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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Saudi Arabia Reports 5 New MERS Deaths; Officials On Alert, Brief Obama About Virus In U.S.

News outlets report on growing concern over the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Associated Press: Saudi Arabia reports 5 new deaths from MERS
“Saudi health authorities reported another five deaths Tuesday from a potentially fatal Middle Eastern respiratory virus that has sickened hundreds in the kingdom…” (5/13).

The Hill: Carney confirms Obama ‘has been briefed’ on MERS outbreak
“President Obama has been briefed about the outbreak of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the White House said Tuesday, one day after a Florida health worker became the second confirmed case within the United States…” (Sink, 5/13).

Reuters: Two U.S. health workers ill after MERS exposure; World Health Organization meets
“Two health workers at a Florida hospital exposed to a patient with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have begun showing flu-like symptoms, raising concerns about the ability of global health authorities to contain the mysterious and deadly virus…” (Steenhuysen/Liston, 5/14).

Reuters: Florida MERS patient sat in busy ER for hours
“The second U.S. patient to be diagnosed with the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) spent at least four hours in the public waiting room of a busy Florida emergency department before he was seen by a doctor, a hospital official said…” (Liston, 5/14).

Reuters: WHO holds emergency meeting on deadly Saudi MERS virus
“Health and infectious disease experts met at the World Health Organization on Tuesday to discuss whether a deadly virus that emerged in the Middle East in 2012 now constitutes a ‘public health emergency of international concern’…” (Kelland, 5/13).

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U.S., E.C. Renew Partnership On Antimicrobial Resistance

CIDRAP News: Transatlantic task force tackles antibiotic resistance
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the European Commission (E.C.) [Tuesday] released the first progress report of the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) and extended the U.S./E.C. partnership two additional years, HHS announced in a news release…” (5/13).

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U.N., The Guardian Back Campaign To End FGM In U.S.

The Guardian: Ban Ki-moon: FGM a ‘human rights violation’ that must end
“The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday described the practice of female genital mutilation as a ‘human rights violation’ that needed to end, on the day the Guardian threw its weight behind a campaign against the practice in the U.S. Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old American who was mutilated as a child, is leading the campaign to end FGM in the U.S. with a Change.org petition urging the Obama administration to commission a report into how many women are affected and at risk today…” (Holpuch, 5/12).

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Private Sector Could Put Profit Ahead Of Poverty Alleviation In Aid Programs, NGOs Warn

The Guardian: E.U. warned private sector engagement in aid risks putting profit before poverty
“New European Commission proposals to boost the role of business in aid programs and throw the E.U.’s weight behind the development agenda of private companies risk putting profits before the needs of the world’s poorest, groups representing hundreds of NGOs have warned…” (Jones, 5/14).

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Medical Workers Under Attack In Syria, Report Says

New York Times: Health Care Workers Under Attack in Syria, Doctors Say
“Syrian government forces in the country’s civil war have systematically attacked doctors and other medical workers in rebel-held areas and are responsible for 90 percent of the confirmed assaults on health care facilities in the country, Physicians for Human Rights, a leading advocacy group, said in a report released on Wednesday…” (Gladstone, 5/14).

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WFP Expects To Feed 6.5M Ethiopians In 2014

Reuters: U.N. expecting to feed 6.5 million Ethiopians this year
“The World Food Programme will help to feed nearly 6.5 million Ethiopians this year, the U.N. agency said on Tuesday, with the country hit by locusts, neighboring war, and sparse rainfall…” (Miles, 5/13).

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Uganda Passes Bill Criminalizing 'Willful, Intentional' HIV Transmission

VOA News: Uganda Criminalizes ‘Willful’ HIV Transmission
“Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill criminalizing the ‘willful and intentional’ transmission of HIV. … But health workers and civil society groups have spoken out against the bill, saying it will do nothing to curb Uganda’s rising infection rate. Many argue the bill will further stigmatize people who are HIV positive…” (Heuler, 5/13).

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IPPF Campaign Pushes For Inclusion Of Reproductive Rights In Development Goals

The Guardian: ‘I decide’ campaign targets support of powerbrokers on sexual rights
“A global campaign to ensure that the right of people to make decisions over their own bodies is enshrined in the next set of development goals was launched by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) on Tuesday…” (Ford, 5/13).

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Immediate Needs Overlooked In Clean Cookstove Projects, Study Says

SciDev.Net: Ignoring users’ needs ‘harms take-up of clean stoves’
“Projects to encourage a switch to clean cookstoves that cut fuel use and pollution-related deaths in developing nations often fail to meet local people’s immediate needs, according to a review study…” (Khan-Ruf, 5/13).

