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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

The Lancet Reflects On USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah's 5-Year Legacy

The Lancet: USAID: Rajiv Shah’s legacy
“Rajiv Shah, head of USAID, is stepping down after five years at the embattled agency. His achievements might be more political than substantive. … After five years, he is widely credited with having improved the beleaguered agency’s credibility with Congress, expanding and energizing its staff, and introducing a range of innovations intended to expand the agency’s footprint…” (Loewenberg, 2/21).

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Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria More Widespread In Asia Than Previously Thought, Research Shows

News outlets discuss a study and commentary regarding the spread of drug-resistant malaria in Asia published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Agence France-Presse: Drug-resistant malaria parasite spreading
“Parasites resistant to the frontline malaria drug have spread westward from southeast Asia to just short of the Indian border — a gateway to Africa, researchers warned Friday…” (Le Roux, 2/20).

BBC News: Malaria on Myanmar-India border is ‘huge threat’
“…Experts said the development was ‘alarming’ and an ‘enormous threat’…” (Gallagher, 2/19).

Bloomberg News: Drug-Resistant Malaria Near India Seen Posing Global Threat
“…The advance into India of the parasites that can’t be stopped by the drug called artemisinin, the frontline treatment for the mosquito-borne disease, would pose a serious threat to the international control and eradication of malaria, according to the study coordinated by the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit and published in The Lancet…” (Matsuyama, 2/19).

New York Times: Malaria in Widening Area Resists Drug, Study Finds
“…The new study in The Lancet shows that resistance to the drug extends more than 1,500 miles away from Cambodia, along the border between Myanmar and India. It was not known whether resistance had spread overland or whether new diagnostic tools were revealing a situation that had previously gone undetected…” (Fuller, 2/19).

NPR: The World Could Be On The Verge Of Losing A Powerful Malaria Drug
“…The great concern is that Southeast Asia has historically been a graveyard for malaria drugs. In the 1960s, malaria parasites in Thailand learned how to fend off chloroquine, a first-line malaria drug. That resistance eventually spread around the globe. In sub-Saharan Africa, the loss of chloroquine cost hundreds of thousands of lives…” (Beaubien, 2/20).

Reuters: Drug-resistant malaria found close to Myanmar border with India
“…And if resistance spreads from Asia to Africa, or emerges in Africa independently — as has been seen before with previously effective but now powerless antimalarials, ‘millions of lives will be at risk,’ they said in a report…” (Kelland, 2/20).

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Devex Asks West African Government Officials How Aid Community Can Avoid Ebola Recovery Pitfalls

Devex: 3 pitfalls Ebola recovery must avoid
“…While the Ebola crisis is far from over, officials in government and the international development community have begun to think more the medium and long term. … Devex asked aid officials and government officials from the [West African] region how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls that can plague — haunt, even — recovery and reconstruction efforts. Here are three of them. … Quality over quantity. … Prioritize local ownership. … Plan to stay…” (Anders, 2/19).

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Limited Airborne Ebola Transmission 'Very Likely,' Researchers Propose In Analysis

Washington Post: Limited airborne transmission of Ebola is ‘very likely,’ new analysis says
“A team of prominent researchers suggested Thursday that limited airborne transmission of the Ebola virus is ‘very likely,’ a hypothesis that could reignite the debate that started last fall after one of the scientists offered the same opinion. … Their peer-reviewed analysis was published in mBio, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology…” (Bernstein, 2/19).

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U.N. Delegation In Saudi Arabia Examining Sudden Increase In MERS Cases

Scientific American: Middle East Mystery Disease Triggers Early Resurgence
“Infectious disease watchers are again wondering what is going on in Saudi Arabia. Since the beginning of February the Saudis have reported 52 cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome — better known as MERS. … An expert delegation from the United Nation’s human and animal health agencies began a three-day mission to the Arabian Peninsula’s geographically largest country Wednesday, trying to get to the bottom of why MERS cases are soaring…” (Branswell, 2/19).

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India's MoH Deploys Experts To Study Increase In H1N1 Cases, Asks State Governments To Examine Mortality Patterns

New York Times: India Deploys Expert Teams to Study Rise in Flu Cases
“Indian officials this week scrambled to cope with a rise in cases of the flu, which they say has sickened thousands of people and caused the deaths of 700 since the beginning of January. The Health Ministry has deployed teams of experts to five regions where the largest numbers of cases have emerged, and asked state governments to study ‘patterns in mortality’…” (Barry/Kumar, 2/19).

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Yaws Can Be Eradicated By 2020 With Sufficient Funding, Political Will, Researchers Say

Reuters: Diseases affecting the poorest can be eliminated, scientists say
“It is a little known disease but it could make medical history if scientists’ predictions are correct: yaws could completely disappear by 2020, given the right resources. … It should be easy to eradicate, because scientists have found that a single dose of the relatively cheap drug azithromycin, given orally, is as effective as the penicillin injections of old … Their findings were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Whiting, 2/19).

