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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Fund Executive Director Speaks With Devex About Organization's Principles, Approach

Devex: Mark Dybul: For the Global Fund, crisis led to opportunity
“Sometimes it takes a crisis to return an organization to its ‘original principles.’ Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spoke with Devex about some of the challenges the organization faced — particularly around financial management — and about how they spurred a re-examination of the Global Fund’s approach. ‘Everything we do, from our internal systems to how we work with countries, has been redone,’ Dybul told Devex at the 2015 European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium…” (Saldinger, 6/15).

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South Korea Reports 154 MERS Cases, 3 Additional Deaths; Hospitals Tighten Quarantine Measures, Test Experimental Treatments; Frustrations Mount Over Lack Of Vaccine

Reuters: South Korea reports four new MERS cases, three more deaths
“South Korea’s health ministry reported four new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Tuesday, bringing the total to 154 in an outbreak that is the largest outside Saudi Arabia. The ministry also said three patients infected with the MERS virus had died, taking the death toll to 19 in an outbreak that began in May” (Park, 6/15).

Reuters: Schools reopen as South Korea seeks normality amid MERS outbreak
“Thousands of South Korean schools that were shut to stop the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reopened on Monday as the country sought to return to normal, nearly four weeks into an outbreak that shows signs of slowing…” (Oh, 6/15).

Reuters: South Korea conducts experimental plasma therapy on MERS patients
“Two South Korean hospitals are conducting experimental treatment on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) patients, injecting them with blood plasma from recovering patients, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as four new cases were reported…” (Kim, 6/16).

Reuters: Why no MERS vaccine? Lack of foresight frustrates scientists
“Three years after the mysterious MERS virus first emerged in humans, scientists and drugmakers say there is no excuse for not having a vaccine that could have protected those now falling sick and dying in South Korea…” (Kelland/Hirschler, 6/15).

Wall Street Journal: MERS: South Korea Tightens Quarantines to Prevent Spread
“…As South Korea seeks to prevent spread of the virus, it has tightened quarantines that were initially blamed for being too lax and allowing MERS to spread. The nation’s first outbreak of the virus began when a man returned from the Middle East and visited several hospitals seeking medical help before being diagnosed and quarantined on May 20…” (Kwaak, 6/15).

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G7 Summit Should Have Proposed More Vigorous Disease Outbreak Rapid Response Measures, MSF Head Says

The Guardian: Médecins Sans Frontières head criticizes G7 for lack of urgency over Ebola
“Aid donors missed a golden opportunity at the G7 summit in Germany to lay out measures for a far more vigorous response to epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak, according to Joanne Liu, the head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)…” (Hussain, 6/16).

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Local Think Tanks, Researchers Partner To Examine 7 SDG Goal Areas In Several Countries

Devex: Taking the SDGs on a road test
“…With funding from the International Development Research Center’s Think Tank Initiative and the Hewlett Foundation, and with support from the U.N. Foundation, researchers [from the Center for Policy Dialogue, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals] partnered with local think tanks to test seven goal areas and about a dozen SDGs in Canada, Bangladesh, Ghana, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Turkey. The idea was to get a clearer picture of how the SDGs would apply to a variety of countries, and include southern perspectives to the debate…” (Halais, 5/16).

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As West Africa Rebuilds Health Systems After Ebola, Lack Of Water Access Poses Challenge

IRIN: Turn on the taps to defeat the next Ebola
“It is a cruel irony that many of the top doctors and nurses in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will not be around to help rebuild their health systems in the wake of Ebola, having succumbed themselves to the virus. For those that are, the biggest challenges are likely to be electricity, sanitation, and, most of all, water…” (Lazuta, 6/15).

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Break Dengue Partnership Launches Campaign To Reduce Burden Of Disease

The Nation: Campaign against dengue fever launched
“[The] ‘Dengue Tribe’ campaign by Break Dengue, a global partnership of individuals and organizations engaged in the fight against dengue fever, is calling on citizens around the world to voice their concern about the growing social burden that represents dengue…” (6/15).

