KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Forbes Interviews Shah, Blair About Impact Investing For Global Health

Forbes: Rajiv Shah And Tony Blair On Impact Investing
Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani interviews USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about “the state and future of impact investing as it relates to global health, governance, and social progress more broadly…” (1/20).

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Responding To Letter In The Lancet, WHO Considers Webcasting World Health Assembly

New York Times: WHO May Begin Webcast of Health Minister Meeting
“The World Health Organization, responding to an angry letter to a British medical journal, says it may soon start streaming its annual meeting of the world’s health ministers on the web…” (McNeil, 1/20).

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Gates Foundation, South African Groups Partner To Research HIV, TB, Malaria Treatments, Prevention

South African news outlets report on a new partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and medical research institutions in the country.

Business Day Live: Gates Foundation forms new health partnerships in South Africa
South Africa’s “Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) on Tuesday announced two new partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at finding new tools to fight HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria….” (Kahn, 1/21).

Mail & Guardian: Gates Foundation, SA link to combat HIV, TB, malaria
“…The foundation partnered on two multi-year programs, one with the Medical Research Council’s Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (Ship) unit and the other with the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D)…” (Wild, 1/21).

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Bill Gates Says Successful Elimination Of Polio Rests With Nigeria, Pakistan

Agence France-Presse: Nigeria, Pakistan could delay polio-free goal: Gates
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair “Bill Gates warned on Tuesday that violence in Nigeria and Pakistan could set him back in his goal of eradicating polio by 2018. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation … made wiping out the crippling disease in the next six years its top priority. But the Microsoft founder, who has poured a large part of his personal fortune into the drive and encouraged fellow billionaires to contribute, said in an AFP interview on Tuesday that major challenges remain…” (Matthew, 1/21).

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UNAIDS, Non-Profit Groups To Legally Challenge Malawi's Anti-Gay Laws

Reuters: U.N. to launch legal challenge against Malawi anti-gay laws
“The United Nations’ AIDS taskforce and human rights groups will launch a court battle against Malawi’s laws criminalizing homosexuality, in a rare challenge to rising anti-gay legislation in Africa. … UNAIDS, the Malawi Law Society, and local rights groups will ask the high court on March 17 to overturn as unconstitutional laws banning same-sex relationships…” (Banda, 1/21).

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Gunmen Kill Three Polio Vaccine Workers In Pakistan; Province Suspends Campaign

News outlets report on the murder of three polio workers in Karachi, Pakistan, and the suspension of the vaccination program.

BBC News: Pakistan polio workers shot dead in Karachi
“Three polio workers have been killed in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, a day after authorities began a new vaccination drive, officials say. Reports say gunmen opened fire in the Qayumabad area, killing one man and two women administering polio drops…” (1/21).

Business Recorder: President vows to eradicate Polio from country, despite challenges
“President Mamnoon Hussain on Tuesday said despite immense security challenges Pakistan was committed to polio eradication and vowed that every step would be taken to eradicate the crippling disease from the country…” (Imaduddin, 1/21).

International News: Three polio workers gunned down in Karachi
“Three workers of the anti-polio team were killed when unknown gunmen opened fire in Qayyumabad area of Karachi Tuesday morning. Following the incident the anti-polio drive has been suspended across the province of Sindh…” (1/21).

Financial Times: Pakistan suspends polio vaccination campaign after team shot dead
“Pakistan abruptly suspended a polio vaccination campaign in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday, after three medical workers administering the vaccine were killed by suspected Taliban militants…” (Bokhari/Kazmin, 1/21).

FirstPost: Two women health workers killed while giving polio vaccine in Pakistan
“In yet another attack on a team of polio workers, unidentified gunmen today shot down three persons, including two women, carrying out vaccination program in here…” (1/21).

Pakistan Today: Anti-polio drive suspended in Sindh
“Lady health workers have announced suspending anti-polio drive across Sindh following the killings of three workers in Karachi area of Qayyumabad Tuesday morning…” (1/21).

Wall Street Journal: Pakistan’s Polio Crisis Poses Wider Threat
“The country’s polio crisis is threatening to spread the virus, health officials said, as Islamist militants target vaccination teams, killing three health workers in the latest such attack on Tuesday…” (Shah, 1/21).

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Chinese Officials Report Additional H7N9 Bird Flu Cases

News outlets report on a growing number of H7N9 bird flu cases in China, fueling concern among experts.

Reuters: More infected in fresh wave of China bird flu – WHO
“Another 23 people in China have been infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in recent days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, adding to at least 24 new cases last week and confirming a fresh surge in the virus…” (Kelland, 1/20).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency warns of growing bird flu risk, urges vigilance ahead of Chinese holidays
“The United Nations agricultural agency today issued a new warning that bird flu viruses are on the rise again in China and urged neighboring countries to be extra vigilant head of the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities…” (1/20).

