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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

DRC Health Ministry Confirms 3 More Ebola Cases; Vaccinations To Begin This Week

Agence France-Presse: DR Congo to begin Ebola vaccinations this week
“The health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Monday they would begin Ebola vaccinations later this week in the east of the country, where a new outbreak of the virus is [occurring]…” (8/6).

Associated Press: Congo’s health ministry confirms 3 more cases of Ebola
“Congo’s health ministry says three more cases of Ebola have been confirmed in North Kivu province as the country faces its tenth outbreak of the deadly virus. Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga says in a statement that at least four Ebola deaths are confirmed. He says there are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases, and 31 suspected ones under investigation…” (8/7).

Reuters: Congo Ebola vaccine teams set up fridges, 43 cases suspected
“Health workers in Congo were setting up refrigerators on Monday to keep cool an Ebola vaccine needed to tackle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people, the health ministry said…” (Cocks, 8/6).

Science: Out of the frying pan, into the fire with a new Ebola outbreak in Congo
“…[On Monday], ScienceInsider spoke with [Peter Salama, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme], who is leaving for the DRC on Thursday. This is a condensed, edited version of the interview…” (Cohen, 8/6).

Additional coverage of this story is available from the Associated Press, CIDRAP News, and Forbes.

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The Guardian Examines Paraguay's Malaria Elimination Success, Rising Number Of Cases In Surrounding Region

The Guardian: ‘We can’t let our guard down’ — as Paraguay eliminates malaria, regional outbreaks grow
“…The campaign [to eliminate malaria from Paraguay] began in 1939, when [during] a grueling war with Bolivia, an outbreak of malaria infected 80,000 people out of a population of one million. … [The nation’s malaria control agency] Senepa clustered dozens of diagnosis laboratories in malaria-prone regions, and those adjacent to Brazil. Private and public clinics are required to treat cases, free of charge. Businesses and media outlets run information campaigns. … But most point to the key factor as being a network of up to 5,000 unpaid volunteers — including urban community organizers and indigenous leaders — that is still working to educate fellow citizens, eliminate mosquito habitats, and stay alert for new cases…” (Blair, 8/6).

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Stakeholders, Policymakers Must Consider Ways To Improve Access To Cooling Amid Rising Temperatures, Sustainable Energy Expert Says

Inter Press Service: Amidst Rising Heat Waves, U.N. says Cooling is a Human Right, not a Luxury
“…Rachel Kyte, chief executive officer (CEO) and special representative to the United Nations Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), says that in a world facing continuously rising temperatures, access to cooling is not a luxury. … She said the ‘findings of [a new report titled Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All] are a wake-up call for us all, and a call-to-action for government policymakers and industry to think and act more systematically about pathways to provide sustainable cooling that will benefit these communities, economies, and current and future generations’…” (Deen, 8/6).

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Brazil's Supreme Court Continues Hearings On Loosening Nation's Abortion Laws

Washington Post: Tensions flare in Brazil as supreme court considers loosening abortion restrictions
“Brazil’s supreme court is considering decriminalizing abortion through the 12th week of pregnancy, stoking activists’ hopes that the country could follow other Latin American nations in loosening abortion restrictions. Hearings on the issue, which began Friday and continued on Monday, included testimony from dozens of doctors, specialists, and religious leaders. Tensions flared in the days leading up to the hearings, with activists on both sides speaking out…” (Lopes, 8/6).

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Chinese Vaccine Maker Began Falsifying Data In 2014, State Media Reports

Reuters: Scandal-hit Chinese vaccine maker Changsheng started falsifying records in 2014: Xinhua
“Changsheng Bio-technology Co. Ltd., a vaccine maker at the center of a safety scandal in China, began falsifying production records for its rabies vaccine in April 2014, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday. … China launched sweeping spot checks at vaccine makers around the country last month in a bid to rein in public outrage after Changsheng was found to have falsified data for the rabies vaccine and manufactured an ineffective vaccine for Chinese babies” (Goh, 8/7).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: U.N. adopts guidelines aimed at speeding aid to North Korea (Lederer, 8/6).

Financial Times: Nigerian food sector commits to nutrient fortification (Pilling, 8/5).

Reuters: Libyan cancer clinic relies on donors to treat patients (al-Sahli et al., 8/6).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — DIY tests for HIV beat stigma in Zimbabwe’s fight against AIDS (Moyo, 8/6).

TIME: Hundreds of Mothers Attended a Mass Breastfeeding Event in the Philippines (Quackenbush, 8/6).

