KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Thailand First Asian Nation To Eliminate Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission; Belarus, Armenia Also Reach Milestone, WHO Says

Agence France-Presse: Thailand first in Asia to eliminate mother-to-baby HIV: WHO
“Thailand has become the first Asian country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, a milestone in the fight against the disease…” (6/8).

Associated Press: Thailand, Belarus, Armenia eliminate mother-child HIV spread
“…Cuba became the first country to reach the goal last year. Along with Thailand, Belarus eliminated the mother-to-child spread of HIV and syphilis, Armenia did for HIV, and Moldova did for syphilis, the WHO announced Tuesday…” (Mason, 6/7).

CNN: Thailand eliminates mother-to-child HIV transmission
“…[Thailand] is also the first [nation] with a ‘large HIV epidemic’ to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of the diseases. In 2014, an estimated 450,000 people were living with HIV in Thailand…” (McKirdy, 6/7).

Deutsche Welle: Thailand first Asian country to reduce mother-baby HIV transmission rates
“…In 2000, Thailand became one of the first countries in the world to offer free antiretroviral medication to all pregnant women diagnosed with HIV and screenings for the virus during pregnancy are also routine, the WHO said…” (6/8).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: First in Asia, Thailand eliminates mother-to child transmission of HIV
“…Elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem…” (Tang, 6/7).

Xinhua: Thailand becomes first Asian nation to wipe out mother-to-child HIV spread
“…Thai Ministry of Public Health said the rate of HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to their newborns in Thailand declined from 10.3 percent in 2003 to 1.91 percent in 2015, a figure that was validated to meet WHO’s criteria for elimination — mother-to-child transmission rates of less than two percent and fewer than 50 new infections in 100,000 births…” (6/8).

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MSF Urges U.N. High-Level Meeting On AIDS To Focus On Treatment Access In Central, West Africa

Associated Press: Medical aid group urges better HIV treatment in West Africa
“Governments need to improve access to HIV treatment in West and Central Africa, where critical medicines reach less than one-third of those in need, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday. The call by the group, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, came a day before a United Nations high-level meeting on ending AIDS…” (Petesch, 6/7).

Huffington Post: Fewer Than One-Third Of People With HIV In Central, West Africa Get Care
“…In Central and West Africa, 6.5 million people are living with HIV, according to Doctors Without Borders. But more than 4.5 million of them aren’t getting treatment. For example, only one in 10 children in need receives antiretroviral drugs, which are key to helping them live long, healthy lives. Doctors Without Borders is urging the U.N. to make this demographic a greater priority as it prepares to meet this week…” (Goldberg, 6/7).

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Increase In HIV Among Gay Men In China Raises Concern Among Advocates, Shows Continuing Stigma

GlobalPost/PRI: To keep winning against AIDS, China needs to talk more about gay sex
“When it comes to public health, China’s leaders have done at least one thing very well: They’ve beaten back AIDS. Indeed, China’s is one of the most impressive turnarounds in the history of HIV and AIDS policy. After facing the threat of an ‘AIDS typhoon’ in the 1990s, China’s adult prevalence of HIV is now less than 0.1 percent, one of the lowest rates on the planet. But this success story is teetering on the edge of defeat, and it all comes down to a growing crisis in the nation’s gay community…” (Volodzko, 6/7).

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Almost 81M Children In Developing Countries Fail To Reach Mental Development Benchmarks, Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: A third of children in poor nations fail to meet mental development milestones: research
“One third of young children living in developing nations are failing to meet basic mental development milestones, which could adversely affect their health, success in adulthood, and education levels, researchers said on Tuesday. Nearly 81 million children between three and four were not meeting basic developmental benchmarks with the highest numbers of affected children coming from sub-Saharan Africa, including Chad, Sierra Leone, and Central African Republic, they said in a report…” (Taylor, 6/7).

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TRF Examines Efforts To End Malaria, Including Research On Insecticides, Vaccines, Other Preventives

Thomson Reuters Foundation: In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria
“After being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world’s richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama. The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease. … They are also supporting a push to create the world’s first vaccine against a parasite…” (Migiro, 6/8).

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International Partnership Launches Food Loss Accounting, Reporting Standards To Measure Waste

U.N. News Centre: U.N. announces first-ever global standard to measure food loss and waste
“A partnership of leading international organizations, including the United Nations, has announced the launch of a first-ever global standard to measure food loss and waste while at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit currently underway in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (FLW Standard) is a set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries, and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on, and manage food loss and waste…” (6/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Leadership, Global Advocacy Responsible For Progress In AIDS Response

Huffington Post: When 25 Million Africans Were Sentenced to Die
Rob Lovelace, senior fellow at the Trade Union Sustainable Development Unit

“…We would not be having the serious discussions about ending AIDS by 2030 that will take place this week [at the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in New York City] were it not for the champions whose compassion, courage, perseverance, and action brought us to where we are today. The path from the groundbreaking LIFE initiative that first boosted U.S. support for global AIDS programs to $100 million during Bill Clinton’s administration to the billions available to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief established by George W. Bush is littered with skeptics proven wrong. The success in making so much progress against the global AIDS pandemic isn’t due to American efforts alone, but there is no mistaking as President Obama said recently that ‘American ingenuity and leadership has shaped the world’s response to this crisis.’ … The global AIDS response is far from over, but if we see it through it will be a remarkable achievement…” (6/7).

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India Should Reject Western Influences Urging Modifications To Its Drug Patent Laws

The Hill: Doctors Without Borders to India: Protect the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’
Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. manager and legal policy adviser for the Access Campaign at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

“…In recent years, MSF has grown increasingly alarmed with the escalating efforts of U.S. industry groups, … which demand the White House and Congress apply pressure on India to modify its intellectual property law in a manner that would irreversibly damage public health. … [S]tricter intellectual property rules do little to enhance innovation … We need a system that ensures not only that all governments pay for innovation, but that innovation is needs-driven and affordable to all. … India’s patent laws are not only important for India; they are an important model for the U.S. and others on how governments could pay for innovation while establishing limits on how companies abuse the system to charge unaffordable prices and limit competition. … India’s policies are not only fully consistent with global trade rules, but also coherent with public health commitments and needs of both India and the United States. India must unequivocally reject the intellectual property laws and practices of the United States that have led to an unprecedented global health crisis: spiraling medicine prices held hostage to lengthy and multiple monopolies…” (6/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Population, Reproductive Health, Environment Inextricably Linked, Require Integrated Policies

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Global Population and Reproductive Health (Book Preview)
Deborah R. McFarlane, professor and regents lecturer at the University of New Mexico and editor of the new book, Global Population and Reproductive Health, discusses themes from the book, which shows “that the links between population dynamics, reproductive health, and the environment demand integrated policies and international cooperation” (6/8).

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Blog Post Highlights Several Pieces On HIV/AIDS Ahead Of U.N. High-Level Meeting

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: “Ending AIDS” will mean filling cracks and chasms of neglect, inequity, and exclusion … We’re reading about HLM 2016 AIDS
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses several pieces on the global AIDS response, including a document by UNAIDS on the need for viral load testing, a statement by UNAIDS on HIV and human rights, a report by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on the impact of HIV in West and Central Africa, and a video from AIDS-Free World on raising awareness of discriminatory policies that slow progress on ending AIDS (6/7).

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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 289 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including an analysis on the impact of the fund’s new allocation methodology, an article on Japan and New Zealand’s announcements of new pledges to the fund, and an article describing a brief by the Global Fund Advocates Network for attendees of the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (6/8).

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