KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Closing Immunization Gaps Worldwide Will Require Overcoming 'Vaccine Hesitancy,' WHO Says

New York Times: WHO Calls ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’ an Increasing Concern Globally
“The World Health Organization warned Tuesday of what it called the growing problem of ‘vaccine hesitancy,’ when people delay or refuse vaccines for themselves or their children. In a statement on its website, the organization called the problem ‘a growing challenge for countries seeking to close the immunization gap’…” (Gladstone, 8/18).

U.N. News Centre: Changing habits and behaviors is key to overcome vaccine hesitancy — U.N. health agency
“With one in five children still not receiving routine life-saving immunizations, and an estimated 1.5 million dying each year of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, people who delay or refuse vaccines for themselves or their children are presenting a growing challenge for countries seeking to close the immunization gap, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)…” (8/18).

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Groups Highlight Risks To Aid Workers, U.N. Draws Attention To Those In Need To Recognize World Humanitarian Day

IRIN: On World Humanitarian Day, a new idea to protect aid workers
“…Last year, shortly after World Humanitarian Day — commemorated annually on 19 August — the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution condemning all attacks on aid workers and calling on all parties to allow humanitarians full access to those in need. But there are, critics say, few mechanisms for the U.N. to actually enforce such protection. Responsibility falls mainly upon individual states and their judiciaries, many of whom have a poor record of taking action…” (Dyke, 8/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: “I wasn’t always a broken person”: aid workers describe fieldwork
“Globally, one third fewer aid workers were killed, wounded, or kidnapped in 2014 than the all-time high of 460 in 2013, because fewer were deployed to dangerous regions, according to the group Humanitarian Outcomes…” (8/19).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. kicks-off global events for World Humanitarian Day as Ban declares ‘each one of us can make a difference’
“On the eve of World Humanitarian Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [drew] attention to the 100 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict, hunger, and disease, whose needs are far outstripping the capacity to help them, but he is also reminding the international community that ‘each one of us can make a difference’ and ‘create a more humane world’…” (8/18).

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U.N. OCHA Head Discusses Humanitarian Work, Donor Participation In U.N. News Centre Interview

U.N. News Centre: Interview: “At the end of the day, every life saved is an achievement in itself.” — U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien
“…In a recent interview with the U.N. News Centre, Mr. O’Brien, who heads the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), discusses the vital aspects of humanitarian work, some of today’s most urgent crises, and the challenges and importance of donor participation…” (8/18).

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Researcher For Original Kenya Deworming Trial Speaks With Vox About Recent Controversy Over Study's Reanalysis

Vox: The author of a contentious study on deworming finally speaks out
“…Over a series of phone calls and emails, [Michael Kremer, an author of the original deworming study conducted in Kenya,] shared his perspective on what it was like to be on the receiving end of one of the most talked-about replications in recent science, what he thinks about large-scale deworming programs, and what the scientific and journalism communities can learn from this experience…” (Belluz, 8/18).

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Cholera, Climate Change, Returning Emigrants Contribute To Haiti's Humanitarian Crisis, U.N. Official Says

Agence France-Presse: Cholera, climate change fuel Haiti’s humanitarian crisis: U.N.
“Climate change, cholera, and the return of thousands of emigrants from the neighboring Dominican Republican are fueling a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, the U.N. warned. The impoverished Caribbean nation is facing a deluge of problems, pushing an already vulnerable population closer to the edge, said Enzo di Taranto, who heads Haiti’s U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)…” (Baron, 8/19).

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Saudi Arabia Reports 13 New MERS Cases Linked With Outbreak At Riyadh Hospital

CIDRAP News: Thirteen new MERS cases confirmed in Riyadh outbreak
“Saudi Arabia reported 14 new MERS-CoV illnesses, along with four more deaths, over the past three days, with all but one of the infections linked to an ongoing hospital-related outbreak in Riyadh. … The only case confirmed over the past few days outside of Riyadh involves a 64-year-old foreign man in the southern city of Najran who works in a health setting, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said…” (Schnirring, 8/17).

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New Supreme Court Order Affects Philippines Family Planning Law, Curbs Free Contraceptive Access For Some

VOA News: Philippines’ Family Planning Law Finds Challenges
“A long-awaited reproductive health law in the Catholic-majority Philippines that took effect a year ago is still facing challenges. Health service providers are dealing with a new Supreme Court order curbing some free contraception for the poor…” (Orendain, 8/18).

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Humanitarian Community Stretching To Keep Up With Widening Conflict, Casualties In Afghanistan, U.N. Reports

U.N. News Centre: Record civilian casualties and widening conflict stretch humanitarian capacities in Afghanistan — U.N.
“The Afghan conflict has intensified in 2015, resulting in record high levels of civilian casualties and new displacements that are stretching the humanitarian community’s ability to sufficiently meet life-saving needs, the United Nations relief wing reported [Tuesday]…” (8/18).

