KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PBS FRONTLINE Film Prompts Media Coverage Of TB Epidemic

News sources examine the growing threat of multidrug-resistant TB, highlighted this week in a FRONTLINE special presentation.

The full-length video report on tuberculosis (TB) is available online, in addition to several accompanying news stories. “From the valleys of Swaziland in Southern Africa, the story of a brave community who let us into their lives to shed light on a new epidemic of a very old disease. A disease that is becoming resistant to treatment and is spreading. Intimate stories of people fighting to survive…” (3/25).

Kaiser Family Foundation: TB Silent Killer: FRONTLINE Documentary and Panel Discussion
The Kaiser Family Foundation on Tuesday hosted a “discussion with a panel of experts: Jezza Neumann, producer, writer and director of TB Silent Killer; Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation; Christine F. Sizemore, chief of the Tuberculosis, Leprosy and other Mycobacterial Diseases Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and Jonathon Gass, monitoring and evaluation specialist at Ariadne Labs, who worked as an epidemiologist for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders. Penny Duckham, executive director of the Foundation’s Media Fellowships Program, made introductory remarks and moderated the panel discussion.” A webcast of the panel discussion is available online (3/25).

NPR: Tuberculosis Roars Back With A Deadly Edge
NPR’s “Shots will host an online discussion with the [FRONTLINE] filmmaker, Jezza Neumann, Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Look back here at Shots for the discussion. In the meantime, send us your thoughts and questions to ask Newman and other TB experts on the panel. We’re at shots@npr.org” (Doucleff, 3/25).

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Some Global Health Aid Improves U.S. Image Abroad, Study Shows

GlobalPost: Global health aid to fight HIV/AIDS boosts U.S.’s image abroad, says new study
“…[A] new study provides strong evidence that at least some forms of global health aid improve public opinion about the United States in the countries that receive it. The study, published earlier this month in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, found that the government’s main program for addressing HIV and AIDS has significantly improved public perceptions of the U.S. across many developing countries…” (Savchuk, 3/25).

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Health Officials Work To Contain Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

News outlets report on continuing efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

IRIN: Curbing West Africa’s Ebola outbreak
“As health authorities and aid groups work to contain the spread of Ebola in Guinea which has killed 59 people and infected scores of others since January, suspected cases have emerged in neighboring Liberia, prompting calls for a regional response…” (3/26).

Reuters: West African nations scramble to prevent spread of Ebola deaths
“West African nations scrambled on Tuesday to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus suspected to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea, with symptoms of the disease reported in neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia as well…” (Toweh/Samb, 3/25).

Associated Press: Ebola victims quarantined in Guinea
“Health workers in protective hazmat suits treated patients in quarantine centers on Tuesday in a remote corner of Guinea where Ebola has killed at least 60 people in West Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly virus in two decades…” (Diallo/Larson, 3/25).

Agence France-Presse: Six suspected Ebola cases in Liberia, five dead
“Five patients have died in Liberia of suspected Ebola fever, the government said on Monday, as neighboring Guinea battled an outbreak of the virus which has killed dozens…” (3/24).

Associated Press: Canada rules out suspected case of Ebola
“Canadian officials investigating a man suspected of having contracted Ebola during a visit to West Africa say it has been determined he does not have the virus…” (Gillies, 3/25).

Reuters: Scientist who discovered Ebola frustrated by deadly Guinea outbreak
“…[Peter] Piot says he’s saddened and frustrated by this and other outbreaks — partly because they should be easy to prevent, or at least to contain, and partly because the scientific detective work behind the Ebola virus has not yet revealed its main host…” (Kelland, 3/25).

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U.N. Officials Express Concern Over Humanitarian Crises In Sudan, S. Sudan

News outlets report on the worsening food security and humanitarian crises in Sudan and South Sudan.

Agence France-Presse: S. Sudan facing major food crisis: U.N.
“Millions of people in war-wracked South Sudan are facing a food shortage as the rainy season approaches, a top U.N. official warned Tuesday, denouncing inadequate funding for humanitarian aid efforts…” (3/25).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. officials appeal for urgent funding for relief operations in Sudan and South Sudan
“With the humanitarian situation in Sudan deteriorating and neighboring South Sudan ‘imploding,’ United Nations relief officials today appealed to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries, both of which are in desperate need of assistance…” (3/25).

