KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Africa, Kerry Warns South Sudan 'At Grave Risk,' Pledges Additional $45M To Help U.N. Support Refugees In Kenya

New York Times: South Sudan: World’s Youngest Nation Is ‘at Grave Risk,’ Kerry Warns
“Secretary of State John Kerry warned Monday that the violent civil conflict, mass displacement, and deepening food crisis straining South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, were threatening its future. … Mr. Kerry said South Sudan’s promising potential after achieving independence from Sudan in 2011 ‘is now at grave risk of being squandered because of civil violence, because of more than two million people who have been displaced from their homes’…” (Gladstone, 5/4).

Wall Street Journal: Kerry Pledges More Aid to Somali Refugees in Kenya
“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for Kenyans to be patient with their government’s troop presence in Somalia and pledged additional funding for Somali refugees after a series of attacks inside Kenya’s borders…” (Vogt, 5/4).

Washington Post: On Kerry’s visit to Kenya, U.S. pledges extra $45 million to help with refugees
“The United States will provide an extra $45 million for the United Nations to help an overwhelmed Kenya cope with 600,000 refugees fleeing civil unrest, terrorism, and violence in Somalia and South Sudan, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday…” (Morello, 5/4).

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Wealth Disparity Causing Major Gaps In Some Countries', Cities' Maternal, Child Health, Report Shows

News outlets report on the State of the World’s Mothers report published by Save the Children.

The Guardian: British mothers twice as likely to die in childbirth as Polish women
“…The U.K., which has not made the top 10 since 2012, also came behind debt-stricken Greece as well as Spain, Slovenia, and Israel. Norway topped the list while Finland and Iceland came in at second and third. The U.S. is behind the U.K. in 33rd place. The report found that women in the U.S. have a one in 1,800 lifetime risk of maternal death — the worst performance of any developed country in the world…” (Topping, 5/5).

MSNBC: U.S. slips in maternal and child health ranking
“…The State of the World Mother’s Report ranks countries by crunching maternal health (a mother’s lifetime risk of dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth), children’s well-being (a child’s risk of dying before his or her fifth birthday), overall per capita economic status, and the expected time children will spend in school — an average of 18 years in the top 10, eight in the bottom 10. They also included the representation of women in office…” (Carmon, 5/4).

Newsweek: Washington’s Poorest Infants Are Ten Times More Likely to Die Than Richest
“… ‘In some U.S. cities, urban child survival gaps between rich and poor are greater than those found in developing countries,’ according to the report. … While progress has been made in ending child mortality around the world, enormous gaps in wealth disparity still exist in some countries, which continues to put the poorest children at risk…” (Westcott, 5/4).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Uganda’s capital blazes a trail in cutting child deaths, charity says
“…On a continent known for poor health care and high infant mortality rates, the Ugandan capital is an exception. Child deaths in Kampala fell faster than in any other African city between 2006 and 2011 — despite a large influx of refugees from war-torn neighboring states, Save the Children said in a report on Tuesday…” (Migiro, 5/4).

Wall Street Journal: India Slips Down Motherhood Index
“…India scored 140th place out of 179 countries in the charity organization Save the Children’s 2015 report titled ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ putting it behind Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Bangladesh…” (Sugden, 5/5).

Washington Post: Poor D.C. babies are more than 10 times as likely to die as rich ones
“…The findings, released Monday night as part of the group’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report, underscore how vast income inequality in the capital of the world’s richest country continues to yield startling disparities in health and survival at the neighborhood level. The 80-page global health report, which offered comparative figures for major international metropolitan areas, also ranked Washington last on a list of 25 wealthy capital cities, including Athens and Madrid, which have struggled against economic crises, as well as the capital of a former Soviet republic…” (Hauslohner, 5/4).

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U.N.'s #SaveKidsLives Campaign Aims To Reduce Road Accident Deaths, Injuries Among Children

U.N. News Centre: U.N. launches #SaveKidsLives campaign to boost road safety for children
“Each day some 500 children die from road traffic crashes, thousands more are injured and the situation is only getting worse, the United Nations warned [Monday] as it launched #SaveKidsLives, a global campaign to generate action to make streets safe for children…” (5/4).

