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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

FFD3 Conference Wraps Up With Mixed Reviews On Final Action Agenda

News outlets discuss the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the final outcome document of the Third International Financing for Development conference (FFD3) that concluded this week in Ethiopia.

Devex: Addis #FFD3: A taxing week
“Now that the dust has begun to settle and most delegates are on their way home … we’re left with the question: did we witness three pivotal days in the journey toward a new era for development, or are we back where we started?…” (Igoe, 7/16).

Devex: Negotiations at #FFD3 set the stage for 2015 meetings
“…The weeklong event has been fairly contentious, with negotiations over the inclusion of a U.N. intergovernmental tax body in the outcome document at one point threatening to derail the entire process. Senior global development reporter Michael Igoe reports on location in Addis Ababa to explain other contentious issues that held up negotiations, insights from civil society not just on the outcome document but the whole process as well, and what events at the #FFD3 conference suggest for the Sustainable Development Goal negotiations in New York and climate talks at COP-21 in Paris…” (Barcia, 7/17).

IRIN: Do #summits solve problems?
“…After four days of sound bite-laden keynote speeches, plenaries, and side events, many attendees packed up their bags and hotel toiletries wondering what had been achieved apart from a lot of Twitter traffic under the hashtag #FFD3. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was endorsed by 193 U.N. Member States attending the conference as a ‘critical step forward in building a sustainable future for all.’ … But not everyone in attendance was so sure…” (Cosier, 7/16).

Reuters: U.N. conference agrees on plan to finance development goals
“…Meeting the 2030 goals would cost between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year in state spending, investment, and aid, analysts say, an amount roughly equivalent to the United States 2016 federal budget of $3.8 trillion. Current spending on infrastructure, education, and health left a funding gap of about $2.5 trillion, much of which would have to come from private business, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)…” (Maasho, 7/16).

VOA News: Tax Issues Unresolved at U.N. Aid Summit
“…A four-day United Nations conference in Ethiopia reached an agreement on a financial framework for the Sustainable Development Goals, the successor of the Millennium Development Goals. But the new framework does not include a U.N. Global Tax Body…” (van der Wolf, 7/16).

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Number Of Nations Reaching Immunization Goals Doubled Since 2000, But Challenges Remain, U.N. Data Show

News outlets report on updated WHO/UNICEF data on global immunizations.

International Business Times: U.N. Agencies Say Number Of Countries Meeting Global Immunization Target Has Doubled
“Between 2000 and 2014, the number of countries ensuring 90 percent coverage of children receiving routine, life-saving vaccinations doubled, UNICEF and the World Health Organization said, in a statement released Thursday. Nearly half of the world’s unvaccinated children live in three countries — India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, according to WHO data…” (Pandey, 7/17).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF, U.N. health agency report increase in immunization figures for world’s children
“…Although the numbers point to an astounding success in combating childhood disease worldwide, the U.N. agencies warned that many nations still lagged in their goal to reach the six WHO-sanctioned Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) targets. Among them, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic were straggling with less than 50 percent of DTP3 coverage…” (7/16).

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With Steady Number Of Ebola Cases In West Africa, Health Officials Face Challenges In Disease Prevention, Health Care System Rebuilding

CIDRAP News: Ebola activity steady, back in Guinea and Sierra Leone capitals
“For the second week in a row, the Ebola outbreak region reported 30 new confirmed cases, but in a new twist, transmission turned again toward the capitals of Guinea and Sierra Leone, Conakry and Freetown, the World Health Organization (WHO) said [Wednesday] in its weekly assessment…” (Schnirring, 7/15).

The Guardian: Ebola casts a shadow over maternal health in Sierra Leone
“…Up to 30 percent fewer Sierra Leonean women sought reproductive health services in the latter half of 2014 [during the height of the Ebola outbreak], according to the U.N.’s lead agency on maternal health, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). It cited anecdotal reports pointing to a rise in maternal deaths and pregnancy-related disabilities. … Now, as the outbreak fades, the government hopes to rebuild trust in devastated health care systems by turning neglected health posts into sterile environments where women can give birth assisted by qualified birth attendants, or be referred quickly to doctors…” (Hussain, 7/17).

Reuters: Ebola burial teams seek bribes in Sierra Leone: health official
“Ebola burial teams in Sierra Leone are extorting money from families of the bereaved to give the dead safe burials, a senior health official said, leading to an increase in illegal funerals…” (Cham, 7/16).

