KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Highlights Global Development, Health Issues In State Of The Union Address

Devex: In Obama’s final SOTU, global dev gets unexpected airtime
“Possibly for the first time, ‘development workers’ made it into a State of the Union address. United States President Barack Obama’s annual speech, his last as commander-in-chief, dedicated roughly 10 percent of its nearly 5,500 words to global development issues and attempted to link those issues to U.S. leadership and national security…” (Igoe/Troilo, 1/13).

Devex: 6 development topics mentioned in SOTU, explained
“…Obama applauded U.S. military, doctors, and development workers for leading the way in stamping out the Ebola epidemic, mentioned partnering with local forces in Syria to pursue lasting peace and welcomed a Syrian refugee to the SOTU, one of among about two dozen guests invited to sit with first lady Michelle Obama. … That wasn’t all. Here’s what else Obama touched on — along with a few ways for you to catch up on the topic…” (Rogers, 1/13).

Huffington Post: Obama Emphasizes Malaria In State of the Union, But Not This Way Deadlier Disease
“President Barack Obama highlighted the U.S.’s ability to stop malaria and HIV/AIDS in [Tuesday’s] State of the Union, but left out tuberculosis less than a month after proposing an ambitious White House plan to combat the world’s top infectious killer…” (Weber, 1/12).

New York Times: Transcript of Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address
“…Now right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, that’s within our grasp, and we have the chance to accomplish the same thing with malaria, something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year. That’s American strength. That’s American leadership…” (1/12).

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Suicide Bomber Targets Polio Center In Pakistan's Quetta, Killing At Least 14 People; Most Victims Police Preparing To Protect Vaccinators

Associated Press: Suicide attack on Pakistan polio center kills 15
“A suicide attack on a polio vaccination center in southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday killed 15 people, mainly police who had gathered to escort health workers, who have been repeatedly targeted in recent years by Islamic militants, officials said…” (Sattar/Shahzad, 1/13).

CNN: Blast kills 14 near polio vaccination center in Pakistan
“…Among the dead in Wednesday’s attack in the city of Quetta were 13 policemen and a paramilitary trooper, said Balochistan province Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti. The blast is under investigation, he said…” (Shah/Shah, 1/13).

Deutsche Welle: Blast near polio vaccination center in Pakistan’s Quetta kills at least 14
“…Militants have claimed that polio vaccination programs are a front for espionage or used to sterilize Muslims…” (1/13).

Financial Times: Suicide bomber kills 14 at Pakistan polio vaccination clinic
“…The early morning attack, which was apparently carried out by a man wearing an explosive laden vest, came on the final day of a three-day campaign when thousands of health care volunteers under heavy police protection ventured across Pakistan to administer the vaccine to hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five…” (Bokhari/Kazmin, 1/13).

The Guardian: Bomb attack at polio vaccination center kills 15 in Pakistani city of Quetta
“…Another 24 people were wounded, with the local hospital saying nine were in a critical condition. The provincial interior minister, Sarfraz Bugti, said the police had given their lives to protect an anti-polio team that was preparing to start a third day of vaccinating children in Quetta…” (Boone, 1/13).

New York Times: Suicide Bomb Near Polio Center in Pakistan Kills at Least 16
“…A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Muhammad Khurrasani, claimed responsibility for the attack on the militants’ behalf…”

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WHO To Declare End Of Ebola Outbreak This Week; West Africa Takes Stock Of Economic Damage, Assesses Preparations For Next Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: WHO to declare Ebola outbreak over
“The two-year Ebola epidemic which laid waste to communities across West Africa and killed more than 11,000 people is due to be declared over Thursday with Liberia expecting the all-clear…” (Dosso, 1/13).

Agence France-Presse: West Africa counts economic cost as Ebola outbreak ends
“…As the world awaits the announcement on Thursday that the worst-ever Ebola epidemic has been beaten in West Africa, the three most affected countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are taking grim stock of the devastation wrought on their economies. The epidemic has devastated the mining, agriculture, and tourism industries in the region — already fragile after years of civil war, dictatorship, and coups — where more than 11,000 people died from Ebola…” (Johnson, 1/13).

Agence France-Presse: With Ebola in check, are we ready for next outbreak?
“…[W]ith a cure still out of reach, and no vaccine on the market, are we better prepared for next time? Important lessons were learnt the hard way from the unprecedented devastation and suffering wrought on Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone — the countries hardest hit by the outbreak which started in December 2013, say experts…” (Dosso/Castelnau, 1/13).

