KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Officials Warn Governments, Donors To Avoid Complacency In Ebola Efforts

Associated Press: U.N. warns against complacency as Ebola fight enters new phase
“The United Nations is urging donors, organizations, and countries fighting Ebola in West Africa not to give in to complacency as the death toll from the virus climbs toward 10,000…” (Cook, 3/2).

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Nearly 30 Countries Vulnerable To Ebola-Type Outbreaks Without Stronger Health Care Systems, Report Says

News outlets discuss a new report from Save the Children examining lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic for health care systems development.

The Guardian: Ebola epidemic is ‘wake-up call’ for investment in universal health care
“Up to 30 countries are vulnerable to an Ebola-style epidemic, unless the world sits up and helps get urgent investment into universal health care, a report has found. Improving the health systems in the three Ebola-hit African nations would have helped to prevent the epidemic and cost a third of the relief effort, says Save the Children in a new investigation of the epidemic that has claimed more than 9,500 lives…” (O’Carroll, 3/2).

Reuters: Nearly 30 countries ‘highly vulnerable’ to Ebola-style epidemic: charity
“…An increasingly mobile global population makes deadly outbreaks more likely, with the emergence of two new diseases a year that can be spread between animals and humans making stronger health systems crucial, Save the Children said. The charity’s report comes as political and development agency leaders gather in Brussels to discuss the Ebola crisis…” (D’Urso, 3/2).

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Ebola, Other Infectious Diseases Highlight Africa's Health System Challenges, Says European Health Commissioner

EurActiv: Andriukaitis: Ebola highlights Africa’s health challenges
“The ‘Ebola: From Emergency to Recovery’ conference, being held by the European Commission [Tuesday], provides an important opportunity to plan for the long-term recovery and resilience of affected countries, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis told EurActiv in an exclusive interview…” (Gotev, 3/3).

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Changes In Funding Disbursements Lead To Delays, Setbacks For India's Main Public Health Programs

Reuters: Exclusive: Payment delays dent India’s flagship health, AIDS programs
“India’s main public health programs, aimed at millions of rural poor, have been in disarray for months because the government changed the way that over $1.3 billion in federal funds were distributed, according to data and letters seen by Reuters…” (Kalra, 3/3).

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More Pregnant Women In India Underweight Compared With Sub-Saharan African Counterparts, Study Shows

News outlets discuss findings from a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining prepregnancy weight and weight gain among pregnant women in India and sub-Saharan Africa.

ANI/Huffington Post India: 40 Percent Indian Women Are Underweight During Pregnancy: Study
“As per a new study, maternal health in India [is] much worse than previously thought as more than 40 percent of women are underweight when they begin pregnancy…” (3/3).

New York Times: Study Says Pregnant Women in India Are Gravely Underweight
“…[W]hile researchers have long known that Indian mothers tend to be less healthy than their African counterparts, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that the disparity is far worse than previously believed. By analyzing census data, Diane Coffey of Princeton University found that 42 percent of Indian mothers are underweight. The figure for sub-Saharan Africa is 16.5 percent…” (Harris, 3/2).

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Local Nurseries Network Lowers Rates Of Child Malnutrition, Improves Maternal Health In India

NPR: How ‘Flower Beds’ Give Love And Lentils To Moms And Babies
“…In 2012, a group of tribal leaders worked with nonprofits and the government to launch the Fulwaris, which literally means ‘flower beds’ in Hindi. Fulwaris are a network of nurseries run entirely by moms in the community who take turns feeding and caring for each other’s children. … The impact has been clear. Malnutrition dropped by nearly a quarter among children in Fulwaris, the State Health Resource Centre of Chhattisgarh reported in September 2013. Maternal health also improved…” (Rao, 3/2).

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UNAIDS Commends Nigeria For Establishing HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Law

The Guardian Nigeria: U.N. commends Nigeria’s assent to zero discrimination law
“The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has commended Nigeria, and President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Anti-Discrimination Law which protects persons living with HIV and AIDS against discrimination and stigmatization…” (Musari, 3/2).

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U.N., Malaysian Health Officials Work To Repeal Fatwa Requiring All Muslim Women To Undergo FGM

VOA News: U.N., Malaysia Groups Seek to Repeal Fatwa Requiring FGM
“In 2009, Malaysia’s National Fatwa Committee, the nation’s top Islamic council, required all Muslim women in the country to undergo female genital mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision. … Government health officials who are in negotiations with Malaysia’s National Fatwa Committee say the ruling by the country’s top religious authority requiring female genital cutting for all Muslim women may be overturned…” (Paluch, 3/2).

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Improper Storage Of $3.7M Worth Of Pentavalent Vaccine Ruins Donated Supply, Pakistani Health Official Says

Reuters: Pakistan wastes $3.7 million worth of donated vaccine, official says
“Pakistan has wasted $3.7 million worth of vaccines donated to protect children from deadly diseases because officials failed to store them properly, a senior health official told Reuters on Monday. … The ruined vaccines were pentavalent vaccines…” (Hassan, 3/2).

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'Fault Lines' Episode Examines Accountability For Haiti Cholera Outbreak

Al Jazeera America: Fault Lines: Haiti in a Time of Cholera — Full Episode
“Fault Lines travels from Haiti to the United Nations headquarters in New York City to ask who should be held accountable for a cholera epidemic that has reached crisis levels…” (3/2).

