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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Vigilance Over MERS Remains High But New Case Numbers Subsiding

News outlets report on the ongoing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which seems to be subsiding, according to the WHO, and did not spread from person-to-person in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Agence France-Presse: MERS cases in decline, vigilance urged for Hajj: WHO
“A surge in cases of the deadly MERS virus has receded, but countries must maintain vigilance for the Muslim pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, worst hit by the disease, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday…” (6/17).

HealthDay News: MERS Virus Did Not Spread in 2 U.S. Cases: Health Officials
“The potentially deadly MERS virus did not spread from two patients in the United States to any people in their homes or to health care workers who treated them, federal health officials said Tuesday…” (Preidt, 6/17).

Reuters: WHO says MERS virus of concern before haj, surge abating
“The deadly MERS virus remains a serious public health problem, especially with the approach of haj pilgrimages, but a recent surge in Saudi cases of the respiratory disease appears to be abating, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday…” (Kelland, 6/17).

Reuters: In U.S., MERS patients did not spread infection to close contacts: CDC
“Neither of the two U.S. cases of MERS has spread the often fatal infection to family members or to U.S. health care workers who treated them in Indiana and Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday…” (Steenhuysen, 6/17).

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Mining Sector In Sierra Leone Tests Workforce For Ebola; Disease Spreads To Liberia's Capital

News outlets continue to report on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where the mining sector is taking surveillance measures to test their workforce.

Bloomberg News: Ebola Fears Spark Random African Minerals Health Checks
“African Minerals Ltd. (AMI), the iron ore miner and biggest contributor to Sierra Leone’s economy, is randomly testing its workforce to help combat an outbreak of the Ebola virus that’s killed 20 people in the country…” (Riseborough, 6/17).

Reuters: Ebola kills at least four in Liberia’s capital
“At least four people have died from Ebola in Liberia’s capital, a World Health Organization (WHO) and a government official said on Tuesday, the first confirmed deaths in Monrovia from a months-long regional outbreak…” (Farge/Felix, 6/17).

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U.N., Health Ministry Reach More Than 1M People With Meningitis Vaccine In Guinea

International partners complete a meningitis vaccination campaign in Guinea, reaching more than one million people.

UNICEF: UNICEF and partners vaccinating over 1.1 million people in Guinea to halt meningitis outbreak
“This weekend, the Government of Guinea, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF completed a vaccination campaign in the country’s Eastern Region where a recent meningitis outbreak has already caused at least 52 deaths since the beginning of the year…” (6/16).

VOA News: Over 1 Million in Guinea Get Meningitis Vaccine
“More than 1.1 million people have been successfully vaccinated against meningitis in eastern Guinea, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (Lazuta, 6/17).

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WIPO Research Project Creates Partnerships But No New Drug Candidates Yet

SciDev.Net: WIPO’s patent pool yet to deliver new drug candidates
“A U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) project to stimulate research into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by facilitating patent sharing between their owners and researchers has brokered at least 60 partnerships since its 2011 launch, yet its effectiveness remains unclear…” (Roach, 6/18).

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Rohingya Facing Humanitarian, Health Crises In Burmese Camps

TIME: These Aren’t Refugee Camps, They’re Concentration Camps, and People Are Dying in Them
“…For years, the Rohingya have been denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Burma, and have faced severe restrictions on marriage, employment, health care and education. Now, it seems, the Burmese authorities are determined to starve and sicken the Rohingya out of existence…” (Motlagh, 6/17).

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GlobalPost Examines Cambodia's Mental Health Crisis

GlobalPost: Cambodia suffers from an appalling mental health crisis
“…In 2012, in a first attempt to define the scope of Cambodia’s mental health crisis, the Royal University of Phnom Penh interviewed 2,600 people. More than 27 percent showed acute anxiety, and 16.7 percent suffered from depression. … [However,] mental health is simply not a priority… [and] only a handful of aid workers focus on mental health, making it one of the country’s most overlooked burdens.

..” (Hruby, 6/17).