VOA News: Liberia’s Ebola Workers Seek Hazard Benefits
“…[A]s some Liberians prepare to celebrate what they hope is finally the end of the outbreak, many of the men and women who risked their lives to stop the deadly virus are demanding the Liberian government pay benefits they say they were promised…” (Collins, 1/12).

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Aid Workers, U.N. Officials Describe Desperate Situation In Besieged Syrian Town Of Madaya

CNN: Starving Syrian town: How did Madaya get so desperate?
“Help has finally reached the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, and experienced aid workers were reduced to tears by what they saw when they arrived. Children stood around trucks in freezing weather, ‘so polite and civilized, asking if we had a biscuit,’ a United Nations aid worker said. ‘The children we met are fed once a day with hot water and spices. Malnutrition is everywhere,’ the aid worker said…” (Walsh, 1/12).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. officials give first-hand accounts of ‘horrible, terrible’ desperation in besieged towns
“As United Nations officials gave on-site accounts of the ‘horrible and terrible’ situation in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, from 400 critically ill people facing death without immediate medical care to a kilo of rice costing $300, the first emergency evacuation took place [Tuesday] — a five-year-old girl rushed through pro-government roadblocks for urgent surgery in Damascus…” (1/12).

Wall Street Journal: Aid Workers Describe Grim Scene in Besieged Syrian Town
“…Clinics and field hospitals were out of medicine, children were too hungry to play, and many new mothers were unable to produce milk as a result of malnutrition, workers traveling with the United Nations and other international organizations said…” (Abdulrahim, 1/12).

Washington Post: Surrounded by suffering, death in a besieged Syrian town
“…A deal brokered between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the United Nations permitted aid groups to send ­dozens of trucks to [Madaya], near the Lebanese border and about 15 miles northwest of Syria’s capital, ­Damascus. The operation is expected to last several days and will also deliver food to two pro-government villages, Fua and ­Kefraya…” (Naylor/Haidamous, 1/12).

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South-East Asia Region Marks 5 Years Without Wild Poliovirus Case, WHO Announces

U.N. News Centre: Five polio-free years in South-East Asia Region, announces U.N. health agency
“The United Nations health agency [on Tuesday] announced that the South-East Asia Region has completed five years without any case of wild poliovirus … [The WHO] is underlining that completing half a decade without any case of wild poliovirus is ‘yet another achievement’ and a reminder that efforts need to continue until the disease is eradicated globally…” (1/12).

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Southern African Governments Under Pressure To Subsidize Food, Provide Aid As Drought Kills Crops

Bloomberg Business: Hunger Stalks Southern Africa as El Niño Decimates Harvests
“…Vast tracts of farmland across southern Africa have been decimated by the worst drought in almost two decades, raising the specter of a regional famine. Governments that are strapped for cash due to the commodity price rout are facing mounting pressure to subsidize food and provide aid as inflationary pressures intensify…” (Latham, 1/12).

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Philippines Health Department Will Be Able To Fund Contraceptives Despite Budget Cut, Senator Says

GMA News Online: DOH still has enough funds for contraceptives, says Legarda
“Speaking as the head of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Loren Legarda on Tuesday said that the Department of Health (DOH) still has enough funds to purchase contraceptives for its Family Health and Responsible Parenting (FHRP) program…” (Macas, 1/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Philippines funds for contraceptives adequate despite budget cut: senator
“… ‘The 2016 budget for FHRP (Family Health and Responsible Parenting) was reduced by one billion pesos ($21 million), but the budget for the procurement of contraceptives is not zero. There remains 1.6 billion pesos ($34 million) that can be used for this,’ Legarda said in a statement. Enough contraceptives were bought in the last quarter of 2015 to last until mid-2016, and the DOH has budget funds left over from 2015 for its reproductive health program, she added…” (Tang, 1/12).

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Group Of Indian Women Urging Government To Ban FGM, Calling Practice Child Abuse

Thomson Reuters Foundation: India urged to ban FGM as women break silence on secret ritual
“A group of Indian women who were subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) as children are calling on the government to ban the ancient ritual, describing it as child abuse. … The campaign is led by Masooma Ranalvi, a 49-year-old publisher who has launched an online petition in which she describes how she was cut as a seven-year-old in Mumbai…” (Batha, 1/12).

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Nearly 10M Children Face Malnutrition, Disease, Lack Of Education In Yemen, UNICEF Country Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Yemen’s war-weary children face ‘new year of pain and suffering’ — UNICEF official
“The ongoing deadly violence in Yemen has left nearly 10 million children facing threats of malnutrition and disease, [and a] lack of education, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to the country warned [Tuesday], calling for unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need and an end to the conflict…” (1/12).

