KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Climate Change Poses Significant Threat To Human Health, U.S. Government Report Says

News outlets discuss findings from a U.S. government report on the impacts of climate change on human health.

CQ News: Climate Change a Threat to Health, White House Report Says
“Climate change is projected to cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions, and cases of acute respiratory illnesses by 2030, according to a new report on the health effects of climate change released by the Obama administration Monday…” (Dillon, 4/4).

The Guardian: Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns
“…The report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, formally unveiled at the White House, warned of sweeping risks to public health from rising temperatures in the coming decades — with increased deaths and illnesses from heat stroke, respiratory failure, and diseases such as West Nile virus…” (Goldenberg, 4/4).

The Hill: Climate change expected to raise public health risks
“…Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday called the study the most thorough scientific breakdown of climate change’s impact on public health. Officials said it should raise the stakes for combating climate change…” (Henry, 4/4).

New York Times: Global Warming Linked to Public Health Risks, White House Says
“…The report was developed over three years by about 100 experts in climate change science and public health in eight government agencies, including the EPA, Department of Health and Human Services, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs…” (Davenport, 4/4).

Washington Post: As the climate changes, risks to human health will accelerate, White House warns
“…Monday’s report is the latest effort by the Obama administration to put a human face on climate change, which to some can seem like an abstract concept. It comes roughly a year after Obama spoke publicly about the White House’s effort to focus on the health risks of a changing Earth…” (Dennis, 4/4).

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U.N. SG Ban Calls On Leaders To Not Accept 'Erosion Of Humanity' During Upcoming World Humanitarian Summit

U.N. News Centre: First-ever World Humanitarian Summit must usher in new era of global solidarity — U.N. chief
“Briefing Member States on preparations for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [on Monday] called on heads of state and government to come to the event and deliver a strong message that ‘we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today.’ ‘We must not fail the people who need us, when they need us most,’ said the U.N. chief, drawing particular attention to the leader’s segment and the roundtables, that will take place during the 23-24 May summit in Istanbul, Turkey…” (4/4).

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Leaked Internal U.N. Report Cites Poor Sanitation, Waste Disposal At Peacekeeping Bases In Haiti At Beginning Of 2010 Cholera Outbreak

The Guardian: Leaked U.N. report faults sanitation at Haiti bases at time of cholera outbreak
“…The U.N. has consistently refused to accept that it is responsible for compensating victims of the disaster. But the report, which was commissioned a month into the cholera crisis in November 2010, found a series of alarming problems in several U.N. peacekeeping bases including sewage being dumped in the open as well as a lack of toilets and soap…” (Clarke/Pilkington, 4/5).

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U.N. Declares 2016 Beginning Of Decade On Action On Nutrition

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. Decade aims to eradicate hunger, prevent malnutrition
“Calling attention to the nearly 800 million chronically undernourished people and over two billion with micronutrient deficiencies, the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2016 the start of the U.N. Decade of Action on Nutrition…” (4/4).

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Angolan Yellow Fever Outbreak Strains Mosquito-Borne Disease Experts, Runs Down Vaccine Supplies

Huffington Post: Will Angola’s Yellow Fever Outbreak Be ‘Another Zika?’
“A yellow fever outbreak that began in the capital city of Luanda in December has infected 450 people and killed 178, according to the World Health Organization. The mosquito-transmitted disease has since spread to six of Angola’s 18 provinces…” (Schumaker, 4/4).

New York Times: Yellow Fever Outbreak in Angola Strains Health Organizations
“Angola is experiencing a major urban yellow fever outbreak that threatens other countries, including China, and is exposing how poorly prepared the world is to fight two mosquito-borne epidemics at once. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it cannot give Africa as much help as it normally would: Most of its mosquito-disease experts are fighting the Zika virus in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere…” (McNeil, 4/4).

SciDev.Net: Angolan yellow fever outbreak highlights dangerous vaccine shortage
“…[T]he 80-year-old process [used to manufacture yellow fever vaccine] is decidedly low-tech and hard to scale up — and that’s become a problem, because a big yellow fever outbreak that started in December 2015 in Luanda, Angola’s capital, has emptied the world’s strategic reserves of the vaccine…” (Kupferschmidt, 4/4).

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India Firing Some Foreign-Funded Consultants From Government Health Programs In Effort To Reduce NGO Influence

Reuters: India sacks some foreign-funded consultants; health programs may suffer
“India is firing dozens of foreign-funded health experts working inside the government, seen as part of a broader clampdown to reduce the influence of non-government organizations (NGOs) on policy. The loss of these professionals, most of whom are Indian nationals, has raised concerns that signature programs to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis may suffer just as they face funding shortages due to slow bureaucracy…” (Kalra/Busvine, 4/4).

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Wall Street Journal Examines Questions Over Cigarette Health Warning Labels In India

Wall Street Journal: Will Larger Health Warnings Deter India’s Smokers?
“India’s domestic cigarette makers have suspended production in a push-and-pull over the size of health warnings on cigarette packs. The government had asked the makers to display larger warnings on the packs, but after an ongoing legal tussle, tobacco companies say the rules are still unclear. Here’s a look at what this means for India’s tobacco trade, and whether larger and more graphic warnings will actually help smokers kick the habit…” (Rana, 4/4).

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U.N. Agencies, World Organisation For Animal Health To Implement Mass Dog Vaccination For Rabies

SciDev.Net: Alliance launched to take bite out of rabies
“A global plan to introduce mass dog vaccination in order to combat rabies — which kills around 70,000 people every year — is under way after being backed by major health players. A tripartite alliance between the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is overseeing the End Rabies Now campaign…” (Schmidt, 4/4).

