KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Innovative Data Collection, Analysis Helping Improve U.N. Humanitarian Projects

U.N. News Centre: U.N. bodies present projects showing how ‘Big Data’ can save lives, fight hunger
“…The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and U.N. Global Pulse — an innovation initiative of the Secretary-General — have teamed up on research projects exploring the link between mobile phone usage and hunger and they are presenting their findings at the Netmob Conference for Scientific Analysis of Mobile Phone Data at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, United States…” (4/9).

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Devex Previews Global Forum On Research And Innovation For Health 2015

Devex: Toward a ‘meaningful change’ on global health research and innovation
“The Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health 2015 isn’t bound to be your typical international gathering on global health. To be held in Manila, Philippines, the forum won’t be exclusive to health experts and policymakers. Rather, it will welcome all key players in health research and innovation, including young innovators, civil society groups, financing institutions, and the private sector, and is designed to be a solutions-driven convention…” (Villarino, 4/9).

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Monitoring System Used In Georgia During Ebola Outbreak Could Serve As Model, CDC Says

CQ HealthBeat: Georgia’s Ebola Reporting System Could Be a Model for Outbreaks, CDC Says
“The electronic reporting system used in Georgia to monitor travelers during the height of the Ebola outbreak last year could serve as a blueprint for responding to other disease outbreaks, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Zanona, 4/9).

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Liberia Names New Health Minister As Country Focuses On Ending Ebola, Reconstruction

Reuters: Liberia names new health minister as it seeks to beat Ebola
“Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has named new ministers for health and education as her government seeks to bring an end to the Ebola outbreak in the West African country and focus on reconstruction…” (Toweh, 4/8).

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Liberia Improperly Accounted For $800K In Ebola Funding, Report Shows

Reuters: Liberia watchdog says some Ebola funds unaccounted for
“A report by Liberia’s anti-corruption watchdog found some $800,000 spent in the fight against Ebola at the height of the outbreak of the disease last year was not properly accounted for, most of it passing through the defense ministry…” (Giahyue, 4/9).

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Questions Remain Over Ebola Vaccine Trials As Epidemic Subsides

Wall Street Journal: Squabbles Over Testing Methods Hamper Search for Ebola Vaccine
“The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa created a rare opportunity: New vaccines could be tested, and if they worked, serve as a firewall in future epidemics. It now appears this chance is slipping away amid public health officials’ squabbles over the right way to test vaccines. As a consequence, there may never be a definitive answer about the vaccines’ effectiveness…” (Burton, 4/9).

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Study Shows Possibility Of Silent MERS Infections

CIDRAP News: Saudi serology study shows possible role for silent MERS infections
“A large study of blood samples in Saudi Arabia suggests that some people who have contact with camels can contract undiagnosed or only mild MERS-CoV infections and might unknowingly pass the disease to others, findings that may help solve the mystery of how some people are getting sick…” (Schnirring, 4/9).

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Sharp Increase In Malnutrition Levels Expected In Yemen As Conflict Continues, UNICEF Representative Warns

International Business Times: Yemen: UNICEF expects ‘upsurge in malnutrition’ in coming weeks
“Already high malnutrition levels are expected to sharply increase throughout Yemen, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative said in Geneva on 9 April…” (Justice, 4/10).

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In South Africa, New Drug Offers Promising Signs Of Treating Drug Resistant TB, Doctors Say

Agence France-Presse: New TB drug offers glimmer of hope in S. Africa
“Drug-resistant tuberculosis is a major health challenge across much of Africa, but a new medicine being pioneered in South Africa could be a breakthrough after decades of frustration. Bedaquiline is being made available to 3,000 people suffering side effects of the usual drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment, or who have developed complete drug resistance…” (Findlay, 4/10).

