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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Renounces 3rd U.S. MERS Case; Saudi Officials Working With WHO, Other Experts On Outbreak

Media outlets report on news surrounding the ongoing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak.

Associated Press: Officials take back report of MERS spread in U.S.
“Health officials on Wednesday backtracked on an earlier report that a mysterious Middle East virus had apparently spread from one person to another in the United States…” (Stobbe, 5/28).

HealthDay News: CDC: 3rd Suspected MERS Case Was False Alarm
“…Preliminary tests indicated that the Illinois man had tested positive for antibodies for MERS, formally called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Since then, however, CDC scientists tested additional blood samples and found that he was not infected with MERS…” (Reinberg/Thompson, 5/28).

New York Times: Health Officials Reverse Diagnosis of MERS in Illinois Man
“…The most likely explanation, one of the officials said, is that the preliminary test had cross-reacted with antibodies the man had to a previous coronavirus infection…” (McNeil, 5/28).

Reuters: U.S. MERS patient did not infect Illinois resident: CDC
“…The new analysis means that no MERS infections have been found in any of the contacts of the two MERS patients in the U.S…” (Begley, 5/28).

New York Times: Iran: MERS Virus Reaches Its 20th Country
“…According to the World Health Organization, 636 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS have been reported, including 193 deaths. Most of the deaths have been in Saudi Arabia. Iran is the 20th country to report MERS” (Gladstone, 5/29).

Reuters: Hunt for MERS source should look beyond camels: veterinary officials
“Scientists lack proof that camels are the source of a deadly new virus that has killed 186 people in Saudi Arabia and should widen their hunt to other animals, veterinary experts meeting in Paris said…” (de La Hamaide, 5/28).

Reuters: Saudi health minister says working with WHO to fight MERS
“Saudi Arabia is working with international scientific organizations to improve its response to a deadly new virus that has killed 186 people in the kingdom, its acting health minister Adel Fakieh told Reuters on Wednesday…” (McDowall, 5/28).

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Almost 30% Of World Overweight Or Obese, Researchers Say

News outlets report on findings that almost 30 percent of the world’s population is overweight or obese.

Associated Press: 30 percent of world is now fat, no country immune
“Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis…” (Cheng, 5/29).

Reuters: Weight of the world: 2.1 billion people obese or overweight
“Obesity is imposing an increasingly heavy burden on the world’s population in rich and poor nations alike, with almost 30 percent of people globally now either obese or overweight — a staggering 2.1 billion in all, researchers said on Wednesday…” (Dunham, 5/28).

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U.N. Launches Campaign To Improve Access To Toilets, End Open Defecation By 2025

News outlets report on the launch of a U.N. campaign to improve access to basic sanitation and end the practice of open defecation.

Inter Press Service: U.N. Vows to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2025
“…[T]he United Nations Wednesday formally launched a global campaign to help improve access to toilets for the 2.5 billion people without basic level sanitation. … [T]he U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of providing basic sanitation is lagging behind other MDGs and is unlikely to be achieved by 2015…” (Deen, 5/28).

U.N. News Centre: With help from Sesame Street, U.N. urges partners to break silence on open defecation
“It is time to talk about open defecation, the United Nations declared today, launching a new campaign to end the practice and improve access to toilets and latrines for the 2.5 billion people worldwide without basic sanitation…” (5/28).

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Menstrual Hygiene Day Addresses Challenges Around Sanitation, Hygiene

News outlets report on the world’s first Menstrual Hygiene Day, recognized on May 28.

The Guardian: Menstruation misery for schoolgirls as sanitation woes hit hopes for the future
“…The plight of [inadequate sanitation facilities for] girls … has prompted several charities to try to boost awareness of women’s sanitary needs during menstruation. The coalition — which includes Water Aid, Save the Children, the Institute of Reproductive Health, International Rescue, and Plan — has launched the world’s first menstrual hygiene day on 28 May to draw attention to the many girls forced to miss school each month because of inadequate toilet or washing facilities and insufficient access to sanitary towels…” (Bax, 5/28).

Inter Press Service: Indian Girls Break Taboos on Menstrual Hygiene
“…Also known as the Great WASH Yatra, [Nirmal Bharat Yatra] aims to ‘improve policy and practice in an extremely challenging and taboo area of sanitation and hygiene: Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).’ Launched in 2012, the 150,000-dollar campaign — generously supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — will continue until 2016…” (Paul, 5/28).