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2 HIV-1 Groups Originated In Gorillas, Researchers Show

News outlets discuss the findings of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing two of the four groups of HIV-1 originated in Western lowland gorillas.

Agence France-Presse: Origins of HIV virus strains traced to gorillas (3/3).
New York Times: Two Strains of HIV Cut Vastly Different Paths (Zimmer, 3/2).
Reuters: Study finds gorilla origins in half of human AIDS virus lineages (Dunham, 3/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Foreign Investment In African Health Programs Should Lead To More Local Investment Over Long Term

Washington Post: Moving Africa toward health self-sufficiency
Michael Gerson, opinion writer

“…On global health in particular, the United States and Tanzania have performed wonders together over the last decade. … But amid this success, one statistic should cause concern. In 2002, Tanzania’s public sector accounted for about 25 percent of health expenditures in the country. A decade later, this had fallen to 21 percent — with foreign donors providing 48 percent of total health expenditures. … Ten-plus years after a massive American scale up of global health programs, success is properly measured in the millions of lives saved. Ten years from now, it should also be measured by the local capacity to save millions more” (3/2).

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Obama Administration Should Work To Reform Helms Amendment Implementation, Do More For Global Reproductive Rights

The Hill: The hard truth about reproductive health under Obama
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice

“…The Helms Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1973, prohibits foreign assistance funds for abortion services ‘as a method of family planning.’ The policy has been strictly implemented by USAID as a complete ban on support or counseling for safe abortion care. … Though this strict interpretation of Helms could be easily revised, the Obama administration, out of fear of upsetting ultraconservatives in Washington, continues to perpetuate this policy and do nothing…” (3/2).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Acting On Lessons Learned From Ebola Epidemic

Devex: From catchphrase to action: Learning lessons on Ebola
Erin Hohlfelder, policy director for global health at the ONE Campaign

“…[I]f we’re looking for one clear place to start acting [on lessons learned from Ebola], we must begin by acknowledging — and then quickly remedying — a foundational challenge: the drastic health worker shortage and fragile health systems in the three most affected countries, especially in the remote areas where the outbreak first took hold. … Encouragingly, new analysis out [Monday] commissioned by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition shows that increasing the health workforce in the Ebola-affected countries is not just the right thing to do — it’s also affordable…” (3/2).

The Guardian: Fighting Ebola requires a culture change in the West, as well as West Africa
David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, and Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…It’s now time to apply these lessons [learned from the recent Ebola epidemic] to the challenges of 2015 and beyond. … First, trusted community leaders need to be front and center in all phases of public health action. … Second, in all the planning for new health facilities and equipment, governments and donors must not forget that health is above all a people business. … Third, the first test of community leadership and health systems, and the partnership between them, is infection prevention and control, which needs to take place in health facilities but also way beyond them, to include schools and workplaces…” (3/3).

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Partnership, Cooperation Keys To Reaching Sustainable Development Goals, Including Those For MNCH, FP

Devex: Let’s be bold for women and girls, and let’s do it together
Joy Phumaphi, chair of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and executive secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance

“…Ensuring that women are well nourished and safe in childbirth, that adolescents are empowered to delay sex and avoid pregnancy, and that couples are able to choose if or when to have children is key to making sure children are well nourished, vaccinated, healthy, and able to learn. This is critical to sustainable development and ending poverty. … As we set the development agenda for the next 15 years, let us be bold, and let us do it together. Sustainability in development and poverty elimination can only be built when everyone is given the space to play their role effectively…” (3/2).

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Governments, NGOs Should Work To Implement WHO Public Health Interventions For NTDs

Epoch Times: The Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases
César Chelala, international public health consultant

“…The NTDs seriously impact economic, social, and health indicators. … They may cost national economies hundreds of millions of dollars that could be avoided with effective prevention campaigns. … The WHO has developed five public health interventions to improve prevention, control, and eradication of NTDs: Improved disease management; preventive chemotherapy; vector ecology and management; veterinary public health services; and provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. They should be implemented within a framework of increased state-level engagement, innovative financing, and universal coverage against NTDs” (3/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Focus On Development Goals Financing Allows Policymakers To Avoid Discussion Of Needed Reforms

Brookings Institute’s “Future Development”: Shame on me: Why it was wrong to cost the Millennium Development Goals
Shanta Devarajan, chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank, discusses a paper he and colleagues wrote in 2002 estimating the costs of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. “…Discussions of financing needs enables policymakers to avoid these difficult reforms, while giving them an excuse for missing the goals (‘the money was not enough’). In short, by costing the Millennium Development Goals, I may have helped shift attention away from what is needed to reach the goals, and hence contributed to the perpetuation of poverty. Shame on me” (3/2).

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Global Health Organizations Launch First Annual World Birth Defects Day

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: March 3 Marks the First Annual World Birth Defects Day
Diana Valencia of the CDC’s Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities discusses the first annual World Birth Defects Day, which takes place March 3. She writes, “The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about the occurrence of birth defects, develop and implement primary prevention programs, and expand referral and care services for all persons with birth defects…” (3/2).

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MSF Focusing On Adolescents For International Women's Day 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières: International Women’s Day 2015: Why adolescent health?
Tane Luna, Médecins Sans Frontières’ women’s health adviser and an obstetrician, discusses MSF’s focus on adolescent girls for this year’s International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8. Luna examines how the organization is bringing health care to young women through projects worldwide (3/2).

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