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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

NPR Reviews Rajiv Shah's Tenure As USAID Administrator

NPR: From Haiti’s Earthquake To Ebola, He Had Five Busy Years At USAID
“…[A]sk [Rajiv] Shah to name the most important thing he achieved as head of USAID, and he points to the strong bipartisan support that he gained for American aid. ‘And because of that bipartisan support,’ he says, ‘We’ve rebuilt USAID as the world’s premier development agency’…” (Aizenman, 2/18).

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WHO Urges Governments To Scale Up Investment In Efforts Against NTDs

Media outlets discuss a new WHO report, titled “Investing to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases.”

Agence France-Presse: WHO urges billions to fight neglected tropical diseases
“The World Health Organization on Thursday urged countries to invest billions of dollars to tackle 17 neglected tropical diseases — including dengue fever, leprosy, and sleeping sickness — which kill 500,000 people globally each year…” (Carmichael, 2/19).

Deutsche Welle: WHO urges billions in fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases
“…Some 1.5 billion people in 149 countries are affected by NTDs … according to the WHO. The U.N. organization forecasted a total of $34 billion needed for the fight against NTDs in the next 16 years…” (2/19).

Reuters: WHO urges developing countries to fund tropical diseases fight
“… ‘Increased investments by national governments can alleviate human misery, distribute economic gains more evenly, and free masses of people long trapped in poverty,’ WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a report…” (Kelland, 2/19).

WHO: WHO urges governments to increase investment to tackle neglected tropical diseases
“…This investment would represent as little as 0.1 percent of current domestic expenditure on health in affected low- and middle-income countries for the period 2015-2030…” (2/19).

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Ebola Cases Down, But Challenges Remain, Vigilance Must Be Maintained, U.N. Says

Agence France-Presse: SLeone hunts infected as Ebola crisis hits ‘turning point’
“Sierra Leone launched a door-to-door search Wednesday for ‘hidden’ Ebola patients as the head of the United Nations announced the world was at ‘a critical turning point’ in the crisis…” (Johnson, 2/18).

New York Times: Ebola Risks Linger, Officials Warn
“Top United Nations officials on Wednesday warned against complacency over the waning Ebola epidemic in three West African countries and emphasized the difficulty of eradicating the disease that has left nearly 9,400 people dead…” (Gladstone, 2/18).

Reuters: Ebola cases fall in West Africa, but challenges remain — WHO
“West Africa recorded 128 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the week to Feb. 15, the first decrease in three weeks, but resistance in some communities threatened efforts to end the epidemic, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday…” (Bavier, 2/18).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. envoy likens final phase of response to ‘looking for needles in haystacks’
“…[The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David] Nabarro told reports that having strong surveillance capabilities on the ground to identify people with Ebola, to confirm diagnosis, to quickly arrangement arrange effective treatment, to identify people that are their contacts and to keep those people under review for 21 days ‘is a really difficult task,’ especially as these tasks must be coordinated through 63 different government structures in an area the size of France…” (2/18).

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U.N. To Release Accounting Report On Ebola Funding Distribution

Agence France-Presse: U.N. to issue first report on Ebola funds
“The United Nations will this week publish a first report on funding for the Ebola response, a top official said Wednesday, after Sierra Leone lost track of more than $3 million donated to fight the epidemic. … U.N. Ebola coordinator David Nabarro told the General Assembly that a special fund set up to quickly disburse funds had handed out $131 million from 31 donors since September…” (2/18).

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Sex Discriminatory Laws Still Prevalent In Many Countries, Violating International Conventions, Declarations, Report Shows

Inter Press Service: Sexist Laws Still Thrive Worldwide
“A rash of sex discriminatory laws — including the legalization of polygamy, marital rape, abduction, and the justification of violence against women — remains in statute books around the world. In a new report … the New York-based Equality Now has identified dozens of countries … which have continued with discriminatory laws in violation of international conventions and U.N. declarations…” (Deen, 2/18).

