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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Group Of Experts Calls For Establishment Of Global Fund For Public Health Innovation R&D

News outlets report on a paper published in PLOS Medicine by researchers who call for a global fund to support research and development of new innovations of public health importance.

The Guardian: Experts call for global research fund for antibiotics, Ebola, and other neglected diseases
“…[A] group of experts is now calling for a global fund to be established, worth at least $10 billion, to pay for the research and development of such drugs. The market has failed to produce what the world needs. Ahead of the World Health Assembly which opens in Geneva on Monday, they are putting the case for special measures in a paper in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine…” (Boseley, 5/11).

Medical News Today: Ebola and other deadly diseases: ‘global fighting fund needed’
“…The authors want the establishment of a ‘global biomedical R&D fund and mechanism for innovations of public health importance’ to be one of the recommendations that result from the [G7] meeting. They note that while large, international, multilateral funds exist for global health delivery, there is no significant pooled funding mechanism for research and development to complement existing but limited research funding for a wide range of diseases…” (MacGill, 5/12).

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Global Food Security Act Links Chronic Hunger To National Security

The Hill: Senators: Global hunger a national security problem
“A bipartisan pair of senators is pushing legislation aimed at combating chronic hunger around the world by linking the issue to national security. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) have introduced the Global Food Security Act, which includes a requirement for the Obama administration to develop an across-the-board strategy for addressing global hunger and food insecurity…” (Carney, 5/11).

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TPP Provisions Would Hamper Global Efforts Against HIV/AIDS, Other Diseases, amfAR Says

Vox: A major AIDS research groups says the TPP will make it harder to fight AIDS
“…A new report from the prominent AIDS research group amfAR argues that [the provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement] would drive up the price of some drugs that are desperately needed in the developing world. The group says that would hamper the global fight against AIDS (and other diseases) in a way that would ultimately cost lives…” (5/11).

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WHO Needs 'Deep And Substantial' Change Following Ebola Response, Independent Panel Says

News outlets discuss a report from an independent panel on WHO’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

Associated Press: Panel calls for change at WHO after slow response to Ebola
“An independent panel of experts said Monday that ‘deep and substantial’ change is needed at the World Health Organization following its slow response to early warnings about West Africa’s Ebola outbreak…” (Larson, 5/11).

New York Times: WHO Needs Reforms in Wake of Ebola Crisis, Report Says
“… ‘This is a defining moment for the WHO,’ Barbara Stocking, the chairwoman of the six-member panel, said in Geneva at the release of the report. The study was commissioned by the United Nations to examine what went wrong in the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has resulted in more than 11,000 deaths…” (Cumming-Bruce, 5/11).

U.N. News Centre: After Ebola outbreak, expert panel urges ‘unified entity’ within U.N. health agency for emergency response
“…The panel will present its final report after visiting and consulting with the affected countries, currently set for June 2015. WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarevic told the U.N. News Centre that the agency appreciated the work done by the panel to have the report ready ahead of the World Health Assembly so that member states could assess the committee’s findings and make recommendations based on those findings…” (5/11).

VOA News: Panel of Experts Urges Better Preparation for Global Health Crises
“…[Stocking] said the panel believes the WHO should collaborate more closely with organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and use their expertise to deal with public emergencies. She said the panel of experts also recommends a global health emergency task force be established and put on standby to respond to disease outbreaks…” (Schlein, 5/11).

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U.N. Labor Agency Calls For More 'Social Protection' For Women Worldwide

U.N. News Centre: Mothers and children need more — not less — social protection, says U.N. labor agency
“Calling for greater ‘social protection’ for women as the United Nations draws up a new development agenda, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has cited alarming statics, including that some 800 women die in child birth every day, only 28 percent of employed women receive cash benefits during their maternity leave, and that child poverty is rising in 18 of 28 countries in the European Union…” (5/11).

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U.S. Universities Receive Ranking On Global Health Research

New York Times: University Grades Are Mixed on Research for the Poor
“For the second time, American universities have been ranked by how well they do global health research. This time only one — Johns Hopkins — earned a grade as high as A minus. … The rankings are only of universities that get large grants for biomedical research and reflect how much each university focuses on diseases of the poor, whether it makes any discoveries available cheaply, and whether its research is accessible by scientists in poor countries, among other factors, said Merith Basey, the executive director [of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines]…” (McNeil, 5/11).

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Nepal Experiences Second Major Earthquake In One Month; U.N., Aid Agencies Responding As Quickly As Possible Before Monsoon Season

Associated Press: Another major quake rattles Nepal, killing at least 42
“A major earthquake hit a remote mountain region of Nepal on Tuesday, killing at least 42 people, triggering landslides, and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the Himalayan nation was ravaged by its worst quake in decades…” (Sullivan et al., 5/12).

The Guardian: Nepal earthquake: dozens dead in 7.3 magnitude tremor — live updates
The newspaper provides live updates on the situation in Nepal, including images and text from social media sources and reporters (Weaver/Gayle, 5/12).

