KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

NIAID Director Fauci, Colleagues Discuss Importance Of Measles Vaccinations In NEJM Perspective Piece

MedPage Today: NIAID Director: Measles Not a ‘Trivial Disease’
“…Growing numbers of measles outbreaks in the U.S., as well as abroad, threaten children, pregnant women, as well as cancer patients and patients living with HIV, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and colleagues. … While the U.S. has had 555 cases of measles in 20 states confirmed this year through April 11, the authors [of a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece] also noted recent measles epidemics around the world, citing a 31% increase in the number of measles cases from 2016 through 2017…” (Walker, 4/17).

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DRC Documents 12 New Ebola Cases In Continuing Outbreak; Vaccine Effective But Teams Unable To Reach Vulnerable Populations

CIDRAP News: Ebola outbreak grows by 12 as CDC issues new HCW advice
“[Thursday] the health ministry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) confirmed another 12 cases of Ebola in an ongoing outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The cases raise the outbreak total to 1,302…” (Soucheray, 4/18).

The Lancet: DR Congo Ebola outbreak not given PHEIC designation
“Even as the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) reached new records for daily infections last week, experts convened by WHO opted not to declare a public health emergency. The designation of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) would galvanize international attention and funds and might induce border-spanning measures to stop the spread of the disease or compel travel and trade restrictions…” (Green, 4/20).

Science: Ebola outbreak continues despite powerful vaccine
“New data show that an experimental Ebola vaccine is ‘highly effective’ and appears to have helped contain a long-lasting outbreak of the deadly disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the conflict-ridden region has kept vaccine teams from reaching many people who need it…” (Cohen, 4/19).

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Cyclone Idai Devastation Continues To Impact Food Security, Access To Education In Southeastern African Nations

The Guardian: ‘I don’t know how my children will survive’: Zimbabwe in crisis
“…Before Cyclone Idai wreaked havoc on eastern Zimbabwe last month, the country was already in the grip of a food crisis. El Niño had left 70% of the country’s population in desperate need of aid after the rains failed. … The crops that hadn’t already died from the drought were washed away by torrential rains brought by Idai…” (Chingono, 4/19).

The Lancet: Cyclone Idai: 1 month later, devastation persists
“…The cyclone, described by the U.N. as one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere, caused a total death toll of more than 1,000, including 602 people in Mozambique, 344 people in Zimbabwe, and 59 people in Malawi. … The international response has been massive but resources are running out, said the U.N. Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a situation report dated April 12…” (Devi, 4/20).

Xinhua News: Cyclone Idai leaves education at risk for over 305,000 children in Mozambique: UNICEF
“More than 305,000 children in Mozambique have had their education interrupted because of damage caused by Cyclone Idai, UNICEF said Thursday. Over 3,400 classrooms were damaged or destroyed in cyclone-affected regions. In some cases, schools require extensive rehabilitation after being used as emergency shelters, said UNICEF in a press release…” (4/19).

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Devex Examines Functions Of U.N. OCHA's Central Emergency Response Fund

Devex: CERF: The fund that functions ‘like the ambulance for the U.N.’
“Mark Lowcock, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, last week announced the largest ever disbursement from the Central Emergency Response Fund, the U.N. mechanism for allocating unearmarked humanitarian dollars. The $125 million for 13 underfunded emergencies around the world will focus on four priority areas of gender-based violence and reproductive access, education, protection, and disabilities … As the number of humanitarian crises around the world continues to grow while official development assistance from traditional donors falls, CERF fills a key gap in international funding by disbursing funds in two ways: For protracted crises where needs remain acute but international attention has waned … CERF disburses money twice a year through its Underfunded Emergencies window. Through its second window, Rapid Response, CERF allows the U.N. to quickly get money into the field during humanitarian emergencies any time of the year, such as in response to recent Cyclone Idai in southern Africa…” (Welsh, 4/19).

