KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Some Individuals, Countries, Organizations Pushing For Woman To Be Next U.N. Secretary General

New York Times: After 70 Years of Men, Some Say It Is ‘High Time’ a Woman Led the U.N.
“…Whether the next secretary general will be a he or a she has become an increasingly potent subject of conversation, both inside and outside the corridors of the United Nations. Three dozen countries, led by Colombia, are promoting the idea that it is a woman’s turn to lead the organization…” (Sengupta, 8/22).

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MERS Vaccine Research Progresses As Saudi Arabia Faces Outbreak Ahead Of Hajj

Foreign Policy: As Saudi Arabia Grapples With MERS Outbreak, a Vaccine Is in Sight
“Just one month before the beginning of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage of more than two million Muslims to Mecca, an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh has sparked fears that the country could become the epicenter for a global health crisis. … But amid fears that the annual arrival and departure of pilgrims could spread the virus around the globe, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made a breakthrough in the fight against MERS, which has claimed over 480 lives since it was discovered in 2012…” (Stackpole, 8/21).

Wall Street Journal: Saudi Arabia Reports 6 New Cases of MERS
“…The surging number of cases … comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to welcome next month more than two million pilgrims to the Muslim holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage. In addition, the threat of the viral disease spreading could increase as more than five million Saudi students resume school on Sunday after summer vacation. ‘The Ministry of Health is working at full capacity to contain the current outbreak of the virus,’ Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said Saturday on Twitter…” (Al Omran, 8/23).

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Global Health Officials To Study Post-Ebola Symptoms Among Survivors

Washington Post: With many Ebola survivors ailing, doctors evaluate situation
“Lingering health problems afflicting many of the roughly 13,000 Ebola survivors have galvanized global and local health officials to find out how widespread the ailments are and how to remedy them. The World Health Organization calls it an emergency within an emergency…” (Petesch, 8/23).

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Former President Carter Receives Cancer Diagnosis, Plans To Continue Work To Eradicate Guinea Worm

NPR: What Jimmy Carter Did After His ‘Involuntary Retirement’
“…[Former President Jimmy Carter] has witnessed firsthand the need to fight Guinea worm, river blindness, and elephantiasis. … Now Carter is himself facing a disease — cancer. … Cancer is one disease that we are still far away from eliminating. But back in January, Carter was beaming at the fact that the Carter Center’s efforts had brought Guinea worm to the edge of eradication. … Here’s hoping that Carter will live to witness the end of Guinea worm…” (Cole, 8/20).

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Water Management Vital To Achieving SDGs, World Bank Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Water management key to achieving sustainable development goals — World Bank
“As demand for water grows, the world must focus on how the precious resource will be shared among farmers, the energy sector, and cities if it is to achieve the United Nations’ new development agenda, a World Bank expert said…” (Mis, 8/24).

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With Clinic Closures In War-Torn Yemen, WHO Warns Of 'Catastrophic Consequences' For Some Patients

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health workers vaccinate millions of children against polio and measles in war-ravaged Yemen
“Nearly a quarter of all health facilities in Yemen are no longer operating fully — with more expected to close down in the coming weeks — resulting in ‘catastrophic consequences’ for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure who are dependent on life-saving support, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned…” (8/21).

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In Article, Video, The Guardian Examines Persistence Of FGM In Sierra Leone

The Guardian: Sierra Leone’s secret FGM societies spread silent fear and sleepless nights
“…In an unprecedented step, soweis, the women who hold the most senior rank in the societies, agreed to speak to The Guardian. The soweis are unhappy with attempts to force them to abandon the practice, seeing it as an attack on their culture, which is rooted in ancient rituals designed to protect the community against evil spirits and regulate the passage of adolescents to womanhood. … Abolishing the societies and ending FGM — known as Bondo — is taboo for the political elite…” (O’Carroll, 8/24).

The Guardian: Living in fear of FGM in Sierra Leone: ‘I’m not safe in this community’ — video
“Girls in Sierra Leone are under huge pressure to be initiated into all-female secret societies that practice female genital mutilation. Mariatu* describes her struggle to escape FGM while Plan International worker Aminata Sheriff, who helps young girls like Mariatu, recalls the horror of being cut at the age of 16. Two soweis, the highest ranking figures in the secret societies, speak about the cultural traditions and financial pressures that perpetuate FGM…” (Duff et al., 8/24).

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Appearance Of New Meningitis Strain In Niger Prompts Warning Of Possibly Worse Outbreak In 2016

Lancet Infectious Diseases: Meningitis outbreak in Niger is an urgent warning
“In most regards, the meningitis epidemic that struck Niger earlier this year was not unusual. But … [t]he outbreak in Niger was caused by a new strain of meningitis C. Serogroup C had been thought only to be a serious problem in Western Europe and the USA. Its involvement in an African epidemic has prompted WHO and partners including MSF and UNICEF to issue a joint warning that the continent must prepare for the possibility of a destructive outbreak over the 2016 meningitis season…” (Burki, September 2015).

