KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Gates Foundation Pledges $776M Over 6 Years To Improve Global Nutrition, Halve Child Deaths

Devex: Gates pledges $776M for malnutrition, unlocks U.K. commitments
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — the world’s largest private foundation — will spend $776 million over the next six years to fight malnutrition, a strong signal of support for a historically underfunded sector, according to the foundation’s leaders…” (Igoe, 6/3).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Gates Foundation to double spending on hunger to $776 million over 6 years
“…[Melinda] Gates made the announcement in Brussels, where she urged European leaders to make the nutrition of women and children a priority. The huge pledge also unlocks $180 million in matched funding from Britain’s Department for International Development…” (D’Urso, 6/3).

TIME: How the Gates Foundation Aims to Cut Childhood Mortality in Half
“… ‘Estimates are that in about 50 percent of all of the remaining under-five deaths, nutrition played at least a significant role,’ said Melinda Gates in a conversation with TIME. The foundation aims to change that in a lot of ways — little of which will involve the old bags-of-rice-offloaded-at-the-airport model. Emergency supplies can fill gaps in times of natural disasters, but they are, as Gates calls them, downstream strategies — sustainable only as long as the supplies keep flowing from generous benefactors. Upstream strategies involve putting systems in place so that generous benefactors are eventually not needed…” (6/3).

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South Korea Reports 5 New MERS Cases, 1 Death; President Establishes Task Force As More People Quarantined

Agence France-Presse: S. Korea reports third death from MERS outbreak
“South Korea on Thursday reported its third death from an outbreak of the MERS virus that has infected dozens of people, seen hundreds of schools closed and caused thousands to cancel travel plans…” (Ha-Won, 6/3).

Associated Press: More reason for calm than panic in South Korea’s MERS scare
“…The current frenzy in South Korea over MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, brings to mind the other menacing diseases to hit Asia over the last decade — SARS, which killed hundreds, and bird flu. Then, as now, confusion ruled as the media harped on the growing public panic, and health care workers and government officials struggled to understand and contain the diseases, sometimes downplaying the danger, sometimes inadvertently hyping it…” (Klug, 6/4).

CIDRAP News: Five more South Korean MERS cases lift total to 35
“Health officials in South Korea [Wednesday] reported five new MERS-CoV cases, pushing the total in the country’s quickly growing hospital cluster to 35, according to translations of an official report…” (Schnirring, 6/3).

New York Times: Fears of MERS Virus Prompt Broadening of Cautions in South Korea
“Fears of the deadly virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome enveloped South Korea on Wednesday as the authorities nearly doubled the number of quarantined people they say may have been exposed, temporarily closed more than 700 kindergartens and schools, and refused to identify the six hospitals where infections had been confirmed…” (Sang-Hun, 6/3).

Reuters: South Korea reports third MERS death as alarm grows
“South Korea on Thursday confirmed that a man who died a day earlier had been infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the third fatality in a virus outbreak that has fueled growing alarm in the country…” (Park, 6/4).

Reuters: South Korea reports five more cases of MERS, raising total to 35
“…While there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, the worst-case scenario would be for the virus to change and spread rapidly, as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did in 2002-2003, killing about 800 people around the world…” (Kim/Park, 6/3).

Washington Post: South Korea quarantines more than 1,300 in race against MERS
“…Amid criticism it has been too slow to respond to the viral illness, which has no vaccine or cure, President Park Geun-hye ordered the establishment of a task force to try to contain the infection and to be more transparent along the way…” (Fifield, 6/3).

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MSF Takes On New Roles In Latest Ebola Epidemic, Warns World Remains Unprepared For Another Outbreak

Nature: Ebola outbreak thrusts MSF into new roles
“…At a time when the WHO is lacking the funds and authority to address pressing global health needs, there is room for an organization such as MSF to take a greater role in both chronic and acute medical crises, as well as in research that enhances preparedness for those situations. But [Joanne Liu, president of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),] insists that MSF cannot become ‘the world’s doctor.’ ‘We need to be careful that we don’t spread ourselves too thin,’ she says…” (Hayden, 6/3).

Reuters: After Ebola, world still unprepared for global pandemic: MSF
“The global health system is unable to handle another mass epidemic like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Médecins Sans Frontières said [in a statement on Wednesday], urging wealthy nations to develop coordinated response plans and drugs to fight neglected diseases…” (Caspani, 6/4).

