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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Promotes WASH As Strategy To Prevent NTDs

News outlets report on the WHO’s new global strategy to prevent neglected tropical diseases through improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Reuters: WHO promotes water, sanitation to battle neglected tropical diseases
“Water, sanitation, and hygiene are part of a new World Health Organization strategy to fight neglected tropical diseases which afflict more than 1.5 billion people, the WHO said on Thursday. Those suffering from the 17 diseases, such as intestinal worms, river blindness, leprosy, and sleeping sickness include many of the poorest people in the world…” (Mis, 8/27).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency unveils sanitation and hygiene plan towards eradicating tropical diseases by 2020
“…Besides advocating for basic water, sanitation, and hygiene, WHO uses four other key interventions in overcoming the global burden of the neglected tropical diseases. The four strategies are: preventive chemotherapy, innovative and intensified disease management, vector control, and veterinary public health services…” (8/27).

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Reducing Poverty In Central America Connected To Access To Water, Energy, Climate Resiliency

Inter Press Service: Water, Climate, Energy Intertwined with Fight Against Poverty in Central America
“Central America’s toolbox to pull 23 million people — almost half of the population — out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply, and adaptation to climate change. ‘These are the minimum, basic, necessary preconditions for guaranteeing survival,’ Víctor Campos, assistant director of the Humboldt Centre, a leading Nicaraguan environmental think tank, told IPS…” (Ortiz, 8/27).

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Devex Interviews WaterAid Head Barbara Frost About WASH

Devex: ‘Step change’ needed to tackle WASH in the post-MDG era
“…[E]nsuring safe drinking water for everyone shouldn’t be the only subject on the table [this week at World Water Week discussions in Stockholm, Sweden], according to WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost. … Below are some excerpts from our conversation with Frost, who is participating in discussions in Stockholm…” (Ravelo, 8/27).

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Researchers Describe Case Of British Man Who Excreted Live Poliovirus For 28 Years, Implications For Disease Eradication

News outlets report on a paper published in PLOS Pathogens that discusses the case of a British man who has excreted live poliovirus for nearly three decades and the implications for the disease’s global eradication.

BBC News: Polio: Vaccinated man ‘has spread polio,’ say British scientists
“A British man who was vaccinated against polio has been producing the virus for nearly 30 years. He had an immune disorder that meant the weakened polio virus used to vaccinate him in childhood survived in his body. Over time it has mutated into a form of the virus that can cause paralysis…” (8/27).

NPR: A Man Shed Live Polio Virus In His Stool For 28 Years
“…So even as the world gets ready to breathe a sigh of relief when polio is wiped from the last two countries still reporting cases, people shouldn’t let their guard down. ‘We are at the end stage of polio eradication,’ says [Javier Martin, biologist at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the U.K. and author of the study]. ‘But we still need to continue high immunization coverage and surveillance’…” (Brink, 8/27).

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LAC Nations Agree To Regional Target Of Reducing New HIV Infections By 75% By 2020

Antigua Observer: Caribbean commits to 75 percent reduction in new HIV infections by 2020
“The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says Caribbean and Latin American countries have set new regional targets … aimed at reducing by 75 percent new HIV infections in adults and young people by 2020. During the second Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the HIV Continuum of Care … PAHO said the region also agreed to ‘guarantee a coordinated and comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, and achieve an environment of zero stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and the populations most affected by the epidemic’…” (8/27).

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Washington Post Examines Child Marriage In Bangladesh, Interviews Photojournalist Who Documented Weddings

Washington Post: The ‘saddest bride I have ever seen’: Child marriage is as popular as ever in Bangladesh
“…Although [15-year-old] Nasoin Akhter’s marriage is technically illegal in Bangladesh, laws against child marriage are rarely enforced. And despite what government officials promise and the fact that outside organizations consider it a human rights violation, the practice remains popular in Bangladesh. According to a report published in June by Human Rights Watch, the country has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world, with 29 percent of Bangladeshi girls married before the age of 15, and 65 percent before the age of 18…” (Kirkpatrick, 8/28).

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19 In Saudi Arabia Dead Of MERS In Past Week, Health Ministry Data Show

Agence France-Presse: MERS virus kills 19 in week in Saudi
“Deaths from the MERS coronavirus have surged in Saudi Arabia ahead of the hajj pilgrimage, with 19 fatalities recorded in a week, according to health ministry statistics…” (8/27).

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Nepal's Maternal, Neonatal Health Progress Threatened After Many Prenatal Clinics Damaged In Earthquake

Agence France-Presse: Fears grow for Nepal’s pregnant women after quake
“…Some 70 percent of prenatal clinics that had been providing crucial services to pregnant women were severely damaged in the Nepalese districts hardest hit by the quake. … Now with monsoon rains slowing rebuilding and relief efforts, fears are mounting of a reverse in the country’s recent progress in reducing maternal and neonatal deaths…” (Kannampilly, 8/28).

