KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Government Officials To Meet With Tech Entrepreneurs To Discuss How Silicon Valley Can Aid In Ebola Recovery Efforts

Devex: U.S. government reaches out to Silicon Valley on Ebola recovery
“U.S. government officials head to Silicon Valley Wednesday to discuss gaps in the Ebola relief effort in West Africa and identify ways for tech-savvy entrepreneurs and philanthropists to get more involved. Silicon Valley has been an important player in the crisis, and the question moving forward is how to coordinate the industry’s contribution and making the best use of its resources, Andy Weber, deputy coordinator for Ebola response at the U.S. State Department, told Devex…” (Anders, 2/25).

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Nature Magazine Outlines Challenges To Ending Ebola Epidemic

Nature: Six challenges to stamping out Ebola
“…Highlighting the precariousness of the current situation [in West Africa], on 20 February, the officials leading the United Nations’ Ebola response efforts warned that the gains of the past few months risked unraveling. Nature outlines six of the biggest challenges to stamping out Ebola … 1. Precarious progress … 2. Undetected transmission … 3. Shifting epidemiology … 4. Dangerous burials … 5. Money and staff … 6. Rain…” (Butler, 2/24).

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Pharmaceutical Industry To Push For Stricter Compulsory Licensing Of Patented Drugs At U.S. Trade Representative Meeting

Wall Street Journal: Pharma Narrowly Defines When Compulsory Licenses Should be Used
“As the U.S. Trade Representative holds a hearing [Tuesday] to discuss how countries protect intellectual property, the pharmaceutical industry hopes to persuade the agency that countries should only be allowed to grant licenses to companies to make low-cost generic drugs when there is a health emergency. That posture, however, contradicts the position taken by the World Health Organization…” (Silverman, 2/24).

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WHO, Partners Launch $1B Appeal For Relief Efforts In 4 Conflict-Torn Countries

Agence France-Presse: WHO seeks $1 bn more for four conflict-hit countries
“The World Health Organization on Tuesday appealed for $1.0 billion in additional funds to help provide life-saving health services to millions in need in conflict-ravaged Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, and South Sudan…” (2/24).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency launches billion dollar appeal to tackle soaring needs in four crisis-torn countries
“…Overall, the Health Cluster group of humanitarian organizations needs $1 billion — $322.7 million by WHO and $687 million for its partner agencies — to deliver health services to 25 million people in the major crises, the majority women and children…” (2/24).

VOA News: WHO Launches Billion-Dollar Health Appeal for Four Countries
“…The World Health Organization has launched its appeal on behalf of the entire Health Cluster of more than 30 international humanitarian organizations. The World Health Organization is running a 65 percent shortfall from last year’s multi-million-dollar appeal for the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, and Syria. It warns continued lack of support will have dire consequences for tens of millions of people…” (Schlein, 2/24).

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Devex Video Analysis Examines Potential WHO Reforms

Devex: The drivers of change at WHO
“The U.N. health agency was heavily criticized for its slow response to the Ebola crisis, but it shouldn’t take all the blame. [In this video,] Devex Senior Staff Writer Jenny Lei Ravelo shares what exactly has to change at the World Health Organization” (2/24).

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International Health Experts Offer Advice For WHO's New Africa Regional Director

IRIN: Three words of advice for WHO Africa’s new chief
“…Many international observers say they have high hopes for [WHO’s new regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Rebecca] Moeti, a medical doctor who has more than 35 years of experience working in the national and global public health sector. But she has a tough road ahead — particularly as the number of Ebola cases continues to rise, nearly a year after the outbreak was first declared. Here’s some advice from a few experts as Moeti begins her five-year term…” (Lazuta, 2/24).

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Technical Working Group To Discuss Sustainable NCD Financing Models

Devex: Finding novel, sustainable ways to finance NCDs
“…[A] group of technical experts … for the first time are meeting Feb. 23-24 in Geneva to discuss which of the different financing models that currently exist could fund the prevention, control, and treatment of NCDs — or if a new one is needed. These experts form part of a new working group that was set up to accelerate progress on finding sustainable financing for NCDs…” (Ravelo, 2/24).

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Syria Risks Cholera Outbreak Due To Poor Sanitation, Unsafe Drinking Water, WHO Says

Reuters: Cholera feared in Syria due to dirty water, WHO warns
“A cholera outbreak is feared in coming months in Syria, where other water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid are on the rise due to poor sanitation, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 2/24).

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WHO Calls For European Countries To Step Up Measles Vaccination Campaigns As Outbreaks Continue Throughout Region

Reuters: WHO calls for more measles vaccination in Europe as large outbreaks persist
“The World Health Organization in Europe called on Wednesday for measles vaccination campaigns to be stepped up across the region after recording 22,000 cases of the highly infectious disease since the start of 2014…” (Kelland, 2/25).

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Washington Post Examines Long Road To Feasible Single-Use Syringe

Washington Post: Why it took so long for the world to start using ‘smart,’ self-destructing syringes
“The World Health Organization called Monday for the worldwide use of needle syringes that self-destruct after a single injection. … The WHO has been hunting for solutions for nearly 25 years. Only recently has the technology become feasible — cheap, easy to use, hard to break — for an announcement like the WHO made Monday…” (Frankel, 2/24).

