KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

South Korea Reports 12 MERS Cases; China Reports 1 Case In South Korean Who Broke Home Quarantine

Reuters: MERS infects 10 in South Korea but no virus mutation: WHO
“Ten people in South Korea are confirmed as having the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, transmitted by a traveler, but there has been no sustained human-to-human spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday…” (Nebehay, 5/29).

Reuters: South Korean becomes China’s first confirmed MERS case
“China said on Friday a South Korean man had tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), China’s first confirmed case, but that it had not found any symptoms in the 38 people who had close contact with him. Authorities in South Korea said earlier that the man had skipped out of voluntary home quarantine to take a trip to China…” (Wee, 5/29).

Reuters: China’s first confirmed MERS case arrived from Korea via Hong Kong
“…Later on Friday, South Korea’s health ministry said two more patients were confirmed to have been infected, both of whom had been in the same hospital ward as the initial confirmed cases, raising the total number to 12…” (Wee/Li, 5/29).

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Science Magazine Examines Measles Eradication Efforts, Feasibility

Science: Is measles next?
“Before the polio virus is even in the grave, a small cadre of disease fighters is itching to set the next global eradication target: measles. … Skeptics question whether a measles initiative would fall down the same rabbit hole as did the polio effort, which has spent billions of dollars and nearly three decades chasing the last few cases, only to see them disappear around the corner…” (Roberts, 5/28).

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Haiti's Early Rainy Season Causes Increase In Cholera Cases

NPR: Cholera Surges In Haiti As Rain Arrives Early
“…An unusually early start to the rainy season has brought a spike in the waterborne bacteria — and thus the number of infections. In the first four months of this year, the number of reported cholera cases was nearly 400 percent higher than that reported in the same period in 2014…” (Granitz, 5/28).

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Kyrgyzstan's Ministry Of Health, World Bank Aim To Improve Country's Maternal Health

The Guardian: Kyrgyzstan strives to make inroads on poor maternal health record
“…Kyrgyzstan has the highest maternal mortality rates among Eastern European and Central Asian countries, and is way off track to meet the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal mortality, which aimed to reduce by three-quarters the number of women dying as a result of childbirth. … But a three-year, $11m program between the World Bank and the ministry of health, launched last year, aims to address the disparities and accelerate progress on cutting maternal deaths…” (Ford, 5/28).

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Somaliland Slowly Builds Health System But Challenges Remain

The Lancet: Slowly and steadily, Somaliland builds its health system
“…Thanks to remittances from Somalilanders abroad and foreign aid, much of the capital Hargeisa has been rebuilt and the rubble removed while the trappings of statehood, including health services, are slowly emerging. But the challenges remain steep in a region that has some of Africa’s highest maternal and child mortality rates. … The challenges range from the quest for political recognition and the greater budgetary support that might accompany it, the urban-rural divide, the need for greater professionalisation, to combating mental illness, the use of khat, and female genital mutilation (FGM)… (Devi, 5/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Malaria, Other Infectious Disease Threats Can Be Eradicated With Investment From Global Community

Devex: Remarkable progress, but long way to go to beating infectious diseases
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), member of the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, and founder of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…[T]reatment and eradication of deadly contagious diseases [is] a shared responsibility and a global priority. It takes strong leadership — from local governments where outbreaks are a constant threat, to international coalitions working together — to fund, implement, and track progress. It also takes strong leadership in the U.S. Congress because it is our responsibility to ensure U.S. foreign aid efforts are efficient and effective, and build long-term stability for families around the world. … One example of success in this area is our effort to combat malaria. … We are close to finally winning this battle. … However, we still have a long way to go. It bears repeating: 17,000 children still die every day mainly from preventable diseases. We must work together, as a part of the global community, to ensure that no child should suffer and die from malaria, or any, preventable and curable disease” (5/29).

