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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

South Korea's President Postpones U.S. Trip As MERS Case Total Reaches 108, 9 Deaths

Agence France-Presse: Park postpones U.S. trip as South Korea MERS toll hits nine
“South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has postponed a planned trip to the United States, her spokesman said Wednesday, amid growing public alarm at the MERS outbreak which has now claimed nine lives…” (Ha-Won, 6/10).

New York Times: South Korean Leader Postpones U.S. Trip Amid MERS Outbreak
“…In South Korea, 108 cases had been confirmed by Wednesday, and nine people had died. … As the number of MERS cases has steadily increased in the past two weeks, the president’s approval ratings have plunged below 40 percent, according to recent surveys…” (Sang-Hun, 6/9).

Reuters: WHO team urges South Korea to reopen schools as more close in MERS crisis
“A joint South Korean-World Health Organization mission studying an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) recommended on Wednesday that schools be reopened, as they were unlikely to spread the disease, just as school boards recommended more be shut…” (Kim/Park, 6/10).

Wall Street Journal: MERS Outbreak in South Korea Prompts Park Geun-hye to Postpone U.S. Trip
“…Those who died had other serious illnesses before contracting MERS, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said. The new cases of infection are also of people under quarantine, supporting the view of officials that the outbreak is contained…” (Gale, 6/9).

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News Outlets Examine South Korea's Response To MERS Outbreak, Treatment, Vaccine Development

International Business Times: MERS Outbreak 2015: Scientists Say A Treatment Is Possible, So Why Don’t We Have One?
“…Scientists say the disease, known as MERS, is easily treatable — but no treatment currently exists. Progress on lifesaving treatments has been impeded by the lack of profit potential for pharmaceutical companies, a scarcity of political will, and strained relationships with Saudi scientists…” (Nordrum, 6/9).

International Business Times: South Korea’s Response To MERS Outbreak 2015: Is Coronavirus As Scary As It’s Made Out To Be?
“…Some have suggested that the reason South Korea has taken such stringent steps to quell this outbreak is because of Asia’s experience with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003, in which approximately 8,000 people were infected and 750 people died. But although MERS and SARS are both members of the coronavirus family, MERS appears — for now — to be far less contagious…” (Whitman, 6/9).

Wall Street Journal: Korea’s MERS Outbreak Highlights SARS Lessons
“South Korea’s initial stumble in dealing with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a reminder of what experts say are important lessons from previous viral outbreaks in Asia: the need for a quick, comprehensive quarantine of those affected and proper information disclosure to the public…” (Gale/Jun, 6/9).

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WHO, Partners To Adopt Strategic Plan For Improved Health Information Systems, Global Health Monitoring

U.N. News Centre: In Washington, U.N. health agency and partners convene summit on improving health data
“With more two-thirds of the world’s population living in countries that do not produce reliable statistics on mortality by age, sex, and cause of death, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are leading an international collaboration in measurement and accountability for global public health over the next 15 years…” (6/9).

WHO: WHO and partners align on new way forward to measure impact of country health programs
“…Dozens of global health leaders from governments, multilaterals, academia, research institutions, and civil society will endorse The Roadmap for Health Measurement and Accountability and a 5-Point Call to Action, which outline a shared strategic approach and priority actions and targets that countries and development partners can use to put effective health monitoring plans in place to strengthen health information systems…” (6/9).

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U.N. Closing Ebola Emergency Response Center In Ghana; Study Shows West African Strain Not More Virulent

International Business Times: Ebola Update: United Nations Closes Emergency Ebola Response Headquarters In Ghana
“The United Nations is closing its Ebola response headquarters in West Africa as the worst outbreak ever recorded continues to wind down…” (Caulderwood, 6/9).

Los Angeles Times: Cases of Ebola recede in West Africa, but fears of recurrence remain
“…Peter Graaff, head of the U.N. center, said the Ghanaian government played a key role in overcoming the disease by allowing the mission to be established last September in the capital, Accra…” (Dixon, 6/9).

