KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

International Community Begins Rescue, Humanitarian Efforts In Nepal After 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Kills More Than 3,800

Agence France-Presse: Death toll rises to 3,800 in Nepal earthquake
“Nepalis started fleeing their devastated capital on Monday after an earthquake killed more than 3,800 people and toppled entire streets, as the United Nations prepared a “massive” aid operation…” (Mathema/Bagga, 4/27).

Associated Press/Huffington Post: Almost One Million Children In ‘Urgent Need’ Of Aid After Nepal Earthquake
“There is still time to save lives — that’s why governments and aid agencies Sunday rushed doctors, volunteers, and equipment to Nepal without waiting for the dust to settle. U.N. spokeswoman Orla Fagan, who is heading to Nepal, said preventing the spread of disease is one of the most important tasks facing aid workers who are arriving…” (Katz, 4/27).

Economic Times: Nepal Earthquake: Health Ministry rushes doctors, medicines to quake-hit country
“[India’s] health ministry said on Sunday that it has rushed medicines and a team of doctors to Nepal after the Himalayan country suffered a devastating earthquake on Saturday which has left over [3,800] dead so far…” (4/27).

New York Times: Villages Near Nepal Earthquake’s Epicenter Are Desperate as Death Toll Tops 3,800
“Residents of remote mountain villages at the epicenter of Nepal’s powerful earthquake said on Monday that they were running out of food, and that two days after the quake they had seen no sign of outside assistance…” (Fuller, 4/27).

New York Times: Earthquake Aftershocks Jolt Nepal as Death Toll Rises Above 3,400
“…By Monday afternoon, Nepalese authorities had sharply raised the death toll to more than 3,400, but the full extent of the devastation and death was still unclear. It was that uncertainty, over what the earthquake had wrought and what the future might hold, that spread fear and anxiety across Nepal…” (Fuller/Buckley, 4/26).

New York Times: Nepal Earthquake Poses Challenge to International Aid Agencies
“…In the aftermath of the disaster, which has killed more than 3,200 people, injured about 5,900, and left many more homeless, development workers said that continued aftershocks, a crippled transportation network, and the loss of power in parts of the country had made it tough to search for survivors and distribute much-needed supplies…” (Scott, 4/26).

Reuters: U.S. sending disaster team, initial $1 million to Nepal: Kerry
“The United States will send disaster response and rescue teams to Nepal and has authorized an initial $1 million in aid after a major earthquake killed hundreds in the mountainous Asian nation, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday…” (Lamber, 4/25).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. responds to destruction, displacement in wake of Nepal earthquake
“…[Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos,] said U.N. agencies were working with humanitarian partners in Nepal, supporting the government and other partners. The World Food Programme (WFP) was providing food items, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was sending tents and health care supplies, and the World Health Organization (WHO) had distributed medical supplies to cover the immediate needs of 40,000 people…” (4/26).

Wall Street Journal: Nepal Earthquake: India and China Send Rescue Teams to Himalayan Nation
“India and China rushed rescue teams and other assistance to earthquake-hit Nepal, a strategically important neighbor for the two Asian giants, which are jostling for influence in the Himalayan nation…” (Mandhana/Hutzler, 4/26).

Washington Post: Death toll rises to 3,800 in Nepal earthquake
“With international aid beginning to flow but desperation still rising, rescue crews in Nepal expanded helicopter searches Monday into remote villages believed to be the worst hit from a massive earthquake that’s already claimed more than 3,800 lives. The flights deep into the Himalayan valleys highlighted worries that the death toll could still rise from Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude quake that flattened densely populated areas near Kathmandu, toppled centuries-old monuments, and buried Everest base camp with a deadly avalanche of snow and jagged ice…” (Lakshmi/Gowen, 4/27).

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U.N.'s Ban Calls For Continued Investment In Global Malaria Efforts

U.N. News Centre: Welcoming progress in fight against malaria, Ban calls for more work to continue momentum
“In a message to mark World Malaria Day [on Saturday], the United Nations Secretary-General said that better access to insecticide-treated bed nets and greater availability of accurate diagnostics and effective treatment were the main reasons why the U.N. health agency reported in 2014 that the rate at which people are dying from malaria had halved since the turn of the century…” (4/25).