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Myanmar Government, Agencies Respond With Humanitarian Aid To More Than 400K Flood Victims

The Lancet: Floods in Myanmar damage hundreds of health facilities
“The Myanmar government and agencies are responding to extreme flooding that has covered vast swaths of the country, critically affected more than one million people. … [T]he cost of the floods will be high. 285 health facilities in 38 townships have been damaged, and more than 500,000 acres of crops destroyed…” (Burki, 8/29).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. food relief now reaching more than 400,000 flood victims in Myanmar
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is now delivering rice, beans, cooking oil, and salt to more than 400,000 people affected by flooding in Myanmar and ‘reachable only on foot, after floods and landslides destroyed roads across the country,’ the agency said [Wednesday]…” (8/26).

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U.N. Aid Agencies Reach South Sudanese Town Cut Off Since March Because Of Insecurity

U.N. News Centre: U.N. humanitarian agencies reach thousands of South Sudanese cut off for months
“Emergency relief teams from the United Nations have managed to reach more than 27,000 people in a town in South Sudan cut off by insecurity since March where ‘there were only some fish and a few tomatoes for sale in the market, and almost nobody had the means to buy them.’ … Since fighting broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, more than two million people have been uprooted from their homes, and 4.6 million people face severe food insecurity…” (8/27).

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The Economist Publishes Infographics On West African Ebola Outbreak

The Economist: Ebola in graphics: The toll of a tragedy
The news magazine uses data from multiple sources, including the WHO and other U.N. agencies, as well as patient databases, to provide infographics on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (8/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Cooperation, Partnership Essential To Preparing For, Responding To Disease Outbreaks Like Ebola

The Lancet: An Ebola vaccine: first results and promising opportunities
Editorial Board

“[On August 3,] The Lancet publishe[d] the first results from a phase 3 cluster randomized trial of a novel Ebola virus vaccine. The study, sponsored and led by WHO, is a remarkable scientific and logistical achievement. … [I]f the evidence proves sufficient for licensing, a Global Ebola Vaccine Implementation Team, also under WHO’s leadership, has been preparing the ground for its introduction … One important message goes beyond even Ebola — the power of multilateralism and inclusive partnership to devise and execute critical clinical research. Ebola has been a catastrophe for West Africa. But out of this epidemic has come the opportunity to build unprecedented collaborations to generate evidence to advance health. There have been few better examples to prove the value and importance of WHO to strengthen global health security” (8/3).

Wired: Vaccines Weren’t Ready for Ebola. We Can Do Better
Kendall Hoyt, assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School

“…[Vaccine and drug development platforms] are an important investment in the ability to respond to outbreaks more efficiently in the future. But they are just one link in the chain of capabilities required to generate safe and effective emergency countermeasures. Researchers and regulators must improve technologies and operational efficiency in each phase: detection, diagnostics, discovery, development, manufacturing, clinical trials, and delivery. As speed and efficiency improves in each area, they can form a vaccine ‘superhighway’ to dramatically shorten response times. … When the world faces the next ‘public health emergency of international concern,’ let the development timeline be driven wholly by legitimate scientific challenges and not by operational inefficiency…” (8/27).

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Success Of SDGs Requires Sustained International Commitment, Strong Accountability Mechanisms

Project Syndicate: Another Great Leap Forward for Development
Javier Solana, president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution

“…Without strong accountability mechanisms, the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] will amount to little more than an exercise in raising awareness, effectively subordinating the health, dignity, and prosperity of all humanity to short-term national interests. The upcoming SDG summit, which will bring together the largest concentration of heads of state and government in the history of the U.N., presents the ideal opportunity to establish such mechanisms. The SDGs are extremely ambitious. With a sustained commitment from all countries, developed and developing alike, the world can ensure that it celebrates another great leap forward in 2030” (8/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Maternal, Child Health Efforts Saved Millions Of Lives Since 2008, Report Shows

USAID: Maternal and Child Survival Initiative Saves Millions of Lives
“The United States Agency for International Development [Wednesday] released a new report showing that its maternal and child survival efforts have resulted in nearly two-and-a-half million more children surviving and 200,000 maternal deaths averted since 2008 in USAID’s 24 priority countries. In addition, the USAID report details how to reach 38 million of the most vulnerable women around the world with increased access to health care during delivery by 2020…” (8/26).

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USAID-Funded Program In Central America Offers Lessons Learned In Preventing, Treating HIV In Vulnerable Populations

PSI’s “Impact”: 5 Unexpected Findings for Preventing and Treating HIV in Hidden Populations
Alejandra Cabrera, strategic information manager at the Pan-American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO), discusses a new hub that “offers data and lessons learned from the USAID Combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central America, a five-year program funded by USAID and implemented by PSI’s network member, [PASMO]. The program aims to reduce HIV transmission among at-risk populations in six Central American countries.” Cabrera also highlights five results from the program (8/24).

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