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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Administration Announces 'Let Girls Learn' Initiative To Promote Girls' Education Worldwide

News outlets discuss the Obama administration’s launch of the Let Girls Learn initiative to assist girls worldwide in attending and completing school.

Associated Press: Obama announces new education effort to ‘let girls learn’
“Saying every girl ‘has value,’ President Barack Obama announced a more focused government effort Tuesday to help tens of millions of girls around the world attend and stay in school. Michelle Obama said she’s heading to Japan and Cambodia later this month to promote it…” (Superville, 3/3).

Devex: Let Girls Learn: Obamas focus new initiative on empowering adolescents
“The Peace Corps will train its current and future volunteers as well as thousands of community leaders to become champions of girls’ education and empowerment around the globe, as part of an integrated, global initiative that U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are announcing Tuesday…” (Villarino, 3/3).

Reuters: Michelle Obama heads to Asia to promote girls’ education
“…The initiative aims to reduce the number of girls — 62 million worldwide — who do not attend school in an effort to improve their financial stability, health, and well-being, according to the administration. The effort, launched last summer through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will utilize the Peace Corps volunteer program to help expand access for schooling for girls, especially for teenagers…” (Heavey, 3/3).

USA Today: Obamas to launch ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative
“…The administration also said that ‘agencies across the U.S. government will work together to address the range of challenges confronting adolescent girls around the world. Agencies will increase efforts to build strategic partnerships and enhance diplomatic efforts that will help adolescent girls succeed.’ … The administration plans to ask Congress for $250 million to help promote the program…” (Jackson, 3/3).

Washington Post: Obamas launch global focus on the education of girls
“…[President Obama] added that his administration, at the urging of his wife, will try to enhance existing efforts to boost gender equality among adolescents by highlighting successful projects and starting some new ones, some of which will involve the first lady…” (Thompson, 3/3).

White House: FACT SHEET: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Announce New Whole of Government Initiative, Let Girls Learn
“…[W]hen a girl receives a quality education, she is more likely to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family, and her community. In addition, girls’ attendance in secondary school is correlated with later marriage, later childbearing, lower maternal and infant mortality rates, lower birth rates, and lower rates of HIV/AIDS…” (3/3).

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Ebola-Affected West African Nations Call For Marshall Plan-Type Recovery Program At Brussels Meeting

Agence France-Presse: African leaders urge Ebola ‘Marshall Plan’
“Leaders of the West African countries worst hit by Ebola urged the world on Tuesday to back a ‘Marshall Plan’ to help them stamp out the disease and rebuild their shattered economies. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, and Guinean President Alpha Conde pressed the need for recovery at an international conference in Brussels as the number of new cases slows…” (Carmichael, 3/3).

Associated Press: Liberia calls for Ebola ‘Marshall Plan’ to rebuild economies
“…Sirleaf told fellow regional leaders and delegates at an international conference on Ebola in Brussels that restoring economic growth in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone is a long-term and costly task…” (Cook, 3/3).

The Guardian: Ebola death toll in West Africa ‘could be much higher than initial estimates’
“Regional and world leaders have called on the international community to scale up their efforts to rebuild the nations devastated by Ebola amid fears the death toll from the outbreak could be even higher than previously thought. Although the epidemic, which has ravaged Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, appears to be drawing to a close, the secretary general of the Red Cross warned that the true number of victims could be substantially greater than official estimates…” (Neslen, 3/3).

IRIN: Ebola: Liberia’s long road to recovery
“Liberia has lifted nationwide curfews and reopened its land borders with key trading partners Sierra Leone and Guinea, but a full recovery from the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak will take time, experts say…” (3/4).

Reuters: Ebola-hit countries seek help to repair their economies
“…The World Bank has estimated the epidemic will cost the three countries at least $1.6 billion in lost economic growth this year, or more than 12 percent of their combined output. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the three countries believed a regional approach to recovery was best…” (Croft, 3/3).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. tells Brussels meeting world must ‘stay on course’ to get to, remain at zero cases
“…[The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola David Nabarro], as well as World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, both emphasized the need to build trust with communities to eradicate the disease, which has affected nearly 24,000 people with more than 9,714 deaths. … [Nabarro] said that a gap of around $900 million remained to fund the response in the next six months, with $400 million urgently needed for critically important activities to get to zero cases…” (3/3).

U.N. News Centre: ‘We face a critical turning point’ — U.N. chief says at Headquarters Ebola concert
“The international community is now faced with ‘a critical turning point’ in defeating Ebola, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a United Nations Headquarters event last night, as he urged support to the affected countries to build back stronger…” (3/3).

VOA News: W. African Nations Hit by Ebola Seek More Aid From E.U.
“…The international community has pledged nearly $5 billion to fight Ebola. Roughly half of that has been disbursed. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will host another conference in April to assess whether more financing is need to tackle the outbreak…” (Bryant/Muchler, 3/3).