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Educational Training Interventions Help Delay Child Marriage Among Bangladeshi Girls, Study Shows

The Guardian: Educating girls could cut child marriage in Bangladesh by a third, study says
“Child marriage in Bangladesh could drop by up to one-third if girls receive educational support or skills training, according to a study looking at ways to combat the practice in a country with one of the highest prevalence rates. The Population Council’s Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents (Balika) project evaluated the success of three approaches in delaying the number of girls under 18 being married off…” (Ford, 4/5).

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Health Officials Urge Use Of DEET To Reduce Risk Of Zika, Despite Little Evidence On Safety Among Pregnant Women

New York Times: DEET Seen as Safe for Pregnant Women to Avoid Zika Despite Few Studies
“…Health officials are urging people to use insect repellents with DEET to avoid being bitten [by mosquitoes]. The mounting evidence that the virus is strongly linked with birth defects makes this a priority for pregnant women. But is it safe to use repellents containing DEET with a baby on the way? Although the scientific evidence is a bit thinner than some experts would like, most say the answer is yes, as long as you do not overapply…” (Saint Louis, 4/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Sustained, Proactive Biomedical Research Investment Essential To Preventing Future Outbreaks

CNBC: Here’s how we prevent the next killer virus
Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

“…The lesson from Ebola — and before that, from HIV/AIDS — should have been that research to find treatments and vaccines requires sustained, proactive investment. The alternative, i.e., formulating solutions in the heat of a health crisis, is dangerously inadequate; reacting to each outbreak instead of consistently funding research means that we will always be behind, never ahead of the crisis. … Instead of shuttering labs and cutting back on promising research, we need to spend the money now and [sustain funding] into the future — proactively — to understand more about basic virology, immunology, and epidemiology; to develop vaccine platforms; and to translate those insights into development of new vaccines and therapies…” (4/4).

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Framing Of Disease Outbreaks One Factor Influencing WHO's Different Responses To Zika, Ebola

Washington Post: Here’s why the WHO responded so differently to Zika and Ebola
Amy S. Patterson, professor of politics at the University of the South

“…Political science research on international organizations and on how issues are framed can help explain the difference [between the WHO’s quick response to Zika and slower response to Ebola]. … WHO officials blamed the slow Ebola response on budget cuts that hit programs on infectious disease control and on poor communication between Ebola-affected countries and WHO headquarters in Geneva. … And surely the WHO, after being accused of dragging its feet with Ebola, wanted to act quickly with Zika. Political scientists would argue that the story is still more complicated. … 1. The WHO has six autonomous regional offices that behave differently … 2. The WHO cares about its reputation among powerful countries … 3. The message matters … In deciding how to respond to outbreaks, global organizations and the states that support them should realize that how those diseases are framed matters” (4/4).

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Global Political Leaders Should Draft 'Ambitious, Actionable, Realistic' Declaration On HIV/AIDS

Global Health NOW: Political Leadership, HIV, and Health: Keeping Leaders Accountable
Ron MacInnis, technical director of health at Palladium and deputy director for HIV at the Health Policy Project, and Annmarie Leadman, senior technical adviser of health at Palladium and director of communications and knowledge management at the Health Policy Project

“…When [leaders meet in New York at the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in June], U.N. member state representatives will draft a new political declaration on HIV/AIDS. Declarations have proven useful as global tools to set commitments and priorities, harmonize approaches, and provide a reference point for advocates, but the impact of such declarations in high-burden countries is mixed. … There is a collective unease among those on the front lines of the HIV response, including millions in need of lifelong HIV treatment. They are concerned about global HIV targets that may be interpreted too optimistically by political leaders in high-prevalence countries, overly simplistic messaging on ‘ending AIDS,’ and the lack of emphasis on HIV in the Sustainable Development Goals that may signal a receding sense of urgency around the epidemic. This week’s U.N. meeting [of civil society advocates and community service representatives] presents an ideal opportunity to present clear demands to political leaders and ensure that their new declaration is ambitious, actionable, and realistic” (4/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID To Provide Nearly $68M In Additional Emergency Food Assistance For Sudan

USAID: U.S. Announces Nearly $68 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Sudan
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is providing nearly $68 million for emergency food assistance, to reach approximately 2.5 million Sudanese as well as refugees from South Sudan and other neighboring states. This assistance will be delivered through the World Food Programme, which will help address the complex emergency arising from conflict, natural disasters, and widespread displacement in Sudan…” (4/1).

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CGD Blog Post Discusses Research On Impact Of Patents On Drug Availability

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: What Drug Patents Do Is Complicated: A Belated Contribution from Jenny Lanjouw Helps Sort It Out
Kimberly Ann Elliott, senior fellow at CGD, discusses research by former CGD fellow Jenny Lanjouw and her coauthors, Iain Cockburn and Mark Schankerman, on patents and drug availability. “What the new [American Economic Review] article demonstrates is that prices don’t matter if drugs are not available at all. … [E]xtensive price controls delay the launch of new drugs, even in countries with strong patent systems, which creates an obvious dilemma for resource-constrained governments and consumers,” Elliot writes. She also discusses an article by Thomas Bollyky, which “suggests that the price effects of stronger patent protection may be less of a problem for access than previously thought” (4/4).

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Blog Post Discusses How Health Centers In Syrian Refugee Settlements Struggle To Treat NCDs

Humanosphere: Noncommunicable diseases stress already struggling health care centers for Syrian refugees
Charlie Ensor, a freelance journalist, discusses the challenges of treating noncommunicable diseases in Syrian refugee settlements, writing, “The level of need, combined with the underfunded international response, has meant that the humanitarian community’s focus has been on meeting the immediate needs of refugees, such as providing food, shelter, among others. As a result, the needs of noncommunicable disease sufferers are often overlooked…” (4/1).

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