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Counterfeit Drugs Spur Antibiotic Resistance Worldwide

Bloomberg News: Fake Antibiotics Feed Growing Worldwide Superbugs Threat
“Antibiotics now rank among the most counterfeited medicines in the world, feeding a global epidemic of drug-resistant superbugs. A new surveillance and reporting program in 80 countries led by the World Health Organization shows that counterfeit antibiotics are a growing problem in all regions of the world…” (Kitamura, 6/17).

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Al Jazeera Examines Nigeria's Drive To Increase Access To Injectable Anti-Malarial Drug

Al Jazeera: The Cure: Mission Malaria
“…Injectable artesunate is a rapidly acting drug that kills the parasites that cause malaria. In 2010, the World Health Organization authorized aid agencies to supply the drug as the preferred first line treatment for severe malaria. … But despite its effectiveness, injectable artesunate is still out of reach for millions of people who need it. … Join Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim in Nigeria for this special episode of The Cure, to see how the international drive to increase access to injectable artesunate is saving young children’s lives” (6/17).

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Cameroon, WHO Launch Campaign To End FGM

VOA News: Cameroon, WHO Push for End to Female Circumcision
“Cameroon and the World Health Organization (WHO) have a launched a campaign against female circumcision. The practice, which critics call female genital mutilation (FGM), is still practiced in the Central African nation for commercial reasons and traditional belief that it makes a woman faithful to her husband…” (Kindzeka, 6/17).

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Laos Marks ASEAN Dengue Day As Country Enters Wet Season

Xinhua/GlobalPost: Laos marks ASEAN Dengue Day
“Officials have gathered here in the capital [of Laos] to mark ASEAN Dengue Day and urge vigilance against the mosquito-borne disease as Laos enters its wet season on Tuesday…” (6/17).

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Scientific American, Nature Publish In-Depth Report On Cancer

Scientific American: Cancer: The March on Malignancy
“…This [in-depth] Outlook presents an overview of the current battles against cancer. … To deliver this broad view of cancer widely, this Outlook is being published in both Nature and Scientific American — a collaboration that we expect to be the first of many…” (6/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Bank Should Consider LGBT Rights Before Approving Countries' Loans

Project Syndicate: The Development Costs of Homophobia
Adebisi Alimi, an LGBT advocate and HIV activist, and a 2014 Aspen New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute

“…This year, Nigeria and Uganda put in place draconian anti-gay laws, sparking a worldwide debate about human rights. This debate has also started at the World Bank, whose president, Jim Yong Kim, recently declared that ‘institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies.’ … Looking ahead, the Bank should … make legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity a condition for countries receiving loans. … If the Bank — which currently lends Nigeria almost $5.5 billion and expects to commit an additional $2 billion in each of the next four years — moved in this direction, other funders might follow. Africa’s LGBT people desperately need such powerful allies in their struggle for human and economic rights” (6/17).

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Antimicrobial Resistance Poses Challenge For Post-2015 Development Agenda

Budapest Business Journal: Antimicrobial Resistance: A challenge for the post-2015 agenda
Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

“…If left unchecked, antimicrobial resistance could mean the undoing of all the progress made under the MDGs. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are part of the U.N.’s post-2015 development agenda, must emphasize antimicrobial resistance as a threat to global health that must be overcome. … Ensuring that there is a concerted international effort to address these problems will undoubtedly present a challenge for the global health community. With the MDGs in their final stages, governments around the world must come together to set new goals that ensure the gains we have made since 2000 are not lost to the threat of drug-resistant bacteria” (6/17).

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New York Times' 'Room For Debate' Feature Discusses PrEP HIV Prevention Strategy

New York Times: Is a Pill Enough to Fight HIV?
“New federal guidelines urge gay men and others who have unprotected sex to take a daily dose of the drug Truvada, a regimen called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to curb HIV infections and AIDS. Is promoting the use of the antiviral drug a good public health strategy, or will it encourage more to have unprotected sex?” The newspaper features opinion pieces from Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; Renato Barucco, head of the Transgender Family Program at Community Healthcare Network in New York City; Larry Kramer, a gay rights advocate and playwright; Peter Acworth, founder and chief executive of Kink.com; and Kenneth Mayer, a professor at Harvard Medical School, director of HIV prevention research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and founder and medical research director of the Fenway Institute (6/17).