USA TODAY: Study: Ebola virus didn’t mutate into more dangerous strain
“The Ebola virus in West Africa that has killed 11,000 is not more virulent than prior strains as had been feared, according to a study published Tuesday…” (Zoroya, 6/9).

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U.N.'s Ban Supports Proposal Highlighting Water's Role In Sustainable Development

Inter Press Service: U.N. Chief Backs New Int’l Decade for Water for Sustainable Development
“As the United Nations continues its negotiations to both define and refine a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before a summit meeting of world leaders in September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for a new ‘International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development.’ ‘It would complement and support the achievement of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals — for water,’ he said…” (Deen, 6/10).

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Human Rights Watch Report Urges Bangladesh To Follow Up On Promises To Curb Child Marriage

The Guardian: Bangladesh urged to combat ‘epidemic of child marriage’
“Child marriage in Bangladesh is an epidemic and requires the government to act on its promises to tackle the problem, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Bangladesh has the fourth highest rate of child marriage in the world, behind Niger, Central African Republic, and Chad. … In its 134-page report, Marry Before Your House Is Swept Away, published on Tuesday, HRW welcomed the government’s commitment to end child marriage, but said little action had followed pledges to end the practice made by the prime minister last year…” (Ford, 6/9).

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Improving Sahel Women's Opportunities, Health Could Boost Region's Development, U.N. Special Envoy Says

Reuters: Improving women’s lives would boost Sahel’s development: U.N. envoy
“Improving access to education, health care, and jobs for women in the arid Sahel region of Africa could play an important part in rolling back poverty in one of the world’s most underdeveloped areas, [Hiroute Guebre Sallassie, the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy to the Sahel,] said…” (Brice, 6/10).

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Single HPV Vaccine Dose Might Protect Against Cervical Cancer, Study Shows; Could Improve Access In Developing Countries

News outlets report on a study on HPV vaccine dosing published Wednesday in The Lancet Oncology.

Agence France-Presse: Single dose of vaccine may prevent cervical cancer
“A single vaccine shot, rather than the recommended triple dose, may be enough to protect women against cervical cancer, a study said on Wednesday. If further work validates the findings, there could be major gains for campaigns to vaccinate young women in poor countries, the authors said…” (6/9).

Reuters: One dose of cervical cancer vaccine may suffice, scientists say
“…Aimee Kreimer of the U.S. National Cancer Institute [said,] ‘If one dose is sufficient, it could reduce vaccination and administration costs as well as improve uptake. This is especially important in less developed regions of the world where more than 80 percent of cervical cancer cases occur’…” (Hirschler, 6/9).

ScienceShot: For HPV vaccine, one dose goes a long way
“…The vaccine, which prevents certain types of cervical cancer, has seen poor adoption, particularly in developing countries. There, the prescribed series of three injections is a financial and logistical burden for those without easy access to health care…” (Servick, 6/9).

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First South African HIV Stigma Index Released At National AIDS Conference

News outlets highlight findings from a new report on HIV/AIDS stigma that was released at the 7th South African AIDS Conference.

Business Day: Index uncovers stigma levels experienced by people living with HIV
“A third of South Africans living with HIV say they have experienced stigma and a tenth have contemplated suicide, according to SA’s first Stigma Index, released on Tuesday at the 7th South African AIDS Conference under way in Durban. The survey shows that SA fares better than many other African countries, but that many people affected by HIV have made life-changing decisions based on fear of discrimination…” (Kahn, 6/10).

Health-e News: Almost 10 percent of HIV-positive women report forced sterilization — study
“South Africa’s first national HIV stigma index has found that seven percent of HIV-positive women surveyed reported being sterilized against their will and about 40 percent reported contraception was a prerequisite of accessing antiretrovirals (ARVs)…” (Gonzalez, 6/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must Not Forget TB In Debating U.S. Global Health Programs

The Hill: TB: The forgotten global health threat
Eric P. Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“As congressional committees debate the future of critical global health programs, they must not forget an all too neglected global health threat — tuberculosis (TB). … TB interventions are cost effective and save lives. There is a return of $30 to $43 dollars for every dollar spent on TB interventions. Revolutionary new technology and improved ways of delivering services are needed to end the TB epidemic. This will require intensifying basic and implementation research with innovation. This will be possible only through increased investments and effective engagements of both the public and private sectors. … We can’t let TB be the forgotten disease. … With TB, forgetting is a deadly option” (6/9).

