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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Rajiv Shah's Tenure As USAID Administrator

Devex: 5 parting thoughts from Rajiv Shah
“Outgoing U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah delivered what were billed as his last public remarks Thursday, a ‘farewell conversation’ with leaders from around Washington’s development community. In an exclusive Devex feature, Shah’s peers, critics, and partners weighed in on what the youngest-ever administrator has accomplished during his five years at USAID, and what kind of agency Shah leaves in his wake as he moves on to — still undisclosed — new things…” (Igoe, 2/13).

Devex: Rajiv Shah’s USAID legacy
“…From the outset of his time in office, Shah faced an uphill battle to restore USAID’s credibility, or else lose the support of some of the agency’s most steadfast champions…” (Igoe, 2/12).

Devex: How much difference can a USAID administrator make?
“Examining the work of Rajiv Shah, it’s hard not to be struck by the wide variance in opinion on the man’s legacy as the youngest-ever U.S. aid chief in history…” (Igoe, 2/12).

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Obama Defends Ebola Coordinator Klain, Uses Ebola As Model For National Security, Humanitarian Aid Agendas

The Hill: Obama praises Ebola czar despite ‘background noise’
“President Obama on Thursday took a stab at the administration’s critics as he praised his embattled Ebola czar Ron Klain for taking on ‘a challenge that many called insurmountable’…” (Ferris, 2/12).

Washington Post: Obama uses war on Ebola to illustrate fight against non-conventional threats
“…Wednesday’s [Ebola] event provided fresh evidence of how the White House has elevated non-conventional threats — including pandemics and climate change — to the top of its national security agenda, while de-emphasizing more traditional threats. In an interview the Web site Vox posted this week, Obama said the media ‘absolutely’ overstates the threat of terrorism compared to long-term problems such as global warming and disease[s] that cross national borders…” (Eilperin/Mufson, 2/12).

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Focus Should Turn To Rebuilding, Strengthening Health Systems In West Africa During Ebola Recovery

The Guardian: Ebola spending: will lack of a positive legacy turn dollars to dolor?
“While it is still too early to call time on the Ebola outbreak, a sense that the worst may have passed is tentatively taking root in West Africa, alongside an acute realization of the need to ensure a positive long-term legacy for battered health care systems…” (Chonghaile, 2/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Ebola-hit Guinea asks for funds for creaking health sector
“International donors wishing to help Guinea fight Ebola should use their money to strengthen the West African country’s health system and help it tackle future epidemics instead of building more Ebola treatment centers, a government official said…” (Hussain, 2/12).

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World Bank To Send $15M In Emergency Funding To Avert Food Crisis In Ebola-Hit West Africa

International Business Times: As Ebola Virus Outbreak Slows, World Bank To Send $15M In Aid To Prevent Food Crises
“…Just as the U.S. recalled its troops from West Africa, the World Bank pledged millions of dollars in emergency aid to avoid a food crisis that could leave millions starving. … The agency plans to send up to $15 million in emergency funding to buy 10,500 metric tons of maize and rice seeds for 200,000 farmers in time for planting season…” (Caulderwood, 2/12).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: World Bank will provide seeds to farmers in West Africa to ward off hunger
“…The funds in the amount of up to $15 million, in the form of grants financed by the International Development Association (IDA) and the Ebola Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, will also be used to purchase fertilizer required to multiply foundation seed to meet tight planting season deadlines and help lay the foundations for sustained recovery, according to the announcement…” (2/12).

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Violence Against Ebola Volunteers Conducting Safe Burials Hampers Efforts To Contain Disease, Red Cross Says

Agence France-Presse: Red Cross denounces attacks on Ebola teams in Guinea
“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on Wednesday denounced a series of violent attacks on its volunteers battling the deadly Ebola epidemic in Guinea. The world’s largest humanitarian network said the latest case involved two burial workers who were beaten up on Sunday by a mob in the western town of Forecariah…” (Bah, 2/11).

New York Times: Red Cross Faces Attacks at Ebola Victims’ Funerals
“…The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported Thursday that since March, the organization’s burial teams in Guinea have been attacked verbally or physically 10 times a month on average…” (Belluck, 2/12).

Reuters: Red Cross Ebola teams in Guinea attacked 10 times a month
“… ‘As long as people have misconceptions about how Ebola is spread, and continue to prevent volunteers from doing their work, we will not stop the disease,’ said Youssouf Traore, president of the Red Cross Society of Guinea…” (Hussain, 2/12).

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The Lancet Examines Lessons Learned In Response To West African Ebola Outbreak

The Lancet: Ebola in West Africa: learning the lessons
“…The primary lesson so far has not been about the need for new response methods, but about human resources and coordination. Building new treatment centers, when it eventually happened, was an easy task next to training and supervising people to staff them. International help should have been mobilized sooner…” (Petherick, 2/11).

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Africa Reaches Milestone Of 6 Months With No New Polio Cases

The Guardian: Africa close to wiping out wild polio after six months free of disease
“Africa has gone six months without any new cases of wild polio for the first time, experts say, raising hopes that the disease could be wiped out on the continent sooner than expected…” (Smith, 2/13).

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R&D Spending For Reproductive Health In Developing Countries Not Fulfilling Need, Study Says

SciDev.Net: Reproductive health R&D funding ‘failing to match need’
“…Research and development (R&D) spending on reproductive health issues in [developing] countries received just US$88 million in 2013, according to the report by Policy Cures, an Australian non-profit organization that provides analysis and decision-making tools around neglected diseases. In contrast, neglected diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis received roughly US$3.2 billion in 2013…” (Kolliparra, 2/12).