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Insecticide-Treated Flags Could Trap Tsetse Flies Carrying Sleeping Sickness

SciDev.Net: Tiny flags target African tsetse flies
“Handkerchief-sized blue flags covered in insecticide could trap and kill tsetse flies, offering a new and cheaper way to help eliminate sleeping sickness from sub-Saharan Africa. … Dotted around disease hotspots, the traps could be a cheap addition to existing efforts to control sleeping sickness through screening for infection and treating the victims, researchers say…” (David, 8/21).

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Public Health Officials Use Creative Communication To Spread Knowledge Of Immunization Importance

NPR: Posters, Bullhorns, And Skirts Help Spread The Word About Vaccines
“Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: ‘All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine.’ And adding that it’s free. That’s one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call ‘vaccine hesitancy’ — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available…” (Kritz, 8/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Appointment Of Woman As Next U.N. Secretary General 'Would Be Powerfully Symbolic'

New York Times: The Push for a Woman to Run the U.N.
Editorial Board

“…The appointment of the civil servant who serves as the next head of the United Nations should be more transparent. It would be powerfully symbolic to appoint a woman to the helm of an organization created 70 years ago to tackle the world’s most pressing problems through diplomacy and global consensus. … Whether or not the process is overhauled, dozens of members of the United Nations are pressing for a woman to succeed [current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] … The United States, which is represented at the United Nations by Samantha Power, who has championed women’s rights, should be a vocal supporter [of Colombia’s effort to put forward women for the job]. … There is no shortage of distinguished women who would revitalize the role of secretary general and energize the organization’s ongoing efforts to promote gender equality” (8/22).

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Sustained Political Support, Funding, Vaccination Required To Keep Nigeria Polio-Free, Eradicate Disease Worldwide

CNN: Wipe out polio in Africa for good
Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“…[I]n my visit a few weeks ago, I was impressed with Nigeria’s rigorous and robust efforts to find every possible case all over the country, including in the security-challenged northeast. If there is any sign of polio’s return, the country is poised to move quickly and decisively. Political support, program funding, and high vaccination rates throughout the country must be maintained, even without any polio cases. … To end polio forever, all countries must strengthen immunization service delivery, address gaps in disease surveillance, and do more to reach children missed by vaccination programs. The U.S. Global Health Security Agenda will take the same systems we use to eradicate polio and use them to help protect America and the world from other disease threats” (8/21).

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On 70th Anniversary, U.N. Must Undergo 3 Key Upgrades To Fulfill Goals

Project Syndicate: The U.N. at 70
Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the Millennium Development Goals

“…If the U.N. is to continue to fulfill its unique and vital global role in the twenty-first century, it must be upgraded in three key ways. … [T]he first reform that I would suggest is an increase in funding with high-income countries contributing at least $40 per capita annually, upper middle-income countries giving $8, lower-middle-income countries $2, and low-income countries $1. … [T]he second major area of reform: … the U.N. needs to strengthen its expertise in areas such as ocean health, renewable energy systems, urban design, disease control, technological innovation, public-private partnerships, and peaceful cultural cooperation. … The third major reform imperative is the U.N.’s governance, starting with the Security Council, the composition of which no longer reflects global geopolitical realities…” (8/21).

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Data From Repatriated Ebola Patients' Care Should Be Shared To Garner Better Understanding Of Virus

The Lancet: Towards deep insight into Ebola virus disease
Sylvain Baize, researcher at the Institut Pasteur and the University of Lyon

“…For decades, little improvement has occurred in the standard of patient care or understanding of biological features associated with Ebola virus disease. The large viral spread and involvement of international teams in the management of the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa have resulted, for the first time, in a substantial number of patients with Ebola virus infections being repatriated — 21 up to now — to northern countries. … Treatment of patients with Ebola virus infections in modern intensive care units has rapidly advanced understanding of this severe disease. However, data obtained during care of repatriated patients will need to be shared if the benefit of this unique opportunity to deeply study the pathophysiogenesis of Ebola virus disease is to be realized” (7/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Provides Roundup Of Recent Global Health Research News

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: a rapid diagnostic for three hemorrhagic fevers, a MERS vaccine to be tested in humans, and advances in R&D for HIV treatments
Kat Kelley, GHTC’s senior program assistant, highlights recent news in global health research, including the development of a paper-based rapid diagnostic test for Ebola, dengue, and yellow fever; an experimental vaccine for MERS that will be tested in humans later this year; and advancements made in HIV and hepatitis B treatments (8/24).

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