KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New Global Framework Outlines Steps To Eliminate Rabies, Including Mass Dog Vaccinations

News outlets report on a new global framework to eliminate rabies launched Thursday by the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Global Alliance for the Control of Rabies (GARC).

CIDRAP News: Groups unveil plan to rid rabies, target dog vaccination
“Global animal and human health groups [Thursday] unveiled a framework for eliminating rabies in humans by 2030, calling for donor support for the efforts and more visibility for a disease that kills tens of thousands each year, a large portion of them children…” (Schnirring, 12/10).

Motherboard: There’s a Rabies Vaccine But 59,000 People Still Die From It Every Year
“…During a conference this week, the WHO rallied researchers and NGOs to renew efforts in battling the disease, which is almost always fatal and causes victims to suffer cerebral dysfunction and delirium as they die. More than 95 percent of rabies deaths occur in Africa and Asia, with 99 percent caused by dog bites, which is why the WHO and other groups want to focus efforts on vaccinating dogs…” (Rogers, 12/10).

U.N. News Centre: ‘We can consign rabies to the history books’ with new plan to eliminate virus — U.N. health agency
“…The framework … calls for three key actions — making human vaccines and antibodies affordable, ensuring people who get bitten receive prompt treatment, and mass dog vaccinations to tackle the viral disease at its source…” (12/10).

VOA News: WHO Launches Global Campaign to Eliminate Rabies
“…Mass vaccination campaigns also are more cost-effective. WHO estimates a dog vaccine costs less than one dollar, whereas the cost of treating people who are bitten is between $40 and $50. This represents, on average, 40 days of wages in some affected countries in Africa and Asia…” (Schlein, 12/10).

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U.N. News Centre Interviews Ebola Envoy David Nabarro About Outbreak Response, Lessons, Priorities For 2016

U.N. News Centre: We’ve learnt many lessons from this outbreak and from the response — Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Ebola
“…As the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. Nabarro played a key role in responding to the outbreak, which mainly affected Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and claimed more than 11,300 lives to date. … Dr. Nabarro, a national of the United Kingdom with over three decades of experience in public health, nutrition, and development work, spoke with the U.N. News Centre about the achievements of 2015, the priorities ahead for next year, as well as the lessons learned from the outbreak and the international response that followed…” (12/10).

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The Lancet Examines Chinese Development Assistance To Africa, Prospects For Improving Public Health

The Lancet: New orientation for China’s health assistance to Africa
“On Dec. 4, Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed US$60 billion in new aid and grants to support development projects in Africa over the next three years. The announcement, made at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, South Africa, continued a trend of increased Chinese assistance to the continent, albeit an amount slightly higher than expected. But many observers say the more important question is not how much the package is but how it will be spent, and if China’s rise can be harnessed to improve public health in Africa in a more durable way…” (Alcorn, 12/12).

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Officials From Donor Nations Comment On U.N.'s Record $20B Humanitarian Appeal

The Guardian: The global humanitarian crisis ‘can’t depend on a continuous increase in funding’
“As the U.N. asks for a staggering $20bn in humanitarian funding, some of the leading donor states share their thoughts on the future of the sector…” (Moorhead/Clarke, 12/10).

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In War-Torn Yemen, Health System Crumbling, U.N. Reaches Besieged City With Food Aid

Huffington Post: War Is Destroying Yemen’s Medical System When The Country Needs It Most
“…Yemen’s medical system was already fragile, reliant on imported drugs and the assistance of humanitarian organizations like Doctors Without Borders. Nearly one-quarter of medical facilities have closed due to damage or shortages of supplies, fuel, or staff since the conflict escalated in March. More than 99 health facilities, including hospitals and clinics, have been damaged or destroyed in Yemen’s war, according to the World Health Organization…” (Alfred, 12/11).

U.N. News Centre: Yemen: U.N. delivers life-saving food aid to nearly 150,000 besieged residents in Taiz
“Braving fighting, airstrikes, and checkpoints to bring life-saving aid to Yemenis living in dire conditions under a virtual state of siege, United Nations convoys have reached the central city of Taiz with enough food for nearly 145,000 people for a month, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) reported [Thursday]…” (12/10).

