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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Continued Investment Necessary To Control, Eliminate Malaria, U.N. Officials Say Ahead Of World Malaria Day

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of World Malaria Day, U.N. officials urge continued investment in fight against the disease
“Although more investment and stronger coordination have helped the international community make significant inroads in the global fight against malaria, continued investment for malaria control and elimination targets remains essential for a post-2015 future, top United Nations officials declared [Monday]…” (4/20).

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Collection Of Studies Examines Detrimental Effects Of Substandard, Counterfeit Malaria Drugs, Possible Solutions

Reuters: Substandard drugs, not fakes, undermine fight against malaria
“Poor quality drugs, not fake medicines, are the real threat in fight against malaria, causing deaths and increasing the risk of drug resistance, researchers said on Monday…” (Mis, 4/20).

VOA News: Fake, Substandard Medicines Pose Global Challenge
“Poor-quality medicines — including counterfeits and those with the incorrect dosage — are a ‘real and urgent threat’ to public health, according to a collection of 17 research papers published in [the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene]…” (Chimes, 4/20).

Washington Post: Why researchers say fake and low-quality drugs are a ‘global pandemic’
“…The articles, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, detail various aspects of the long-standing problem of substandard drugs, as well as looking at potential solutions to reducing the harm they cause each year…” (Dennis, 4/20).

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New Malaria Tests Under Development Could Improve Diagnosis, Treatment

Australian Associated Press/The Guardian: Malaria could be diagnosed through breath test, Australian scientists find
“…Australian scientists have made the groundbreaking discovery that malaria-infected patients have higher levels of certain chemicals in their breath. The chemicals are undetectable to the human nose, but can be used to detect the disease much earlier than the traditional method of using a microscope to find parasites in blood…” (4/20).

VOA News: New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria
“…As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling and a new test — well into the last stage of trials — is having positive results in Kenya. … The [Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (MRDT)] gives results in 20 minutes and costs $1, which is affordable even in rural communities…” (Ruvaga, 4/20).

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WHO Issues Updated Statement Monday On Agency's Shortcomings In Responding To Ebola

The Guardian: How WHO revised its self-criticism over Ebola handling
“The WHO issued a statement acknowledging failings in the handling of the Ebola crisis — and then corrected it just an hour later with the release of a version that had been substantially toned-down. [The Guardian highlights] the changes that were made…” (Boseley, 4/20).

New York Times: WHO Promises Reform After Criticism Over Ebola Response
“After criticism that it was slow and ineffective in the crucial early months of the Ebola crisis, the World Health Organization said Monday that it would overhaul the way it deals with epidemics…” (Fink, 4/20).

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West Africa Ebola Strain May Have Existed Long Before Current Outbreak, Some Scientists Suspect

New York Times: Ebola Lying in Wait
“A growing body of scientific clues — some ambiguous, others substantive — suggests that the Ebola virus may have lurked in the West African rain forest for years, perhaps decades, before igniting the deadly epidemic that swept the region in the past year, taking more than 10,000 lives…” (Belluck/Broad, 4/20).

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Rabies Deaths Higher Than Previous Estimates, Mathematical Model Suggests

New York Times: Rabies Deaths Higher Than Previously Thought
“Rabies kills 59,000 people a year, or about 160 a day — more than had previously been assumed — according to a study published last week. The report, based on mathematical modeling, is higher than previous estimates based on officially reported deaths, the authors said…” (McNeil, 4/20).

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Dirty Water, Lack Of Public Oversight, Government Policies Contribute To Water Crisis In La Guajira, Colombia

VICE: A Severe Lack of Clean Water Is Killing Indigenous Children in Colombia
“…According to National Institute of Health director Fernando de la Hoz, ‘More people die of drought and dirty water in Colombia than from the armed conflict. And the risk of dying from illnesses related to water is four or five times higher in La Guajira than anywhere else in the country’… A close look at La Guajira’s water projects suggests that a lack of public oversight has played a large role in the crisis, along with government policies favoring business interests over human rights…” (McKenzie, 4/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Commitment To Meeting Malaria MDG Must Continue In Post-2015 Development Era

Inter Press Service: Realizing Unfinished Business of MDGs: A Call for Greater Action and Investment for Malaria
Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership

“…[Malaria] gains are fragile and their impact unevenly distributed. As we shift gears — from the Millennium Development Goals to the broader Sustainable Development Goals — we must not forget the unfinished business of the MDGs, the unmet targets — the populations still at risk and the continuing unnecessary deaths, suffering, and loss of livelihood caused by malaria. … In this critical transition year, the RBM Partnership will launch its second generation global malaria action plan called ‘Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM) 2016-2030: for a Malaria-Free World.’ … Going forward, the malaria fight will need new focus: strengthening country ownership, empowering communities, enhancing data quality for decision making, engaging multiple sectors outside health, and exploring ways to do things better at all levels, with maximum value for money…” (4/21).

