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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N.'s 2015 Priorities Centered Around Global Action For Development, Peace, Human Rights, Ban Says

U.N. News Centre: ‘2015 can and must be time for global action,’ Ban declares, briefing U.N. Assembly on year’s priorities
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looked forward to a ‘year of opportunity,’ as he briefed the 193-Member United Nations General Assembly on his priorities for 2015, and called for transformative global action that would ensure sustainable development and human dignity for all. ‘2015 is a chance for major advances across the three inter-connected pillars of our work: development, peace, and human rights,’ he said during an informal meeting of the Assembly…” (1/8).

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Birx Urges Tanzanian Media To Disseminate Accurate, Understandable HIV Information

IPP Media: U.S. urges Tanzanian media to beef up efforts in fight against HIV/AIDS
“The United States government has called on Tanzanian media to enhance efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS as part of endeavors to achieve an HIV-free generation. … Ambassador[-at-Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah] Birx, also a medical expert specialized in HIV/AIDS, said the media … has a significant role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS by raising awareness by disseminating correct and accurate information in simple language…” (Kitabu, 1/9).

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Injectable Contraceptive Increases Risk Of HIV Infection, Study Shows

News outlets report on a meta-analysis published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases showing an increase in risk of HIV infection among women who use the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera.

The Guardian: Contraceptive injection raises risk of HIV, research warns
“Contraceptive injections moderately increase a woman’s risk of becoming infected with HIV, a large scientific analysis has found. The research in a leading medical journal will further fuel a controversy that has been raging for more than two decades. The implications of a possible link between hormonal injections and the virus alarm both HIV and birth control campaigners…” (Boseley, 1/8).

TIME: This Contraceptive Is Linked to a Higher Risk of HIV
“…Among 12 studies involving nearly 40,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa, those using Depo showed a 40 percent higher risk of getting HIV than those using other methods or no contraception at all…” (Park, 1/8).

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Experimental Ebola Vaccine To Enter Phase III Trials In Next Two Months, WHO Says

Reuters: Pivotal Ebola vaccine trials to start this month or next: WHO
“Final-stage trials of experimental Ebola vaccines will begin in January or February in the worst-hit West African countries as scientists and drugmakers race to block the deadly disease, the World Health Organization said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 1/8).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: vaccine trials can offer ‘signs of hope’ says U.N. health chief
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) [Thursday] convened in Geneva its second-ever high-level meeting on Ebola vaccines access and financing to review the current status of clinical trials and plans for Phase II and Phase III efficacy trials. … The most advanced candidate Ebola vaccine is scheduled to enter Phase III efficacy clinical trials in West Africa in January/February 2015, and if shown effective — will be available for deployment a few months later…” (1/8).

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WHO Unable To Deliver Medical Aid To Rebel-Held Aleppo Despite Syrian Government's Promise Of Access

Reuters: Medical aid unable to enter Syrian rebel-held Aleppo: WHO
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has been unable to get a desperately needed medical aid convoy through to civilians in the rebel-held part of Aleppo despite a government promise last month to give it access. In a statement this week, the WHO said 240,000 medical treatments from it and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were being held in a warehouse in the government-held part of the city, Syria’s biggest, ‘for further distribution to the targeted areas, which will begin shortly’…” (Holmes, 1/8).

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U.N. Food Price Index Falls In December, Marking 3 Consecutive Years Of Decline

U.N. News Centre: Food prices fall after three months stable, index declines for third successive year — U.N.
“After three months of stability, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index declined in December, meaning the index fell over the course of 2014 for the third consecutive year…” (1/8).

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School-Based Initiative To Treat Children At Risk Of Parasitic Worms Begins In Ethiopia

Reuters: Ethiopia launches school program to treat parasitic worms
“Ethiopia is launching a national initiative in schools this year to treat children at risk of infection from parasitic worms, mirroring a program in Kenya which has improved child health and school attendance, a charity involved said. Ethiopia aims to treat at least 80 percent of children at risk from parasitic worms by 2020, Evidence Action said…” (Blair, 1/9).

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Chinese Family Planning Enforcers Working As Child Development Counselors In Pilot Program

The Economist: Family Planning: Enforcing with a smile
“…[Qin Shuhui] is a member of a 1 million-strong army of family planning officials whose mission is to enforce China’s one-child policy. … Ms. Qin is part of a small pilot program that began in November, involving just 69 workers in the prefecture of Shangluo. It is aimed at changing the way that employees of the National Health and Family Planning Commission do their work. The idea is to convert enforcers into childhood development counselors. The government will examine whether Shangluo’s experiment might serve as a model for the rest of the country…” (1/10).

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Forbes To Host Online Discussions With WHO, CDC Polio Officials

Forbes: How Syria Beat Its Polio Outbreak
“…On Friday, January 9, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Chris Maher, manager for polio eradication and emergency support for the World Health Organization in Syria, will join [contributor Devin Thorpe] for a live discussion about the efforts to manage polio through the conflicts and displacements that have impacted millions of people. Tune in here then to watch the interview live…” (Thorpe, 1/8).