Reuters: Liberia authorities track herbalist who escaped Ebola quarantine
“A herbalist who treated the 17-year-old boy who sparked Liberia’s third wave of Ebola infections has escaped quarantine and fled to Nimba County in the north of the country near Guinea, officials said on Thursday. He was one of 120 people placed under quarantine for coming into contact with the deceased…” (7/17).

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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Lobbied Against Anti-Smoking Laws In LMICs, New Report Says

The Hill: Report: Chamber fought anti-smoking laws in low-income countries
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce targeted low- and middle-income countries in lobbying against anti-smoking regulations, according to a report health and safety groups unveiled Thursday. The report, ‘Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco,’ from nine groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Public Citizen, and Corporate Accountability International comes after the New York Times reported that the Chamber is lobbying alongside foreign affiliates to fight anti-smoking laws and advance the interests of the tobacco industry…” (Wheeler, 7/16).

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IAS 2015 Set To Open In Vancouver, As Sub-Saharan Africa AIDS Conference Ends In Zimbabwe

Canadian Press/Chronicle Journal: Vancouver HIV-AIDS meeting seen as step towards goal of ending pandemic by 2030
“More than 6,000 international experts on HIV-AIDS will gather in Vancouver this weekend to share the latest scientific advances in the fight to eradicate the disease, which first emerged almost 35 years ago and exploded into a global pandemic. The 8th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention will bring together researchers, clinicians, community leaders, and public health experts from around the world…” (Ubelacker, 7/15).

VOA News: Africa AIDS Conference Wraps in Zimbabwe
“Medical researchers and scholars from 13 sub-Saharan African countries on Thursday wrapped a three-day conference in Zimbabwe. The event was held to share insights and success stories on applied innovations to address HIV and AIDS…” (Stein, 7/16).

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Different Locales Work To End AIDS Epidemic, Face Challenges, Science Reports

Science: No end in sight
“Tijuana, Mexico, has vastly improved its HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts over the past decade, now providing free antiretrovirals to all infected people. But like many locales around the world, its HIV/AIDS response also illustrates that a vast distance separates the dream of ‘ending AIDS’ — which is gaining increasing attention worldwide — and reality…” (Cohen, 7/16).

Science: Means to an end
“…San Francisco, New York state, and British Columbia, Canada, all are at the vanguard of the movement to end AIDS epidemics, and each locale is tailor-making a response based on their demographics, politics, and scientific convictions of what is needed most. They also have different definitions of what it means to ‘end AIDS.’ But each locale has set the goal line at 2020 — and each faces complex challenges…” (Cohen, 7/16).

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South Korean Hospital Closed During MERS Outbreak Set To Reopen

Reuters: South Korea hospital at center of MERS outbreak to resume normal operation
“A South Korean hospital at the center of an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) will resume normal operations on Monday, the health ministry said, as a health scare that rattled the economy wanes, with no new cases reported since July 4…” (6/17).

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Morocco Considers Relaxing Strict Abortion Laws

The Lancet: Morocco debates liberalization of abortion
“Moroccan doctors and campaigners pushing for more liberal abortion laws are hoping to influence technical discussions led by the Ministry of Health in a process of consultations kicked off by the king following a vigorous public debate. Some doctors hope to expand the circumstances of when abortion is allowed by including WHO’s broad interpretation of a woman’s health that encompasses mental and social as well as physical factors…” (Devi, 7/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investing In Community Health Systems, Workers Critical To Preventing Future Epidemics

Huffington Post: Investing in Community Health Workers Is Essential for Preventing the Next Ebola
Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health and associate physician in the division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School; and Jeffrey Walker, co-author of ‘The Generosity Network’

“…At the core of [stronger, integrated community-based health] delivery systems are highly-trained, supervised, equipped, and paid professional Community Health Workers (CHWs), who work in teams with other primary health workers (e.g. nurses) to extend care to the most vulnerable. … Unfortunately, financing for community health systems is relatively low compared to other health system areas and to priority diseases. … In Ebola’s deadly wake, a number of leaders from African countries and the global health community came together to explore how to address this funding problem. We released our initial thinking on Monday at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa through a report titled, ‘Strengthening Primary Health Care through Community Health Workers: Investment Case and Financing Recommendations.’ The report calls for urgent action by all global stakeholders, including African governments, major funders, and our partners to address funding challenges of CHWs…” (7/16).