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U.N. To Develop Sanitation Center In SE Asia By July

Devex: U.N. setting up sanitation center in Southeast Asia
“The United Nations looks set to develop a sanitation and wastewater management center in Southeast Asia by July to better educate stakeholders — particularly policymakers and implementers — and boost WASH programs in the region…” (Santos, 5/28).

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Kenyan AIDS Services Assess Funding Streams

Key Correspondents: No cause for panic as Kenya faces steep cuts to AIDS funding
“…‘I am not sure where that notion is coming from that PEPFAR are withdrawing, it’s not true. They, plus the Global Fund, continue to be our partners. For example, we have just signed a USD 495 million [about Ksh. 42 billion] deal with the Global Fund for HIV, TB and malaria,’ said Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia…” (Njagi, 5/28).

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Iran's Call For Population Increase Could Damage Women's Rights, Public Health, Critics Say

Reuters: Iran’s population drive worries women’s rights, health advocates
“Iran’s supreme leader has called for a population increase, in an edict likely to restrict access to contraception that critics fear could damage women’s rights and public health…” (Moghtader, 5/27).

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Global Alliance Working To Bring Clean Cookstoves To Billions Of People

Nature: Global health: Deadly dinners
“…[T]he urgency to transition billions of people around the world to cleaner forms of cooking has never been greater, in light of recent research revealing that emissions from traditional cooking-stoves pose a bigger threat than previously thought. … Environmental organizations, development groups and others have strived to solve the cooking-stove conundrum for decades, but momentum is finally gathering, thanks to the formation of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves…” (Subramanian, 5/28).

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WFP Initiative To Address Female Farmers, Malnutrition In Ecuador

Christian Science Monitor: U.N. World Food Programme initiative to help female farmers, families in Ecuador
“The World Food Programme (WFP) and provincial governments in Ecuador will be assisting 1,000 local families by providing them with produce sourced from women smallholder farmers. The program, called Strengthening Local Government Capacities to Improve Food and Nutrition Security, will simultaneously address malnutrition in women and children and the challenges that women smallholders face in managing their farm businesses…” (Ng, 5/28).

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FOX News Reports On UNICEF Audit For Haitian Activities; U.N., Haiti Announce Lower Cholera Numbers

News outlets report on a UNICEF audit on relief efforts in Haiti, as well as new data on cholera in the country.

FOX News: In Haiti, UNICEF handed out millions without proper oversight, report says
“Even while it was sending out urgent appeals for funds to help poor people in Haiti, the local office of UNICEF was handing out tens of millions of dollars to local partners without proper oversight, and losing track of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of vital medical supplies, according to an internal UNICEF audit…” (Russell, 5/28).

U.N. News Centre: Haiti: U.N., Government report lowest number of cholera cases to date
“The Haitian Prime Minister, the U.N. Special Representative to Haiti and the U.N. Senior Coordinator for cholera response vowed to press on with intensified efforts to eliminate the disease from the island as reports from the first months of 2014 reflected the lowest number of cases and cholera-related deaths since the beginning of the epidemic…” (5/28).

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Cholera Outbreak In S. Sudan Capital Worsens

IRIN: South Sudan capital faces worsening cholera outbreak
“Health officials are warning that a cholera outbreak in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, which has left 23 people dead and forced more than 670 others to seek treatment, could be getting worse…” (5/28).

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Ebola's Continued Spread In West Africa Is 'Serious,' WHO Says

Reuters: West Africa Ebola outbreak still spreading, ‘situation serious’: WHO
“Guinea’s capital Conakry has recorded its first new Ebola cases in more than a month, while other previously unaffected areas have also reported infections in the past week, according to the World Health Organization…” (Nebehay/Samb, 5/28).

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TV News Stations Feature Shows On Polio, Drug-Resistant TB

Two television news stations feature shows on global health issues.

Al Jazeera: Lifelines: The Last Drops
“…Pakistan is one of the last countries never to have ended polio despite concerted vaccination efforts from local, national and international organizations…” (5/28).

CNN: Vital Signs: Return of the ‘White Plague’: Fears over the rise of ‘incurable’ TB
“The problem is now global. [Extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)] has its highest prevalence in Russian, Eastern Europe, China and India, with the latter reporting cases of total drug resistance. But according to the 2013 Global TB report from the World Health Organization (WHO), this extensive form of resistant TB has been reported in 92 countries, and is likely to be in more…” (Senthilingam, 5/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Assistance Investments Must Prioritize Maternal, Child Nutrition

The Hill: Call to action on global nutrition
Bill Frist, former Senate majority leader (R-Tenn.)

