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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

South Korea Reports 126 MERS Cases; Public Health Experts, Korean Central Bank React To Outbreak

International Business Times: MERS Outbreak 2015: How Vaccinating Millions Of Camels In The Middle East Might Stop The Deadly Virus
“…While the [MERS] outbreak in South Korea has prompted public health officials to call for faster diagnosis and improved hospital protocols, some scientists are working to develop ways to prevent outbreaks at their source — the one-humped ungulate known as the dromedary camel…” (Nordrum, 6/11).

Reuters: South Korea reports four new cases of MERS, total 126
“South Korea’s Health Ministry reported on Friday four new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) bringing the total to 126, the world’s largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia…” (Kim, 6/11).

Wall Street Journal: Seoul’s Rationale for a MERS Rate Cut
“…The government and health experts forecast MERS will be beaten in South Korea in a few weeks, but since little is known about the virus, the central bank wanted to ward off potential future trouble. Concerns about the ravages of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, on other economies in Asia in 2003 are no doubt in the back of policymakers’ minds…” (Gale, 6/11).

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Ebola Cases Rise In West Africa; Health Workers In Liberia Struggle To Find Work; U.S., China Disagree Over Experimental Drugs

IRIN: Stigma leaves Liberia’s Ebola workers high and dry
“…The majority of the estimated 20,000 or so workers and volunteers who risked their lives during the year-long fight are unable to find work, largely due to lingering stigma and fears about the virus…” (Collins, 6/11).

New York Times: A Chinese Ebola Drug Raises Hopes, and Rancor
“…[Chinese-manufactured MIL77] is a near copy of what many believed was the most promising Ebola therapy: a cocktail of antibodies known as ZMapp, the result of a collaboration between the United States and Canada. … But it has also led to patent infringement concerns by American officials, and to disagreements over when experimental Ebola therapies should be offered to patients only in carefully controlled studies and when they should be made more available for compassionate reasons…” (Fink, 6/11).

U.N. News Centre: Decline in Ebola cases stalls in West Africa, U.N. health agency reports
“The number of Ebola cases in West Africa has increased for the second straight week, with the number of cases that arose from unknown sources of infection highlighting the challenges still faced in finding and eliminating every chain of transmission, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (6/11).

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Finland To Cut Development Aid By 43%, Raising Concerns More European Countries Will Follow Suit

The Guardian: Finland slashes development aid by 43% amid fears others may follow
“The new center-right Finnish government has decided to cut development aid by 43 percent, prompting furious reactions from NGOs and fears other E.U. countries will follow its example…” (Gotev, 6/11).

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Pope Francis Addresses FAO On Food Security

U.N. News Centre: Pope Francis and U.N. agency discuss sustainable future of agriculture
“Addressing over a hundred delegates attending a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conference in Rome, Pope Francis [Thursday] urged Member States to work toward combating food waste, reducing the volatility of food prices, and creating a sense of global solidarity to ensure food security for all people…” (6/11).

Vatican Radio: Pope Francis to FAO: effective solidarity key to food security
“…Pope Francis focused on three main points: reducing the waste of foodstuffs; educating people in how to practice wholesome nutrition; fostering an attitude of genuine and effective solidarity in order to promote and achieve real food security for all and for everyone…” (6/11).

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Mother's Nutritional Status Can Affect Child's Disease Risk, Report Says

The Guardian: Mother’s diet before conception ‘can affect child’s lifelong risk of disease’
“A mother’s diet before conception can affect her unborn child’s genetic make-up and immune system, according to new findings with profound implications for policy and development work. A report launched today by scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a mother’s nutritional status at the time of conception can permanently change the function of a gene that influences her child’s immunity and cancer risks…” (Larsson, 6/11).

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Pakistan Authorities Shut Down Save The Children Office

New York Times: Save the Children Group Is Shut Down in Pakistan
“The Pakistani authorities on Thursday shut down the aid group Save the Children’s office in Islamabad and ordered its foreign staff members to leave the country within 15 days. … The local news media, quoting government officials, reported that Save the Children had been involved in ‘anti-Pakistan’ activities…” (Masood, 6/11).

