KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Huffington Post Examines Helms Amendment's Impacts On U.S. Global Funding, Care For Women Who Are Raped

Huffington Post: Instruments of Oppression
“…The text of the Helms amendment only states that no U.S. foreign assistance money ‘may be used to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning.’ … Obama could simply issue an executive order clarifying that the law has exceptions … or he could publicly direct the head of the USAID to start writing the exceptions into its contracts. … So far, though, the Obama administration has been unwilling to change the policy. Until that happens, women who are raped and become pregnant in developing countries and conflict zones are often unable to get a safe abortion. To understand what this means for a rape victim, how U.S. policy can warp an entire country’s health system and the course of a woman’s life, the best place to begin is Kenya…” (Bassett, 12/3).

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News Outlets Examine COP21 Negotiations' Potential Impacts On Food Security, Disease

IRIN: COP21: Food — the big picture
“Global food security is not just about how much we grow. To achieve it, we need to look at the bigger picture, particularly at the way in which water and energy needs underpin production. Climate change threatens all of that. Rainfall variability directly affects crop production, but also energy generation (think of hydropower) — essential to grow, store, process, and move food…” (del Bello, 12/7).

IRIN: COP21: A turning point?
“…Paris will not be a magic bullet, but can it at least be a turning point? Can there be agreement on the emissions cuts necessary to stop runaway global warming? Can the financing be put in place to help the majority of the world adapt, and find a sustainable development path? This IRIN special feature explores these critical issues. It will be added to over the course of the summit, so keep checking back…” (11/26).

NPR: Climate Change Is Killing Us, Literally — And Here’s How
“…Germs of all kinds, as well as mosquitoes and other disease carriers, will live longer in warmer weather because cold kills them. They’ll find more areas with the hot, humid conditions they need to thrive. … The impact could be devastating. According to the World Health Organization, between 2030 and 2050, the world will see an additional 250,000 deaths a year from malaria, malnutrition, diarrhea, and heat stress as a result of climate change…” (Brink, 12/7).

VOA News: Studies: Deadly Smog, Toxic Water Already Linked to Climate Change
“…Globally, air pollution kills millions of people every year, including more than 627,000 in India alone, according to the World Health Organization. … In Paris on Saturday, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals called on governments to reach a strong agreement about climate change at the U.N. negotiations…” (Pearson, 12/7).

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U.N. Appeals For Record $20.1B To Provide Lifesaving Assistance To 87.6M People Affected By Conflict, Disaster

New York Times: U.N. Seeks Record Amount for Humanitarian Aid in 2016
“Facing mass movements of refugees and human suffering on a scale unseen since World War II, the United Nations asked governments on Monday for more money than ever before to fund its humanitarian operations in 2016. The humanitarian aid coordinator of the United Nations, Stephen O’Brien, appealed for more than $20 billion to provide urgent help to the most vulnerable people in 37 countries, estimated to total 87.6 million…” (Cumming-Bruce, 12/7).

U.N. News Centre: Confronting conflicts, disasters, U.N. launches largest ever humanitarian appeal at $20.1 billion
“…The amount of the appeal, five times that of a decade ago, even tops the revised total appeal for 2015 of $19.9 billion, for which international donors have provided only $9.7 billion, just 49 percent. The new appeal seeks to deliver life-saving aid to over 87.6 million people across 37 countries, most of which are in conflict…” (12/7).

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WHO Officials, Experts To Identify Possible Causes Of Next Pandemic, Nature Reports

Nature: Disease specialists identify post-Ebola threats
“As West Africans try to bring the calamitous Ebola outbreak to an end, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called scientists and doctors to Geneva, Switzerland, on 8 and 9 December to discuss which infectious disease is likely spark the next pandemic…” (Hayden, 12/7).

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Officials, Experts Call For Greater Political Commitment To End Malnutrition In Africa

Xinhua/GlobalPost: More efforts needed to end malnutrition in Africa: experts
“Senior government officials and nutrition experts as well as civil society organizations from East Africa on Monday called for concerted efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms on the continent. The officials and experts, who met in Nairobi for the release of the [Global Nutrition Report 2015 (GNR)], resolved to create a political environment for reduction of malnutrition and ensure improved coverage of high-impact nutrition interventions…” (12/7).

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Global Health NOW Launches Series On Neglected Disease Mycetoma

Global Health NOW launches the first pieces of the series “Mycetoma: The Untold Global Health Story of 2015.”

Global Health NOW: Mycetoma: The Untold Global Health Story of 2015
“…Our hope is that this series not only makes mycetoma a well-told global health story in 2016 but also motivates the WHO to add the disease to its list of neglected diseases — a critical step to prompt funding agencies to support much-needed research…” (Simpson, 12/7).

