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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Trials Show Safety Of Drug, Ability To Trigger Immune Response

Media outlets report on results from two Ebola experimental drug trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. The reports, titled “A Recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Ebola Vaccine — Preliminary Report” and “Phase 1 Trials of rVSV Ebola Vaccine in Africa and Europe — Preliminary Report”, suggest the safety of the drug as well as the ability of the drug to elicit an immune response.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola vaccine tests show it could ‘neutralize’ virus: Geneva hospital
“An experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in Europe and Africa sparks the production of the antibodies needed to neutralize the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said Wednesday…” (4/1).

The Canadian Press/Huffington Post: Canadian Ebola Vaccine Trial Reveals Promising Results
“The first human trials of a designed-in-Canada Ebola vaccine suggest it is safe and triggers a rapid immune response, two articles published Wednesday reveal…” (Branswell, 4/1).

Modern Healthcare: Ebola vaccine trials show early promise
“…The findings from two studies published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate the experimental vaccine known as rVSV-ZEBOV showed signs of the ability to provoke an immune response in recipients from Phase 1 trials conducted in the U.S., Africa, and Europe between October and December 2014…” (Johnson, 4/1).

National Institutes of Health: Experimental Ebola Vaccine Safe, Prompts Immune Response
“An early-stage clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) found that the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, was safe and elicited robust antibody responses in all 40 of the healthy adults who received it. … A report describing preliminary results of the NIH-WRAIR study appears online today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The VSV-ZEBOV candidate is one of two experimental Ebola vaccines now being tested in the phase 2/3 PREVAIL clinical trial that is enrolling volunteers in Liberia…” (4/1).

NBC News: Experimental Ebola Shot Shows Good Response
“…The vaccine, which has already been shipped to West Africa for more testing, uses an animal virus called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to carry tiny pieces of the Ebola virus to help train the immune system to recognize it…” (Fox, 4/1).

Reuters: Merck, NewLink Ebola vaccine appears safe, effective in new studies
“…The trials all tested a vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV, which was developed at the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp and then to Merck & Co Inc…” (Begley, 4/1).

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases/EurekAlert: VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine appears safe and generates immune response
“… ‘These pivotal early studies helped inform dose selection for testing of [the] VSV-EBOV vaccine in a large-scale clinical trial in West Africa,’ noted Lt. Col. Jason Regules at WRAIR, one of two co-lead authors of the paper…” (4/1).

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Media Focused Too Much On 'Doom And Gloom' Message Of U.N. Water Report, Author Says

Inter Press Service: U.N. Water Report Not “Doom And Gloom”, Says Author
“The lead author of a United Nations water report has spoken out about media depictions of his findings, denying the report lays out a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015, released on Mar. 20 in conjunction with World Water Day, lays out a number of troubling findings…” (Butler, 3/31).

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Children In Need Of Protection In Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis, U.N., NGOs Warn

Al Jazeera America: U.N., NGOs decry humanitarian crisis in Yemen
“As a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen entered its seventh day on Wednesday, international organizations and relief agencies expressed alarm at the rising number of civilian deaths, many of them children, and the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis unfolding…” (Kutsch, 4/1).

Newsweek: 62 Children Killed in Week-Old Yemen Conflict, UNICEF Confirms
“At least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured in the week-old conflict in Yemen, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday…” (Moore, 4/1).

U.N. News Centre: ‘Children urgently need our protection,’ warns U.N. child rights envoy as casualties mount in Yemen
“Alarmed by the rising number of child casualties in Yemen, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui [Wednesday] urged all parties involved in military operations ‘avoid creating new risks’ for crisis-torn country’s children and to adhere to international law…” (4/1).

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Pledges For Syrian Humanitarian Aid Fall Short Of Target

Inter Press Service: Pledges for Humanitarian Aid to Syria Fall Short of Target by Billions
“…[United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s] appeal for a hefty 8.4 billion dollars in humanitarian aid fell short of its target — despite great-hearted efforts by three major donors: the European Commission (E.C.) and its member states (with a contribution of nearly one billion dollars), the United States (507 million dollars) and Kuwait (500 million dollars)…” (Deen, 3/31).

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Indian Officials Launch Effort To Track Toilet Locations, Use

GlobalPost: Indian authorities are out in force to enforce the use of toilets
“You could call it India’s Toilet Revolution. These days, government inspectors on the subcontinent … have been out in force, combing the countryside — on the hunt for toilets, or rather the lack of them. The effort is part of the Clean India Campaign launched late last year by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a business-friendly reformer who has pledged that every Indian household will have a toilet by 2019…” (Gahlot, 3/31).