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Yemen Conflict Affecting Health Of Millions Of Children, Pregnant Women, UNICEF Warns

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF: Millions of Yemeni children at risk
“The U.N. children’s agency said months of battle between Shiite Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition had left services for children ‘decimated,’ and half a million pregnant women at higher risk from complications. A quarter of Yemen’s health facilities — around 900 — had closed since March. Centers that remained open faced shortages of medical supplies…” (8/19).

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Fighting In Eastern DRC Forces Closure Of 32 Clinics, Official Says

IRIN: Amid clashes, many clinics close in eastern DRC
“…According to the top medical health official in [the eastern Beni region of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province], 32 clinics around Beni have shut up shop since July. The people running the clinics are ‘frightened of being targeted for attack by Ugandan rebels,’ explained the official, Ndungo Nzalamingi, referring to the Allied Democratic Forces, an insurgency the DRC army and U.N. troops have been battling for months in joint operations…” (Maliro, 8/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

On World Humanitarian Day, Advocates, Governments Call For Greater Commitment To Humanitarian Action, More Humane World

The Guardian: World Humanitarian Day: let’s all make a greater commitment to life-saving action
Stephen O’Brien, U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, and Christos Stylianides, European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management

“…This World Humanitarian Day we call for a mass global display of public support for a more humane world and for humanitarian action. … Along with this campaign for a global rallying cry for humanity, the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a renewed and reinvigorated commitment to humanitarian action by initiating the World Humanitarian Summit to be held next May in Istanbul. Heads of state and government, global leaders in business, NGOs, and people affected by crises will commit to bold new ways to meet the great challenges of today and those of the next generation. This greater commitment to humanitarian action is also a key part of the call to leave no one behind, which underpins the new sustainable development agenda, inspiring us all to create a more humane world” (8/19).

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Sustained International Assistance Needed To End Ebola Epidemic, Improve West Africa's Health Systems

New York Times: Ebola Isn’t Over Yet
Craig A. Spencer, humanitarian aid worker with Doctors Without Borders and director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center

“…So much of what I hear about Ebola in West Africa is wrong. The most common misperceptions — that the epidemic is almost over; that enough trained personnel are available to combat the crisis and the aftermath; that plans are in place for post-Ebola recovery — will only encourage inaction and harm the response on the ground. … Without sustained assistance from the international community, the nations of West Africa face a losing war of attrition with the epidemic. … If the epidemic’s immediate impact on the West African health system sounds dire, the probable consequences are even more unsettling. … We cannot allow Ebola to continue destroying communities even after it’s gone. Instead, we must seize the opportunity to restore and improve the capacity of the region’s health systems…” (8/17).

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Better Community-Based Prenatal Supplement Delivery Platforms Needed To Reach Pregnant Women Worldwide

Huffington Post: Pregnant Women World-Wide Need Timely Access to Supplements
Marion Roche, technical adviser at Micronutrient Initiative

“…There are many questions to explore as to how to best reach pregnant women for their health and for their newborns. Could [multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS)] be part of the global solution? Given the potential benefits in switching [from WHO-recommended iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements] to multiple micronutrient supplements, it may seem obvious to recommend that countries make this transition; however, the financial, supply management, logistical implications for programs are huge, especially for many national IFA programs in developing countries that have struggled to achieve high coverage, timely uptake, and adherence. … Whether or not the supplement contains IFA or multiple micronutrients, the benefits for moms and babies will be limited unless women have timely access to the supplements through respectful antenatal care or community-based delivery platforms” (8/18).

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U.N. Should Prioritize Mental Health Efforts In SDGs

The Hill: Want a safer, more prosperous world? Invest in mental health
Kathleen M. Pike, executive director and scientific co-director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University

“…[T]he U.N. needs to recognize that untreated mental health problems increase risk for other illnesses and even decrease life expectancy. If the U.N. fails to prioritize mental health in the SDGs, it will not only be ignoring its own data and abandoning hundreds of millions of people worldwide who need care, but also sabotaging its ability to succeed with so many other goals given their intimate link to mental health. While few of us will be at the U.N. negotiating tables, all of us can take action by taking the issue to Ambassador Samantha Power, our U.S. representative to the U.N. … As the U.N. considers its global goals, its decision-makers must recognize … ignoring mental health is a recipe for disaster” (8/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N., Aid Groups Face Challenges To Providing Humanitarian Assistance In Conflict-Torn Yemen

Humanosphere: U.N. and aid groups paint bleak picture for Yemen
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the challenges that aid groups, including U.N. agencies, face in delivering food and health care to the country (8/14).

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Ukraine's Ongoing Conflict Presents Difficulties In Delivering HIV, Addiction Drug Treatments

Open Society Foundations: Ukraine’s Deadly Medicines Bottleneck
Daniel Wolfe, director of the International Harm Reduction Development Program at the Open Society Foundations, discusses the challenges of providing HIV and addiction drug treatments in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine as conflict continues (8/4).

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DKT Pakistan Working To Increase Country's Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Pakistan: A Tough but Vital Place to Do Family Planning
Juan Enrique Garcia, country director of DKT Pakistan, discusses the organization’s efforts to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods in Pakistan by overcoming several cultural, social, and logistical challenges (8/6).

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