KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Ban Summoned To Appear In Court By Haitian Cholera Victims, Lawyers Say

News outlets report on the ongoing controversy over compensation for victims of the Haitian cholera outbreak, which was caused by U.N. peacekeepers.

Agence France-Presse: Lawyers say U.N. chief served with Haiti lawsuit in NY
“Lawyers for more than 1,500 victims of Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic said Friday they had served U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with a personal summons to appear in U.S. court…” (6/20).

New York Times: U.N. Chief Served Papers in Suit by Haitian Victims, Lawyers Say
“The United Nations has been resisting, successfully so far, lawsuits from Haiti cholera victims who assert that United Nations peacekeepers caused the 2010 epidemic still ravaging the country. But on Friday, lawyers for the plaintiffs said, something new happened: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was personally served with court papers ordering him to appear, an assertion that his spokesman denied…” (Gladstone, 6/20).

Reuters: U.N. chief served with Haiti cholera complaint, lawyers say
“Lawyers for victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti said on Friday they have served United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with a complaint in New York as part of a federal lawsuit seeking compensation for the outbreak, which they blame on U.N. peacekeepers…” (Nichols/Adams, 6/20).

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UNHCR Report Shows More Than 50M Refugees Globally For First Time Since WWII

News outlets highlight an annual report from the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), released on World Refugee Day.

Christian Science Monitor: Global refugees highest since WWII, pointing to lack of political solutions
“The number of refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum-seekers is at the highest level since World War II, a U.N. agency said today, in a report that highlights the struggles of the international community to support refugees and find solutions to ongoing global conflicts…” (Tomkiw, 6/20).

CNN: World Refugee Day: 50 million forced from their homes worldwide, U.N. says
“More than 50 million people worldwide currently are refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced within their own countries, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday, in a new report released to mark World Refugee Day…” (Smith-Spark, 6/20).

The Guardian: Global refugee figure passes 50m for first time since second world war
“…Half the world’s refugees are children, many traveling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the clutches of people traffickers, the annual U.N. high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) global trends report said…” (Sherwood, 6/19).

New York Times: U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Refugees as Civil Wars Cripple Nations
“…According to the United Nations annual report released Friday, most of the forcibly displaced worldwide are homeless in their own countries and are known as internally displaced persons. An additional 16.7 million people are refugees in another land…” (Sengupta, 6/20).

UNHCR: World Refugee Day: Global forced displacement tops 50 million for first time in post-World War II era
“…UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization’s own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully six million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012…” (6/20).

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2M Children Under Five Die Each Year In Central, Western Africa, UNICEF Says

Agence France-Presse: Two million under-fives die each year in central, west Africa
“Two million children under five die each year in central and western Africa, accounting for almost a third of all deaths worldwide in that age range, the U.N. children’s agency said Sunday…” (6/22).

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UNAIDS' Sidibé Warns Over Increase In MENA Region's HIV Cases During AFP Interview

Agence France-Presse: Mideast sees ‘worrying’ rise in HIV cases: U.N.
“A sharp rise in new HIV infections in the Middle East and North Africa is a worrying trend, despite some positive developments, UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibé told AFP on Friday…” (6/20).

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Thailand, Malaysia Receive Lowest Ranking In Efforts To Fight Human Trafficking, U.S. Report Says

New York Times: U.S. Gives Thailand and Malaysia Lowest Grade on Human Trafficking
“Thailand and Malaysia are among the two dozen countries doing the least to fight human trafficking, according to a State Department report released Friday, a finding that could lead to economic and diplomatic penalties…” (Moll, 6/20).

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Syria's Polio Vaccination Campaign Reaches 1.4 Million Children

Washington Post: Polio vaccine effort in Syria reaches 1.4 million children as volunteers brave violence
“Despite grave danger, a campaign to combat the spread of polio in rebel-held Syria has been surprisingly successful, with volunteers inoculating about 1.4 million children since the beginning of the year…” (Root, 6/22).

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Health Experts, Officials Discuss Control Of West African Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola spread due to ‘relaxation’ of efforts
“The recent rapid spread of Ebola in three countries in West Africa has come in part because efforts to contain the deadly virus have been relaxed, Pierre Formenty, a World Health Organization specialist, told AFP on Saturday…” (Pedrero, 6/21).

Associated Press: Sierra Leone defends its record on Ebola outbreak
“Sierra Leone on Saturday defended its response to the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa, saying it was dismayed by allegations that affected governments are not doing enough…” (Roy-Macaulay, 6/21).

Associated Press: Ebola ‘out of control’: Doctors Without Borders
“A senior official for Doctors Without Borders says the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is ‘totally out of control’ and that the medical group is stretched to the limit in its capacity to respond…” (6/20).

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Indian Health Minister Questions Emphasis On Condom Use In AIDS Campaign

New York Times: Health Minister Questions Stress on Condoms in AIDS Fight
“India’s new health minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has said that he would like to see a change in the way that the government promotes awareness of AIDS and HIV, with more emphasis on ‘promoting the integrity of the sexual relationship between husband and wife,’ which he said was ‘part of our culture’…” (Vyawahare, 6/23).