“The United States has shown courageous leadership over the last decade on global health. … But even as funding for global health soared, foundational programs promoting maternal and child nutrition were largely overlooked. Yet the need for greater leadership and investments in nutrition could not be more clear. … [W]e must sustain and build upon the momentum that has been created over the last year on global nutrition. The president and Congress must remain resolute in their support for strong global health and nutrition funding in the FY15 budget and in prioritizing nutrition as a critical pillar in our foreign assistance investments. … Investments in maternal and child nutrition build the foundation for the next generation to survive and thrive, and serve as a shining example of U.S. global leadership at its best” (5/28).

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Obama Should Condemn Myanmar's Oppression Of, Denial Of Health Care For Rohingya

New York Times: Myanmar’s Appalling Apartheid
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“…Welcome to Myanmar, where tremendous democratic progress is being swamped by crimes against humanity toward the Rohingya, a much-resented Muslim minority in this Buddhist country. … This year, the Myanmar authorities have cracked down even harder, making the situation worse. First, the government expelled Doctors Without Borders, which had been providing health care for the Rohingya. Then orchestrated mobs attacked the offices of humanitarian organizations, forcing them out. Some kinds of aid are resuming, but not health care. … President Obama, who visited Myanmar and is much admired here, should flatly declare that what is happening here is unconscionable…” (5/28).

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African Nations Must Work To End Child Marriage

Inter Press Service: Why Ending Child Marriage in Africa Can No Longer Wait
Julitta Onabanjo, regional director of UNFPA East and Southern Africa Region; Benoit Kalasa, regional director of UNFPA West and Central Africa; and Mohamed Abdel-Ahad, regional director of UNFPA North Africa and Arab States

“…Of the 41 countries worldwide with a child marriage prevalence rate of 30 percent or more, 30 countries are located in Africa. … [C]hild marriage has a severe and harmful impact on our girls, and on society at large. It compromises the girl child’s health, education, and opportunities to realize her potential. … Child marriage is a human rights and public health issue, which cannot be left unchallenged. First and foremost, it is a violation of human rights instruments, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It is therefore an obligation of policymakers on the continent to protect the rights of the girl child that their governments have committed themselves to uphold. This includes putting an end to child marriage…” (5/28).

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Support For Menstruating Women With Disabilities Can Prevent Human Rights Abuses

Huffington Post: End the Stigma: Why Menstruation Matters to Women’s Rights
Kriti Sharma, disability rights fellow at Human Rights Watch

“…[On] May 28, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations will celebrate the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Management Day. Around the world, countless women and girls with disabilities face stigma, often lack awareness, and may have difficulty in moving, dressing, or using the bathroom independently. … A basic human function like menstruation should no longer be a justification for denying women and girls with disabilities their basic human rights. … Worldwide, grave human rights abuses can be avoided by providing adequate support to women and girls with disabilities during menstruation. They should have the right to be, simply, women” (5/28).

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Invest In Services For Mothers, Children To Prepare For Natural Disasters

Huffington Post: When Life Gets Tough, Moms Get Tougher
Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children

“…Whether in the United States or the Philippines, all mothers strive to ensure that their children are protected and healthy when a disaster strikes. Fortunately, our evidence shows that we can save and dramatically improve the lives of all mothers and children, even in the most challenging places to live, if we invest in the services they need” (5/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Presents First Part Of Two-Part Interview With Birx

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ambassador Deborah Birx on Uganda, and why she doesn’t say “country ownership”
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, presents Part I of a “Science Speaks” interview with PEPFAR’s new leader, examining impact, accountability, and transparency in a sustainable response (5/28).

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Innovation, Cooperation Needed To Urgently Address Climate Change, Food Security

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in the Face of Climate Change
Pamela Anderson, director of the agricultural development program at the Gates Foundation, discusses the impacts of climate change on food security and the urgent need to address the situation through cooperation and innovation (5/28).

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Corporate Volunteers Work With Local Communities To Build Stronger Health Systems

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Corporate Volunteers Can Create a Ripple Effect for Global Health
Carol Cissé, a program officer at IntraHealth International, and Suzie Roy, a Pfizer global health fellow at Pfizer Canada, discuss a joint program that sends Pfizer fellows to “work on specific short-term assignments with international development organizations. Together, they help build stronger health systems — and stronger communities — around the world…” (5/28).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of ‘Global Fund Observer’

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 244 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes commentaries on the Global Fund’s new funding model, among other things (5/28).

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