KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Obama Calls For R&D Of Tests, Vaccines, Treatments For Zika Virus

The Hill: Obama briefed on rapidly spreading Zika disease
“President Obama on Tuesday directed his top health officials to step up public outreach on the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection that is now expected to spread across the U.S. Obama received a briefing in the White House from health and national security officials including Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden…” (Ferris, 1/26).

Reuters: Obama: diagnostic tests, vaccines and treatments needed for Zika virus
“U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for the rapid development of tests, vaccines, and treatments to fight the Zika virus, following a briefing on the spread of the mosquito-transmitted disease, the White House said…” (Rampton, 1/26).

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As WHO Predicts Spread Of Zika Throughout Americas, News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of Virus, Vector Control

Associated Press: Health minister: Brazil is ‘losing battle’ against mosquito (Barchfield, 1/26).

Associated Press: U.N.: Zika virus link to babies’ small heads ‘circumstantial’ (Keaten, 1/26).

Associated Press: U.S. Virgin Islands Reports Its First Zika Virus Case (1/22).

Broadly: As Zika Virus Spreads, Women Warned Against Pregnancy but Denied Family Planning (Shibata, 1/25).

Financial Times: The hunt for Zika’s link to the lost children of the Americas (Ahuja, 1/26).

The Guardian: Rights groups denounce Zika advice to avoid pregnancy in Latin America (Brodzinsky, 1/27).

New York Times: Zika Testing Is Urged for Some Newborns (Saint Louis, 1/26).

New York Times: Brazil Will Deploy Troops to Spread Awareness of Zika Virus (Romero, 1/26).

New York Times: Zika Virus: Two Cases Suggest It Could Be Spread Through Sex (McNeil, 1/25).

New York Times: El Salvador’s Advice on Zika Virus: Don’t Have Babies (Ahmed, 1/25).

NPR: Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Join The Fight To Stop Zika Virus (Allen, 1/26).

NPR: Zika Virus Will Spread Through The Americas, Health Group Says (Kennedy, 1/25).

Reuters: Glaxo evaluating possibility of using vaccine technology for Zika (Penumudi/Grover, 1/25).

TIME: WHO Warns Zika Virus ‘Likely’ to Spread to U.S. (Zorthian, 1/25).

U.N. News Centre: Twenty countries in the Americas reporting cases of Zika virus — U.N. health agency (1/22).

U.S. News & World Report: Will the World Health Organization Drop the Zika Ball? (Sternberg, 1/26).

Washington Post: Zika virus: WHO says outbreak in U.S. likely imminent, CDC issues interim guidelines for testing infants (Cha, 1/26).

Washington Post: As Zika fear spreads, Brazilian mothers opt for mosquito-resistant baby clothing (Phillips, 1/25).

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British Chancellor George Osborne, Bill Gates Announce $4.28B For Malaria Eradication Efforts

News outlets report on an announcement of $4.28 billion in malaria funding by British Chancellor George Osborne and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published Monday in The Times.

Agence France-Presse: Britain and Bill Gates announce £3 billion to eradicate malaria
“…Chancellor George Osborne and [Bill] Gates announced a £3 billion ($4.28 billion, four billion euros) fund for research and to support efforts to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease…” (1/25).

The Guardian: Osborne: malaria eradication will create more prosperous world
“…Osborne has offered £500m a year for the next five years, which will come out of Britain’s international development budget. The Gates Foundation will put up an additional £140m. The money will go into the Ross Fund — named after Sir Ronald Ross, the British scientist who won a Nobel prize in 1902 for proving that mosquitoes transmitted malaria…” (Parveen, 1/25).

International Business Times: Bill Gates, British Government Set Up $4.3B Fund To Fight Malaria
“… ‘When it comes to human tragedy, no creature comes close to the devastation caused by the mosquito,’ read The Times article. ‘We are optimistic that in our lifetimes we can eradicate malaria and other deadly tropical diseases, and confront emerging threats, making the world a safer place for all,’ Gates and Osborne wrote in conclusion” (Goenka, 1/25).

