KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

G7 Communiqué Addresses Disease Outbreak Response, NTDs, Women's Entrepreneurship, Climate Change, Other Issues

Deutsche Welle: G7: Protests, climate, and few commitments
“…In the joint communiqué, which covered a range of topics but made few concrete commitments — as is often the case at such summits — leaders did commit to keeping global warming at two degrees in an attempt to tackle climate change and to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century…” (Conrad, 6/8).

The Guardian: G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century
“…[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel also announced that G7 governments had signed up to initiatives to work for an end to extreme poverty and hunger, reducing by 2030 the number of people living in hunger and malnutrition by 500 million, as well as improving the global response to epidemics in the light of the Ebola crisis…” (Connolly, 6/8).

Reuters: G7 states vow to wipe out Ebola but offer little concrete action
“Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations pledged on Monday to wipe out Ebola but offered little in terms of concrete action, disappointing nongovernmental organizations. G7 leaders said in a communique at the end of a two-day summit in the Bavarian Alps that they would offer help to at least 60 nations, including in West Africa, over the next five years to help prevent outbreaks from turning into epidemics…” (Martin, 6/8).

Washington Post: Obama, at G7 summit, seeks plan to combat Islamic State
“…The group backed a plan proffered by Germany, Ghana, and Norway for a new global crisis management scheme to quicken reactions during another health emergency like the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Leading nations, according to the meeting’s communiqué, would also seek to slash the gender gap in workforce participation in their countries by 25 percent by 2025. Merkel, perhaps the globe’s most influential female leader, also announced that she would host a major global conference on equality and women’s rights in Germany this September…” (Jaffe/Eilperin, 6/8).

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South Korea Records 8 More MERS Cases, 1 Additional Death; Government Vows To Stop Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: South Korea reports seventh MERS death, vows to end crisis
“South Korea Tuesday reported its seventh death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as the government — concerned about the economic impact — said it hoped to end the crisis this week. Eight new infections brought the total number of cases to 95 in the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, following the diagnosis of the first patient back on May 20…” (Chan-Kyong, 6/9).

CNN: South Korea MERS outbreak: 7 dead; 2,500 quarantined
“South Korea is grappling with two battles: the virus itself and the public fear over MERS, one official declared…” (Novak/Kim, 6/9).

New York Times: South Korea MERS Cases Rise as Hong Kong Increases Alert Level
“…The health authorities in Hong Kong raised their three-stage response level on Monday from ‘alert’ to ‘serious,’ which means ports of entry will exert tighter arrival controls. The Hong Kong Center for Health Protection posted an advisory about the raised response on its website, urging people to ‘avoid unnecessary travel’ to South Korea…” (Sang-Hun, 6/8).

New York Times: MERS Virus’s Path: One Man, Many South Korean Hospitals
“…The original diagnosis that missed what became South Korea’s first case of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, was possibly caused by incomplete information from the patient about his travels. And the World Health Organization acknowledged that MERS was not an easy virus to identify early because its symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections, like a common cold. But it was especially problematic in South Korea because of peculiarities in the hospital system, health experts said Monday…” (Sang-Hun, 6/8).

NPR: As MERS Outbreak Surges, Genetic Tests Show Virus Hasn’t Mutated
“…One concern has been that the virus might have mutated, becoming more contagious. But this week scientists in China and South Korea report evidence that this isn’t the case…” (Doucleff, 6/8).

Reuters: Hong Kong issues ‘red alert’ against South Korea travel due to MERS
“Hong Kong issued a ‘red alert’ advisory on Tuesday against non-essential travel to South Korea, where eight new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported, bringing the total to 95 with seven fatalities. The number of new South Korean cases was a sharp drop from 23 on Monday, but the number of schools closed grew to 2,208, including 20 universities…” (Park/Pomfret, 6/9).

Reuters: South Korea government says ready to counter economic impact of MERS
“The South Korean government on Monday said it is ready to take swift measures to counter the negative effects on its economy from an outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease, suggesting that worried policymakers may soon deliver monetary and fiscal stimulus…” (Kim, 6/8).