Times of India: Break Dengue Launches Global Social Movement at ASEAN Dengue Day 2015
“…The Dengue Tribe campaign was launched on Monday on the sidelines of the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Dengue Day as regional health leaders, experts, and ASEAN officials meet to address the growing public health, social, and economic burden of dengue. Hosted by Laos this year, the 10 member countries of the ASEAN participated in the annual ASEAN Dengue Day…” (Gohain, 6/15).

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U.S. Researchers Working To Develop Better TB Diagnostics

Wall Street Journal: The Race for Faster Tuberculosis Tests
“As U.S. health officials treat an Indian woman who entered the country with drug-resistant tuberculosis, scientists at Texas A&M Health Science Center are trying to develop faster and more accurate ways to diagnose the infectious disease. The timely detection of TB remains one of the greatest difficulties in dealing with the condition…” (Wang, 6/15).

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Unsafe Abortion Persists In Indonesia, GlobalPost Reports

GlobalPost: Indonesia’s secret abortion problem
“In a country where abortion is illegal and talking about reproductive health is taboo, women are terminating their pregnancies in unsafe ways, often getting hurt and sometimes dying as a result. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that abortion is about 20 percent more prevalent in Indonesia than in Southeast Asia as a whole…” (Gibian/Crandall, 6/15).

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Egypt Announces National Strategy To Reduce FGM; Some Advocates, Officials Fear Plan Not Enough To Stem Practice

The Guardian: Egyptian activists fear female genital mutilation initiative will fall short
“Egypt has announced an ambitious plan to reduce female genital mutilation by 10-15 percent over the next five years by mobilizing doctors and judges against a practice that still affects more than 90 percent of women in the country. … Yet some activists fear the campaign will fall short in eradicating FGM, and even the officials behind the new program acknowledge they face a formidable task…” (Malsin, 6/15).

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Anti-Homosexuality Policies Spreading Throughout East Africa, According To GlobalPost

GlobalPost: Anti-LGBT groups are making inroads across East Africa
“…Across many parts of Africa, homophobic organizations as well as religious and political leaders are increasingly pushing an anti-gay agenda into the public discourse. This determined march against the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Africa contrasts with the movement in favor of equal rights that is underway in the U.S. and Western Europe … Many countries still punish homosexual acts with prison time, torture, and even death. And the place where the battle lines for the rights of LGBT individuals are most starkly drawn is in Africa, where 37 of the continent’s 54 countries consider homosexual acts criminal…” (Kushner/Langat, 6/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Increase Funding For Food For Peace To Alleviate Middle East Hunger Crises

Huffington Post: Iraq Strategy Should Also Fight Hunger
William Lambers, author and blogger

“…The hunger crisis in Iraq, combined with the food shortages in Syria, is one of the largest humanitarian emergencies since World War II. U.S. leadership is needed to stop a severe hunger emergency from unfolding in Iraq. It’s vital the Congress increase funding for the Food for Peace initiative. This is the main program of the United States for fighting hunger abroad. In addition, the U.S. must encourage and coordinate donations from all capable nations to feed Iraq and other areas in distress. While a strategy for peace in Iraq is still being formed, we already know one ingredient. Food will help write the peace in Iraq. For there cannot be any peace or stability with people starving and malnourished…” (6/15).

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Advocates, Practitioners Call For Scale-Up Of Community Health Workers In Sub-Saharan Africa

Huffington Post: A Call to Scale-Up Community Health Workers
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Sonia Sachs of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University on behalf of the 1 Million CHW Campaign

“Public health officials and practitioners from around Africa and from international public and private organizations, businesses, and universities, met in Accra, Ghana, June 9-11 to consider ways to scale-up the coverage of high-quality community health worker (CHW) systems in our countries to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). In the meeting they pledged to work together to speed the scale-up of CHW systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and issued the following urgent appeal. … We call on world leaders to heed the exciting opportunities at hand to save lives by the millions in the coming years through professionalized, high-quality CHW systems linked to overall high-quality health care systems…” (6/15).