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Cambodia Falls Short Of Maternal Mortality MDG Target

VOA News: Too Many Cambodian Women Dying During Childbirth
“Cambodia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Southeast Asia. The number of women dying during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped in recent years. But it is still far short of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals…” (Kimseng, 4/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Strengthen Foreign Aid To Bolster 'Great Gains Made In Global Health'

The Hill: Bill Gates’ big fear
Susan Barnett, founder of Faiths for Safe Water

“Bill Gates recently testified [before the Senate State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee] that one of his biggest global fears is a massive pandemic. … [W]e can’t forget that building up health infrastructures around the world is … in America’s best interest. … [N]ow is the time for Congress to strengthen foreign aid. U.S. foreign aid funding leverages billions of dollars in private funds, provides a strong return on its small investment, and saves millions of lives. … It’s time to not rollback progress but build on the great gains made in global heath…” (4/9).

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Better Health Data Allows Policymakers To Spend More Efficiently

New York Times: Turning to Big, Big Data to See What Ails the World
Tina Rosenberg, author and former editorial writer for the New York Times

“…The Global Burden of Disease study is a single scientific project on a scale with the moon landing or mapping the human genome. It has been going for a quarter century and involves hundreds, perhaps thousands, of scientists. … This is big, big, big data. And it’s had an enormous impact. … The researchers in the Global Burden study got their information by combing through birth and death records and hospital files and doing household surveys. … Put together, this data allows policymakers to make better use of their scarce health resources by spending them on what’s most important…” (4/9).

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Achieving 'Respectful' Care For Mothers, Infants Will Require Discussions On Underlying Causes Of Abuse

The Lancet: Achieving respectful care for women and babies
Editorial Board

“April 11 is the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, which aims to encourage rights-based, respectful care of women during pregnancy and childbirth. … Such an initiative is sadly necessary. Every woman should have the right to dignity, respect, and skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth but not every woman receives it. Evidence is growing about the disrespect and abuse women can face when accessing maternity care in countries at all levels of development. … An international day can raise awareness about the need to provide respectful care for women and babies, but achieving it in reality will need deep soul searching and discussion about the underlying causes of abuse, including health system pressures and the culture of maternity care” (4/11).

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Ending Child Marriage, Achieving Gender Equality Requires Political Will, Sufficient Funding

The Guardian: Sustainable development goals: why ending child marriage should be a target
Ommera Zafar, policy and advocacy officer at Girls Not Brides

“…[S]etting a target ‘to end child, early, and forced marriage’ will not just help monitor progress on reducing child marriage globally. It will also help catalyze efforts towards achieving a number of the proposed SDGs on poverty, nutrition, health, education, economic growth, and reduction of inequality — especially gender equality. … Of course, a target is not the be-all and end-all. As governments discuss how to finance the SDGs, it is vital that adequate funding goes to gender equality and realizing the needs of adolescent girls. Ending child marriage and achieving gender equality requires policy change and political will. In addition, it will require implementing policies, services, programs, and broader social norm change initiatives — all of which require additional resources…” (4/10).

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Study Examining How Oral Polio Vaccine Strains Spread Among People, In Environment Will Inform Eradication Efforts

Huffington Post: The Road to Making Polio a Disease of the Past
Yvonne Maldonado, chief of pediatric infectious disease at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health

“…Now that we are so close to eradicating all poliovirus infection from the face of the earth, the risk of spreading mutated oral vaccine polioviruses is very concerning. So concerning, that we and others around the world are conducting extensive research on how the oral polio vaccine strains are spread from person to person and into the environment. With a $3.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I am heading up a study as the Director of Stanford University School of Medicine’s Global Child Health Program and with colleagues at the National Institute for Public Health in Mexico. In this study, we are investigating the rate and duration of person to person transmission and environmental spread of the live, oral polio vaccine in Mexican communities. The results of the study could affect public policy not only in Mexico, but all around the world…” (4/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Calls For Cesarean Sections To Be Performed Only When Medically Required

World Health Organization: Cesarean sections should only be performed when medically necessary
“Cesarean section is one of the most common surgeries in the world, with rates continuing to rise, particularly in high- and middle-income countries. Although it can save lives, cesarean section is often performed without medical need, putting women and their babies at-risk of short- and long-term health problems. A new statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) underscores the importance of focusing on the needs of the patient, on a case by case basis, and discourages the practice of aiming for ‘target rates’…” (4/10).

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