KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Study Shows Experimental Ebola Vaccine Appears Promising; Large Trial Begins In West Africa

The Atlantic: Ebola Vaccine Appears Safe, Effective
“Tests of an experimental Ebola vaccine have found that 100 percent of vaccinated people mounted a promising immune response and incurred no serious side effects, according to results published [Thursday] morning in The New England Journal of Medicine…” (Hamblin, 4/2).

Daily Mirror: ‘Successful’ Ebola vaccine administered in crisis countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia
“An Ebola jab is being given to people living in the West African areas hit most by the virus after human trials in unaffected countries proved successful. Scientists hope immunization is possible with just one injection after ‘highly promising results’ in the first 138 healthy adults who were vaccinated with various doses…” (4/2).

Wired: Ebola vaccine reaches West Africa for massive human trial
“A 27,000-person trial of an Ebola vaccine tested by a London university has started in West Africa. The number of volunteers involved in the trial just tops the number of people that have been infected with the vicious disease since the outbreak began – a harrowing 25,178…” (Clark, 4/2).

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Death Of Liberian Man Underscores Challenges Of Containing Ebola

Newsweek: Time Bomb: Ebola Returns to the Ghetto
“Over the past year, Ebola has killed 10,000 people. Almost half of those have died in Liberia, including 200 health workers. The government and international donors have been desperately trying to care for the sick, while at the same time, prevent the virus from spreading. They seemed to have finally won that battle: on 5 March, doctors discharged what they described as the last known Ebola patient from a treatment center in the capital. But a new case emerged on 21 March, not long after the country re-opened borders, sparking renewed fears of contagion. … The story of [a Liberian man’s] death and its aftermath shows how difficult it is to contain an epidemic – and solve a possible murder – in a country where distrust of authority is widespread and the lack of water, toilets and access to basic medical services help the deadly virus proliferate…” (MacDougall, 4/2).

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New HIV Research Model Suggests Early Treatment Key To Finding Cure

The Guardian: HIV spreads like computer worms, say scientists
“HIV spreads throughout the body in a similar way to some computer worms, according to a new model, which also suggests that early treatment is key to finding a cure to the disease…” (Siddique, 4/2).

International Business Times: HIV: Early treatment crucial as virus uses double entry mode
“A new model suggests early treatment is key to curing HIV as the virus spreads in the body just like computer worms using a hybrid approach…” (K, 4/3).

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U.N. Calls For Protection Of Civilians Caught In Yemen Conflict

U.N. News Centre: As Yemen conflict intensifies, U.N. relief chief urges all sides to do more to protect civilians
“Extremely concerned for the safety of civilians caught in the midst of ‘fierce fighting’ in Yemen, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator called today on all parties involved to meet their obligations under international law and do their utmost to protect the ordinary women, children and men who are suffering the consequences of the conflict…” (4/2).

Associated Press/U.S. News & World Report: Civilians caught in widening conflict in Yemen, raising fears of humanitarian disaster
“Violence in Yemen has killed an estimated 519 people the past two weeks, 90 of them children, and tens of thousands are fleeing their homes, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Thursday, signs of the humanitarian damage being wreaked in the Arab world’s poorest nation in the rapid escalation of its conflict…” (Al-Haj/Lederer, 4/2).

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IRIN Examines Health Supply Chain For Refugees, Internally Displaced People

IRIN: Take the medicine trail
“…[I]it can take up to six months to deliver essential drugs to refugees and internally displaced people in far-flung parts of the globe. IRIN has delved into the supply chains used by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Join us on the time-consuming and perilous journey many drugs have to make before they reach those most in need and can begin to save lives…”

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U.N. Looks Ahead To May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit

Inter Press Service: U.N.’s Next Stop: Humanitarian Summit to Resolve Exploding Refugee Crisis
“As the world’s spreading humanitarian crisis threatens to spill beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq into Libya and Yemen, the United Nations is already setting its sights on the first World Humanitarian Summit scheduled to take place in Istanbul next year. ‘Let us make the response to the Syria crisis a launching pad for a new, truly global partnership for humanitarian response,’ says Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees. That partnership could come in Istanbul in May next year – even as the refugee crisis may worsen in the next 12 months…” (Deen, 4/2).

