KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Estimated 140K People Died Of Measles In 2018, WHO/CDC Report Says; WHO Urges Countries To Reach 95% Vaccination Levels To Prevent Outbreaks

NPR: Measles Numbers Were Bad In 2018. This Year, They’re Even Worse
“After decades of progress against one of the most contagious human viruses, the world is seeing measles stage a slow, steady comeback. The World Health Organization and the CDC say in a new report that there were nearly 10 million cases of measles last year, with outbreaks on every continent. An estimated 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, WHO says, up from an all-time low of 90,000 in 2016. And so far 2019 has been even worse…” (Beaubien, 12/5).

U.N. News: Measles ‘misinformation campaigns’ through social media, fuel rising toll
“…In a warning over dangerously low vaccination levels and large outbreaks in several countries — spurred on by social media ‘misinformation campaigns’ — the U.N. health agency insisted that anything less than 95 percent coverage risked sparking an outbreak…” (12/5).

Additional information on the report is available from ABC, The Guardian, NBC, Reuters, Science Speaks, and UPI.

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U.N. Teams Assisting In Samoan Measles Outbreak As Government Takes Steps To Prevent Spread Of Vaccine Misinformation

CNN: ‘Anti-vaxxer’ charged as Samoan government battles deadly measles outbreak
“An alleged anti-vaxxer has been charged with ‘incitement against the government vaccination order,’ the Samoan government said Thursday. The government of the Pacific Island nation has shut down in a desperate attempt to fight a deadly measles outbreak that has already claimed 62 lives…” (Mezzofiore, 12/6).

U.N. News: U.N. team aids Samoa response to deadly measles epidemic
“U.N. teams are on the ground in Samoa as the country combats a deadly measles epidemic. … The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supplied more than 200,000 vaccines for the campaign, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has brought in emergency medical staff from across the globe…” (12/5).

Additional coverage of the measles outbreak in Samoa is available from DW and Wall Street Journal.

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Gavi To Fund Stockpile Of Ebola Vaccines, Support Targeted Vaccination Of Front-Line Health Workers In Countries At-Risk Of Outbreaks

STAT: The Gavi coalition boosts the global stockpile of Ebola vaccines
“The global emergency stockpile of Ebola vaccines will grow to 500,000 doses following a decision Thursday by the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Previously the target for the stockpile had been 300,000 doses. The Gavi board also agreed to support a program of targeted preventive vaccination of key front-line health workers in Ebola at-risk countries, though details of how many and how soon remain to be worked out…” (Branswell, 12/5).

Additional coverage of the Gavi board’s decisions is available from AP, Becker’s Hospital Review, CIDRAP News, Reuters, and The Telegraph.

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Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of WHO Global Malaria Report

The Economist: Malaria infections have stopped falling (12/5).

Financial Times: Progress in malaria prevention questioned by health experts (Jack, 12/5).

Xinhua: Anti-malaria progress slows, critical targets likely to miss: WHO (12/5).

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WHO DG Tedros Discusses Africa's Lack Of Strategies To Address NCDs, Need For UHC In SciDev.Net Interview

SciDev.Net: Q&A: Africa lacks chronic disease policies — WHO’s Tedros
“There is a lack of strategies to tackle chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease in the African region, posing a key challenge for those working to improve healthcare on the continent, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. … It means there is an urgent need for universal health coverage to help countries prevent these diseases, and detect and treat them when they arise, Tedros told SciDev.Net following the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, last month…” (Deighton, 12/5).

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Health Benefits Of Cutting Air Pollution Begin Within Weeks, Study Shows

The Guardian: Cutting air pollution ‘can prevent deaths within weeks’
“Cutting air pollution can prevent deaths within weeks, according to scientists. They found the health benefits of clean air were ‘almost immediate and substantial’ and stretched into the long term, saving billions of dollars. The review examined the evidence for the reduction of illness after levels of toxic air were reduced. It showed dramatic reductions in asthma and children missing school, heart attacks, and the number of small and premature babies. … The report, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society by international experts from the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, found the benefits of cleaner air begin in the first week…” (Carrington, 12/6).

