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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Women Deliver Conference Opens In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Women Deliver 2013 conference opened on Tuesday in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, with “[o]rganizers call[ing] it the largest global meeting of the decade on the health and well-being of women and girls,” VOA News reports (De Capua, 5/27). “Civil society, government leaders, health care professionals, policymakers, two former U.S. presidents’ daughters, two princesses and at least one supermodel will meet … to share ideas and sharpen messages around the rights and empowerment of women and girls to influence the future development agenda,” The Guardian writes, adding that the three-day event “will cover a wide spectrum, from preventing early or forced marriage, and sex education for young people to family planning, abortion and universal health care.” The newspaper continues, “Events such as Women Deliver are important because global progress on reducing maternal deaths and improving access to health care and family planning is uneven, says [Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield]” (Ford, 5/27). A live stream of some sessions of the conference is available online (5/28).

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WHA Ends With Multiple Resolutions, WHO DG Stressing Caution On Emerging Disease

“After seven days of intense discussions, the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] concluded with agreement on a range of new public health measures and recommendations aimed at securing greater health benefits for all people, everywhere,” RTT News reports. The WHO governing body approved 24 resolutions and five decisions, including “a budget for the next two years, and a high-level vision for the next six years,” the news service notes (5/28). “Addressing participants at the closing ceremony, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan … sounded an alarm on a new threat that she warned requires urgent international attention,” a WHO press release states, noting she was speaking of the novel coronavirus, or MERS, outbreak in Saudi Arabia that has spread to other countries in the region and Europe. Chan said, “The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. The novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world,” according to the press release. The press release also describes the key outputs of the WHA (5/27). Intellectual Property Watch published several articles on discussions and outcomes at the meeting (5/28).

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African Union Summit Attendees Address Health Issues

Heads of State attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday, the final day of the meeting, made “a commitment … to increase efforts to improve the continent’s health indicators,” Prensa Latina reports. “The 13 Heads of State, along with another 50 leading figures from world organizations analyzed the level of implementation of the so-called Road Map on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity to respond to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in Africa, adopted last July,” the news service writes (5/27). “I celebrate your progress — and I share your resolve to do even more. … I urge you to continue investing in an AIDS-free Africa. This will improve the health, empowerment and human rights of your citizens,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the summit, according to a UNAIDS press release. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said, “We have a moment of historic greatness, and if we all work together with a sense of shared responsibility and coordinated action, we will defeat these diseases,” the press release states (5/26). The Heads of State also endorsed “the first-ever accountability report [.pdf] focused on health issues by the African Union (AU), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and [UNAIDS],” a second UNAIDS press release notes (5/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces, Blog Posts Address PEPFAR's 10-Year Anniversary

On May 27, PEPFAR marked its 10-year anniversary. The following summaries of opinion pieces and blog posts address the milestone.

