KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate Finance Committee Approves Burwell As U.S. Health Secretary Nominee

News outlets report the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as U.S. health secretary.

Associated Press: Burwell gets committee approval for health post
“The Senate Finance Committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination to become the nation’s next health secretary and oversee implementation of the new health law…” (Werner, 5/21).

Reuters: Senate panel backs Burwell’s nomination for U.S. health secretary
“The Senate Finance Committee easily approved the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as U.S. health secretary on Wednesday, sending her candidacy to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote…” (Morgan, 5/21).

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World Health Assembly, Side Events Address Smallpox Stocks, Access To Medicines

Media outlets report on the ongoing World Health Assembly meeting and associated side events.

Intellectual Property Watch: BRICS Ministers Join Forces For Access To Medicines
“At a side event to the opening of the 2014 World Health Assembly, strong statements were made by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) country ministers and representatives to assume leadership and cooperate to tackle the issue of inaccessibility to affordable medicines in theirs and developing countries…” (Fraser, 5/20).

Wall Street Journal: WHO to Discuss Destruction of Smallpox Stocks
“The World Health Organization’s decision-making body is meeting this week to debate pressing health matters from the growing threat of drug resistance to saving newborns…” (McKay, 5/21).

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Canadian Government Makes Announcements On Maternal, Child Health Ahead Of Summit

Canadian Press/GlobalPost: Canada focused on maternal, child health ahead of summit in Toronto
“A week before an international conference on maternal and child health care opens in Toronto, the Harper government is rolling out announcements on what it sees as its signature issue on the world stage…” (5/21).

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Forum Launches SDG Tool; U.N. Official Stresses Cooperation On Goals' Formation

News outlets report on progress to shape the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

SciDev.Net: Tool built to help pick Sustainable Development Goals
“A tool designed to help policymakers choose the best Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals when they expire next year has been launched by an international organization that promotes global sustainable development…” (Mundy, 5/21).

Xinhua/GlobalPost: U.N. officials trumpet importance of cooperation to sustainable development
“Senior U.N. officials on Wednesday highlighted the importance of various forms of cooperation to shape universal Sustainable Development Goals, which will be at the core of the future development agenda…” (5/21).

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Displaced Persons In Western Myanmar Face Disease Risks, U.N. Warns

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. warns of disease risk in western Myanmar displacement camps
“Deteriorating living conditions and a looming rainy season are increasing the risk of waterborne diseases in the sprawling, squalid displacement camps in western Myanmar where tens of thousands of people live, the United Nations warned on Tuesday…” (Win, 5/21).

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Food Aid Shipments Arrive In Syria's Aleppo; Government Calls For Help To Rebuild Health System

News outlets report on food aid shipments to Syria’s Aleppo province and calls from the government for the international community to assist in rebuilding the country’s wrecked health care system.

BBC News: Syria crisis: Red Cross delivers food aid to Aleppo
“The Syrian province of Aleppo is getting its first food aid for months, with rations delivered to 60,000 people in rebel- and government-held areas…” (5/21).

Reuters: Food distribution under way for 60,000 in Syria’s Aleppo — Red Cross
“The Red Cross said on Wednesday it begun a major distribution of emergency rations on both sides of the battle lines around the divided northern Syrian city of Aleppo, its first since October…” (Nebehay, 5/21).

Reuters: Syria calls for help rebuilding health system wrecked by “terrorists”
“Syria’s government begged the world for help on Wednesday to rebuild a health care system it said had been destroyed by ‘terrorists,’ despite reports by U.N. officials that Syrian government forces were largely to blame for the damage…” (Miles, 5/21).

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Calls Continue For Russia To Better Address HIV Prevention, Treatment

Inter Press Service: Russia: Critics Continue To Attack ‘Hypocrisy’ Over HIV/AIDS
“International bodies and local campaign groups have repeatedly criticized Russia for not doing anywhere near enough in terms of providing prevention services or access to medical treatment for HIV/AIDS sufferers. The fourth Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) HIV/AIDS Conference, which finished in Moscow last week, has not put a stop to that criticism…” (Stracansky, 5/21).

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U.N. Launches Guidance On Attacks Against Schools, Hospitals

U.N. News Centre: ‘Act to Protect’: U.N. launches guide on attacks against schools, hospitals
“Every child has a right to education and health, the United Nations [Wednesday] said launching a guidance note to assist the people monitoring, reporting, and working to prevent attacks against schools and hospitals…” (5/21).

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Experts Criticize Saudi Arabia's Lack Of Cooperation On MERS

Reuters: Special Report: Saudi Arabia takes heat for spread of MERS virus
“…Experts say [MERS] infections and deaths could have been stopped well within the two years since MERS first emerged — and would have been if Saudi authorities had been more open to outside help offered by specialist teams around the world with the technology, know-how, and will to conduct vital scientific studies…” (Kelland, 5/21).