Global Health NOW: Q&A with Amy Maxmen: An Unjust Problem
“Freelance journalist Amy Maxmen has written about everything from the DNA editing tool Crispr, to nurses in Sierra Leone who fought Ebola without pay, to the world’s oldest graveyard in Ethiopia and the neuroanatomy of sea spiders. (That last one was part of her research for her PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.) Still, in the disease mycetoma, she found something new … and horrible. In this Q&A, Maxmen … shares her challenges, surprises, and hopes for the series on mycetoma…” (Simpson, 12/7).

Global Health NOW: A Flesh-eating Fungus Wrecks Lives and No One Cares
“…Doctors in at least 23 countries have reported [mycetoma]. Sometimes it is caused by fungi, and other times by bacteria, but invariably, the problem gets very little attention because it afflicts the poor. ‘This is a disease that causes high morbidity and deformity. It has a terrible impact on the lives of people, and on the economy of people,’ says Anshu Banerjee, who was based in Sudan with the WHO from 2010 to 2014. ‘If you think about issues of equity, mycetoma really does need to be addressed,’ Banerjee adds. ‘It makes poverty stay around’…” (Maxmen, 12/7).

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H1N1 Outbreak Kills 33 In Iran In 3 Weeks; Virus Likely To Spread, Health Official Says

Agence France-Presse: Iran swine flu outbreak kills 33 in three weeks, state media says
“An outbreak of swine flu has left 33 people dead in two provinces of southeastern Iran in the past three weeks, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday…” (12/7).

New York Times: Iran: Deadly Swine Flu Outbreak Is Likely to Spread, Official Warns
“…[Iran Deputy Health Minister Ali-Akbar Sayyari] said the virus, known as H1N1, was likely to spread to other areas, including Tehran, the capital and Iran’s largest city with about 8.3 million people. … The virus is now considered a human seasonal flu virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States, and can be prevented with a vaccine” (Gladstone, 12/7).

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Hawaii Dengue Outbreak Grows To 139 Infected; Prevention Efforts Pose Challenges

NBC News: Dengue Outbreak Worsens in Hawaii as 139 Ill
“An unusual outbreak of dengue virus fever has now made 139 people sick in Hawaii and authorities are debating what to do about it. ‘Of the confirmed cases, 122 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors,’ the state department of health said in an update released Monday. But there’s not much they can do, an expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said…” (Fox, 12/7).

New York Times: Hawaii’s Dengue Fever Outbreak Grows
“…The first cases in the current outbreak were traced back to September, and over time they developed into what is now being treated as a cluster … The cluster has now grown to rival the last major dengue outbreak, which took place in 2001 and lasted about 10 months with 92 cases on Maui, 26 on Oahu, and four on Kauai…” (Hauser, 12/7).

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Researchers Use Gene Editing Method To Modify Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes To Produce Infertile Offspring

News outlets report on a study published Monday in Nature Biotechnology examining the genetic editing of mosquitoes that spread malaria.

Nature: Mosquitoes engineered to pass down genes that would wipe out their species
“…Researchers engineered Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes — which spreads malaria across sub-Saharan Africa — to pass on genes that cause infertility in female offspring. The study … relies on a technology known as a gene drive, and appears two weeks after a U.S. team reported using the same concept to engineer malaria resistance into a different mosquito species…” (Callaway, 12/7).

Newsweek: Genetically Modified African Mosquitoes Could Halt Malaria Spread
“…The researchers employed a new technique called CRISPR, a genetic method that allows scientists to cut DNA specific location in the genome and to insert desired genes, in a way that’s much quicker and cheaper than previously possible…” (Main, 12/7).

Wall Street Journal: Gene-Editing Technology Could Help Eradicate Malaria, Study Shows
“…The technology is being explored for uses from editing genes that cause human diseases such as cancer to reversing insects’ resistance to pesticide. But its potential uses, particularly for human-gene editing, have also raised serious ethical questions…” (McKay, 12/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Must Strengthen Civil Registration Efforts To ID All People, Achieve SDGs

Huffington Post: Finding the Missing Millions Can Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Mahmoud Mohieldin, corporate secretary and president’s special envoy at the World Bank Group, and Mariana Dahan, coordinator of the Identification for Development (ID4D) Working Group of the World Bank Group

“…A staggering 2.4 billion people today lack any form of recognized identity (ID) … [T]he importance of robust identification goes beyond its intrinsic value: it also enables the achievement of many other SDGs, such as financial inclusion, reduced corruption, gender equality, access to health services, and appropriate social protection schemes. … More and stronger coalitions … are needed to ensure that the world reaches the Sustainable Development Goals in general, and the SDG target 16.9 [to provide legal identity for all] in particular. … Better coordination at the country, sub-regional, regional, and global levels is of eminent importance. … Similarly important is support for civil society organizations … Finally, the international community should establish the right monitoring mechanisms and indicators to measure whether we are on track to achieving the SDGs. This target for universal identity will be especially critical as a means of monitoring and achieving the SDGs as a whole…” (12/7).

