KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Urges Increased Efforts To Reach Child Vaccination Targets Ahead Of World Immunization Week

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of World Immunization Week, U.N. warns global vaccination targets ‘far off track’
“The United Nations World Health Organization [Wednesday] warned that progress towards global vaccination targets for 2015 is ‘far off track,’ with one in five children still missing out on routine life-saving immunizations that could avert 1.5 million deaths each year from preventable diseases…” (4/22).

VOA News: WHO: Unvaccinated Children Dying From Preventable Diseases
“The World Health Organization warns millions of children are at risk of illness, disability, and death because they are not getting vaccinated against preventable, killer diseases. In advance of World Immunization Week, the U.N. agency is urging nations to increase efforts to keep their children healthy by getting [vaccinations]…” (Schlein, 4/22).

WHO: Global vaccination targets ‘off-track,’ warns WHO
“…WHO is calling for an end to the unnecessary disability and death caused by failure to vaccinate. ‘World Immunization Week creates a focused global platform to reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure vaccination for every child, whoever they are and wherever they live,’ said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director-general [for] family, women’s and children’s health. ‘It is critical that the global community now makes a collective and cohesive effort to put progress towards our six targets back on track’…” (4/22).

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U.S. Rep. Crenshaw Urges Continued Cooperative Efforts To End Malaria Worldwide

Ripon Advance: Congressman urges partners in the fight against malaria to keep working
“Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, recently asked leading partners in the fight against malaria to continue working for achievements in that mission globally. Crenshaw spoke at a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Malaria No More, #NothingButNets, ImagineNOMALARIA, Catholic Relief Services, PATH, Lutheran World Relief, and American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene…” (4/22).

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Progress Against Ebola In Guinea, Sierra Leone Mixed, WHO Says

CIDRAP News: WHO: Stall in Ebola decline highlights need for stronger response
“Further progress against Ebola in Guinea and Sierra Leone is proving stubborn, with a drop in cases holding steady over the past three weeks, and response indicators showing a mixed picture for both countries last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said [Wednesday] in its weekly report on the outbreak’s trajectory…” (Schnirring, 4/22).

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Treatment For West African Ebola Strain Effective In Small Study Of Monkeys

New York Times: Ebola Drug Works Against West African Strain in Study of Monkeys
“…Six animals were infected with a very high dose of the virus and then, three days later, half were given the drug, TKM-Ebola-Makona, which was designed specifically to fight the West African strain. The monkeys that received the drug survived, but all three untreated monkeys died, researchers reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature…” (Grady, 4/22).

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West Africa Must Adopt Sustainable Sanitation Models To Overcome WASH Challenges, Expert Says

Xinhua News/GlobalPost: Interview: Expert urges self-sustaining sanitation models for West Africa
“For West African countries to overcome their sanitation challenges, they need to adopt self-sustaining sanitation models, an expert has recommended. In a recent interview with Xinhua, Lakhdar Boukerrou, regional director for the West Africa Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WA-WASH), said the post-2015 development agenda should focus on sanitation, equally as it focuses on water…” (4/22).

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Violence In South Sudan Interrupting Aid Operations; WFP Expresses Concern Over Missing Staff

Reuters: Aid groups express fear of renewed South Sudan fighting
“Fighting in South Sudan’s oil-producing Upper Nile State in the past two days has killed at least 38 and the toll could rise, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, while aid groups said they may be forced to trim operations…” (Dumo, 4/22).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. food relief agency ‘extremely worried’ about missing staff in volatile South Sudan
“The World Food Programme [on Wednesday] drew attention to the disappearance of three of its staff members who went missing earlier this month when fighting reportedly erupted along their food distribution route in volatile Malakal South Sudan, where more than two million people are unsure of where their next meal is coming from…” (4/22).

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More Than 100K Of Vanuatu's People Lack Access To Clean Water 1 Month After Cyclone, UNICEF Says

Reuters: Almost half Vanuatu people lack clean water, month after cyclone: UNICEF
“More than 100,000 people in Vanuatu have no clean drinking water, a month after a monster cyclone struck the tiny Pacific nation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday. Two thirds of the archipelago’s water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and most wells are contaminated, UNICEF said in a statement…” (Mis, 4/22).

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Myanmar's Proposed Birth Spacing Law Could Impact Country's Maternal Health Advances, Human Rights Group Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Myanmar population control law threatens minorities: rights group
“Myanmar’s religious and ethnic minorities may be targeted, abused, and suppressed by a proposed population control law which could be a serious setback for the country’s maternal health advances, according to a U.S.-based human rights group…” (Guilbert, 4/22).

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Al Jazeera America Examines Strict Abortion, Reproductive Health Laws In El Salvador

Al Jazeera America: In El Salvador, a pregnancy complication followed by a prison sentence
“…[The article discusses cases] in El Salvador highlighted by local and international human rights groups and by the United Nations. All the women involved are young and poor and were convicted for killing babies who were stillborn or died through miscarriages or for reasons unknown. Since 1997, abortion has been prohibited in El Salvador, without exception — including in the cases of rape or danger to the mother’s health. Amnesty International says the law has created a culture of suspicion toward women, particularly pregnant women…” (Chandler, 4/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Current Plans For African CDC Inadequate To Address Continent's Underlying Public Health System Issues

Nature: Highway to health
Editorial Board

“…Although the goal is excellent and the effort should be cautiously welcomed, the plans for the African [CDC] are woefully inadequate. In terms of funds and staff — at least initially — it will be in no position to achieve its lofty ambitions. … That Africa seems to want to assume political ownership of its response to public health emergencies, rather than relying largely on outside agencies and support, can only be welcomed. Yet there is a risk that the creation of this skeletal agency might provide an excuse for complacency and inaction by politicians in Africa and globally. And the underlying problems that leave many countries vulnerable to disease outbreaks will not be solved by an African health agency alone, however robust and however desirable…” (4/22).