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Progress Against Global Obesity Slow; Health Experts Call For More Policy Measures

Reuters: Global progress against obesity “unacceptably slow”
“Global progress toward tackling obesity has been ‘unacceptably slow,’ health experts said on Wednesday, with only one in four countries implementing a policy on healthy eating before 2010. In a series of studies published in The Lancet medical journal, researchers said that in less than a generation, rates of child obesity have risen dramatically worldwide, yet few countries have taken regulatory steps to protect children or implemented recommended healthy food policies…” (Kelland, 2/18).

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The Guardian Examines Global Gains On MDGs To Reduce Extreme Poverty, Hunger

The Guardian: What is the Millennium Development Goal on poverty and hunger all about?
“…The target to reduce extreme poverty by half was reached by 2010, when the global poverty rate dropped to 22 percent, making it one of the first targets across all the goals to be met. … It’s uncertain if hunger will be halved by the end of this year…” (Anderson, 2/19).

The Guardian: Millennium Development Goal 1: 15 achievements on poverty and hunger
“In the years since the MDGs were launched, 74 countries have halved their levels of poverty and 173 million fewer people experience chronic hunger…” (Anderson, 2/19).

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Donors, NGOs Request Emergency Funding For Food Crisis In Central America

Devex: Little relief in Central America’s food crisis
“The worst drought in a decade has brought parts of Central America to the brink of what has been called an emerging food crisis. Unless ‘urgently needed’ funds materialize soon, two million people who are currently food-insecure could face an even more dire outlook, according to donors and NGOs who are currently scrambling to attract emergency funding to a region often overlooked by food security programs…” (Luke, 2/19).

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Indian Campaign Aims To Eliminate Elephantiasis

Huffington Post: Historic Health Push Aims To Wipe Out Elephantiasis, Disease That Causes Intense Social Stigma And Pain
“…India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently unveiled its mission to launch the largest mass drug administration in history to eliminate elephantiasis, a condition that leads to inescapable social stigma in addition to physical pain…” (Goldberg, 2/18).

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Gene Therapy-Type Technique Shows Promise In Preventing HIV Infection Among Monkeys; Researchers Look Toward Human Testing

News outlets report on a study published in Nature showing HIV infection in monkeys can be prevented using a gene therapy-type technique.

BBC News: HIV vaccine that transforms cell DNA brings fresh hope (Gallagher, 2/18).
Los Angeles Times: With genetic engineering, scientists use decoy molecule to trick HIV (Morin, 2/18).
Newsweek: Promising HIV ‘Vaccine’ Inactivates All Virus Strains, Prevents Infection (Main, 2/18).
New York Times: New Approach to Blocking HIV Raises Hopes for an AIDS Vaccine (McNeil, 2/18).
Science: Stopping HIV with an artificial protein (Cohen, 2/18).
Wall Street Journal: Molecule Shows Ability to Block AIDS Virus (McKay, 2/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Multilateral, Cooperative Funding Options Must Be Established For SDGs To Succeed

Project Syndicate: New Frontiers in Development Finance
Mahmoud Mohieldin, corporate secretary and the president’s special envoy at the World Bank Group, and Marco Scuriatti, special assistant at the Office of the President’s Envoy on the Post-2015 Agenda at the World Bank Group

“…To support this joint approach [to funding for the Sustainable Development Goals], the World Bank is providing an analysis, based on 11 case studies, of how countries in diverse circumstances can use a combination of public, private, domestic, and international sources of financing most effectively to fund the implementation of the SDGs. The analysis will also recommend a pragmatic approach to assessing the SDGs’ financing needs at the country level…” (2/18).

