KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Aim To Improve Medicine Access, Affordability With New Strategies In Developing Countries

Devex: A new look for big pharma business in the developing world
“Pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline PLC are changing the way they do business in the developing world. Over the past week, both drug firms have announced significant revamps to their strategies in developing countries that aim to increase access to their treatments through relaxed patent protections and expanded partnerships with local health care providers…” (Mendoza, 4/7).

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Devex Examines Private Sector Efforts To Address Undernourishment, Obesity In Developing Countries

Devex: Harnessing the power of the private sector to fight a growing ‘double burden’
“…It’s no surprise then that developing countries are increasingly struggling to fight a growing ‘double burden,’ both of stunting and undernourishment on one hand, and obesity and diabetes on the other. It’s also an example of a problem for which working closely with the private sector is critical if we are to find a sustainable, widespread, and lasting solution. Devex spoke to a number of organizations and companies working to fight global malnutrition to see what the private sector is doing well, where companies can go wrong, and how their roles can be expanded…” (Politzer, 4/7).

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U.N. Development Cooperation Forum High-Level Meeting Opens To Discuss SDG Implementation

U.N. News Centre: High-level U.N. forum on development cooperation paves way for ‘leaving no one behind’
“Following a day of fruitful discussions in workshops and informal meetings, the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) High-level Symposium officially opened [Thursday] in Brussels, Belgium, with senior U.N. officials urging delegations to ensure such cooperation is ‘a better fit’ for implementing the 2030 Agenda, including for vulnerable countries…” (4/7).

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Global Food Waste Hampering Food Security, Increasing Climate Change, Study Says

Washington Post: Our wasted food is a huge environmental problem — and it’s only getting worse
“…A study just out in the journal Environmental Science and Technology concludes that we’re already producing way more food than the world actually needs — but a lot of the excess is being wasted, instead of used to feed people who need it. That’s a big problem for global food security as well as for the climate, given the huge amounts of greenhouse gases that go into producing the extra food — and the study suggests that the problem will only get worse in the future…” (Harvey, 4/7).

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Global Fund To Stop Purchasing Generic Malaria Medication From Indian Manufacturer After U.S. Regulatory Warning

Reuters: India’s IPCA says Global Fund stops buying its anti-malarial drugs
“India’s IPCA Laboratories Ltd said on Thursday that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would no longer buy the company’s anti-malarial treatments after a U.S. regulatory warning about quality lapses at its factories…” (Wilkes, 4/7).

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Financial Times Examines Ebola Outbreak's Effects On Liberia's People, Economy

As part of a series of articles titled “Investing In Liberia,” the Financial Times features two pieces examining Ebola’s effects on the nation’s population and economy.

Financial Times: Ebola’s effect on Liberia: ‘Everyone was in a state of confusion’
“Countries often reveal themselves in a crisis. The outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, which killed nearly 5,000 people and brought much economic activity to a halt, was no exception. The picture that emerged was contradictory. Liberia showed itself as both ill-prepared — with just 50 doctors before the outbreak for a population of more than four million — as well as resilient…” (Pilling, 4/8).

Financial Times: Liberia faces tough tests after Ebola and commodity slump
“They are calling it the ‘double whammy.’ First, the Liberian economy was hit by a devastating outbreak of Ebola, which was not only tragic in terms of lost lives, but also brought investment and much commerce to a halt. Even as the country was dealing with that crisis, another was looming. The price of iron ore and rubber, Liberia’s principal exports, collapsed, depriving it of precious export earnings and tax revenue…” (Pilling, 4/8).

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Devex Examines Holistic Approaches To Family Planning, Resiliency, Sustainability In Tanzania

Devex: Family planning takes a 360-degree approach
“…[Community health worker Happiness Chacha’s] work is a result of the Endangered Ecosystems Northern Tanzania, a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development that aims to make both people and wildlife more resilient to threats like climate change and population growth. While it might seem surprising to see efforts to promote family planning and combat wildlife poaching as part of the same program, the project reflects growing recognition among donors and implementers that sexual and reproductive health cannot be divorced from a wide spectrum of other development objectives…” (Cheney, 4/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global R&D Efforts To Address Emerging Infectious Diseases Should Build Upon Lessons From U.S. Biodefense Product Development

