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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Maternal Mortality Ratio Down 44% Since 1990, Falling Short Of 75% Reduction Goal, Report Shows

News outlets discuss findings showing the global maternal mortality ratio dropped 43.9 percent from 1990 to 2015. U.N. agencies and the World Bank released the report, which was published simultaneously in The Lancet.

Agence France-Presse: Maternal mortality cut by almost half in 25 years: U.N.
“Deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes have fallen by almost half across the world in the past quarter century, but only nine countries have achieved the targets set by the U.N., a report by U.N. agencies and the World Bank said Thursday…” (11/12).

BBC News: Maternal mortality falls by almost 50% — U.N. report
“…Around 303,000 women died of complications during pregnancy or up to six weeks after giving birth in 2015 — down from 532,000 in 1990. Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) said the results showed ‘huge progress’…” (11/12).

Reuters: U.S. maternal mortality rate is twice that of Canada: U.N.
“…The United States was … one of only 13 countries to have worse rates of maternal mortality in 2015 than in 1990 — a group that also includes North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela…” (Miles, 11/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Maternal deaths drop sharply, but only nine nations meet U.N. goal
“…The Maldives, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cape Verde, East Timor, Iran, Laos, Mongolia, and Rwanda reduced maternal mortality by between 78 and 90 percent, the organizations’ report said…” (11/12).

VOA News: Report: Global Drop in Maternal Deaths Fall Short of Goal
“…[Lale Say, the WHO’s reproductive health coordinator,] says about 99 percent of all maternal deaths are taking place in developing regions, with Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for two-in-three deaths. … Say also says maternal mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa have decreased by 45 percent from 987 to 546 per 100,000 live births between 1990 and 2015…” (Schlein, 11/12).

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WHO's Chan Expresses Concern Over TPP, Saying Pact Could Limit Access To Some Medicines

Reuters: Pacific trade deal could limit affordable drugs: world health chief
“A massive trade pact between 12 Pacific rim countries could limit the availability of affordable medicines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday, joining a heated debate on the impact of the deal. Margaret Chan told a conference there were ‘some very serious concerns’ about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a central plank of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trade policy which still needs to be ratified by member governments…” (Miles, 11/12).

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U.N.'s Ban Urges Nations Not To Shift Resources To Refugee Crises At Expense Of Development Aid

Inter Press Service: Refugee Crisis May Threaten Development Aid to World’s Poor
“As the spreading refugee crisis threatens to destabilize national budgets of donor nations in Western Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday appealed to the international community not to forsake its longstanding commitment for development assistance to the world’s poorer nations. … The secretary-general said resources for one area should not come at the expense of another. Redirecting critical funding away from development aid at this pivotal time could perpetuate challenges that the global community has committed to address, he warned…” (Deen, 11/11).

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Diabetes Experts Call On G20 Nations To Implement Sugar Taxes To Lower Obesity Rates, Save Lives

Reuters: Diabetes experts tell G20 to tax sugar to save lives and money
“Diabetes experts called on world leaders on Thursday to use sugar taxes to fight obesity, arguing such a move would save lives and slash health care budgets. Ahead of a meeting of G20 leaders this weekend, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) wants the dual epidemics of obesity and diabetes to be placed on the global agenda alongside major geopolitical and financial issues…” (Hirschler, 11/11).

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El Niño Weather Phenomenon To Exacerbate Hunger In East Africa, U.N. Says

Agence France-Presse: East Africa hunger to worsen as El Niño strikes: U.N.
“Conflicts, floods, and failed rains caused by El Niño have sparked a dramatic rise in the number of people going hungry in East Africa, especially in drought-hit Ethiopia, the United Nations said Thursday…” (11/12).

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Ethiopian Government Begins Food Distribution, Says Supplies Will Last Through December

Associated Press: Ethiopia government distributes food to hungry people
“Ethiopia’s government has started distributing rations of wheat and cooking oil to people facing hunger in the northern and northeastern parts of the country. … More than eight million people require urgent food assistance and the Ethiopian government says there is enough food aid to feed them through December. The government recently appealed to the international community for $596 million in food assistance…” (Meseret, 11/11).

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Enforcing Guatemala's New Marriage Age Of 18 Will Prove Challenging In Rural Areas, Women's Rights Advocates Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Guatemala bans child marriage, big change for rural areas
“Guatemala has raised the minimum age for marriage to 18, but women’s rights campaigners said enforcing the new law would be a challenge in a country where nearly one-third of girls are currently married by that age. … Rights campaigners say achieving the cultural change the law envisages will be a particular challenge for Guatemala’s Maya indigenous communities, who live in poor rural areas where child marriage is most common…” (Moloney, 11/11).

