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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Director Discusses U.S. Efforts To Respond To MDR-TB In Interview

Huffington Post: CDC Director Calls It ‘Shameful’ This Curable Disease Still Kills Millions
“…The Huffington Post spoke with [CDC Director Tom] Frieden on Thursday about how to stem the growing threat of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB, and what he hopes to see in his lifetime for the fight against a disease that kills over 1.5 million people each year…” (Weber, 1/8).

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Houston Chronicle Profiles Work Of U.S. Science Envoy For The Middle East Peter Hotez

Houston Chronicle: Big idea: ‘Vaccine diplomacy’ in the Middle East
“…[Tropical disease expert Peter J. Hotez,] who was appointed U.S. science envoy for the Middle East in 2015, brought his knowledge of these neglected tropical diseases to the turmoil in the Middle East and discovered the makings of a new global epidemic. … As part of the larger U.S.-led Global Health Security Agenda, Hotez is using his experiences as a vaccine developer for neglected tropical diseases and as head of the Sabin Vaccine Institute non-profit product development partnership to build and shape regional capacity for making vaccines in the Middle East and North Africa…” (White, 1/9).

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Aid Expected To Reach Syrian Town Of Madaya This Week Following U.N., NGO Demands For Access

The Guardian: Aid to reach starving Syrian town of Madaya by Monday
“Deliveries of food, medical supplies, and blankets to three towns in Syria where residents say they are starving to death will begin by Sunday or Monday, a Red Cross official has said…” (Shaheen/Wintour, 1/8).

New York Times: Starving Syrians in Madaya Are Denied Aid Amid Political Jockeying
“…At least 28 people, including six babies, have died from hunger-related causes at a clinic in Madaya aided by Doctors Without Borders, medics there say. … Their plight represents a stark failure of international powers that has worsened even as they intensify military and diplomatic activities, all in the name of resolving the conflict…” (Barnard et al., 1/10).

U.N. News Centre: Calling state of besieged Syrian town ‘horrendous,’ U.N. seeks humanitarian access
“…[Last week,] U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria Yacoub El Hillo and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator Kevin Kennedy issued a joint statement calling for unimpeded access to people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, with only 10 percent of all requests for U.N. inter-agency convoys to these areas approved and delivered in the past year…” (1/8).

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MSF Clinic In Yemen Hit By Ordnance; Third Incident In 3 Months, Group Says

New York Times: Hospital Aided by Doctors Without Borders Is Bombed in Yemen
“A hospital in northern Yemen supported by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders was struck by ordnance early Sunday, killing at least four people and causing several buildings to collapse, the organization said in a statement…” (Fahim, 1/10).

Reuters: ‘Projectile’ hits Médecins Sans Frontières clinic in Yemen, killing four: MSF
“…MSF said it was not clear who was behind the attack that also wounded 10 other people in Shiara Hospital in the Razeh district, where the group has worked since November last year. … ‘This is the third severe incident in the last three months. Our teams struggle on a daily basis to ensure the respect of health facilities,’ MSF wrote…” (Browning, 1/10).

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Oral Polio Vaccines Pose Risk Of Outbreaks Among Inadequately Immunized Populations

Vox: We’ve almost eradicated polio. Ironically, a big threat now is vaccines.
“The world is closer than ever to eradicating polio, the horrible paralysis-inducing disease that primarily infects children. But the tail-end efforts are at risk from the very thing that made eradication programs a success: the vaccines themselves. … The [oral polio] vaccine’s risk: It contains a live virus, which can mutate back into a virulent form…” (Resnick, 1/8).

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Gavi CEO Berkeley Speaks About India's Childhood Immunization Efforts In Interview

Indian Express: Success against polio has emboldened India’s immunization drive: Dr. Seth Berkeley
“Dr. Seth Berkeley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is currently in India and has inked an agreement for $500 million to support India’s immunization drive. [In this interview,] Berkeley shares his views on the government’s engagement on vaccination and the way forward for India, which supplies 60 percent of the world’s vaccines and yet has the largest number of unimmunized children…” (Ghosh, 1/9).

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Al Jazeera America Examines Malaria In India

Al Jazeera America: Revealed: The malaria crisis India doesn’t want to acknowledge
“…The country’s revamped national malaria program is on par with the standard of global care. But its record-keeping has few admirers: last year the government recorded only 561 deaths due to malaria, while an independent estimate earlier in the decade shows that the real toll could be as high as 200,000 each year. … An extensive investigation by Al Jazeera America unearthed routine manipulation of malaria data, crippling shortages of essential supplies, chronic understaffing of hospitals, and enduring dysfunction in World Bank-funded projects, which led to the Indian government returning millions of dollars in aid…” (Rao/Nemana, 1/11).

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Philippines' Elimination Of National Contraception Program Funding Will Have Negative Impacts, Advocates Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Philippines contraception funding cut will fuel HIV and maternal deaths: activists
“The Philippines legislature’s decision to eliminate funding for contraception will fuel HIV infections, maternal deaths, and teen pregnancies, particularly among poor girls and women, reproductive rights advocates said on Friday. The decision to cut the $21 million contraceptive budget surprised and infuriated legislators and advocacy groups who had struggled more than a decade to pass the Reproductive Health Law that guaranteed funds to provide contraceptives to the poor…” (Santos, 1/8).

