KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Economic Commission For Africa Recommends Debt Forgiveness For Ebola-Hit West African Nations

Associated Press: U.N. commission asks for Ebola debt forgiveness
“…The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said Monday that it is crucial that the current Ebola health crisis not be a catalyst for financial distress in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Carlos Lopes, a U.N. under secretary general and the executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, appealed in Ethiopia on Monday for loan forgiveness…” (12/15).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. forum urges debt relief for hard-hit countries, as search for faster diagnostics gets underway
“… ‘Educational systems, rising social stigma, unemployment, and decreased food security are some of the big issues that Ebola-affected countries must deal with,’ according to a study on the Socio-Economic Impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on Africa released [Monday] by the Addis Ababa-based U.N. regional forum…” (12/15).

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Unreported Ebola Cases Fewer Than Previously Thought, Study Shows

New York Times: Fewer Ebola Cases Go Unreported Than Thought, Study Finds
“Transmission of the Ebola virus occurs mostly within families, in hospitals and at funerals, not randomly like the flu, Yale scientists said Tuesday, and far fewer cases go unreported than has previously been estimated. That implies, they said, that the epidemic is unlikely to reach the gloomy scenarios of hundreds of thousands of cases that studies released in September had forecast were possible…” (McNeil, 12/16).

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Global Humanitarian Aid Funding System Inadequate To Meet Current Global Needs, IRIN Reports

IRIN: Time for re-think on humanitarian funding?
“…[The U.N. World Food Programme], which is currently trying to support more than 80 million people in 75 countries worldwide, isn’t the only over-stretched U.N. agency. … [Recent WFP cuts in several nations] reveal not just the size and number of the emergencies that WFP is tackling, but according to experts show that the current funding system is not adequate…” (Redvers, 12/16).

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Paul Farmer Discusses Health 'Capacity Building,' Funding In Devex Interview

Devex: Paul Farmer: ‘We’ve met the enemy — and he is us’
“…Devex caught up with [Partners In Health co-founder Paul] Farmer last week at the U.S. Senate, where he offered his assessment of key lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to the Foreign Relations Committee. … One of Farmer’s conclusions for the Senate panel was that the aid community’s commitment to ‘building local capacity’ has often been ‘distorted.’ Devex pressed Farmer on the point after the hearing … to hear what changes he would like to see to the way ideas like ‘capacity building’ get translated into action — and funding…” (Igoe, 12/15).

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USAID, Janssen Therapeutics Sign MOU To Support Efforts To Address MDR-TB

IIP Digital: More Nations to Receive Tuberculosis-Fighting Drug
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Janssen Therapeutics December 11 that aims to accelerate progress in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, specifically multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The intent of the MOU is for Janssen to donate $30 million worth of the drug SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) over a four-year period through USAID’s programs for the treatment of MDR-TB…” (12/15).

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USAID Using 'Grand Challenges' Approach To Find Innovative Solutions To Global Crises

Devex: USAID’s grand challenges — a model for speeding up the pipeline in global crises
“…The U.S. aid agency’s grand challenges approach represent[s] organizationwide and lately even governmentwide efforts to institutionalize innovation, part of what USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah called in a statement on Friday a ‘new model of development — bringing together the world’s brightest minds to solve our biggest global challenges’…” (Anders, 12/15).

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Drug-Resistant Malaria Threatens Progress Against Disease In Myanmar, World

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Drug-resistant malaria: the world’s next big health crisis?
“…Experts say Myanmar, which has the largest malaria burden in the region, is the next frontier in the spread of resistance to artemisinin. … If the problem spreads beyond the region, history would repeat itself for a third time, as resistance to other malaria drugs developed in the area before and spread to Africa to claim the lives of millions, especially children…” (Zweynert, 12/16).

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Discovery Of Antibodies Effective Against All Dengue Strains Holds Vaccine Promise, Study Says

Bloomberg News: Mosquito-Borne Dengue Targeted by Antibody With Hope for Vaccine
“Scientists have discovered new antibodies that neutralize viruses that cause dengue, potentially putting a universal vaccine within reach for a mosquito-borne illness that strikes an estimated 400 million people a year. The antibodies are effective against all four dengue viruses, according to an article published [Monday] in Nature Immunology…” (Staley, 12/15).

The Guardian: Dengue fever vaccine on the cards after novel antibody discovery
“…The researchers spotted the new group of antibodies while they were studying blood drawn from patients who picked up dengue infections in South-East Asia. … In follow-up work reported in the study, the scientists went on to manufacture a batch of the human antibodies. Once they have cleared trials, these could be used to treat dengue fever, or administered to protect people against the virus…” (Sample, 12/15).

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Lax Gun Laws Contribute To High Homicide Rates In Americas, PAHO Analysis Shows

New York Times: Gun Proliferation Fuels Homicide Rates in the Americas
“Poor and middle-income nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are the most homicide-prone countries in the world, according to [a Pan American Health Organization] analysis of a new United Nations report on violence. And because of lax gun laws, it found, far more homicides are committed with firearms in the Americas than in any other part of the world…” (McNeil, 12/15).

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U.N. Report Presents Results Of Post-2015 Development Agenda Global Survey

U.N. News Centre: ‘7 million voices’ weigh in on future development agenda in U.N. survey
“…The ‘We the Peoples: Celebrating 7 Million Voices’ report presents the global results of MY World, the U.N. survey for a better world, which was developed in response to the Secretary-General’s call for ‘the most inclusive development agenda the world has ever seen’…” (12/15).

