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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Number Of Hungry People Worldwide Drops More Than 200M Since Early 1990s, U.N. Report Shows

News outlets highlight findings from the U.N.’s annual report on hunger, titled “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.”

Associated Press: U.N.: Fewer hungry people in the world despite wars, poverty
“The number of hungry people around the world has dropped to 795 million from over a billion a quarter-century ago despite natural disasters, ongoing conflicts, and poverty, the three U.N. food agencies said Wednesday…” (5/27).

Deutsche Welle: Fewer hungry people worldwide, says U.N. report
“The report, issued by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that there are now 795 million people worldwide suffering from hunger, 216 million fewer than at the beginning of the 1990s…” (5/27).

Financial Times: World’s hungry falls by fifth in 25 years
“…According to Wednesday’s hunger report, in developing regions, the prevalence of undernourishment — which measures the proportion of people unable to consume enough food for an active and healthy life — has almost halved to 12.9 percent of the population, down from 23.3 percent in 1990-92…” (Terazono, 5/27).

New York Times: U.N. Reports About 200 Million Fewer Hungry People Than in 1990
“…[The report] said that 72 of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization had achieved the target under the so-called Millennium Development Goals of halving the percentages of hungry people in their populations and that developing regions had missed the target by only a small margin…” (Gladstone, 5/27).

Reuters: Number of hungry people worldwide drops below 800 million: U.N.
“…South Asia faces the highest burden of hunger, where as many as 281 million people lack sufficient food, U.N. agencies said. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger, with more than 23 percent of the population not getting enough to eat, the report said…” (Arsenault, 5/27).

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World Health Assembly Concludes In Geneva, Approves 'Landmark' Reforms, Director-General Chan Says

News outlets report on the conclusion of the 68th session of the World Health Assembly.

Agence France-Presse: WHO shake-up approved after Ebola debacle
“The World Health Organization got the go-ahead Tuesday for a sweeping shake-up, including a $100-million war chest to battle future emergencies following the Ebola fiasco. Delegates from 180 countries at the annual World Health Assembly, which ended Tuesday, approved plans for a contingency fund to tackle future emergencies, which will be reviewed after two years…” (5/26).

CIDRAP News: WHA wraps up with resolutions on emergency response reforms, antimicrobial resistance
“…The group opened its 68th session on May 18, with several items on the agenda to revamp the way the World Health Organization (WHO) responds to global health catastrophes, such as Ebola in West Africa. More than 3,000 delegates, including a large number of the world’s health ministers, from 194 WHO member states took part in the meeting…” (Schnirring, 5/26).

NPR: As Antibiotic Resistance Spreads, WHO Plans Strategy To Fight It
“…At the WHO’s annual meeting in Geneva this week, representatives from 194 countries approved a new global plan to counter antimicrobial resistance…” (Beaubien, 5/27).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency governing body ends session agreeing ‘landmark’ reforms on emergency response
“…WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan noted that the agency’s governing board had passed several ‘landmark resolutions and decisions’ including three new resolutions passed [Tuesday]: one on air pollution, one on epilepsy, one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-state actors…” (5/26).

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Additional Funding Needed To Reach Zero Ebola Cases In West Africa, WHO Official Says

Reuters: Ebola set to persist in 2015, but funds for aid are lacking: WHO
“The Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone is expected to take all of 2015 to stamp out and may persist even longer because of dwindling financing, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 5/26).

VOA News: Money Shortage Threatens Ebola Battle, WHO Says
“…[Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general for emergencies,] said many challenges lie ahead, including the rainy season, during which it will be extremely difficult to move people and supplies around, fly helicopters to remote areas, and ensure water is not leaking into treatment centers. … Another, perhaps bigger challenge, Aylward said, is lack of money…” (Schlein, 5/26).