  • Eric Goosby, Anthony Fauci, Huffington Post “The Big Push”: Saying that when PEPFAR was created in 2003, “the world was witnessing first-hand the destruction of an entire generation of individuals,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Goosby, who also serves as head of the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Health Diplomacy, and Fauci, head of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, write, “[T]he situation has changed dramatically.” They outline successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including better access to care and treatment, a reduction in mortality rates, and “the development and implementation of a combination prevention program,” which they say is a “key driver of this progress.” They continue, “While PEPFAR is certainly the largest and most successful foreign health assistance program in history, it is clear that the United States cannot be alone in this endeavor,” and they highlight the efforts of other multilateral programs, the private sector, civil society and countries. “PEPFAR represents the very best of America — the extraordinary generosity and compassion of the American people. Through PEPFAR, we are helping to deliver a better future to millions around the globe,” they conclude (5/27).
  • Erin Hohlfelder, ONE blog: Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy director for global health, outlines “10 things you should know about this incredible program,” PEPFAR. She includes the program’s “proud bipartisan legacy”; “incredible results”; emphasis on partnerships; and ability to evolve with science progress. She notes the program “still has some improvements to make” and it “requires more funding.” Hohlfelder concludes, “PEPFAR has demonstrated some of the best of what America can offer to the rest of the world and what leadership from recipient countries can achieve for their own citizens” (5/24).
  • Janine Kossen, RH Reality Check: Recent scientific advances, “coupled with the U.S. government’s Blueprint for Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation and the recently released Institute of Medicine evaluation of PEPFAR, offer real promise for the way forward,” Kossen, director of public policy at Advocates for Youth, writes. However, “[s]everal years of level and/or decreased funding threaten the successes PEPFAR has achieved to date,” she states. “While politicians wrangle over funding and policy decisions in Washington, HIV continues to take its toll on families, communities, and nations, particularly among young people,” she writes, highlighting how PEPFAR might address HIV/AIDS among youth (5/24).
  • Charles Lyons, Martha Sichone-Cameron, The Hill’s “Congress Blog”: PEPFAR “has transformed the way the world thinks about the HIV/AIDS — bringing together new ideas and new optimism that the global health community didn’t even consider a possibility 10 years ago,” Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), and Sichone-Cameron, an ambassador for the foundation and a mother living with HIV, write. They discuss Sichone-Cameron’s experiences caring for relatives living with HIV and accessing treatment through PEPFAR-supported EGPAF programs. “If the past 10 years have taught us one thing, it is that no one group can fight this disease alone,” they write, adding, “Together we have made great strides and we must continue to do so with more innovation, effective and sustained foreign assistance funding and successful partnerships.” Lyons and Sichone-Cameron conclude, “As we look towards the future, it is clear that PEPFAR and its partners will be crucial to ensuring that we see an AIDS-free generation in our lifetimes” (5/24).

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Opinion Piece Examines HIV in Middle East, North Africa

In this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” international health consultant Taufiqur Rahman examines HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa. He discusses the many factors that contribute to the epidemic and the challenges of preventing and treating HIV in the region, as well as the role of the international community in addressing the epidemic in the region. “The U.S. and international community must act quickly and set ambitious targets to put people on treatment,” Rahman writes, continuing, “If the countries and international community act now, we will avoid a major future epidemic” (5/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID, Gates Foundation Announce New WASH Grantees

In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Maura O’Neill, chief innovation officer and senior counselor to the administrator at USAID, describes a partnership between the USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program and the Gates Foundation that aims “to find new approaches that could dramatically change [the world’s] water-scarce landscape” and address water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues. “The WASH for Life Partnership identifies and rigorously tests new WASH technologies and delivery models, then scales and replicates those that are proven successful,” she continues, noting USAID and the Gates Foundation last week announced seven new grantees under the DIV program. O’Neill describes the grantees and their projects, and she concludes, “Billions of people are in need of solutions that help them access cleaner water and result in healthier living. Together, this partnership and these seven new projects present an exciting and optimistic trend in how we approach challenges in the WASH sector and beyond” (5/23).

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UNAIDS, The Lancet Form Commission To Explore Post-2015 AIDS, Global Health Agenda

UNAIDS and The Lancet “have convened a new commission of political and health leaders to explore the post-2015 agenda of AIDS and global health,” a UNAIDS press release reports, noting, “The UNAIDS and Lancet Commission: From AIDS to Sustainable Health will be co-chaired by Malawi President Joyce Banda, African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Director Peter Piot.” The first meeting of the commission will be held in Lilongwe, Malawi, on June 28-29, according to the press release, which adds, “[T]he commission will deliberate on strategies to ensure that the vision of the AIDS movement — zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths — can be realized in the coming decades” (5/26).

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Blog Series Examines Global Health's Future

In her continuing series of blog posts, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Laurie Garrett posted five more entries on issues related to the future of global health. She addresses topics including global health financing, food security and climate change (5/28). In Humanosphere, Garrett writes a guest post summarizing her series (5/27).

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