Wall Street Journal: South Korea MERS Outbreak Began With a Cough
“…The government has also drawn criticism for its sluggish response to the crisis. ‘I think the spread of MERS could have ended much earlier if we had reacted more thoroughly early on. I feel very sorry about that,’ Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo said at a news conference on Monday…” (Kwaak, 6/8).

Washington Post: South Koreans blame government in spiraling MERS outbreak
“…The spiraling health crisis — and the widespread perception that her administration has been slow and blundering in its response — has led to calls for [President Park Geun-hye] to delay a trip to the United States, set to start Sunday. Her visit is scheduled to include talks at the White House with President Obama on June 16…” (Seo/Fifield, 6/8).

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Re-elected FAO Head Outlines Agency's Priorities; Assistant Director-General Says Price Speculation Hurting Global Food Security

Reuters: Financial speculation on food hurting world’s hungry: U.N.
“Food has increasingly become a target for opportunist investors looking for easy profit, hurting the world’s poor and fuelling instability, [Jomo Sundaram, an assistant director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)] said on Monday…” (Arsenault, 6/8).

U.N. News Centre: Ending hunger, boosting nutrition, and tackling climate change top priorities — U.N. agriculture agency chief
“José Graziano da Silva, two days after his re-election as the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for another four years, [Monday] announced that eradicating hunger, raising levels of nutrition, and addressing climate change are among the agency’s top priorities during his second term…” (6/8).

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Improved, Modern Housing Can Help Reduce Malaria Risk, Study Says

Reuters: Modern housing could cut risk of malaria by up to half — study
“Modernizing mud huts and other traditional housing could significantly cut the risk of malaria for people living in some of the highest risk areas of Africa, Asia, and South America, according to new research. Scientists who studied the impact of types of housing on peoples’ risk of infection with the mosquito-borne disease found that residents of modern homes were 47 percent less likely to be infected than people living in traditional houses…” (Kelland, 6/8).

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U.N. Agencies Deploy Medical Camp Kits To Address Nepal's Quake-Damaged Hospitals, Health Care Infrastructure

Devex: The race for safer hospitals in quake-hit Nepal
“This week, the World Health Organization and other partner U.N. agencies are expected to deploy the first set of medical camp kits in the districts hardest hit by Nepal’s recent earthquake. The kits comprise temporary structures that will reinstate the provision of primary health care services in areas where they are most needed, but where they are disrupted due to the limited number of currently functioning health facilities…” (Ravelo, 6/8).

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Nutrition Program Aims To Address Stunting Among Malawian Children

VOA News: Aid Group: Stunting Affects Nearly Half of Malawi’s Children
“Stunted growth caused by malnutrition affects … up to 50 percent of children in the southern African nation of Malawi. There’s no cure for stunting, which can cause developmental and physical problems, but good nutrition from an early age can easily prevent it. A program led by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the World Food Program is trying to provide that nutrition to Malawian children. VOA’s Anita Powell talks to project coordinator Georgina Fekete via Skype from Ntchisi district, Malawi…” (Powell, 6/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Grant Obama Trade Promotion Authority To Complete TPP Agreement

USA TODAY: John Kerry & Ash Carter: Congress needs to help American trade grow
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

“…Passing [trade promotion authority (TPA)], as the Senate did last month and the House of Representatives is considering, would give the president the opportunity to complete the Trans Pacific Partnership, one of the largest trade agreements in U.S. history, and encourage progress on a similarly significant pact under negotiation with Europe. As the secretaries of State and Defense, we never forget that our strength abroad ultimately rests on the foundation of our vibrant, unmatched, and growing domestic economy. By lowering trade barriers among countries that make up nearly 40 percent of the global economy, TPP would better connect the United States with economies along the Pacific Rim — from Canada to Japan, and Peru to Australia. … Economically and strategically, the stakes of U.S. leadership on trade will reverberate not only across borders but also across decades. The path toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and fair world begins with passing TPA” (6/8).