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U.N. Must Adopt More Realistic Measure Of Hunger, Support Small-Scale Agriculture To Meet Development Goals

The Guardian: The hunger numbers: are we counting right?
Jason Hickel, anthropologist at the London School of Economics

“…[L]ater this year the U.N. will launch the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the headline goal of eradicating poverty and hunger once and for all. If this project is to have any credibility, it needs to adopt a more realistic measure of hunger. It needs to tell the truth about the fact that at least two billion people, nearly a third of humanity, cannot access adequate food. … What we need … is to put productive resources back in the hands of poor people. … The data is clear that small-scale, regenerative farming does a much better job of feeding people, and while actually reversing climate change — an added bonus. … Of course, all this will require much more than just charity. It will require political courage — the courage to challenge the corporate power that is quickly appropriating our food systems. As long as we continue to obscure the truth about global hunger we are unlikely to recognize the urgency of taking this step” (7/17).

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SDGs Must Have Explicit Indicator To Track, Achieve Global Hygiene Target

Huffington Post: Hygiene: The Cinderella of the SDG ball
Layla McCay, secretariat director at the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing

“…Statisticians at the U.N. have recently proposed dropping hygiene from the list of [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] indicators that will be tracked globally, in a bid to reduce the number of things to measure. The problem is that without a global hygiene indicator, we cannot know whether or not countries are on track to achieving the hygiene target. And if hygiene is not being explicitly tracked at a global level, the mandate to invest in its improvement will be diluted. … Ninety international corporations, non-governmental organizations, multilateral organizations, and coalitions have signed a letter this week asking key United Nations decision makers to stop this from happening. Hygiene is not a matter of ‘nice to do’; losing hygiene from the global indicator list would represent a failure to fully capitalize upon this historic opportunity to bring better health, nutrition, education, equity, and economic opportunities to millions around the world…” (7/16).

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Prioritizing, Investing In Girls, Women Can Help Propel Development Agenda Forward

Devex: What happens when you invest in girls and women? It’s simple: We all win
Katja Iversen, chief executive officer of Women Deliver

“…[I]nvesting in girls and women, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights, education, and economic empowerment, is among the smartest ways to advance progress for all. … As decision-makers finalize the painstaking negotiations this week [at the Third International Financing for Development conference], here are three investments they should fight for to propel development for the next 15 years and beyond: Earmark official development assistance for girls and women … Require domestic budgets to include and properly fund line items for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and well-being … [And form] partnerships that include girls and women, for girls and women. … We have our work cut out for us, but if we rally behind these core principles and commit to prioritizing girls and women, we can — and will — achieve transformative change” (7/16).

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African Peer Mentoring Programs Supporting Mothers Living With HIV Need More Funding To Continue Work

New York Times: Mothers Helping Mothers to Live With HIV
Tina Rosenberg, author and former editorial writer for the New York Times

“…[Mothers2mothers (m2m)] trains and pays mentor mothers in six African countries to work with pregnant women and new mothers, largely in clinics and hospitals. … M2m, which now gets half its money from United States government anti-AIDS programs, is not the only organization that uses HIV-positive mothers as peer mentors, but it is by far the largest, and probably the only one that pays them salaries. M2m and its local partners have helped several governments — in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa — to establish similar mentor mother corps, and they still work closely with the Kenyan national and South African provincial programs. … But given [mother mentor programs’] value, they are nowhere near as widespread as they should be. The problem is that to be effective, the mothers must be paid — and regardless of how much the program saves later, money is a problem now…” (7/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses 3 Recently Released UNAIDS Reports

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: With UNAIDS as common denominator, reports bring impetus, optimism, and now, realities
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from three recently released UNAIDS reports, including a joint report by UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation. “…[The Kaiser/UNAIDS] report starts with a flat truth: the world’s largest donor, the United States kept its funding ‘essentially flat’ last year, and were it not for the second largest donor, the United Kingdom, which increased both direct support and its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spending to fight HIV in low- and middle-income countries would have declined. While four other governments raised their spending, for two, the Netherlands and Japan, those increases did not lift their contributions to levels preceding own recent drops…” (7/16).

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Attitudes, Cultural Factors Contribute To Higher HIV Prevalence In Ugandan Fishing Communities

Humanosphere: Fishermen, fatalism and an increasing risk of HIV in Uganda
Heather Zimmerman, a Global Health Corps fellow working as the advocacy and communications manager at Alive Medical Services in Uganda, and Savannah Russo, a Global Health Corps fellow working as the research and documentation officer for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Uganda, discuss HIV prevalence in Ugandan fishing communities, as well as “the attitudes and cultural factors that have led to an increased prevalence within [these communities]” (7/16).

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