U.N. News: U.N. targets half a million Yemenis in battle-scarred Hudaydah with cholera vaccine — UNICEF (8/6).

U.S. News & World Report: How Modified Mosquitoes May Fight Dengue (Salih, 8/6).

Washington Post: Dying babies and no doctors: A look inside a Yemeni hospital (Raghavan/Al Mujahed, 8/6).

Xinhua News: Insurgency, conflict deter efforts to stamp out polio virus in Afghanistan (8/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congressional Action On TB Could Play Critical Role In Global Efforts

Post and Courier: America must help lead worldwide fight against tuberculosis
Willie Dickerson, volunteer and board member with RESULTS; Cameron Jones, student at the Medical University of South Carolina; and Ernest Loevinsohn, executive director of the Fund for Global Health

“…Congress is beginning to see the need for increased attention to global tuberculosis control, to help protect the health of people both here and abroad. In the current appropriations process both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have put forward increases, albeit modest ones, in U.S. assistance to battle the global TB epidemic. … Whether the final legislation contains the higher or lower number depends in large part on one person, [Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)], since he is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the issue. In the fall, the heads of the world’s governments will convene in New York for a high-level meeting on tuberculosis. … Congressional action on TB funding will send a powerful message one way or another” (8/5).

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U.S., Other Donor Governments Should Work Alongside Muslim Nations To Address Cancer In Africa

The Hill: As Western donors abandon Africa’s cancer crisis, Muslim nations are filling the gap
Naeem Khan, assistant secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

“…For a smart aid strategy, all nations — including America — must consider the prevention of diseases like cancer in the developing world, including Africa. This is in America — and other Western nations’ — best interest. … Another path for America’s aid operations, particularly in the face of potentially smaller budgets, is to work with new partners to deliver precision health care aid — a few researchers or a small specialized clinic, rather than the more sprawling, expensive aid projects of the past. These partners could include new humanitarian aid blocs, including pan-Islamic humanitarianism. Significant aid by individual Muslim-majority states is not a new occurrence … What is novel is many of these countries acting in a coordinated way to target otherwise neglected issues, under the leadership of an umbrella organization like the [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)]. In humanitarian terms, the OIC is sometimes called ‘the Muslim U.N.’ As the U.N.’s role shifts, perhaps they can be a new key partner on the ground for many Western donor countries, including the United States” (8/6).

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International Cooperation Essential To Effectively Respond To Ebola, Other Disease Outbreaks

Foreign Affairs: How Congo Beat the Last Ebola Outbreak
Ariana A. Berengaut, director of programs, partnerships, and strategic planning at the Penn Biden Center

“…[The response to Congo’s Equateur outbreak in May] required global cooperation, international institutions, and far-sighted investments in science, health, and governance that have enabled countries to tackle their own problems before they become everyone else’s. The work under way in North Kivu will require the same. As U.S. President Donald Trump and like-minded demagogues undermine the global order, defenders of liberal internationalism would do well to highlight the efforts in Congo as an example of what nations can achieve by working together…” (8/6).

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Investing In Vaccine Development Key To Preventing Cancer Caused By Infectious Disease Agents

Devex: Opinion: Preventing cancer the easy way
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…At least one in 10 cancers can be prevented using one of the most widely available medical interventions — vaccines. This is possible because a large number of cancer cases are not caused by risk factors we traditionally associate with noncommunicable diseases — such as obesity, tobacco use, or alcohol consumption — but can be triggered by infectious agents. … The good news is that more than 90 percent of these cancers are caused by just four pathogens, and we already have safe and highly effective vaccines for two of them: Hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus, or HPV. … With 1.4 million cancer cases in developing countries every year caused by infections, further investment is crucial to ensure that vaccines against other cancer-causing infectious pathogens are developed and brought to market. The far-reaching impact on people, communities, and economies in the world’s poorest countries would see this investment returned countless times over” (8/6).

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Decriminalizing Abortion In Argentina Represents 'Human Rights Imperative'

Washington Post: The Senate in Argentina must vote to decriminalize abortion
Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina

“Argentina is only days away from becoming a role model in Latin America and the world in the cause of advancing the human rights of women and girls. For that to happen, however, the country’s senators must vote Wednesday on a bill to decriminalize abortion. … The Senate must vote to put an end to clandestine abortions, giving women and girls access to safe procedures. Lawmakers must understand that, if Argentina wants to advance on the world stage, the country needs to guarantee reproductive rights. … The current law in Argentina is a total failure that puts women at unnecessary risk … At this point, there is no room for senators to waver. Decriminalizing abortion is not a concession made to women: it is a human rights imperative that Argentina has been violating for years. Recognizing and defending the rights of women is a necessary step to become a modern democracy once and for all” (8/6).

