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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Yemen War Hitting Children Hardest, UNICEF Says; WFP Warns Of Potential Famine

News outlets highlight findings from a new UNICEF report, titled Yemen: Childhood Under Threat, and famine warnings from the World Food Programme.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns of ‘storm’ of famine in conflict-hit Yemen
“The United Nations warned Wednesday of a ‘developing famine’ in Yemen, where more than half a million children are severely malnourished, and pressed for access to its war-torn regions…” (8/19).

Al Jazeera America: Children bearing brunt of war in Yemen, UNICEF says
“Fighting in Yemen has killed nearly 400 children since the end of March, with a similar number having been recruited by armed groups in the conflict, the U.N. children’s agency warned Wednesday…” (8/19).

Associated Press: Yemen conflict has killed nearly 400 children, U.N. says
“…This is UNICEF’s first such alert on Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Shiite Houthi rebels since late March. Millions have been trapped in the conflict, and aid groups have warned that many people are on the brink of starvation…” (Anna, 8/18).

Associated Press: U.N. says Yemen on edge of famine from conflict, blocked ports
“…Ertharin Cousin, head of the U.N.’s World Food Programme, said that while some food aid is flowing in, fighting around major ports is stalling deliveries, while reaching the country’s interior is proving difficult and donor funding is still falling short…” (Rohan, 8/19).

Newsweek: Yemen’s Children Face Increased Risk of Death and Starvation From Conflict: U.N.
“…Ten million children, or 80 percent of the country’s under-18s, need urgent humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said…” (Westcott, 8/19).

U.N. News Centre: Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end — UNICEF
“…Disrupted health services, increased levels of child malnutrition, closed schools, and higher numbers of children recruited by fighting groups are among the effects of the conflict now ravaging the Arab world’s poorest country, the study finds…” (8/19).

Xinhua News: 1.8 million children estimated to suffer from malnutrition in Yemen: UNICEF
“…UNICEF estimates that the education of over 1.8 million children has been interrupted by school closures and more than 20 million people are struggling to get the safe water and sanitation they need, according to [UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake]…” (8/19).

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More Than 3M Malians Food Insecure, Hungry As Conflict Persists, U.N., Country Officials Say

Associated Press: U.N.: Over 3 million people suffer from hunger in Mali
“More than three million people are suffering from hunger as insecurity persists in Mali’s north, Mali officials and the United Nations said Wednesday. Food insecurity also means more than 715,000 children are at risk of acute malnutrition, said U.N. humanitarian coordinator Mbaranga Gasarabwe…” (Ahmed, 8/19).

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Typhoid Outbreak Reported Among Palestinian Refugees In Syria

New York Times: Syria: Typhoid Threatens Refugees
“A typhoid outbreak is threatening displaced Palestinian residents from the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus, Syria, the United Nations reported Wednesday…” (Gladstone, 8/19).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. agency reaches areas near Yarmouk camp as typhoid outbreak hits Palestinian refugees
“… ‘Amidst reports of a typhoid outbreak in the Yarmouk region, with at least 10 of the cases credibly reported in Yarmouk, Yalda, Babila, and Beit Sahem, UNRWA was authorized to provide limited health assistance,’ reported the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)…” (8/19).

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$12B Funding Gap For Humanitarian Emergencies, U.N. Data Show

The Guardian: World Humanitarian Day: anxiety grows over $12bn crisis funding shortfall
“This year, the U.N. has asked for $19.43bn (£12.38bn) to deal with humanitarian crises in countries such as Syria, South Sudan, and Nepal, but … [d]ata from the U.N.’s financial tracking service shows a $12bn funding gap for the global body’s emergency appeals, meaning donors have only covered 35 percent of the total funds requested so far this year…” (Anderson, 8/19).

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Guinea Records 3 New Ebola Cases, WHO Says, Warns Of Continued Transmission Risk In Country, Sierra Leone

CIDRAP News: WHO reports 3 new Ebola cases — all in Guinea
“The number of newly confirmed Ebola infections in West Africa’s outbreak region stayed at three last week for the second straight week, with Guinea the only country to report new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said [Wednesday] in its weekly snapshot of the epidemic. … However, … the WHO also warned of a significant risk of transmission, because some contacts have been lost to follow-up in Guinea and in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital…” (Schnirring, 8/19).

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Reported MERS Cases Up In Saudi Arabia Ahead Of Haj; Riyadh Hospital Suspends Emergency Services Amid Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: Saudi MERS infections soar ahead of haj pilgrimage
“MERS coronavirus infections have soared in Saudi Arabia ahead of the haj pilgrimage, killing three people and forcing a Riyadh hospital to close its emergency ward, officials and newspapers said Thursday. … The health ministry has said it registered 21 confirmed MERS infections, all but one of them in Riyadh, between August 9 and 15…” (8/20).

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FDA To Add Chagas, Neurocysticercosis To NTD Priority Review List

The Hill: New regs for Thursday: Tropical diseases and student loans
“…The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is adding Chagas disease and neurocysticercosis to the list of designated tropical diseases. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the agency gives priority reviews to products that treat tropical diseases…” (Wheeler, 8/19).

