KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Launches Global Health Security Agenda, Partners With 26 Countries

News outlets report on the U.S.-led Global Health Security Agenda, a 26-nation partnership to better detect and prevent infectious disease outbreaks.

Associated Press: U.S., 26 countries launch effort to fight outbreaks
“The U.S. and 26 other countries began a new effort Thursday to prevent and fight outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases before they spread around the globe…” (Neergaard, 2/13).

Bloomberg News: Global Effort Signed to Halt Spread of Infectious Disease
“The U.S. won commitments from 26 countries and the World Health Organization to work together on systems to better detect and combat outbreaks of infectious diseases such as H7N9 avian flu and Ebola virus…” (Wayne, 2/13).

CQ News: Obama Administration Gears Up Initiative to Improve Global Health
“The United States and more than two dozen countries and international organizations are set to launch an initiative Thursday designed to hasten progress against infectious disease…” (Attias, 2/13).

Devex: U.S.-led Global Health Security agenda takes off
“…The Obama administration is launching on Thursday its new Global Health Security Agenda, ‘a White House-led effort to consolidate U.S. government efforts across the health and security sectors’ and help create ‘a unified global effort’ to address threats posed by global infectious diseases…” (Igoe, 2/13).

Financial Times: U.S. push for global fight on infectious diseases
“The U.S. is to launch a big push to increase international cooperation on tackling infectious diseases, warning that cross-border health risks ‘have never been greater’…” (Ward, 2/13).

The Hill: U.S. launches new effort against infectious disease
“Federal health officials are spearheading a new global effort to fight infectious diseases, particularly in countries that are ill-equipped to address rising threats…” (Viebeck, 2/13).

New York Times: U.S. Backs New Global Initiative Against Infectious Diseases
“The United States government said on Thursday it would spend $40 million to help low and middle-income countries develop and improve sophisticated systems to detect and respond to threats of infectious diseases, epidemics and bioterrorism…” (Tavernise, 2/13).

Science Magazine: Struggling Nations Would Get Help Under New Global Health Effort
“Representatives from 26 countries are planning to hold a simultaneous meeting in Washington, D.C., and Geneva today to launch a Global Health Security Agenda that aims to better protect the world from infectious diseases. Spearheaded by the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO), the new effort is an attempt to help lagging nations catch up on efforts to develop plans to address a ‘public health emergency of international concern’…” (Cohen, 2/13).

Voice of America: U.S. Launches Global Effort to Bolster Outbreak Preparedness
“Controlling disease outbreaks that threaten global public health is the goal of a new, 26-nation partnership launched in Washington. The United States is leading a group of countries and international organizations to help improve the world’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats…” (Baragona, 2/13).

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African Officials Attend UNAIDS, Lancet Commission Meeting In London

A Rwandan news outlet and the Government of Ghana report on the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission meeting that took place in London on Thursday.

New Times Rwanda: UNAIDS meet discusses global health
“The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, [Thursday] joined the other UNAIDS and Lancet Commissioners in London for a meeting to discuss the future of HIV/AIDS and global health…” (2/14).

Government of Ghana: President Mahama Attends UNAIDS & Lancet Commission Meeting
“President John Dramani Mahama [of Ghana] joined fellow Commissioners of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission in London [Thursday], as part of renewed international efforts to defeat the scourge of HIV and AIDS and thereby advance global health…” (2/13).

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Progress On Women's Rights Good But Unequal, U.N. Report Says

News outlets report on a new U.N. report, the International Conference on Population and Development Global Review Report, which says progress on women’s health and rights is steady but unequal.

The Guardian: Big gains made on women’s health, but access still unequal, says U.N.
“Efforts to ensure women’s access to family planning, and to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths, have achieved significant results over the past 20 years, but progress has been unequal and fragmented, according to the U.N….” (Ford, 2/12).

Huffington Post: Progress Is ‘Unequal And Fragmented’ For Women: U.N. Report
“Though fewer women are dying during childbirth and access to education has increased in the past 20 years, many of these gains are not reaching women living in the world’s poorest communities, a new U.N. report concluded…” (Goldberg, 2/13).

New York Times: U.N. Report Says Progress for Women Is Unequal
“Twenty years after a landmark United Nations summit meeting in Cairo called on countries around the world to allow women greater control over their health and destiny, women worldwide have fewer children, are less likely to die of childbirth and have made great strides in literacy, according to a major report released Wednesday by the world body…” (Sengupta, 2/12).

U.N. News Centre: Ignoring equality, rights and women’s health risks derailing development — U.N. officials
“While nearly one billion people have escaped extreme poverty in the past 20 years and child and maternal mortality have been cut by almost one half, much more work remains to be done to address inequalities and ensure the rights and dignity of all, especially women and children, top United Nations officials stressed today…” (2/12).

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S. African President Praises Country's HIV/AIDS Policies In National Speech

South African news outlets report on President Jacob Zuma’s mention of HIV/AIDS policies in his State of the Nation address.

