KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Report Outlines Global Health Trends, Examines SDG Health Targets

News outlets discuss a new WHO report titled Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs that outlines global health trends.

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Report Examines Health Achievements, Future Challenges For Implementation Of SDGs
“…The WHO publication ‘Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs,’ presents the data and analysis for key areas outlined in the SDGs, such as infectious diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, and neglected tropical diseases; noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; and universal health coverage…” (Saez, 12/9).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency outlines global trends and looks ahead to 2030 targets
“The World Health Organization (WHO) [Tuesday] issued a comprehensive analysis of global health trends since 2000, and laid out actions that should be prioritized over the next 15 years to achieve the newly-agreed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying that universal health care is the ‘linchpin of development in health’…” (12/8).

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Number Of Annual Malaria Deaths Drops Below 500K, As Many Countries Move Toward Elimination, WHO Report Shows

News outlets highlight findings from the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2015, released on Tuesday.

Associated Press: U.N. says malaria cases drop but progress in Africa is slower
“The number of malaria cases worldwide has dropped in recent years but the countries with the biggest outbreaks have made the least progress, according to a new report Tuesday by the World Health Organization…” (Cheng, 12/8).

CIDRAP News: WHO reports further declines in global malaria burden
“In its annual report card on the global battle against malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today that 57 of 106 countries that recorded cases in 2000 have cut new infections by 75 percent and that 18 more have reduced their burden by 50 percent to 75 percent…” (Schnirring, 12/8).

Reuters: Malaria deaths drop below half a million, Africa makes progress: WHO
“…The World Health Organization’s annual malaria report showed deaths falling to 438,000 in 2015 — down dramatically from 839,000 in 2000 — and found a significant increase in the number of countries moving toward the elimination of malaria. Malaria prevention measures — such as bednets and indoor and outdoor spraying — have averted millions of deaths and saved millions of dollars in health care costs over the past 14 years in many African countries, the report said…” (Kelland, 12/8).

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WHO Testing New System To Track Attacks Against Health Care Workers In Conflict Zones, With Goal Of Better Protection

U.N. News Centre: U.N. begins testing data collection system to help track, curb attacks against health workers
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it now testing a new system for collecting data to ensure that attacks against health care workers in the line of fire — from Afghanistan to Ukraine and Yemen — do not go unnoticed and that they are better protected from violence and harm…” (12/8).

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WHO Calls For Strong Climate Accord At Paris Talks To Protect Public Health

VOA News: WHO Calls for Public Health Agenda at Paris Climate Talks
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a strong agreement to curb global emissions at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris this week. … Health has been central to global climate talks since nations first got together in 1992 to discuss the problem. In Paris this year, negotiators aim to keep emissions from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels…” (Skirble, 12/8).

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Advocates Of NIH Funding Hopeful Congress Will Prioritize Research Agency In Omnibus Spending Package

The Atlantic: Could 2015 Be a Turning Point in NIH Funding?
“For the National Institutes of Health and its supporters, 2015 could turn out to be a pretty good year. As Congress continues negotiations on a mammoth omnibus spending package, advocates are hopeful that their favored institution is becoming a congressional priority again — and that an extended period of uncertainty may be coming to a close…” (Kelly, 12/8).

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ActionAid Encourages Donors To Increase Funding For Advocates Working To Stop Violence Against Women

The Guardian: Donors urged to fund female activists battling violence against women
“Greater efforts to organize and fund local women’s groups are required to combat gender violence, according to ActionAid. Onyinyechi Okechukwu, a communications specialist for ActionAid Nigeria who has been closely involved with the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, said a forceful local women’s movement had the power to effect lasting change…” (Ford, 12/9).