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Gates Foundation, IDB Launch Loan Program To Help Low-Income Middle Eastern Nations With Disease Prevention, Sanitation Initiatives

The Economist: Bill Gates and the IDB: Two-pronged attack
“…[The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)] are launching a new scheme to provide poor countries with cheap loans for things that banks rarely fund, such as disease eradication and sanitation…” (12/12).

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Newsweek Feature Examines Challenges Of Diagnosing, Treating, Preventing TB

Newsweek: Invisible Killer: The World’s Most Underestimated Disease
“…[Tuberculosis is] an unsexy disease that affects those living in the shadows of society. Researchers, doctors, professors, and health care workers all agree that tuberculosis does not get the attention or investment from international donors that such a deadly killer — the most lethal single infectious agent in the world — deserves. In large part, this is because pharmaceutical companies are abandoning investment in TB research…” (Clavarino/Chiaf, 12/11).

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HIV Treatment Model Delivering ARVs To Patients In Zimbabwe Could Help Expand Access In Poor Nations

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting/Science: HIV/AIDS care for all — on a budget
“…The [positive results of an ‘alternative delivery model’ for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are] good news for efforts to lower the cost of HIV treatment, so that poor countries like Zimbabwe can come closer to achieving a new goal: universal treatment for HIV. ‘The paradigm should be services going to people, and today, most people are going to services,’ Michel Sidibé, head of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, told Science…” (Cohen, 12/11).

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Zimbabwe Activists Launch Campaign To Encourage Legal Action Against Men In Child Marriages

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zimbabwe activists call for tougher action against child marriages
“…Child rights activists on Thursday launched a campaign to call on the authorities to crack down on men using marriage to avoid criminal charges for having sex with a minor, one of the factors fueling the number of child marriages in Zimbabwe…” (Phiri, 12/11).

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Activists Praise Sierra Leone Parliamentary Action Legalizing Abortion

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Sierra Leone legalizes abortion, will save ‘countless’ lives: activists
“Women with unwanted pregnancies in Sierra Leone will no longer have to undergo unsafe abortions after parliament passed a law which activists said on Thursday would save countless lives in the country with the world’s highest maternal death rate. The Safe Abortion Act, passed on Tuesday, made the procedure legal and replaced an 1861 law that banned abortion in the West African nation except when it was necessary to save the mother’s life…” (Guilbert, 12/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

On Human Rights Day, Recognize Good Health As 'A Right For Every Citizen, Not A Privilege'

The Lancet: Remembering the right to health
Editorial Board

“Dec. 10 marks Human Rights Day. … The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights is the most pertinent [of two landmark international covenants on human rights]. Article 12 calls for countries to recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. … [W]orldwide, failure to invest in health systems, tackle the social determinations of health, and address harmful policies and practices frequently increases the risk of ill health, especially for poor, marginalized populations. In the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Covenant and the start of the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals, countries should remember what the document enshrines and what the right to health actually means. Good health — and the conditions that support it — are a right for every citizen, not a privilege” (12/12).

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Donor Countries Must Increase Pledges For Global Fund To Further Malaria Progress

Devex: Steady funding, strategic planning key to continued malaria progress
Deb Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…It is important to acknowledge such tremendous progress [against malaria], as outlined by both the World Health Organization 2015 World Malaria Report, released this week, and a report released in September by the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund on achievements in the malaria fight over the last 15 years. But it is also important to recognize that such gains can be easily lost without steady funding and strategic planning. … Experts estimate that $5.1 billion would be necessary each year to eliminate malaria as a serious public health threat. … As we move into a replenishment year for the Global Fund, it is imperative that we encourage donor countries to increase their pledges if we are to win this winnable fight. Every dollar in the 2016 replenishment will count in the Global Fund’s efforts to fight malaria and to create a healthy global society…” (12/11).

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With Upcoming G7 Presidency, Japan Committed To Galvanizing 'Renewed Momentum For Global Health'

The Lancet: Japan’s vision for a peaceful and healthier world
Shinzo Abe, prime minster of Japan

“…Japan’s global health priorities are to construct a global health architecture that can respond to public health crises and to build resilient and sustainable health systems. To realize these goals, Japan has endorsed two new global health strategies: the Basic Design for Peace and Health4 and the Basic Guidelines for Strengthening Measures on Emerging Infectious Diseases. I would like to underline the importance of these priorities and foster succinct and relevant discussions during our G7 presidency in 2016. … In a world more interconnected than ever before, leaders must strive to unite rather than divide, and enhance human security and peace through the pursuit of health and wellbeing for all. With the G7 presidency in 2016, Japan is determined to contribute further to galvanize renewed momentum for global health so that all people can receive the basic quality services they need, and are protected from health threats, without financial hardship…” (12/12).