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Women More Vulnerable To Climate Change Threats But Less Likely To Receive Funding, Report Says

Inter Press Service: Millions of Dollars for Climate Financing but Barely One Cent for Women
“The statistics tell the story: in some parts of the world, four times as many women as men die during floods; in some instance women are 14 times more likely to die during natural disasters than men. … A report published last month by the Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), the International Network of Women’s Funds (INWF) and the Alliance of Funds found that ‘women throughout the world are particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by a changing climate’ – yet they are the least likely to receive proper funding to recover from, adapt to or protect against the dangers of disasters…” (Perera, 4/2).

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Study Finds Association Between Corruption, Antibiotic Resistance In Countries

SciDev.Net: Study links antibiotic resistance to corruption levels
“Scientists have found an association between antibiotic resistance and the corruption level within a country. High level of corruption increases the chances of poor control of antibiotics distribution and poor management of agriculture and water sanitation, which support the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, according to a study published in PLOS One (18 March)…” (Rochmyaningsih, 4/2).

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Ending Tobacco Use Presents Global Health Challenge

Inter Press Service: Curbing Tobacco Use – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
“The numbers are in, and there’s not much to celebrate: every year, about six million people die as a result of tobacco use, including 600,000 who succumb to the effects of second-hand smoke. … One of the [WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s] goals is to achieve a 30-percent reduction in tobacco use among people aged 15 years and older by 2025. By some calculations, the international community is moving slowly but surely towards this target. … [But] a closer look at the data shows that at current levels of progress, only 37 countries worldwide, or just 21 percent of all member states, stand ready to meet the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020. In fact, according to the WHO, there will be between 1.5 and 1.9 billion smokers worldwide in 2025, representing a potential health crisis of severe proportions…” (Mendoza, 4/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Engagement Of Global Community In China-Africa Health Collaboration Needed For Success

The Lancet: China-Africa Health Collaboration
Editorial Board

“The 5th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Collaboration: Contributing to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Expanding Access to Essential Medicines … took place in Beijing last week (March 26–28). … The roundtable endorsed the Beijing Policy Recommendations 2015 — calling for collaboration to reflect local country priorities, enhanced production and access to new health commodities, increased accountability, and investments in research, development, and health financing. The recommendations will inform the Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation later this year. … With a broadening array of health predicaments in Africa, the China-Africa Health Collaboration is very welcome and needs the active engagement of the global community to succeed in its vision” (4/4).

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Resources Should Focus On Addressing Gender-Based Violence, Rather Than Broad Gender Equality Goals

SciDev.Net: Focus on Gender: Let’s drop bland Beijing+20 aims
Henrietta Miers, senior associate of WISE Development

“…Leaders at the CSW [U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women] adopted a political declaration reaffirming the principles of the landmark World Conference on Women held 20 years ago in Beijing, China. Signatories to the declaration hope to see the full realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women by 2030. … Not surprisingly, the declaration has been criticized by women’s rights activists for being bland. I would add the charge of being overambitious: the target is almost certainly beyond anyone’s reach — and impossible to measure. … Rather than setting unachievable targets to achieve gender equality, perhaps the development community should pull together and focus on resolving a single issue that affects women and girls: violence. And another idea: how about diverting the funds presently lavished on high-level gatherings such as the latest in New York to NGOs that have the flexibility, creativity, and links with communities to reduce violence. … These kinds of programming actually make a difference in women’s lives. We should be flooding them with money, not wasting it on over-ambitious declarations” (4/2).

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Simplified Antibiotic Treatment Can Save Newborn Lives In Most Remote Areas

Huffington Post: Bending the Curve and Saving Newborn Lives
Mariam Claeson, director of maternal, newborn and child health at the Gates Foundation

“Every once in a while, a major innovation comes along — one that has the potential to change the lives and health of families all over the world — especially in remote, hard-to-reach areas. … This week, The Lancet medical journal published a new study detailing a simplified treatment with antibiotics that is a true breakthrough in the global approach to neonatal infection. … I often think of the babies whose lives couldn’t — and still cannot — be saved because they lacked access to the treatment they needed. This simplified antibiotic treatment puts an alternative, less cumbersome course of treatment into the hands of front line health workers and families in the most remote areas of the world — and will allow newborns to receive the lifesaving care they need and deserve” (4/2).

