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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Donors Pledge Funds For Syria As U.N. Warns Of Worsening Humanitarian Situation

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns of Syria ‘catastrophe’ as NGOs pledge funds
“A U.N. envoy warned Monday of a ‘horrifying’ humanitarian situation brewing in Syria as non-governmental organizations pledged more than $500 million for refugees on the eve of a major donor conference. The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise $8.4 billion for Syria this year and hopes to receive major pledges at the donor meeting on Tuesday in Kuwait…” (Hasan, 3/30).

IRIN: Donors asked to dig deep for Syria
“High-level officials from 78 countries and more than 40 international organizations are gathering in Kuwait City to take part in the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria on Tuesday, amid major concerns of funding shortages…” (Redvers, 3/31).

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of pledging conference, senior U.N. officials urge donors to stand by Syrian people
“… ‘While we are managing to get more aid in through cross-border operations, we are seeing a closing down of our ability to get aid across conflict lines inside Syria. The situation is very grave,’ U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in an interview with U.N. Radio…” (3/30).

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NIH Announces American Ebola Patient's Condition Has Improved

The Guardian: American Ebola patient’s condition improves from ‘serious’ to ‘fair’
“The condition of an American health care worker who contracted Ebola while fighting the outbreak of the disease in Sierra Leone has improved significantly since he arrived in the U.S. earlier this month…” (Gambino, 3/30).

The Hill: Condition of U.S. Ebola patient upgraded to ‘fair’
“The U.S. health worker undergoing treatment for Ebola is continuing to make progress against the disease, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Monday…” (Ferris, 3/30).

Reuters: U.S. Ebola patient’s status improved to fair from serious: NIH
“A U.S. patient in treatment for the Ebola virus at a National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland has improved to fair condition from serious, the NIH said on Monday…” (Stephenson, 3/30).

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Global Warning, Response System For Outbreaks Critical For Next Epidemic, Gates Says

NPR: Bill Gates Tells The World: Get Ready For The Next Epidemic
“‘An epidemic is one of the few catastrophes that could set the world back drastically in the next few decades,’ Bill Gates warns in an essay he wrote for the March 18 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. … That’s why, he continues, ‘the world needs a global warning and response system for outbreaks.’ And part of that system must be a better way to get supplies and ‘trained personnel’ to the scene, where they can work with local efforts…” (Silver, 3/30).

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Sexual Contact May Cause Ebola To Spread, WHO Says

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Ebola virus: Sexual contact may be causing it to spread, World Health Organization says
“The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has found evidence that sexual contact may be causing the Ebola virus to spread. A lack of education about treatment has meant sufferers are now hiding from aid organizations, creating the potential for new outbreaks…” (3/31).

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Nearly A Third Of Sierra Leone's Ebola Funds 'Unaccounted For,' Audit Report Says

IRIN: Sierra Leone’s missing Ebola millions
“More than half of US$18 million of treasury and public donation funds supposedly spent on fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, where the disease has claimed 3,764 lives, lacks complete paperwork and almost a third is officially ‘unaccounted for’ according to an audit report…” (Sahid, 3/30).

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West African Countries Impose Measures To Prevent Ebola Spread; Sierra Leone's Lockdown Exposes Suspected Cases

Agence France-Presse: Sierra Leone back to work after Ebola lockdown
“Sierra Leoneans breathed a sigh of relief on Monday as they emerged from a three-day nationwide lockdown imposed in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus…” (3/30).

Associated Press: Guinea shuts border with Sierra Leone in effort to end Ebola
“Guinea closed its border with Sierra Leone on Monday as part of new efforts to stamp out Ebola, an official said…” (Diallo, 3/30).

Reuters: Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown exposes hundreds of suspected cases
“A three-day lockdown in Sierra Leone has exposed hundreds of potential new cases of Ebola, aiding efforts to bring to an end an epidemic that has already killed 3,000 people in the country…” (Fofana, 3/30).

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Ebola Vaccine Trials Show Promise, Scientists Say

VOA News: Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa
“…Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it’s too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies…” (Pearson, 3/30).

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Cameroon No Longer A Polio Exporting Country, But Still Considered High-Risk, Health Official Says

VOA News: Cameroon No Longer a Polio Exporter
“Cameroon said it has attained the status of a ‘non-polio exporting country’ — hitting the 6-month mark without a new case — but the country is still considered a high-risk nation with pockets of resistance to polio vaccination programs for children — especially in refugee camps…” (Kindzeka, 3/31).

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U.N. Official Calls For More Assistance To Vanuatu After Cyclone Pam

U.N. News Centre: Vanuatu: U.N. relief official warns ‘secondary emergency’ looming, urges long-term aid
“Two weeks after Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the archipelago on a tour through one of the most severely affected provinces Saturday, warned of a ‘secondary emergency’ and urged a scale-up in efforts to provide the essentials to people in need…” (3/30).

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U.N. Official Calls For 'Hydro-Diplomacy' To Address Water Shortages

U.N. News Centre: Deputy U.N. chief calls for ‘hydro-diplomacy’ as world faces growing water shortages
“The international community must gear up for a new era of ‘hydro-diplomacy’ as the threat of water scarcity risks plunging the world into a period of geopolitical tension and stunted development, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told delegates gathered at the General Assembly [Monday]…” (3/30).