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Innovation, Integrated Interventions Needed To Tackle NTDs

Devex: What not to neglect in tackling NTDs
“…[Dirk Engels, head of WHO’s NTD department,] suggested turning to innovative financing streams such as development impact bonds or performance-based financing. … But he cautioned against limiting innovation to mobilizing resources. Further, the global health community shouldn’t fixate on targeting diseases individually, and instead focus on integrated interventions…” (Ravelo, 2/19).

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Deutsche Welle Examines Access To Medical Care, Treatment For People In Poor Regions

Deutsche Welle: All the health money can buy
“…Facing death through preventable disease — it’s a common situation for the 1.2 billion people the World Health Organization estimates live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1 per day. No decent accommodation, no access to clean water or adequate sanitation and often malnourished — many people with such low incomes are forced to live in conditions that are more likely to lead to ill health…” (Osborne, 2/20).

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WASH Resource Shortfall Continues In Haiti Despite Some Improvements In Public Health, MMWR Report Shows

CIDRAP News: Cholera still issue despite Haiti’s public health progress
“The public health infrastructure in Haiti has somewhat improved since the 2010 earthquake and the massive cholera outbreak that followed, but there’s still a big shortfall in resources to improve the country’s water and sanitation systems enough to eliminate the disease from the country, according to a report [published Thursday] in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Haiti’s health ministry…” (Schnirring, 2/19).

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Eastern Myanmar Sees Improvements In Health Care After Signing Of Cease-Fire Agreements, Working Group Says

VOA News: Progress Seen in Building a Health Care System in Rural Myanmar
“Doctors have long struggled to reach patients in rural Myanmar, where ethnic insurgencies and political repression have made building a reliable health care system virtually impossible. But community health teams in eastern states, near the Thai border, say they are seeing evidence of improvement, in part because of political reforms and cease-fire agreements…” (Corben, 2/20).

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Trial Of Experimental TB Drug First In 6 Years, Revealing Poor State Of Research On Disease

Devex: New TB drug enters first trial: The good and sad news
“The maiden human trial of a potential tuberculosis drug — the first in six years — has now commenced. Known as TBA-354, the promising drug comes from a class of chemicals known to be effective against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis, deemed a major public health concern because it can derail progress made in TB treatment and care. … Although considered a milestone, this news also hints at the sad state of research and development for TB drugs…” (Villarino, 2/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Has Shared Responsibility To Step Up Against Global Health Crises

Huffington Post: Why We ALL Need to Care About ‘Failed Health States’
Stanley M. Bergman, chair of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc.

“…A global health crisis anywhere in the world can pose a humanitarian, economic, and security threat everywhere in the world. …The world’s attention, now riveted by Ebola, can lead to a renewed focus on learning from the mistakes of the past and the development of an effective, coordinated, global emergency response strategy. If we have learned one lesson from the Ebola crisis, it is that we have not learned the lessons of all the previous crises. Let us not lose this opportunity to save lives right now and countless lives in the future, while also reducing the tremendous economic and security risk that ‘failed health states,’ and the threat of pandemic, pose to the world” (2/19).

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Decentralization, Accountability Vital To Rwanda's Successful Health Care System Improvements

New Times: Beyond MDGs: Why we need to strengthen our institutions
Agnes Binagwaho, minister of health for Rwanda

“….As I reflect upon several achievements attained not only as the health sector but the entire nation, I am also reminded of the long journey ahead to meet the set goals in the interest of all Rwandans. A good example is the positive outcomes we have witnessed following the decentralization of our health system. … Creating systems that reinforce honesty and accountability is very vital to protecting our integrity, our rights, and development as a country, especially as we strive to reach our Vision 2020 goals. … Our effort to learn from both our successes and mistakes allows us to continuously improve every day in our efforts to protect public goods, community assets, and people’s rights” (2/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Blog Posts Outline Potential Characteristics Of, Focus Areas For Next USAID Administrator

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: What Should We Look for in the Next USAID Administrator?
Casey Dunning, senior policy analyst at CGD, discusses the departure of USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and suggests three characteristics that “President Obama [should] look for in his new administrator,” including “knowledge of the agency and its missions … ability to prioritize … [and] experience with [Capitol Hill]” (2/19).

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: 3 Things the Next USAID Administrator Should Focus On
Benjamin Leo, senior fellow and director of CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Development Policy, discusses “three specific areas that warrant immediate attention and action” from the next USAID administrator, including to “develop a standard metric for evaluating project performance … engage and reflect local views throughout the project cycle … [and] better collect and publish where all of the money is going” (2/19).

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If Effective, Experimental Hookworm Vaccine Could Help Lower Morbidity, Mortality From Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Health Affairs Blog: Vaccinating Against Iron-Deficiency Anemia: A New Technology For Maternal And Child Health
Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Remko van Leeuwen, HOOKVAC project director at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, discuss morbidity and mortality related to iron-deficiency anemia, how hookworm infection contributes to the condition, and the testing of an experimental hookworm vaccine (2/19).

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WASH, Nutrition Programs Can Be Effectively Integrated

Defeat DD: “Put ‘Em Together, It Just Makes Sense!” Successes and Challenges in WASH & Nutrition
Jordan Teague, program associate at WASH Advocates, examines barriers to integrating WASH and nutrition initiatives, as well as action steps to enable effective integration (2/19).

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