KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Pfizer Ceases Sale Of Children's Vaccine In China

Agence France-Presse: Pfizer stops sale of children’s vaccine in China
“American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has stopped selling one of its lucrative vaccines for children in China, the company said. Pfizer gave no explanation for stopping its sales of the Prevnar vaccine, which helps prevent infections such as pneumonia, which killed an estimated 935,000 children under the age of five globally in 2013, according to the World Health Organization…” (4/4).

Financial Times: Pfizer halts China vaccine sales after import license not renewed
“U.S. drugmaker Pfizer has halted vaccine sales in China after an import license for one of its top-selling treatments expired, dealing a blow to the company’s business and potentially creating a vaccine shortage for Chinese toddlers…” (Wildau, 4/3).

Wall Street Journal: Pfizer to Cease Vaccine Sales Business in China
“…Pfizer, the only company selling the drug in China, anticipates a shortage of the vaccine there, the statement said. … China has also faced vaccine shortages in the past. Regulators weren’t immediately available for comment on shortages and backlog matters. Pfizer’s global sales of Prevenar-branded products reached $4.5 billion in 2014, up 12 percent, up from a year earlier” (Burkitt, 4/2).

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After 4 Months Ebola-Free, Sierra Leone District Records Case

Reuters: Sierra Leone’s Kailahun district records first Ebola case in months
“Sierra Leone’s Eastern district of Kailahun, once a hotbed of Ebola, has recorded its first case in nearly four months, threatening progress made to stamp out the disease, officials said on Saturday…” (Fofana, 4/4).

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'Ebola Prediction Score' Could Help Screen Patients For Proper Diagnosis, Treatment

Washington Post: An Ebola doctor’s answer to the life-or-death question of who should be admitted for treatment
“… ‘The Ebola Prediction Score,’ published Friday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, is the first proposal for such a system developed according to empirical data from an Ebola outbreak. Based on data from the 395 patients admitted during the first 16 weeks of the Bong ETU’s operations, the score [is] as good as the existing World Health Organization algorithm at figuring out who might have Ebola, and even better at figuring out who might not…” (Kaplan, 4/6).

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Bill, Melinda Gates Discuss Philanthropy's Impact On Equality, Health In Washington Post Interview

Washington Post: Bill and Melinda Gates: More philanthropy can work against inequality
“…In 2010, Bill Gates teamed up with his friend Warren Buffet to launch a campaign — called The Giving Pledge — to convince other super wealthy people around the world to give away at least 50 percent of their money to charity. There are now nearly 130 billionaires with a net worth of more than $700 billion who have signed the pledge. This year, the Gateses are rallying other global citizens — ordinary people — to get involved in charity work. … This interview, one in a series of conversations with tech figures who are shaking up philanthropy, has been edited for length and clarity…” (Cha, 4/3).

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China's Evolving Health Care Systems Provide Potential Models For Other Countries

NPR: What China Can Teach The World About Successful Health Care
“Over the past six decades, China has been experimenting with radically different forms of health care systems. As the country struggles to figure out the best way to get health care to 1.3 billion people, the rest of the world can learn from its past successes and failures, researchers wrote Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. … Dr. David Blumenthal, a coauthor of the NEJM commentary, spoke to us about the rapid evolution of China’s health care system…” (Brink, 4/3).

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Drug-Resistant Disease Outbreaks Pose Threat Of Widespread Mortality In U.K., Report Warns

News outlets highlight findings of the 2015 National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, produced by the U.K. government.

BBC News: Antibiotic resistance: 80,000 ‘might die’ in future outbreak
“About 80,000 people could die if there were a ‘widespread outbreak’ of an antibiotic-resistant blood infection, according to a government document. The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies says such an outbreak could be expected to hit 200,000 people — and two in five of them ‘might die’…” (4/6).

The Guardian: Outbreak of drug-resistant infection could kill 80,000 in U.K., report warns
“…The warnings are contained in the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which was published by the Cabinet Office late last month. It provides guidance on potential threats such as terror, flu, and natural disasters…” (Rawlinson, 4/5).

The Independent: Superflu pandemic is biggest danger to U.K. apart from a terrorist attack — and could kill 80,000 people
“…Surgical operations might also be affected by the increased chance of getting a serious infection — to the point where organ transplants, bowel surgery, and some forms of cancer treatment might not be viable…” (Johnston, 4/6).