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Meeting With UNAIDS, Global Fund Heads, Chinese Premier Vows More Cooperation With International Community On Infectious Disease Efforts

Xinhua News: Chinese premier vows more int’l public health cooperation
“Premier Li Keqiang on Monday vowed that China will cooperate more with the international community in infectious disease prevention and control, as he met with the leaders of two major public health organizations. Li met with Michel Sidibe, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…” (5/4).

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Scientists Create New Index To Track Connection Between Worms, Human Development Indicators

New York Times: Tracking Worms Troubles to Monitor a Country’s Health
“To draw attention to the connection between worms and prosperity, scientists recently created a ‘worm index.’ The index ranks the world’s 25 most populous countries by how big a problem they have with three types of worms … [and] then compares those countries by their rankings in the United Nations human development index, which includes not just income, but years of schooling and years lived in good health. The comparison was published last week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases…” (McNeil, 5/4).

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Lack Of WASH Access Affects Health Care In Mali, Guardian Podcast Reports

The Guardian: Water and sanitation in health centers in Mali — podcast transcript
“…This is Lucy Lamble. And this month on the Guardian’s Global Development podcast we look at how health centers in Mali are affected by this problem. I visit the rural village of Diatoula and a clinic in the town of Kalabancoro; and I also go to a school in Bamako where they’re implementing a water and sanitation program. But first let’s hear more from Mamadou Diarafa Diallo, country representative for WaterAid in Mali…” (5/5).

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252 Dead Since January In Niger Meningitis Outbreak, Health Official Says

Agence France-Presse: Meningitis epidemic in Niger kills more than 250
“A meningitis epidemic in poverty-stricken Niger has claimed 252 lives since January, a health official said Monday, warning the country was short of vaccines to fight the outbreak. ‘As of May 3,252 people died out of a total of 3,304 cases,’ said Niger’s epidemics surveillance and response director Goumbi Kadade…” (5/4).

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Paraguayan Authorities Deny Abortion For Pregnant 10-Year-Old Rape Victim, Sparking Debate Over Nation's Laws

The Guardian: Pregnant 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion by Paraguayan authorities
“Paraguayan authorities have ruled out abortion for a pregnant 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather, unless she develops complications that put her life in danger. … The stance of the Paraguayan authorities has enraged human rights groups and feminist activists, who believe the girl — whose name has been withheld because she is a minor — faces psychological and health risks if the baby is born because of her young age and the circumstances that resulted in the pregnancy…” (Oviedo/Watts, 5/4).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Pregnant 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion in Paraguay
“…The case [has sparked a national debate over the country’s strict abortion law and] has put a spotlight on the taboo issue of incest in the conservative South American nation. Two births a day occur among girls aged 10 to 14 in Paraguay, and many are the result of sexual abuse by relatives and stepfathers, according to the government. Rights group Amnesty International said making the girl continue with the unwanted pregnancy was a form of torture…” (Moloney, 5/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Developing 'Core Capacities In Public Health,' Strengthening Global Response Mechanisms Essential To Contain Next Global Health Crisis

BBC News: Global health: How prepared are we for the next crisis?
David Heymann, head and senior fellow at Chatham House Center on Global Health Security and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“It has now been over a year since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported and it has since gone on to become the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976, claiming the lives of more than 10,000 people. So what has the outbreak taught us and how prepared are we for the next global health crisis? … The way forward must … include stronger government engagement in developing core capacities in public health so that outbreaks can be rapidly identified and contained when and where they occur; and strengthening of global alert and response mechanisms to ensure a rapid and robust response — a safety net when countries are unable to detect and contain outbreaks on their own” (5/5).

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Collecting Objective Data Integral For Disaster Response Management, Recovery Process

Washington Post: We have too little data to know how to help countries like Nepal recover from natural disasters
Thomas D. Kirsch, director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…In medicine, we collect data about what works and what doesn’t. We run experiments; we use scientific evidence to continuously improve our practice and treatments. But in a disaster response, we are so focused on delivering services that there’s hardly any time to collect data. … A few organizations, like Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance and the Johns Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response (which I direct), are beginning to collect data and establish best practice protocols. But the field is in its infancy. Eventually, we hope to ‘grade’ the response to each event so that we can finally compare the management of responses and focus on what works. … Only by using objective data can we bring the right help to the right people, the right way” (5/1).

