KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

2nd MERS Case Identified In U.S.; Patient Is Health Care Provider Who Worked In Saudi Arabia

News outlets report on a second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) identified in the U.S.

ABC News: Second U.S. MERS Case Found in Florida
“A second U.S. case of the deadly MERS virus has been found in Orlando, Florida, health officials confirmed [Monday]…” (Moisse/Lupkin, 5/12).

Agence France-Presse: U.S. reports second case of MERS virus
“…The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health are investigating the ‘imported’ case and will release details during a press conference…” (5/12).

CNN: Second U.S. case of MERS confirmed
“…The first U.S. case was reported this month in Indiana. That patient was released from a hospital Friday into home isolation, according to state health officials…” (Hayes, 5/12).

CQ HealthBeat: CDC Officials Report Second U.S. Case of MERS
“A traveler from Saudi Arabia who took four different flights en route to Orlando, Florida, was named Monday as the second patient in the U.S. to contract a relatively new virus that kills many of the people it infects…” (Reichard, 5/12).

HealthDay News: 2nd MERS Case Identified in U.S.
“…Like the first U.S. case identified earlier this month, the second case involved a health care provider who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of the MERS outbreak…” (Reinberg/Thompson, 5/12).

New York Times: Second U.S. Case of MERS Virus Is Confirmed
“…As of Monday, 538 confirmed cases had been reported to the World Health Organization; 145 have been fatal…” (McNeil, 5/12).

Reuters: U.S., Florida officials confirm second case of MERS
“…Although the MERS virus has been shown to transmit from person to person and to health care workers, it is not easily transmissible to the general public…” (Steenhuysen, 5/12).

Reuters: U.K. health authorities say second U.S. MERS case flew via London
“British health authorities said on Monday they had found a second case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in a person transiting through London, who flew from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the United States on May 1…” (Kelland, 5/12).

USA Today: Second U.S. case of deadly MERS virus found in Orlando
“…All the passengers on the U.S. legs of the patient’s journey are being notified today to look for possible symptoms of the virus, though the risk of transmission is considered very slight…” (Weintraub/Stanglin, 5/12).

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3.3M Alcohol-Related Deaths Annually, WHO Report Notes, Urges Greater Action

News outlets discuss a new WHO report on global alcohol consumption and the health impacts.

Agence France-Presse: Alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds worldwide: WHO
“Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organization said Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise…” (Larson, 5/12).

CBS News: Alcohol deaths on the rise worldwide
“Approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012 were the result of alcohol consumption, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Additionally, 16 percent of people in the world who use alcohol could be categorized as binge drinkers…” (Firger, 5/12).

Reuters: WHO wants action as alcohol kills 3.3 million people in 2012
“…’More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,’ said Oleg Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health…” (Kelland, 5/12).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency urges greater national action to curb alcohol-related deaths, diseases
“…The ‘Global status report on alcohol and health 2014’ found that alcohol consumption increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases including liver cirrhosis and some cancers, as well as making people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia…” (5/12).

United Press International: Alcohol-related deaths on the rise, says World Health Organization
“…The report, which examined trends in 194 WHO member countries, noted Europe has the world’s highest per capita consumption rate of alcohol, although the rate has remained stable in the past five years. Drinking increased in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions in that time…” (Adamczyk, 5/12).

VOA News: WHO: ‘Binge-Drinking’ Most Harmful to Health
“…The report warns drinking is increasing among women and this is of concern as they are more vulnerable to some alcohol-related health conditions than men…” (Schlein, 5/12).

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Devex Interviews U.N. Official About Effective Investments In Global Health

Devex: ‘Analytical approach’ needed to rethink investment in global health
Devex interviews Mark Grabowsky, chief operating officer at the Office of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria, about the course of global health investments, among other things (Santamaria, 5/12).

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South Sudan On Course Toward 'Hunger Catastrophe,' Aid Agencies Warn

The Guardian: South Sudan food security crisis could spiral into famine, agencies warn
“The conflict in South Sudan has set the country on course towards a ‘hunger catastrophe,’ with almost four million people already in dire need of food and humanitarian assistance, and aid agencies warning of a possible famine later this year if urgent supplies do not get through…” (Jones, 5/12).

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Agencies Continue To Face Challenges Delivering Aid In Syria

Reuters features two articles examining humanitarian assistance in Syria.

Reuters: Aid workers question effectiveness of U.N. Syria aid
“Seven weeks after U.N. aid trucks crossed from Turkey into Syria for the first time, aid workers and officials in this southern Turkish humanitarian hub still have no idea exactly where the supplies ended up…” (Afanasieva, 5/13).

Reuters: U.N. official asks if 1 million Syrians must die before world acts
“A top U.N. aid official, frustrated by obstacles to humanitarian aid in Syria, asked on Friday if a million people needed to be killed and neighboring states collapse before the world would take action to stop the conflict…” (Miles, 5/9).

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Family Planning Should Be Included In Emergency Response, Save the Children CEO Says

Devex: Why family planning should be part of emergency response
“As more countries descend into fragility and conflict, and natural disasters grow in scale, aid groups are increasingly underlining the importance of including family planning services in emergency response…” Devex interviews Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles about including reproductive health services in emergency response (Ravelo, 5/12).

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Researchers Search For Ways To Combat Dengue Fever

Deutsche Welle: Fighting Dengue Fever
“An infectious and often fatal disease is spreading — dengue fever. It is caused by a virus transmitted by certain species of mosquito. So far there is no effective vaccine against the disease. Researchers at the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg are looking for ways of identifying and combating the pathogen-carrying mosquito species…” (5/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO's Declaration Of Polio Emergency Should Be Call To Action

Two opinion pieces address the WHO’s recent declaration of polio as a global public health emergency.