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Prioritizing Surveillance, Transparency Critical To Stopping MERS From Spreading Across Borders

Financial Times: Surveillance is the best defense against a border-breaching virus
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator

“…As the World Health Organization undergoes a post-Ebola reboot, it must prioritize disease surveillance and, as noted at the G7 summit, create the capacity for a rapid response. Encouraging transparency would help: until this weekend, Korean ministers refused to disclose which hospitals were involved, stoking anxiety and fueling panicked shutdowns. Openness is critical to tracing contacts, limiting spread, and maintaining public confidence. … Early indications are that [South Korea’s MERS virus] is similar to the Saudi one, and has not mutated to become more contagious. If so, a sniffle from a returning traveler should never have seeded the Korean health drama that is now threatening to escalate into an economic crisis as frightened citizens stay at home…” (6/8).

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Community Participation, Poverty Reduction Important For Successful Malaria Prevention, Control Strategies

Huffington Post: Fighting Malaria Is Going to Take More Than Just Nets
Utibe Effiong, an Aspen Institute fellow and research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; and Lauretta Ovadje, postdoctoral research fellow at University of Michigan

“…The solution to the global malaria scourge goes beyond the use of [insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)], and other well-meaning public health measures. It begins with lifting people out of poverty. It’s only when people can meet their basic needs that health and safety become important. Public health programs continue to fail in countries like Nigeria because of poverty in the midst of plenty. … Most fishermen who can afford a regular fishing net do not misuse their ITNs. But some still do, and this is where grassroots participation in public health policy becomes essential. … When people are participants in the decision-making process, they are more likely to comply with policy. If the decision to distribute ITNs was made after consultation with primary communities, and collective resolve was made to use the nets appropriately, there would be far fewer cases of misuse…” (6/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

White House Publishes Several Documents Related To G7 Summit Discussions

The White House: G7 Leaders’ Declaration
The declaration describes several topics discussed by world leaders at the recent G7 summit in Germany, including the global economy and women’s entrepreneurship; global politics and security; Ebola, antimicrobial resistance, and neglected tropical diseases; climate change and the environment; and the sustainable development agenda (6/8).

The White House: Annex to the G7 Leaders’ Declaration
The annex discusses several topics in more detail, including women’s entrepreneurship, antimicrobial resistance, climate policy, and other issues (6/8).

The White House: FACT SHEET: The 2015 G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau, Germany
The fact sheet highlights U.S. policies regarding several issues discussed at the G7 summit, including the Global Health Security Agenda and advancing women’s economic empowerment (6/8).

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Study Examines Employment Trends In 10 Sub-Saharan African PEPFAR Countries

Health Affairs: PEPFAR Funding Associated With An Increase In Employment Among Males in Ten Sub-Saharan African Countries
Zachary Wagner, a doctoral student in health economics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jeremy Barofsky, the Okun-Model Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Neeraj Sood, an associate professor of health economics and director of research at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California, examined “employment trends between 10 countries that received a large amount of PEPFAR funding (focus countries) and 11 countries that received little or no funding (control countries).” They found an increase in employment among males, but not females, in the focus countries compared with control countries (June 2015).

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CSIS Publication Examines MERS Outbreak In South Korea

Center for Strategic & International Studies: MERS in Korea: Why This Outbreak Can Be Stopped Soon
As part of CSIS’s “Korea Chair Platform” publication, Daniel R. Lucey, adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center and senior scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law with the Georgetown Law Center, discusses MERS, South Korea’s current outbreak, and recommendations for addressing MERS (6/7).

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Analysis Examines Efforts To Re-Impose Mexico City Policy, Defund UNFPA

Guttmacher Institute: Political Interference Impedes Effectiveness of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance
The news release discusses an analysis published in the Guttmacher Policy Review that examines political efforts to re-impose the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “global gag rule,” and defund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (6/8).

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