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Red Cross Aid Worker Killed In Attack In Mali; ICRC Concerned About Violence Against Humanitarian Workers

Agence France-Presse: Red Cross worker killed in jihadist attack on aid truck in Mali
“An international Red Cross worker was killed and a local colleague wounded when the aid truck they were driving came under fire in northern Mali on Monday, in an attack claimed by the MUJAO jihadist group. … The [International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of operations for North and West Africa Yasmine] Praz Dessimoz said the humanitarian situation in northern Mali was ‘worrying.’ ‘The ICRC is concerned about the rise in violence against humanitarian workers, which is preventing them from coming to the aid of individuals and communities in dire need,’ she said in the statement…” (3/30).

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Circumcision Truck Aims To Prevent HIV In Uganda

BBC News: Uganda male circumcision truck brings hope on HIV
“Uganda’s mobile circumcision truck has one clear goal: to get as many men and boys as possible circumcised safely. … According to the World Health Organization, male circumcision reduces the risk of men getting HIV by 60%. But for many in Uganda, getting it done is not easy, mainly because there are not enough safe facilities and it can be expensive…” (Byaruhanga, 3/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Should Fund Relief Of Syria

Huffington Post: Future Being Made Now for Syria’s Children
William Lambers, author and blogger

“On Tuesday, a conference will be held in Kuwait to raise funds to feed the starving people of Syria. … Today, there are millions of Syrian children whose future…hangs in the balance with what we do, starting at this donor conference. … So at this donor conference starting Tuesday in Kuwait, the world community should fund the relief of Syria. It can give hope and lay the foundation for peace in the Middle East” (3/30).

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China Must Strengthen Its Public Health System To Prevent Spread Of TB

The Japan Times: Tuberculosis showing a resurgence in China
Cesar Chelala, international public health consultant

“China now has the second-largest tuberculosis epidemic — second only to India — with more than 1.3 million new cases of tuberculosis every year. What makes the situation particularly serious, says the Chinese Center for Disease Control, is that China has the largest number of patients with Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). … Although tuberculosis control has been part of the country’s public health program since the 1950s, it is only since the SARS epidemic in 2003 was effectively controlled has the Chinese government increased its efforts to revitalize tuberculosis control programs. In that regard, increased political commitment to public health as a result of the SARS epidemic benefited tuberculosis control. … To lower the prevalence of tuberculosis, particularly in its resistant forms, requires further improvement of the public health system…” (3/30).

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Addressing Hunger, Poverty Involves Improving WASH Through Local Government

Huffington Post: Looking Local: Addressing Hunger, Poverty and WASH
John Coonrod, executive vice president of The Hunger Project

As part of a blog series on WASH and MDGs, John Coonrod writes, “In a world that has made so much progress in achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), cutting extreme poverty in half by 2010, why has it not yet cut hunger in half? Most people are surprised that it has virtually nothing to do with food supply, and far more to do with sexism, open defecation, and weak local government. … Hunger is a violation of human rights, and human rights are built on the concept of human dignity. There is perhaps nothing more fundamental to our human dignity than water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). … Women … are making a difference in hunger and poverty in their communities by tackling the issue of WASH through the local government system. Their efforts are improving the nutrition of the children of their communities, allowing other women to study or engage in livelihood activities, and creating an environment where women’s voices can be heard…” (3/30).

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WaterAid Seeks To Grant Pregnant Women Access To Clean Water, Sanitation

Huffington Post: Impoverished Pregnant Women Forced To Haul Water To Their Own Deliveries. Here’s Who’s Helping Them
Eleanor Goldberg, editor of HuffPost Impact

“…Every year, nearly half a million babies in the developing world die before they turn 1 month old because they’re born into unhygienic conditions, a new study released by nonprofit WaterAid found. And though half of hospitals in Africa don’t have access to clean water, the staff are well aware that expecting mothers need it, so many require the patients to cart it themselves to the clinic. … To help grant women access to sanitation and clean water at clinics worldwide, WaterAid is petitioning the U.N. to include the issue in its new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (3/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

IntraHealth's HIV Testing Project In Tanzania Shifts Strategy, Putting Greater Focus On Impact

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: HIV testing support in Tanzania puts emphasis on impact
Mkama Mwijarubi, program officer at IntraHealth, writes about a shift in the strategy of IntraHealth’s Tanzania HIV Prevention Project in response to the CDC’s new strategic direction for Tanzania’s PEPFAR-funded interventions. IntraHealth will focus on “revitalizing its HIV testing and counseling intervention strategies to identify more HIV-positive clients and strengthen linkages to care and treatment services” (3/30).

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State Department Podcast Discusses Frontline Ebola Health Workers In West Africa

U.S. Department of State: Fighting Ebola: Being on the frontline of the fight
The U.S. Department of State released a SoundCloud podcast on Ebola frontline health workers. “In this episode of Fighting Ebola we hear from health care workers on the ground battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa” (3/27).

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