Huffington Post: Polio Emergency Signals Risk But Also Resolve
John Lange, senior fellow for global health diplomacy at the United Nations Foundation

“…Taking into account both the progress we’ve made and the very serious challenges that have arisen in recent months, I believe this polio emergency clearly signals two things: 1) The gains we make in the fight against polio will remain fragile until we finish the job and eradicate the disease. … 2) The world is collectively committed to ending polio. … Without a concerted and coordinated global effort, we could lose some of the precious ground that we’ve gained against the disease over the past several years…” (5/12).

New York Times: Eradicating Polio
Nancy Aossey, president and chief executive of the International Medical Corps, and William Garvelink, the corps’ senior adviser for global strategy

“…The best hope for stemming the reversal of fortunes in the global fight to eradicate polio requires the leadership and cooperation of critical regional organizations working together with local and international NGOs, like the International Medical Corps, in the affected countries. Why? Because in the eyes of some countries where polio still persists, the United Nations and Western donors are not welcome. … The African Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should be given the world’s support” (5/12).

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U.S. Investments 'Powerful' For Ending AIDS Worldwide

Houston Chronicle: Gayle: Progress continues in fight against AIDS
Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE and a board member of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…The U.S. response [to HIV/AIDS], though tragically slow, did eventually turn a corner, with profound results both here and around the world. … [T]his progress is a poignant reminder of how powerful U.S. investments in the fight against the disease can be and have been. Defeating AIDS is truly within our sights. … Let’s seize this unprecedented opportunity and finish the fight against AIDS the world over” (5/12).

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Electrification Can Help Curb Deaths From Indoor Air Pollution

Forbes: The World’s Biggest Environmental Killer: Indoor Air Pollution
Bjorn Lomborg, director of Copenhagen Consensus Center and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School

“Political heavyweights such as Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon name climate change the ‘defining issue of our times’ and ‘perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.’ Yet, the biggest environmental killer we face is actually indoor air pollution. … Electrification has ended the scourge of indoor air pollution in the rich world, saving millions of lives. In the West, we take our supply of reliable electricity for granted. At the same time, we put our climate concerns before giving access to modern energy to those who desperately need it and die from indoor air pollution. It’s about time we get our priorities right” (5/12).

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Government R&D Funding Invaluable To Finding Disease Cures

Washington Post: Eradication of hepatitis C on the horizon
Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post columnist

“It’s an easy and reliable applause line for budget cutters to find some basic medical research and complain that it’s a complete waste of money, especially if those dollars are put up by taxpayers, as they often are. … One exception I recently read is an article by two physicians, Raymond T. Chung and Thomas F. Baumert, with the lofty title: ‘Curing Chronic Hepatitis C — The Arc of a Medical Triumph.’ Their analysis in an April issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows exactly how valuable such research and a cooperative government can be. … The result, Chung and Baumert say, is that ‘it may now be possible to imagine the global eradication of [hepatitis C]’ if issues of cost, early detection and re-infection can be overcome — a potential landmark in public health progress, brought about by the system created to accomplish just that” (5/12).

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IPPF Campaign Urges Public Support For Access To Reproductive Health Services

EurActiv: Why sexual and reproductive rights can’t be taken for granted
Michael Cashman, Labour member of the European Parliament

“…The organizers of ‘One Of Us’ argue that they believe in human dignity. But they are calling for the E.U. to halt all funding to NGOs which provide maternal health services, on occasion including abortion information and services, in the developing world. … A strange interpretation indeed of standing up for human dignity in a world where almost 800 women are still dying every day during pregnancy and childbirth! … [The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF)] ‘I Decide’ campaign aims to mobilize public support for the message that people should have the right to decide — who they live with; what happens to their bodies; if, when and how many children they have; and what kind of future they want. I unreservedly endorse this campaign…” (5/12).

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International Community Must Intervene To Prevent 'Full-On Genocide' In Myanmar

Foreign Policy: Preventing the Next Genocide
Sir Geoffrey Nice, professor of law at Gresham College, London, and Francis Wade, independent journalist and analyst, and consultant with the International State Crime Initiative

“In conflicts that have potential to produce the worst of human atrocities, states and international actors must take action to identify the precursors of mass killing and stop it from ever happening. That’s precisely what is needed now in western Burma, where the Rohingya minority faces attacks so violent that state crime experts fear a full-on genocide is in the making. … All Burma’s politicians must put electioneering aside to finally address the criminal killing of a significant section of Burma’s population. To do nothing — to fail to join hands on this issue and remedy those minds that are already turning to violence — would be to risk complicity in the world’s worst crime” (5/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Highlights Importance Of Electrify Africa Act

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Three Reasons House Passage of the Electrify Africa Act Is Big News
Erin Collinson, a policy outreach associate at CGD, outlines three reasons why the House of Representatives’ passage of the Electrify Africa Act (HR 2548) — a bill aimed at improving access to reliable, affordable energy across sub-Saharan Africa — is important (5/12).

Additional information on the Electrify Africa Act is available online from the Kaiser Family Foundation (5/13).

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Blog Post Discusses Importance Of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Humanosphere: Let’s expand our global humanitarian efforts rather than ‘pull back’ from world stage
Bill Clapp, founder and chair of Global Washington and co-founder of the Seattle International Foundation, discusses the importance of U.S. foreign assistance in a guest piece for the blog (5/12).

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New Drugs Approved To Treat TB; Access To Treatment Still Uncertain

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: TB drug approvals, distribution deal inches options forward, but MDR-TB treatment access still uncertain where needed most
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses recent TB drug approvals and potential challenges to accessing these drugs (5/12).

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