SAPA/Independent Online: Zuma proud of HIV/AIDS turnaround
“A turnaround in South Africa’s HIV and AIDS policies was a great achievement by the country’s government, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday. ‘The HIV and AIDS turnaround is one of the biggest achievements of this administration and we are used as a model country by the United Nations AIDS programs,’ Zuma said during his State of the Nation address…” (2/13).

SouthAfrica.info: SA to expand HIV treatment program
“South Africa aims to increase the number of people on its state antiretroviral (ARV) treatment program to at least 4.6 million people over the next five years, says President Jacob Zuma…” (2/14).

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U.N. Continues Humanitarian Aid Efforts In CAR

News outlets report on ongoing U.N. humanitarian aid operations in Central African Republic (CAR).

Agence France-Presse: U.N. starts food airlift to restive Central Africa
“The U.N. food agency on Wednesday launched one of its largest-ever emergency food airlifts, flying in aliments to the Central African Republic…” (2/12).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. emergency fund allocates another $10 million for Central African Republic aid effort
“The United Nations has allocated an additional $10 million from its emergency humanitarian fund to support the most critical relief operations in Central African Republic (CAR), where hundreds of thousands have been uprooted by violence across the country…” (2/13).

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More Aid Reaches Homs In Syria; U.N. Urged To Act On Humanitarian Resolution

News outlets report on ongoing efforts to reach a humanitarian resolution on Syria, as well as efforts to evacuate people from the besieged city of Homs.

New York Times: U.N. Security Council Urged to Act on Humanitarian Aid to Syria
“The hard-won humanitarian cease-fire in the Syrian city of Homs — the sole success that occurred during the peace talks in Geneva — cannot be considered ‘progress,’ the United Nations’ top official for emergency operations said Thursday evening as she urged the Security Council to ensure that aid reach those who need it and aid workers can do their work without getting shot…” (Sengupta/Barnard, 2/13).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: More aid gets into besieged Homs as more evacuees leave, U.N. reports
“More relief moved in today for Syrians trapped in the Old City of Homs for nearly two years without aid, and more evacuees moved out, as government and opposition delegates met in Geneva in United Nations-sponsored talks seeking to end the bloody conflict…” (2/12).

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Despite Ceasefire In South Sudan, Fighting Continues, Challenges Aid Delivery

New York Times: Reports of South Sudan Fighting, Despite Pact, Prompt Worry and Warnings
“The ranks of displaced people have swelled to nearly 900,000, close to a tenth of the entire population. Humanitarian groups warn that millions could go hungry if fields remain unplowed before the coming rainy season. Aid workers themselves are on the run, hiding ever deeper in the bush to escape attack. Fighting has continued in South Sudan, both rebels and government officials say, in spite of the cease-fire agreement last month that was meant to bring peace to the young nation while a broader political solution was found…” (Kulish, 2/12).

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Experts Call For Urgent Action On Clean Cookstoves

SciDev.Net: Urgent action ‘needed for clean cooking, heating fuels’
“Urgent measures are needed to reduce exposure to smoke from traditional cooking and heating methods such as using solid fuels, which contribute to more than four million deaths a year globally, a conference has heard. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) organized the National Clean Cookstoves and Fuels Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, last week (4-7 February)…” (Nakweya, 2/12).

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Lawrence Ellison Foundation Pledges $100M Toward Polio Eradication

Bloomberg News: Ellison Foundation Pledges $100 Million Donation to End Polio
“The Lawrence Ellison Foundation, created by Oracle Corp. (ORCL)’s chief executive, pledged $100 million toward the effort to eliminate polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said in a statement. The donation, $20 million of which was given last year, will help fund the initiative’s $5.5 billion, six-year plan to eradicate the disease, the group said in the statement…” (Hart, 2/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Security Is A U.S. National Priority

The following opinion pieces address the U.S. government’s new Global Health Security Agenda.

CNN: Why global health security is a national priority
Secretary of State John Kerry, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Lisa Monaco, assistant to the U.S. president for homeland security and counterterrorism

“…Infectious diseases — whether naturally occurring, deliberate or accidental — have the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of lives lost, economic impact and ability to recover, just as with nuclear, chemical, or cybersecurity attacks. … The United States has made addressing infectious disease threats a priority. On Thursday in Washington and Geneva, we are convening 26 countries to launch a Global Health Security Agenda that will accelerate progress on addressing a wide range of global health security threats. … To achieve this goal, we must work more effectively across sectors and governments, harmonize our efforts, identify what works and measure our progress. We invite national leaders, international organizations and nongovernmental stakeholders from around the world to join us in this endeavor. Our security and the lives and livelihoods of our citizens depend on it” (2/12).

The Atlantic: Why Global Health Security Is Imperative
CDC Director Thomas Frieden

“…With the globalization of travel and trade of foods and drugs, dangerous pathogens that arise anywhere in the world are just a plane ride away. U.S. national health security depends on global health security, because a threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. That is why this morning, the Centers for Disease Control, working in partnership with the Department of Defense, announced that we will be committing $40 million to 10 additional countries to continue this kind of initial rapid response and increase progress toward global health security. … The odds against diseases breaching our borders will be much more in our favor when more nations become capable of maintaining their own health security” (2/13).

