KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Advance Of World Malaria Day, WHO Urges International Community To Address Gaps In Malaria Efforts

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).

U.N. News Centre: Fight against malaria must be taken to ‘next level,’ U.N. agency urges ahead of World Day
“…In a press release issued two days ahead of this year’s global observance of World Malaria Day, the World Health Organization (WHO), warned that despite ‘dramatic declines’ in malaria cases and deaths since 2000, more than half a million lives are still lost to what is widely understood to be a preventable disease…” (4/23).

VOA News: WHO: Political Will, Money Can Defeat Malaria
“The World Health Organization (WHO) reports dramatic progress has been made in the fight against malaria, but more needs to be done. In advance of World Malaria Day (April 25), the U.N. agency is calling for global action to close gaps that remain in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria…” (Schlein, 4/23).

WHO: World Malaria Day: call to close gaps in prevention and treatment to defeat malaria
“… ‘As we celebrate World Malaria Day on April 25, we must recognize the urgent need to expand prevention measures and quality-assured diagnostic testing and treatment to reduce the human suffering caused by malaria,’ says Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

GSK's Malaria Vaccine Represents Breakthrough Despite Being Partially Effective, Researchers Say

News outlets report on a new study on an experimental malaria vaccine published in The Lancet.

Associated Press: Malaria vaccine is a letdown but could still reduce cases
“The world’s leading malaria vaccine candidate appears to be a disappointment, with final study results showing it doesn’t work very well and that initial protection fades over time…” (Cheng, 4/23).

Deutsche Welle: Doubts plague new malaria vaccine
“…Despite the poor results — it protects about one-third of children vaccinated — developers are moving ahead to get it approved because it could still help protect some children from getting the mosquito-spread disease…” (4/24).

The Guardian: Malaria vaccine a breakthrough despite being partially effective, say scientists
“…The vaccine has been in development for 20 years and has cost more than $500m (£330m) so far. Hopes that it would save the lives of most of the 500,000 children under five who die from malaria each year have long been scaled back, but experts say that even a partially effective vaccine is an important breakthrough…” (Boseley, 4/23).

HealthDay/U.S. News: Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Shielding African Children
“…There is currently no vaccine for malaria, and the new vaccine, called RTS,S/AS01, was developed for use in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria kills about 1,300 children every day. The phase 3 trial of the vaccine included more than 15,400 newborns (ages six to 12 weeks at first vaccination) and children (five to 17 months at first vaccination) at 11 sites in seven sub-Saharan African countries…” (Preidt, 4/23).

Reuters: World’s first malaria vaccine moves closer to use in Africa
“…[T]he final stage follow-up data published in The Lancet journal on Friday showed vaccinated children continued to be protected four years on, albeit at a declining rate — an important factor given the prevalence of the disease — and rates of protection were stronger with a booster shot…” (Kelland, 4/23).

Wall Street Journal: Problems Found With Glaxo’s Malaria Vaccine
“…Glaxo has already submitted the vaccine to European regulators, based on earlier data, and hopes that the shot could launch as early as next year. The World Health Organization has already indicated that it will recommend the vaccine should it win regulatory approval…” (Roland, 4/24).

Link to individual story

Health Care Service Disruptions Due To Ebola In West Africa Likely Led To Additional Malaria Deaths, Study Suggests

News outlets report on a study published in The Lancet suggesting some malaria deaths in West Africa are attributable to health care interruptions because of the Ebola epidemic.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola outbreak likely driving malaria deaths: study
“The collapse of health services in three West African countries devastated by Ebola may have caused some 11,000 additional deaths from malaria, a preventable and curable disease, researchers said Friday…” (4/23).

HealthDay/U.S. News: Ebola Outbreak May Have Led to Almost 11,000 Additional Malaria Deaths: Study
“…Another 3,900 extra malaria deaths may have been caused by the interruption of delivery of insecticide-treated sleeping nets, the British researchers said. … The study estimates that if the health care system returns to pre-Ebola levels, more than 15,000 malaria deaths will be prevented in 2015…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

Financial Times Publishes Special Report On Combating Malaria

Financial Times: Combating Malaria — Special Report
“New tools and tactics are being used to counter the spread of malaria across the world. Governments and researchers are hoping drugs, promised vaccine trials, and new pesticides will help alleviate malaria’s huge economic and human costs. The global efforts are a race against time as mosquitoes grow resistant to existing pesticides and drugs…” The series includes 10 articles on various aspects of malaria (Multiple authors, 4/23).