Wall Street Journal: African Nations Say Tide Has Turned Against Ebola
“…Tuesday’s meeting attracted about 600 delegates from countries including China, Cuba and the U.S. The U.S. has provided about $1 billion to fight Ebola — focusing on Liberia, with which it has historic ties. The United Nations also has played a major role…” (Bendavid, 3/3).

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International Rescue Committee Report Outlines Lessons Learned From Ebola Epidemic, Steps To Avoid Future Disease Outbreaks

Inter Press Service: Tackling Ebola: Give Autonomy to Local African Communities, Says International Rescue Committee
“Recommendations on how to eradicate Ebola and avoid future outbreaks were released in a report on Tuesday by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Titled ‘Risking Repetition: Are We Ignoring Ebola’s Lessons,’ the report highlighted inefficiencies of the international response to the crisis. It was presented at a high level conference on Ebola, held at the European Commission in Brussels…” (Ieri, 3/3).

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More Than 12,000 Children Orphaned, Left Vulnerable By Ebola Epidemic In Sierra Leone, Report Shows

The Guardian: Ebola ‘leaves 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone’
“The devastating impact of the Ebola crisis was laid bare this week with a report showing more than 12,000 children have been orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone. They have been identified in the first national survey of orphans, which was conducted by the British charity Street Child…” (O’Carroll, 3/4).

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Institut Pasteur Launches Initiative To Raise $120M By 2020 For Efforts Against Infectious Diseases

Xinhua News: Institut Pasteur launches global health initiative in H.K. to combat infectious diseases
“Institut Pasteur, a leading non-profit international biomedical research organization, launched a global health initiative in Hong Kong, aiming to raise 120 million U.S. dollars by 2020 for several projects to combat infectious diseases. The scheme, called ‘The 2020 Pasteur Global Health Initiative,’ targeted to implement efficient scientific programs at Pasteur Institutes located in the most vulnerable areas, to create new research institutes where there is a need in critical zones, and to train the new generation of global health scientists…” (3/3).

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About 5.5B People Worldwide Lack Sufficient Access To Narcotic Painkillers, U.N. Report Says

U.N. News Centre: Over 5 billion people worldwide lacking access to essential medicines, says U.N. Report
“…Around 5.5 billion people still have limited or no access to medicines containing narcotic drugs such as codeine or morphine the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says in its Annual Report for 2014, which went on to point out that around 92 percent of all morphine used worldwide is consumed by only 17 percent of the world population, primarily living in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand…” (3/3).

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On International Ear Care Day, WHO Brings Attention To 'Making Listening Safe' Initiative

U.N. News Centre: On Ear Care Day, U.N. health agency spotlights risks of noise-induced hearing loss
“More than one billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices such as smartphones and exposure to damaging levels of sound, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to devote today’s International Ear Care Day to ‘Making Listening Safe’…” (3/3).

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FAO Emergency Funding Appeal Focuses On Somalia, Syria, African Sahel Nations

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Somalia top priority in U.N. agriculture organization funding appeal
“The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched an emergency appeal for $697 million to help 30 million people in 31 crisis-hit countries, a senior official with the U.N. agency said on Tuesday. Somalia, Syria, and countries in the Sahel region of Africa are some of the areas requiring the greatest assistance to boost agriculture and mitigate hunger, said Dominique Bourgeon, director of FAO’s emergency division…” (Arsenault, 3/3).

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Dengue Outbreak In São Paulo Exacerbated By Drought

Wall Street Journal: Drought-Stricken São Paulo Battles Dengue Fever Outbreak
“Inhabitants of this megacity [São Paulo, Brazil], suffering through the worst drought in decades, have unwittingly contributed to an outbreak of dengue fever by storing scarce water in open containers. The tropical mosquito-borne virus, which often results in high fever, intense muscle pain, and convulsions, has killed at least 17 people in São Paulo state in the first six weeks of 2015. That’s up from just three deaths through mid-February of 2014, according to national health officials. Suspected cases have surged tenfold to 51,849 over the same period…” (Jelmayer/Chao, 3/3).

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News Outlets Examine Challenges To Polio Elimination Efforts In Pakistan

Deutsche Welle: How far is Pakistan willing to go to fight polio?
“Pakistani police recently arrested nearly 500 parents for refusing to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. DW examines why vaccination efforts have failed up to this point…” (Haider, 3/3).

National Geographic: Taliban Assassins Target Pakistan’s Polio Vaccinators
“…During the past two years, Taliban militants have killed 63 health workers and members of the security forces assigned to protect them. Last month, there was a fresh round of attacks…” (McGirk, 3/3).

