KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Canada Pledges $3.5B To MCH Initiative; Melinda Gates, Others Speak At Summit

News outlets report on Canada’s renewed support for an international maternal and child health initiative, as well as speakers at the Saving Every Woman Every Child summit.

Canadian Press/Hamilton Spectator: Gates backs Harper plan to help world’s poorest
“One half of the world’s most powerful philanthropic couple praised Stephen Harper’s child and maternal health initiative Thursday, urging governments everywhere to support it for their own economic good…” (Blanchfield, 5/29).

Canadian Press/Huffington Post: Harper Pledges $3.5B To Buttress Maternal, Child Health Initiative To 2020
“The Conservative government pledged an additional $3.5 billion over five years toward the prime minister’s maternal, newborn and child-health initiative, promising to ‘cajole’ more from other countries…” (Blanchfield, 5/29).

CBC News: Ottawa’s maternal health push a key move for post-2015 agenda
“…Some of the confirmed speakers include Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, (with whom Prime Minister Stephen Harper co-chaired a United Nations commission on accountability of maternal health initiatives), Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan and the Aga Khan — not to mention the chiefs of major global institutions such as the U.N., the World Bank, and the World Health Organization…” (Do, 5/28).

Globe and Mail: Reproductive choice for women key to maternal, child health, Melinda Gates says
“Reproductive rights are an important part of global efforts to improve maternal and child health in low-income countries, Melinda Gates says. Speaking at a conference on maternal and child health in Toronto on Thursday, Ms. Gates said that when women can choose how to space their pregnancies, they and their babies will both be healthier…” (Mackrael, 5/29).

Globe and Mail: Ottawa commits to maternal health, but not safe abortion
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper opened a summit on maternal and child health with a call for renewed global funding to help vulnerable women and children, amid concerns that safe abortion and family planning have not received enough attention in the government’s plan…” (Mackrael, 5/29).

Globe and Mail: Ottawa commits $3.5-billion to improve maternal health
“Ottawa will commit another $3.5-billion in funding aimed at improving the health of moms and kids in low-income countries, a major boost for a program the Prime Minister has identified as a signature priority…” (Mackrael, 5/29).

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Scientists Urge WHO To Resist Classifying E-Cigarettes As Tobacco Products

News outlets report on a letter from more than 50 scientists urging the WHO to resist classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

Agence France-Presse: Ahead of No Tobacco Day, doctors oppose ban on e-cigarettes
“The e-cigarette was pushed center stage ahead of World No Tobacco Day, with doctors and policy experts urging the U.N.’s health agency to embrace the gadget as a life saver…” (Le Roux, 5/29).

BBC News: ‘Resist urge to control e-cigarettes,’ WHO told
“A letter signed by more than 50 researchers and public health specialists is urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to ‘resist the urge to control and suppress e-cigarettes.’ The letter says the devices — which deliver nicotine in a vapor — could be a ‘significant health innovation’…” (Dreaper, 5/29).

Reuters: Top scientists warn WHO not to stub out e-cigarettes
“A group of 53 leading scientists has warned the World Health Organization not to classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, arguing that doing so would jeopardize a major opportunity to slash disease and deaths caused by smoking. The U.N. agency, which is currently assessing its position on the matter, has previously indicated it would favor applying similar restrictions to all nicotine-containing products…” (Hirschler, 5/29).

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WHO Again Delays Decision On Destroying Smallpox Stocks

Nature: WHO postpones decision on destruction of smallpox stocks — again
“The stalemate continues over the question of when to destroy the last stocks of the virus that causes smallpox, a killer disease that was eradicated in 1980. One of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) two advisory committees on smallpox supports the stocks’ destruction, and the other opposes it. Last weekend, health ministers of the WHO’s 194 member states again postponed a decision and decided to set up a third WHO smallpox advisory committee in a bid to broker a consensus…” (Butler, 5/28).

