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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Taps Into Private Sector Expertise To Help With HIV/AIDS Efforts

Bloomberg Business: Obama’s AIDS Boss Appeals to Apax, Nike for Help to Curb HIV
“Deborah Birx wants to wring more from the $6.8 billion the U.S. gives her each year to fight AIDS around the world. Hampered by a stagnant budget, she’s cutting off funding to clinics that fail to find HIV cases and looking to Starbucks Corp. and Nike Inc. for ideas. Birx, appointed by President Barack Obama last year as the administration’s global AIDS coordinator, has tapped the Nike Foundation to help craft HIV prevention messages for young women. She’s also sought advice from John Megrue, chairman of the U.S. unit of private-equity firm Apax Partners LLP, on organizational change…” (Bennett, 6/2).

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White House Forum Addresses U.S.-Based Efforts To Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

CQ News: White House Antibiotics Forum to Address Risks of Modern Medicine
“The White House on Tuesday held a wide-ranging forum on drug-resistant bacteria, the latest step in a global effort to tackle a growing problem — one that causes 23,000 deaths in the United States alone and has doctors warning of a catastrophic ‘post-antibiotic’ era…” (Gustin, 6/2).

Washington Post: White House opens ‘superbug’ summit, orders federal cafeterias to use meat raised with ‘responsible antibiotic use’
“…Tuesday’s event follows the White House plan announced in March to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a mounting problem that causes an estimated two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths every year in the United States. That plan outlined specific goals to fight the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes over the next five years. They include steps to prevent and contain antibiotic-resistant infections through better surveillance of ‘superbugs’ in hospitals and other health care settings, to maintain the effectiveness of current and new drugs, and to develop next-generation therapeutics…” (Sun, 6/2).

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South Korean President Calls For MERS Control Measures After 5 New Cases Reported

Reuters: South Korea says everything must be done to halt MERS
“South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Wednesday everything must be done to stop Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as fear of the disease shut hundreds of schools and led to corporate giant Samsung calling off a staff conference…” (Park, 6/3).

Science Magazine: ‘Superspreading event’ triggers MERS explosion in South Korea
“…Scientists are wondering how a single imported case could have led to so many secondary infections. … The simplest explanation for the ‘superspreading event,’ as scientists call this type of spread, is a lapse in infection control measures at the hospital, [point person on MERS at the WHO, Peter Ben Embarek,] says…” (Kupferschmidt, 6/2).

TIME: MERS Is Going to Spread in South Korea, the WHO Says
“…According to Reuters, South Korea’s health ministry confirmed five new cases of the virus Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 30 — the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia. South Korea has isolated about 750 people after they came into contact with patients infected with the virus, which results in coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and further complications of pneumonia and kidney failure…” (Regan, 6/3).

USA TODAY: South Korean MERS outbreak likely to spread, health officials say
“…Given how many people were exposed, ‘further cases can be expected,’ the WHO said in a statement. People are more likely to spread the disease when they are very sick and coughing more, [Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota,] said…” (Szabo, 6/3).

Washington Post: South Korea shuts down primary schools as spread of MERS alarms public
“South Korea shut down 200 primary schools, canceled some public events, and put more than 1,300 people in various levels of quarantine, acknowledging on Wednesday that the continuing spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome within its borders had become a crisis…” (Cha, 6/3).

WHO: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Republic of Korea
“…The quality of reporting has allowed almost real-time insight into the dynamics of the outbreak. Aggressive contact tracing and testing for infection may help explain the rapid expansion of the outbreak. Human-to-human transmission has been documented. … The outbreak is the largest reported outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the disease first emerged in April 2012 and the vast majority of cases have occurred…” (6/2).

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Devex Examines Expert Discussions Surrounding Health Systems Strengthening

Devex: What does it really mean to build health systems?
“Over the past year, discussions around dealing with the Ebola outbreak to bringing cases down to zero invariably circled around the need for health systems strengthening. Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s assistant administrator for global health, and Michael Myers, managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation, were perhaps among the first health experts to pin West Africa’s inability to contain the epidemic on weak health systems in the region…” (Ravelo, 6/2).

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U.N.'s Ban To Convene Ebola Meeting In July To Spur Resource Commitments To End West African Epidemic

U.N. News Centre: Ban to convene international Ebola recovery conference in New York
“To help mobilize needed resources ‘in the last mile of the response’ against the Ebola outbreak and to start the affected West African countries on the path of early recovery, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Tuesday] announced that he will convene an international conference next month…” (6/2).

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FAO Report Shows Differences In Food Security Progress Among Africa's Regions

VOA News: African Food Security Varies by Region
“A new report on Africa’s food security showed regional differences in progress. Western Africa led the continent in reducing the number of undernourished people since the early 1990s. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has released the first edition of the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa…” (DeCapua, 6/2).

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Suicide Outpaces Maternal Mortality As Leading Cause Of Death Among Older Teen Girls

NPR: The Truth Behind The Suicide Statistic For Older Teen Girls
“…The number one cause of death around the world for older teen girls had shifted from maternal mortality to ‘self-harm.’ … But curiously, the shift doesn’t reflect a sudden increase in self-harm. What it does reflect is a bit of good news: Maternal mortality has been dropping. … And in the age range of 15 to 19, the rate of death from maternal conditions fell from 15.74 per 100,000 in 2000 to 9.72 in 2012. Rates of suicide have also been dropping in that same time period, but the rate is still high enough to outpace maternal mortality among females 15 to 19…” (Brink, 6/2).