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Foreign Affairs Article Reviews Cholera Outbreak, Reaction In Haiti

Foreign Affairs: Haiti Strikes Back
“…In October 2013, on behalf of the thousands of cholera victims, [Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)] filed a class action lawsuit against the U.N. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Their complaint asks the court to order the U.N. to provide the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to stop cholera, compensate the victims, and issue an apology to the Haitian people. The U.S. government responded to the suit on behalf of the U.N., arguing that the complaint should be dismissed. Briefing is ongoing at the trial court level, with an appeal likely to occur no matter what decision is reached there…” (Quigley, 5/13).

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Maternal Mortality Still High In India, Study Shows

Deutsche Welle: India still grappling with maternal deaths
“…[A]bout 45,000 women … die every year during or soon after childbirth in India. … [The] story is a grim tale of death by sepsis in hospitals, which is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in the nation…” (Vaidyanathan/Narayan, 5/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. Official Calls On Russia To Put Science Ahead Of Politics, Ideology In HIV Prevention

Huffington Post: A Life of Dignity for All
Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

In a speech given on the opening day of the 4th Conference on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Kazatchkine said, “I want to take this opportunity to call on the Russian and regional medical and scientific community to engage in the open and evidence-based debate on preventing HIV/AIDS that for too long has not been a real confrontation between evidence and evidence, but an issue where science has taken a back seat to politics and ideology. … It is within our power alone to make different choices than have been made in the past, and to shape a more hopeful future…” (5/13).

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Campaign Urges Leaders To Include Reproductive Health, Rights In Development Agenda

Huffington Post: ‘I Decide’: A Campaign Calling on World Leaders to Put Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at the Heart of Global Development
Tewodros Melesse, director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation

“…We think it is time to break the cycle of poverty. We think it is time for people to decide for themselves. That’s why the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is launching our ‘I Decide’ campaign today. ‘I Decide’ includes a petition calling on world leaders to put sexual and reproductive health and rights at the heart of global development…” (5/13).

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Power Africa Initiative Should Take China's Model To Next Level

Devex: Power Africa: Taking China’s model to the next level
Rebecca Regan-Sachs, communications manager at AMGlobal Consulting, and Evan Roe, research associate at AMGlobal Consulting

“…Whether Power Africa is ultimately a floodlight or a flickering candle will come down to sustainability — creating energy not just in the power lines, but among the governments, financiers, and consumer communities that will be essential for growth. Much of this depends on moving beyond the Chinese model, creating relationships with governments and communities that fit our values and ways of doing business. With programs to improve local capacity and address community needs — as well as expanded U.S. government support — Power Africa can ensure long-term benefits for businesses, local citizens, and the continent as a whole. And that’s a truly electrifying prospect” (5/13).

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NGO Official Examines Effectiveness Of U.S. Aid In Post-Earthquake Haiti

Devex: 4 myths about U.S. aid to Haiti
Rhett Gurian, senior vice president of Chemonics International’s Haiti and West Africa Division

“Few areas of international aid have attracted as much criticism in the United States as post-earthquake Haiti. Four years since the earthquake killed thousands of people and displaced millions, no one denies that Haiti is still in need of significant development assistance — but does this mean that U.S. efforts to date have been ineffective? … Public conversations would be enriched by more insight from the Haitian and international staff who actually led our efforts…” (5/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Report Calls For Greater Focus On Adolescent Health, Particularly Mental Health

WHO: WHO calls for stronger focus on adolescent health
“WHO’s ‘Health for the world’s adolescents’ report reveals that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years. The top three causes of adolescent deaths globally are road traffic injuries, HIV/AIDS, and suicide. Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 million adolescents died in 2012…” (5/14).

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ACTION Releases Update To Its Donor Immunization Record

ACTION: Updated Donor Immunization Record Shows Impressive Accountability on Vaccines
ACTION, a global partnership of advocacy organizations, recently “released an update to its Donor Immunization Record, revealing an impressive global accountability picture on child vaccines: 14 out of 17 major donors have delivered on their commitments to the GAVI Alliance…” (April 2014).

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Blog Discusses Integrated Control Measures For NTDs

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Integrated Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control: The Early Years
Peter Hotez, co-editor-in-chief of PLOS NTDs and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues from the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Sabin Vaccine Institute discuss integrated control measures for NTDs (5/13).

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