Nature Biotechnology: Preparing for the next Zika
Kendall Hoyt, assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and Richard Hatchett, acting director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority

“…The development of new biomedical countermeasures — vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic — requires the coordination of a wide number of institutional and industry actors to succeed. … Three elements of the U.S. approach should be adapted to an international effort to develop medical countermeasures: mechanisms to coordinate stakeholders, define priorities, and direct resources; an incubator to provide hands-on product development support to private sector partners; and institutional and technical platforms to accelerate response times. … Guided by the above lessons, we envision an international enterprise with three operational pillars: the first pillar would focus on basic discovery and preclinical development; the second on clinical and advanced product development; and the third on procurement mechanisms and advance market commitments. … As momentum builds for a global solution to support medical countermeasure development, it is important to recognize that funding by itself will not ensure success. Success will hinge on our ability to implement an effective governance structure to coordinate research and product development on a global scale…” (April 2016)

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Congress Should Approve Larger Budget For Zika Efforts

CNN: Spend now to fight the Zika virus
Jennifer Caudle, family medicine physician and assistant professor of family medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

“…Should Congress approve a larger budget to help fight Zika? Absolutely. … A common misconception is that Zika is a problem in ‘other’ countries and that it is not a relevant concern for the United States. It is true that Zika is predominantly found in other countries, but the idea that it is not a concern for the United States is false. … We shouldn’t overreact or be alarmist, but we should have an approach to Zika that is based on the best scientific evidence and information available. … Given what we know about the Zika virus and its potential health consequences, we have the unique opportunity to address Zika proactively. In fact, it is our obligation. Investing in Zika preparedness and prevention should begin now and funding should be a priority” (4/7).

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Investing In Frontline Health Workforce Essential To Ending Preventable Deaths, Ensuring Global Health Security

The Hill: Frontline health workers: Saving lives and maximizing our global health dollars
Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), both serving on the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

“…Deficiencies in the frontline health workforce pose enormous hurdles to global health progress and security that demand a sharper focus and greater oversight of U.S. foreign assistance to train and support these workers. … In programs across several agencies, the United States has trained hundreds of thousands of frontline health workers, and we are working with our partners to sustainably address health workforce gaps. … Yet, there is no strategy or action plan across agencies to continue guiding this effort. This hampers both executive agencies’ and Congress’s ability to ensure that America’s global health investments reap the greatest possible return. H.Res. 419 calls for such a plan. Conservative investments in frontline health workers and a basic U.S. strategy can have an outsized impact to help millions in hard-to-reach populations access essential health care. … Let’s come together to pass H. Res. 419 to continue the progress we’ve made to end preventable deaths and to help protect Americans from global health security threats for decades to come” (4/7).

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Health Partnerships Model Helps Support Health Workers, Improve Care Access, Quality

Devex: The contribution of health partnerships in universal health coverage
Andy Haines, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chair of the THET Board of Trustees

“…As we seek to reach universal health coverage by 2030, the development community must focus on the following key achievements. Training health workers … Building resilient health systems … Tackling non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries … Ensuring gender equality … Recognizing the social and environmental determinants of health … During my time as chair of THET, the organization provided expert support for hundreds of health partnerships and trained 52,000 developing country health workers, with women accounting for over half of the participants. … Today, on the occasion of [World Health Day], we are renewing our commitment to support health workers across the world and to promote the health partnerships model with the goal of improving access and quality of health care and ultimately achieving UHC…” (4/7).

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Reports On Lessons Learned From Ebola Overemphasize WHO's Role, Undervalue Local Communities' Roles

The Guardian: We cannot learn the lessons of Ebola if we continue to undervalue local efforts
David Miliband, CEO and president of the International Rescue Committee

“…The International Rescue Committee has analyzed seven reports into where things went wrong and how we can do better next time. … [T]he reports concentrate on what the top levels of the WHO were doing, and undervalue some key players who carried out the bulk of the response. Above all, the voices of people in the local community who responded to the outbreak are neglected. … The reports give almost no scrutiny to those who provided the bulk of the response … Other U.N. agencies, NGOs, militaries, donors, and public health agencies collectively played a much larger role in the response, in terms of staff deployed, cases detected, contacts traced, bodies buried, samples tested, and money spent, among other metrics. The reports miss the opportunity to review the data and analyze their performance. … These reports perpetuate a pattern in which international experts deal with health problems as a technical issue, leaving the real problems to fester and hinder progress. Mixing politics with public health makes for awkward conversation. But we can’t prevent the next epidemic without having that conversation” (4/8).

