KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Saudi Arabia Working To Stem Surge Of New MERS Cases Ahead Of Hajj Pilgrimage

New York Times: New Surge of MERS Infections Hits Saudi Arabia
“Saudi Arabia is facing a new surge in cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, a viral disease that has infected more than 1,100 people and killed more than 480 in the kingdom since it appeared in 2012. … The spike in cases was the largest since the peak of the virus’s spread last summer and has raised fears that the virus could threaten the more than two million visitors expected next month for the annual hajj pilgrimage…” (Hubbard, 8/20).

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Sierra Leone Officials Hopeful Country's Ebola Outbreak Over After Nearly 4K Deaths

The Guardian: Ebola in Sierra Leone: after 4,000 deaths, outbreak all but over
“The long-running Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone is all but over after nearly 13,500 cases and almost 4,000 deaths, those fighting the disease believe. The last case in Sierra Leone was an eight-month-old child, who was hospitalized nearly two weeks ago and died four days later. … None [of the quarantined 29 high-risk contacts] have so far shown signs of illness…” (Boseley, 8/20).

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Pakistan Begins Using Injectable Polio Vaccine In Effort To Eliminate Disease By 2016

Agence France-Presse: Pakistan launches new polio vaccine, aims for 2016 wipeout
“Pakistan on Thursday formally launched an injectable polio vaccine, an important step to accelerate its polio eradication campaign as the authorities vowed to wipe out the disease by 2016. More than four million children will benefit from the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which will be incorporated into the country’s routine immunization schedule and given to children alongside other jabs…” (8/20).

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India To Host Child, Maternal Health Summit At Month's End, Health Ministry Announces

EH News Bureau/Financial Express: India to host ‘CALL TO ACTION SUMMIT 2015 — ending preventable child and maternal deaths’
“…The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that India will host the global ‘CALL TO ACTION SUMMIT 2015 — ending preventable child and maternal deaths,’ on August 27 — 28, 2015, in New Delhi. This Summit will be co-hosted with the Health Ministry of Ethiopia and in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Tata Trusts, UNICEF, USAID, U.K. Aid, and WHO…” (8/21).

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Madagascar's 2009 Political Crisis Negatively Impacted Health Sector, Outcomes, Lancet Reports

The Lancet: Madagascar’s health challenges
“…The 2009 political crisis had a substantial impact on the country’s health sector, from budget cuts to donor withdrawal. Jean-Claude Mubalama, a health specialist at UNICEF, said: ‘It’s clear that since the crisis, the budget allocated to the health sector has decreased.’ … As a result, there has been a decline in health outcomes, explained Mubalama: ‘Many of the indicators have been stagnating. In terms of mother and child health, the number of skilled birth attendants decreased during this [politically uncertain] period’…” (Barmania, 8/22).

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WHO, Partners Address Health Needs Of IDPs In Conflict-Ridden South Sudan

Xinhua News: WHO provides emergency health services to internally displaced persons in South Sudan
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said WHO and its partners are racing to cope with the health needs of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northeastern South Sudan, where fighting continues and the humanitarian situation remains dire. … Given the vulnerability of their situation, WHO said there is an urgent need to strengthen coordination mechanisms to scale up the health services, [and] provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services to prevent disease outbreaks…” (8/20).

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Lack Of Port Access In Yemen Stalls Deliveries Of Fuel, Food, Medicines

Devex: In Yemen, aid work stalls along with fuel, supply imports
“…[In September, a] much-awaited shipment of replenishment supplies for [Oxfam’s] water and sanitation interventions in conflict-torn Yemen is expected to arrive, bringing tanks, pumps, and tools like welding machines. As with fuel, food, and medicines, these supplies have become scarce — and may be more difficult to obtain in coming weeks…” (Ravelo, 8/21).

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Colombia's New Femicide Law 'Key Step' To Reduce Violence Against Women, TRF Reports

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Colombia confronts femicide, the “most extreme form of violence against women”
“Colombia’s new law on femicide is a key step to combat violence against women, but forensic experts and prosecutors will need to change the way they investigate gender-related killings to win convictions, officials said. In this Latin American country of 47 million people where on average one woman is killed every two days, the issue of femicide — defined as the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender — is under the spotlight…” (Moloney, 8/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

'Vaccine Hesitancy' Threatens Lives Of Children, Presents Challenges To Health Workers

New York Times: Children Die Because People Are Wrongly Afraid of Vaccines
Editorial Board

“Of all the threats to human life confronted by international health workers, few cause as heavy a toll as what is termed ‘vaccine hesitancy’ — the delay or refusal by misinformed people to accept vaccination for themselves and their children. … This problem is only compounded by the challenge workers face in convincing skeptical publics to put aside what science shows are local myths and dangerous indifference. … [Each reason for vaccine objection] only compounds the subtle challenges of enforcement and education that health care workers and governments have no choice but to pursue, since the lives of millions of children remain at risk” (8/20).