Link to individual story

U.N., Donors Outline Ebola's Lessons, Begin Implementing Community-Based Initiatives

GeekWire: Lessons from the world’s Ebola response: faster intervention, better communication needed
“The Ebola outbreak is still ongoing, but leaders of the international response to the disease have already taken away several key lessons. During a panel in San Francisco, a handful of leaders who have been involved with the response to the disease offered their observations to an audience of health and technology experts…” (Frank, 4/21).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. launches push to engage more women, community leaders in fight against disease
“With fresh statistics on the Ebola outbreak reflecting a halt in the decline in West Africa, the United Nations [Thursday] began a campaign to engage more women — who have been disproportionately affected by the disease — as well as local traditional healers, to encourage communities to become more involved to bring down infection rates to zero…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces, Editorial Recognize World Malaria Day, Call For Greater Investment In Ending Disease

EurActiv: Stronger than a mosquito bite: How to win the fight against malaria
Valentina Barbagallo, policy and advocacy officer at ONE

“…By increasing resources to build more efficient and resilient health care systems as well as measures specifically tailored for malaria, we can achieve real progress against this entirely preventable and treatable disease. If world leaders take the right decisions in the months ahead, in the near future a mosquito bite will no longer be a potential death sentence, and every 25th of April we will be able to celebrate the success of a world without malaria deaths” (4/24).

Huffington Post: World Malaria Day: Supporting the World Health Organization’s Vision of a World Free of Malaria
Robert L. Quigley, regional medical director and senior vice president of medical assistance for the Americas region at International SOS

“…Companies must exercise Duty of Care and define their training procedures and policies toward malaria if they have employees operating in potentially disease-risk areas. Even a quick business trip can be a fatal one without appropriate measures in place. … As companies increase their international presence, they play a vital role in stopping the spread of malaria and must be aggressive in doing so. While huge gains have been made in recent years, there is still much to be done to eliminate the disease in its entirety…” (4/23).

The Lancet: Vaccines: a step change in malaria prevention?
Editorial Board

“…Even if the hopes and resources that have been devoted to development of [the experimental malaria vaccine] RTS,S and other vaccines are fully realized, malaria will remain a serious problem in countries across Africa, Asia, and South America. Based on the information now available it would be surprising if RTS,S were not to proceed to widespread deployment. The costs and challenges of such an exciting project will be great. However, in the hope that 2015 will be remembered as a turning point in malaria prevention, a vaccine rollout program deserves our full support” (4/25).

Link to individual story

African CDC Must Engage With WHO, AFRO To Achieve Its Health Goals

The Lancet: The African CDC and WHO AFRO
Editorial Board

“…If the African CDC develops into a strong organization, it should help bolster disease surveillance and response on the continent. However, it needs to work with existing health agencies in Africa, especially WHO’s Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive response to health challenges in the region. Surprisingly, the releases by the USA and the A.U. about the African CDC do not mention WHO or AFRO. This omission could signal their lack of confidence in WHO and AFRO following perceived failures in the West African Ebola outbreak. But this is not the time to disengage with either. WHO needs continued investment from countries, including the USA, to respond effectively to global health threats…” (4/25).

Link to individual story

Community Health Workers Can Effectively Provide Health Care On Local Level But More Data Needed

Huffington Post: Bringing Health Care to the Doorsteps of African Communities
Cindil Redick, manager of advocacy & communications for the One Million Community Health Workers Campaign at the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…[D]espite all of the research and evidence in support of [community health workers (CHWs)], these essential health workers, who are on the front lines of many of the world’s most significant health crises, are often untracked and insufficiently supported. So while we know CHWs are effective at promoting health and delivering critical services, we have a poor grasp of how many CHWs there are in the world, which communities they serve and what services they provide. … For these reasons, among others, the One-Million Community Health Worker Campaign (1mCHW) and Direct Relief teamed up with Esri to build a set of mapping applications, dubbed the ‘Operations Room.’ The Operations Room is an interactive online platform of CHW programs that operate in sub-Saharan Africa. It contains data on CHW counts and population coverage, CHW organizations and (if available) services delivered…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

Ebola Epidemic Provides Local Media With Critical Lessons In Health Communication

Devex: Empowering local media can make the difference: 5 lessons from the Ebola crisis
Alison Campbell, senior director for global initiatives at Internews