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U.N. Appeals For $2B In Humanitarian Aid For Africa's Sahel As Climate, Conflict Worsen Hunger Crisis

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. seeks $2 billion aid for Sahel as conflict worsens
“The United Nations appealed on Thursday for $2 billion (1.3 billion pounds) to help more than 20 million people across Africa’s Sahel belt, where increasingly erratic weather and escalating violence have worsened widespread hunger and malnutrition…” (Guilbert, 2/12).

U.N. News Centre: U.N., partners seek $2 billion to help millions of people across Africa’s Sahel region
“…The Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2015, launched [Thursday] in New York and totaling $1.96 billion, is part of a regional multi-year strategy to respond better to the chronic challenges in the region by emphasizing early intervention and forging closer partnerships with governments and development actors…” (2/12).

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Angola Signs Funding Agreement With E.U., UNICEF To Train Water Workers For Improved Sanitation

Bloomberg News: Angola Taps E.U., UNICEF Funding to Train Water Workers
“Angola, where less than half of the population has access to clean water, plans to build a complex in the southwest African nation to help train water workers with funding assistance from the European Union and UNICEF. The funding agreement signed Thursday in Luanda, capital of Africa’s largest crude oil producer after Nigeria, will aid 2,500 government employees from 2017 at a center near Catete, the organizations said in an e-mail…” (McClelland, 2/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Americans, U.S. Congress Can Help Bolster Investment In Critical Global Health Issues, Including MCH, FP

Dallas Morning News: Americans need to step up on global health issues
Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Jenny Eaton Dyer, executive director of Hope Through Healing Hands

“The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that Ebola is still a top-tier global health concern in Americans’ hearts and minds. … More than half of Americans believe that the U.S. government offers more than 26 percent of our annual budget in foreign assistance. The reality: Less than 1 percent of our budget goes to global health and development. As we’ve seen, health issues abroad have a real impact at home. Years of underfunding global health has allowed a virus like Ebola to become a crisis in Africa and reach American soil. If we had spent even one-tenth of our perceived investment, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this position. … We want to encourage Americans to explore foundational global health issues like clean water, vaccines, nutrition, and maternal and child health. … We also urge Congress to prioritize these lifesaving investments in global health. … While we are grateful for the renewed attention being given to global health concerns, we hope that Americans and their legislators will seize the opportunity to protect funding in th[e] key areas of maternal and child health and international family planning in recognition of long-term national and global benefits” (2/12).

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Challenges Remain In Reaching Zero Ebola Cases; International Community Must Not Be Complacent

The Lancet: Ebola in West Africa: getting to zero
Editorial Board

“…In view of the evolving epidemic, the U.N. containment strategy is shifting its focus. Last year, the sheer scale of new infections meant a clinical approach was needed to treat all those identified with Ebola. Now, the response is changing to a locally driven, public health approach — case identification, contact tracing, diagnosis, and treatment in the affected prefectures. To get to zero new infections, however, means identifying every case and every contact. Even with new infections waning, ending the outbreak will not be an easy task, and complacency by the international community and donors would be a mistake. Ebola is not yet under control” (2/11).

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World Must Balance Food Production, Consumption With Need For Biofuels

Huffington Post: Looking Beyond the Crisis
Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization

“…Increasing humanity’s food supply by 60 percent in the next 35 years, through the agricultural practices we use today, would require some 50 percent more energy and 40 percent more water, according to the latest FAO estimates. … In the 21st Century, our choice is no longer between producing more food or more biofuels. We need them both. … Flexibility is the key word if we are to harmonize the need for biofuels and balance social justice with supply in today’s world. In practice, that means being able to change the mix, based on harvest forecasts. It is as simple as that…” (2/12).

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Decriminalization Of Sex Work Will Help Prevent HIV, Improve Health Care Access

Health-e News: Time to decriminalize prostitution
Maria Stacey, acting director of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)

“…The concept of structural interventions is one that the South African HIV community has struggled with in the past, but fortunately there is growing evidence for the impact of structural interventions on HIV infection in sex workers. These interventions include policy reform, addressing gender-based violence, addressing workplace safety, mobilization of sex workers to speak out for their rights, skills development, training and sensitization of health care workers and police, gender empowerment, and interventions to address stigma and discrimination. The idea that sex work should be recognized as work, in order to protect sex workers’ human rights and labor rights, and in order to reduce sex workers’ HIV risk, is … an idea whose time has come” (2/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Examines U.S. Leadership For Global Health In 114th Congress

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 114th Congress and Global Health: House Appropriations Committee, State and Foreign Ops, Labor HHS Subcommittees
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the leadership of several committees and subcommittees in the 114th Congress and their potential impact on global health (2/12).

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Council On Foreign Relations Backgrounder Examines Polio Eradication Efforts

Council on Foreign Relations: Global Efforts to Eradicate Polio
Danielle Renwick, copy editor at the Council on Foreign Relations, presents a backgrounder on efforts and challenges to eradicating polio worldwide (2/12).

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Blog Post Examines Efforts To Develop Chagas Disease Treatments

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Chagas disease: A silent kiss and a neglected killer
“In this guest post, Isabela Ribeiro, MD, head of the Chagas program at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), discusses the devastating toll of Chagas and ongoing efforts to develop new treatments and drug regimens for the disease…” (Chmiola, 2/13).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 260 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features six news articles, including a story examining the roll out of the Global Fund’s new funding model (2/12).

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