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Mobile Diagnostic Lab Can Reach Remote Areas With TB, Other Tests

New York Times: Fighting TB with a Drive-in Film and Test
Amy Maxmen, science journalist

“…[T]uberculosis … [is] an ancient disease that still kills about 4,100 people each day around the world because the tests to diagnose it and the drugs to treat it are inaccessible to many in need. … One effective approach I observed in southern Tanzania was a mobile diagnostic lab housed in a van that offers movies by night to lure potential patients, and runs GeneXpert’s TB test, as well as HIV and cervical cancer tests, by day. A small team made up primarily of Tanzanian doctors and technicians operates both the movie projector and the diagnostic equipment; they pick up supplies as needed and travel to remote areas to serve villagers who otherwise would have limited access to these health tests. …With such remarkable lifesaving technology available, the big challenge for donors, governments, and other social innovators today is to come up with newer and better ways to take them on the road” (4/3).

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System-Wide Approach Needed To Improve Road Safety In India

The Lancet: India needs shift in thinking to improve road safety
Dinesh C. Sharma, journalist, columnist, and author based in New Delhi

“A new road safety law is under discussion in India but experts worry that it won’t go far enough to address the country’s huge burden of road traffic deaths. … Ultimately, prevention of road traffic accidents will be key through the better design and operation of city and rural roads as well as highways, improved safety standards for motor vehicles, and promotion of safe public transportation. Better enforcement of road safety regulations and education of road users will improve the situation, but long-term public health benefits will only be achieved through a system-wide approach. Whether the final version of the proposed road safety bill will achieve this goal remains to be seen” (4/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Increasing Vaccine Coverage, Rebuilding Confidence In Health Services Essential To Protecting Children In Liberia

Médecins Sans Frontières: Liberia: No vaccinations for months has put children at risk
“Routine vaccination activities in Ebola-affected West African countries have been significantly reduced since the outbreak began. In Montserrado County, Liberia, MSF recently conducted a measles vaccination campaign with adapted safety protocols. Philippe Le Vaillant, MSF representative in Liberia, talks about the need to increase vaccination coverage while rebuilding confidence in medical services…” (4/2).

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Lessons Learned From Ebola Outbreak Demonstrate Importance Of Vaccine Research, Development

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Lessons from Ebola: A vaccine fast track too slow demonstrates need to prepare for pandemic potential diseases
Elizabeth Bukowski, freelance journalist and veterinarian, reports from the 3rd International One Health Congress in Amsterdam and discusses comments from the director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, Adrian Hill, on how “the [Ebola vaccine] development process has valuable lessons for other outbreaks of emerging diseases … [and] vaccines for diseases with pandemic potential should be prepared and tested for safety now…” (4/2).

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Blog Post Discusses GHTC Report, Briefing On Role Of Global Health R&D In Preparedness

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: GHTC briefing highlights importance of global health innovation in protecting U.S. and world from threats like Ebola
Kat Kelley, senior program assistant at GHTC, discusses the launch of GHTC’s sixth annual policy report titled, “Meeting the challenge, seizing the opportunity: U.S. leadership can advance global health R&D.” The launch included a panel discussion where the “panelists discussed what lessons could be learned about the need for further global health research and development (R&D) to enhance America’s preparedness to address future health threats…” (4/2).

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Blog Examines Study Findings On Health Trends In Zambia

Humanosphere: Study: Zambia’s malaria success story masks basic health failures
Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere, discusses findings from a study examining health trends in Zambia. He writes, “that while Zambia has made great progress against malaria over the past decade or so, it was losing ground on many other health needs like basic child immunizations and maternal health care…” (4/2).

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Funding Harm Reduction Can Reduce Drug-Related Deaths

Open Society Foundations: The Simple Funding Fix That Could Dramatically Reduce Drug-Related Deaths
Fionnuala Murphy, campaigns and advocacy manager at Harm Reduction International, discusses how global funding for harm reduction services can prevent “thousands of drug-related deaths each year” (4/2).

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New Issue Of ‘Global Fund News Flash’ Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash profiles the experience of a Kenyan survivor of TB, highlights global health partnerships in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlights new leadership at the Fund, addresses Eastern Europe’s target to reduce TB deaths, and discusses engaging youth around health issues (4/2).

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