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All Nations Should Draw Lessons From Nigeria's 'Fragile, But Real,' Experience Reaching Polio-Free Status

Washington Post: The end of polio in Africa?
Editorial Board

“…Africa must be free of the [polio] virus for two more years, under rigorous surveillance, before the WHO can declare it polio-free. The progress so far is fragile, but real, and attention should now be focused on campaigns against polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two nations where it is endemic. … Everyone ought to draw from Nigeria’s experience, which showed that battling polio is not only about the vaccinations but also about waging a complex war of logistics and, ultimately, winning over the hearts and minds of people” (8/20).

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More Data Needed On E-Cigarette Usage, Awareness, Potential Harm In LMICs

JAMA: The Global Health Implications of e-Cigarettes
Andrew Chang of the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Michele Barry, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health

“…Eighty-four percent of the world’s smokers live in [low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)]. … The health effects of [e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)] can stress LMIC health systems relatively more than health systems in high-income countries. … Developing nations should not underestimate the availability and targeted marketing of ENDS within their borders and should place e-cigarettes under the purview of their medical and pharmaceutical regulatory boards. … Even though e-cigarettes may have a future as smoking cessation tools, evidence to support this indication is lacking. More rigorous studies must be conducted regarding the awareness, usage patterns, and potential for harm of these devices in low-income countries, particularly Africa and South Asia, where data are currently missing” (8/18).

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4 Lessons From GSK, Save The Children's Health Care Innovation Awards

Devex: 4 lessons on innovating for global health
Ramil Burden, vice president of Africa and developing countries at GlaxoSmithKline

“…Designed to identify those ideas born in developing countries that are saving children’s lives, the [GSK and Save the Children’s Healthcare Innovation Award] aims to give them a springboard to expand their reach. There is much that government, business, and NGOs can learn from these ideas and their capacity to think laterally about innovation in health care and improving access. So what are the four key lessons learned so far from the so-called Oscars of health care innovation? High-tech is not always high impact. … Mobile technology really does have huge potential. … Good health care is about healthier lives and livelihoods. … The best ideas come from those closest to the challenge…” (8/20).

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Elimination Of Mosquito-Borne Diseases Requires Cross-Sector Collaboration

Global Health NOW: World Mosquito Day
Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, executive director of Roll Back Malaria

“…As we enter this era of the Sustainable Development Goals, we recognize the need for a multi-sectoral approach to eliminate and control … mosquito-borne diseases. No longer the narrow purview of the medical entomologist, bednet distributor, or spray operator, we need to ensure actions across all sectors: business and law, agriculture and food security, housing and infrastructure, health, environment, and community development to reduce the risk of infections in our homes, workplaces, and communities. … [W]e’ve learned a lot, but there is so much more we don’t understand and cannot control. It will be through a diversity of ideas, novel collaborations across sectors, and a broadening of understanding and appreciation of mosquitoes in our environment that we will succeed” (8/20).

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UNICEF Responds To Sierra Leone's Latest Ebola Outbreak With WASH, Social Support

Huffington Post: Protecting The Most Vulnerable in Sierra Leone’s Latest Ebola Outbreak
David Bull, executive director of UNICEF U.K.

“…UNICEF supported the response to [the latest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone’s Massesebe Village] by providing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) supplies, by supporting social mobilization activities in Massesebe and the surrounding villages to ensure residents were fully informed and prepared to prevent further spread of the virus, and by providing support for counseling to minimize the stress and trauma of being in Ebola quarantine. The Massesebe quarantine has now been lifted for the majority of homes, with the whole village expected to be declared safe on 23 August…” (8/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Dispatches Podcast Discusses Debate Over Deworming Interventions

Global Dispatches Podcast: The Worm Wars!
Global Dispatches host Mark Goldberg speaks to Humanosphere reporter and co-founder of DAWNS Digest Tom Murphy about “‘Worm Wars,’ [which] is shorthand for an ongoing scientific debate about the efficacy of deworming programs; that is, programs supported by governments and non-profits to stop the transmission of parasitic worms. … This largely academic debate offers key insights into the role of research in influencing international development and global health agendas” (8/19).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 269 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features news articles on various topics, including a commentary on how community leadership and country ownership impact global health interventions on the ground (8/20).

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