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Reliable Data, Robust Health Systems Vital To Preventing Outbreaks, Stopping Malaria

Devex: Lessons from Ebola can help with malaria fight
Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation and general manager of public and government affairs for Exxon Mobil Corp.

“…Critical lessons from the Ebola outbreak identified by the World Health Organization — including the urgency of responding at the first signs of trouble and the importance of strong data and health infrastructure — can be applied to defeat malaria. … In business, good information helps make informed decisions; the same holds true in the fight against any disease. … Geographic surveillance helps identify problem areas; widespread use of rapid diagnostic tests and real-time reporting of malaria cases allow health teams to identify patients and quickly respond with treatment. An important lesson we can apply from Ebola to the fight against malaria is that strong health systems are essential. … Malaria robs people of their potential, and in doing so, hurts families, businesses, and nations. Yet we are not powerless against the disease. Coordination and shared responsibility are critical to successfully eliminating disease. We can all play a role…” (5/4).

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E.U.'s Renewed Support To Global Polio Eradication Initiative Critical To Ending Disease

EurActiv: The E.U. can choose to defeat polio
John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International

“…[U]ntil polio is eradicated, all countries remain at risk. Europe is no exception, and the sixteen deaths caused by a polio outbreak in Albania in 1996, which spread to Greece and Kosovo, are a harsh reminder of this fact. … This highlights the constant risk of importation, even in countries where polio has been eradicated for decades. The European Union can counter this threat in two ways: by ensuring high routine immunization rates, and by supporting the [Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)] at this critical time. … Polio eradication will further the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda, a project to which many E.U. member states are committed. … Failure to act now means polio will continue to claim thousands of victims with huge human and financial costs. But renewed support will ensure no child will ever again suffer from a disease which is completely preventable…” (5/5).

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With Proper Political Will, Funding, Armenia Can Become First EECA Country To End AIDS

Huffington Post: Is Armenia Close to Ending AIDS?
Michel D. Kazatchkine, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“…For people who have been diagnosed with HIV [in Armenia], treatment is now accessible to all those eligible for it, with most people on therapy having viral loads below the threshold of detection. By any measure, that certainly stands as a remarkable success story in the region. Armenia is also one of the few countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asian region proactively implementing Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST). The program has the clear support of the government. … [I]f the political will, more expertise, and the funding were all there, Armenia could well be the first country in the EECA region to end AIDS” (5/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Humanitarian Organizations Disagree Over 'Fast Track' For Trans-Pacific Partnership

Humanosphere: Humanitarians split on Obama’s trade agenda: Trans-Pacific Partnership
Humanosphere founder and lead journalist Tom Paulson writes, “Leading humanitarian organizations like the ONE Campaign and Oxfam appear to strongly disagree on whether to support the Obama Administration’s push to ‘fast-track’ [the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement] — and if its impact on the global fight against poverty and inequity will do more harm than good…” (5/4).

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Grand Challenges In Global Health To Focus On Improved Assessment Tools For Malnutrition Among Children With Pneumonia, Other Illnesses

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Ideas Wanted: New Ways to Reduce Childhood Pneumonia Deaths
Rasa Izadnegahdar, a senior program officer on the pneumonia team at the Gates Foundation, writes, “…[A] primary focus of this round of Grand Challenges in Global Health is on improved tools for assessment of malnutrition in sick children. … Our hope is that by again putting the spotlight on the intersection of malnutrition and acute life-threatening illness such as pneumonia, we will encourage innovation in targeting appropriate care for sick and undernourished children” (5/4).

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Study Examines Association Between Income Inequality, HIV Risk In Sub-Saharan Africa

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Neighborhood wealth inequality in sub-Saharan Africa predictive of greater HIV risk
In a guest post, Paul Brodish, an applications analyst with the MEASURE Evaluation project, discusses a recently released study published in the Journal of Biosocial Science that “investigates whether community-level wealth inequality in [sub-Saharan Africa] predicts HIV serostatus…” (Barton, 5/4).

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Physician Says Threats To HCWs In Conflict, Emergency Zones Under-Reported

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Health Care in Conflict: A Doctor’s Perspective
Sarah Dwyer, communications manager for IntraHealth International, discusses threats to health care workers in conflict zones and profiles the research of Dilshad Jaff, a Kurdish physician from the disputed territories of northern Iraq who is finishing a masters degree at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (5/4).

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