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Preventing Childhood Injuries In LMICs Requires Reliable Data, Global Support

Global Health NOW: Child Injury Data and Advocacy Needed
Adnan A. Hyder, professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, director of the International Injury Research Unit and the Health Systems Program, and associate director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics

“…While high-income countries have been able to reduce by half the number of child fatalities over the last 30 years, this is not the case for [low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)], where childhood unintentional injuries unfortunately do not receive the attention they deserve. We already know from research in high-income countries that certain interventions — including seatbelts, helmets, and pool fences — save lives. … Why haven’t these advances been extended to LMICs? A global effort is underway to make the issue a priority for stakeholders and policymakers in areas of the world with rates of childhood deaths due to injury. … However … [a] more accurate picture of the burden of childhood unintentional injuries in LMICs — bolstered by real numbers, not just information based on models — is essential. Establishing injury surveillance systems and ensuring timely use of data for interventions would answer that need. … The child health, clinical, and injury prevention communities must work together to reduce the entirely preventable epidemic of childhood unintentional injuries” (4/7).

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'All Players' Must Work To Mitigate Bangladesh's Arsenic Water Crisis

The Lancet: Bangladesh’s rural water scandal
Editorial Board

“Arsenic occurs naturally underground in parts of Bangladesh, and its contamination of rural water supplies first came to public attention more than two decades ago. Since then, the Bangladesh government supported by donor agencies (including UNICEF and the World Bank) have collaborated to mitigate a growing water contamination crisis … A new report by Human Rights Watch released on April 6 highlights how the rural water crisis in Bangladesh is far from being resolved. … The report is an urgent wake-up call for all players in Bangladesh’s rural water supply, and for other governments and donor agencies focused on water and sanitation, where arsenic contamination may be a public health threat. For Bangladesh, the report highlights the need for a renewed and sustained arsenic mitigation campaign. … Until all of Bangladesh’s citizens have access to safe water, their right to health will remain scandalously denied” (4/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hearing On Ebola Addresses Concerns Over Health Systems Strengthening, Funding, Continued R&D

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: During early Ebola crisis: ‘When minutes counted, we lost months’
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” reports on a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy hearing on Ebola. At the hearing, committee members and speakers raised concerns about health systems strengthening in West Africa, the re-programming of federal funding intended for Ebola to the Zika response, and the need for continued R&D on Ebola (4/7).

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CSIS Global Health Policy Center Director Discusses Obama Administration's Decision On Zika Funding, Potential Implications

Center for Strategic & International Studies: The Delayed Battle with Zika, with Hands Tied
In this “Critical Questions” piece, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, answers questions about the Obama administration’s recent decision to re-program $589 million in funding for other health issues to the Zika response and potential implications of the decision. Morrison concludes, “Sadly, given budgetary realities on Capitol Hill, it is likely that no consideration of any long-term Zika funding will be possible until after our national elections in early November” (4/7).

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USGLC Blog Post Recognizes U.S. As Global Health Leader, Discusses PEPFAR, PMI

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Two Ways America is Making a Difference in Global Health
Recognizing World Health Day on April 7, Miriam Smallman, communications intern at USGLC, writes, “The U.S. has been a global leader in researching, treating, and combating infectious diseases around the globe,” and discusses the successes of PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) (4/7).

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Blog Post Recognizes World Health Worker Week, Contributions Of Frontline Health Workers

ONE Blog: World Health Worker Week: Celebrate some of the people who make global health happen
In recognition of World Health Worker Week, Scott Weathers, global policy associate in the Global Health Corps program at IntraHealth International, and Vince Blaser, acting director of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, discuss the impact of frontline health workers on global health efforts, including “the fight for an AIDS-free generation, for an end to preventable maternal and child deaths, and for security from threats like Ebola” (4/7).

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