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Murder of Polio Worker In Pakistan Heightens Health Workers' Fears

The Guardian: Pakistan polio vaccinator’s murder by militants raises health workers’ fears
“The unusual night-time kidnapping and brutal murder of a female polio vaccinator in the troubled Pakistani city of Peshawar has heightened fears among health workers struggling to stamp out the virus in the face of violent opposition from militant groups…” (Boone, 3/25).

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Uganda's Anti-Gay Law Brings Cuts To Foreign Aid, Research

SciDev.Net: Uganda’s anti-gay law may threaten its research
“… The [Ugandan anti-gay] legislation has been met with outrage in the West, and several countries and international organizations immediately pulled the plug on aid that has been helping Uganda to sustain its economy. Donors have so far withheld a total of 262 billion Ugandan shillings, or more than US$100 million, according to media reports. This, some experts say, will mean that the country’s scientific research — much of which depends on aid — could face cuts…” (Moskvitch, 3/25).

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Ethiopia Expected To Pass Anti-Gay Law

News outlets report on proposed legislation in Ethiopia that would make homosexuality a “non-pardonable” offense.

Associated Press: Ethiopian lawmakers to pass bill deemed anti-gay
“Ethiopia’s lawmakers are set to pass a bill that puts homosexuality on a list of offenses considered ‘non-pardonable’ under the country’s amnesty law, a measure that continues a trend of anti-gay legislation across Africa…” (Meseret, 3/25).

Washington Post: Another African country is expected to pass an anti-gay law
“…The move comes on the heels of the passage of harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria that drew condemnation from around the world. Same-sex acts were already illegal in Ethiopia, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But during the Ethiopian New Year, the president often pardons thousands of prisoners, the AP said. The new law, endorsed last week by the Cabinet, would take away his ability to pardon people convicted under anti-homosexuality laws…” (Rupar, 3/25).

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Britain's Prince Charles Organizes Vaccination Campaign For Philippines Typhoon Victims

CNN: Prince Charles arranges mass vaccination for Typhoon Haiyan victims
“Five million doses of measles and rubella vaccine will be delivered to the Philippines, following a donation organized by Britain’s Prince Charles…” (Foster, 3/26).

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TB Becomes Increasing Priority In South Africa's Health Agenda

Devex: Is emerging South Africa ready to fight TB on its own?
“This week, as the aid community observed World Tuberculosis Day, all eyes turned to South Africa, which despite its booming economy continues to hugely suffer from this old and preventable disease. A decade after launching a national strategic plans to eradicate TB, little has changed. Along with Mozambique, it’s one of only two countries among the 22 high-burden nations profiled by the World Health Organization where incidence rates per 100,000 of the population continue to rise up in the past few years: 993 in 2011 as opposed to just 493.7 in 2002…” (Ravelo, 3/26).

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CNN Discusses Drug-Resistant Malaria, Disease Elimination Efforts In SE Asia

CNN: Scientists race to eliminate malaria as ‘wonder drug’ loses its powers
“… A river that can be crossed in a rickety boat is no barrier to a parasite that rides in the salivary glands of mosquitoes or the red blood cells of humans. … History tells us what happens next. Over the last century, almost every frontline antimalarial drug — chloroquine, sulfadoxine, pyrimethamine — has become obsolete because of defiant parasites…” (Yong, 3/25).

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Sanofi Expects Dengue Vaccine Clinical Trial Results In September

Reuters: Sanofi faces make-or-break verdict on big dengue vaccine bet
“Sanofi expects final clinical results for its vaccine against dengue by late September, the French drugmaker’s project leader has told Reuters, and has already gambled on starting production despite some disappointing early trials data. Sanofi has invested more than one billion euros in the project and is hoping to become the first drugmaker to sell such a shot next year after two decades of research on the world’s fastest-growing tropical disease, for which there is no preventative treatment…” (Huet/Mennella, 3/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Women's Rights Activists Applaud Outcome Of U.N. Commission On Women

Huffington Post: United Nations Commission Calls for Increased Efforts to Promote Gender Equality
Alexander Sanger, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council

“After two weeks of intense negotiations, the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women ended early Saturday morning with a strong call to prioritize gender equality and the human rights of women in order to achieve sustainable development. … The Commission specifically called for a stand-alone goal on gender equality, a move that was applauded by women’s rights activists. … The governments also called for efforts to ensure that women’s rights and health obtain the prominence they deserve in the next global development framework. … Women’s health and rights organizations applauded governments who stood up for the rights of all individuals to live free of violence, discrimination, and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for girls…” (3/25).