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Improving Equity Through Monitoring, Evaluation, Action Critical To Achieving SDGs

Devex: Equity: A platform for achieving the SDGs and promoting human rights
Cesar Victora, emeritus professor of epidemiology at the Federal University of Pelotas, and Kate Somers, program officer on the maternal, newborn, and child health team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[U]nequal access to services and opportunities perpetuate poor health and nutrition outcomes … Equity is a critical component of [several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] … If we want to ensure a more equitable future for children … we need to focus on three key dimensions of measuring equity: monitoring, evaluation, and action. … We need to carry forward the momentum we have built to tackle the measurement and programming challenges ahead. We need to invest in improving indicators, data sources, and communication tools to best measure equity and progress. In sum, a focus on equity is a powerful step toward better health, development, social justice, and human rights” (12/10).

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Achieving UHC, Improving Health Of Women, Children, Adolescents 'Mutually Dependent'

The Lancet: Women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health needs universal health coverage
Robin Gorna, executive director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), and colleagues

“…Achieving [universal health coverage (UHC)] and the aims of the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy are mutually dependent. Here are some central reasons why. First, persistent inequities in the coverage of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health services underscore the urgency for equity-sensitive policies to deliver on the needs of the most vulnerable populations and excluded groups. … Second, households bear the brunt of the financial burden of paying for health services, creating a financial barrier to access and plunging families into poverty. … Third, integrated delivery platforms are … important. Health services for women, children, and adolescents must be the priority in any benefit package for UHC. … Finally, improving the health of all women, children, and adolescents is a sound social and economic investment for countries. … UHC is necessary if we are to achieve and sustain equity and reach every community with essential health services for women, children, and adolescents…” (12/12).

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Climate Agreements Must Include Women's Sexual, Reproductive Rights

Huffington Post: Women’s Rights Must Be a Major Part of Any Climate Deal
Françoise Girard, president of International Women’s Health Coalition

“…Women and girls are the most affected by climate change and have the most to lose, or gain, from a deal [reached at the Paris talks]. They make up the majority of those displaced by climate change, and they are 14 times more likely to die from natural disasters than men. … Women and girls in such contexts have limited access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services, which further endangers their lives and welfare. … Women’s groups have called for the conversation to be re-centered on women’s rights — including their right to control their own bodies and fertility. Ensuring women’s and girls’ reproductive rights, and improving women’s access to contraception and reproductive health services, must be at the core of climate agreements. We will not save our planet and safeguard our environment without making women’s rights a priority” (12/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. State Department Working To End Child Marriages

Medium.com: What We Can Do to End Early and Forced Marriage
Recognizing the 16 Days of Activism on gender-based violence, which ended on Human Rights Day, December 10, Catherine Russell, the U.S. State Department’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, examines the drivers for and negative consequences of child marriage, as well as interventions. “…[B]est practices have helped inform a new effort by the State Department to tackle early and forced marriage in the Middle East. … The State Department is also set to release a strategy to empower adolescent girls early next year…” (12/10).

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Wilson Center Event Examines Empowering Youth Through Health, Education

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Key to Youth Empowerment — But How Do You Put Girls at the Center?
Anna Bella Korbatov, an intern for the Environmental Change and Security Program, discusses comments made at an October 19 Wilson Center event, titled “Right to Know: Empowering Youth Through Health and Education.” The blog post includes video and photos from the event (12/10).

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Blog Examines Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine R&D

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: New Hope for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Prevention
Niteen Wairagkar, senior program officer with the global health program’s pneumonia team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the need for and research into vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of pneumonia in children, including one vaccine using a maternal immunization approach currently being tested in a phase 3 trial (12/10).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash includes an article discussing a new grant by the Global Fund that “will support organizations and networks of people disproportionately affected by HIV in southern Africa”; a piece in the fund’s “Focus On” series examining the role of human rights in ending epidemics; and video interviews with people working with the transgender community in El Salvador (12/10).

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