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News Outlets Recognize World Malaria Day With Reports On Disease Treatment, Prevention

The Guardian: ‘When people come with severe malaria, it is like a race against time’
“In her 12-square-meter outpost in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, Nure Kieltaji represents the frontline in the fight against malaria. She works as a community health worker, one of two people offering basic primary health care to more than 1,000 people in her village Dembel Dildila…” (Kweifio-Okai, 4/25).

PBS NewsHour: How maps packed with data help scientists fight malaria
“…Epidemiologist Hugh Sturrock is trying to stamp out malaria in parts of Africa, and from his campus cubicle at the University of California San Francisco, he is trying to make high-tech maps of the risk of outbreaks of malaria, maps that will be crucial to effectively fighting the disease, but will be easy to use in the field…” (Michels, 4/24).

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U.S. Can Better Prepare For Bioterrorism Through Lessons Learned From Ebola Response, U.S. Representative Says

Foreign Policy: What Did the U.S. Learn From Ebola? How to Prepare for Bioterrorist Attacks
“…Arizona Rep. Martha McSally chairs a House subcommittee that will examine over the next few months the threat of bioterrorist attacks and U.S. preparedness to respond to them. She told Foreign Policy that even if a disease outbreak and the use of a biological agent in a coordinated attack are not completely analogous, the response strains similar systems…” (O’Grady, 4/23).

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U.N.'s Ban Appoints New Head Of Ebola Mission Against Ebola

Associated Press: U.N. chief names new head of Ebola mission as outbreak calms
“The U.N. chief on Saturday appointed a new head of the emergency mission responding to West Africa’s Ebola crisis amid hopes that the world’s deadliest outbreak of the virus will soon come to an end…” (Paye-Layleh, 4/25).

U.N. News Centre: Secretary-General appoints new acting Special Representative for U.N. Mission against Ebola
“The United Nations Secretary-General [Saturday] announced the appointment of Peter Jan Graaff of the Netherlands as the Secretary-General’s Acting Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). In his role as Acting Special Representative, Mr. Graaff will work closely with the Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, and with the governments in the region and other partners, according to a statement released [Saturday] by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson…” (4/25).

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U.N. Resumes Childhood Immunization Campaigns In Ebola-Hit West Africa

U.N. News Centre: U.N. resumes vaccination drive for three million children in West Africa
“For the first time since the start of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, thousands of health workers are fanning out across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in nationwide immunization campaigns with an aim to protect three million children against preventable but potentially deadly diseases such as measles and polio…” (4/24).

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Drought, Water Crisis Blamed For Dengue Spread In Brazil

Bloomberg View: Brazilians Spraying and Praying for Dengue Vaccine Breakthrough
“…Amid one of their worst outbreaks of dengue fever — 460,000 people infected and 132 dead this year — Brazilians are understandably jumpy. … Once a mostly Asian affliction, the dengue virus has gone global because of breakneck urbanization, bad management of water, haphazard public health care, and travel on jets that can take passengers anywhere overnight…” (Margolis, 4/24).

Los Angeles Times: Drought blamed for upsurge in dengue fever in Brazil
“Brazil’s armed forces have joined the battle against an outbreak of deadly dengue fever in São Paulo, South America’s largest city, a jump blamed in part on the severe drought and water crisis plaguing the region…” (Bevins, 4/24).

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More Than 100 Children Dead In Niger's Growing Meningitis Epidemic

Agence France-Presse: Niger battles deadly meningitis epidemic
“Parents cradling sick children in their arms streamed into a treatment center in Niger’s capital Niamey, the victims of a meningitis epidemic that has claimed over 100 lives and appears to be accelerating…” (Hama, 4/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

In Current Form, TPP Could Fundamentally Harm U.S. Global Health Initiatives, Patients

The Hill: Don’t forget consumers and patients in the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer, and Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), USA

“…Today, AARP and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) express our deep concerns about the TPP’s impact on drug prices. Intellectual property provisions being proposed by the U.S. put too much emphasis on drug industry priorities at the expense of consumer and patient needs. … In its current form, the TPP could negatively affect the health and lives of millions of people who rely on access to affordable medicines, and fundamentally contradicts and undermines the U.S. government’s own commitments and investments in both domestic and global health. Global health programs supported by U.S. taxpayers like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria all heavily rely on the availability of price-lowering competition in medicines and vaccines to effectively run their programs…” (4/27).