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Maasai Cricket Team Uses Notoriety To Promote Women's Rights, Ending FGM

The Guardian: Maasai Cricket Warriors determined to hit female genital mutilation for six
“When Maasai tribesmen took up cricket in 2009, media attention soon followed. It gave the young men — whose story is the subject of a new film — the perfect platform to campaign for women’s rights and demand an end to FGM…” (Ford, 11/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Early Identification, Treatment Of Childhood Pneumonia Essential To Reduce Disease's Burden, Deaths

The Lancet Global Health: Early identification and treatment of pneumonia: a call to action
Karin Kallander of the Malaria Consortium, London EC2A 4LT, and Karolinska Institutet; Deborah H. Burgess of Kimataifa Diagnostics and Devices Consulting; and Shamim A. Qazi of the WHO

“On the seventh World Pneumonia Day on Nov. 12, 2015, we call for action to improve the early identification and treatment of childhood pneumonia at community and outpatient level to reduce deaths. … Early identification of pneumonia and appropriate treatment saves lives. By initiating antibiotic therapy soon after onset of symptoms such as fast breathing in a child with cough, the progression of a pneumonia infection is blunted. … This scale-up will need permissive policies allowing community health workers to detect and treat pneumonia with antibiotics, research and development to improve pneumonia diagnosis, and financial support for introduction and maintenance of pulse oximeters and oxygen therapy in health centers and hospitals” (11/11).

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Patent Protection Requirements For Medicines Must Consider Public Health Dimension

Inter Press Service: Opinion: The Grant of Patents and the Exorbitant Cost of “Lifesaving” Drugs
Germán Velásquez, special adviser for health and development at the South Centre

“…[T]he number of patents obtained annually to protect truly new pharmaceutical products is very low and falling. … The major problems can be identified in the current use of the patent system to protect pharmaceutical innovation: reduction in innovation, high prices of medicines, lack of transparency in research and development costs, and proliferation of patents. … The application of patentability requirements for medicines, given their public health dimension, should be considered with even more care than in the case of regular merchandise or luxury items. The first and most important step is to use the freedom permitted by the TRIPs Agreement to define the patentability requirements: novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability (utility) in a way that keeps sight of public interest in the wide dissemination of knowledge” (11/10).

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TPP Needs 'Thorough Human Rights Assessment' To Ensure No Threat To Achieving SDGs

The Conversation: The Trans-Pacific Partnership poses a grave threat to sustainable development
Matthew Rimmer, professor of intellectual property and innovation law at the Queensland University of Technology

“…Several chapters of the [Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)] impinge upon the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], potentially undermining the U.N.’s efforts to promote sustainable development and equality throughout the Pacific region. Moreover, many developing countries, least-developed countries, and small island states in the Pacific region are excluded from the preferential trade deal. … There needs to be a thorough human rights assessment of the whole agreement. … We need a new kind of trade agreement — one that respects and supports the world’s Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, it is essential that future trade deals promote human development, access to knowledge, public health, and climate action” (11/11).

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Registration Data, Digital Health Tools Critical To Eliminate Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission

Devex: How real numbers can eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV
Patricia Mechael, principal and policy lead at HealthEnabled and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

“…The simple act of registering pregnant women — and their newborn children — within the health system is providing the basis for South Africa to accurately pinpoint real cases of HIV in pregnant women. This helps ensure safe delivery, supported through appropriate medication, and tracks their infants to one year to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV once and for all. … Increasingly, studies are showing that mobile phone messages and information sharing can improve adherence to HIV treatment and ensure full coverage of targeted health services including immunizations. … By collaborating across sectors and harnessing the latest digital technologies, we can sustain efforts in the long run and truly eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV” (11/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Analysis On Donor Government Assistance For Family Planning In 2014

Kaiser Family Foundation: Donor Government Assistance for Family Planning in 2014
This new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis examines donor government international funding for family planning in 2014. The analysis finds that “donor governments provided U.S.$1.4 billion to support bilateral family planning programs in low- and middle-income countries, an increase of more than $100 million (nine percent) above 2013 levels and 32 percent above 2012 levels. The U.S. was the largest donor, providing US$637 million, nearly half of all bilateral funding for family planning programs in 2014. The U.K. (US$328 million) was the second largest bilateral donor, followed by the Netherlands (US$164 million), Sweden (US$70 million), and France (US$70 million)…” (11/12).

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PEPFAR's Efforts Impact Global Health Diplomacy, Panelists At Bipartisan Policy Center Event Say

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Global health is currency for peace and security, say panelists
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses remarks from panelists at an event launching the Bipartisan Policy Center’s report on PEPFAR’s role in advancing health diplomacy. Panel members who are quoted include Deborah Birx, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of U.S. government activities to combat HIV/AIDS; Rear Admiral Tom Cullison, senior adviser to the Uniformed Services University Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM); former Senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle; General James Cartwright, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University; and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci (11/11).

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Pulitzer Center Collection Examines HIV Epidemic In Philippines

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting: HIV in the Philippines: State of Emergency
In this collection, Pulitzer Center grantees Ana P. Santos, a freelance journalist based in Manila, Philippines, and Veejay Villafranca, a documentary photographer, report on the Philippines’ growing HIV epidemic and “examine how a public health issue is made into a moral one, with stigma and shame inevitably contributing to the rise of this epidemic” (11/11).

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Farming Intervention Improved Food Security, HIV Outcomes In Kenyan Region, Study Shows

Scientific American’s “Food Matters”: In Kenya, Improving Food Security and HIV Outcomes through Farming
Anthropologist Layla Eplett discusses a study recently published in the journal AIDS that examined an “agricultural intervention that increased food security and also improved HIV outcomes” in the Nyanza region of Kenya (11/11).

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