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CNN's 'Vital Signs' Examines Efforts To Eradicate Polio In Nigeria

CNN: The race to zero: Nigeria’s fight to wipe out polio
“…With [Nigeria’s polio immunization] coverage rates higher than many places in the world, complacency is now the campaign’s biggest enemy. It will be at least another two years before Nigeria can be officially certified polio free. Two more years of complete community and government buy-in needed…” (Swails, 8/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Must Better Prepare For 'Inevitable' Future Disease Outbreaks

Foreign Affairs: Ebola’s Lessons
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…If the WHO is going to remain the world’s central authority on global health issues — which it should, because there needs to be one, and it has the most legitimate claim to perform such a role — it needs to concentrate on its core competencies and be freed from the vast array of unrealistic, unprioritized, and highly politicized mandates that its member states have imposed. … [I]t should scale back to providing technical expertise and advice in areas such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and child immunizations … [and] plan for a competent, quickly deployable, international volunteer medical corps. … Another area requiring advance attention is the availability and use of experimental medicines, vaccines, and rapid diagnostic tools. … In the end, the world must come to grips with the fact that future epidemics are not just likely but also inevitable and prepare to deal with them more effectively…” (September/October 2015)

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U.S. Falling Behind African Nations In HPV Vaccine Coverage, Must Ensure Immunizations To Eradicate Disease

Forbes: Low Hanging Fruit: Cervical Cancer And How The U.S. Is Falling Behind
Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Saketh Guntupalli, assistant professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

“…[O]ne area where we lag behind even some African nations is in preventing cervical cancer — the most common gynecologic cancer worldwide. … [I]n 2010, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, … launch[ed] a national campaign to vaccinate schoolgirls against HPV — the human papilloma virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. … Soon after Dr. Binagwaho launched the vaccination program in Rwanda [reaching a more than 95 percent coverage rate in 2012], Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon began working to vaccinate over 42,000 girls Zambia and Botswana and perform cervical cancer screening for over 180,000 women for cervical cancer in Zambia, Botswana, and Tanzania. Yet only thirty-five percent of American girls and young women receive the vaccination. … In truth, the eradication of cervical cancer from the United States is low hanging fruit. … We must ensure that our young women have the chance to enter this century free from preventable diseases such as cervical cancer, so they can realize their maximum potential” (8/15).

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Global Nutrition Strategies Should Address Vitamin A Deficiencies, Food Fortification

Devex: Envisioning a world with fewer vitamin A deficiencies
S. Jamal Raza, director of the National Institute of Child Health in Karachi, Pakistan

“…Vitamin A is one of several nutrients needed for young people to live, grow, flourish, and see the world. We are all looking with great enthusiasm and expectation for the upcoming global summit in Tanzania about food fortification to fight the hidden hunger. These are the most cost-effective and efficient methods of overcoming dangers of micronutrient deficiencies. Developing global strategies — and implementing and upscaling the already existing strategies with proven benefits — is the way forward to fight the menace of malnutrition around the world” (8/19).

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Nepal Should Implement Widespread Typhoid Vaccination Program

Nature: Tackle Nepal’s typhoid problem now
Buddha Basnyat, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit at Patan Hospital

“…[W]ide deployment of a vaccine [for typhoid fever] could be a useful — and lifesaving — measure. As part of the post-earthquake recovery plan, Nepal should kick-start a long-promised vaccination program. … At present, just one typhoid vaccine is approved by the WHO. It would be cheaper for Nepali health officials to deploy an alternative vaccine, not pre-qualified by the WHO. It is unclear why they have not yet done so; perhaps they are reluctant to be seen to be going against WHO guidance. The decision to vaccinate — whichever vaccine is used — must be backed with solid research…” (8/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID, State Department Commemorate World Humanitarian Day

USAID’s “Impact”: World Humanitarian Day: Protracted Mega-crises Require New Solutions to Save Lives
On World Humanitarian Day, Jeremy Konyndyk, director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, discusses several persistent humanitarian emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Syrian crisis, among others, and notes the upcoming inaugural U.N. World Humanitarian Summit (8/19).

State Department: World Humanitarian Day
In Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement on World Humanitarian Day, he says, “We proudly salute [humanitarian aid workers’] courage and resilience. And we pay tribute to the sacrifices they make in a world where each is connected to all” (8/19).

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Policymakers Should Heed Lessons Learned From Ebola Epidemic

Council on Foreign Relations: Ebola: What Happened
John Campbell, the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at CFR, discusses Laurie Garrett’s recent Foreign Affairs essay on Ebola, writing the piece is “essential reading. … Laurie Garrett steps back to understand the course of the Ebola epidemic and the mistakes made in the world’s response to it.” He adds, “Policymakers in Washington, New York, and Geneva should heed her specific recommendations” (8/19).

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Global Health Community Should Implement Better Screening To Curb Diabetes-TB Comorbidity

Health Affairs Blog: Heading Off The Looming Diabetes-Tuberculosis Epidemic
Anthony Harries, senior adviser and director of the Department of Research at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, discusses the relationship between TB and diabetes as comorbidities and urges the global health community to implement bidirectional screening, which “requires that any patient that tests positive for TB be referred for diabetes testing, and vice versa” (8/19).

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