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Debate Arises Over Draft SDG On Reducing 'Premature Mortality'

NPR: A New U.N. Health Goal Targets Folks 69 And Under. Ageism Or Realism?
“…At least one SDG is turning out to be a bit controversial. This particular goal calls for a reduction in ‘premature mortality’ from non-communicable diseases like cancer, stroke, and dementia by half in people younger than 50 and by a third among people from 50 to 69. … Last week, British researchers wrote a letter in the The Lancet, accusing the ‘premature mortality’ SDG of being ‘ageist’…” (Silver, 6/3).

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WASH Progress Being Made, But 40% Of Global Population Lacks Access, Study Says

Inter Press Service: Despite Setbacks, Global Sanitation Makes Progress, Says Fund
“…A new study by the Geneva-based Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), released Tuesday, says 2.5 billion people, or 40 percent of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation, including more than a billion who defecate in the open. Still there is progress: nationally led sanitation programs supported by the GSF have enabled 4.2 million people to have improved toilets; seven million people and more than 20,500 communities to be free of open-defecation; and eight million people with handwashing facilities…” (Deen, 6/2).

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Residents Say Guinea-Bissau Unprepared For Ebola; WHO Warns Of Uptick In Cases In Sierra Leone, Guinea

IRIN: Why isn’t Guinea-Bissau prepared for Ebola?
“The government of Guinea-Bissau has known for months about the risk of Ebola entering the country, but it hasn’t done enough to prepare. Now there is a cluster of cases just across the border. Residents say it will be good fortune rather than good planning if an outbreak is avoided…” (Lazuta/Cassama, 6/2).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency warns rainy season now hampering Ebola response in West Africa
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) [Wednesday] reported an increase in the intensity and geographic area of Ebola transmission in Guinea and Sierra Leone, warned that the onset of the rainy season ‘from now onwards’ will make field operations more difficult, and noted that community engagement remains a challenge in both countries…” (6/3).

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Pakistan Sees 70% Drop In Polio Cases As Previously Inaccessible Areas Open To Vaccination Programs

Agence France-Presse: Pakistan sees major drop in polio cases
“Pakistan has seen a major fall in polio cases this year, officials said Thursday, as a military operation has allowed vaccinators to reach areas previously off-limits because of militant attacks. The World Health Organization (WHO) said there had been 24 cases since January 1, a decline of over 70 percent from the same period last year, when there were 84 cases…” (6/4).

BBC News: Polio in Pakistan: Drop of 70% recorded this year
“…Prime ministerial polio adviser Ayesha Raza said on Wednesday that while it had taken time to eradicate militancy in North Waziristan, the rewards from doing so were ‘already visible in the polio program.’ Ms. Raza told the BBC that polio samples from high-incidence zones — which used to be positive for months on end — were now testing negative again…” (6/3).

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FGM Prevalent In Some Parts Of Iran, Study Shows

The Guardian: Female genital mutilation practiced in Iran, study reveals
“The first authoritative study into female genital mutilation in Iran has found the practice is being carried out in at least four major provinces while officials are silent on the matter…” (Dehghan, 6/4).

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The Guardian Examines Brazil's Public, Private Efforts To Curb Dengue Epidemic

The Guardian: Brazil considers vaccines and GM mosquitoes to tackle dengue fever
“…Since January, Brazil’s health ministry has spent R$150m (US$50m) fighting dengue. Most of the money has gone to health authorities in towns like Estrela d’Oeste, to fund preventative measures, such as house visits and education programs. … But given the difficulty of halting the spread of dengue, public and private organizations based in Brazil are working on other solutions…” (Douglas/Moreth, 6/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Feed The Future Improves Global Food Security, Should Be 'Long-Term Foreign Aid Priority'

The Hill: Tired of bad news? Read this.
H. Julian Gordy, bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“…The results [of Feed the Future] have been astounding. The cycle of poverty, hunger, and hopelessness is being broken. … The problem is, as a presidential initiative, Feed the Future does not have a guaranteed future without legislation that makes it a long-term foreign aid priority. Which is why leaders in the House and Senate have smartly introduced bipartisan-supported legislation to secure Feed the Future’s future. It’s called the Global Food Security Act (HR 1567/S 1252)…” (6/3).

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G7 Must Elevate Women, Girls To Top Of Agenda

The Guardian: Dear G7, it’s time to put girls and women at the top of your agenda
Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver

“…It is impossible to eradicate poverty, build resilient health systems, and take care of the planet if women are not healthy, thriving members of society. The world has long looked to the G7 for cues on which priorities really matter, and the answer is straightforward: healthy girls and women. These seven countries have a unique opportunity to step up their commitments and convince others to do the same. Advancing the health and rights of women is the right — and smart — thing to do for any nation hoping to remain or emerge as a leader on the global stage” (6/4).