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News Outlets Report On Results Of HIV Prevention Trials Presented At Conference On Retroviruses And Opportunistic Infections

Agence France-Presse: Pill taken before, after sex may prevent HIV (2/24).
Associated Press: Pills before and after sex can help prevent HIV, study finds (Marchione, 2/24).
Bloomberg News: Failure of Anti-HIV Gel Shows Difficulty of Prevention (Bloomfield, 2/24).
The Guardian: Daily pill Truvada cuts spread of HIV by 86%, study shows (Boseley, 2/24).
New York Times: Study That Paid Patients to Take HIV Drugs Fails (McNeil, 2/24).
Reuters: Preventative treatment dramatically reduces HIV risk in gay men (Kelland, 2/24).
Wall Street Journal: HIV Drugs Shown to Be Effective in Trials (McKay, 2/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Strengthening U.S. Food For Peace Program Would Help Save More Lives

Huffington Post: The Real and Heroic Hunger Games
William Lambers, author and blogger

“…The U.S. Food for Peace program is the largest donor of this food aid. The government decides each year how much funding to allocate toward Food for Peace. … Food not only saves lives, but it gives people hope. It gives communities, whether in South Sudan or other countries, a chance to build peace. … Worldwide, there are more people displaced by war than any time since World War II. They are hungry. They need life-saving food that can rescue their child from the deadly malnutrition. Malnutrition is always the partner of war. We can save them, if we have the will. We can increase and strengthen the Food for Peace movement…” (2/24).

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Children's Issues Must Be Grounded In Human Rights Framework In U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals

Huffington Post: Our Collective Global Future: Children and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
Anika Rahman, human rights lawyer

“…These SDGs will include specific goals and targets covering several important challenges. A number of issues related to children are highlighted in a proposed strategy that is the basis of ongoing discussions. … By focusing in these areas, the preliminary strategy for the SDGs starts off on the right track. Future global discussions will bring to light numerous issues and challenges regarding priorities. However, it is crucial to ground children’s issues within a human rights framework. … If governments fail to meet SDG objectives, they also fail to fulfill the human rights of their people…” (2/24).

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Collaboration, Focus On Behavior Change Keys To Achieving India's Open Defecation Free Target

Inter Press Service: Analysis: Collaboration Key for a Clean India
Neerak Jain, chief executive for WaterAid India

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to action for a 100 percent Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2019 was announced as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) or Clean India Campaign last year. … Previous initiatives have taught us that just building toilets is not enough. To stimulate demand for toilets, hygiene education, and collective initiatives are key. … It probably requires the most ambitious behavior change campaign ever attempted in the history of any nation. … WaterAid has been working in the WASH sector in India since 1986 and is committed to supporting the government of India in realizing the ambitious but much-needed goal of making India open defecation free by Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in October 2019” (2/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID-Supported HIV Prevention Trial Produces Disappointing Results, But Leads To Learning, Redoubled Efforts

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: How Progress Works: A Disappointing Microbicides Trial and Why We’re Not Discouraged
David Stanton, director of USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS, discusses “results released from a large USAID-supported trial [which] indicate that an antiretroviral-based vaginal gel may not be effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection in women when used before and after sex.” He says, “Although the answer wasn’t what we’d hoped, in the process of asking we have learned and grown, and we’ll redouble our efforts to take the next steps forward…” (2/24).

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U.S. Federal Court Upholds Ruling Against Government's Anti-Prostitution Pledge

Open Society Foundations: A Striking Defeat for U.S. Government’s Anti-Prostitution Pledge
Sebastian Krueger, communications officer for the Public Health Program of the Open Society Foundations, discusses the U.S. government’s anti-prostitution pledge, “which mandates that organizations receiving money from the U.S. government have a policy in place opposing prostitution,” and a January 30 ruling, “handed down by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, [that] affirmed a 2013 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that the government cannot tell its American grantees what they can and cannot say…” (2/24).

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Global Community Needs To Develop, Deliver Vaccines, Treatments To Prevent Under-5 Mortality

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: What Kills Little Kids?
Peter Hotez, co-editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Jennifer Herricks of the National School of Tropical Medicine discuss recently released global mortality data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013) showing nearly one-half of under-five mortality was due to infectious diseases. They conclude, “These new data on childhood deaths provide a sobering reminder of our need to develop and deliver new vaccines and other life-saving interventions” (2/24).

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Cholera Vaccine Stockpile Usage Successfully Prevents Outbreaks

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: In South Sudan, Vaccine Stockpiles Save Lives
Helen Matzger, senior program officer on the Vaccine Delivery Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes about the successful use of the cholera vaccine stockpile, “managed by World Health Organization, International Federation of the Red Cross and Crescent, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNICEF, [and] established in 2013 so that countries could have quick access to vaccines in case of a cholera outbreak…” (2/24).

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Senegal's National Review Of Family Planning Strategy Shows Progress

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Senegal Celebrates Great Progress in Family Planning During National Review
Sara Stratton, director of IntraHealth’s West and Southern Africa Programs, discusses the recent national review of Senegal’s National Action Plan for Family Planning 2012-2015. “…This review was held to take stock of progress, discuss roadblocks to implementation, and seek recommendations for continued progress. And there has been great progress…” (2/24).

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'Science Speaks' Blog Covers Clinical Research Presented At Conference On Retroviruses And Opportunistic Infections

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2015: Study shows “Near elimination of HIV transmission” in a demonstration of PrEP as a bridge to treatment
“Science Speaks is covering the 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington, this week, from February 23-26, with breaking news on HIV research findings and implications,” Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, and Christine Lubinski, vice president for global health at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, note. Other coverage includes news regarding additional PrEP findings, financial incentives for HIV testing and treatment, and medical circumcision (2/24).

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