KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

$4.5B Needed Annually For Global Pandemic Preparations, Global Health Risk Commission Report Says

News outlets discuss findings from a report of the National Academy of Medicine’s Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future (GHRF Commission), as well as summary reports from four evidence-gathering workshops that informed the commission.

Bloomberg Business: A Billion in Pandemic Prevention Is Worth a Trillion in Cure
“…Pandemics … could cost humanity $6 trillion in the 21st century, or $60 billion a year, the authors estimate. They argued for investing $4.5 billion a year — or 65 cents for every resident of the planet — to prepare…” (Tozzi, 1/13).

CIDRAP News: Pandemic readiness review says $4.5 billion a year needed
“…The experts released their findings [Wednesday] at a briefing in New York City and published them on the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Web site, along with a related overview in [Wednesday’s] New England Journal of Medicine…” (Schnirring, 1/13).

CNBC: Pandemics are $60 billion-a-year global risk: Report
“…Despite advances in disease research and medicine, disease researchers and public health experts believe the risks of pandemics are growing as the world becomes more connected through travel, trade, and communication…” (Ferris, 1/13).

Financial Times: Fund of $4.5bn proposed for protection against pandemics
“…The biggest component of the investment would be $3.4bn to upgrade public health infrastructure and capabilities in poorer countries. A further $1bn a year would go to research and development in infectious diseases. The remaining $150m or so would strengthen the World Health Organization…” (Cookson, 1/13).

NPR: Stinging Report On Pandemics Makes Louis Pasteur Look Like A Prophet
“…The commission of 17 public health officials from around the globe sums it up this way: ‘A range of factors, including increasing population, economic globalization, environmental degradation, and ever increasing human interaction around the globe are changing the dynamics of infectious disease’…” (Beaubien, 1/13).

Reuters: Preparing for pandemics could cost less than $1 each a year, review says
“…The Wellcome Trust co-funded the review, which was coordinated by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and several other organizations…” (Kelland, 1/13).

Science: Health panel: Pump new billions into disease outbreaks — or else
“…The 26 recommendations in the report, The Neglected Dimension of Global Security, overlap a great deal with the conclusions of other recent reports, including one published by what’s known as the Harvard-LSHTM panel in The Lancet 28 November and another issued in July 2015 by an independent group of experts convened by the WHO…” (Cohen, 1/13).

Wall Street Journal: Health Experts Call for $4.5 Billion Annually to Fight Pandemics
“…The report sets deadlines for implementation of many of its recommendations. ‘The recommendations they make are actually deliverable,’ said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation in the U.K. Dr. Farrar was a member of an international oversight group for the report…” (McKay, 1/13).

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WHO Declares End To Ebola Outbreak In West Africa, Calls For Extended Vigilance

News outlets report on the WHO’s declaration that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has ended.

Agence France-Presse: WHO declares Ebola outbreak over as Liberia gets all-clear
“The world breathed a sigh of relief Thursday as a two-year Ebola epidemic that killed 11,000 and triggered a global health alert was declared over, with Liberia the last country to get the all-clear…” (Dosso, 1/14).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola epidemic is over but expect flare-ups: U.N.
“West Africa can expect flare-ups of Ebola in the coming year even if the world’s worst outbreak of the disease will be declared effectively over, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday…” (1/13).

Associated Press: WHO declares end to Ebola transmission in West Africa
“…Liberia, which along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was an epicenter of the latest outbreak, was first declared free of the disease last May, but new cases emerged two times — forcing officials there to restart the clock…” (Keaten/Larson, 1/14).

The Guardian: Ebola is over in West Africa, says World Health Organization
“…The virus, which can kill within five days of infection, devastated the region’s economies and ripped through communities, killing more than 11,000 people and infecting more than 28,500…” (O’Carroll/Jones, 1/14).

U.N. News Centre: With West Africa set to be declared free of Ebola virus transmission, U.N. chief calls for vigilance
“… ‘Governments will need resources to help communities prevent infection, detect potential cases and respond rapidly and effectively,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a regular informal General Assembly meeting on Ebola recover and response … Remarks were also made by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan (via video link); Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark; Special Adviser on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and former Special Envoy on Ebola Briefing Dr. David Nabarro; and the Deputy Health Minister of Liberia, His Excellency Tolbert Nyenswah (video link), among others, including Ebola survivors…” (1/13).

