KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Faith-Based Groups Urge Obama To Clarify, Repeal Law Restricting U.S. Abortion Funding

The Guardian: Faith leaders urge Obama to axe law restricting U.S. abortion aid
“More than 30 U.S. faith-based groups are calling on Barack Obama to clarify then repeal a law that restricts aid funding for abortion services. In a letter to the president, published on Wednesday, organizations from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths urge clarification on how the Helms amendment should be interpreted…” (Ford, 5/15).

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Women Continue To Face Obstacles To Education, Development, World Bank Report Says

News outlets discuss a new World Bank report on gender and development.

Australian Associated Press/SBS: World Bank: 700 million women subject to domestic violence
“More than 700 million women worldwide are subject to physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners, many with little right to protection, the World Bank said Wednesday. … In a sweeping new report, ‘Voice and Agency,’ the bank said such violence and other systematic disadvantages and deprivations endured by women are important factors in limiting their achievement and keeping hundreds of millions locked in poverty…” (5/15).

Devex: Jeni Klugman on the World Bank’s new gender report
“…Devex spoke with Jeni Klugman, director of gender and development at the bank, to find out what the report’s findings mean for the bank and international development work around the world…” (Stephens, 5/14).

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Africa Launches Risk Pool Insurance Scheme To Address Climatic Disasters

Reuters: Africa assumes onus on disaster relief with catastrophe insurance pool
“…On May 1, Africa launched its first sovereign risk pool insurance scheme, marking a major policy shift in the way climatic events such as droughts, and from next year floods, will be tackled by the world’s poorest continent. The risk pool has the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars, officials say…” (Roelf, 5/15).

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Global Life Expectancy Grows But Gaps Remain Between High-, Low-Income Nations

News outlets continue to cover the WHO’s report on global life expectancy.

Reuters: Global life expectancy rises again, but new challenges loom
“…Big advances in the battles against infectious diseases such as measles, malaria, tuberculosis and polio have continued to extend life expectancy although other factors, such as people’s lifestyles, are constraining longevity, the WHO said in its annual statistics report…” (Miles, 5/15).

U.N. News Centre: Life expectancy rising, but U.N. report shows ‘major’ rich-poor longevity divide persists
“…Nevertheless, nearly 18,000 children worldwide died every day in 2012, according to the findings, with large inequities remaining in child mortality between high-income and low-income countries. ‘There is still a major rich-poor divide: people in high-income countries continue to have a much better chance of living longer than people in low-income countries,’ said Director-General of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan…” (5/15).

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Saudi Experts Raise Alarm Over Mecca's Preparedness Surrounding MERS

Associated Press: Saudis question Mecca preparedness as MERS spreads
“Officials in Saudi Arabia are raising alarm that the kingdom is not doing enough to prevent Mecca from becoming a route for exporting an often deadly respiratory virus as millions of Muslims from around the world converge on the city to perform pilgrimage at Islam’s holiest site…” (Batrawy, 5/15).

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U.N. Highlights Role Of Families In Achieving Development Goals

U.N. News Centre: U.N. officials highlight role of families in achieving development, advancing better world
“United Nations officials are using this year’s International Day of Families to highlight the vital role that these critical social units found in every society play in achieving globally agreed [upon] development goals and advancing a better world for all…” (5/15).

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Gates' Tweet Highlights Role Humans Play In Spread Of Malaria

The Guardian: Man v mosquito: who is the most dangerous carrier of malaria?
“This week, a tweet from Bill Gates highlighting the role humans play in spreading malaria caught our eye … To find out more we asked an expert. We asked Matthew Cairns, a Medical Research Council fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, to explain the science behind the tweet…” (Young, 5/15).

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Ugandan Efforts To Curb Schistosomiasis Face Challenges

The Lancet: Uganda’s struggle with schistosomiasis
“An effort is underway throughout Uganda to address the problem of NTDs, and particularly schistosomiasis, with community health workers going door-to-door to administer drugs. Since the program started there is a noticeable improvement in the health of the village, said a Bwondha elder, Salongo Rashid. Still, he expressed his frustration: government officials come and promise they will provide safe water, but nothing happens…” (Loewenberg, 5/17).

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Zimbabwe Threatens To Deny Food Aid To 20,000 Displaced, Says HRW

News outlets report on Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) assertion that 20,000 displaced people in Zimbabwe risk being denied food aid by the country’s government.

StarAfrica: Zimbabwe threatens to withdraw food aid to flood victims — HRW
“Human Rights Watch has accused the Zimbabwean government of threatening to deny food aid to about 20,000 people displaced by floods in an apparent move to force them into a sugar cane farm owned by ruling party ZANU PF. HRW southern Africa director Tiseke Kasambala said on Thursday that the 3,000 displaced families have been told by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to accept relocation without compensation to one-hectare plots at Nuanetsi Ranch or face denial of food assistance…” (5/15).

International Business Times: Zimbabwe Government to Deny Food Aid to 20,000 Displaced People who Refuse Forced Labor
“At least 20,000 displaced people in Zimbabwe reportedly risk being denied food aid by the government, which is trying to force them to work in a sugar cane farm…” (Iaccino, 5/15).

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Health Workers Aid In Progress Toward Maternal Health MDGs In Malawi

Al Jazeera: Lifelines: Between Life and Death
“…Until recently, Malawi had the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world for a non-conflict country. But it has achieved a dramatic turnaround towards the 2015 global MDG targets…” Al Jazeera’s “Lifelines” examines the role of health workers in maternal health (5/15).