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Ebola Crisis Serves As 'Wake-Up Call' For WHO's Need Of Structural Reform

Chicago Tribune: Big changes needed at WHO before the next Ebola crisis
Editorial Board

“…In response to deep criticism of its handling of the Ebola outbreak, WHO issued a statement last week that was surprising for its candor if not for its recommendations, which echoed yearslong calls for reform. ‘The world, including WHO, is ill-prepared for a large and sustained disease outbreak,’ the statement said, suggesting that this crisis has served as a much-needed wake-up call. … WHO has been a reluctant leader, but it is still the organization that the global health community turns to first in crisis. By adopting structural reforms in May, WHO will be best situated to take command when the next Ebola strikes” (4/22).

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Opinion Pieces Mark World Malaria Day, Say Efforts Must Continue To End Disease

The Hill: Imagining no malaria
Thomas J. Bickerton, a bishop with the United Methodist Church, and Gary Henderson, executive director of Global Health Initiatives for United Methodist Communications

“…[Wednesday, on] behalf of The United Methodist Church (UMC), [we were] proud to join Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative Global Coordinator Tim Ziemer, and Senator Chris Coons on Capitol Hill to recognize April 25’s #WorldMalariaDay and announce the UMC’s new $9.6 million donation — the largest single contribution ever made by a faith-based organization — to the Global Fund. … Through the UMC-Global Fund partnership, 10 additional sub-Saharan African countries have launched a comprehensive malaria program…” (4/22).

Huffington Post U.K.: Small Things, Big Difference
Arabella Gilchrist, director of Creative + Comms at Malaria No More U.K.

“…Inspiringly, with massive global efforts, involving the U.K. public, government, businesses, and scientists, we have arrived at a potential tipping point in the history of this disease with real potential to get the job done — stopping people needlessly dying from malaria. However, as ever, with great opportunities they come hand in hand with risk. We are only half way there in the fight against malaria, and we only have half the financial resources needed. If support wanes in the coming years there is a real risk that hard-won progress could be stalled or even reversed. … Which is why this World Malaria Day we’re spreading the word that it’s #AllToPlayFor as we seek to make malaria no more…” (4/22).

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Disease-Specific Treatment, Prevention Initiatives More Cost Effective Than Broad Health Care Improvement

Project Syndicate: The Right Health Investments
Bjørn Lomborg, founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School

“…Given the strong case for tackling a few specific preventable or curable diseases, one might assume that improving general health coverage to help protect populations from all of the diseases they face would bring even greater benefits. … But, in reality, an omnibus approach would be far more expensive — and far less efficient. … Health-related initiatives have the potential not only to save people’s lives, but also to transform them, and thus should feature in the new global development agenda. The challenge lies in identifying the specific initiatives that will make the most of limited resources…” (4/23).

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Access To Family Planning Will Help Tackle Climate Change

Huffington Post: On This Earth Day, Invest in Family Planning
Alexander Sanger, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council

“…While reaching remote communities is helping to treat the side effects of climate change, the heart of our work — providing contraception — is tackling the root of climate change. We’ve said time and again that when you empower individuals and families with the information and services they need to make decisions around reproduction and sexuality, you fundamentally create more a more just and sustainable world…” (4/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

On World Malaria Day, Use Ebola's Lessons To Improve Elimination Efforts

ONE: Malaria in the time of Ebola
Erin Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy director for global health, writes, “…I’d argue that the best way to mark World Malaria Day this year is to acknowledge the deep linkages that Ebola and malaria have with each other, and to think about how the lessons we’ve learned from either can help us more effectively tackle both. … Rather than pitting one disease against another, the world must recommit the financing and political will to tackling both diseases, and others like them, so that no man, woman, or child has to die needlessly from a preventable disease” (4/22).

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CSIS Panel, Report Address HIV Prevention, Treatment Among Young Women, Girls

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: “An Emergency that Requires Risk Taking”
Janet Fleischman, senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses a high-level panel held at CSIS on April 17, which featured U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx; Ambassador Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Geeta Rao Gupta, deputy executive director of UNICEF; and Judith Bruce, senior associate and policy analyst at the Population Council, as well as a new CSIS report, titled “Addressing HIV Risk in Adolescent Girls and Young Women” (4/21).

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Community Care Models Effective, Necessary For HIV Treatment, MSF/UNAIDS Report Says

Médecins Sans Frontières: HIV: MSF-UNAIDS report endorses community models of care
“Strengthening and expanding community-based approaches to delivering HIV treatment is vital to the long-term success of the AIDS response, according to a new report by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and UNAIDS. The report highlights MSF’s innovative approaches to the critical challenge of how to scale up treatment to ensure that people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy through ways that fit in with their daily lives…” (4/23).

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Lancet Study Examines Impact Of Ebola Virus On Long-Term Health Of Survivors

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: One more need in Ebola-stricken countries: Strategies to deal with survivors’ long-term health needs
Antigone Barton, writer and editor at “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses findings from a new study published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases on the impact of the 2007-2008 Uganda Ebola virus outbreak on survivors’ long-term health (4/22).

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