Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

Increased TB incidence In Zimbabwe associated with food insecurity, economic collapse

Results of a study released by the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and published in PLOS ONE state that the “rise of tuberculosis (TB) in Zimbabwe during the socio-economic crisis of 2008-9 has been linked to widespread food shortage.” According to the University of Toronto’s press release, “‘This was the first study to detect the recent TB outbreak in Zimbabwe, and the first anywhere to suggest an association between rising TB incidence and national economic decline in the absence of armed conflict,’ said Michael Silverman, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and senior author of the study. Although the same phenomenon may occur with other infectious diseases, the study focused on TB — one of the largest causes of morbidity and mortality in Zimbabwe, especially among people living with HIV…” (2/5).

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Global community reacts to death of Nelson Mandela, reflects on his contributions to global AIDS response

“Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was 95,” the New York Times reports (Keller, 12/5). “Tributes began flooding in almost immediately for a man who was an iconic global symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation,” Reuters notes, adding, “U.S. President Barack Obama said the world had lost ‘one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth’” (Cropley/Fletcher, 12/5). “Madiba’s ‘long walk to freedom’ gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. … He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement (12/5). “Mandela’s commitment to overcome prejudice and hate inspired not only his determination to break down barriers between different races, but also to eliminate discrimination against those living with HIV, calling on people to give publicity to HIV/AIDS and no longer to hide it,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a press release (12/6).

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Examining disease burden in Europe and Central Asia

In a guest post on Humanosphere, Katie Leach-Kemon, a policy translation specialist from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses the recently released reports from IHME and the World Bank on regional disease burdens. “One of the six reports, ‘Global Burden of Disease: Generating Evidence, Guiding Policy — Europe and Central Asia Regional Edition,’ is focused on countries in Eastern Europe, where progress has been made but for some parts of the region [tuberculosis (TB)] and HIV rates have skyrocketed,” she writes, noting, “This portion of the report includes countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Serbia, and Turkey.” She includes charts and graphs examining causes of morbidity and mortality for different age groups, and she adds, “In addition to interventions designed to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and improve eating habits, GBD data show that reducing alcohol use among men in Europe and Central Asia has the potential to address the disturbing increases in mortality the region is experiencing” (9/5).

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NPR examines reemergence of tuberculosis

NPR’s Shots blog examines the reemergence of tuberculosis in some parts of the world as well as the history of the disease, including in the U.S., as part of its continued coverage on the disease. “TB is not at all treated with the diligence that it should be,” Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), tells the blog (Doucleff, 7/19).

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Financial Times special report focuses on tuberculosis

The Financial Times has published a special report (.pdf), titled "Combating Tuberculosis 2013," as World TB Day on March 24 approaches. The following summaries briefly describe the articles in the series.

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Health-related MDGs should 'remain at the heart' of post-2015 goals

 

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Case of immigrant with XDR-TB shows global vulnerability to infectious diseases, Wall Street Journal reports

The Wall Street Journal profiles the case of a man infected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) who is being detained in South Texas after a "three-month odyssey through 13 countries -- from his homeland of Nepal through South Asia, Brazil, Mexico, and finally into Texas -- show[ing] the way in which dangerous new strains of the disease can migrate across the world unchecked." The newspaper notes, "In recent months the Wall Street Journal has exposed widening TB drug resistance in hot spots like India, and shown that the U.S. is surprisingly unprepared for the growing global problem," adding, "Most U.S. cases of drug-resistant TB occur in people who were born abroad, according to the [CDC]."

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Kaiser Family Foundation releases primer on U.S. engagement in global health issues

 

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Kaiser Family Foundation publishes report on donor funding for health in low- & middle-income countries

 

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Report examines international funding for neglected diseases

"International financial support aimed at counteracting the world's 'neglected diseases' increased by nearly a half-billion dollars over the past five years, according to new research released Monday, but changing funding dynamics could already be having a negative impact on the development of cures for diseases that affect a substantial proportion of the world's poor," Inter Press Service reports. "While funding for these diseases had begun to pick up, the new Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) report [.pdf] finds that this assistance has decreased again following the international financial crisis," the news service writes, adding, "More worrying, funding for research into these diseases remains highly dependent on a tiny number of players," including the U.S. (Biron, 12/3).

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