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African Health Leaders, International Partners Can Improve Continent's Future

The Lancet: African health leaders: claiming the future
Agnes Binagwaho, minister of health of Rwanda, and Nigel Crisp, independent member of the House of Lords and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health

“Improving health in Africa is a team effort that involves many people from different backgrounds. … The experience of Rwanda is useful in this context. Rwanda has been rebuilding itself in the 20 years since the genocide and now has a social insurance health system that reaches nearly 90 percent of the population and effective local health services in almost all parts of the country. … A distinctively Rwandan approach to health improvement has developed that is suited to the country’s own social, economic, and physical environment. … Although Rwanda still faces many health challenges, it offers an example of how country leadership supported by partners can create a successful national health system and, incidentally, pioneer innovations of relevance to other African countries and beyond. Everyone can learn from each other…” (5/30).

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Post-2015 Development Agenda Must Focus On Human Rights, With WASH At Center

Devex: We can’t fail twice: New global development agenda must be framed by human rights
Megan MacGarry, campaigns and communications officer at End Water Poverty (EWP)

“…The new global development agenda post-2015 has to be framed by human rights and owned by the people. … If we want to truly address inequality, then human rights — particularly access to water, sanitation, and hygiene — have to be a critical priority. … EWP is calling for a post-2015 world where we see the end of inherent systemic inequalities and that water and sanitation are a fundamental aspect of all development. If human rights are not included as an essential element in the framework, we will replicate some of the failures of the MDGs. … We must transform business models, and change the way we do things. We need a new road map to the world we want…” (5/29).

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Partnerships Can Help Women With Fistula Access Treatment, Care

Huffington Post: We Can Prevent and Treat Obstetric Fistula. Let’s Do Both.
Catherine Murphy, director of digital marketing for Mercy Ships

“On International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, the global health community paused to stand with the more than two million women around the world who live with the untreated aftermath of this devastating childbirth injury — and to advocate for a day when no woman suffers from this preventable and treatable condition. … Through a partnership between global charity Mercy Ships and Johnson & Johnson, more women in Madagascar are gaining access to the care and treatment they need. … By training surgeons and midwives, outfitting health facilities, providing societal support, and always responding to the needs of those on the front lines, we can transform the lives of tens of thousands of women…” (5/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

All Nations Must Take Actions To Prepare For Global Health Threats

The White House Blog: The Ticking Timeline
Beth Cameron, director for countering biological threats at the National Security Council, writes about progress on the Global Health Security Agenda. “…As the Ebola epidemic — and before it, the crises caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, anthrax attacks and avian influenza — has shown us, we can neither prevent epidemics nor protect ourselves unless all of us act, swiftly, and in concert. To prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic, all countries must have capacity and a plan to get there…” (5/27).

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Information, Communication Technologies Can Help Frontline Workers Effectively Respond In Disease Outbreaks

USAID’s “Impact”: Fighting Ebola with Information
Eric King, an innovation specialist with the U.S. Global Development Lab’s Digital Development Team, discusses how mobile technologies “empower local and international humanitarian responders to save lives by tightening the feedback loops between those who need help and those who can offer it…” He uses the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as an example (5/28).

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Menstrual Hygiene Management Important Gauge Of Gender Equality

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Menstruation Matters: Why Menstrual Hygiene Management is Core to Our Contract with the Future
Lisa Schechtman, director of policy and advocacy for WaterAid America, discusses the stigma attached to menstruation, writing, “…It’s time to bring difficult issues like menstruation out of the shadows, and to recognize that it is often the things we take for granted that best indicate how far we’ve come and how much work we still have to do. Menstrual hygiene is a harbinger of gender equality…” (5/28).

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Blog Post Discusses Implications Of START Trial Findings On HIV Treatment

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: START findings highlight treatment divide
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses “the announcement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Wednesday that immediate treatment of HIV infection considerably lessens risks of serious illnesses … [and how] the findings from the international trial ‘likely will impact treatment guidelines’…” (5/28).

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