Newsweek: U.K. and Bill Gates Pledge $4.3 Billion to Fight Malaria
“…Tackling malaria has become a pet project for philanthropist Gates, who is worth an estimated $77 billion. The Gates Foundation and the United Nations released a report in September 2015 laying out a roadmap for eradicating malaria by 2040” (Gaffey, 1/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Britain and Bill Gates unveil billion dollar initiative to fight malaria
“…The fund will support research and development for malaria and accelerate regional malaria elimination efforts…” (Whiting, 1/25).

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Gateses Discuss Polio Eradication, Health System Improvements, Foundation's 2016 Agenda In WEF Interviews

CBS News: Melinda Gates: One issue is key in conquering poverty
“…Melinda Gates said the most urgent issue is making investments in health systems around the world. ‘Because if people have a healthy life and can start out healthy, they then can go on and educate their children and participate in the economy,’ she told CBS News at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It’s part of what Gates and her husband call ‘upstream investments’…” (Song/Chiang, 1/22).

Wall Street Journal: Gates Foundation Sees Possible End to Polio Soon
“The world may well see its last case of polio in 2016, Bill and Melinda Gates said Friday, an event that would start a countdown toward the official eradication of the highly contagious and crippling disease. … The co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation laid out their agenda for the year ahead in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland…” (Blumenstein/Safdar, 1/22).

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UNICEF Issues $2.8B Appeal To Assist Children In Emergencies, Conflicts In 2016

News outlets report on various aspects of UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2016, which calls for $2.8 billion in aid.

Agence France-Presse: One in nine children globally live in conflict zones: UNICEF
“Some 250 million children — one in nine children worldwide — live in countries affected by violent conflicts, UNICEF lamented Tuesday, saying it needed nearly $3.0 billion this year to help the most vulnerable of them…” (1/26).

Associated Press: UNICEF seeks $2.8B to help kids in world emergencies in 2016
“…UNICEF Geneva’s director of emergency programs, Sikander Khan, says about a quarter of that appeal will target education, which the agency considers a ‘life-saving measure for children’ when war has shuttered many schools…” (1/26).

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF: one in nine children live in conflict zones
“Conflict and severe weather are forcing tens of millions of children from their homes and subjecting them to food shortages, violence, disease, abuse, and lack of education, UNICEF said on Tuesday…” (1/26).

The Guardian: UNICEF warns of severe child malnourishment in North Korea
“About 25,000 children in North Korea require immediate treatment for malnutrition after a drought cut food production by a fifth and the government reduced rations, UNICEF has warned. The U.N.’s children’s fund is asking for £12.6m ($18m) in donations for its North Korea work as part of a global £1.9bn humanitarian appeal for children…” (Holmes, 1/26).

International Business Times: Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Children Suffering Severe Malnutrition Need $18M In Aid Immediately, U.N. Says
“…UNICEF is asking for $8.5 million for nutrition, $5 million for water and sanitation, and $4.5 million for health care to meet the needs of the North Korean children. This includes money for lifesaving medication, immunization, prevention and treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia, therapeutic food, and access to safe drinking water…” (Winsor, 1/26).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF launches $2.8 billion humanitarian appeal for children
“…Noting that its Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 has doubled since this time three years ago, UNICEF is warning that the twin drivers of conflict and extreme weather are forcing growing numbers of children from their homes and exposing millions more to severe food shortages, violence, disease, abuse, as well as threats to their education…” (1/26).

VOA News: UNICEF Seeks $2.8B to Aid Children in Conflict Areas
“…The U.N. agency says climate change is a growing threat, with hundreds of millions of children living in areas prone to heavy flooding or severe drought. UNICEF’s director of emergency programs, Afshan Khan, told VOA children in Africa’s Sahel region are particularly vulnerable…” (Schlein, 1/26).

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International Conference On Family Planning Opens In Indonesia

News outlets report on the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, taking place this week in Indonesia.

Christian Science Monitor: Can family planning help the world? Lessons from Indonesia.
“Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, cut its fertility rate in half over a 30-year period. Now its program faces pushback from conservatives, mirroring global trends in family planning…” (LaFranchi, 1/24).

Global Health NOW: 2016 International Conference on Family Planning
“…The 2016 ICFP is co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia. Check back here throughout the week for new exclusive reports and Q&As…” (1/25).

The Guardian: Family planning is ‘critical link’ in eradicating poverty
“…Speaking at an international family planning conference in Bali, Ellen Starbird, director of population and reproductive health at USAID, said family planning was the ‘critical link’ to meet each of the 17 goals that were adopted by U.N. member states in September…” (Ebrahim/Ford, 1/26).

