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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Record 59.5M People Refugees, Internally Displaced, Or Seeking Asylum At End 2014, U.N. Report Says

News outlets highlight a new U.N. report, titled Global Trends, that shows nearly 60 million people worldwide were displaced by war, violence, or persecution at the end of 2014.

The Guardian: One in every 122 people is displaced by war, violence and persecution, says U.N.
“War, violence, and persecution left one in every 122 humans on the planet a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum at the end of last year, according to a stark U.N. report that warns the world is failing the victims of an ‘age of unprecedented mass displacement’…” (Jones, 6/18).

New York Times: 60 Million People Fleeing Chaotic Lands, U.N. Says
“…The new figures, released Thursday by the United Nations refugee agency, paint a staggering picture of a world where new conflicts are erupting and old ones are refusing to subside, driving up the total number of displaced people to a record 59.5 million by the end of 2014, the most recent year tallied. Half of the displaced are children…” (Sengupta, 6/18).

Reuters: World’s displaced hits record high of 60 mln, half of them children: U.N.
“…In 2014, an average of 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced every day, representing a four-fold increase in just four years, the aid agency said…” (D’Urso, 6/18).

Washington Post: New U.N. report says world’s refugee crisis is worse than anyone expected
“…The rapidly escalating figures reflect a world of renewed conflict, with wars in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe driving families and individuals from their homes in desperate flights for safety. But the systems for managing those flows are breaking down, with countries and aid agencies unable to handle the strain…” (Witte, 6/18).

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U.N. Humanitarian Aid Appeal Up To $18.8B Due To Multiple Crises Worldwide, Only 26% Funded, Report Shows

News outlets highlight a new U.N. report, titled Global Humanitarian Overview Status Report, June 2015, showing more funding is needed to address humanitarian crises worldwide.

The Guardian: U.N.’s aid appeal up 500% in a decade as multiple crises become the ‘new norm’
“The United Nations’ annual appeal for international aid has risen 500 percent in 10 years due to the ‘new norm’ of multiple humanitarian crises. Only 26 percent of the money needed has been committed, according to a report published [Tuesday] night…” (Banning-Lover, 6/17).

U.N. News Centre: Humanitarian needs at ‘all-time high,’ top U.N. relief official tells Economic and Social Council
“Humanitarian needs are at an all-time high, the top United Nations relief official declared today, stressing that while the organization needs no less than $18.8 billion to meet the needs of nearly 80 million people, it has received only 26 percent of that amount. ‘Each statistic represents a personal tragedy for someone: separation from home and community; missing out on an education; failure to plant the seeds for next year’s harvest; a life of instability and uncertainty,’ Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which kicked off its annual three-day Humanitarian Affairs Segment in Geneva [Wednesday]…” (6/17).

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WHO Director General Expresses Guarded Optimism Over South Korean MERS Outbreak, As Total Cases Rise To 165

Agence France-Presse: WHO chief voices optimism over S. Korea MERS outbreak
“WHO chief Margaret Chan expressed guarded optimism Thursday over South Korea’s ability to contain a MERS outbreak, saying it was now ‘on a very good footing’ after an initially slow response to the virus which has killed 23 people…” (Chan-Kyong, 6/18).

New York Times: South Korean Hospital Scrutinized in MERS Outbreak
“…The mistakes by the Samsung Medical Center [in caring for South Korea’s first MERS patient] are now the focus of much that has gone wrong to escalate the MERS crisis in South Korea, the worst outbreak beyond Saudi Arabia, where the disease first appeared in 2012. As of Thursday, nearly half of all 165 confirmed MERS cases in South Korea have been traced to Samsung, historically regarded as the nation’s best hospital…” (Sang-Hun, 6/17).

VOA News: South Korea Reports 3 More MERS Deaths
“The death toll from South Korea’s MERS outbreak has risen to 23, according to officials, a day after the United Nations’ health agency said incompetence had led to the spread of the virus. South Korea’s health ministry also said Thursday they have confirmed three more cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, bringing the total number of known infections to 165…” (6/18).

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Congress Begins Confirmation Hearings For USAID Administrator Nominee Gayle Smith

Devex: What to watch for in Gayle Smith’s confirmation hearing
“Gayle Smith, U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee for administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, [appeared] before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee [Wednesday] in the beginning of what some worry will be a drawn out and combative Congressional confirmation process. … Still, despite the slow pace of past confirmations, it appears Congress’ efforts to fill the role of USAID administrator, left vacant by Rajiv Shah in February, are moving relatively fast…” (Anders, 6/17).