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Ebola Survivors, Health Workers, Orphans Face Stigma, Other Challenges; Experts Begin Search For Virus's Natural Host

Agence France-Presse: Ebola outbreak ends but stigma stalks survivors
“They may have conquered Ebola but survivors of the fever and the heroic workers who saved them face a new struggle: acceptance by communities after the end of the deadly epidemic…” (Johnson, 1/13).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola orphans struggle to resume their lives
“…According to the United Nations, more than 22,000 children lost at least one parent to the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history whose epicenter lay in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia…” (Bah, 1/13).

Nature: Hunt for Ebola’s wild hideout takes off as epidemic wanes
“…The virus remains hidden in animal reservoirs, and is almost certain to spill over into humans again. ‘We’ve got to focus on what could potentially happen next,’ says David Pigott, a spatial epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, U.K. — and that means uncovering the species that harbor Ebola in the wild to try to prevent deadly outbreaks in the future…” (Callaway, 1/12).

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CDC Finds Strong Evidence Of Association Between Zika Virus, Birth Defects; Might Warn Pregnant Women Against Travel To Latin America, Caribbean

Associated Press: CDC: Strong signs Brazil birth defects are tied to mosquito
“Researchers have found the strongest evidence so far of a possible link between a mosquito-borne virus and a surge of birth defects in Brazil, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The health agency said evidence of the dengue-like Zika virus was found in the placentas from two women who miscarried and the brains of two newborns who died. Those who were born had small heads, a rare condition known as microcephaly…” (Licon/Neergaard, 1/13).

New York Times: CDC May Warn Pregnant Women Against Travel to Countries With Zika Virus
“Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak…” (McNeil, 1/13).

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Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Spreading To U.S., Worldwide; Experts Call For Prevention Methods, Including Vaccine Development

Forbes: With First Texas Zika Case, Vaccine Desperately Needed, Expert Says
“…[Peter Hotez, director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development in Houston,] called [Zika’s] threat unprecedented in modern years because the only disease that compares is rubella, a relatively mild illness but which causes birth defects in the children of mothers who had the disease during pregnancy. The only way we stopped rubella was a vaccine, and that’s the best option here as well, Hotez said…” (Haelle, 1/13).

USA TODAY: As diseases proliferate, mosquitoes becoming Public Enemy No. 1
“…Brazil isn’t just fighting Zika. That country is also combating outbreaks caused by dengue and chikungunya viruses, which are known for causing fevers and debilitating joint pain. Dengue can be fatal. The USA needs to prepare for a similar scenario, in which epidemics of multiple mosquito-borne diseases break out simultaneously, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who co-wrote a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Szabo, 1/14).

TIME: Why You Can Get So Many Diseases from Mosquitoes
“Zika virus, the latest mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States, joins a long list of other infections the insects can carry, like malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, and West Nile. How can these bugs — so tiny that we often miss them at first swipe — be responsible for so many infections? It turns out their vampire-like tendencies are largely to blame…” (Sifferlin, 1/13).

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U.N. SG Ban Condemns Suicide Bombing Near Pakistani Polio Vaccination Center

U.N. News Centre: Pakistan: Ban condemns suicide bombing near polio eradication center in Quetta
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned [Wednesday’s] suicide bombing close to the premises of a polio eradication center in Quetta, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 15 people, and wounding 25 others. ‘The secretary general reiterates that nothing justifies terrorism,’ according to a statement issued by a U.N. spokesperson…” (1/13).

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Russia Has Developed Two Ebola Vaccines, President Putin, Health Minister Announce

ABC News: Vladimir Putin’s Claim That Russia Has Invented World’s Best Ebola Drug Meets Skepticism
“Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised health officials across the world today when he announced that his country has invented the world’s most effective drug against Ebola. … But experts immediately raised doubts about Putin’s claims…” (Reevell, 1/13).

Agence France-Presse: Putin claims Russia has developed Ebola vaccine
“…Putin, who is famed for his talent for headline-grabbing announcements, did not give any name for the vaccine, nor did he say how it worked, who was developing it, or give details of any trials…” (1/13).