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Cholera Outbreak In Tanzania's Burundian Refugee Camp Improving, But Transmission Risk Remains High, U.N. Says

The Guardian: Cholera biggest threat as Burundi refugees crowd into Tanzania camps
“…A cholera outbreak in the holding camp where the refugees are cleared for entry into Tanzania has claimed 31 lives. The World Health Organization said this week that the situation appears to be improving, but the risk of transmission remains high. Aid agencies warn that far more help is needed to avert a bigger catastrophe…” (Mutiga, 5/27).

U.N. News Centre: Tanzania cholera epidemic improving but ‘significant challenges’ still remain — U.N.
“United Nations-backed containment measures aimed at stemming the deadly cholera epidemic in western Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika region appear to be working, the organization’s refugee agency (UNHCR) announced [Tuesday] amid a tapering off in the number of reported deaths among both Burundian refugees and locals…” (5/26).

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U.N. Aims To Reach Almost 5.7M Iraqi Children In Polio Vaccination Campaign

U.N. News Centre: U.N. launches mass polio vaccination campaign set to target nearly 5.7 million Iraqi children
“Aiming to target 5.7 million children under the age of five, the United Nations [Tuesday] launched a mass polio vaccination campaign in Iraq, which is set to be conducted in all governorates to maintain the country’s polio-free status…” (5/26).

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Community Health Workers Helping To Improve Maternal Care In Nigeria

NPR: New Mothers Get A New Kind Of Care In Rural Nigeria
“How do you help a country struggling to provide quality health care, particularly to its rural citizens? More doctors would be great. New and better clinics would help. But in some places, community health workers are an important part of the solution. … And they’ve become a boon in Nigeria, which has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal death — 576 per 100,000 live births in 2013…” (Sohn, 5/26).

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Southern African Drought Set To Hit Zimbabwe Hardest, U.N. Says

Reuters: Zimbabweans go hungry as drought hammers southern Africa
“…The drought is likely to damage harvests across southern Africa — from southern Angola to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia, the World Food Programme (WFP) says. The impact is looking particularly serious for Zimbabwe, where the economy has been struggling for five years to recover from a catastrophic recession that was marked by billion percent hyperinflation and widespread food shortages…” (Dzirutwe, 5/26).

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Increased Condom Distribution Accompanies Declining HIV Incidence In Zimbabwe, Officials Say

Agence France-Presse: Zimbabweans get 100 million condoms in HIV battle
“More than 100 million condoms were distributed in Zimbabwe last year, a huge increase on previous years, indicating that more people were practicing safe sex in the battle against HIV, authorities said Tuesday. According to the National AIDS Council, HIV rates in Zimbabwe have declined by 30 percent since 2009…” (5/26).

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International Business Times Explores Chagas Disease Prevalence, Treatment In U.S.

International Business Times: Chagas Disease: How A Silent Tropical Parasite Prospers In The U.S.
“…Last week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is also serving as current president of the G7 nations, pledged a renewed focus on fighting a handful of debilitating diseases that afflict the world’s poorest people, including Chagas. Yet it is because of this status, as a scourge of developing nations, that the most basic aspects of treatment — a proper diagnosis and timely intervention — are still sorely lacking for those with Chagas in the U.S. …” (Whitman/Nordrum, 5/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

For True Reform, WHO Must Address Relationship With Regional Entities, Budget Size, Flexibility

Washington Post: Why proposed WHO reforms aren’t enough to deal with the next epidemic
Jeremy Youde, associate professor of political science and department head at the University of Minnesota Duluth

“…These reforms [approved this week by the World Health Assembly] may change how WHO operates, but they are not the sorts of reforms that will fundamentally alter its operations or address its most striking shortcomings: WHO’s relationship with regional health organizations, and the size and flexibility of its budget. … The World Health Organization finds itself at a crossroads. It failed in its biggest test of marshaling an international response to an infectious disease outbreak, and it acknowledges the need to change. The international community also recognizes the need for WHO to exist and its unique role. To make sure that WHO is ready and able to address future challenges, this year’s World Health Assembly must begin a much more far-reaching process of reform” (5/26).