New York Times: Nepal Rattled by Powerful New Earthquake East of Capital
“…Residents of Kathmandu, the capital, reported that buildings swayed in the earthquake, which was felt as far away as New Delhi. The United States Geological Survey assigned the quake a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, with an epicenter about 50 miles east of Kathmandu, near the border with China. The April 25 earthquake registered magnitude 7.8 and was centered west of Kathmandu…” (Barry, 5/12).

U.N. News Centre: New quake hits Nepal as U.N. races to deliver aid to those affected
“A new earthquake measuring 7.3 magnitude struck Nepal [Tuesday], killing dozens of people, as emergency responders were racing against time to reach affected populations two weeks after another deadly tremor struck the country killing thousands, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said…” (5/12).

U.N. News Centre: In Nepal, U.N. and relief agencies race against time as monsoon season nears
“Two weeks after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, emergency responders are racing against time to reach affected populations in the mountainous country’s most remote regions, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has announced…” (5/11).

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Drug-Resistant Typhoid Strain Spreading Throughout Africa, Asia

News outlets report on a study published Monday in Nature Genetics showing a drug-resistant typhoid strain is widespread in Asia and Africa.

Agence France-Presse: Drug-resistant typhoid now ‘epidemic’ in Africa
“Drug-resistant typhoid has become an invisible epidemic in Africa, scientists said on Monday after an unprecedented probe into the disease…” (Le Roux, 5/11).

HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report: Antibiotic-Resistant Typhoid Spreading Across Asia, Africa
“An antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria that causes typhoid fever has spread to many countries and reached epidemic levels in Africa, a new study warns…” (Thompson, 5/11).

Nature: Hidden African typhoid epidemic traced to drug-resistant bacteria
“…To trace the source of these infections, a team led by Vanessa Wong, an infectious disease specialist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, U.K., sequenced the genomes of more than 1,800 S. Typhi samples from 63 countries. A culprit quickly emerged: an S. Typhi strain known as H58 comprised 47 percent of the researchers’ samples, and showed widespread resistance to a number of antibiotics…” (Reardon, 5/11).

Reuters: Drug-resistant ‘superbug’ strain of typhoid spreads worldwide
“An antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ strain of typhoid fever has spread globally, driven by a single family of the bacteria, called H58, according to the findings of a large international study. The research, involving some 74 scientists in almost two dozen countries, is one of the most comprehensive sets of genetic data on a human infectious agent and paints a worrying scene of an ‘ever-increasing public health threat,’ they said…” (Kelland, 5/11).

Science: Drug-resistant typhoid fever becoming an epidemic in Africa and Asia
“…According to the researchers, a clone of the bacterium that’s frequently multidrug resistant, called H58, is rolling across Asia and Africa. Its spread is likely to increase the cost of treatments and lead to more complications, they warn…” (Kupferschmidt, 5/11).

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U.N. Rights Group Deplores Paraguayan Authorities' Decision To Deny Abortion To 10-Year-Old Rape Victim

Associated Press: U.N. rights experts knock Paraguay over pregnant 10-year-old
“Paraguay’s government has failed to protect a 10-year-old rape victim who is being denied an abortion, United Nations human rights experts said on Monday…” (Servin, 5/11).

U.N. News Centre: Paraguay: U.N. experts deplore government’s failure to protect 10-yr-old rape survivor
“… ‘The Paraguayan authorities’ decision results in grave violations of the rights to life, to health, and to physical and mental integrity of the girl as well as her right to education, jeopardizing her economic and social opportunities,’ warned the four experts composing the U.N. Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice…” (5/11).

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About 92% Of Married Women In Egypt Have Undergone FGM, Health Ministry Survey Shows

International Business Times: Female Genital Mutilation In Egypt Has Affected 92 Percent Of Married Women
“Roughly 92 percent of Egyptian women who have been married have undergone female genital mutilation, according to a recent survey from the government’s Ministry of Health. The number has decreased since the last statistic released in 2000, but it is still alarmingly high considering the practice was criminalized in Egypt in 2008…” (Masi, 5/11).

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Yemen Humanitarian Pause Allows WFP Aid Operations To Resume, U.N. Relief Coordinator Says

U.N. News Centre: Yemen humanitarian pause ‘a lifeline’ for civilians trapped by fighting — top U.N. relief official
“The top United Nations relief official [Monday] welcomed the announcement of a humanitarian pause in Yemen, set to start [Tuesday], as aid operations resume in the embattled country following the arrival of two World Food Programme (WFP) cargo ships in Hudaydah over the weekend carrying fuel, food, water, and nutritional supplies…” (5/11).

