KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Commission On Women Opens 2014 Session With Focus On Development

News outlets report from the 2014 U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women, which opened on Monday in New York. This year, the conference will focus on development.

Agence France-Presse: Ban calls for progress as U.N. commission on women opens
“U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said there is still much progress to be made to advance women’s rights, despite recent strides, as he opened an annual conference on women Monday. Among priorities are health needs, maternal and child health, sexual education, contraception and fighting violence against women, including female genital mutilation, Ban said at the opening of the U.N.’s 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women…” (3/10).

The Guardian: Women’s rights the focus as world leaders gather for New York talks
“World leaders will meet in New York on Monday to begin a two-week review of progress on women’s rights against the millennium development goals (MDGs) and discuss how women’s empowerment can be accelerated under a new set of targets after 2015…” (Ford, 3/10).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. commission on women opens annual session, to focus on development
“Women’s human rights have come a long way but there is still much to do and little time to do it in, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today opening the 2014 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which this year will focus on development, particularly education and reproductive rights…” (3/10).

U.N. News Centre: Gender-based violence in sub-Saharan Africa focus of U.N.-World Bank initiative
“As the 2014 session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women got under way today, the head of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) spotlighted the agency’s joint efforts with the World Bank to address the multidimensional challenges that women and girls face in Africa’s Great Lakes and Sahel regions…” (3/10).

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Pharma Companies Need Better Incentives, Innovation To Invest In Neglected Diseases

EurActiv.com: Pharma firms pressed to tackle neglected diseases in developing world
“Poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs) disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations. Better incentives are needed for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs, health campaigners say. Europe plays a critical role in developing new PRND products that are saving millions of lives and millions of euros in the world’s poorest countries…” (Jacobsen, 3/11).

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CDC Aiming To Create Better Disease Detection Systems

Roll Call reports on CDC efforts to invest in new technologies that would facilitate disease detection.

Roll Call: CDC Plans to Map DNA of Disease-Causing Viruses
“Many public health experts see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the premier disease detection agency not just for the United States but for the entire planet. Yet when it comes to employing the fastest and most precise method of spotting outbreaks of illness, the CDC is no longer at the cutting edge — and won’t be for years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden along with public health and provider groups want to turn that around by investing in a sophisticated technology called ‘advanced molecular detection’ that determines the genetic map of the viruses, bacteria and parasites that cause disease…” (Reichard, 3/10).

Roll Call: Will Next Disease Detection System Be Faster, Cheaper?
“Those who monitor disease detection policy note that it’s cheaper and faster to move away from a system that relies heavily on the time-consuming growth in the lab of cultures of disease-causing bugs. But moving to ‘advanced molecular detection’ technology to reap those advantages could create new problems if the transition isn’t managed properly, experts say…” (Reichard, 3/10).

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Acute Malnutrition On Decline In Burkina Faso But Chronic Malnutrition Persists

IRIN: Gains and losses as Burkina Faso fights child hunger
“The fight against child malnutrition in Burkina Faso is gaining ground but chronic malnutrition remains above emergency threshold levels, particularly in rural areas, a situation that will be resolved only if the government and its partners step up prevention efforts…” (3/11).

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New Regional Research Facility For Infectious Diseases Opens In Cambodia

Xinhua: New research facility for infectious diseases in Asia unveiled in Cambodia
“France’s Institut Pasteur du Cambodge on Tuesday inaugurated a new facility [in Phnom Penh] for a regional research platform in Asia, focusing its research on infectious diseases in the region. …’The creation of the new facility at the campus of the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge gives a new opportunity for research teams from different countries to pool their expertise together and develop long-term research and training partnerships on a larger scale,'” a press statement from the Embassy of France in Phnom Penh said (Peng, 3/11).

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China Feels Economic Impact Of H7N9; Government Readies Vaccine

News outlets report on the economic impacts of H7N9 avian flu in China and the prospect of mass vaccination against the disease if human-to-human transmission occurs.

Agence France-Presse: H7N9 bird flu comes home to roost in China
“The handful of poultry dealers lingering at Chengbei Market have had little to do since Chinese authorities shut down their livelihoods after H7N9 bird flu began stalking the country again, killing scores of people this year…” (Savadove, 3/11).