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Urban Planners Must Integrate Health Interventions Into Building 'Climate-Smart Cities'

Devex: Creating climate-smart cities: 3 ways to incorporate health into urban planning
Debora Freitas López, director in the Southern Africa region at Chemonics

“…Using health to inform climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities is not merely a suggestion; it must be a mandatory part of urban planning moving forward. … As cities become increasingly stretched to deal with the growing health threats brought on by climate change, it is critical that they approach urban planning challenges with measures that incorporate health interventions. Better governance, more empowered decision-makers, and improved health service delivery mechanisms are three ways to build climate-smart cities that place current and future well-being at the forefront of their responsibility. The world can no longer afford to ignore climate change and how it is influencing our health. It is up to us to make sure that our cities — hubs of economic and social innovation — are poised to take a lead role” (12/7).

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Frontline Health Workers Critical To Effective Vaccine Delivery In India

Live Mint: The top delivery challenge in India
Ramanan Laxminarayan, vice president for research and policy at the Public Health Foundation of India

“…Vaccine delivery requires more than just syringes and needles. The vaccines need to be kept in a cold chain from the moment they are manufactured until they are administered. … [H]igh-tech monitoring ensures vaccines do not spoil en route to remote areas. … Smart technology, targeted resources, and human resolve are required in equal measures. Though the first two often receive attention, frontline health workers are essential in the war against vaccine-preventable diseases and form the backbone of the immunization program [in India]. The commitment of our frontline health workers to the implementation of latest technological solutions has helped to scale up the immunization program to reach the remotest part of the country and to make sure that no child remains unimmunized” (12/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID, Power Africa Partner With Private Sector, International Community To Achieve Clean Energy In Africa

USAID’s “Impact”: Acting on Climate, Reducing Poverty, Powering Africa
Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator for Power Africa, discusses how “Power Africa and USAID are taking action on climate — and tackling extreme poverty — by working with … partners in African governments and the private sector to stimulate investment in clean energy solutions” (12/6).

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India Launches IPV, Will Withdraw OPV Type 2 From Routine Immunization Services

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Launch of Inactivated Polio Vaccine in India
Raj Ghosh, deputy director of India Vaccine Delivery at the BMGF India, discusses efforts to end polio in India, including the introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and the withdrawal of oral polio vaccine (OPV) type 2 from routine immunization services (12/7).

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Better Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Could Help India Improve Health

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: How to Make Fiscal Transfers Work for Better Health
Anit Mukherjee, policy fellow; Victoria Fan, visiting fellow; and Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of global health policy, and senior fellow, all with CGD, write, “…Since January 2014, CGD and the Accountability Initiative, based at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, have been engaged in a research project aimed at articulating a reform agenda for creating a better system of intergovernmental fiscal transfers that could improve health in India. To this end, we convened a working group of health and fiscal policymakers, academics, and civil society representatives to discuss the evidence base and develop policy options…” The authors summarize findings of the working group’s final report (12/7).

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Data Visibility Improves Supply Chain Management, Vaccine Distribution

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: From Supply Chain Analysis to Action: The Case of Ethiopia
Paul Dowling, country director, and Al Shiferaw, MIS director, both with John Snow Inc.’s Vaccine Supply Chain Transition Project in Ethiopia, write about the importance of data visibility in vaccine supply chains, allowing managers to “effectively match supply and demand,” and how data accessibility “is also creating new opportunities to improve how vaccines are distributed throughout the country” (12/4).

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'Science Speaks' Provides Coverage Of Union World Conference On Lung Health

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” highlights the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, which took place last week in Cape Town, South Africa. Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator at the center, reports on issues discussed at the meeting, including the importance of community involvement to end HIV and TB, the TB risk for health workers, and the threat of zoonotic TB.

Science Speaks: Union World Conference on Lung Health: Communities central to ending HIV and TB (Aziz, 12/4).

Science Speaks: Union World Conference on Lung Health: Health workers at greater risk for TB, but unlikely to be screened for it (Aziz, 12/6).

Science Speaks: Union World Conference on Lung Health: Zoonotic TB poses little known threat (Aziz, 12/7).

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