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Bangladeshi Government Should Consult With Rohingya Refugees, Facilitate Relocation To Land With Fewer Environmental Risks

Washington Post: Relocating Rohingya refugees to a flood-prone island is a dangerous idea
Bill Frelick, refugee rights program director at Human Rights Watch

“…Monsoon season is here, and high winds and flooding are happening now. … It is crucial to relocate the Rohingya refugees to places in Bangladesh with fewer environmental risks and adequate standards of services. But a proposed alternative by the authorities is likely far more dangerous. The Bangladesh navy and Chinese construction crews have prepared Bhasan Char, an uninhabited island in the Bay of Bengal, for the transfer of 100,000 refugees from the Cox’s Bazar area … Bhasan Char is not sustainable for human habitation and could be seriously affected by rising sea levels and storm surges. … It would unnecessarily isolate refugees. … Moreover, refugees have not consented to move there. … [T]he Bangladeshi authorities should consult with the refugees and facilitate the voluntary relocation of those who want to leave the mega camp to smaller, less densely packed camps on flat, accessible land nearby. This offers the best prospect for maintaining a sustainable, dignified life until it is safe to go home” (8/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of The Global Fight President Releases Statement On House Introduction Of PEPFAR Extension Act Of 2018

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Friends Applauds the House Introduction of the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018
“Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Friends) released the following statement [last week] regarding the introduction of the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018: ‘Friends applauds the leadership of Representatives Chris Smith and Barbara Lee in introducing legislation to extend authorization of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for five years. … Friends looks forward to working with global health champions in the House and Senate to secure broad support of this important legislation'” (8/3).

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IntraHealth International, Partners Announce 5-Year, $48.5M Project Aimed At Improving Health Service Access For Rwandan Mothers, Children, Adolescents

IntraHealth International: New $48.5 Million Project in Rwanda to Bring High-Quality, Integrated Health Services to Moms, Babies, and Youth
“Through a new five-year, $48.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, a consortium led by IntraHealth International will collaborate with the Rwanda Ministry of Health to reduce preventable infant and maternal deaths, reduce the incidence of malaria, and bring high-quality, integrated health services to more Rwandan mothers, children, and adolescents…” (8/6).

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Workshop Takes Stock Of Progress, Challenges Related To HIV Treatment Access In CAR

UNAIDS: Progress, but still miles to go, to increase HIV prevention and treatment in Central African Republic
“Some 18 months after the launch of the catch-up plan, the National AIDS Council (CNLS), the Ministry of Health, and UNAIDS co-organized a workshop in Bangui, to take stock of the progress and the challenges to accelerate access to treatment for people living with HIV in the Central African Republic. The workshop also served as an opportunity to renew political commitment to the HIV response and to call for urgent action on prevention. … [P]articipants identified priorities for the next six months to reach treatment targets for 2019. All stressed that communities, people living with HIV, and key populations must be involved every step of the way. In addition, participants stressed the urgent need for increased domestic and donor funding…” (8/3).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID/SA Deputy Mission Director Delivers Remarks On PEPFAR's Activities Supporting Social Services In South Africa

USAID: USAID/SA Deputy Mission Director, Rebecca Krzywda delivers remarks at GCBS event
In remarks during a learning event in South Africa last week, USAID/Southern Africa Deputy Mission Director Rebecca Krzywda discussed PEPFAR’s activities within the country, noting, “We and the South African government started the Government Capacity Building and Support Project in 2013 with the aim of strengthening the Department of Social Services systems at the national, provincial, and district level. We had a clear goal — improving direct service delivery to orphans, children, and youth who are vulnerable to HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis. We have worked together to enable a competent and skilled social service workforce that is child- and youth-centered, well-coordinated, and working in unison to support the goals and objectives of South Africa’s National Strategic Plan and HIV response efforts…” (8/3).

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CDC Continues To Work With Countries Toward Hepatitis B Elimination

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC works with countries to identify children infected with hepatitis B virus and generate the evidence for hepatitis B vaccine birth dose introduction
Anna Akua Minta, pediatric infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist with the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discusses U.S. efforts to help ensure countries follow WHO’s hepatitis B vaccination guidelines, highlighting efforts in Haiti and the Philippines. Minta writes, “CDC will continue to provide technical and financial support to generate the evidence to introduce the birth dose and improve hepatitis B vaccination around the world to avoid the tragic consequences of hepatitis B as we work toward the worldwide hepatitis B 2030 elimination goal” (8/6).

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