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Achieving Health Equity Requires Joint Action

Huffington Post: The War Against Health Inequity
Jennifer Kamara, director at World Health Equity

“…[T]o address the question, ‘What can you do about this health inequity?’ the answer is simply to join the movement in whichever way you can. Your passion needn’t be mature, and you needn’t have experience in the health sector to contribute. Just donate, advocate, or serve in a capacity that you can afford to maintain. Rockstars like Bono and other activists have enlightened us to the fact that together we can improve the health of the underserved. Benjamin Franklin eloquently gives us a reason for which to do so, ‘He who has health has hope. And he who has hope has everything.’ I have seen first-hand the potential that is unleashed in an individual with a renewed sense of health and hope. The ‘value’ of a healthy individual is precisely why health equity is so important, and is the reason we should act on it” (3/25).

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HIV-Positive Widows Must Have Property Rights To Ensure 'Safety And Survival'

The Guardian: HIV-positive widows in Kenya fight for their land rights
Gina Alvarado, gender and evaluation specialist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

“…The [HIV] epidemic, in combination with women’s lack of land rights, has resulted in a growing number of widows being cast aside by their families. … Despite the gravity of the situation, there are very few programs in Kenya — and around the globe — that simultaneously address securing women’s property rights and work with HIV-affected women. … Regardless of the country or context, a person’s right to property is a fundamental human right. Securing women’s right to property in Kenya, as in many other countries, is, in the end, about ensuring women’s safety and survival” (3/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Service Delivery Is Key To Successful Investment In Global Health

In the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, and CGD Research Assistant Yuna Sakuma discuss key takeaways from an event co-hosted by CGD, PSI, PATH, Devex, and Merck on service delivery in global health. They write, “The importance of service delivery isn’t a novel concept, but so often it’s overshadowed by pressure to roll out the newest or most promising technology. Some donors are taking steps to balance this. There are some novel financing approaches that might foster more impact evaluations or qualitative research on ‘failure’. … Will global health funding start to take off in this direction — or has it already? We’re eager to watch the landscape in the coming years” (3/25).

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Global Community Must Agree On Common Goal, Targets To Eliminate Poverty, Hunger

As leaders prepare to gather in New York next week at a meeting of the Open Working Group, Pamela Anderson, director of the agricultural development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Josh Lozman, deputy director of program advocacy at the foundation, write in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog about food security and nutrition as a key topic for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. “At the foundation, partnership and goal-setting are core to the way we work. We believe that if the global community is to make significant progress on poverty and hunger, we must work together.  We can start by agreeing to a common goal and set of targets to eliminate hunger and malnutrition…” (3/24).

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USAID Working To Meet Water, Food, Health Needs In Kenya

Chris Holmes, global water coordinator and deputy assistant administrator at USAID, writes in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog about “how USAID’s water programs around the world contribute to integrated approaches that meet the objectives of the Agency’s Water and Development Strategy, as well as the Feed the Future and the U.S. Global Health Initiative.” He discusses how “[a]cross Kenya, USAID’s AIDS, Population, and Health Integrated Assistance Plus (APHIAplus) program is working to strengthen and improve health care systems.” He writes, “USAID/Kenya’s approach of layering, integrating and sequencing its technical interventions and projects brings hope that over time these activities could be expanded and provided at scale, changing the lives of thousands of people for the better” (3/24).

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Uganda's Anti-Gay Law Complicates U.S. Aid Relations

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses the ramifications of Uganda’s anti-gay law on U.S. development policy. The blog specifically examines how the U.S. is reacting to “work to untangle humanitarian aid from aid to human rights violators” (Barton, 3/25).

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PAHO Event Highlights TB Treatment, Prevention In Latin American, Caribbean Region

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog highlights an event that took place on March 21 at the Pan American Health Organization in recognition of World TB Day, held annually on March 24. “In addition to addressing the social causes of TB, governments also need to target urban areas, where 80 percent of all Latin American and Caribbean populations live said panelists at the event,” the blog notes and features links to several videos on TB treatment and prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean (Aziz, 3/25).

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