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Drug-Resistant TB Creating Health Care, Funding Challenges For Papua New Guinea

ABC Online: Tuberculosis outbreak in Papua New Guinea worsens, as health workers plead for promised funding
“…More than 160 of the 15,000 people living on the island of Daru, near the PNG-Australia border, have drug-resistant tuberculosis — the highest rate in the world. The PNG government has not yet delivered on promised funding for an emergency response, and a prevailing dry weather pattern is intensifying the problem, as sick people can no longer travel for treatment…” (Tlozek, 1/11).

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NGOs Appeal For Funding As El Niño Weather Pattern Creates Drought, Water Shortages In Southern Africa

Associated Press: South Africa: Drought leads to failed crops, water shortages
“…The drought [in South Africa] is a sign of a changing climate the whole region must prepare for, say experts. The El Niño weather phenomenon has returned to southern Africa, marked by delayed rainfall and unusually high temperatures, according to the World Food Programme. The environmental effects of El Niño are expected to last until at least 2017, affecting the food security of 29 million people due to poor harvests, said the WFP report…” (Chutel, 1/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Aid agencies call for funds to save lives in El Niño-hit countries
“An inadequate response to El Niño would put tens of millions of people at risk of hunger, water shortages, and disease, a group of leading aid agencies said, calling on donors for funding to save lives in countries hit by the weather phenomenon. … The aid groups, including Oxfam and World Vision, said ‘urgently required’ funding should go into disaster preparedness, resilience building, and crisis response, which would save money in the future…” (Mis, 1/8).

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Nigeria Reports 86 Suspected Lassa Fever Cases, Including 40 Deaths

Agence France-Presse: Suspected Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria ‘kills 40’
“Forty people have died in Nigeria in a suspected outbreak of Lassa fever in 10 states across the country, Health Minister Isaac Adewole said Friday. … The minister said that so far, laboratory tests have confirmed that 22 of the 86 suspected cases were Lassa fever and results were expected on the remainder…” (1/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

USAID Commemorates, Highlights Key Global Health Achievements In 2015

Huffington Post: 2015 in Review: Commemorating a Year of Key Global Health Achievements
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID

“…For the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the broader global health community alike, 2015 was a momentous year. Today, I reflect back on some of the highlights and key moments from the past 12 months of our work to increase access to quality health care for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals and communities. … We must recognize that many of these global health milestones have been achieved thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and the support of many public and private implementing partners around the world. With the start of the new year, we have officially entered the era of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. I am encouraged by our successes over the past 12 months, and I look forward to reaching new global health milestones in 2016. I am confident that by 2030, the new target date set for the SDGs, the health and well being of people will be even better than what it is today” (1/8).

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Achieving AIDS-Free Generation Possible With Proper Utilization Of Prevention, Treatment Tools

Washington Post: No more excuses. We have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health

“…[W]hy does this global [HIV] pandemic continue to rage? It is not that we lack the medical advances and interventions to end the pandemic. It is that our proven tools have not been implemented adequately or uniformly. … [W]e have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and globally. We can save the lives of infected individuals and prevent them from infecting others by getting them into treatment programs and maintaining them there. In addition, we can effectively prevent HIV infection in at-risk populations by a number of means, including the use of the highly effective PrEP. … Today, we have the tools to end this modern-day plague. We must not squander the opportunity. History will judge us harshly if we do” (1/8).

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As Discussion Of Peace Efforts Continue, U.S. Should Insist On Ending Starvation, Bombing Of Civilians In Syria

Washington Post: The siege of Madaya casts a shadow on Syrian peace efforts
Editorial Board

“…[T]he story of Madaya suggests that the Assad regime and its allies have no intention of ending their horrific assaults on the country’s civilians, regardless of what is said in a conference hall in Geneva or at the U.N. Security Council. … [T]he Assad regime agreed months ago to allow food and other international aid into Madaya, which is near the Lebanese border, in exchange for relief in two Shiite-populated towns in rebel-held areas farther north. The deal was supposed to be an example of the cease-fires that [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry has suggested could be the first fruits of the diplomatic process. Humanitarian access has also been mandated by multiple Security Council resolutions, including one passed unanimously on December 18 that Mr. Kerry hailed for providing ‘clarity about the steps that need to be taken.’ In the three weeks since then, no food has entered Madaya. … Before spending more time discussing grand solutions with the envoys of Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran, the United States should insist that the starvation and bombing of civilians finally end” (1/9).

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Antibiotics Should Be Dispensed 'Judiciously' In Health, Agriculture Sectors

Washington Post: Another setback for antibiotics
Editorial Board

“…The agriculture industry has long defended giving antibiotics to healthy animals to help them grow larger and faster, saying that the practice does not contribute to resistance to antibiotics important to human health. But the latest findings suggest humans and other animals are not so easily separated when it comes to antibiotic resistance. It also suggests that relatively older antibiotics, like colistin, can lead to resistance that undermines more modern antibiotics vital to human health. Antibiotics have for too long been overused in both human health and animal agriculture, and the new research is yet another reason to insist these valuable drugs be dispensed more judiciously — everywhere” (1/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Community Should Increase Commitment To Climate-Resilient Agriculture To Achieve Global Food Security

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: COP21: What It Means For Agriculture and Global Food Security
Nancy Stetson, special representative for global food security at the U.S. Department of State, discusses the link between climate change and sustainable agriculture and global food security, as well as the goals outlined in the COP21 agreement, writing, “Through innovative approaches such as climate-smart agriculture, new technologies, reducing land clearing and deforestation for agriculture, and a commitment to transforming the way we produce food, the agricultural sector can remain resilient and adapt to climate change in such a way that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced” (1/8).

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