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Devex Interviews NTD Experts On Shift To Elimination Strategy For River Blindness

Devex: The next steps to eliminate river blindness
“Simon Bush, director of NTDs at SightSavers, and Helen Hamilton, NTDs policy adviser at the U.K.-based NGO, … shared with us a few insights on what will be the biggest challenges in [shifting onchocerciasis control] to an elimination strategy, how they plan to overcome those obstacles and what their priorities should be for the coming years…” (Ravelo, 6/20).

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Lancet Infectious Diseases Examines How HIV Prevention Work Is Shifting In Uganda

Lancet Infectious Diseases: The changing tide in Uganda’s HIV control
“Less than a decade ago, HIV prevention work in Uganda was hailed as an example to other African nations. Proposed legislation might, however, erode the advances made…” (Burki, July 2014)

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Somalia's Former First Lady Leads Fight Against FGM, Says Men Should 'Play A Greater Role'

The Guardian: Somaliland’s leading lady for women’s rights: ‘It is time for men to step up’
Former first lady of Somalia, Edna Adan, “hope[s] that the balance of power is finally tipping in the fight against violence against women and girls, particularly against FGM. But this veteran campaigner knows too well the dangers of over-optimism. … ‘[I]t is time for men to play a greater role,’ she says…” (Topping, 6/23).

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Researcher Examines Whether Water Access Linked To FGM Prevalence In Africa

Inter Press Service: Improved Access to Water May Hold the Solution to Ending FGM in Africa
“Could it be possible that if women in Africa had access to water, it could save them from undergoing the harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)? It seems that according to yet-to-be released research by Ugandan Gwada Okot Tao, FGM and other forms of circumcision in Africa could be linked to water…” (Kyalimpa, 6/20).

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Central American Health Officials Say Chikungunya Spreading Into Region

Agence France-Presse: Chikungunya virus spreads from Caribbean to C. America
“The mosquito-born chikungunya virus is spreading into Central America, health authorities there say, after outbreaks in several Caribbean nations…” (6/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Markey's International Human Rights Bill Critical To U.S. Global AIDS Response

The Hill: Markey’s bill will help global fight against AIDS
Kenneth Mayer, director of prevention research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, medical research director at the Fenway Institute, and co-chair of the IDSA Center for Global Health Policy

“Last week with the introduction of the International Human Rights Defense Act (S 2472), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) took a critical step toward ensuring the continued success of the United States landmark global AIDS response. The act would establish an office within the Department of State responsible for coordinating efforts to defend the human rights of sexual minorities worldwide. … Recognizing the right of all people to health and dignity has supported impressive gains. With few exceptions — Uganda and Nigeria among them — most countries where PEPFAR has brought resources, technology, medicine, and hope are now seeing the numbers of people initiating life-saving antiretroviral treatment for HIV surpass the numbers of people becoming infected with the virus. The act Sen. Markey has introduced will help to ensure that all people can gain equally from the humanitarian strides we have made” (6/20).

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Gender-Based Violence Is 'Global Problem Demanding Global Solutions'

Al Jazeera America: Global justice for rape survivors demands extraordinary efforts
Jill Filipovic, lawyer, blogger at Feministe, and columnist at The Guardian

“…Even nations with entrenched and functional criminal justice systems regularly drop the ball when it comes to violence against women. To be sure, if we are to get serious about helping survivors, we need to strengthen their legal rights. But we should also be looking outside the justice system to help facilitate healing in the many instances where justice is a dream or a farce. … Gender-based violence isn’t a Moroccan or Congolese or American problem; it’s a global problem demanding global solutions — part of which is integrating survivors’ experiences and needs into reforms…” (6/19).

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Global Community Should Commit To Funding For Basic Education

Washington Post: Universal basic education is the millennium goal everyone forgot
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…When the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000, they included both health and education objectives. The health goals were pursued with vigor — and money — and great progress was achieved. Yet the pursuit of basic education languished. The U.S. government and others dropped the ball on an agenda that should have been a no-brainer. … On Thursday, we can begin to change this. Governments and organizations will gather in Brussels to renew their financial commitments to primary education for the world’s poorest children. The Global Partnership for Education is the main world advocacy group for children who won’t learn to read, write, and count unless the world steps forward to help…” (6/22).

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NIH To Study Whether Infants Born With HIV Can Be Cured With Aggressive Therapy

Washington Post: A Mississippi infant’s case opens a new door on studying a cure for HIV
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH

“…The possibility of achieving an HIV cure for thousands of infants is too important not to pursue vigorously. The National Institutes of Health will soon launch a carefully monitored clinical trial in 12 countries, including the United States. The study aims to replicate the results of the Mississippi baby case in other infants exposed to HIV in the womb. … Meanwhile, we must work even harder to reach all HIV-infected women, especially those who are pregnant, with treatment and care — both for their own health and that of any children they bear” (6/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Lancet Infectious Diseases July Issue Focuses On HIV, Launches 'The Lancet HIV'

Lancet Infectious Diseases: A new chapter in HIV
“In this issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, you will notice a large amount of HIV content in the journal. We have pooled this content from the many HIV/AIDS-related submissions that the journal received to mark the occasion of the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2014, in Melbourne this year, July 20—25. This content also heralds an exciting development in the Lancet journals’ engagement with the HIV community, the launch of a new title: The Lancet HIV…” (July 2014).

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