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Liberia Launches Study To Assess Ebola's Long-Term Health Effects; Drugmakers Struggle To Assess Ebola Vaccines In Clinical Trials Due To Lack Of Qualified Volunteers

Agence France-Presse: Thousands of Liberians in ‘post-Ebola syndrome’ study
“Liberia launched a five-year study on Wednesday to unravel the mystery of the long-term health effects that plague Ebola survivors and assess how long they should go without sex…” (Dosso, 6/17).

Reuters: Ebola vaccines in limbo expose need for more speed in trials
“Drugmakers’ plans to conduct vast clinical trials to test and hopefully validate the first Ebola vaccines have been thwarted by success in beating back the deadly epidemic in West Africa. GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson are struggling to recruit volunteers with enough exposure to the disease to prove whether their vaccines are doing the job and preventing infection…” (Kelland/Hirschler, 6/17).

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North Korean Drought Raises Food Security Concerns, U.N. Says

Bloomberg News: North Korea Drought Risks Poor Harvests This Year, U.N. Says
“A three-month drought in North Korea risks causing poor harvests in the isolated state this year and is raising food security concerns, according to the United Nations. A dry spell from mid-April through early June ‘led to moisture deficits particularly in the central and southern “food basket” provinces,’ the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report dated Wednesday. The drought is adversely affecting plantings, the U.N. wrote…” (Kim, 6/17).

Deutsche Welle: German NGO: Drought situation in North Korea ‘alarming’
“North Korea says it has been hit by its worst drought in a century, resulting in extensive damage to agriculture. DW speaks to German food aid agency Welthungerhilfe about the situation on the ground…” (Felden, 6/17).

Korea Herald: U.S. has no plan to provide food aid to N. Korea amid report of record drought
“The United States said Wednesday it has no plans to provide food aid to North Korea amid concern food shortages in the impoverished communist nation could significantly worsen due to what the country calls the worst drought in a century…” (6/18).

New York Times: North Korea Says It’s Facing Its Worst Drought in a Century
“…United Nations officials recently expressed growing concern about the lack of rain. In April, the United Nations called for $111 million to fund its humanitarian operations in North Korea, saying that 70 percent of the country’s 25 million people were ‘food insecure’…” (Sang-Hun, 6/17).

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The Guardian Examines Progress Made On MDG 6, Remaining Challenges

The Guardian: What is the Millennium Development Goal on HIV and malaria all about?
“When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were devised, AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis killed approximately six million people each year. World leaders felt it was imperative to have a goal dedicated to tackling this deadly trio. … U.N. data indicate that the world is on track to meet its target of halting and reversing the spread of malaria and TB, but will fail to meet all targets on HIV and AIDS…” (Kweifio-Okai, 6/18).

The Guardian: Millennium Development Goal 6: 15 achievements on HIV and malaria
“More than three million deaths from malaria and 22 million from TB have been averted, and about 13 million people are on antiretroviral therapy to combat HIV…” (Kweifio-Okai, 6/18).

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India's Malnutrition Rates Higher Among Girls Than Boys, According To Studies

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Little girls bear the brunt in India’s vicious cycle of malnutrition
“…Despite India’s economic boom over the last two decades, 46 percent of its children under five are underweight, 48 percent are stunted, and 25 percent are wasted, according to the latest government figures. But what is not so widely known is that the majority are girls. … Increasing studies show that malnutrition rates are much higher in girls than in boys…” (Kandhari, 6/18).

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Climate Change Poses Challenge To Kenya's Malaria Progress

The Guardian: Kenya’s net gains on malaria prevention threatened by climate change
“…[I]n Kenya and elsewhere in Africa … there is a worrying new challenge: climate change. Rising temperatures have opened the door to the spread of mosquitoes to areas in which they were barely a threat two decades ago. … Dr. Andrew Githeko, one of the leading malaria researchers in Kenya, says the spread of mosquitoes to the traditionally cooler highlands, where previously there were low levels of malaria, was a major problem…” (Mutiga, 6/18).