Washington Post: Pakistan expels aid agency Save the Children
“…The move, which could have a chilling effect on dozens of charities that work in Pakistan, was carried out after extensive monitoring of the group’s members and activities, a ministry official said in an interview. … [T]he move appeared to be related to long-standing allegations of Save the Children’s ties to the Pakistani physician recruited to help the CIA gain information about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts prior to the 2011 U.S. military mission that killed him in northwestern Pakistan…” (Craig, 6/11).

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India Moves To Lower Costs Associated With HIV Drugs, Tests; MSF Urges Nation Not To 'Cave' To Trade Agreement Pressure

Reuters: India scraps import duties on AIDS drugs to battle shortage
“India has scrapped customs import duties for drugs and test kits used to treat AIDS in an effort to cut prices across the country, as it struggles to cope with an ongoing shortage in its national program to fight the disease. … [T]he drugs under exemption make up roughly 95 percent of the antiretrovirals used by India’s AIDS patients under the national program…” (Siddiqui, 6/11).

Reuters: MSF urges India not to ‘cave to pressure’ on affordable drugs
“Charity Médecins Sans Frontières appealed to India on Thursday not to give in to pressure from Europe, the United States, and Japan to make it easier for big firms to get patents in the country, potentially blocking the production of cheap generics…” (Siddiqui, 6/11).

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WFP To Cut Food Rations In Kenyan Refugee Camps Citing Funding Shortfall

Associated Press: Kenya seeks to voluntarily repatriate 100,000 Somalis
“Kenya has set a goal to get 100,000 Somali refugees to return home voluntarily by the end of the year, a government official said Thursday as money shortages have forced the U.N. to reduce food rations for the displaced…” (Odula, 6/11).

New York Times: As Supplies Dwindle, World Food Programme Cutting Rations to Refugees in Kenya
“The World Food Programme, the anti-hunger agency of the United Nations, said Thursday that it was temporarily cutting rations to a half-million refugees in Kenya by nearly a third, an emergency move to conserve dwindling supplies and funds…” (Gladstone, 6/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Funding shortfall forces U.N. to cut refugee food rations in Kenyan camps
“…WFP said as of Monday, it would reduce the size of rations to Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by about a third, adding that the cuts would need to continue through to September unless more money was found. Some $12.4 million is urgently needed to avoid ‘a critical food gap’ in August and September, the agency said…” (Nguyen, 6/11).

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Many Men In War-Torn Somalia Suffer From Addiction, Depression, World Bank Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Drugs, divorce and despair: Somalia’s forgotten male war victims
“Men in war-torn Somalia suffer high rates of drug addiction, divorce, and mental illness, the World Bank said, urging donors to do more to support men and strengthen families. … Many Somali men are addicted to an amphetamine-like drug called khat, traumatized, depressed, and physically disabled, the study found. ‘Men find themselves dispensable, with no meaningful role and no stake in the future,” said the study, based on interviews with 400 men and 90 women living in Somalia and neighboring Kenya…” (6/11).

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More Than 20M In Yemen Need Aid, UNICEF Says

Reuters: Over 20 million in war-torn Yemen need humanitarian aid: UNICEF
“Eighty percent of Yemen’s population, or more than 20 million people, need some form of humanitarian assistance as Arab air strikes and civil war ravage the impoverished country, aid agency UNICEF said on Thursday. The figure is up by almost five million people since the organization’s latest report last week…” (6/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Global Health, Development Programs Create 'Hope, Opportunity, And Stability'

Devex: Wisely spent, foreign aid saves lives
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)

“…The United States plays an indispensable role in formulating global health and development strategies, forging coordination among governments, and responding to natural and man-made disasters. What few Americans may realize is that we do this, and more, with less than one percent of the federal budget. … Our foreign aid helps the poorest of the poor, but we also benefit at home from our investments overseas. This is recognized by Democrats and Republicans alike. … Helping the needy is a long American tradition, and U.S. foreign aid investments need and deserve the support of the American people. Together we can help foreign governments and local communities provide better nutrition, safe water, sanitation, vaccines, girls’ education, and other lifesaving improvements — creating hope, opportunity, and stability…” (6/11).

