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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Pharmaceutical Companies Call On Governments To Develop New Incentives For Antibiotic R&D

BBC News: Pharma ‘cash call’ for new antibiotics
“More than 80 pharmaceutical companies have called on governments to develop new ways of paying them to develop antibiotics. In a joint declaration, at the World Economic Forum, they said the value of antibiotics ‘does not reflect the benefits they bring to society’…” (Gallagher, 1/21).

Financial Times: Drugmakers call for collective action on superbugs
“…The top five drugmakers by market capitalization — Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Novartis, Pfizer, and Merck — were among more than 80 pharmaceuticals and diagnostics companies that signed the call for collective action. Others included AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi, in a sign of growing consensus among ‘big pharma’ over the need for new approaches to the development and marketing of antibiotics…” (Ward, 1/21).

New York Times: To Fight ‘Superbugs,’ Drug Makers Call for Incentives to Develop Antibiotics
“…The number of new antibiotics being approved has dwindled over the last two decades, because of scientific challenges but also financial ones. Many big pharmaceutical companies, including some of those that signed the new declaration, have de-emphasized or dropped development of antibiotics for business reasons…” (Pollack, 1/20).

Reuters: Drug firms ask governments to join fight against superbugs
“…The 83 pharmaceutical companies and eight industry groups urged governments around the world to commit money ‘to provide appropriate incentives…for companies to invest in R&D to overcome the formidable technical and scientific challenges of antibiotic discovery and development’…” (Kelland/Hirschler, 1/20).

Wall Street Journal: Drug and Diagnostic Companies Issue Joint Declaration on Antibiotics
“…Signatories to the declaration said breaking the link between revenue for new antibiotics and the amount of use would help address this problem, as would mitigating the financial risk for developers. They said possible approaches included giving developers a lump sum for launching a new antibiotic or insurance-like payments to companies for supplying innovative drugs…” (Roland, 1/20).

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World, Business Leaders To Discuss Vaccine R&D Financing At High-Level WEF Meeting

Wall Street Journal: Health Threats Spur Vaccine Hunt
“Ebola, Zika virus, and other infectious diseases have catapulted the threat of infectious-disease epidemics to a top spot at the World Economic Forum as world leaders meet in Davos this week. … Government, international, and pharmaceutical industry officials will gather in a high-level meeting Thursday to debate how to finance the development of vaccines for infectious diseases that spark epidemics, according to people familiar with the plans…” (McKay, 1/21).

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At WEF, Bono Marks Anniversary Of Decade-Long Red Campaign As U.N.'s Ban Calls For Business To Play Larger Development Role

Financial Times: Bono surveys a Red decade of ‘conscious consumerism’
“…It is a decade since [Bono] went to the [World Economic Forum (WEF)] to launch Red, the brand campaign that began with the aim of ending the transmission of HIV/AIDS from pregnant women to their unborn children. Described by Bill Gates as an example of ‘creative capitalism,’ Red’s early partners included Starbucks, Apple, and Nike, which made products under the Red brand and donated proceeds to the fight against AIDS in Africa. The campaign has over the past 10 years raised more than $350m…” (Garrahan, 1/20).

U.N. News Centre: World of business must play part in achieving new Sustainable Development Goals — U.N. chief
“Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Wednesday] called on the world’s business community to play its full role in helping to achieve the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to eliminate poverty, hunger, and a raft of social ills, all within 15 years…” (1/20).

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Sierra Leone Reports Second Ebola Case, WHO Confirms

Agence France-Presse: New Ebola case in Sierra Leone: WHO
“A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, officials said Thursday, the second case since West Africa celebrated a declared end to the epidemic last week…” (Johnson, 1/20).

Reuters: Sierra Leone confirms new Ebola case, second in less than a week
“…Health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahyah Tunis described the new patient as a 38-year-old woman, a relative who had helped care for the earlier victim Mariatu Jalloh. Jalloh died from the disease on Jan. 12, and tested positive for Ebola posthumously…” (Fofana/Bavier, 1/20).

Reuters: Fear, doubts obstruct efforts to contain Ebola in Sierra Leone
“Community fear and suspicion in Sierra Leone are obstructing officials’ attempts to stop the spread of Ebola, health reports showed on Wednesday, after the West African nation reported its first cases of the deadly virus in months…” (Fofana, 1/20).

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Coalition Of HIV/AIDS Groups Urge Obama Administration To Increase HIV Research Funding

CQ Roll Call: AIDS Groups Press Obama for Promised $100 Million Research Bump
“A coalition of AIDS groups is pressuring the Obama administration to stick with its plan for a $100 million bump in HIV research funding, arguing that the increase is needed to develop a vaccine and take other steps that have even seasoned scientists predicting a possible end to the widespread threat of the virus…” (Young, 1/20).