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HIV Infections Among Children Down, But Access To Treatment In Africa Remains Challenging, UNAIDS Head Says

VOA News: UNAIDS: 95% of African Children With AIDS Lack Access to Treatment
“Nearly 95 percent of African children living with AIDS do not have access to treatment, the executive director of UNAIDS said during a visit to Cameroon Tuesday. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said there has been nearly a 60 percent decrease in the number of HIV infections among children under the age of 15, but more than 90 percent of the more than three million children living with the disease are in sub-Saharan Africa, where access to treatment has been a major obstacle to stopping its spread…” (Kindzeka, 6/2).

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WFP To Scale Up Food Aid Operations In Yemen To Reach 2.5M

U.N. News Centre: Appealing for funds, U.N. agency aims to reach 2.5 million in Yemen with food aid by July
“Amid a worsening crisis and growing number of hungry people in Yemen, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced [Tuesday] that it is scaling-up its operations to get emergency food aid to 2.5 million people by July…” (6/2).

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WHO, Health Partners Seek $60M To Provide Health Care, Help Prevent Communicable Diseases In Iraq

U.N. News Centre: New humanitarian appeal for Iraq vital to meet rising health needs among displaced — U.N.
“If the upcoming launch of the 2015 humanitarian response plan for Iraq by the United Nations and partners fails to raise the required $500 million, the people of the country, especially those internally displaced by fighting, will face even greater hardship, a World Health Organization (WHO) official warned [Tuesday]. … Of the total $500 million that will be requested to cover humanitarian needs in Iraq through the end of the year, health partners will ask for $60 million, which includes $22.5 million for WHO assistance only…” (6/2).

VOA News: Uprooted Iraqis at Risk of Water-Borne Disease Outbreaks
“The World Health Organization said millions of internally displaced people in Iraq are at risk of water-borne and other communicable diseases as scorching summer temperatures kick in. The U.N. agency warns it is practically broke and soon will not be able to provide life-saving assistance. … The WHO and its 29 health partners need $60 million until the end of the year to provide health care for 2.8 million internally displaced people and local residents in Iraq…” (Schlein, 6/2).

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Meningitis Epidemic Responsible For 545 Deaths In Niger On Decline, WHO Says

Reuters: Niger meningitis epidemic has peaked, 545 dead: WHO says
“An epidemic of meningitis has killed 545 people in Niger, out of 8,234 people who caught the disease, but has now peaked, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday…” (Miles, 6/2).

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Cholera Outbreak Kills 72 In Kenya; MSF Expresses Concern Over Rapid Spread

Xinhua News: MSF decries rapid spread of cholera outbreak in Kenya
“International medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), on Tuesday expressed concern over the rapid spread of cholera in Kenya that has claimed 72 lives…” (6/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

G7 Summit Will Address Many Global Diplomatic, Development Issues, Including NTDs

Yomiuri Shimbun/Japan News: Group of 7 — Think ahead, act together
Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany

“The heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial countries will gather in Elmau, Germany, on June 7 and 8 to discuss the most pressing global challenges. … The G7 has repeatedly assumed responsibility for the health of the world’s people. That is why the Elmau summit will also be discussing ways to combat neglected tropical diseases or the dangerous and growing problem of antibiotic resistance. … One thing is true of all the topics I have mentioned here: The G7 cannot meet these challenges alone; we will need many other partners. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the G7 can be, indeed must be, the driving force for a world worth living in in the long term…” (6/3).

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G7 Focus, Action On NTDs Can Help Alleviate Poverty Worldwide

Huffington Post: Unpacking the G7 Agenda: Recognizing Neglected Tropical Diseases
Ilya Jones, communications officer at the Malaria Consortium, U.K.

“…Among other health issues, diseases of poverty — or more specifically, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) — will be a focal point for the [G7] summit meetings. … Despite their pervasiveness, NTDs are generally eclipsed by the major killers like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Yet they can leave just as deep a mark. Malaria Consortium uses its expertise in malaria control as an entry point for addressing NTDs. … By recognizing the danger that the diseases pose to fragile economies and vulnerable populations, world leaders will be paving the way for increased investment in affordable treatments that can help to alleviate poverty…” (6/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

White House Fact Sheet Describes Forum On Antibiotic Resistance, Actions Taken

White House: FACT SHEET: Over 150 Animal and Health Stakeholders Join White House Effort to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
In this fact sheet, the White House describes the first forum to address antibiotic resistance, as well as actions taken by the Obama administration, government agencies, and the private and non-profit sectors to prevent drug-resistant microbes (6/2).

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IntraHealth Blog Post Highlights Lessons Learned From Ebola For Stronger Health Information Systems

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: 10 Lessons for Stronger Health Information Systems in Ebola-Affected West Africa
Amanda Puckett, technical adviser at IntraHealth International, discusses last month’s “Annual Joint Meeting of National Health Information Systems and of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Managers with Technical and Financial Partners” in Accra, Ghana. The meeting aimed to “develop a consensus for action to improve health information systems in West Africa as the region continues to overcome and eventually recovers from the [Ebola] epidemic.” Puckett discusses 10 key lessons learned (6/2).

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