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New Drug Resistance Index Ranks 41 Countries, Shows Distinctions Between High-, Low-Income Nations

CIDRAP News: New metric aims to simplify how global resistance is measured
“A new method for measuring and tracking antibiotic resistance and comparing the effectiveness of antibiotics by country shows a clear distinction between high- and low-income countries. In a study published in BMJ Global Health, researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) calculated the Drug Resistance Index (DRI) — which combines measurements of antibiotic consumption and resistance across several disease-causing pathogens — for 41 countries. … DRIs were generally correlated with income levels, with high-income countries such as Sweden, Canada, and Norway having the lowest DRIs and India, Thailand, and Ecuador the highest…” (Dall, 4/18).

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GSK, WHO, Partners To Begin Pilot Program For RTS,S Malaria Vaccine In 3 African Countries

STAT: A pivotal test of an experimental malaria vaccine set to begin
“Researchers are preparing to launch a pivotal test of an experimental malaria vaccine this month — one that global health leaders believe could eventually lead to big reductions in the number of cases and deaths worldwide. Despite those high hopes, there are also concerns that the theoretical benefits of the vaccine, made by GSK, might not translate into the real world. To see whether the vaccine lives up to its promise, the World Health Organization and partners have designed a sort of beta rollout of the vaccine, called RTS,S…” (Branswell, 4/19).

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UNICEF Launches New Social Media Campaign Declaring #VaccinesWork

U.N. News: ‘Vaccines are safe’ and save lives, UNICEF declares, launching new #VaccinesWork campaign
“Amid a surge in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Thursday a new social media campaign, emphasizing that ‘vaccines are safe, and they save lives.’ To inspire confidence in the power and safety of vaccines, UNICEF is using the hashtag #VaccinesWork for the global campaign, centered around World Immunization Week, which runs from 24 to 30 April…” (4/18).

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TED's Audacious Project Awards 8 Projects, Including END Fund's Effort To Increase Access To Deworming Treatments, WASH

Fast Company: TED just raised $280 million for 8 world-changing projects
“Last year, TED announced the Audacious Project: a massive philanthropic effort to fund projects tackling specific but pernicious issues across the globe. … For the 2019 cohort, TED has raised another $280 million for another eight projects, and that funding pool will continue to grow as more contributions come in following the annual TED conference in Vancouver. These are the new Audacious Project members, which span social justice, global health, education, and science and climate: … The END Fund is tackling a truly pernicious issue: the presence of parasitic worms in people across the world. Through the funding, the organization wants to bring deworming treatment to 100 million people and support partnerships to increase access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education. Last year’s projects have already seen major progress: Sightsavers, the organization fighting blindness, used the funding to eliminate trachoma in Ghana…” (Anzilotti, 4/16).

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Bill, Melinda Gates Top Fortune Magazine's 2019 List Of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

Fortune: How Bill and Melinda Gates Are Transforming Life for Billions in the 21st Century
“The Gates Foundation is transforming the lives of billions of people — but it wouldn’t be the force it has become without the distinctive visions of the couple behind it. The staff of Fortune recently assembled our 2019 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. This story is part of that coverage…” (Leaf, 4/18).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: In South Sudan, illness is as deadly as war (4/19).

Borgen Magazine: Positive Deviance: A Solution for Malnutrition in Vietnam? (Newsome, 4/18).

Health24: Common contraceptive could raise TB risk, study finds (4/18).

Inter Press Service: Egypt’s Food Challenge: a Good Effort but Not Enough (Srour, 4/18).

The Lancet: Liberia post Ebola: ready for another outbreak? (Salm-Reifferscheidt, 4/20).

Quartz: The life-saving power of a simple checklist (Todd, 4/18).

Quartz Africa: Ghana’s budding health tech sector is finally getting deserved global recognition (Asiedu, 4/18).

U.N. News: Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports U.N. labor agency (4/18).

U.N. News: ‘Foreign children’ in overwhelmed Syrian camp need urgent international help, says top U.N. official (4/18).

VOA News: Official: Taliban, IS Deprive Afghan Kids of Polio Vaccine (Habibzada, 4/18).