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Zika Virus Continues To Spread, Cause Birth Defects In Latin America; U.S. Officials Report About 12 Imported Cases Nationwide

Reuters: Birth defects linked to Zika virus still rising in Brazil
“The cases of babies born with unusually small heads continue to rise in Brazil where researchers said on Wednesday they had found new evidence linking the increase to the Zika virus spreading through the Americas…” (Boadle, 1/20).

Reuters: Zika virus may infect up to 700,000 people in Colombia: government
“The mosquito-borne Zika virus has already infected more than 13,500 people in Colombia and could hit as many as 700,000, the health minister said on Wednesday…” (Acosta/Cobb, 1/20).

Washington Post: CDC: ‘Dozen or so’ cases of Zika virus among U.S. residents
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that there are at least ‘a dozen or so’ confirmed cases of Zika virus in residents who recently traveled to countries where the mosquito-borne virus is spreading…” (Sun, 1/20).

Washington Post: Florida, Illinois officials report travel-related Zika virus cases
“Florida and Illinois state officials said several of their residents who recently traveled to countries where Zika virus is found have tested positive for the virus. Texas and Hawaii have also confirmed travel-related cases…” (Sun, 1/20).

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Gates, Dangote, President Buhari, Others Sign Agreements To Ensure Childhood Immunizations, Polio Eradication Efforts In Nigeria

African Independent Television: Bill Gates, Dangote Sign MoU With Nigerian Governors On Polio Eradication
“Bill Gates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote in conjunction with northern states governors on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Routine Immunizations in Kaduna. The northern states that signed the agreement include, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Yobe, and Borno…” (1/21).

Daily Post: Taskforce on Polio will soon include 36 Governors — Buhari
“The Federal Government says it will reconstitute an expanded Presidential Task force on Polio to include the 36 state governors in order to sustain the successes recorded in the efforts to eradicate polio from Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari made the statement in Abuja on Wednesday at the signing of updated Abuja Commitment on polio eradication. He said that when reconstituted, the expanded task force would ensure effective surveillance and routine immunization programs…” (1/21).

Leadership: Bill Gates, Dangote, Govs Move To End Child, Maternal Deaths In The North
“…United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, in a speech said the signing of the MoU demonstrates the willingness and commitment of Nigeria’s government and organizations to tackle the challenges…” (Nda-Isaiah et al., 1/21).

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USAID Provides Additional $5M For World Food Programme Aid To Zimbabwe

VOA News: USAID Contributes Additional $5 Million for Zimbabwe Food Aid
“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced an additional $5 million contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, in response to worsening drought conditions and increased food insecurity. In a statement, the United States Embassy said this brings the total of U.S. government funding for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe to $32.5 million since June 2015 following a poor harvest across the country…” (Dube, 1/20).

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Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court Outlaws Marriage For Anyone Under Age 18

Agence France-Presse: Zimbabwe bans marriage for under-18s to protect child brides
“Zimbabwe’s top court on Wednesday outlawed marriage for anyone under the age of 18 in a ruling hailed by activists as major progress towards ending child marriage…” (1/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zimbabwe court bans child marriage after challenge by former child brides
“Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court outlawed child marriage on Wednesday after two former child brides took the government to court in a ground-breaking case to challenge the practice that is rife in the southern African nation. Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi asked for child marriage to be declared illegal and unconstitutional, saying it was a form of child abuse which trapped girls in lives of poverty and suffering…” (Batha, 1/21).

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Half Of CAR's 5M People Face Food Insecurity, U.N. Warns

New York Times: Central African Republic: Hunger Threatens Population, U.N. Warns
“Nearly 2.5 million people in the Central African Republic — half the population — are now facing hunger, double the figure from a year ago, the main food aid agency of the United Nations said Wednesday…” (Gladstone, 1/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Half Central African Republic’s people face hunger, WFP fed 400,000 in December
“…The former French colony, a majority Christian nation, descended into turmoil in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, provoking reprisals by Christian militia fighters. Almost half a million people fled their homes and remain displaced within the country, while more than 450,000 have fled to neighboring countries, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)…” (Mis, 1/21).

U.N. News Centre: Half the population of Central African Republic faces hunger, U.N. warns
“…According to the [World Food Programme] assessment, one in six women, men, and children struggles with severe or extreme food insecurity, while more than one in three is moderately food insecure, not knowing where their next meal is coming from…” (1/20).

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Number Of HIV Cases, AIDS-Related Deaths Increasing Among At-Risk Populations In Philippines

Los Angeles Times: The Philippines largely dodged the AIDS crisis. That’s changing.
“…[I]n the Philippines, more than 20,000 new HIV infections were reported from 2010 to 2015 — more than four times as many as had been recorded in the 26 years before that. Along with India and Pakistan, the Philippines is seeing new infections and AIDS-related deaths sharply rise among men who have sex with men and among transgender women, sex workers, and people who inject drugs. A nationwide study conducted by the Department of Health showed that in some areas, infection rates among these groups were higher than five percent…” (Santos, 1/20).

