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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

South Korea Reports Jump In MERS Cases; Total Reaches 87, Including 6 Deaths

Agence France-Presse: S. Korea reports sixth MERS death, surge in infections
“South Korea recorded its sixth death and biggest single-day jump in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infections Monday, with 23 new cases in the largest outbreak of the potentially deadly virus outside Saudi Arabia. From just four cases two weeks ago, the total number of infections now stands at 87, including six people who have died…” (Ha-Won, 6/8).

BBC News: Sixth MERS death in South Korea amid sharp rises in cases
“…About 2,300 people have been placed under quarantine and nearly 1,900 schools have been closed. On Monday morning, a man in his 80s became the latest person to die of MERS-related illness in Daejeon, about 140km (87 miles) south of Seoul…” (6/8).

New York Times: MERS Cases Rise in South Korea, Health Officials Say
“…Officials revealed the names and locations of all 24 hospitals that had had confirmed cases after critics accused the government of helping stoke fear and risking a spread of the virus by withholding the information. So far, confirmed cases have infected others only in six of the 24 hospitals they passed through…” (Sang-Hun, 6/8).

Reuters: South Korea reports 23 new cases of MERS virus, total rises to 87
“…Seventeen of the new cases come from the same Seoul hospital emergency room where the country’s first patient remained before being confirmed MERS-positive, the ministry said…” (Park, 6/7).

Reuters: Hong Kong sets ‘serious’ response to South Korea’s MERS outbreak
“…South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the progress of MERS, which has been spreading in South Korea since last month when a businessman brought it home from a Middle East trip, had to be halted, a day after authorities began using mobile phones to trace people who violate quarantine…” (Park/Kim, 6/8).

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G7 Leaders Discuss Disease Outbreak Response, Climate Change, African Development At Elmau Summit

BBC News: David Cameron to unveil ‘disease detectives’ plan
“Prime Minister David Cameron is to unveil plans for a rapid reaction force of U.K. medical experts to respond to future pandemics like Ebola. He will urge fellow world leaders to ‘wake up’ to the threat posed by such diseases at the G7 summit in Germany…” (6/7).

Reuters: Global health leaders ask G7 for post-Ebola rapid response unit
“Global health leaders will ask G7 leaders this weekend to back the creation of a specialist rapid response unit to tackle outbreaks of infectious killer diseases. The move reflects how the World Health Organization in particular was caught unprepared last year by Ebola, which spread through three West African countries, has killed 11,000 people, and will not be stamped out before the end of this year…” (Kelland, 6/5).

Reuters: Merkel presses G7 leaders to agree on tough climate goals
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Group of Seven (G7) leaders to commit to tough goals to cut greenhouse gases on the final day of their summit in Bavaria on Monday … Climate change topped the agenda for Monday’s sessions, at which the leaders were also set to discuss combating epidemics and other health issues, the fight against terrorism from Boko Haram to Islamic State, and African development…” (Carrel, 6/8).

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U.N.'s Ban Calls For Support Of Sustainable Development Goals

U.N. News Centre: In Germany ahead of G7 summit, Ban rallies support for ‘once-in-a-generation’ U.N. sustainability agenda
“The world has before it a unique opportunity to build a better future for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared [Sunday] in Bonn, Germany, where he urged broad support for a trio of course-correcting United Nations events in 2015 that aim to lock down agreements on protecting the planet, ensuring sustainable development, and unleashing the finances and technology to ensure these vital goals are achieved. … Beyond the G7 summit, three milestones will follow, explained the U.N. chief, citing the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13 to 16 July, as an opportunity to mobilize the resources and technology to make good on the the promise of a sustainable, equitable future for all…” (6/7).

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Women's Contributions To Global Health Care Undervalued, Lancet Report Says

The Guardian: Women are the backbone of health care with few rewards for $3tn contribution
“Women contribute around $3tn to global health care but nearly half of it is unpaid and unrecognized, according to a new study. The report, published in The Lancet, found that women’s involvement in health care is undervalued economically, socially, politically, and culturally. Researchers attempted to estimate the financial value of women’s contribution to health systems in 2010 by analyzing data from 32 countries, accounting for 52 percent of the world’s population…” (6/5).

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UNAIDS Head Challenges Asia-Pacific Region To End AIDS, As Region Adopts Framework For Way Forward

Inter Press Service: U.N. Challenges Asia-Pacific to Be World’s First Region to End AIDS Epidemic
“The United Nations has expressed confidence that the Asia-Pacific region, with almost five million people living with HIV, is politically committed towards the elimination of the deadly disease AIDS…” (Deen, 6/5).