“…A preliminary assessment done by Internews in November found more than 300 types of social mobilization and messaging systems in the three worst-affected countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This chaotic information landscape consisted mainly of information ‘out,’ with little opportunity for community dialogue. … A more robust approach is needed to ensure that citizens can access not only a wide range of information from trusted sources, but also channels for questioning and discussing that information. Here are five takeaways that the international development community should take to heart. 1. Form genuine partnerships with local media; 2. Build capacity rather than paying to disseminate prepared messages; 3. Deliver consistent messages and don’t oversimplify; 4. Encourage two-way communication with community audiences; 5. Help local media realize their full potential as a platform for accountability…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

World Must Make Continued Investments To Eradicate Polio

Globe and Mail: Vanquishing a virus
Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-American violinist and conductor, and Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada

“…Thanks to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), launched by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and joined more recently by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — polio is more than 99 percent gone from most of the world. … During this World Immunization Week, we remind people to be grateful for the progress made against polio. … Economically speaking, the stakes are high. The total global investment in polio eradication now stands at more than $11 billion, an investment the world cannot afford to squander by stopping short of the goal…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

Vaccinations Essential To Protecting Health, Well-Being Of Children In India

Huffington Post: Giving Our Children A Shot At Health
Vishwajeet Kumaar, scientist and founder and CEO of Community Empowerment Lab

“This World Immunization Week (April 24-30), countries around the world will celebrate one of the most transformative health interventions in the history of public health — vaccines. … Last month, the government [of India] launched the ambitious Mission Indradhanush Campaign that aims to ensure all Indian children are fully immunized by 2020. … India’s success with polio will be remembered in the history of public health for generations to come. We can repeat this success with other vaccines against life-threatening and crippling diseases if we once again work together — NGOs, governments, health workers, and the media — to empower parents with the knowledge to protect their children” (4/24).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Dispatches Podcast Features Interview With Malaria No More CEO

Global Dispatches Podcast: Inside the Fight Against Malaria
In this week’s episode, Global Dispatches host Mark Goldberg speaks with Martin Edlund, a founding member and CEO of Malaria No More, ahead of World Malaria Day. “…Despite the progress [against malaria], [Edlund] argues that there are still big challenges ahead — particularly the spread of drug-resistant malaria in the Mekong Delta. This is a great episode for anyone who wants to learn why a disease that haunted humanity for millennia is now on the ropes” (4/22).

Link to individual story

Blog Posts Highlight Successes, Challenges Of Malaria Prevention, Treatment For Pregnant Women, Infants

Global Health NOW: Pregnancy and Malaria
Clara Menéndez, director of the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative, ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health and a WHO consultant, highlights the need to include the high-risk groups of pregnant women and infants in malaria research. “…The malaria research agenda needs to consider the particular needs of pregnant women and women of reproductive age through the development of more efficacious but also safe drugs for pregnancy, as well as improving diagnostic tests that can be used as point of care in routine antenatal care” (4/23).

UNICEF Connect: Protecting pregnant women from malaria — a missed “quick win”
Valentina Buj, a global malaria adviser at UNICEF, discusses the success of Intermittent Preventive Treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) and the challenges of providing the four-dose regimen to pregnant women in Africa. “…When countries are asked what their biggest obstacles are, their responses are nearly unanimous — the problems are stock-outs of drugs, lack of funding to retrain workers, and financial barriers preventing women from attending [antenatal care] visits…” (4/21).

Link to individual story

Special World Malaria Day Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
A special edition of the Global Fund News Flash highlights World Malaria Day with an interview with Pedro Alonso, director of WHO’s Global Malaria Program, who discusses challenges in malaria prevention efforts (April 2015).

Link to individual story

Data Visualizations, Infographics Help Convey Vaccine Successes

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Vaccinespotting: What Does Half a Billion Look Like?
Pascal Barollier, director of communications at GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, discusses the importance of effectively communicating data, highlighting the alliance’s ‘Every Vaccine Counts’ data visualization. “…Infographics and other creative forms of visualization can help us step up, turning disparate digits into a compelling narrative…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

SwitchPoint Conference Draws Humanitarian, Global Health Entrepreneurs

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Digital Jedis, Social Entrepreneurs, and the Real Heroes of Global Health
Margarite Nathe, senior editor/writer at IntraHealth International, reports from SwitchPoint, a conference that gathered “hundreds of participants from around the world … in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, all looking for forces to join, partnerships to forge, and good to do…” (4/23).

Link to individual story

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.