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Texas Woman Who Traveled To El Salvador Diagnosed With Zika Virus In Houston, Raising Concerns Disease Spreading From Brazil

Wall Street Journal: Texas Woman Diagnosed With Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus
“A Houston-area woman who traveled in November to El Salvador has been diagnosed with the Zika virus, public health officials said, raising concern that the mosquito-borne illness linked to a health crisis in Brazil could spread through the Americas…” (McKay/Johnson, 1/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

President, Congress Must Commit To Scaling Up Efforts To End AIDS By 2030

The Hill: AIDS champions must step up efforts to end epidemic
Alison Case, education and advocacy fellow with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

“…While we’ve had many victories in the fight to end the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic … and certainly made great strides since 1999, we have a long way to go to beat the epidemic once and for all … These are exciting times that call for celebration but also for leadership from our president and from Congress to support robust funding for life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in order to achieve a five-year scale-up phase that will see the end of AIDS by 2030. … This year, 2016, … [i]t will no longer be enough to sing the praises of a program, to restore cuts, and certainly it will be unacceptable to MAKE cuts, as the president has done continuously. We need to get on the offensive to make the final push. … [W]e can commit to scaling up over the next five years to end the epidemic of our generation, to making AIDS as we know it a thing of the past. … But we need to see real commitments this year from the president and Congress to get there” (1/12).

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Biotechnology Provides Essential Tools To Help 'Eradicate Extreme Poverty And Global Hunger'

Forbes: How Biotech Will Help Achieve Zero Hunger
Kimberly Flowers, director of the Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“…[B]iotechnology is an essential tool for farmers, and it would be nothing short of a disservice to the world if we didn’t understand, embrace, and utilize the scientific innovation. Biotechnology is far from a silver bullet, but enhanced seeds that can boost agricultural productivity and improve nutrition are one of the tools necessary to help eradicate extreme poverty and global hunger. … [E]veryone can agree that hunger in the 21st century is horrible and preventable. Sustainable Development Goals, agreed upon by 193 nations in September of 2015, include the aim to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. Achieving Zero Hunger, compared to the 795 million people who are food insecure today, is a noble goal. I believe in order for us to reach this goal, biotechnology and other scientific advances must be embraced as part of the solution” (1/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Saving Lives At Birth Announces Round 6 Of Grand Challenge For Development

Saving Lives at Birth: Round 6 Broad Agency Announcement
“USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, DFID, and KOICA have joined together to launch Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, to find the tools and approaches to help the mothers and newborns during their most vulnerable hours. … We seek innovative ideas that can leapfrog conventional approaches in three main domains: (1) technology; (2) service delivery; and (3) ‘demand side’ innovation that empowers pregnant women and their families to practice healthy behaviors and be aware of and access health care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early postnatal period, especially the first two days after birth…” (1/12).

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Blog Posts Examine National Action Plan For Combating Multidrug-Resistant TB

RESULTS blog: Launch of White House Action Plan on Drug Resistant TB!
David Bryden, TB advocacy officer at RESULTS, discusses the launch of the White House’s National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. “The President’s Action Plan raises hopes and expectations around the world, but a proposal for a funding reduction, in his February 9 budget proposal to Congress, would betray these hopes and could harm the exciting and growing global momentum we have seen on TB. He should use his last budget to jump start progress on TB,” Bryden writes (1/12).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: USAID announces new partnerships to combat MDR-TB at White House plan launch
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the launch of the National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis, as well as USAID’s announcement of expanded partnerships with Janssen, maker of the TB drug bedaquiline, and Cepheid, manufacturer of a rapid diagnostic test for MDR-TB. Aziz notes that TB advocates suggest the price of bedaquiline is high and there is a need for the U.S. to encourage donors to increase contributions to efforts to end the disease (1/12).

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Private Sector Should Link SDGs, Women's Rights Framework In Effort To Achieve Gender Equality

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Women Around the World”: The Business Case for Equality in the SDGs
In a guest post, Sarah Degnan Kambou, president, and Lyric Thompson, senior policy manager of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), discuss the inclusion of gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the need for the private sector to link the SDGs with the world women’s rights framework in order to achieve the SDGs’ goals and targets (1/12).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash includes an article on global health challenges and opportunities in 2016 and a piece on building resilient and sustainable health systems (1/12).

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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, published Issue 278 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including Aidspan’s newly released strategic plan for 2016-2018, the Global Fund’s latest wave of funding approvals, recommendations on enhancing health systems strengthening, and a commentary on tailoring Global Fund support to country needs (1/13).

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