Forbes: ‘Nigeria Is Paving The Way For A Polio-free Africa’
“… ‘Nigeria is paving the way for a polio-free Africa,’ according to John Vertefeuille, team lead for Nigeria at the Centers for Disease Control. … On Friday, January 9, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Vertefeueille will join [Thorpe] for a live discussion about ending polio in Africa once and for all. Tune in here then to watch the interview live…” (Thorpe, 1/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Call For WHO Reform, Support From Member States In Light Of Agency's Ebola Response

The Lancet: Offline: Solving WHO’s “persisting weaknesses” (part 1)
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…[I]n WHO’s own words (from documents submitted to the Board and available on WHO’s website), Ebola has put ‘enormous strain’ on the agency’s managerial structures and systems. The outbreak has had a ‘significant impact’ on WHO’s non-Ebola work, with the result that ‘time-bound projects will be affected.’ Ebola has ‘exposed … persisting weaknesses’ in the organization. This crisis offers a paradoxically welcome opportunity to re-examine WHO’s purpose, structure, operation, and impact…” (1/10).

The Lancet: WHO must remain a strong global health leader post Ebola
Adam Kamradt-Scottemail of the University of Sydney and colleagues

“The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa has demonstrated again the urgent need for strong leadership and coordination in responding to global health challenges. As members of the global health scholarly community, we call upon all WHO Member States to recommit themselves to strengthening global outbreak alert and response by sustainably investing in the WHO, its departments, and personnel…” (1/10).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Response, Recovery

Foreign Affairs: Three Myths About Ebola
Emmanuel D’Harcourt, senior health director at the International Rescue Committee

“…The West Africa Ebola virus epidemic is complex, confusing, and concerning. We can end it only by understanding, and acting on, the real story. … The real story is that only local communities can end the Ebola virus epidemic in collaboration with public health workers. Both communities and frontline health workers need the dependable support of a government they trust…” (1/8).

The Lancet: Beyond Ebola: a new agenda for resilient health systems
Marie-Paule Kieny and Delanyo Dovlo of the WHO’s health systems and innovation division

“…Instead of focusing exclusively on Ebola, we need to build systems that are grounded in primary health care principles and capable of responding to routine as well as unexpected challenges that might arise in the future. The work we have begun to do in Ebola-affected countries can serve as an example for all countries that might face shocks, now or in the future…” (1/10).

Baltimore Sun: Ebola response wrongly derided
Elizabeth Serlemitsos, country representative in Liberia for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

“…Liberia’s leaders in the battle against Ebola are exhibiting strength of character that I never saw when I was chief adviser to the head of the National AIDS Council in Zambia. … I think that it is this caliber of leadership, cooperation, and commitment (which is happening at all levels in the country) that is making the difference for Liberia…” (1/8).

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Post-2015 Development Goals Must Be Realistic, Have Clear Rationale

The Guardian: Eight months until new development goals are agreed. Then what?
Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation

“…The politics of writing the [Sustainable Development Goals] appears to have ensured the politics of using them has been relegated to a distant afterthought. And unless the U.N. secretary general and the world’s governments agree on what the goals are actually designed to accomplish, the hope that they’ll make a difference is misguided. … To put it in development jargon, what the Sustainable Development Goals lack is a theory of change…” (1/9).

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Strengthening Health Care Workforce Key to Improving Women's Health

Huffington Post: A Year in Review: Teaching the Next Generation of Doctors in Tanzania
Maureen Ries, obstetrician-gynecologist and deputy chief medical officer at Seed Global Health

“…Maternal mortality was not cut to the extent targeted by 2015, but there was significant progress made. Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped 45 percent from 1990 to 2013. … Countries in East Africa know that they need more health care professionals and trained birth assistants. A larger, stronger health care workforce would enable more patients to get seen sooner, more frequently and closer to where they live. … Focusing on capacity building to sustainably strengthen a health care workforce is a key move in continuing to improve the health of women worldwide…” (1/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Provides $1M To IAEA For Ebola Diagnostic Program

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Government Contributes $1 Million to IAEA in Ebola Fight
“The U.S. Government has contributed $1 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency for a new project that will improve and streamline efforts to diagnose the Ebola virus in Africa. … The IAEA’s project will provide high-quality training and cutting-edge equipment based on nuclear science applications to teams of virologists in 11 African countries — Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Uganda — to help them more quickly and safely diagnose emerging diseases, including Ebola,” according to the press release (1/8).

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U.S. Feed The Future Initiative Reaching Millions In Efforts To End Hunger

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Feed the Future: Progress in the Goal of Ending Hunger
Nancy Stetson, U.S. special representative for global food security at the State Department, and Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future, discuss the progress of Feed the Future, writing, “In just a few short years, Feed the Future is already changing the face of hunger and poverty for some of the world’s poorest families…” (1/8).

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GHTC Provides 10 Reasons For U.S. Policymakers To Support Global Health R&D

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: 10 reasons why the U.S. policymakers should support global health research and development
Marissa Chmiola, GHTC’s communications officer, discusses the organization’s top 10 reasons for U.S. policymakers to support global health R&D, including that it saves lives, creates jobs, provides national security, and promotes cost-savings, among other benefits (1/8).

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Laurie Garrett Examines Several Global Health, Development Issues For 2015

Laurie Garrett’s Blog: Ahead In 2015: Viruses, Epidemics, and United Nations Haggling
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, in her blog features a three-part series on several global health and development issues for 2015. In part one, she discusses the Ebola epidemic; part two examines influenza strains worldwide; and part three looks at efforts to meet the expiring Millennium Development Goals and create the Sustainable Development Goals (1/6).

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