Radio New Zealand International: Region adopts roadmap to end AIDS epidemic by 2030
“The regional framework for action on HIV and AIDS beyond 2015 was endorsed at a recent session of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific or ESCAP. The plan involves addressing legal and policy barriers around HIV prevention and care, ensuring access to affordable medicine, and the sustainable financing of the AIDS response…” (6/8).

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FDA Approval Of New Antiretroviral Formulation Will Help Children Living With HIV, U.N. Says

U.N. News Centre: Reformulation of HIV treatment will save more children’s lives — U.N.
“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new antiretroviral formulation that can be mixed with food, making it easier for children living with HIV to take their life-saving medicines, the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AID (UNAIDS) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced [Friday]…” (6/5).

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Worldwide Diabetes Prevalence Up 45% Since 1990 As Obesity Spreads In Developing Countries, Study Says

New York Times: Global Diabetes Rates Are Rising as Obesity Spreads
“The global diabetes rate has risen by nearly half over the past two decades, according to a new study, as obesity and the health problems it spawns have taken hold across the developing world. … The study, published Monday in the British medical journal The Lancet, reported a 45 percent rise in the prevalence of diabetes worldwide from 1990 to 2013…” (Tavernise, 6/8).

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African Governments Need To Invest More In Health Care Systems, WHO Africa Director Says

Xinhua News: WHO calls on Africa to increase investment in health systems
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday called on African governments to invest more into improving health systems in order to improve the quality of health care services. WHO Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, who was on a three-day visit to Zambia, told reporters that funding to healthy systems in Africa is still below the required threshold, adding that both national governments and cooperating partners should ensure that this is increased…” (Danlu, 6/5).

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World Economic Forum Panelists Discuss Malaria Control, Prevention

Xinhua News: WEF Africa addresses threat of malaria in Africa
“Africa is getting closer to a malaria-free world than ever before, participants attending the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa) said on Friday…” (6/5).

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Guinea Extends Ebola Health Emergency Declaration As Violence, Mistrust Allow Disease To Persist

Agence France-Presse: Guinea extends Ebola emergency measures
“Ebola-hit Guinea has extended a health emergency declared in March until the end of June, citing the persistence of the deadly virus in the country, the presidency said on Saturday…” (6/6).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola spreads suspicion and rumors in Guinea
“The only possible place to encounter Ebola in Conakry is the main treatment unit, yet elsewhere in Guinea the virus is thriving in a febrile atmosphere of deep mistrust and swirling conspiracy theory. … Violence erupted last week in the country’s western provinces, where there are around 20 confirmed cases, with attacks targeting public institutions, ambulances and even health workers. These examples of the ‘reluctance’ of locals, to employ the official parlance, are igniting new transmission chains and so hampering efforts to stamp out the virus, say the authorities…” (Ettaba, 6/7).

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Nigeria Approaches One Year Without Polio Case, Continues Oral Vaccination Campaigns

Agence France-Presse: Nigeria makes final push to stamp out polio
“Health workers move from door to door in the rural Sumaila district of Kano state, northern Nigeria, administering oral polio vaccines to children under five. It could be any other vaccination drive but the program has extra importance in Nigeria, where there has not been a case of the virus since July 24 last year. As the one-year anniversary approaches without a case, health officials are keen to keep it that way. If successful, Nigeria will be taken off the list of polio-endemic countries…” (Abubakar, 6/8).

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Improving Nutrition Crucial To Preventing Child Deaths, Melinda Gates Says

Wall Street Journal: Melinda Gates Fights Childhood Malnutrition
“Fighting malnutrition is one of the most cost-effective — and under-appreciated — ways to save children’s lives in the developing world, said Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s wealthiest charities. And the best ways to fight childhood malnutrition are breastfeeding, supplementing foods with vitamins, developing vitamin-rich crops and, yes, possibly using biotech crops, Ms. Gates said in an interview in Brussels…” (Dalton, 6/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

G7 Needs To Take Concrete Steps To Prepare For Next Disease Outbreak

Washington Post: Stopping the next pandemic today
Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator

“…[W]hy, with the Ebola epidemic serving as a fresh warning, aren’t the G7 leaders doing more to tackle this critical health and security issue [of disease outbreak preparedness]? … Here is what should be on the G7 agenda: First, the G7 nations — especially the United States, Britain, Germany, and France — should agree to retain the capacities their militaries developed during the Ebola epidemic for infectious disease response and patient airlift. … Second, the G7 should combine these national military resources into a single international entity — what German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called a ‘white helmet battalion’ — that could respond to an outbreak before it becomes a full-scale epidemic. … Third, the G7 nations need to convene the relevant experts and authorities to develop a coherent approach to the fast approval and deployment of new vaccines and treatments that might be required to respond to a pandemic. … Finally, the G7 nations need to step up their commitment to global health security, because in the long run, the only way to keep all of us safe from outbreaks is to have every nation’s health care system sufficiently resourced to provide at least a preliminary response to an outbreak…” (6/5).

