KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Funding For Abstinence, Fidelity Programs To Prevent HIV In Africa Had No Measurable Effect On Key Indicators, Study Says

New York Times: U.S. Push for Abstinence in Africa Is Seen as Failure Against HIV
“The $1.3 billion that the United States government has spent since 2005 encouraging Africans to avoid AIDS by practicing abstinence and fidelity did not measurably change sexual behavior and was largely wasted, according to a study presented on the last day of an AIDS conference [in Seattle]…” (McNeil, 2/26).

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Liberian President Sirleaf Thanks Americans For Ebola Response As U.S. Military Officially Ends Mission

Agence France-Presse: Liberia leader thanks U.S. as Ebola mission ends
“Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid emotional tribute to the American people on Thursday as the United States formally wound up its successful five-month mission to combat the West African nation’s Ebola outbreak…” (Biddle, 2/26).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola-hit Liberia no longer America’s forgotten stepchild
“As Liberia’s president visits the U.S. Senate on Thursday to thank Americans for their pivotal role in the Ebola recovery, she will reflect on a sometimes fractious relationship spanning two centuries…” (Taggart, 2/25).

Reuters: U.S. military ends Ebola mission in Liberia
“The United States military officially ended a mission to build treatment facilities to combat an Ebola outbreak in Liberia on Thursday, months earlier than expected, in the latest indication that a year-long epidemic in West Africa is waning…” (Giahyue, 2/26).

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Scientists, U.N. Express Concern Over Reaching Ebola Elimination In West Africa

The Guardian: Ebola endemic in West Africa remains a risk, scientists warn
“Scientists are warning of a real risk that the Ebola virus disease could become endemic in West Africa if efforts to end the epidemic slacken as the number of cases falls…” (Boseley, 2/25).

U.N. News Centre: Amid uptick in Ebola cases, U.N. agency cites challenges in reaching affected communities
“New cases of Ebola rose again in Guinea and transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported as it and the U.N. Ebola response mission both raised concerns about challenges in engaging communities to win the fight against the disease…” (2/26).

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U.S. Response Efforts Against Ebola Were Inadequate, Slow, Presidential Commission On Bioethics Says

NBC News: Report Slams U.S. Ebola Response and Readiness
“The United States fumbled its response to the Ebola epidemic before it even began, neglecting experiments to make vaccines and drugs against the virus, and cutting funding to key public health agencies, a presidential commission said Thursday. Americans focused on their own almost nonexistent risk of catching Ebola from travelers instead of pressing to help the truly affected nations, the scathing report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues says…” (Fox, 2/26).

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Framework Convention On Tobacco Control Celebrates Success On 10-Year Anniversary, But Challenges Remain, WHO Says

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-backed treaty set to mark 10 years of dramatic change in tobacco use worldwide
“A World Health Organization-led treaty that aims to achieve a tobacco-free world has dramatically curbed tobacco use worldwide since its entry into force 10 years ago [Friday], but ‘the war on tobacco is far from over’ with the tobacco industry still spending billions to promote products that are expected to kill some eight million people each year by 2030, the United Nations health agency said…” (2/26).

VOA News: WHO: Treaty Making Inroads in Global Tobacco Epidemic
“…[M]ore than 80 percent of the 180 countries ratifying the [Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] treaty adopted new tobacco control legislation or strengthened existing laws. … But the World Health Organization reports about six million people a year die prematurely from causes related to tobacco, the majority in low- and middle-income countries…” (Schlein, 2/26).

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Nutrient-Rich Foods, Supplements Can Reduce Child Malnutrition, Food Experts Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Food supplements crucial to reduce child malnutrition
“The addition of highly nutritious foods and supplements to the diets of poor mothers could help reduce child mortality and malnutrition in Africa and South Asia, food experts said on Thursday…” (Guilbert, 2/26).

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Multiple Avian Influenza Strains Circulating Simultaneously Pose Greater Risk, WHO Warns

CIDRAP News: WHO warns about influenza co-circulation, bird outbreaks
“…In a statement [Thursday], the WHO said the world needs to be concerned about the diversity and spread of avian flu viruses in wild and domestic birds, factors that could give rise to more novel strains and threaten livelihoods, the food supply, and even human health…” (Schnirring, 2/26).

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H1N1 Influenza Deaths Reach 1,000 In India; Different Swine Flu Strain Could Be Responsible For Some, Researcher Says

International Business Times: Swine Flu: Death Toll Reaches 1,000-Mark, 17,000 Diagnosed with H1N1 Virus
“Swine flu has claimed 1,000 lives until now with 39 new death cases being reported on Thursday. Meanwhile the reported number of individuals suffering from influenza has crossed the 17,000 mark…” (Das, 2/27).

International Business Times: Swine flu outbreak in India: Expert suggests new strains behind deaths, calls for virus studies
“A … strain of influenza virus responsible for 99.8 percent [of] flu infections in the U.S. now could be responsible for some of the deaths in the recent swine flu outbreak in India, says a visiting scientist and director of Atlanta Emory Vaccine Center…” (Jayalakshmi K, 2/26).

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12.2M Need Humanitarian Assistance In Syria, U.N. Says

VOA News: Toll Rises in Syria; 12.2 Million Desperate for Aid
“This time last year, just over nine million Syrians needed humanitarian assistance. Despite the fact that the U.N. Security Council has finally united around the demand that food, medicine, and other lifesaving items get to the people who need them, this year the number has risen to 12.2 million in need…” (Besheer, 2/26).

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Calls For Illegal Drug Decriminalization Increase Worldwide

Inter Press Service: Despite U.N. Treaties, War Against Drugs a Losing Battle
“As the call for the decriminalization of drugs steadily picks up steam worldwide, a new study by a British charity concludes there has been no significant reduction in the global use of illicit drugs since the creation of three key U.N. anti-drug conventions, the first of which came into force over half a century ago…” (Deen, 2/26).

