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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Nations Must Focus On Taxes To Help Finance Health Systems, Incoming Global Fund Executive Director Says In Devex Interview

Devex: Peter Sands calls on countries to reform taxes to free up funding for health
“While new financial instruments can help address critical gaps in health care funding, the global health community also needs to be more focused on taxes and helping countries mobilize domestic resources for basic health care services, Peter Sands, the incoming executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told Devex. … Countries need to plan for self reliance, rather than on international development assistance as a way to fund their health systems, and to get there, need to work on tax raising and tax deployment strategies, Sands said…” (Saldinger, 2/6).

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Vaccination Could Prevent 24M People From Falling Into Poverty By 2030, Gavi, Harvard Study Shows

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Vaccines can save nearly 24 million people from poverty, researchers say
“New research from Harvard University and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, shows vaccination could prevent about 24 million people from falling into poverty by 2030 in addition to saving millions of lives. The study, published Monday in the magazine Health Affairs, examined the economic impact of vaccines for 10 different diseases in 41 developing countries. Sudden health care costs, researchers wrote, push approximately 150 million people into poverty annually…” (Pirani, 2/5).

Xinhua News: Vaccines to help prevent tens of millions from slipping into poverty: study
“…The researchers concluded that the introduction of vaccines in the poorest regions will have the greatest impact on reducing both the number of deaths and the number of people forced into poverty by the cost of health care. The study underlines that sustained investments in vaccines could therefore make a large contribution toward achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage…” (2/6).

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Campaigners, U.N. Youth Envoy Call For End Of FGM On International Day Of Zero Tolerance

Associated Press: Female genital mutilation continues as change comes slowly
“…Deep in Ethiopia’s desert region of Afar, about nine in 10 women and girls undergo female genital mutilation, many before their first birthday. Campaigners on Tuesday marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM as they seek to end the practice. Nearly 200 million around the world live with its effects, the United Nations says…” (Atsbeha, 2/6).

U.N. News Centre: Female genital mutilation ‘not acceptable’ in the 21st century — U.N. envoy on youth
“Speaking a day ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, the United Nations youth envoy underscored that the ghastly practice is an aversion to the human rights of millions and keeps them from achieving their full potential. ‘This is not acceptable and this is done in the name of tradition, culture, religion, or in the name of ensuring that women are to take on subservient roles to the men they will eventually marry,’ said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the secretary general’s envoy on youth, speaking at an international forum in the Gambia on strategies to combat the practice…” (2/5).

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The Wire Examines WHO Executive Board Meeting Outcomes In 2-Part Series

The Wire: Altered Dynamics at WHO, Priorities Likely to Be Constrained by Finances
“…The Wire presents this wrap of the [Executive Board (EB)] meeting that took place in Geneva during January 22-27. For this story, we spoke to more than 20 delegates from country missions, analysts, commentators, advisers, and others during the period of the week to understand and interpret the emerging changes taking shape at WHO, in addition to monitoring discussions at the meeting. In this two-part series, the story first addresses discussions on reforms, governance, and priorities. The next part will address access to medicines and the increased push for engagement with the private sector…” (Patnaik, 2/1).

The Wire: Battle for Access to Medicines and Vaccines Takes Centre Stage at WHO
“…This story will describe how discussions on two separate decisions related to access to medicines unfolded at the meeting and what they mean for the future. In the first such contested debate on medicines under Team Tedros, the EB encapsulated how tense the fight is likely to be in the coming months and years…” (Patnaik, 2/2).

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More Must Be Done To Help Least-Developed Countries Reach SDGs, UNCTAD Analysis Shows

U.N. News Centre: Development indicators trending downward for world’s poorest countries, U.N. warns
“The least-developed countries (LDCs) — nations categorized as requiring special attention from the international community — will fall short of goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development unless urgent action is taken, new United Nations analysis has revealed…” (2/5).