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Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann To Step Down In February 2020; Mark Suzman To Lead Foundation

Reuters: Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann to step down after five years
“The multi-billion-dollar philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Thursday that its chief executive officer, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, is to step down after more than five years, to be replaced by Mark Suzman. Desmond-Hellmann, who until October was also on the board of the social networking company Facebook Inc., said she was stepping down from the Gates Foundation as of February 2020 to be able to ‘care properly for myself and my family’…” (Kelland, 12/5).

Wall Street Journal: Gates Foundation CEO to Step Down
“…Mark Suzman, currently president of Global Policy & Advocacy and chief strategy officer, will become the new CEO of the foundation, on Feb. 1. He will take the helm of one of the world’s largest philanthropic foundations, with an endowment of $47.4 billion at the end of 2018. The Seattle-based foundation invests in global health, agricultural development, and U.S. education projects, under the direction of its trustees: Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, his wife, Melinda, and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc…” (McKay, 12/5).

Additional coverage of Desmond-Hellmann’s decision is available from Devex, Seattle Times, STAT, and Vox.

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More News In Global Health

AP: TB, armed guards, lack of food at U.N. migrant center in Libya (Hinnant et al., 12/6).

AP: U.N. says Zimbabwe’s cash shortage hurts aid delivery efforts (12/5).

CIDRAP News: Typhoid vaccine shows protection in phase 3 trial (Dall, 12/5).
The Telegraph: ‘Ground breaking’ typhoid vaccine reduces infections by 80 percent in Nepal (Newey, 12/5).

Devex: Fragile states need more donor flexibility to improve nutrition (Welsh, 12/6).

Devex: Q&A: WASH Business: A waterless toilet waste-to-value set to scale (Ravelo, 12/6).

Devex: Climate finance calls grow louder in face of global emergency (Igoe, 12/6).

Devex: Safeguarding the future of yellow fever vaccination (12/6).

Devex: New fund seeks to scale impact investing through collective action (Saldinger, 12/5).

Livemint: India saw highest number of cervical cancer deaths in 2018 (Sharma, 12/5).

Los Angeles Times: Huge waves and disease turn Marshall Islands into ‘a war zone,’ health official says (Rust, 12/5).

PRI: Invisible ‘superbug’ could be more deadly than bombs in Middle East war zones (Reinl, 12/4).

The Telegraph: Disaster prevention is better than cure, says U.N. emergency chief (Nuki, 12/4).

U.N. News: Rise in Caribbean children displaced by storms shows climate crisis is a child rights issue: UNICEF (12/6).

U.N. News: Partnerships key to taking landlocked countries out of poverty: U.N. Chief (12/5).

Washington Post: Tunisia launches a state-sponsored sex-education program, a rarity in the Arab world (Beachum, 12/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Continue Legacy Of Supporting Global Measles Prevention, U.N. Health Efforts, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: The U.S. must act now to help stop the global measles surge
Kate Dodson, vice president for global health at the United Nations Foundation

“More than 140,000 people died last year from measles. That’s the headline coming out of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) today. … Our government must do more to make the vaccine as widespread globally as the measles virus is itself. … The U.S. government has been a long-time contributor to the Measles & Rubella Initiative … The U.S. has also been a steadfast supporter of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and its efforts to stop measles and reach the most marginalized with life-saving vaccines. … Through these collective efforts, measles vaccination alone is estimated to have helped save more than 23 million lives since the year 2000. This is a legacy the U.S. should be proud to contribute to — but we should also be the first in line to staunchly defend it. … I urge Congress to not turn its back on its strong legacy of protecting the health and wellbeing of those around the world, especially the most vulnerable, by swiftly passing fiscal 2020 appropriations bills that fund global measles prevention activities and fund U.N. agencies…” (12/5).