IRIN: Will Washington surrender in the War on Drugs?
“…For decades the international consensus has focused on criminalization and interdiction, but the approach has not only failed to stem drug production and use, it has also had a devastating impact on communities and individual lives…”

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Editorials and Opinions

Saudi Arabia Must Stop MERS Transmission, Including In Health Care Settings, To Prevent Global Spread

Washington Post: The world should learn from the Ebola crisis to combat MERS in Saudi Arabia
Editorial Board

“…Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, is surging anew in Saudi Arabia and raising familiar questions: Where is this coronavirus coming from and how is it spreading? … The World Health Organization, slow to respond to the Ebola crisis, just sent a team of experts to Saudi Arabia. Their report was disturbing. … The leader of the WHO team, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO assistant director-general, said that when health care workers are infected, they can spread the virus to all other patients in a facility, which he described as a ‘breach’ that must be found — and repaired. … A ‘breach’ in Saudi Arabia is of concern to the whole world…” (2/26).

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5 Ebola Lessons Applicable To Everyday Business, Social Situations

Fortune: Ex-Ebola Czar Ron Klain: 5 management lessons from the Ebola outbreak
Ron Klain, general counsel of Revolution LLC and former U.S. Ebola response coordinator

“In mid-October 2014, when I was asked to serve as the first U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator, America was gripped by Ebola fear. … Here are five key management lessons that helped my team get the epidemic under control. These lessons are applicable to any number of business and social challenges. … Data matters — but only the right data really matters. … Turn the telescope around. … Nothing replaces face-to-face time. … Recognize and respect fear. … Don’t over solve problems…” (2/25).

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Segregated, Single-Issue Health Targets Hold Back Progress On MNCH

Devex: The specter of segregation haunts global health
Patrick Fine, chief executive officer of FHI 360, and Leith Greenslade, vice chair in the Office of the U.N. Special Envoy for Financing the health Millennium Development Goals and co-chair of Child Health at the MDG Health Alliance

“…Could [the MDG targets for infant and maternal mortality] have actually been achieved if we had pursued an integrated approach to advancing the health of women and children? … Despite the evidence and rising drumbeat for more integration, the majority of global health financing, policies, and programs remains largely segregated, with goals of eradicating specific diseases or achieving coverage of specific interventions rather than achieving broader health gains for targeted populations. This approach will not be enough to end preventable maternal and child deaths in the 15 years allotted by the new global development goals and might actively hold back that achievement. It’s time for a serious conversation about the costs of segregation” (2/26).

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U.N. Must Make Ending Cholera In Haiti Matter Of Justice, Not Charity

Huffington Post: U.N. Cholera Plan for Haiti Must Choose Justice Over Charity
Ted Oswald, lawyer, policy analyst, and author, and Katharine Oswald, policy analyst and writer

“…The U.N. must reframe its appeal for funding [to end cholera in Haiti] from one of charity to a matter of justice. The U.N. has an obligation to support Haiti in the cholera elimination effort; overwhelming evidence shows that the U.N. introduced cholera to Haiti in 2010. … Shifting the conversation from charity to justice would force the U.N. to do what people, businesses, and governments throughout the world do all the time — reorganize their priorities to make sure that they comply with their legal obligations. In Haiti, this would put an end to the cholera epidemic…” (2/26).

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Coalition Working To Lower Maternal Mortality In Philippines But Reaching MDG 5 Unlikely

SciDev.Net: Philippines struggles to lower maternal mortality
Manuel Dayrit, dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health

“The fight to lower maternal mortality in the Philippines turned a new leaf three years ago on 20 April 2012 with the launch of the 162 to 52 Health Summit. The figures refer to the Philippines’ maternal mortality ratio of 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for maternal health of reducing these to 52 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015. A coalition was created … to pursue this MDG-5 target on maternal health. … The coming years will tell if the mix of universal health care with sin taxes and local governance of birthing facilities will result in the progressive decline of maternal mortality. For now, however, it is unlikely that the Philippines will achieve its MDG-5 target of 52…” (2/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PMI Sets Goal, Vision To Reduce Malaria Deaths, Morbidity Over Next 6 Years

U.S. White House’s “White House Blog”: Putting an End to a Preventable Scourge
Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director for development and democracy for the National Security Staff, discusses the renewed President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) strategy, writing, “PMI’s goal over the next six years, as described in the plan released [Wednesday], is to work with partners to continue to reduce malaria deaths and substantially decrease malaria morbidity. This plan is informed by and built on the success we have achieved to-date and serves as a blueprint for how we can achieve our ultimate goal: eradicating this scourge once and for all” (2/26).

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Zero Discrimination Day To Be Recognized March 1

UNAIDS: Zero Discrimination Day to be celebrated around the world
“Discrimination continues to affect the lives of millions of people around the world. On 1 March, Zero Discrimination Day, people from all corners of the world will unite under the theme of Open Up, Reach Out in order to celebrate diversity and reject discrimination in all its forms…” (2/26).

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'Science Speaks' Blog Continues Coverage From CROI 2015

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog continues its coverage of the 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections taking place this week in Seattle, Washington.

Science Speaks: Is 90-90-90 nutty? Studies look at numbers behind getting in care, staying in care, suppressing virus, controlling HIV (Barton, 2/26).
Science Speaks: Findings on PEPFAR abstinence and faithfulness results bring no surprise (Barton, 2/26).
Science Speaks: Trial results boost evidence early ART plus IPT preserves health (Lubinski, 2/26).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 261 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features six news articles, including a piece on repayment for contract violations by Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) (2/26).

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