EurActiv: A new political impetus for the fight against malaria
MEP Maurice Ponga, vice chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, and MEP Cristian Dan Preda, vice chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights

“…The Sixth Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which aimed at fighting against malaria, has proven successful, thus showing that tangible results can be achieved thanks to the MDGs. … However, past successes should not hide what remains to be done towards complete eradication of malaria. … In order to support the progress of international community towards the eradication of malaria, we call on the public and private stakeholders to work together to develop innovative solutions ranging from awareness-raising to prevention, drug supply, access to care, and research and development…” (4/20).

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Donors Must Continue To Fund HIV/AIDS Efforts In MICs To Prevent Backslide In Progress

Devex: Funding cuts to MICs will reverse gains made in HIV response
Alvaro Bermejo, executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

“The battle to defeat HIV will be won or lost in middle-income countries. … It is estimated that in 2020, 70 percent of people living with HIV will be living in MICs. Therefore, the continued withdrawal of funds from these countries will have devastating effects on the progress made in the global response to HIV. The E.U. must remain a champion for equity, for meaningful participation of affected communities, for sexual and reproductive rights, and commit to ambitious targets” (4/20).

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WASH Important To Preventing Diarrheal Diseases Among Children

Huffington Post: The Fundamental Question About Water
Hope Randall, communications associate with the Defeat Diarrheal Disease (DefeatDD) Initiative at PATH

“…Since 1990, we have cut the number of global child deaths in half … WASH continues to be one of the most practical ways we can fulfill our commitment to the world’s children. If everyone had access to safe drinking water, a staggering 90 percent of diarrhea deaths could be prevented. … Because diarrheal disease — and child health more broadly — are multifaceted issues, many voices deserve a seat at the table. At PATH’s DefeatDD initiative, we aim to host a comprehensive and creative conversation, convening different advocacy communities to talk about integrated solutions…” (4/20).

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Scientific Community Must Participate In U.N.'s SDG Process

Nature: Policy: Five priorities for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
Yonglong Lu, professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciencesk, and colleagues

“This week, the United Nations is deliberating in New York how to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that it will launch formally in September. Science must be at the heart of its plans. … We lay out five priorities for how the scientific community should participate in this process, based on the findings of a scientific review of the draft SDGs conducted by the International Council for Science (ICSU). … Devise metrics … Establish monitoring mechanisms … Evaluate progress … Enhance infrastructure … Standardize and verify data…” (4/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Announces New Approach To Purchasing, Distributing Medicines, Supplies

USAID: New Global Health Approach to Reach Millions More People with Lifesaving Medicines
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today a new approach to purchasing and distributing life-saving medicine and health supplies. USAID will use data analytics and innovative tools to drive-down the price of medicines and increase delivery speed. As funding for global health has remained relatively stable over the past several years, this new approach will enable USAID to reach millions more patients with the same amount of resources…” (4/17).

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USAID To Provide $126M To Help Rebuild Ebola-Stricken West African Health Systems

USAID: USAID Announces $126 Million to Rebuild Life-Saving Health Services in Ebola-Affected Countries
“U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein announced plans to spend $126 million to help rebuild West African health systems impacted by the Ebola outbreak at the Global Citizen Concert on the National Mall. The funds will help Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea restart critical health services that stopped due to the Ebola outbreak, including vaccinations, water and sanitation services, prenatal and maternal health care and nutrition, and programs to prevent and treat malaria and other infectious diseases…” (4/18).

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USAID Helping Liberia Recover From Ebola Epidemic

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Rebuilding Liberia As Ebola Cases Decline
Clara Wagner, an intern for USAID’s Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs, discusses how the agency is working to help Liberia recover from the Ebola epidemic. “…USAID programs will get food to communities, help children safely return to school, improve communications systems, get people back to work, and re-establish and strengthen health services…” (4/20).

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New Book Features Essays On Women's, Children's Health

ONE: The Mother & Child Project
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), founder and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Jenny Eaton Dyer, executive director of Hope Through Healing Hands, discuss a new book compiled by the organization that features essays written by more than 47 different authors “to speak to the importance of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies … The book touches on the interface of women’s health with child marriage, modern day slavery, sex trafficking, orphanhood, economic sustainability, and male involvement…” (4/20).

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WHO Working To Vaccinate Children In Syria Against Polio

WHO: Keeping Syrian children free from polio at home and across the border
This WHO feature story examines efforts to vaccinate children affected and displaced by violence in Syria. “…WHO has provided technical and financial support to halt transmission of polio in Syria. During the most recent campaign, in March 2015, close to three million children under five years of age were vaccinated” (April 2015).

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Additional TB Screening, Treatment Needed For Patients In Tertiary Care Facilities, Study Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Study says health care shortcomings leave tuberculosis undiagnosed, untreated
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses a study published in The Lancet Global Health in which researchers examined tuberculosis burden among inpatients who had died in health care facilities in Zambia. The researchers conclude additional screening for TB and drug-resistant TB is necessary for patients in a tertiary care referral center (4/20).

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