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NGOs Welcome Indian Draft Law Against Leprosy Discrimination But Say Much Remains To Be Accomplished

Devex: In India, NGOs struggle to fight an ‘eliminated’ disease
“In early April, the Law Commission of India submitted a draft law to stamp out discrimination against people afflicted with leprosy. Indeed, nearly a decade after leprosy was ‘eliminated’ in the country, there remain some laws that allow being afflicted with the infectious disease as grounds for divorce, firing, and even refusing someone a train seat. … So while nongovernmental organizations in the country welcome the draft law, they remain concerned that last-mile efforts to tackle the disease are being derailed…” (Francis, 5/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Sexual, Reproductive Rights And Access To Care Central To Achieving Many Development Goals

Huffington Post: What Boko Haram Can Teach Us About the Sustainable Development Goals
Suzanne Ehlers, president of PAI

“Two hundred and fourteen of the 234 girls rescued from Boko Haram this week are pregnant. … It is easy to view the experiences of 234 girls as a shocking and isolated occurrence, but that would be a mistake. The reality is that it highlights that women’s sexual and reproductive rights are at the nexus of almost every development issue we grapple with today — from gender equity to maternal mortality to economic prosperity to, importantly in today’s conflict-ridden world, peace and security. … In a world of difficult choices, access to sexual and reproductive health is the one bet we can count on for the dignity and improvement of women’s lives and for our collective future” (5/11).

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Investments In WASH Will Help Control, Eliminate NTDs, Other Infectious Diseases

Huffington Post: Eliminating Diseases by Investing in WASH
Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…It is evident that WASH interventions have a multiplier effect and positively impact other health issues and development goals. As the window to achieve the MDGs comes to a close this year and we grow closer to confirming the goals and targets that will shape the next 15 years, we must emphasize the important synergies between WASH and the control and elimination of NTDs” (5/11).

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World Leaders Must Protect Humanitarian Aid Workers In Conflict Zones

CNN: Attacks on aid workers an attack on all
Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the U.N. and the president of the UNICEF Executive Board

“…Around the world, humanitarian aid workers have been bombed, kidnapped, and killed. Their lifesaving supplies have been confiscated and their access to those in need have been blocked. … The humanitarian community is doing all it can to reach [conflict-affected] children and their families and help them rebuild their lives, their livelihoods and, eventually, their countries. But as we saw in Somalia last month, they must often risk their lives to do so. … We must never accept a world in which humanitarian aid workers can be attacked and killed with impunity. Those with the power and the responsibility must renew that most basic principle: to protect those who protect others…” (5/11).

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Mothers Need Access To Health Information To Cut Maternal Deaths, Prevent HIV Infection

Huffington Post: A World Where Every Girl and Woman Is in Control of Her Health
Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation

“…[Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)] delivers vital health information to new and expectant mothers through their mobile phones. Every girl and woman should be in charge of her health and her future. … Most [maternal] deaths are preventable — a clear sign that we have a lot of work to do to ensure that women have the tools they need to stay healthy. One of the best steps we can take to empower women is to make sure they have access to information. … I recently had the opportunity to speak with MAMA’s executive director, Kirsten Gagnaire, about what she has learned from mothers around the world…” (5/11).

Huffington Post: Fighting for Heroic Moms This Mother’s Day
Barbara Lee, U.S. representative for California’s 13th congressional district, and Ashley Judd, actress and PSI ambassador

“…The United States government has been a leader in global health and foreign development for decades. Support from the U.S. provides mothers with the extra help they need to protect their children and changes millions of lives for the better. Perhaps no issue better illustrates this than the U.S.’s leadership on HIV and AIDS. … On this Mother’s Day, we hope to give voice to the millions of mothers struggling to protect their families from HIV and other health challenges. As we celebrate, we must renew our commitment to ending HIV by reducing the barriers that mothers face to protecting their families…” (5/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Humanosphere Blog Examines Gates Foundation's Views On SDGs

Humanosphere: Gates Foundation says it does support the U.N. development agenda
Humanosphere founder and lead journalist Tom Paulson writes, “[Mark Suzman, president of global policy, advocacy, and country programs at the Gates Foundation,] challenged the gist of our story based on last week’s Gates Foundation Global Partners Forum in which Humanosphere reported the philanthropy was rallying the troops to attack the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals — aka the SDGs, a set of some 17 goals and 169 antipoverty and pro-equity targets to achieve by the year 2030. … While Suzman acknowledged that there were plenty of critical — and, yes, even snarky — comments made at the Gates forum about the SDGs, he said it would be incorrect to interpret this as lack of support for what the U.N. agenda is aimed at accomplishing in general. The question is how best to get there, he said…” (5/11).

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Lancet Addresses Importance Of Global Birth, Death Registrations

BMJ Blogs: Richard Smith: Time for a drive to register all global births and deaths
Richard Smith, chair of the board of trustees of icddr,b and the board of Patients Know Best, and former BMJ editor, writes, “…Registration of births and deaths … allows the generation of health statistics and matters for education, human rights, justice, equality, and security. Yet civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS in the jargon) is poor in most low- and middle-income countries and sometimes weak in high-income countries, a meeting organized by the Lancet was told this week. The Lancet also published a collection of articles on the subject, a follow up to its 2007 collection…” (5/12).

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Kenya's Nurses Educate, Empower Women To Make Decisions About Reproductive Health

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Kenya’s Nurses Can Empower Women through Family Planning
Peter Abwao, communications and knowledge management officer at IntraHealth International, marks International Nurses’ Day and discusses how nurses in Kenya are being trained to help women make decisions about their reproductive health (5/12).

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