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Leadership Vital To Ensuring Global Health Security

The Lancet: MERS — the latest threat to global health security
Editorial Board

“…With new cases of Ebola still occurring in West Africa, frequent influenza epidemics worldwide, MERS (and previously SARS) adds to the infectious disease threat to global health security. As David Hui and colleagues call for in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, we need ‘bold leadership … to generate the best evidence base for formulating effective public health, infection control, and treatment interventions required to effectively tackle these infections.’ Our global health security depends upon such leadership” (6/13).

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Greater Investment Needed In Cellular Technologies To Help Small-Scale Farmers Increase Agricultural Yields

National Geographic: How Cell Phones Can Help End World Hunger
Dan Glickman, board member of World Food Program USA

“…For small-scale farmers across the globe, a simple cell phone has become one of the most powerful tools for boosting one’s harvest and, along with it, his or her family’s and community’s food supply. Farmers … are using cellular technology to share crucial information about weather, rainfall, and market demand, along with seed prices, empowering millions of them to grow more food at a time when the world needs it most. … Organizations like World Food Program USA, the U.N. World Food Programme, and U.S. Agency for International Development need support from governments as well as the private sector to invest in more research and smarter programs to help small farmers succeed…” (6/10).

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World Leaders Must Commit To Ending Preventable Child, Maternal Deaths

Huffington Post: World Leaders Must Continue to Act to End Preventable Deaths
Mark Shriver, president of the Save the Children Action Network

“…I commend President Obama and other G7 leaders for their political leadership and sending a clear signal by making several vital commitments, including on maternal, newborn, and child health. But our work doesn’t stop in Germany. We call on President Obama and other world leaders to ensure that all nations commit to [ending preventable child deaths and improving maternal health worldwide] in the final agreed-upon framework at the United Nations General Assembly in September in New York City. The survival of mothers and children all over the world is at stake…” (6/11).

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Iraq's Health, Humanitarian Crises Need Attention From International Community

The Lancet: Iraq’s neglected health and humanitarian crisis
Editorial Board

“…Iraq’s health and humanitarian crisis results from decades of war and occupation, most recently the take over of territory by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the counter-insurgency launch by the government and its allied forces. Since January, 2014, 2.9 million people have fled their homes and presently 8.2 million people in Iraq require immediate humanitarian support. … The new humanitarian and health response plan is comprehensive and goes into detailed plans for key areas, such as health, food security, and shelter. But it is only realistic if fully funded. … It is time that the international community gave more attention to the human side of the Iraq conflict…” (6/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Examines SFOPs Bill Approved By House Appropriations Committee

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: U.S. House Appropriations Committee approves bill that flat lines global HIV, cuts family planning
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, reports on Thursday’s House Committee on Appropriations’ markup of the FY 2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. “While family planning funding saw a cut, global health overall saw a small increase over the president’s request, with $8.454 billion for global health programs — $273 million over the president’s request — matching current funding levels…” (6/11).

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G7 Recognizes Importance Of Several Global Health Issues But Does Not Make Solid Commitments

ONE Blog: The G7 and Health: A glass half full, but undrunk
Erin Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy director for global health, discusses the recent G7 communiqué, saying while the document addresses several important global health issues, including Ebola, neglected tropical disease, and antimicrobial resistance, global leaders “haven’t committed to doing much at all…” (6/11).

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New Report Examines Sexual Diversity In Africa, Implications For Policy

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: African scientists on anti-homosexuality laws: Criminalization harms public health
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a new report released by the Academy of Science of South Africa that “details how criminalization and discrimination against sexual minorities fuels spread of infectious diseases among general populations as well as among men who have sex with men” (6/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.