Global Times: Preparations begin for mass production of H7N9 vaccine
“China has prepared the H7N9 vaccine seeds for mass production in case human-to-human transmission occurs, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) said Monday…” (3/11).

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Stigma Surrounding Leprosy Hindering Elimination Efforts In India

Associated Press: Stigma hinders efforts to combat leprosy in India
“…The stigma of leprosy endures in India, even though the country has made great strides against the disease, which is neither highly contagious nor fatal. Now the number of new annual cases has risen slightly after years of steady decline, and medical experts say the enormous fear surrounding leprosy is hindering efforts to finally eliminate it…” (George, 3/9).

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Antiseptic Gel Saves Newborns From Umbilical Cord Infection In Nepal

Reuters: Nepal’s miracle gel saves newborns from infection
“… ‘Navi Malam,’ or chlorhexidine, [is a gel] applied to avoid umbilical cord infection — a main cause of newborn deaths in the impoverished Himalayan nation [of Nepal]. Made by local firm Lomus Pharmaceuticals and backed by the government, [USAID], and other donors, the gel was introduced in 2011 in hospitals across Nepal and has helped to reduce the number of babies dying from umbilical cord infection…” (Sharma, 3/10).

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Pakistan To Pay Parents In New Polio Vaccination Campaign

News outlets report on Pakistan’s new campaign that pays parents to vaccinate their children against polio.

The Guardian: Pakistan to pay parents in new polio vaccination drive
“Parents in one of Pakistan’s most troubled provinces are to be paid to vaccinate their children against polio, the crippling disease the world is tantalizingly close to eradicating…” (Boone, 3/10).

UPI: Pakistan to pay parents in polio vaccination campaign
“Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, for the first time, will pay parents to have children vaccinated against polio, a public health director said…” (3/10).

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South Sudan Undoes Gains In Food Security, U.N. Says

VOA News: South Sudan Conflict Erases Gains in Food Security, U.N. Agencies Say
“The conflict in South Sudan has undone the strides the young country has taken toward food security in recent years, U.N. agencies said Monday. Food insecurity levels had dropped to a record low of 3.4 percent of the population from around 10 percent following two good harvests in a row and helped by lower prices, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a report…” (Doki, 3/10).

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Cipla Could Provide Open Access To Patent For First-Line ARV

LiveMint: Cipla may put patent for new HIV drug in open access pool
“Cipla Ltd, which competed with multinational drug firms by cutting HIV treatment cost to a fraction of the prevailing rate, is hoping to make a similar impact with a new four-drug combination to treat HIV/AIDS in infants and children. The drug is in the advanced stage of development. The Indian firm led by Y.K. Hamied, which will own the intellectual property rights of the first-line antiretroviral (ARV) combination therapy, plans to put the technology in a free access patent pool, two company executives said, requesting anonymity…” (Unnirkishnan, 3/10).

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Devex, Partners Launch 'She Builds' Campaign To Highlight Women, Development

Devex: Devex and partners launch campaign to celebrate women and development
“…[O]n March 8 — International Women’s Day — Devex is launching ‘She Builds,’ a campaign to drive the conversation about women and development forward and provide a dedicated platform for leading organizations to pose big questions, offer new solutions and spark real collaboration to work more effectively than ever before…” (Igoe, 3/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Proposal For 'Data Exclusivity' In Trade Agreement Would Hinder Access To Medicines

Inter Press Service: A Matter of Life and Death
Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre

“If you or some family members or friends suffer from cancer, hepatitis, AIDS, asthma or other serious ailments, it’s worth your while to follow the negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and other similar bilateral trade agreements. … Especially noteworthy is the U.S. insistence that the TPPA countries agree to give a type of intellectual property known as ‘data exclusivity’ for five years to companies producing original medicines. … That is the most significant aspect of the TPPA, and this is why so many groups of patients, health organizations and independent medical experts have been outraged and outspoken in their opposition to the agreement. … The views and positions that defend public health must prevail, for after all, it is a matter of life and death” (3/9).