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India To Add HIV/AIDS, TB Drugs To List Of Medicines Subject To Price Caps, Sources Say

Reuters: India to add more AIDS, TB drugs to essential medicines list: sources
“India is likely to add more HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis drugs to its list of essential medicines that are subject to price caps, people directly involved in the process said, in a move to improve affordability of drugs to treat the deadly diseases…” (Siddiqui, 4/2).

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India Health Ministry Undertakes Effort To Redesign Condom Packaging

Reuters: India to repackage state-supplied condoms in bid to attract users
“…India is readying a redesign of the staid packaging of its half-century-old condom brand, incorporating pictures of handsome men and gorgeous women, in a desperate bid to seduce customers drawn to fancier versions sold by private firms. The government gives away 650 million ‘Nirodh’ condoms each year in its safe sex campaign, but the text-heavy display and condoms crammed into a white plastic wrapper are a turnoff for many…”

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Gambia Adds Inactivated Polio Vaccine To Routine Immunization Program

FORYOYYA Newspaper/allAfrica: Gambia to Introduce Inactivated Polio Vaccine
“The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare … on Wednesday, 1st April introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in line with the global polio eradication initiative spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain immunity against poliomyelitis globally…” (3/30).

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Single-Dose Malaria Drug Performs Well In Laboratory Tests, Study Shows

The Hindu: Candidate malaria drug may cure with single dose
“Last year, AstraZeneca, the global drug company, closed its research center in Bengaluru. One of the legacies of the work carried out there is the identification of a novel candidate drug for malaria. In laboratory tests, this molecule has shown that it was fast acting and remained in the blood for an extended period of time, creating the possibility of a single-dose treatment, according to a paper published recently…” (Raj, 4/2).

International Business Times: Fast working malaria drug developed that works against resistant strains
“A fast working, single dose malaria drug developed by scientists based in Bangalore has proved to be safe and effective in a series of tests on animals. … The drug is said to work against drug resistant strains of the malaria pathogen and has no known side-effects. After a few more lab tests, it will go for clinical trials in humans…” (Jayalakshmi K, 4/1).

The Times of India: Bengaluru scientists find drug which could cure malaria with one dose
“…[T]his drug has the potential to cure the dreaded disease in one dose makes it more attractive to health care providers…” (Kumar, 4/1).

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USAID Mission Director To Liberia Urges Communities To Stop Rape

Liberia News Agency/allAfrica: Liberia: USAID Official Urges Communities to Work to Stop Rape
“An official of the United States Agency For International Development (USAID), John Mark Winfield, has urged community leaders [in Liberia] to identify ways to stop rape in their communities…” (Dixon, 3/31).

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Simplified Antibiotic Regimen Can Effectively Treat Sick Babies, Studies Show

News outlets report on results from two studies — one in The Lancet and another in The Lancet Global Health — that suggest that a simplified antibiotic regimen can effectively treat sick babies.

HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report: Simpler Antibiotic Regimen Helps Sick Babies in Developing Nations
“Newborns and young infants in developing nations who have suspected severe bacterial infections can be effectively treated outside a hospital, two new studies suggest…” (Preidt, 4/1).

VOA News: Simplified Antibiotic Treatment Strategy Could Save Thousands of Babies
“One in five babies worldwide develops a severe bacterial infection, including pneumonia and sepsis, resulting in the death of an estimated 700,000 infants. New research shows that young infants can be safely and effectively treated in their community with a simplified antibiotic drug regimen…” (Berman, 4/1).

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New Tool Shows Promise For Studying Relapse Of Malaria

Vaccine News Daily: New tool for studying relapsing malaria infections
“A new tool could be instrumental in transforming the medical community’s search for novel treatments against relapsing malaria infections. Researchers at Seattle BioMed recently used a human-chimeric mouse model to further study Plasmodium vivax malaria parasite liver infections. The scientists used this tool to grow livers from humans. They then infect[ed] the livers with P. vivax to investigate the parasite’s activity, development, and dormancy…” (4/1).

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Liberia, Sierra Leone Show Progress In Ebola Fight; Guinea Sees Mixed Results

Agence France-Presse: Last Cuban Ebola medics leave S. Leone, new clampdown for Easter
“The last remaining Cuban medics sent to Sierra Leone in October last year to help in the fight against Ebola left the country on Wednesday, as the number of infections there is falling. But President Ernest Bai Koroma announced new restrictions on movement for the upcoming Easter weekend to prevent a resurgence of the deadly virus…” (4/1).