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Look To Global HIV Treatment Successes For Lessons On Hepatitis C

Washington Post: The global AIDS response can help in fighting hepatitis C
Paul Farmer, a professor at Harvard University, an infectious disease physician with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and a co-founder of Partners in Health

“…Smart investments in accurate diagnosis and in effective therapy for hepatitis C could save millions of lives in the coming years, radically cut transmission and pave the way toward eradication of the virus. Or, we could choose to ignore the lessons of the AIDS response and stand by as outcomes improve solely among the fortunate few who enjoy ready access to the fruits of modern medicine. Divergence of outcomes occurs within nations and across them; they grow whenever innovation is not coupled with implementation among the most vulnerable. But we live in one world. As infectious pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis remind us, our hopes are tied together more closely than we might imagine” (2/12).

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Public Support For U.S. Foreign Aid 'Near A Historic Low'

GlobalPost’s “The Unraveler”: U.S. foreign aid is shrinking and Americans don’t care
Michael Moran, foreign affairs columnist for GlobalPost

“As the White House puts finishing touches on its budget plan for 2015, most of the attention is focusing on domestic issues. … but something’s absent from the national conversation: foreign aid. … Politically controversial and wildly misunderstood by the public, the money spent by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fight hunger and disease abroad is at a low ebb — and ever likely to stay there. … Polls indicate public support for foreign aid near a historic low. Indeed, one recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a majority of Americans believe the U.S. spends 28 percent of its annual budget on foreign aid. The truth (mathematical — you can look it up!) is that U.S. foreign aid spending represents less than one percent of U.S. government spending. And that’s not going to change this year no matter how noble the Millennium Challenge Goals might seem” (2/13).

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Maintaining Health Gains In Afghanistan Must Be Aim Of Drawdown Agreements

Foreign Policy: The Taliban Are Winning The War On Polio
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health, and Maxine Builder, research associate, at the Council on Foreign Relations

“This week’s tragic reappearance of polio in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, after 13 years, poses serious questions about the future of health in the country following the scheduled withdrawal of United States military personnel at the end of 2014. … Time will tell if this case of polio in Kabul is a harbinger of grim times ahead. Achievements in health have been made in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. … But these advances in health outcomes are fragile, and continued investment is needed to keep up these gains. … Maintaining forward movement in the improvement of health must be a key part of all agreements related to the withdrawal of U.S. military and government personnel, United Nations agencies, and NGOs. Otherwise, there is the real possibility that Taliban plots to obstruct polio vaccinations could derail many hard-fought gains in global health and development…” (2/12).

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Humanitarian Resolution In Syria Must Be Reached To Save Civilians

The Guardian: Syria: save the civilians
“…If humanitarian access could be extended to other cities and towns [in Syria other than Homs], we might be able to speak of a real improvement at a time when, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the pro-opposition monitoring group, Syrians are being killed at the fastest rate since the conflict began. Such an extension would be facilitated if the U.N. Security Council could reach agreement on a resolution on humanitarian aid access in Syria. But Russia has said it will veto the resolution in its present form, which it claims could be used as justification for military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. … Russia and Iran could change the balance by reducing aid, but Russia shows no sign of doing so, and Iran is not even at Geneva. Yet humanitarian access could be largely insulated from the fighting, and both sides have a clear duty to give it a real chance” (2/12).

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India's Supreme Court Can Help Country Prioritize Pollution Reduction

New York Times: India’s Air Pollution Emergency
“…More people die of asthma in India than anywhere else in the world. Indoor air pollution, mostly from cooking fires, and outdoor air pollution are the third and fifth leading causes of death in India. … The best hope for reining in air pollution lies with India’s Supreme Court. It has handed down a series of landmark environmental decisions … So far, pollution has not been an issue ahead of general elections in May. The Supreme Court could help make it one” (2/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs Discuss U.S. Global Health Security Agenda

Writing in the White House Blog, Lisa Monaco, assistant to the U.S. president for homeland security and counterterrorism, discusses the newly launched “Global Health Security Agenda, an international effort to enhance our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease threats. … The president’s FY 2015 Budget will include a request for $45 million in new funding specifically dedicated to this effort…” (2/13). The Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog features two video interviews, one with CDC Director Tom Frieden and the other with Laura Holgate, senior director at the National Security Council, who each discuss the Global Health Security Agenda (Fisher, 2/13).

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Global Commission On HIV Releases Follow-Up Recommendations

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses follow-up recommendations for the Global Commission on HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health report (.pdf) that was released in July 2012. The follow-up report (.pdf) “comes with recommendations to advance the recommendations [of the 2012 report], including outreach to Parliamentarians, rights-based training for law enforcement, work with media, community and religious leaders to identify and address stigma and discrimination, and more” (Barton, 2/12).

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U.K. House Of Lords Discusses NTDs

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End The Neglect” blog highlights a U.K. House of Lords discussion that took place last week on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “…The Lords discussed a wide array of important topics, including: efforts to include NTDs in the post-2015 development agenda; cross-sector collaboration to create sustainable change; pharmaceutical company donations; the importance of scaling up cost-effective mass drug administration (MDA) programs; and the urgent need to mobilize resources from additional donor and endemic governments to close the NTD funding gap…” (2/13).

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