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Humanitarian Groups Should Focus On Efficiently, Quickly Saving Lives

The Guardian: Why David Miliband is wrong about humanitarian goals
Jonathan Whittall, head of humanitarian analysis at Médecins Sans Frontières

“In a recent opinion piece in The Guardian, former British foreign secretary and now the head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, argued that the goals of humanitarian action needed to be reassessed and that humanitarian goals — or, as he calls them, ‘HuGos’ — needed to be set. … Miliband seems to dismiss the notion that humanitarianism is only about saving lives. However, that is exactly what it is about. … What humanitarian organizations should be doing is mobilizing to save lives and alleviate suffering in the quickest way. Instead of entangling this objective into other priorities, humanitarians need to stand separate so that the agendas that slow down or hinder our response can be legitimately challenged…” (3/10).

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Opinion Pieces Address International Women's Day

The following Huffington Post pieces address International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8.

Huffington Post: Resource Mothers: Women Healing Women
Nancy Jallo, international medical educator

“…Whether it’s difficulties during childbirth or illness in the first years of life, ensuring that mothers and newborns stay alive and healthy in many parts of the world is a significant challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. … The Resource Mothers are leaders in their communities who work to improve the health of mothers and their babies. … To date over 650 pregnant teens and their babies have been served by the Resource Mothers program. With proper care and treatment, maternal, and infant deaths can be avoided and the inspirational women of the Resource Mothers program are positive proof that change is possible” (3/9).

Huffington Post: Birthing Justice for Women in Haiti
Laura Carmichael, actress and advocate for Haiti: Make Births Safe, and Clotilde Josaime St Jean, community health nurse and program manager for community health programs at Haiti: Make Births Safe

“… One of the simplest actions you can take to improve an expectant mother and child’s health is to provide them with a birthing kit. A small bag with essential items for delivery and immediate care and sanitation can greatly reduce the risks of infection, a major cause of newborn mortality. … We are two different women, doing very different jobs on opposite sides of the world. But we’ve come together for this important international campaign, and on this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to join us in working towards a future where every birth is a healthy birth” (3/8).

Huffington Post: Liberia: Empower Women, Transform a Nation
Karin Landgren, special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General and coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia

“… The full and equal participation of women and girls in Liberia’s development and governance is the country’s gain; when women are empowered, nations are transformed. …[O]n International Women’s Day, the United Nations highlights the importance of equality for women and girls to bring about greater social, economic, and political progress. Nowhere is this more urgent than in the fragile countries, such as Liberia, where past war and poverty have left the greatest need for transformation” (3/8).

Huffington Post: For International Women’s Day, Let’s Make Childbirth Safe Everywhere
Vanessa Kerry, CEO of Seed Global Health

“This week I was honored to have taken the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom and the 10 outstanding award recipients from around the globe being honored at the 2014 International Women of Courage Awards ceremony. These honorees’ unwavering dedication to improve the lives of their communities and countries in the face of serious adversity is truly remarkable. I am deeply inspired by these women — and by the countless other women … — who persevere to make positive change in the world despite significant challenges set before them…” (3/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Innovation Key To Bringing Immunizations To Children Worldwide

“…[H]ow do we translate innovation into action? I just returned from the Global Vaccine and Immunization Research Forum (GVIRF) in Bethesda, Maryland — where, over a few days, we debated that very question,” Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “Experts from science, academia, government, public health, the private sector and philanthropy came together to share learnings and exchange ideas about actionable innovation and its role in ensuring every single person has access to vaccines by the year 2020. Innovation is likely to be the vehicle to full immunization worldwide…” (3/9).

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Lancet Publishes 'Manifesto For Planetary Health'

The Lancet has published a manifesto for planetary health, stating, “This manifesto for transforming public health calls for a social movement to support collective public health action at all levels of society — personal, community, national, regional, global, and planetary. Our aim is to respond to the threats we face: threats to human health and wellbeing, threats to the sustainability of our civilization, and threats to the natural and human-made systems that support us. Our vision is for a planet that nourishes and sustains the diversity of life with which we co-exist and on which we depend. Our goal is to create a movement for planetary health. … An urgent transformation is required in our values and our practices based on recognition of our interdependence and the interconnectedness of the risks we face…” The journal calls on individuals to sign the manifesto (3/8).

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'Science Speaks' Blog Discusses Issues Presented At CROI 2014

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on findings from CROI 2014. One post discusses a study on HIV self-testing in Malawi, while a second post discusses data on the widening gender gap in life expectancy for those with HIV-related illnesses in South Africa (Lubinski, 3/10).

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