International Business Times: Has Russia Found A Cure To Ebola? Putin Claims Country Has Developed World’s Most Effective Vaccine
“…Last month, Russia reportedly registered two Ebola fever vaccines, which were developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and tested in cooperation with the health and defense ministries. One of the vaccines was designed specifically for people with immunodeficiency, said Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova…” (Berger, 1/13).

Moscow Times: Putin Says Russia Developed World’s Best Ebola Vaccine
“… ‘We have good news,’ said Putin at a government meeting, according the TASS news agency. ‘We have registered a vaccine for Ebola that following testing has shown a high efficacy, higher than that of vaccines currently used’…” (1/13).

Newsweek: Putin Says Russia Has Made “Highly Effective” Ebola Vaccine
“…After the announcement, the head of the Russian parliament’s health committee, Sergey Furgal, told radio broadcaster RSN that he expected the Ebola vaccine to bring Russia ‘huge material dividends,’ earning Moscow ‘billions of dollars’…” (Sharkov, 1/14).

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Food, Drink Industry 'Moving Far Too Slowly' To Address Global Undernutrition, Obesity, Report Says

The Guardian: Food firms slow to address twin scourges of undernutrition and obesity
“The world’s largest food and drink companies still have a long way to go to participate fully in the global fight against the twin scourges of obesity and undernutrition, a new report claims. The global Access to Nutrition Index 2016 — which scores 22 leading multinational firms on corporate strategy, availability of appropriate, affordable and accessible products, and positive influence on consumer choice and behavior — notes that while some have taken steps to address the worldwide nutrition crisis, ‘the industry as whole is moving far too slowly’…” (Jones, 1/13).

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Financial Times Special Report Examines How Governments, Food Industry Will Respond To Malnutrition, Obesity Amid Climate Change, Population Growth

Financial Times: Future of the Food Industry
“The global population is expected to grow to around 9bn by 2050. At the same time, climate change is wreaking havoc on farming methods, and countries are struggling to address both malnutrition and obesity. [This special report asks h]ow will governments and the food industry respond to the challenges of feeding the world in 2016?” (1/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Integrated Research On Zika Virus, Other Arboviruses, Needed To Stop Future Pandemics

New England Journal of Medicine: Zika Virus in the Americas — Yet Another Arbovirus Threat
Anthony Fauci, director, and David Morens, senior scientific adviser, both of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“…With its recent appearance in Puerto Rico, Zika virus forces us to confront a potential new disease-emergence phenomenon: pandemic expansion of multiple, heretofore relatively unimportant arboviruses previously restricted to remote ecologic niches. To respond, we urgently need research on these viruses and the ecologic, entomologic, and host determinants of viral maintenance and emergence. Also needed are better public health strategies to control arboviral spread … With respect to treatment, … broad-spectrum antiviral drugs effective against whole classes of viruses are urgently needed. … Zika is still a pandemic in progress, and many important questions about it … remain to be answered. Yet it has already reinforced one important lesson: in our human-dominated world, urban crowding, constant international travel, and other human behaviors combined with human-caused microperturbations in ecologic balance can cause innumerable slumbering infectious agents to emerge unexpectedly. In response, we clearly need to up our game with broad and integrated research that expands understanding of the complex ecosystems in which agents of future pandemics are aggressively evolving” (1/13).

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E.U. Gender Action Plan Places Women's Rights At Center Of Development Agenda

Devex: E.U. Gender Action Plan: The case for smart development
Neven Mimica, E.U. commissioner for international cooperation and development

“…[G]ender equality is not only an issue of human rights; women’s empowerment is also about smart development and smart economics. Women’s participation in the economy is essential for sustainable development and economic growth and is intrinsically linked to the global goal of eradicating poverty. … The new E.U. Gender Action Plan for the period of 2016-2020 … is not simply another action plan — it is a refreshed, revamped, and ambitious political commitment that places gender at the heart of what E.U. does and, most importantly, it holds all of us to account on its delivery. … In 2016, as the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] start to be implemented, we need to ensure that the gender equality promises made in the [2030 agenda] are achieved. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is enshrined as a stand-alone goal (Goal 5), but more importantly, it runs as a thread throughout all the other goals. This is how it should be — we cannot achieve sustainable development by 2030 if half of the world’s population is left behind…” (1/13).

