they need to survive and thrive. Accelerating the discussion of proven, low-cost methods to prevent, treat, and cure pneumonia and diarrhea is critical to give all children the chance they deserve…” (12/4).

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Health Workers Should Use Appropriate Language, 'Patient-Centered' Approach As Part Of Comprehensive Strategy To Effectively Treat TB

Devex: Did poor bedside manner cause the rise of multidrug-resistant TB?
Gagik Karapetyan, senior technical adviser of infectious diseases at World Vision

“…[E]ffective TB programming should include TB-counseling training, and that counseling must happen at every stage of diagnosis and treatment — from cough to cure. … Basic training in such ‘soft skills’ as interpersonal communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, and team building can equip service providers to better explore and shape a client’s attitude to their diagnosis and treatment. … Of course using insensitive words when speaking to those affected by TB is not the only reason for the rise of MDR-TB. However, a patient-centered approach employing the right vocabulary — plus compassionate counseling techniques that demonstrate sincere concern for TB-affected individuals, their close social circles, and family members — will ensure most people with TB seek and complete treatment. This will give the bacterial infection much less opportunity to adapt and thrive” (12/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses U.S. Response To Humanitarian Crisis In Syria

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: A Time of Unparalleled Need
Tom Staal, senior deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, discusses USAID’s efforts to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, including providing food aid and health care throughout the region (12/4).

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GHTC Capitol Hill Reception Helps Launch G-FINDER Report On Neglected Disease R&D Funding

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Celebrating U.S. leadership in global health R&D on Capitol Hill
GHTC Communications Officer Marissa Chmiola writes, “On Wednesday evening, GHTC was joined on Capitol Hill by congressional champions — Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4) — and global health community members for a reception celebrating U.S. leadership in global health research and development (R&D) and the launch of the 2015 G-FINDER report, which tracks investment in neglected disease R&D…” (12/4).

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Program Design Important Factor For Successful Cash Transfer Programs Among Adolescents To Reduce HIV

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: More on Cash Transfers to Reduce HIV among Adolescents
Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of global health policy, and senior fellow at CGD, shares an update on recent evaluations of program design for cash transfers from Tia Palermo, a social policy specialist with the Transfer Project at the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and UNC-Chapel Hill (12/4).

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