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Al Jazeera America Profiles Creator Of Innovative Insecticide Paint, Challenges Of Bringing Product To Markets

Al Jazeera America: The kissing bug disease and the woman who would stop it
“…Despite its success and potential for adaptation, however, [a newly formulated insecticide paint, Inesfly, developed in 1995 by a Spanish chemist named Pilar Mateo,] is still not a widely used tool for combating the spread of Chagas. … Mateo decided not to partner with a large pharmaceutical company to bring Inesfly to market because, she says, ‘I didn’t want profit motives dictating how this important tool was brought to the world.’ Her decision has forced her onto a difficult path that exposes critical fault lines in global public health: a pay-to-play regulatory system that critics say purports to encourage innovation but that can inhibit the development of promising new methods to prevent and fight disease. Rather than fostering new ways to rid the world of terrible diseases, our global health structure sometimes hinders it…” (Friedman-Rudovsky, 12/9).

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Lung Health Meeting Features Advocacy, Community Building In Addition To Scientific Presentations, Following International AIDS Conference Model

ScienceInsider: TB community borrowing a page from HIV/AIDS
“…The traditionally staid 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health featured hundreds of delegates donning face masks during one session to show their solidarity against the rampant stigma that people with TB must endure. … The Lung Meeting has morphed into the type of gathering that international HIV/AIDS meetings pioneered, where advocacy and community building are as much a part of the agenda as scientific presentations…” (Cohen, 12/8).

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Liberian Men Who Cremated Ebola Victims' Bodies Now Shunned By Society Non-Accepting Of Practice

New York Times: They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia Is Erasing Them.
“…It has been more than a year since this deeply religious country embraced one of its biggest taboos — cremating bodies — to rein in a rampaging Ebola pandemic. In that time, the majority of Liberians have started to move on. But such is not the case for some 30 young men who were called upon during the height of the crisis last year. … Their families shunned them as they pursued their grim work. … The ostracism darkened what was already an abysmal time for the men, so much so that now, a full year after the country has ceased the cremations, their lives remain virtually destroyed…” (Cooper, 12/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

PEPFAR's Success Extends To Areas Beyond Public Health; U.S. Should Continue 'Great Story' Of Leadership In Global Health

Huffington Post: An Unqualified U.S. Foreign Policy Success
Mark Pfeifle, founder of Off the Record Strategies

“…Beyond halting the worldwide spread of HIV/AIDS, [PEPFAR] has improved world public opinion of the United States, enhanced regional socio-economic development, and increased the stability of the countries where PEPFAR has operated. … With such impressive public health results — not to mention the equally formidable gains that PEPFAR has achieved in improving world stability and U.S. security — there should be no retreat from America’s leadership in global health. That’s especially true in the face of new global pandemic challenges like the H1N1 flu, Ebola, and other diseases. The verdict is in: in America’s toolbox of foreign policy options, PEPFAR has proven itself, and with flying colors. This is a great story of American leadership that needs to be told — and never retreated from” (12/8).

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U.S. Presidential Candidates Must Discuss Foreign Aid As Strategy To Improve Global Health, National Security

Devex: Making foreign aid a presidential prerogative
E. Wayne Holden, president and chief executive officer of RTI International

“…Across our nation, there is a growing consensus that in addition to defense, global development and diplomacy are essential components of American national security. In fact, many of the most senior military leaders have emphasized publicly that development strengthens our national interests, fighting the spread of poverty and disease — and ultimately terrorism. And it does so while accounting for just one percent of the U.S. federal budget. The return on that investment is exponential. … I am convinced that as the presidential candidates continue their debates and ponder our most pressing national security concerns, they would be wise to start a meaningful conversation about foreign aid and the ever important area of global health. … We believe that foreign aid investment is not just the right thing to do for the billions of people living in extreme poverty; it’s a strategic investment that’s necessary to keep our nation safe” (12/8).