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Ebola Epidemic Serves As 'Ultimate Reminder' For Countries To Thoroughly Prepare For Disease Outbreaks

USA TODAY: 4 lessons from Ebola wars: Our view
Editorial Board

“…At this week’s Group of Seven summit in Germany, the major powers had an opportunity to show what they had learned [from West Africa’s Ebola epidemic]. Instead, they tossed out vague promises of improvement with no concrete strategies or money to make them happen. That’s disappointing because one of Ebola’s most powerful legacies could be the lessons it teaches. Here are four: Delay is deadly. … Calmness counts. … Let science lead. … Be prepared. … Ebola is the ultimate reminder that preparation can’t be put aside after each crisis fades” (6/9).

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Action Must Be Taken To End 'Negative Aspects' Of Girl Child Initiation Ceremonies

The Guardian: Child marriage: we must urge action to stop girls’ initiation rites
Persilia Muianga, World Vision senior child protection manager

“At a recent international conference in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, a light was shed on to the practice of initiation ceremonies in which girls as young as eight are coerced to attend customary rites that ‘teach’ them to please a man in bed as part of the preparation for womanhood. … Perhaps most disturbingly, the girls are also subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) … We seek to combat the negative aspects of initiation rites in three ways: raising community awareness through training of community leaders, offering technical assistance to government institutions; and providing economic support for girls at risk or who are already married…” (6/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Advocates Express Concern Over Lack Of Financial Commitments To Post-2015 Development Agenda

Humanosphere: Give more money to least-developed countries, say advocates
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses how some aid agencies and advocates are worried about a lack of financial commitment to the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and where financing should be directed (6/9).

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Addressing Health Among Most Disadvantaged Will Produce Best Outcomes For Development Goals

BMJ Blogs: The sustainable development goals: Priorities for the global health community?
Daniel Sharp, a Fulbright scholar at the Vienna University of Business and Economics, and Joseph Millum, a bioethicist at the Clinical Center Department of Bioethics and Fogarty International Center at NIH, address the question, “[H]ow should the international development community balance further progress towards the original MDGs — with their emphasis on child mortality, maternal health, and communicable diseases — versus stemming the growing burden of NCDs?” They conclude, “In pursuing these [post-2015 development] goals, policymakers must not give short shrift to the most disadvantaged; after all, it is they who have the weightiest claims on the benefits of development” (6/9).

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Report Explores Fragile States' Progress In Meeting MDGs, Prospects For Success On SDGs

Center for American Progress: RELEASE: Will the Sustainable Development Goals Leave Fragile States Behind?
The Center for American Progress and Save the Children released a new report that finds although the MDGs have seen broad success, “the risk is increasing that the most vulnerable groups in fragile and conflict-affected states will be left behind by” the Sustainable Development Goals. The report “explores the records of 55 fragile states in meeting the current Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, and compares the record of these different countries against a variety of other factors to determine if certain broad conditions were more or less correlated with relative progress on the MDGs” (6/9).

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Country Leadership, Partnership Important In NTD Prevention, Control

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: Endemic Countries Lead the Fight against NTDs
Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for NTDs, writes about country leadership and partnership in preventing and controlling NTDs in low- and middle-income countries, including health ministers’ recent reaffirmation of the Addis Ababa Commitment on NTDs at the World Health Assembly last month (6/9).

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Indian City Pays Residents To Use Toilets In Effort To Prevent Open Urination, Defecation

BMJ Blogs: Jocalyn Clark: Does it pay to pee? An Indian city thinks so
Jocalyn Clark, executive editor at icddr,b, discusses the Indian government’s efforts to improve sanitation in the country, highlighting “Ahmedabad, a city of six million in the western Indian state of Gujarat, [that] has decided to pay residents one rupee each time they use a public toilet in an attempt to prevent urinating and defecating out in the open, which pollutes the environment and spreads disease” (6/10).

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