Wall Street Journal: Indonesia Tries to Trim Birth Rate to Aid Economy
“Indonesia seeks to revive a family planning program that has languished since its heyday decades ago, when its ‘two kids is enough’ campaign gained global attention and helped halve the nation’s fertility rate. Those efforts were in the spotlight on Monday when President Joko Widodo opened the International Conference on Family Planning by saying his government was working to make such programs affordable and accessible to address challenges posed by a growing population and ensure the success of future generations…” (Schonhardt, 1/25).

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BBC Documentary Examines SDGs, As U.N. SG Ban Calls On Governments To 'Leave No One Behind' In Development

BBC World Service: The New Face of Development
“As the Sustainable Development Goals replace the Millennium Development Goals in January, Mike Wooldridge asks what are the realistic prospects for eradicating poverty by 2030? Can such strategies really ‘leave no one behind’?…” (1/26).

U.N. News Centre: In Zurich, Ban calls strongly on governments to ‘leave no one behind’ in new era of global sustainability
“If the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were a pact between donors and recipients, the 2030 Agenda must become must become the basis of a new social contract, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [Friday], urging governments to show strong ownership in the framework by aligning policies, legislation, and resources so that people and the planet can benefit…” (1/22).

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WHO, Public Health Experts Call For Action To Address Emerging Disease Threats

International Business Times: How To Stop The Next Ebola Epidemic: Invest In Basic Public Health, Not Just Vaccines, Experts Say
“…[P]ublic health experts say that [vaccine research and development] efforts, while important, are overshadowing less glamorous but equally vital work, like creating basic health care infrastructure that could go much further in staving off future outbreaks, not just of Ebola but of other diseases as well. Yet these crucial, if mundane, tasks have long failed to attract the same attention and financial support from the organizations and donors that are so influential in global health today…” (Whitman, 1/23).

VOA News: WHO Calls for Action to Tackle Threat of Emerging Diseases
“The director general of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, is calling for rapid action to tackle the growing threat of emerging diseases. At the opening of the agency’s week-long Executive Committee session, the WHO chief warned some major global health threats will demand urgent, collaborative action in the months ahead…” (Schlein, 1/25).

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Childhood Obesity Incidence Increasing Rapidly Worldwide; Governments Must Take Action, WHO Commission Report Says

News outlets highlight findings from the final report of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO).

Deutsche Welle: WHO report warns child obesity is ‘exploding nightmare’
“The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that, across the globe, at least 41 million children under the age of five are obese or overweight…” (1/25).

Fortune: Child Obesity Is Now A Global Crisis
“…The total number of obese young children in countries in Asia and Africa now outnumber those in wealthier nations like the U.S., and those numbers are growing rapidly, according to a new report from the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity…” (Lorenzetti, 1/25).

Quartz: Big Soda now has a planet-sized problem on its hands
“The public health arm of the United Nations is recommending that countries consider taxing junk foods — especially sugary drinks — in an effort to curb the growth of childhood obesity worldwide. That’s bad news for the soda industry, which has fought vigorously against such levies…” (Purdy, 1/26).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Number of obese and overweight children under five ‘alarming,’ WHO says
“…In developing countries, the number of overweight children more than doubled to 15.5 million in 2014 from 7.5 million in 1990, driven by globalization and urbanization, a report by the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) said…” (Mis, 1/25).

U.N. News Centre: Governments must act to reverse alarming rise in childhood obesity, U.N. report warns
“… ‘Increased political commitment is needed to tackle the global challenge of childhood overweight and obesity,’ said Peter Gluckman, co-chair of ECHO, which presented its report to U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan [on Monday]…” (1/25).

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U.K. Vulnerable To Disease Outbreaks, Commons Science Committee Report Says

News outlets discuss findings of a report from the U.K.’s Commons Science Committee on lessons from the Ebola outbreak.

BBC News: U.K. is ‘vulnerable’ to next Ebola outbreak
“The U.K. is vulnerable to epidemics such as Ebola because of a gaping hole in the country’s ability to manufacture vaccines, a group of MPs has warned…” (Gallagher, 1/25).