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Ahead Of G7, Foreign Policy 2-Part Series Examines International Response To Ebola Epidemic, Outbreak Preparedness

In a two-part series, Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in Foreign Policy about the international response to the Ebola epidemic and the G7 summit.

Foreign Policy: The Ebola Review, Part I
“The G7 nations will commence their annual summit on June 7 in Germany, and the host, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has put the Ebola epidemic and it implications for global biosecurity at the top of the agenda. Yes, the Islamic State, climate change, economic issues, FIFA, and tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees washing up on the shores of Europe and Asia will be addressed as well, but the concern over the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) performance and the more than 11,000 Ebola deaths is taking center stage at this year’s summit…” (6/6).

Foreign Policy: The Ebola Review, Part II
“…Thinking things through carefully is obviously the key to transforming the WHO into an institution that is fit for the purpose of epidemic control — or, perhaps, to concluding that the Geneva agency cannot carry out the task, forcing creation of a novel institution. Given how full the G7 plate is, and the leaders’ brief two-day summit, it’s hard to believe considerations can be sufficiently weighed to provide an optimistic beginning to true WHO reform. … Please, G7: Prove my skeptical soul wrong, and make biosecurity a reality for all people, living in rich and poor nations, alike” (6/6).

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Water For The World Act Will Improve WASH Globally, Can Increase Effectiveness Of U.S. Foreign Aid

Devex: A 2-way street: The Water for the World Act and modernizing foreign assistance
John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates

“In the final days of the 113th U.S. Congress in late 2014, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act passed without objection and President Barack Obama signed it into law. … The passage of the Water for the World Act in late 2014 is simply the first step toward the significant positive impact the law will have not just on WASH across the developing world, but on related and complementary development assistance efforts on the Hill and within the administration. The law clearly learns from, builds on, and points toward stronger efforts to increase the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance across the globe” (6/8).

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New York Times 'Room For Debate' Features Several Opinion Pieces Examining Population Growth

New York Times: Room for Debate: Is Overpopulation a Legitimate Threat to Humanity and the Planet?
Multiple authors

“A recent Retro Report examines how the apocalyptic predictions about overpopulation made by the biologist Paul Ehrlich, in his 1968 book ‘The Population Bomb,’ have not come to pass. Disease-resistant crops, improved health standards, and a broader demographic shift from an agricultural society have kept the problem at bay. But do we still need to worry about overcrowding? Is the threat of overpopulation overblown?” Multiple authors answer these questions and others in several opinion pieces published as part of this New York Times “Room for Debate” (6/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

GPEI Should 'Move Forward With Creativity And Unrelenting Determination,' U.S. Support

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Polio Panel Warns Against Program Complacency
Nellie Bristol, a senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) May 2015 report, writing, “…While the polio program is experiencing a much-needed positive trend after several years of disheartening setbacks, remaining challenges to eradication dictate that the GPEI move forward with creativity and unrelenting determination. The IMB predicts the program has several complex outbreaks ahead and it must be prepared to deal with them, in addition to continuing to improve general polio immunity. The U.S. government, as a top supporter of polio eradication, needs to be fully engaged for the duration of the effort…” (6/5).

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Women's Health, Caregiving Keys To Sustainable Development, Report Shows

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Women and Health: The key to sustainable development
Mariam Claeson, director of the maternal, newborn, and child health team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ana Langer, director of the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health, discuss The Lancet Commission on Women and Health report, published Friday by The Lancet. “…The Commission on Women and Health’s report clearly articulates that when women are valued, counted and compensated, and governments are accountable to them, they are better positioned to make significant contributions to the wellbeing of families, communities, and nations and, ultimately, to sustainable development…” (6/5).

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Global Pollution Adversely Affects Global Public Health, Development

Humanosphere: Fighting pollution critical to fight against diseases of poverty
Katie Leach-Kemon, policy translation specialist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses pollution’s adverse effects on global health and development, including a recent seminar on the topic held at IHME (6/5).

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