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USAID To Work More With Business Community

Devex: How USAID’s approach to partnerships is evolving
“The U.S. Agency for International Development has been pushing cross-sectoral partnerships for years. Now, with the creation of the U.S. Global Development Lab, the agency has a new platform and more holistic approach to working with partners. In a recent conversation with Devex Impact, Ricardo Michel, director of the Center for Transformational Partnerships in the Lab, discussed some of these changes and USAID’s efforts to work more efficiently with the private sector and other partners…” (Saldinger, 5/30).

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Oral Cholera Vaccine 86% Effective, Study Shows

News outlets report on a recent study’s findings that an oral cholera vaccine is 86 percent effective in controlling the disease.

Agence France-Presse/Global Post: Cholera vaccine is 86 percent effective
“A cheap and easy to deliver oral vaccine against cholera is 86 percent effective in preventing the infection which causes severe diarrhea and can be fatal, researchers said Thursday…” (5/29).

VOA News: Oral Cholera Vaccine Effective in Guinea, Study Finds
“An oral cholera vaccine proved to be 86 percent effective in controlling the disease during a recent outbreak in Guinea. The results of a study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, are the first showing the vaccine provides almost immediate protection…” (5/28).

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Global Development Leaders Earn Spot On Forbes' Most Powerful Women List

Devex: The most powerful women in global development
“A newly released ranking of the world’s most powerful women not only includes politicians, celebrities, and CEOs. Global development leaders, human rights activists, and philanthropists also earned a coveted spot on Forbes’ annual list…” (Santos, 5/29).

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Uganda's HIV Bill Sparks Debate

Devex: Huge divide over Uganda’s HIV prevention bill
“Civil society groups campaigning against Uganda’s HIV bill are struggling to convince stakeholders to join their call for President Yoweri Museveni to reject the legislation. In a bid to strengthen its case, the Uganda Network on Law Ethics & HIV AIDS, a coalition of organizations and individuals focused on informing policy toward HIV and AIDS response in the African country, is hoping to gather the support of the country’s health providers when they meet Friday…” (Ravelo, 5/29)

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U.N. Welcomes First Africa-Wide Campaign To End Child Marriage

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agencies welcome African-led push to end child marriage
“Two United Nations agencies today welcomed the first campaign by the African Union to end child marriage, a practice that robs over 17 million girls — one in three — across the continent of their youth…” (5/29).

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Human Impacts On Lake Malawi Ecosystem Allowing Disease-Causing Flatworms To Multiply

NPR: Thriving Towns In East Africa Are Good News For A Parasitic Worm
“People trying to grow food and support their families on the shores of Lake Malawi are not only causing serious environmental problems, they’re also causing a surge in a debilitating disease. Thriving towns along the lake are changing the ecosystem in ways that are allowing a parasitic worm to flourish, researchers reported last week in the journal Trends in Parasitology…” (Beaubien, 5/28).

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Number Of U.S. Measles Cases Reaches 20-Year High

New York Times: Measles Cases in U.S. Reach a 20-Year High
“Largely because of resistance to vaccination, cases of measles have reached a 20-year high in the United States, federal health officials said on Thursday…” (McNeil, 5/29).

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Puerto Rico Reports First-Ever Chikungunya Case

Associated Press: Puerto Rico confirms its 1st chikungunya case
“Health officials in Puerto Rico have confirmed the first chikungunya case in the U.S. territory…” (5/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Canada Should Continue Efforts To Reduce Preventable Maternal, Child Mortality

Globe and Mail: These women and children don’t have to die
Rosemary McCarney, president and CEO of Plan Canada, and Dorothy Shaw, vice president of medical affairs at B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver; both co-chairs of the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

“…Major progress has been made since [Canada Prime Minister Stephen] Harper put the plight of pregnant women and their children atop the G8 summit Canada hosted in 2010. … Canada has been forthright and consistent in its dedication on this front, and we are hoping for continued Canadian leadership in saving the lives of vulnerable women and children, especially those in harder to reach areas and facing difficult circumstances like living in disaster zones or war-torn areas…” (5/28).