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New Drug Policies In Ukraine Conflict Zone Threaten Regional Gains Made Against HIV

Foreign Policy: Like ‘Just Say No,’ but With More Kalashnikovs
“…The ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LNR) and ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DNR) regimes that have taken over this region [of Eastern Ukraine] have instigated a brutal war on drugs and alcohol, conducted through extrajudicial detentions, forced labor, and, allegedly, executions. … These new policies have driven back underground drug users who once received assistance such as clean needles and [substitution therapy], and it is threatening to undo the recent gains made against addiction and HIV in one of the most drug-ridden regions of Ukraine…” (Hyde, 3/3).

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Indian Government Will Not Scale Down Food Welfare Program, Prime Minister Says

Reuters: India will not cut multi-billion dollar food handout program — PM
“India will not scale down its multi-billion dollar food welfare program that promises ultra-cheap rice and wheat to most of its people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told lawmakers in parliament on Tuesday…” (Singh, 3/3).

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Uganda Criticized For Plan To Send HCWs To Caribbean

Agence France-Presse: Uganda on defensive over medical ‘brain drain’ uproar
“Uganda’s government on Tuesday hit back at mounting criticism of plans to ‘export’ over 200 health workers to the Caribbean, insisting it was only seeking to regulate an existing labor market and prevent abuses. A plan to send at least 241 health professionals from the East African country, itself plagued by a major shortage of doctors and nurses, to Trinidad and Tobago has been met with fierce criticism…” (3/3).

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IBT Examines Strategies Aimed At Promoting Antibiotic Drug Development

International Business Times: Antibiotic Resistance: Why Aren’t Drug Companies Developing New Medicines To Stop Superbugs?
“…[A]s many as 10 million people a year could die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide by 2050 if new treatments are not discovered, according to a recent report from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. … Despite that urgency, most of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies stopped making antibiotics long ago, citing high costs of development and low returns. … Therefore, only a fraction of the medicines that are needed are being produced…” (Nordrum, 3/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Leaders, Women Can Work Together To Reach Gender Equality By 2030

Inter Press Service: It’s Time to Step It Up for Gender Equality
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women

“…When [world leaders] meet at the United Nations in New York in September, they will have the opportunity to revisit and re-commit to the goals of [the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing]. … We must have an end point in sight. Our aim is substantial action now, urgently frontloaded for the first five years, and equality before 2030. … If the world’s leaders join the world’s women this September; if they genuinely step up their action for equality, building on the foundation laid in the last 20 years; if they can make the necessary investments, build partnerships with business and civil society, and hold themselves accountable for results, it could be sooner…” (3/3).

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Evidence-Based Research Informs Successful Policymaking On Food Security, Nutrition

Huffington Post: From Famine to Feast in Forty Years: Policy Matters
Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute

“…Food policy research generates the evidence behind decisions to help ensure that all people have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious, and sustainably grown food. It also provides policy options to distribute scarce resources, such as food, land, and water. Food policy research helped guide the rollout of the Green Revolution and created conditions for its success, particularly in Asia. … In other words, we’ve gotten better at using evidence-based research to guide policymaking. That’s one reason I believe we won’t have to wait another 40 years before we end hunger and malnutrition…” (3/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Capitol Hill Briefing Examines HCW Shortages In HIV/AIDS Response

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Health workforce shortage weakens AIDS response
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, summarizes a Capitol Hill briefing, titled “How To Ensure the Health Workforce We Need To Achieve an AIDS-Free Generation,” organized by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, IntraHealth, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, that took place on Tuesday. Speakers included U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx; Kelly Curran, director of HIV and infectious diseases at Jhpiego; Sheila Bandazi, chief nursing officer for the Ministry of Health in Malawi; and Address Malata, principal of the Kamuzu College of Nursing at the University of Malawi (3/3).

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State Department Briefing Discusses Global Ebola Response With African Diaspora Communities

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Engaging the African Diaspora Community on the International Ebola Response
David Duckenfield, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Public Affairs, summarizes a recent conference call with the State Department’s Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response Andrew Weber and “members of the U.S.-African diaspora community to discuss progress in the international Ebola response and the transition to the next phase of U.S. efforts. The call was a fourth in a series of conference calls hosted by the Bureau of Public Affairs with African diaspora members about the international response to the Ebola crisis” (3/3).

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Ebola Epidemic Is 'Wake-Up Call' To Improve Poor Nations' Health Care Systems

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: A Wake-Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the World’s Health Systems
Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, discusses a new report from the organization, titled “A Wake-Up Call,” that “focuses on the way that the inadequate health services in the [three West African] countries ensured that Ebola could not be quickly contained, reversed, or mitigated.” He adds, “The Ebola crisis is an opportunity to see that we cannot leave the world’s poorest countries with dangerously inadequate health services…” (3/3).

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