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Conflict In Ukraine Impacting Human Rights, Threatening Lives Of Civilians, U.N. Official Warns

U.N. News Centre: Amid ongoing hostilities, U.N. warns of ‘life-threatening’ conditions for Ukraine’s civilians
“As the conflict in Eastern Ukraine heads into its tenth month, continued fighting and bitter cold temperatures are placing more than five million people at risk, the top United Nations human rights official warned today as he described conditions for those still living in conflict-affected areas as becoming ‘increasingly dire’…” (12/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Investments Must Address NCDs In LMICs

Project Syndicate: A New Direction for Global Health
Thomas Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Thomas Donilon and Mitchell Daniels, co-chairs of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

“…International investments have not yet adjusted to changing global health needs, especially with respect to NCDs. … Meanwhile, the emerging NCD epidemic is worsening. … Yet progress on NCDs is possible. … If, over the next decade, low- and middle-income countries could improve NCD prevention and treatment at the same rate as the average rich country from 2000 to 2013, they would avert more than five million deaths. That return is comparable to the most successful global health investments in HIV and childhood immunization, and it is an investment worth making for the same reason: a peaceful, inclusive global economy presupposes healthier, more productive lives” (12/15).

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Time To Rethink WHO Mission, Funding

The Economist: World Health Organization: Heal thyself
Editorial Board

“…The WHO has faced wide criticism for its role in allowing Ebola, which has now killed over 6,300 people, to rage out of control in West Africa. Some of it is unfair. … But the world’s ‘directing and coordinating’ health authority did little of either during the crisis. … The WHO’s failure to lead the response to the Ebola crisis should be used as a spur to rethink what the WHO is for, and how it is financed and run. Instead of doing the job of governments, it should focus on the things they cannot manage alone, such as helping poor countries set up health systems, disseminating the best medical research and policies, and combating global epidemics. … And if the world wants an outfit capable of dealing with emergencies such as Ebola, it needs to pay for it…” (12/13).

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South Sudan's Leaders Must Choose Peace To Prevent Further Food Insecurity, Humanitarian Crises

Washington Post: John Kerry and Susan Rice: South Sudan’s leaders need to set aside their dispute
John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, and Susan Rice, U.S. national security adviser

“In 2011, the world’s newest nation was born amid joyous celebrations. … The hope and promise of that day are now at grave risk of being squandered if the nation’s leaders don’t at long last provide leadership. … In South Sudan, hunger is often a threat, but when the cycle of planting and harvesting is disrupted, when grazing lands are turned into battlegrounds, and when humanitarian convoys are subject to attack, the threat becomes a crisis and the lives of millions hang in the balance. With each passing day, the ranks of the hungry and malnourished grow. This suffering will end only when the guns fall silent…” (12/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Report Examines NGO Engagement In U.S. Global Health Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: NGO Engagement in U.S. Global Health Efforts: U.S.-Based NGOs Receiving USG Support Through USAID
“A new Kaiser Family Foundation report finds 135 different U.S.-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) received U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding in 2013 to implement U.S. global health programs on the ground. The report aims to shed light on the extent of the role of NGOs in carrying out U.S. global health programs. Ninety-one percent of the funding went to 20 NGOs…” (Moss, 12/15).

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U.S. Government Committed To Use Of Gender-Sensitive Data In Foreign Policy, Development Initiatives

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Government Increases Focus on Gender-Sensitive Data: Leading Foreign Assistance Programs Avail Gender-Sensitive Data to Improve Policy and Development Decision-Making
This media note describes the U.S. government’s participation in the recent Data2X event in New York City and its “commitment to making the empowerment of women and girls a foundational goal of U.S. foreign policy” through initiatives like PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (12/15).

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Bill Gates Reflects On Global Health Progress Made In 2014

Gates Notes: Good News You May Have Missed In 2014
Bill Gates reflects on global health progress made in 2014, including a decrease in under-five deaths worldwide; milestones met in HIV/AIDS efforts; the widespread implementation of a rotavirus vaccine; a new TB treatment regimen; and Nigeria’s success in eliminating Ebola (12/15).

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Blog Post Discusses 4 Ugandan Laws Negatively Impacting Country's Public Health

Open Society Foundations: Four Laws That Are Devastating Public Health in Uganda
Naomi Burke-Shyne, a senior program officer with the Law and Health Initiative and the International Harm Reduction Development Program, highlights four Ugandan laws that “target individuals who are already marginalized by society and most in need of health services and support: people who sell sex to make ends meet for their families; LGBTI people living in fear of community violence; people hiding their HIV medication from their own families; and people struggling to manage drug dependence and other illnesses. Perhaps most harmful of all, parts of Ugandan society are interpreting these laws to justify violence and exclusion…” (12/15).

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Uganda's History Of Effective Ebola Responses Informing Efforts In West African Epidemic

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Uganda Brings Ebola Expertise to the West African Response
Vincent Oketcho, IntraHealth’s Uganda country director, and Richard Seifman, a consultant at IntraHealth, discuss Uganda’s experiences managing past Ebola and hemorrhagic fever outbreaks and how “[i]nternational health officials have acknowledged and tapped into” this expertise (12/15).

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New Issue Of 'Global Health: Science And Practice' Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice Journal: December 2014
The new issue of the “Global Health: Science and Practice Journal” focuses on successes in global health programs (December 2014).

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