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WHO's Global Influenza Strategy 'Welcome Step' But Needs To Address Emerging Challenges, Opinion Piece Says

New England Journal of Medicine: Preparing for the Next Pandemic — The WHO’s Global Influenza Strategy
Mark Eccleston-Turner of the School of Law at the University of Keele in Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom; Alexandra Phelan of the Center for Global Health Science and Security and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University; and Rebecca Katz of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University

“…Given the ongoing threat posed by influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this year released its Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030. … The new strategy is a welcome step. However, we believe that it should address several current and emerging challenges to preventing and responding to influenza, among them potential barriers to pathogen sharing, use of influenza genetic-sequence data for vaccine development, and global response capabilities, including medical countermeasures. Although these challenges may be addressed in other ongoing initiatives, influenza preparedness and response strategies must be sufficiently agile for new technologies, transparent for accountability, and equitable for global health justice. … In creating its Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030, the WHO has shown the ambition and foresight required to ensure that the world can be better prepared for the next influenza pandemic and the ongoing burden of seasonal influenza. But additional challenges will test the effectiveness of the strategy unless efforts are made to ensure that they are also addressed” (12/5)

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Volunteers Contribute To Health, Stability Of Communities Worldwide, U.N. Officials Write In Opinion Piece

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: Volunteerism — an antidote to a world in flux
Olivier Adam, executive coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program, and Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

“…Every day, an estimated one billion volunteers make a difference to the people and communities where they live and work. … Right now, nearly 8,000 U.N. Volunteers, from 18 to 81 years old, serve with over 40 U.N. partners through the U.N. Volunteers (UNV) program. … Volunteering also creates relationships and improves critical connections between people. … During the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, local, national, and international volunteers worked together to tend to victims and halt the spread of the disease, despite considerable challenges. Volunteers also strengthen community resilience by integrating refugees and displaced persons, building ownership in the peace and development process, and strengthening social cohesion within, and across, groups. … On International Volunteer Day, we recognize the extraordinary contribution of volunteers to this end. In every part of the globe, they are at the forefront of every major shock and stress, responding to problems big and small that benefit all people…” (12/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Releases December 2019 Issue Of Global Health Policy Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Update
In the December 2019 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center (GHPC), highlights recent publications, events, and podcasts from CSIS, as well as upcoming events. Topics addressed include U.S. global health security, global HIV/AIDS, vaccine-derived polio, and global immunization (12/5).

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WHO, Partners Launch Plan To Address HIV Drug Resistance In Africa

WHO Regional Office for Africa: WHO unveils plan to tackle rising HIV drug resistance in Africa
“Growing resistance to HIV drugs in Africa is threatening the significant progress made in the global fight against the virus. In an effort to reinforce the gains and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners today are unveiling a five-year plan to monitor, prevent, and respond to drug resistance. WHO developed the Regional Action Plan which is being presented at the 1-6 December International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Kigali, Rwanda. It outlines systems to monitor HIV drug resistance indicators and how to use them at clinic and program level to minimize drug resistance and develop evidence-based quality improvement for antiretroviral medicine (ARV) programs…” (12/6).

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IntraHealth Post Highlights Role Of Local Leaders, Young People In Family Planning Efforts In Francophone West Africa

IntraHealth International: Young Advocates, Political Will Drive Progress on Family Planning in Francophone West Africa
This post addresses family planning efforts in the countries of Francopone West Africa, highlighting progress and the role of local leaders, communities, and young people (12/5).

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From the U.S. Government

End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act Passes U.S. House

GovTrack: H.R. 3460: End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act
H.R. 3460, known as the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 3, and will move to the U.S. Senate for further action. The act is intended “to facilitate effective research on and treatment of neglected tropical diseases through coordinated international efforts” (12/6).

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MMWR Provides Updates on Measles Elimination Progress Globally, In China

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination — Worldwide, 2000-2018 (12/6).

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Measles Elimination — China, January 2013-June 2019 (12/6).

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