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Immunizations Prevent 2-3M Deaths A Year, But Gaps In Coverage Still Remain

Huffington Post: Close the Immunization Gap! Get Vaccinated
Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, and vice chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…At the World Health Organization (WHO), we estimate that immunization prevents between two and three million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), and measles. Increasingly, we are seeing how immunization against one disease can prevent another. … But … shocking gaps remain. A recent report by the expert group that monitors progress against the Global Vaccine Action Plan the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) reveals that the world is on track to meet just one of the six targets set for 2015. … In World Immunization Week 2015, I urge everyone who can possibly do so, to take steps to help us ‘Close the Immunization Gap!'” (4/27).

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Aid Groups, Governments, Multilateral Agencies Must Continue Efforts To End Malaria

The Hill: Malaria is on its way out — but the fight isn’t finished
Daniel Speckhard, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief

“… As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the President’s Malaria Initiative, and World Malaria Day … we’re seeing more access to treatment and smart malaria prevention and education measures making a difference in malaria-affected countries around the world. What’s unique about the President’s Malaria Initiative is that it began with the notion that while malaria was beatable, it would be an uphill battle. To defeat it, government groups, multilateral agencies, the private sector, and NGOs would have to work together. The initiative has seen dramatic results. … We’ve taken massive leaps towards ending malaria. In fact, 26 countries are on track to eliminate the virus entirely. But there’s still more to do. It’ll take all of us — NGOs, local leaders in at-risk countries, and continued funding from Congress — to finally see the last malaria death” (4/25).

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Collaboration, Integrated Approach Important To Reach Development Goals

Devex: A road map to transforming lives
Mark Viso, president and CEO of Pact

“…Despite our best intentions and years of good work, the current model of development continues to prove unsatisfying to many of us. Many efforts continue to be pursued in silos. There is a lack of mutual accountability and no transparent, peer-reviewed way of determining what works and what doesn’t. And yet, some bright spots hold promise for a better way forward. Genuine partnerships across geographies and sectors that lead to true collaboration; energy and interest around a shared framework for measurement and open data; local solutions and local ownership emerging as both the means and the end; and the value of an integrated approach rather than various siloed approaches. When combined, we believe these four facets form a more sustainable, richer, more equitable model for development…” (4/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID's Food For Peace Boot Camps Teach Officers When To Request U.S. Assistance

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Food for Peace Boot Camp Trains Officers To Combat Global Hunger
Elizabeth Petrovski, financial and oversight program specialist for USAID at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, discusses USAID’s Food for Peace Boot Camp, an interdisciplinary training program for officers to learn how to determine whether to request food assistance for at-risk populations (4/24).

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U.S. Government Officials Discuss Malaria Surveillance, Prevention Efforts In Blog Posts

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World Malaria Day 2015
S. Patrick Kachur, chief of the CDC’s Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, writes about how “design thinking” can contribute to innovative malaria surveillance and information systems (4/24).

U.S. State Department’s “DipNote”: Shrinking the Malaria Map
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Tim Ziemer, the U.S. global malaria coordinator, discusses the successes of the President’s Malaria Initiative and ongoing activities with partner countries (4/24).

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Gates Foundation Publishes Several Blog Posts Recognizing World Malaria Day

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Private Sector Innovates to Eliminate Malaria in Cambodia (Pratt, 4/20).
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Protecting Pregnant Women from Malaria — A Missed “Quick Win” (Buj, 4/21).
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Fake Antimalarials: How Big Is the problem? (Miranda, 4/22).
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Malaria? There’s an App for That in Mozambique (Blondeel, 4/24).

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Data Gaps Remain On Status Of Women, Girls Worldwide

Humanosphere: Missing measures in the push to empower women and girls
Amy VanderZanden, communications data specialist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses a report released by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation that gives “a comprehensive look at progress in gender equality in the last two decades.” She also discusses an interactive database that accompanied the report and how it highlights the gaps in data on the status of women and girls (4/24).

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