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Mosquito-Borne Disease Continues To Spread In Caribbean

Associated Press: Painful and rapid spread of new virus in Caribbean
“…Hospitals and clinics throughout the Caribbean are seeing thousands of people with the same symptoms, victims of a virus with a long and unfamiliar name that has been spread rapidly by mosquitoes across the islands after the first locally transmitted case was confirmed in December…” (Lopez, 5/22).

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Health Officials Warn Of Disease Threats As Flood Waters Recede In Balkans

New York Times: Worries Turn to Disease as Waters Recede in Balkans
“…Contaminated water has covered homes, towns and fields, turning much of Serbia’s most fertile agricultural region into a poisonous stew of toxic chemicals, rotting carcasses, and disease-carrying insects. So far, there have been no epidemic outbreaks, the health minister said, but that will almost certainly change — intestinal ailments, respiratory infections, skin diseases, hepatitis, perhaps worse…” (Lyman, 5/21).

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Smartphones Help Groups Deliver Aid In Solomon Islands, But Efforts Face Funding Shortfalls

Australian Associated Press/Daily Mail: Smartphones game changer in flood relief
“Smartphones have been a game changer for an aid group delivering disaster assistance to flood victims in the Solomon Islands. But a shortfall in donations might soon stymie recovery efforts…” (5/19).

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U.S. Sends Troops To Help Search For Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls

New York Times: U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Aid Hunt for Nigerian Schoolgirls
“The United States has sent 80 troops to Chad in Central Africa to support a growing international effort in neighboring Nigeria to help find and rescue the schoolgirls who were abducted by an Islamist extremist group last month, the White House said on Wednesday…” (Schmitt, 5/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Business Community Support Critical To Global Health Security Agenda

Huffington Post: Global Health Security Is Vital to Our Citizens, Businesses and Economy
Betty King, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva

“…Recently, the U.S. government put forward a global health security agenda through a multiagency effort that includes the departments of State, Defense, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … As part of this work, I believe the U.S. government must encourage all nations to be transparent about their own assessments of preparedness to inform the international community — including businesses with investments worldwide. U.S. government commitment and support to a global health security agenda is vital, but the support of the U.S. business community is crucial to its success” (5/21).

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Polio Resurgence Poses Larger Threat Than Emerging MERS Virus

Los Angeles Times: Worried about MERS? Worry about polio instead.
Wendy Orent, author

“…[I]f Americans who oppose vaccination — believing, apparently, that the risk of [polio] is preferable to exposing their children to a dead virus and a needle prick — gain strength, this specialist in human misery could come creeping back into the United States. And that is a risk far worse than a few cases of MERS. We need to get our priorities straight, as the WHO apparently has done. The threat isn’t MERS, a camel or bat disease that sometimes infects humans. It is instead the real possibility that a truly deadly human disease could regain a strong foothold in the world” (5/21).

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Global Community Must Address Stillbirths In Development Goals

The Guardian: Time to target the shocking neglect of stillbirths
Sarah Boseley, health editor at The Guardian

“…Every year 2.6 million babies are stillborn. But, says [Joy Lawn, professor of maternal, reproductive and child health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine], these babies, whose loss is a tragedy for their parents, are forgotten by everybody else. And it does not look as though they will be remembered in the post-2015 global targets that will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals…” (5/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Uganda's New HIV Law 'Is A Major Step Backward'

International Center for Research on Women: New HIV Law in Uganda Will Harm Women, Children, and Families
Anne Stangl, a senior behavioral scientist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), discusses a new law in Uganda that “criminalizes the transmission of HIV, makes it legal for doctors to disclose their patients’ HIV status to partners and families without consent, and, last but not least, calls for mandatory testing for pregnant women and their partners. This new law is a major step backward for a country that, for 30 years, has been a leader in tackling HIV head on…” (5/21).

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Briefings Address Impact Of Global Fund's New Funding Model On Malaria Initiatives

The UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative released two briefings (.pdf) on the impact of the Global Fund’s new funding model (NFM) on malaria initiatives.

UCSF Global Health Group: The Impact of the Global Fund’s New Funding Model on the 34 Malaria-Eliminating Countries
“In an effort to understand the impact of the Global Fund’s NFM on the 34 malaria-eliminating countries … the UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative analyzed the change in available funding, if any, for each of the countries” (May 2014).

UCSF Global Health Group: The Impact of the Global Fund’s New Funding Model on Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network Countries
“In an effort to understand the impact of the Global Fund’s NFM on the 15 Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) countries, the UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative analyzed the change in available funding, if any, for each of the countries” (May 2014).

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New Issue Of 'Global Health: Science And Practice' Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice Journal: May 2014
The new issue of the “Global Health: Science and Practice Journal” focuses on maternal and child health (May 2014).

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