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Food Security, Nutrition Should Be Treated As Human Right In SDGs

The Guardian: Why are there still so many hungry people in the world?
Hilal Elver, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food

“…The new [Sustainable Development Goals] should not be allowed to operate as easily ignored principles, but need to be given teeth. We can eradicate poverty, maintain food security, and ensure the right to adequate and nutritious food for all. These fundamental aims were long ago set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and repeated in the International Covenant of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The task is huge, but the tools are there. The challenge is mainly a matter of fashioning political will strong enough to overcome entrenched interests in maintaining food insecurity” (2/19).

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WHO Tobacco Control Framework To Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary

Inter Press Service: Should We Celebrate 10 Years of the Global Tobacco Control Treaty?
Laurent Huber, director of the Framework Convention Alliance

“February 27 will mark the 10th anniversary of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first global public health treaty. Today the FCTC has 180 Parties, making it among the most widely adopted international instruments. … No one expected the FCTC to be an instant cure. At the outset, the curve of the epidemic was simply too steep to believe that, in 10 years’ time, it could be reversed. We’ve made great strides. … The FCTC is the beginning, not the end, of a long and purposeful journey” (2/18).

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Prioritizing Adolescent Reproductive Health Becomes Crucial Initiative In Kenya

Huffington Post: Advancing Adolescent Health and Rights: Kenya Can Lead the Way
Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) representative to Kenya

“On 17 February 2015 in Nairobi, the President of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, a passionate advocate for the advancement of youth and empowerment of young people, presided over the launch of the Global All In! Campaign, a partnership aimed at consolidating efforts against HIV/AIDS among adolescents. … With political commitment at the highest levels, the Kenya’s First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign, and the signing of a communiqué by 15 County Governors of Kenya with the highest burden of maternal deaths to advance adolescent health, Kenya indeed can lead the way” (2/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

After 5-Year Tenure, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah Parts Agency With 5 Lessons

U.S. State Department’s “DipNote”: Farewell: Reflections on Five Years of U.S. Development Assistance
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah reflects on his five-year tenure at the agency with five parting lessons for carrying the U.S. development agenda forward. “…We will have the opportunity to come together and seize the moment, by elevating and agreeing to a set of [new development] goals that focus around ending extreme poverty, ending hunger, and ending child death — and doing it in a measurable way between now and 2030, and financing that vision with creativity and focus…” (2/18).

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Conference Discusses Maternal Mortality, Reproductive Health MDGs In Nigeria

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Emerging Priorities for Maternal Health in Nigeria: Surveying the Field
Katrina Braxton, program assistant for the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, summarizes a videoconference that took place in both Abuja, Nigeria, and Washington, D.C., on December 17, during which participants discussed efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal mortality by two-thirds and achieving universal access to reproductive health care in Nigeria (2/19).

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Podcast Explores Ebola Epidemic Responses

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Development Channel”: Podcast: What the Ebola Outbreak Says About Global Health Governance
In a guest post and podcast, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, interviews Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Andrew Price-Smith, professor and chair of the political science department at Colorado College, about responses to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (Lemmon, 2/17).

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Blog Post Explores Link Between Nutrition, Health As Part Of New Campaign

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought”: Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Food as Medicine — the Link between Nutrition and Health
Roger Thurow, senior fellow for global agriculture and food at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, writes about the relationship between nutrition and health. The blog post is part of the Chicago Council’s new campaign, “Healthy Food for a Healthy World,” which “aims to build awareness about the important role food can play in promoting health and alleviating malnutrition” (2/18).

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Climate Change Could Contribute To Shifting Global Disease Patterns, Research Suggests

Humanosphere: Climate change may increase spread of infectious diseases, researchers say
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses the research of zoologists Daniel Brooks and Eric Hoberg, who examine the correlations between climate change and emerging diseases in a study published recently in the journal Philosophical Transactions B. The researchers recommend increased disease surveillance and more cooperation among disease specialists and zoologists (2/18).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash highlights the fund’s weekly TB forums with global partners, profiles a pastor’s efforts against malaria, and discusses the fund’s new Innovation Hub (2/19).

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