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G7 Leaders Should Make Firm Commitment, Act To End AIDS

Devex: Making HIV and AIDS rhetoric a reality once and for all
Mike Podmore, policy manager with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

“This time 10 years ago, world leaders of what was then the G8 made a historic commitment to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2010. United Nations member states went on to make the same promise at the U.N. world summit in New York just two months later. We’ve come a long way in a decade, that’s for sure. But we cannot yet say that we are anywhere near achieving universal access. … [G]lobal health will again play an important role in this year’s G7 summit under the German presidency and it is to be hoped that the G7 will not only make a firm commitment to end AIDS by 2030 but also this time make the rhetoric a reality once and for all” (6/4).

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Governments Should Endorse Protocol To Eliminate The Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products

Huffington Post: Time to Act Against Illicit Tobacco
Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC

“…This year’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31 is devoted to the issue of the illicit [tobacco] trade. The World Health Organization and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are urging Member States to join the expanding group of Parties that have signed the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, an international treaty in its own right negotiated under the umbrella of the WHO FCTC. … The Protocol will not only strengthen the hands of governments in combating this pernicious business. It will also increase tax revenue, improve the health of the world’s citizens, and cut the financial lifeline of those who challenge law enforcers such as organized criminal gangs…” (6/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

G7 Will Play Important Role In Global Development

Council on Foreign Relations’ “The Internationalist”: The G7 Summit: An Exclusive Club — But a Global Role
Stewart Patrick, senior fellow and director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at CFR, discusses the upcoming G7 Summit’s role in global development, particularly its role in “tackling global growth … supporting sustainable development and combating climate change … strengthening maritime security … [and] bolstering global health” (6/3).

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South Africa, International Partners Must Address Challenges Of TB

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: South Africa’s Health Challenges: An Elephant in the Room
CSIS Senior Associate Phil Nieburg discusses the challenges to preventing and treating tuberculosis in South Africa, writing, “…The South African government and its international partners need to work to address the structural and budgetary problems that inhibit progress against TB. And it is critical that policy changes — such as the coming PEPFAR transition — not add to the challenges being faced by the country’s already fragile TB control programs. Saving people from HIV only to have them die of TB should not be considered a success” (6/3).

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Global Health Innovation Act Would Support Innovation In Global Health R&D

Global Health Technology Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: New legislation would strengthen USAID’s role in global health R&D
Courtney Carson, GHTC’s senior policy and advocacy associate, examines key provisions of the Global Health Innovation Act (H.R. 2241) and notes that the new legislation would direct “USAID to analyze how it is using innovation to address global health challenges and the ways in which the agency can further accelerate the development and use of health technologies. … Passing the Global Health Innovation Act will drive home the fact that health innovations are a critical piece of the global health agenda” (6/3).

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ActionAid Criticizes New Alliance For Food Security And Nutrition In New Report

Humanosphere: Advocates urge U.S. to cease support for African agriculture initiative
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy writes, “A program meant to help agriculture in Africa is causing more harm than good and should be closed, says an advocacy group. The three-year-old New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition allowed large corporations to make land grabs that are to the detriment of small farmers, according to a new report by ActionAid…” (6/3).

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U.S. Official Delivers Statement On UNFPA Activities At Executive Board Meeting

U.S. Department of State: U.S. National Statement at the UNFPA Segment of the Executive Board Meeting
The statement includes remarks by Margaret Pollack, director of the Office of Multilateral Coordination and External Affairs and senior adviser on Population Issues, made at a recent Executive Board meeting, in support of UNFPA activities. The Executive Board provides intergovernmental support and supervision for the activities of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS (6/2).

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Marie Stopes International Commits To Providing Contraceptive Access To 12M Additional Women Under FP2020

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: What Does It Mean to Be an FP2020 Commitment Maker
Simon Cooke, CEO of Marie Stopes International, writes, “Following the 2012 Family Planning Summit in London, a group of governments, foundations, and NGOs including Marie Stopes International made a commitment through FP2020 to get contraception to 120 million new users by 2020. … Today, Marie Stopes International has made a commitment to accelerate our own efforts. In fact, we’re pledging to double them, reaching 12 million new users with contraception by 2020…” (6/3).

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