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Last Mile Health, Living Goods Use Mobile Technology To Raise More Funds, Reach More People

Inside Philanthropy: Does Mobile Technology Hold the Key to Conquering the “Last Mile” in Global Health?
“…According to Raj Panjabi, one of the cofounders of Last Mile Health, it’s simply wrong that people routinely die in a wealthy world simply because they live too far from a doctor’s office or health care clinic. … In the just over a decade since its founding, Last Mile Health has gained some serious traction in the global health community and among funders. … What’s really shaking loose the big money [is] that Last Mile Health has forged an innovative partnership with Living Goods — a San Francisco-based outfit that is also a highly respected player in the global health space…” (Moses, 2/5).

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Philippines Government Agency Sues Sanofi, Health Ministry Officials Over Death Of Girl Allegedly Linked To Dengvaxia

Reuters: Philippine lawyers sue Sanofi over dengue vaccine
“A Philippine government agency on Monday filed a lawsuit against French drugmaker Sanofi demanding compensation for the parents of a 10-year-old girl the agency said had died as a result of receiving its controversial anti-dengue vaccine. The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) said Sanofi, several former and current health ministry officials, and domestic distributor Zuellig Pharma Corp. must be declared jointly liable for the death of Anjielica Pestilos…” (Lema/Morales, 2/5).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: Children with ‘normal’ heads may have Zika brain damage: study (2/5).

Associated Press: Indian fake doctor infects 21 with HIV with tainted syringes (Banerjee, 2/6).

Devex: Mozambique is rolling out its mHealth platform nationwide — and this is how (Pallares, 2/5).

Global Press Journal: Ugandan HIV/AIDS Policy Adds Patients and Raises Follow-Up Rates, Despite Obstacles (Agiresaasi, 2/4).

Reuters: Indonesia declares Papua health crisis under control (Kapoor, 2/6).

Xinhua News: Death toll from Nigeria’s Lassa fever outbreak rises to 30 (2/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Community Must Commit To Changing Social Norms To End FGM

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Doctors must immediately stop mutilating girls
Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund

“…[Female genital mutilation (FGM)] not only poses tremendous health risks for those subjected to it, it also violates their human rights. … Liberia’s executive order [that included a one-year ban on FGM] is an important step towards protecting the health and rights of the country’s girls. Yet, such actions alone are insufficient to end female genital mutilation. This harmful practice will only disappear when communities themselves see the value in abandoning it. … On this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, I call on governments, the medical community, educational and religious institutions, as well as aid agencies to backstop the thousands of communities uniting to change social norms and end this practice. I also call on men and boys to be a bigger part of the solution. Each of us has an urgent role to play in the march forward. Together, we can realize a world where no girl is subjected to female genital mutilation and where every girl is valued and enjoys her right to a safe and healthy transition through adolescence into adulthood” (2/6).

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Governments, Donors, Private Sector Should Prioritize Efforts To Address Global Pneumonia

Financial Times: Letter to the editor: Pneumonia is the single biggest killer of children in world’s poorest countries
Kevin Watkins, CEO at Save The Children U.K., and colleagues

“…Despite the relentless tide of fatalities, most governments are failing to prioritize pneumonia prevention and treatment. … [Governments] need not just to increase investment in under-financed health systems, but also increase the efficiency and equity of that investment. … Aid donors and pharmaceutical companies have a role to play. Development agencies should be attaching as much weight to pneumonia as they are to other killers, like malaria. That means supporting the development of national action plans to combat the disease, while building more effective public-private partnerships. Far more could be done through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to lower the price and extend the reach of vaccines. We also believe aid donors and companies could be doing more to ensure that advances in diagnostic technologies and treatments reach the most disadvantaged children. Three years ago governments gathered with great ceremony to agree a set of 2030 development goals, including an end to preventable child deaths. They promised a focus on the most disadvantaged children. The ambition behind these pledges is laudable. But actions on pneumonia will speak louder than words” (2/6).