Xinhua News: U.N. Sustainable Development Goals faced with financing challenge: official (4/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Commission On Universal Health In 21st Century Recognizes Social Inequality, Current 'Global Order' As Barriers To Health

The Lancet: Universal health care in 21st century Americas
Editorial Board

“Despite considerable progress, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) estimates that 30% of the population of the Americas still do not have access to the health care they need because of multifaceted barriers. … The Commission [on Universal Health in the 21st Century] emphasizes that achieving health for all in the Americas will only be possible by ensuring effective financing, enshrining the right to health for all in legal and regulatory frameworks, and pursuing models of care that are based on primary health care. … The Commission is unflinching in its acknowledgment of social inequality as a barrier to health. … The Commission criticizes the consolidation of a worldwide economic model based on globalization and increasing commercialization and urbanization, which it sees has led to climate change, migration, an increase in non-communicable diseases, mental health disorders, road traffic injuries, and violence. … By examining health beyond its social determinants, the PAHO Commission not only delivers actionable recommendations with regional impact but also presents the global order of the 21st century as a barrier to health for all” (4/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Special Representative Of IMF To U.N. Highlights 4 Recommendations On Meeting SDG Financing Challenges

IMFBlog: Financing for Sustainable Development: Tackling Big Challenges
Christopher Lane, special representative of the IMF to the United Nations, discusses challenges in financing development and highlights four recommendations from a new study that discusses how “to better align financing with investments in the Sustainable Development Goals.” The recommendations include: “Develop a financing framework … Medium-term revenue strategies … Actions to support debt sustainability … Prepare for future crises” (4/18).

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FT Health Discusses Effectiveness Of U.K. Foreign Aid, Features Chart On Worldwide Measles Cases

FT Health: Foreign aid and the threat to multilateralism
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses an analysis from the Center for Global Development on the effectiveness of U.K. aid, features a chart on worldwide measles cases, and provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 4/18).

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Roche Expert Discusses Key Approaches To Address Global Threat Of Cancer

World Economic Forum: How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer
Sarbani Chakraborty, lead for health systems capacity at Roche, discusses key approaches for addressing the global threat of cancer, including preventing what is preventable; eradicating tobacco usage; immunizing populations; promoting healthy lifestyle choices; strengthening primary care; integrating primary, secondary, and tertiary services; investing in care; and making effective policies and ensuring they are implemented. Chakraborty also discusses the importance of cross-sector collaboration, writing, “The continuing rise of cancer is inevitable. However, if we embrace the key pillars of preparedness and work together in close collaboration, we can offset its impact on millions of people around the world” (4/18).

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PLOS Article Discusses Challenges, Opportunities To Address Infectious Disease Epidemics Through China's Belt And Road Initiative

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Combating infectious disease epidemics through China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Jin Chen of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues discuss the challenges and opportunities of China’s efforts to address infectious diseases through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The authors write, “A major part of the BRI focuses on support and communication to build a new mechanism for global health, prioritizing the prevention and control of infectious diseases, preventing outbreaks becoming epidemics, and providing UHC, thus overcoming the vicious circle of poverty and ill health…” (4/18).

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Initiative Allows Health Professionals To Use Climate Information To Address Malaria In Ethiopia

Climate & Development Knowledge Network: Climate information to help combat malaria in Ethiopia
Mairi Dupar, strategic knowledge manager at the Overseas Development Initiative (ODI), technical adviser for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), and managing editor for CDKN’s website, with assistance from Madeleine Thomson of Columbia University, discusses the impact of climate change on the spread of malaria in Ethiopia and highlights the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative, which “has made climate information easier for Ethiopian health professionals to access and use … [and] has helped them to pinpoint which districts will be most exposed to the climatic conditions that foster the spread of malaria — and to better target malaria control measures” (4/18).

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From the U.S. Government

Decline In Measles Vaccine Coverage Contributes To Global Resurgence, Experts Say

NIH: Decline in measles vaccination is causing a preventable global resurgence of the disease
“In 2000, measles was declared to be eliminated in the United States, when no sustained transmission of the virus was seen in this country for more than 12 months. Today, however, the United States and many other countries that had eliminated the disease are experiencing concerning outbreaks of measles because of declines in measles vaccine coverage. Without renewed focus on measles vaccination efforts, the disease may rebound in full force, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine by infectious diseases experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Penn State University College of Medicine’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center…” (4/18).

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