Financial Times: U.K. not prepared for next epidemic, MPs warn
“…The Commons Science Committee on Monday urged the government to prepare for faster mobilization of scientific expertise and vaccine manufacturing when a deadly virus next runs out of control…” (Cookson, 1/25).

The Guardian: Britain’s slow response to Ebola crisis cost lives, MPs’ report says
“…The government is criticized for a raft of shortcomings, from failing to share disease surveillance data quickly enough, to calling on scientific expertise months after its emergency committee had met, to making Ebola test kits that were never deployed…” (Sample, 1/24).

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Thai Health Officials Quarantine Dozens After Omani Traveler Tests Positive For MERS In Bangkok

Quartz: Dozens of people are quarantined in Bangkok to prevent the spread of the deadly MERS virus
“…Thailand, having identified the virus in a visitor from Oman on Friday (Jan. 22), has since placed dozens of people in quarantine. It’s the second MERS case that Thailand has reported in the past seven months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The previous one was reported in June 2015, and also involved an Omani traveler…” (Mollman, 1/25).

Reuters: Thailand reports second MERS case as virus detected in Omani man
“…The virus was detected in a 71-year-old Omani man traveling to Bangkok on Friday, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn told a news conference…” (Dhanananphorn/Sriring, 1/24).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency urges vigilance in South-East Asia after new case of MERS confirmed in Thailand
“…WHO, which is supporting regional health ministries in building capacities and strengthening preparedness, has called for ensuring that strict infection control measures are in place…” (1/24).

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News Outlets Examine Factors Leading To Increased Number Of HIV Cases In Russia, Ukraine

Newsweek: The Kremlin Shows the World How to Make an AIDS Crisis Worse
“…A combination of widespread intravenous drug use, ignorance of or disregard for the perils of unsafe sex, and the conservative policies that have held sway in the Kremlin since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012 have sent HIV infection rates soaring in Russia. New HIV infections have slowed dramatically throughout the world in recent years, including in much of sub-Saharan Africa — the region worst hit by the AIDS-causing virus — but Russia is a deadly exception…” (Bennetts, 1/26).

VICE Magazine: How the War in Ukraine Is Causing a Rise in HIV Infections
“…War does not only lead to immediate death, destruction, and injury; it’s wounds may be so deep that their effects last long after today. And this is likely to be the case in Ukraine, a country with 260,000-340,000 people living with HIV at last count, and a prevalence rate of 1.3 percent in 15- to 49-year-olds, according to UNAIDS. The country boasts one of the highest rates of HIV infection in Europe, yet thanks to the commitment of several NGOs, Ukraine had managed, over the years before the outbreak of the war in Donbass, to reduce the rate of HIV infection…” (Clavarino, 1/25).

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The Guardian Profiles Jamie Love's Work To Improve Access To Life-Saving Medicines

The Guardian: Big Pharma’s worst nightmare
“Jamie Love has spent years battling global drug companies, unshakable in his belief that even the world’s poorest people should have access to life-saving medicines. Is it time that [the British] government listened to him?…” (Boseley, 1/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Global AIDS, Malaria Efforts Demonstrate Bipartisan Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Successes

Foreign Policy: The House that Bush Built
Michael Miller, consultant and adjunct associate professor at the Duke Global Health Institute

“…[George W.] Bush’s vision for defeating global AIDS and malaria is more than a humanitarian success story — it is a foreign policy success story that has profoundly redefined our relationship with sub-Saharan Africa. … The fact that [President Obama, during his State of the Union address,] singled out malaria as worth his and Congress’ special attention in his final year is significant. … Such a watershed against malaria and the progress the president noted against global AIDS would have been impossible without the United States, and after seven years of support for [the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)], the president also deserves credit for this success. This success is about much more than Americans’ generosity, though; it is the combination of Bush’s humanitarianism and his basic work philosophy that to this day makes all the difference. … What the president didn’t say but should have is that America’s leadership has become indispensable. That our leadership is of great consequence to humanity and especially to Africa. And that he will hand off responsibility for that leadership to the next president, who should also embrace it as a remarkable and now bipartisan foreign policy and humanitarian success story” (1/25).