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'Pandemic In Slow Motion' Reason To Develop Universal Flu Vaccine

Financial Times: Flu risks apply pressure on science for a universal vaccine
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator at Financial Times

“…Many scientists … insist that the only way to stop a future [influenza] pandemic is by developing a universal flu vaccine. … One approach to a universal vaccine, being pursued at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, is to focus not on the surface proteins but instead on internal proteins common to all influenza A viruses. It’s a bit like teaching the immune system to spot a spanner handle, rather than its hole. Another approach, pioneered at the University of California-Los Angeles and published in Science this month, has been to scrutinize the influenza A genome and find its key genetic weapon for slipping past the body’s defenses. … We should cross our fingers. The World Health Organization estimates that up to half a million people die each year from flu. … When you stop to think about it, seasonal flu is a pandemic in slow motion” (2/5).

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Innovative Technology, 'Tech Savvy' Health Workers Could Help Kenya Achieve UHC

Inter Press Service: Business Unusual will Drive Africa’s Quest to achieve Health Care for All
Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator for Kenya, and Radhika Shah, co-president at Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs

“…Few frontiers provide greater potential for African countries to achieve [universal health coverage (UHC)] than information technology. … [T]hese innovations will ensure that each building block and therewith entire health systems can be strengthened and that resources mobilized in the health sector are used more efficiently and effectively. Fortunately, these innovations are already in existence. … A young army of community health workers who are tech savvy and can reach the last mile, could offset the chronic shortage of doctors and nurses through task-shifting. This is exactly what innovative platforms such as the SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya are beginning to catalyze — harnessing global tech innovations and intellectual firepower to serve the continent’s populations with public-private investments to achieve universal health care for basic human dignity and as a springboard for greater economic growth. And Kenya can lead the way in achieving universal health coverage” (2/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

February Issue Of Health Policy And Planning Focuses On Global Health Aid Allocation

Health Policy and Planning: Beyond Gross National Income: Innovative methods for global health aid allocation
In an editorial explaining this special issue, Jesse B. Bump, executive director of the Takemi Program in International Health and lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, writes, “The consequences of aid allocation decisions are enormous, and are felt most directly by the six billion people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). … The articles presented here represent a shared conviction that public discussion is an essential element in the legitimacy of these [aid allocation] processes and that scholarly examination can contribute new ideas to make them more equitable, more efficient, and more able to meet the needs of LMICs and their citizens” (2/5).

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Blog Post Examines Potential Impacts Of Expiration Of CDC's Emergency Ebola Funding

U.N. Dispatch: Why You Should Be Freaking Out that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Is Massively Cutting its Overseas Operations. (Hint: Diseases like Ebola don’t respect borders)
Blogger and international development professional Alanna Shaikh discusses recent reports regarding CDC’s efforts to prepare for the 2019 expiration of funding from an emergency Ebola funding package passed by Congress in 2014 and the impacts this might have on CDC’s epidemic preparedness operations (2/2).

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WHO Executive Board Discusses Draft Resolution On TB, Highlights Importance Of Addressing AMR

South Centre’s “News on AMR”: WHO Executive Board adopts draft resolution on TB, stresses importance of resistant TB in overall fight against AMR
Mirza Alas, associate researcher at the South Centre, discusses a draft resolution adopted at the WHO’s 142nd session of the Executive Board on the preparation for a High-level Meeting at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on ending TB. In this post, Alas highlights the draft resolution’s requests, as well as discussions among the WHO’s Executive Board on the need to address antimicrobial resistance (2/5).

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Global Observatory On Health R&D Identifies Gaps, Inequalities In Investments

WHO: One year on, Global Observatory on Health R&D identifies striking gaps and inequalities
“…One year ago, the World Health Organization launched a new initiative to gather information and provide an accurate picture of where and how R&D monies are being spent, helping governments, funders, and researchers to make better decisions on investment and policy making priorities. … The Global Observatory on Health R&D has identified striking gaps and inequalities in investment both between countries and between health issues, with frequent disconnects between burden of disease and level of research activity…” (February 2018).

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Comprehensive Care Improves Treatment Outcomes For MDR-TB In Taiwan, Study Says

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Comprehensive care and support significantly boosts MDR-TB successful treatment completion
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from a paper published in Clinical Infectious Diseases on treatment outcomes of multidrug-resistant TB in Taiwan. Barton notes the study found that comprehensive care and support “substantially improved cure rates and drastically reduced rates of patients whose outcomes were unknown” (2/5).

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