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Venezuela Experiencing Drug, Medical Supply Stock Outs, Needs Foreign Assistance, Pharmaceutical Group Says

Reuters: Venezuela needs urgent foreign medical aid, pharma group says
“With scores of medicines in short supply due to a severe financial squeeze, Venezuela is suffering a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and requires rapid international assistance, according to a major pharmaceutical association. The Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation listed 150 medicines, from those for hypertension to cancer, as well as basics such as prophylactics and antibiotics, which are scarce in the OPEC nation of 29 million people…” (1/20).

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UNFPA Director Osotimehin Discusses Youth, SDGs, Family Planning In Global Health NOW Interview

Global Health NOW: Youth and the SDGs: A Q&A
“…In a recent conversation [with Jose ‘Oying’ Rimon II, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin] shares his views on the SDGs, their impact on women and young people, and his expectations for the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), January 25-28, 2016, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia…” (1/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Support Of Global Health Institutions; Empowerment Of Women, Girls; Investment In Innovation Crucial To Eradicating Extreme Poverty

Project Syndicate: Promises to Keep in 2016
Bill Gates, founder and technology adviser of the Microsoft Corporation, and Melinda Gates, both co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[W]hile progress [on ending extreme poverty] is possible, it is not inevitable. Success will require political will, global cooperation, and human ingenuity … For our part, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will focus on the areas of greatest need and take risks that others can’t or won’t. … Sustained support for institutions like the Global Fund and Gavi, for the empowerment of women and girls, and for innovation is crucial to accelerating progress for the world’s poorest people. But much more can and should be done. The world must unite behind all efforts to eradicate poverty as a vital first step toward overcoming the many other challenges … that we face today. The daily headlines all too often reflect the gap between today’s world and a world without poverty. But what the headlines don’t reveal is all the ways life is already getting better for those in greatest need. If we keep our promises to them, it will be front-page news” (1/20).

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Pakistan Using Smartphone Technology To Improve Polio Vaccination Efforts With Aim Of Eradicating Disease

New York Times: In Pakistan, a Final Push to Wipe Out Polio
Bina Shah, author

“…[T]he Taliban’s efforts to fight the [polio eradication] campaign continue, as do management problems within the national immunization campaign. … One effort to resolve that problem was the introduction in Punjab last year of a smartphone app on which the region’s 3,700 vaccinators could keep track of their work. Now, instead of going household to household, they go to a center where children have been assembled for vaccination. The vaccinators then send the data via phone to a central office. Using this approach, vaccinators’ attendance rates, which at times had been as low as 21 percent, have risen to 95 percent to 100 percent. … The Punjab government is eager to share its technological know-how with the rest of the nation. One target area this year is remote Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. And if Sindh and Baluchistan follow suit, there’s every chance that Pakistan can catch up quickly to the rest of the world. A polio-free Pakistan — and globe — may be coming sooner than you think” (1/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Commitment, Sustained Surveillance Required To End Global Malaria

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC Poised to Answer President Obama’s Call to End Malaria
S. Patrick Kachur, chief of CDC’s malaria branch and principal deputy director of CDC’s Center for Global Health, comments on remarks made by President Obama during his State of the Union address and discusses ongoing U.S. efforts to end malaria globally. Looking ahead, Kachur notes, “We need to develop and continually refine surveillance systems to better identify who’s at risk, and who’s infected and sick with malaria, in ways that allow us to anticipate and pinpoint hotspots, so we can make the best use of malaria prevention and treatment tools…” (1/20).

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Focus On Global Health, NTDs Could Improve U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations

Baker Institute Blog: Student blog: The role of global health in U.S.-Cuba relations
Anjali Bhatla, an intern in the disease and poverty program at the Baker Institute, discusses the role of global health in improving U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, writing, “A focus on [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] will not only yield benefits for both countries, but also provide advancements of global importance in reducing the burden of NTDs. This is an opportune time for global health diplomacy between the U.S. and Cuba to improve security and help both countries project regional influence, thus supporting traditional foreign policy objectives through the pursuit of scientific collaboration” (1/20).

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China, U.S. Should Limit Or Prevent Use Of Antibiotics

Global Health Governance’s “Young Voices Blog”: Greetings, from the post-antibiotic era
Patrick Jarkowsky, masters degree candidate for global health and human security at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, discusses the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and the need to limit or prevent antibiotic use in the food-animal industry globally, especially in the U.S. and China (1/19).

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Strengthened Supply Chains Needed For Sustainable, Equitable Health

K4Health: Health Supply Chain Capacity Development: A Must for the Sustainable Development Goals and Health Equity
Andrew N. Brown, consultant executive manager at People That Deliver (PtD), discusses the challenges and importance of improving health supply chains and their role in sustainable development and equitable access to medicine (1/20).

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