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Medicines Patent Pool Launches Effort To Get HIV Medications To Children

Washington Post: Trying to produce drugs appropriate for children with HIV
Lenny Bernstein, blogger for the Washington Post

“…[I]n conjunction with a number of other public health agencies in the U.S. and abroad, the Medicines Patent Pool kicked off an initiative Tuesday to recruit the big drug companies to produce and distribute HIV drugs in the right formulation for kids. They also want companies to share their intellectual property and data so that others can produce the drugs, and they say we need a redoubling of effort to make sure the drugs get to children in these developing countries and continue to flow there…” (6/17).

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Haiti Making Postearthquake Progress, But Needs Remain To End Homelessness, Cholera

Wall Street Journal: News Flash: Haiti Is on the Upswing
Sean Penn, actor, director, and founder of J/P Haitian Relief Organization

“…The people of Haiti have come a long way [since the 2010 earthquake, but] there are two urgent problems that need to be addressed: postearthquake homelessness and cholera. … In collaboration with local and national government leaders, other international NGOs, U.N. agencies, donors and the community members themselves, the team at J/P HRO will continue to fulfill our mission of ‘saving lives and building sustainable programs with the Haitian people quickly and effectively.’ And with continued support and investment, our resourceful and inspiring neighbors in Haiti will overcome postearthquake homelessness and cholera…” (6/17).

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JSI Endorses Two-Drug Initiative To Prevent Maternal, Infant Mortality

Huffington Post: Simple Solutions to Global Problems: How Two Medicines Promise Life for Mothers and Infants in Nigeria
Joel Lamstein, president of JSI and World Education

“…[W]ith support from donors such as USAID, JSI is pioneering a two-drug initiative that uses low-tech and high-impact methods to protect both mother and newborn during and after birth. The first drug, misoprostol, is for the mother to take immediately after delivery. Just three orally ingested pills prevent postpartum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality around the world. A second medicine, chlorhexidine, is an easy-to-use antiseptic to replace traditional umbilical cord care. … By ensuring that more newborns live and fewer mothers die, chlorhexidine and misoprostol promise families better futures…” (6/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

House Committee Releases FY15 State And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations on Monday released its FY 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which includes the majority of U.S. funding for global health.

House Committee on Appropriations: Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
“…The bill prioritizes funding for diplomatic operations, foreign assistance, and security activities…” (6/16).

Kaiser Family Foundation: House Appropriations Committee releases FY 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
A Policy Tracker from the foundation states, “The House Committee on Appropriations released the FY 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes funding for U.S. global health programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department (see table below) comprising a significant portion of U.S. funding for global health (total funding for global health is not currently available as some funding provided through USAID, HHS, and DoD is not yet available)…” (6/16).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Breaking News: House Subcommittee Funds PEPFAR and Global TB Higher than President’s Request
Christine Lubinski, vice president for global health at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, discusses the FY15 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (6/17).

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Publications Examine Funding For HIV, Human Rights

Two publications explore funding for HIV and human rights.

Open Society Foundations: HIV and Human Rights: A Mapping of Donor Priorities and Trends in Southern Africa
“…This briefing paper reports the findings of a 2012 study on HIV and human rights donor trends in Southern Africa, commissioned by the Open Society Foundations. It identifies opportunities to leverage donor support for HIV and human rights organizations, and for donor collaboration that can support them in the current funding environment” (June 2014).

UNAIDS: Donors and partners commit to sustaining HIV and human rights programming as a stepping stone to ending the AIDS epidemic
UNAIDS and Funders Concerned About AIDS recently convened a meeting to “discuss the funding landscape for civil society organizations and articulate a shared commitment among donors to sustain human rights work related to HIV…” (6/17).

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