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Breathalyzer-Type Test Might Be Possible As Malaria Diagnostic Tool, Research Suggests

Public Radio International: Could a test for malaria be as easy as a breathalyzer?
“…[A] group of scientists in Missouri [is] working on a groundbreaking method to test for the disease that, if successful, could save time, money, and most importantly, lives. What is it? A malaria-styled breathalyzer. … Th[e] research, recently published in the journal mBio, indicates that the malaria parasite produces a class of compounds which might attract mosquitoes. Meaning that: if mosquitoes can smell the malaria-born compounds then they should also be detectable through a noninvasive test similar to a breathalyzer, without the need for a microscope or blood sample…” (Goyette, 4/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Government Should Increase Funding For Global WASH Programs, Thereby Expanding Opportunities For Women, Girls

Huffington Post: Clean Water: A Simple Way to Increase Opportunity for Women and Girls
Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, and Bridget Moynahan, actress and Global Citizen ambassador

“…Millions of people in developing nations, particularly women and girls, make huge sacrifices in order to obtain the day’s water supply for their families. … The unfair burden of water retrieval placed on girls and women has significant implications … The United States has been a leader in increasing access to water and sanitation globally. … [I]t is important that the United States government increases funding for water and sanitation programs to $425 million in fiscal year 2016. This funding increase, from $382.5 million in fiscal year 2015, would allow the United States to continue to expand opportunities for girls and women around the world…” (4/3).

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Smartphone Technology Helps Track Dengue Cases In Pakistan

Huffington Post: How Cellphones Helped to Dramatically Reduce New Cases of Dengue Fever in Pakistan
Ravi Kumar, digital strategist at World Bank Group

“…According to Logged On, Smart Government Solutions from South Asia, a report by the World Bank, the [Pakistan] government … came to the decision to use smartphones to monitor anti-dengue activities and track where new cases were appearing. … [Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB)] developed an app to record anti-dengue activities. Everyone in dengue-tracking teams was given smartphones. They took geo-tagged pictures that were displayed live. After the data was gathered, [then-chairman of PITB Umar] Saif led the data analysis process to find out where the government should focus its preventive activities. This new dashboard allowed officials including the chief minister to track the progress. He used the dashboard in his meetings to ensure ‘that no vulnerable or affected areas were neglected.’ … This is a remarkable example of a smart government solution…” (4/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR Works To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation For Women, Girls

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: A Goal Within Reach: DREAMS To End HIV/AIDS Among Women and Girls
Deborah L. Birx, ambassador-at-large and U.S. global AIDS coordinator, and Catherine Russel, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, discuss PEPFAR’s impact on women and girls and its progress toward achieving an AIDS-free generation (4/4).

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U.S. Working To Develop, Implement Post-2015 Development Agenda

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Daniella Ballou-Aares, senior adviser for development to the U.S. secretary of state, and Judith Garber, acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, discuss U.S. support of and efforts to develop the post-2015 development agenda. “…As we work together with other governments, NGOs, and various stakeholders to shape and implement the post-2015 development agenda, we remain optimistic for the future of sustainable development and invite everyone to do their part to contribute to its success” (4/3).

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U.S., U.N., Other Partners Work Together To Clear Landmines

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Clearing Landmines, Saving Lives: International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller writes, “April 4 [was] International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, when we mark the international effort to reduce dangers posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war on men, women, and children in post-conflict countries around the world. The United States is proud to be the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction programs and to partner with the U.N. on the international effort to address the humanitarian effects of these weapons on civilian populations…” (4/3).

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Tanzania's President Kikwete Urges U.S. Investment In Nation, Is Appointed To U.N. Global Health Crises Panel

Humanosphere: President of Tanzania lauds Seattle, seeks investments, and dodges media
Humanosphere founder and lead journalist Tom Paulson discusses a talk by President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete presented April 2 in Seattle, Washington, during which he urged U.S. investment in the nation. Paulson notes, “That same day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Kikwete to chair a new initiative aimed at reforming global health — a U.N. High Level … Panel on Global Health Crises. Created in response to the Ebola crisis, the panel includes [former] USAID chief Raj Shah…” (4/3).

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