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Involve Women In Search For AIDS Vaccine

Huffington Post Canada: Women Need an AIDS Vaccine
Margie McGlynn, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

“…Women need an AIDS vaccine. They also need to be directly involved in the process of developing one. … The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is working with partners in Africa and elsewhere to ensure that women are involved in clinical trials of potential vaccines, and to ensure they can make voluntary, independent decisions to participate and receive the drugs and health services they need…” (5/29).

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Public Health Programs 'Should Be Politically Neutral'

The Lancet: Polio eradication: the CIA and their unintended victims
“…On May 16, 2014, the White House announced that the CIA will no longer use vaccination programs as a cover for espionage. The news comes in the wake of a series of militant attacks on polio vaccination workers in Pakistan, with legitimate health care workers targeted as being U.S. spies. … The lesson learned from the experience in Pakistan is that public health programs should be politically neutral. Although the announcement from the White House might go some way to building bridges towards that neutrality, health officials and local leaders now have the challenge of convincing communities that vaccination is not merely beneficial, but vital for children” (5/31).

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WHO's Vision Of Sustainable Development In Health 'Prioritizes Disease'

The Lancet: Offline: WHO offers a new future for sustainable development
Richard Horton, The Lancet editor-in-chief

“…Does WHO see health negatively: preventing, controlling, and eliminating disease? Or does WHO view health more positively: achieving a healthy life and improved wellbeing? For billions of people, the first concept still remains overwhelmingly important and WHO has chosen to stress a future that prioritizes disease, the determinants of disease, and disease-driven services. But the time is fast approaching when human wellbeing will be the centerpiece of our goal for a healthy human life — a post-2030 vision, perhaps, for those of us who survive that long” (5/31).

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Universal Immunization Critical To Prevent Outbreaks, Such As Measles

Washington Post: As measles cases increase, a sharp call for vaccinations
“Even when there are significant gains against infectious diseases, there can be reversals. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that there have already been more [measles] cases this year [in the U.S.], 288, than in any full year this century. … A nation’s borders provide no ironclad defense against viruses and bacteria. But measles can be stopped with comprehensive and proper immunization” (5/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Birx Discusses PEPFAR Vision At USAID Town Hall Event

USAID “Impact”: The Future of PEPFAR
David Stanton, director of USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS in the Bureau for Global Health, discusses a USAID town hall event at which U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx discussed her vision for the next stage of PEPFAR (5/29).

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Blog Presents Second Part Of Two-Part Interview With Birx

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ambassador Deborah Birx on viral load testing, young women, South Africa, and the T word
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, presents Part 2 of a “Science Speaks” interview with PEPFAR’s new leader, examining impact, accountability, and transparency in a sustainable response (5/29).

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Clinical Trials Partnership Will Impact Lives In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: EDCTP2: What it means for European support for global health R&D
In a guest post, Renate Baehr — executive director of Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung — “writes about the next rendition of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and how its expansion will impact more lives in low- and middle-income countries” (Taylor, 5/29).

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IAS Announces Appointment Of Owen Ryan As Executive Director

International AIDS Society: The International AIDS Society announces the appointment of new Executive Director
“The International AIDS Society (IAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Owen Ryan as its new Executive Director and head of the IAS secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland…” (5/27).

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Sabin Vaccine Institute Mourns Passing Of Executive Vice President De Quadros

Sabin Vaccine Institute: Sabin Vaccine Institute Mourns the Passing of Executive Vice President Ciro de Quadros, MD
“…At the time of his death, Dr. de Quadros worked as Executive Vice President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, where for more than a decade he led advocacy efforts that encouraged low- and middle-income countries to prioritize and sustain financing for vaccine programs…” (5/29).

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