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Sustained Control, Elimination Efforts Needed In Global Malaria Response

Huffington Post: As New Crises Emerge, Let’s Not Let Up on the Old Ones
Pedro L. Alonso, director of the WHO Global Malaria Program

“…When fighting malaria, we first need to understand the context, the biology, the ecological factors, the health systems, and the responses of the parasites in each region of each country. Then, we need to tailor our response to the locale. … But continued progress is threatened. Many parasites are becoming resistant to the medicines, and mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides. We need new prevention and treatment tools, which must be delivered through a robust research and development effort. … This week, WHO is launching the World Malaria Report, an annual publication that tracks global progress in malaria control and elimination. … As health leaders — including many of us here at WHO — rightfully debate how to prepare for the next health crisis that may emerge, we should take pains to ensure that we continue to make progress against the diseases we already know much about” (12/9).

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SDGs Offer Broad Framework To Address Global Health Concerns

Huffington Post: Public Health and the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals
Linda P. Fried, dean and DeLamar professor of public health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

“…[N]one of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] mention a specific disease or medical condition, and only one is focused on health. But together they offer a broader framework to address public health concerns in a more holistic way — recognizing the evidence that we can no longer separate poor health from climate change, inadequate housing, gender disparities, and economic privation. Even peace, whose absence has forced millions to become refugees in recent months, finds its way to the SDGs as one avenue towards improved population health. … The SDGs are, therefore, an agenda for public health — for creating the conditions in which people can be healthy…” (12/8).

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Climate-Compatible Agriculture Essential To Improving Food Security, Environmental Health

Huffington Post: Is Food Security Breaking Through in Paris Climate Talks?
Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR Consortium

“The latest news from Paris is cautiously optimistic that we will have an agreement by Friday. What does it mean for agriculture and food security? … A recent CGIAR analysis of the first 150 country climate commitments (INDCs) submitted ahead of the U.N. climate talks revealed that countries appear to prioritize agriculture more than the negotiations have. … Willingness to address agriculture and food security finally appears to be having some impact. … One of the most promising new ideas at the Paris climate talks so far, is the French government’s ‘4 pour mille’ initiative. The name 4 pour mille (or 0.4 percent) refers to the annual increase in soil carbon, which would offset atmospheric carbon emissions. … While agriculture and food security are the buzzwords at COP21 in Paris, … we have to make sure climate-compatible agriculture is front and center for the negotiators at COP22 in Marrakech” (12/8).

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Governments, Civil Society Organizations 'Must Work Together On All Fronts' To Eliminate HIV In Middle East By 2030

SciDev.Net: Middle East needs fresh strategy to curb HIV surge
Hany Hassan Ziady, professor of public health at Alexandria University in Egypt

“…For the Middle East to eliminate HIV/AIDS, governments must start by expanding examination and counseling services to identify as many cases of infection as possible. And governments need better scientific evidence to help them design health programs. … Efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination are also crucial. … Governments also need proper administrative, economic, and legal infrastructure to build momentum in the fight against HIV. And this will not be achieved without money, whether from local health department budgets, civil society organizations, or donor aid. … [I]f we want to eliminate HIV in the region by 2030, we must change our current style of handling the epidemic. To get anywhere near this goal, governments and organizations must work together on all fronts” (12/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Working To Promote Clean Cookstove Usage To Improve Environment, Global Health

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: From the Household Hearth to Global Health: Creating a Healthier Planet Starts with a Cookstove
Benjamin Rost, who works on communications within USAID’s Global Health Bureau, discusses the environmental and health risks of cooking with solid fuels, such as wood, dung, and charcoal, as well as USAID’s efforts to increase clean cookstove usage to improve global health (12/8).

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Aligning HIV Prevention R&D With Efforts To Improve Women's, Girls' Health Essential To Ending AIDS Epidemic

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Transforming the lives of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa and helping end AIDS through better HIV prevention research and development
In a guest post, Tom Harmon, senior policy analyst at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and Anna Forbes, a writer, policy analyst, and advocate for women’s HIV prevention needs, discuss “a new policy brief ‘Research and Development of New Biomedical HIV Prevention Tools for Women and Girls: Combating the global AIDS epidemic through a more empowered response in sub-Saharan Africa’ that summarizes findings and recommendations for improved HIV prevention research with and for women and girls…” (Chmiola, 12/9).

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