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Vaccine Necessary To Prevent Another MERS Outbreak

IRIN: MERS’s best friend is ignorance, so it’s time to wise up
Helen Branswell, medical reporter for the Canadian Press

“…The [MERS] disease and death toll …, the social and economic disruption as well as the fear and political strife South Korea is experiencing will likely ratchet up the pressure on the source countries — and the World Health Organization — to come up with more answers about MERS as well as strategies for limiting its damage. … While MERS is believed to have originated in bats, camels are now known to play a role in its spread. … Without a camel vaccine, South Korea’s experience will be repeated. And next time the virus may turn up somewhere without the system capacity and economic resources to respond effectively” (6/16).

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Israel's Abortion Policy Infringes Upon Women's Basic Human Rights

New York Times: Israel’s Abortion Committees
Mairav Zonszein, journalist and translator

“I knew Israeli law required that all abortions be approved by a committee. I also knew that the procedure was widely accessible. … The idea that anyone but me had the power to decide my family’s fate and mine was harrowing. Israel’s abortion policy, it hit me, was the opposite of liberal. … Israel’s policy sends a message to women that while the state will facilitate our abortions in practice, it refuses — in principle — to grant us the freedom to make that decision ourselves. And that is an infringement of our basic rights to bodily integrity and privacy. Often, when faced with criticism of Israel’s human rights record, its leaders and supporters like to boast about the country’s progressive credentials — its free press, its robust LGBT community, and the increasing number of women serving in combat. But you don’t often hear much about its abortion policy. Now I know why” (6/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Researchers, Advocates Encourage Congress To Sustain Disease Research Funding

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Diminishing research dollars sparks disease comparisons, competition, while HIV advocates say now is not the time to ease efforts
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” writes, “As U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committee members prepare to set funding levels for health and human services that include medical research during the fiscal year ahead, 679 clinicians and researchers as well as leaders of 416 organizations working to prevent, treat, and some day end the impact of HIV, have added their names to letters telling Congress the fight is not over yet” and “urg[ing] sustained funding for research for answers to a spectrum of diseases…” (6/15).

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G7 Addresses Hunger, Malnutrition In Final Document

ONE Blog: Holding G7 leaders to account on hunger and malnutrition
Kedar Mankad, a policy officer at ONE, writes, “…After the topics of global economy, foreign policy, health, and climate were dealt with, the G7 put forward one sentence that has the potential to help realize everything that came before it. ‘As part of a broad effort involving our partner countries, and international actors, and as a significant contribution to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we aim to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.’ Though they may not have meant it, by including this line, the G7 have made action on ending hunger and malnutrition the litmus test for the Sustainable Development Goals…” (6/15).

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Sierra Leone Shows Mixed Progress As Country Recovers From Ebola

World Bank: As Ebola Crisis Wanes, a Mixed Picture of Economic Recovery for Households in Sierra Leone
“Employment in Sierra Leone has returned to pre-crisis levels, though earnings and hours worked still lag behind. This is according to respondents in the latest round of high-frequency mobile-phone surveys, led by Statistics Sierra Leone with support from the World Bank Group, assessing how Ebola is impacting people’s livelihoods…” (6/15).

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Report Examines Relationship Among Child Marriage, Adolescent Health, Climate Change

BMJ Blogs: Jocalyn Clark: The surprising links between child marriage, climate change, and health
Jocalyn Clark, executive editor at icddr,b, discusses a recent “Human Rights Watch report, focused on Bangladesh, which has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world (a full 30 percent of females in this country are married before 15).” She says the report examines the interconnectedness among child marriage, girls’ health, and the role of climate change. “…Poverty exacerbated by natural disasters and climate change creates insecurity in families, which can cause them to have their young girls married, reveals the report, which was based on more than 100 interviews in the country…” (6/16).

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