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International Food Aid 'Refashions Sovereign Relations And Reshapes Politics,' No Matter How 'Neutral'

Washington Post: Why international food aid can actually make conditions worse for starving Syrians
José Ciro Martínez, Ph.D. candidate in politics and Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and Brent Eng, independent analyst

“…[P]roceeding as if emergency food aid has no impact on political or military dynamics has had grave consequences in Syria. … Through their ability to create the categories of people in need of aid and their (in)capacity to move supplies to certain places — swayed as they may be by international law, on-the-ground constraints, and individual organizational mandates — humanitarian organizations take part in decisions over human survival. … Most foreign actors are beginning to realize a crucial fact that the Assad regime has long known and that aid organizations continue to misunderstand: In times of conflict, food is not neutral, nor can it ever be. Humanitarian organizations have undoubtedly alleviated suffering and saved countless lives in Syria. However, when they frame their interventions in terms of neutrality, emergency food distributors attempt to carve out a space for their work above the messy world of politics … As a result, they overlook the precise ways emergency food aid refashions sovereign relations and reshapes politics…” (1/26).

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Eradicating Polio In Pakistan Requires Overcoming Extremist Ideology, Violence Against Humanitarian Workers

Fox News: Campaign to eradicate polio requires courage in the face of extremist ideology and violence
Heidi J. Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…The last mile of polio eradication is a story of extremism and geo-politics. The global initiative to wipe out the last bastions of the disease is one of the prime targets of the anti-Western, anti-other ideology that finds its expression in terrorism. Yet it is a health effort that has made remarkable progress, against all odds, in some of the world’s most dangerous countries. … [S]hould the knowledge of risks stop the polio effort? Never. A major legacy of the polio eradication initiative may be its experience at pursuing a vital humanitarian objective in the face of extremist ideology and violence, experience that has become increasingly central to the global polio ‘endgame’ and may be useful for many other life-saving endeavors” (1/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Insight Examines Future Of U.S. Global Health Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation: Reading the Tea Leaves on U.S. Global Health Policy
In the latest post in the Policy Insights series, Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health & HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Josh Michaud, associate director with the foundation’s global health policy team, look at the prospects for the future of U.S. global health policy, examining whether long-term bipartisan support may be tested during a time of political transition, and identifying key areas of consensus among policymakers and the public (1/27).

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U.N. Envoy, U.S. Senators Urge White House, Congress To Fund TB Programs

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: TB: With a plan on the table, an outbreak at home, U.S. Senators, U.N. Envoy urge White House to fund tuberculosis programs
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses U.N. Special Envoy on Tuberculosis Eric Goosby’s statement on the tuberculosis outbreak in Alabama, in which he urges more funding for public health issues because “a global health issue is an American health issue.” Barton also discusses a letter to the White House from 14 U.S. senators regarding the National Action Plan to Address Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis. In the letter, the senators write, “[T]he activities described in the National Action Plan are all contingent on receipt of the funding necessary to implement those programs and strengthen those efforts” (1/26).

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USGLC Blog Post Examines Global Development, Foreign Aid Bills Under Consideration In U.S. Congress

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Lights! Food! Action! 3 Development Issues Before Congress in 2016
The USGLC examines “several key pieces of global development legislation” being debated in Congress. “These bills on energy access, hunger, and transparency and accountability could have a lasting and positive effect on U.S. foreign assistance…” (1/26).

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WHO Director General Discusses Agency's Commitment To Managing Health Emergencies

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: WHO DG Chan: Organization is ‘determined to change’
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s Monday address to the agency’s executive board about the agency’s commitment to governance and leadership reform, as well as creating a new program charged with managing health emergencies. Barton writes, “While she did not elaborate on how it would address systemic and top-down weaknesses across the agency that were highlighted in WHO’s delayed response to the Ebola crisis, Chan cited the group’s second report which she said presented what was ‘needed … and widely regarded as the right direction to take…'” (1/25).

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Blog Provides Overview Of 8 Emerging Diseases, Accompanying R&D Efforts

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Major R&D gaps exist for eight pathogens most likely to cause next epidemic
Kat Kelley, GHTC’s senior program assistant, provides “an overview of the eight diseases [identified by a WHO expert panel as the pathogens that are most likely to cause the next major epidemic] and the state of R&D for diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, and other technologies against them” (1/26).

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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 includes an article on the latest Global Fund results as of the end of 2015 (1/26).

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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, published Issue 279 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including projected savings on insecticide-treated mosquito nets through an agreement with suppliers and next generation financing models (1/27).

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