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Measles Case Numbers Rise In Pakistan Despite Government Vaccination Program

IRIN: Is Pakistan losing the battle against measles?
“Pakistan has seen a growing number of measles cases in recent years, with more than 25,000 reported last year, including 321 deaths. … The steady rise comes despite a government measles vaccination program that has been running for more than 35 years…” (5/15).

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One Death Reported From Cholera Outbreak In South Sudan

News outlets report on a cholera outbreak in South Sudan, where one person has died of the disease.

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: One dead from cholera in war-torn South Sudan: health minister
“At least one person has died in war-torn South Sudan of highly contagious cholera with several others infected, sparking concern for the more than 1.3 million people forced from their homes, the health minster said Thursday…” (5/15).

Upper Nile Times: Cholera outbreak kills 1 in Juba, thousands in danger
“A serious cholera outbreak has killed one adult and resulted in the admission of 18 others in the city of Juba, according to reports by the ministry of health…” (5/15).

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PRI Examines C-Section Birth Rate In Brazil

PRI: In Brazil, half of all mothers have c-sections — whether they want it or not
“Cesarean sections were intended as emergency surgery to get a baby out of a woman’s womb when complications arose during vaginal childbirth. But in some parts of the world, they are almost standard practice for childbirth. Take, for example, Brazil…” (Porzucki, 5/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Public-Private Partnerships Can Boost Innovation, Affordability Of Women's Health Products

GlobalPost: Partnering to protect women from HIV
Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), and Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer and chair of Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

“…A new public-private partnership agreement announced last week between our organizations — the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), a nonprofit product developer, and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, a major research-based pharmaceutical company — could help … ensure women have the tools to protect themselves from [HIV] infection. … Partnerships like ours are powerful solutions to the challenges of developing health products for women…” (5/15).

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Women's Ability To Decide When To Have Children Impacts Families, Societies

Huffington Post: Two Simple Words: I Decide
Alexander Sanger, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council

“…When women have the power to decide if and when to have children, their families become healthier, stronger and more economically solvent. … While the battle for sexual and reproductive health and rights continues today, you can take action now to ensure that women throughout the world — from New York City to rural Bolivia — have access to the information, services and rights they need to live healthy and empowered lives” (5/15).

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Lancet Editor Argues Global Health Benefits North More Than South In CUGH Debate

The Lancet: Offline: The case against global health
Richard Horton, Lancet editor-in-chief

“Sometimes it is useful to argue deliberately and aggressively against an idea you passionately believe in. Within that argument, there may be areas of truth you would ordinarily dismiss, but which you know must be addressed directly. I am grateful to the Consortium of Universities for Global Health for commissioning the case against global health to be put in a debate last week at its annual conference in Washington, D.C. The proposition: global health investments benefit countries of the Global North more than those of the Global South…” (5/17).

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Daily Pill To Lower HIV Infection Risk Comes With Challenges But Can Help Curb Infections

New York Times: A Once-a-Day Pill to Prevent AIDS
“Federal health officials are urging hundreds of thousands of healthy people at high risk of contracting AIDS to take a pill every day to protect themselves from the virus that causes it. The recommendation could help reduce the stubbornly high number of infections, which has held steady at 50,000 new infections a year in the United States. But the pill carries risks that must be addressed as well. … The new approach, if carried out with care, could be a big step forward in curbing the toll from AIDS” (5/15).

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'Positive Social Pressure' Can Help People Adopt Healthy Behaviors

New York Times: Peer Pressure Can Be a Lifesaver
Helen Coster, journalist and editor

“When we hear that someone succumbed to peer pressure or conformed to group expectations, we are inclined to think about it in negative terms. … We know that these social forces can cause people to act in ways that are harmful to themselves and others; but every day we are discovering more ways that they can be harnessed to solve problems in health, education and other areas. This is crucial. … Positive social pressure can be applied in countless other ways — to increase rates of vaccination, get people to shift to clean cook stoves or to encourage them to educate daughters…” (5/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs Discuss Energy Investment In Africa

Blogs discuss U.S. government and private enterprise energy investment in Africa.

Humanosphere: Why the Electrify Africa Act is vital to powering Africa
Development blogger Tom Murphy writes, “The launch of the [Power Africa] program, made by Obama during his Africa tour last summer, is one of the most significant initiatives made by the administration on the continent,” and he discusses how the Electrify Africa Act could support the initiative (5/15).

Levick Energy: Five Myths About Energy Investment In Africa
Stan Byers, founder of SylvanFrontier and a former senior development officer for Afghanistan and Africa at USAID, outlines five myths surrounding energy investment in Africa and writes “now is the time” to invest (5/12).

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Experts Warn Of HIV Treatment Gaps Among Children, Adolescents Worldwide

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS among children, teenagers a ‘Hidden Epidemic’
The blog summarizes remarks made by experts at a congressional briefing held Thursday on the crisis of pediatric and adolescent HIV/AIDS care (Aziz, 5/15).

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Homophobia In Africa Is Symptom Of 'A Larger Dysfunctional State,' Says Blog

Humanosphere: Op-Ed: African governments’ exploitation of homophobia harms all of us
Anthony Natif, a pharmacist in Uganda; Toyosi Adejumo, a Nigerian physician; and Nathan Furukawa, a medical student at the University of Washington in Seattle, discuss the exploitation of homophobia in Africa and suggest that “such violations are symptoms of a larger dysfunctional state, and efforts to promote effective governance and balanced state institutions will go a long ways in protecting minority rights and modernizing their economies” (5/15).

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