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Food For Peace Acts As 'Stabilizing Force' In Conflict-Ridden Middle East

The Hill: In response to Mideast wars, increase Food for Peace
William Lambers, author and blogger

“…There is no doubt Congress and President Obama should increase funding for Food for Peace in the upcoming FY16 budget. In a world where there is plenty of chaos, Food for Peace is one of the few stabilizing forces we have. Any hopes of building peace in the Middle East will depend, in part, on feeding the hungry. … But lack of funding is a major threat to this relief operation. We need to step up our support of food aid…” (5/26).

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Link Between Gender-Based Violence, Ebola Transmission Must Be Recognized

Huffington Post: Ebola: The Overlooked Sexually Transmitted Disease
Mardia Stone, senior adviser to Liberia’s Ebola Response and to the Division of Global Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Lynn Lawry of Overseas Strategic Consulting Ltd.

“…Affected governments, the United Nations, and WHO have yet to recognize gender-based violence and its impending role in [Ebola virus disease (EVD)] transmission. … With women being more affected by violent acts and sexual assault, the world and blooming Ebola experts must understand the potential role gender-based violence plays in this epidemic, especially now, with the raining season spanning from May to October. Being forced to stay in close quarters due to torrential rains, boredom, and frustration may provoke sexual assaults on women. Coupled with EVD, sexual violence impacting women will pay a recurring role in this and future epidemics. The link must be made between gender-based violence, women’s lack of empowerment, and Ebola…” (5/26).

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Improving Health Of Women, Children, Adolescents Requires Collective Action From International Community

Devex: Invest in Every Woman Every Child to save a generation within a generation
Amina J. Mohammed, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning

“…As we are currently defining a bold new development agenda that will firmly set the world on a path toward inclusive, sustainable development, the health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents must be at the center. … The updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and the Every Woman Every Child movement that supports it, will be the guiding platform for galvanizing action to deliver on the sustainable development goals, driven by country ownership and leadership. By investing in women, children, and adolescents today, and over the next 15 years, we can save a generation, within a generation — while benefiting many more to come. … We must have renewed political commitment and robust leadership, which must be backed up with concrete action and financing at all levels and from all stakeholders, working in partnership…” (5/26).

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Communicating Global Development Goals Effectively Will Help End Extreme Poverty

Huffington Post: A Call to Action: Transform the Way We Communicate Global Development
Nicole Schiegg, senior vice president at Fenton

“…The next set of global goals and the updated [Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health (Global Strategy)] are two important agendas that require the highest levels of political will for their adoption, and more importantly their implementation. That’s why I am pleased to be part of the campaigns #GlobalGoalsWork and #EWECisME. … We need new ways of communicating the investment case to unpack a complex development agenda. Working together, I am confident we will be able to end extreme poverty. And when we do, it will be the greatest accomplishment of our generation, within a generation” (5/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

GHTC Blog Post Discusses U.S., European Efforts To Address Drug Resistance, Speed Treatment Approvals

Global Health Technology Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: U.S. and European efforts to address growing antimicrobial resistance and legislation to advance medical breakthroughs
Kat Kelley, GHTC’s senior program assistant, discusses efforts made by the U.S. and European Parliament to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance, as well as “a bill intended to support research for and expedite the approval of medical breakthroughs” (5/26).

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Panelists At Recent Symposium Discuss Midwifery Success Stories, Challenges

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: How Midwives Can Answer the World’s Maternal Health Woes
Linnea Bennett and Theo Wilson, interns with the Environmental Change and Security Program, discuss a recent “day-long symposium at the Wilson Center [held] in cooperation with UNFPA, the Swedish government, Midwives4All, and the Maternal Health Task Force. Some of the day’s more than a dozen panelists shared midwifery successes in their own countries, while others discussed international initiatives to improve the number and quality of midwives…” (5/26).

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Xpert TB Test More Effective Than Traditional Detection Methods, Study Shows

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Large-scale study underscores value of routine Xpert testing on TB, MDR-TB case finding
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the findings of a recently published study conducted in India showing the Xpert molecular TB test is more effective than traditional microscopic testing at detecting the bacteria and determining whether the strain is drug resistant (5/26).

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