Associated Press: Liberia, Sierra Leone gain in Ebola crisis; Guinea struggles
“…The West African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia both appear to be on steady paths to ending the epidemic. The wild card is Guinea, where Ebola hasn’t burned as hot but remains stubbornly entrenched…” (DiLorenzo, 4/2).

Associated Press: 10 Ebola cases found during Sierra Leone’s shutdown
“Sierra Leone found 10 new Ebola cases during a three-day countrywide shutdown, an official said Wednesday, declaring that the West African country is now at the ‘tail end’ of the epidemic…” (Roy-Macaulay, 4/1).

Reuters: Sierra Leone to start laying off Ebola workers as cases fall: president
“Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Wednesday authorities would soon start laying off staff recruited to fight Ebola as the numbers of cases decline, but these workers would be employed elsewhere, where possible…” (Fofana/Lewis, 4/1).

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Access To Sanitary Pads Allows Girls In Africa To Attend School

Agence France-Presse: Sanitary freedom keeps African schoolgirls in class
“…[Sue] Barnes works through her non-profit organization, Project Dignity … to help girls stay in school by providing economical sanitary pads. … [In Uganda,] girls missing school during menstruation was a ‘big problem’ that led some to fall behind or even abandon their studies altogether…” (Findlay/Fallon, 4/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

More Work Must Be Done To Improve Health Care For Women, Girls

Devex: Women’s health is everyone’s health
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…You don’t have to be an expert in global development to know that women and girls around the world still face gender-specific barriers to reaching their full potential. Nor should it come as a surprise that when women and girls are held back, the health and prosperity of their communities suffer, too. … A better future starts with ensuring that all women and girls everywhere receive the quality care they need from birth through adulthood — including mental health services and treatment of noncommunicable diseases — so that they are empowered to live healthy, productive lives. … Over the last two decades we have seen that incredible progress is possible. But progress in the aggregate doesn’t change the life or the future of a girl who is on the wrong side of those statistics. That girl is why I’m impatient — and the potential she already holds within her is why I’m optimistic” (4/2).

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Water Prices, Sustainable Solutions, Political Leadership Needed To Address World Water Shortage

New York Times: Water Pricing, Not Engineering, Will Ease Looming Water Shortages
Scott Moore, international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Poor planning, climate change, and an over-reliance on engineering solutions to water scarcity problems threaten cities across the globe. Unless policy makers in Washington and state capitals heed the lessons of Brazil and other countries facing crippling water scarcity, parts of America will also be left high and dry in the decades to come. … Americans, like their Brazilian counterparts, must prepare for a new era of water scarcity. But with proper planning and leadership, American cities need not see the taps run dry. It’s time for Washington, Brasília, and other capitals to stop relying on engineering fixes, and start focusing on sustainable solutions to water scarcity” (3/31).

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Achieving Zero Hunger Requires Renewed Focus On Malnourished In Middle Income Countries

Huffington Post: Where Do the World’s Hungriest People Live? Not Where You Think
Shenngen Fan, economist and director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute

“…It may be a surprise that the majority of the world’s hungry and malnourished live in large Middle Income Countries (MICs), some of which are global economic powerhouses. These countries are hosts to the Missing Middle, or vulnerable populations that tend not to either benefit from or contribute to the rapid economic growth that is characteristic of their countries. … In the end, only MICs can find and roll out specific solutions to lift up the Missing Middle in their countries. The international community should support country-led solutions; it cannot realize its ambitious international agenda of achieving zero hunger and malnutrition without a renewed focus on the Missing Middle” (4/1).

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Obesity Poses Global Health Threat

Project Syndicate: The Global Obesity Threat
Richard Dobbs, director of the McKinsey Global Institute, and Boyd Swinburn, professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne

“In 2010, humanity passed an important milestone. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, obesity became a bigger public health problem than hunger. Today, according to the latest edition of the study, more than 2.1 billion people — nearly 30% of the global population — are overweight or obese. … More than 60% of the world’s obese people live in developing countries, where rapid industrialization and urbanization are boosting incomes and therefore calorie intake. … To make matters worse, in countries with limited public health services, the cost of health care falls directly on the afflicted households. As a result, obesity can lock in poverty and perpetuate inequality. … For many countries, tackling obesity will require a national — if not global — effort. … We do not yet have all the answers when it comes to the best way to tackle obesity. But the rapid rise in obesity rates around the world creates a strong case for experimenting with interventions, to see what works…” (4/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Dedicates World Health Day To Issue Of Food Safety

World Health Organization: World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe
In a news release in advance of World Health Day, which takes place April 7th, the World Health Organization discusses new data on the global burden of foodborne diseases and calls for “coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain” (4/2).

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