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Young Kenyan Men Who Participated In Gender-Violence Prevention Program More Likely To Report Stopping Assaults On Women, Study Shows

Reuters Health: Trained that ‘No Means No,’ young men act to stop rape
“After training in a gender-violence prevention program, Kenyan boys and young men were three times more likely than their untrained classmates to report that they’d successfully intervened to prevent an assault on girls or women, a new study found…” (Cohen, 6/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Funding, Implementing WHO's International Health Regulations Best Way To Ensure Global Health Security

JAMA: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: A Global Health Challenge
Lawrence O. Gostin of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and Daniel Lucey of the Georgetown University School of Medicine

“…A critical lesson from SARS, Ebola, and now MERS is that health settings can amplify transmission risks. Historically, health settings have exposed patients and visitors due to close contact that facilitates spread of respiratory tract secretions and infected body fluids, as well as health workers who have not employed personal protective equipment. However, a well-trained and well-prepared health workforce — both health care and public health — usually can rapidly bring outbreaks under control. The International Health Regulations require all states to build core capacities, including diagnosis, treatment, laboratories, contact tracing, isolation, and humane forms of quarantine. Fully funding and implementing that international obligation offers the best assurance of global health security…” (6/17).

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Global Effort Needed To Reach Zero Ebola Cases In West Africa

Huffington Post: Getting to Zero — and Staying at Zero
Carolyn S. Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children

“…[E]ven though Liberia made it to this milestone [of zero Ebola cases], its neighbors, Guinea and Sierra Leone, are still seeing new cases. Save the Children has been hard at work over the last year in order to help bring the world to this point. … But we didn’t do all of this alone. … [P]roblems of this magnitude cannot be solved by just one group — or by multiple groups working in isolation from each other. Everyone has a role to play and partnerships will remain critical as we go forward in this fight. … I know the world is up for this challenge and one of the things that gives me hope is the commitment and creativity we have seen, and are seeing, on so many fronts and from so many partners” (6/17).

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International Community Must Fund Efforts To Find New TB Vaccines, Drugs, Diagnostics

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Fighting the Tuberculosis Threat
Thomas G. Evans, CEO of Advancing Tuberculosis Vaccines for the World

“…[T]hroughout the world, nine million people are diagnosed with active TB every year and 1.5 million die — as many people die from HIV. … Decades of neglect have meant that a concerted effort to develop new, more effective TB drugs and vaccines is still playing catch-up to the disease. … The World Health Organization has stated that a new vaccine, as well as new drugs and diagnostics, is critically needed to halt the TB epidemic. Let’s actually fund this effort commensurate to the scale of the problem” (6/18).

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Implementation Of The Union-WHO Collaborative Framework Will Help Control TB-Diabetes Co-Epidemic

Devex: Diabetes — a serious threat to ending TB
Sarabijt S. Chadha, project director with the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, Sharath BN, faculty in the Department of Community Medicine at ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, and Sachi Satapathy, technical officer at the Union

“…Several risk factors have been associated with TB including HIV, smoking, malnutrition, poverty, and others. A fast emerging addition to this list is diabetes, which significantly increases the risk of TB. … [T]here is still an opportunity to control the TB-diabetes co-epidemic — provided we act rapidly. The first step is to implement the The Union-WHO recommended collaborative framework on prioritizing countries at higher risk and advocates for collaboration of the national programs on TB and diabetes at all levels of the health system. All patients should be screened for diabetes and all the diabetes patients should be screened for symptoms of TB periodically — and managed accordingly. … The upcoming third International Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa in July is an opportunity to discuss how multilateral development agencies can assist governments in aligning TB and diabetes programs in LICs and MICs — and encourage investment of funds and other resources towards strengthened collaboration…” (6/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Humanosphere Discusses International Trade, Global Health Issues

Humanosphere: Global health poison pill for poor wrapped in Obama’s trade bacon
Humanosphere founder Tom Paulson discusses the Obama administration’s push for Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority, how the Trans-Pacific Partnership might affect global health issues, and the humanitarian community’s views on the international trade deal (6/17).

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World Bank Takes Steps To Curb Unhealthy Air Pollution In Nigeria

World Bank: A Plea for Action against Pollution in Nigeria
In this feature story and video, the World Bank outlines how indoor and outdoor air pollution negatively affect the health of people living in Nigeria and steps the organization is taking to curb pollution in the country (6/16).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 267 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features news articles on the development of a global strategic plan to stop TB and the launch of “the Aidspan Portal Workbench, which provides extensive data on the Global Fund’s grant portfolio data in a user-friendly way,” among other issues, as well as a commentary on advancing the human rights of sexual minorities (6/18).

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