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Improving Gender Equality Requires Multifaceted Interventions, Specific Policy Action

Devex: Their voice matters: Addressing child, early, and forced marriage
Geetanjali Misra, co-founder and executive director of CREA

“…The 2030 agenda identifies gender inequality as one of the key challenges and affirms that realizing gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is critical for the progress of the goals and targets. … Thus a collective responsibility for achieving gender equality, women’s rights, and women’s empowerment requires specific policy attention and action. This involves holistic multifaceted interventions that address the issues of health, education, and violence faced by women and girls, but also address and integrate complex realities of gender, sexuality, religion, caste, and class as experienced not only in South Asia but across the ‘global south.’ … Child and early forced marriage is a complex issue with root causes in oppressive patriarchal and socio-cultural norms of gender and sexuality and in unequal power structures of caste, class, and religion. … It is necessary and urgent to create a culture of consent, where opinions, attitudes, and views of adolescent and young girls are valued right from the beginning…” (1/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

National Academy Of Medicine's Commission On Global Health Risk Framework Releases Several Reports

National Academy of Medicine: Global Health Risk Framework
“…To address [deficiencies across global systems to prevent, prepare, and respond to infectious disease crises] and inform a more effective response in the future, the National Academy of Medicine convened the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future (GHRF Commission) — an independent, international group of experts in finance, governance, R&D, health systems, and the social sciences. The Commission’s report … highlights the essential role of pandemic preparedness in national security and economic stability. … Summary reports from four evidence-gathering workshops that informed the commission [also are] available.” (1/13).

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Blog Posts Discuss Global Health Aspects Of Obama's Final State Of The Union Address

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Obama highlights global health and innovation in State of the Union
Courtney Carson, GHTC’s senior policy and advocacy associate, discusses President Obama’s State of the Union address, highlighting global health aspects, including the U.S. response to Ebola, U.S. investments in development, and the importance of medical research (1/13).

Humanosphere: #SOTU: Obama oversells U.S. Ebola response and teases malaria eradication push
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy examines the global health aspects of President Obama’s State of the Union address, writing, “His remarks on [global health] manage to both overstate U.S. accomplishments and unveil an area that will garner greater focus during the administration’s final year in office. It encapsulated the mixed record for an administration that is prone to, at times, both over-hype and under-deliver on global health…” (1/13).

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National Action Plan Can Accelerate R&D Efforts, Progress Against MDR-TB

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Welcoming the National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Important first steps, critical next steps
“In this guest post, Dara Erck, vice president of external affairs at Aeras, discusses the new White House National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis and how it could accelerate research and development (R&D) of new technologies to combat multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).” Erck writes, “[F]or the plan to be successful, Congress will need to dedicate the resources necessary to achieve its ambitious treatment, diagnostic, and vaccine development targets…” (1/14).

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West Africa's Ouagadougou Partnership Helping To Improve Access To Contraceptives, Family Planning

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Seven Tactics that Are Leading Francophone West Africa toward a Contraceptive Revolution
Sara Stratton, assistant program director at IntraHealth International, discusses the work and achievements of the Ouagadougou Partnership, which includes nine West African countries and aims to promote family planning and modern contraceptive use for women. Stratton highlights seven ways the partnership has been “leading francophone West Africa to a contraceptive revolution,” including prioritizing country governments’ leadership, aligning donor investments, using data effectively, engaging religious leaders, cultivating youth advocates, strengthening the family planning community, and creating space for dialogue among West Africans (1/13).

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New Report Examines Observations On HIV Treatment Resource Allocation In Mozambique

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Mozambique: Our report on an HIV treatment pivot examines what can happen Right Now
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses a visit to Mozambique to observe how U.S.-funded HIV programs were redistributing resources and funds to treat the epidemic in “places of greatest need.” Barton writes, “The particulars are detailed in [the Center for Global Health Policy’s] just released report, Right Now: Observations on an HIV treatment pivot…” (1/13).

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