Bloomberg News: Shanghai Says Medical Worker Dies From H7N9 Bird Flu Infection
“A medical worker at a Shanghai hospital died from the H7N9 bird flu infection as the virus spreads further in China during the winter months…” (Khan, 1/20).

New York Times: Rise in Bird Flu Cases in China Stokes Worry Before Peak Travel Time
“China is disclosing a steadily growing number of cases of H7N9 bird flu, including four more cases announced on Friday, reviving concerns among health experts that the disease may be spreading and could pose a further threat as the world’s largest annual human migration begins ahead of Chinese New Year…” (Bradsher, 1/17).

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Experts Skeptical Ban On Smoking In Public Places In China Can Curb Tobacco Use

News outlets examine China’s proposal to institute a ban on smoking in public places.

NBC News: Can China really stop 350 million people from smoking?
“…It was hardly a surprise when the National Health and Family Planning Commission announced last week that China — the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco and home to nearly a third of the world’s smokers — was planning to ban smoking in public places nationwide by year’s end. … Little is known about the timeline for the proposed ban and how it would be implemented. The government declined to provide NBC News with any additional details about the plan, and anti-smoking advocates had no answers about enforcement either…” (Flanagan/Zhang, 1/18).

United Press International: Chinese smoking ban raises concerns in experts
“Health experts say they doubt a smoking ban in China will reduce the size of the country’s smoking population…” (1/18).

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News Outlets Report On Ongoing Humanitarian Action In Syria

News outlets report on ongoing humanitarian operations in Syria, including food aid and vaccinations for polio.

Thomson Reuters Foundation: WFP Syria director says peace talks must address humanitarian aid
“Syria’s warring sides must seize this week’s peace conference in Switzerland as a chance to allow humanitarian aid workers access to nearly three million people who have been under siege or cut off by fighting, the World Food Programme (WFP) says…” (Batha, 1/20).

U.N. News Centre: Impeding aid to besieged refugee camp in Syria may amount to war crime — U.N. official
“The United Nations human rights chief today strongly condemned the repeated obstruction of aid convoys trying to bring supplies to a besieged Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, stating that impeding humanitarian assistance to desperate civilians may amount to a war crime…” (1/17).

Xinhua: Over 2 million children vaccinated against polio in Syria
“Syria’s Minister of Health Saad al-Nayef said Sunday that a recent campaign of the polio vaccination has covered more than two million Syrian children, according to the state-run SANA news agency…” (1/19).

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U.N. Releases $86M In Humanitarian Aid For 10 Countries

U.N. News Centre: U.N. releases $86 million in humanitarian aid for ‘neglected crises’ in 10 countries
“The United Nations announced the allocation today of $86 million for emergency aid operations in some of the world’s worst, yet most neglected crises, allowing life-saving relief work to continue in 10 countries where needs are high but financial support is low…” (1/17).

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Philippines Stepping Up Measles Vaccination Program

Wall Street Journal: Philippines to Step Up Measles Vaccination Efforts
“The Philippines is stepping up a measles vaccination program in and around Manila ahead of a nationwide campaign later in the year to stem an outbreak of the virus, which killed more than two dozen children last year…” (Larano, 1/21).

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India Anticipates Receiving Polio-Free Designation Next Month

News outlets continue to report on India’s recognition of three years since reporting a polio case and its anticipated certification as polio-free.

PBS NewsHour: India marks three years without polio, but challenges still remain
“It’s been three years since a case of polio has been reported in India, a milestone that means the country can be officially declared polio-free. NewsHour special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro updates a report he filed on how this was accomplished…” (1/17).

Business Standard: WHO to soon issue polio-free certificate to India: minister
“The World Health Organization will soon certify India as a polio-free country, Punjab Health and Family Welfare minister Surjeet Kumar Jayani said today…” (1/19).

Xinhua: Feature: WHO to certify India as polio-free nation next month
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently busy analyzing data from India about its claim that no case of polio was reported from the country during last three years. … The data analysis is likely to get completed next month after which India would be declared as a polio-free nation…” (Hamid, 1/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Nigeria Should Go Beyond Mosquito Net Hand-Outs To Combat Malaria

The Guardian: Beyond mosquito net hand-outs: the fight against malaria in Nigeria
Chris Thomas, communications and policy adviser at the President’s Malaria Initiative

“…International donors including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, World Bank, the U.K.’s Department for International Development and the U.S.’s President’s Malaria Initiative have played a significant role in scaling up malaria prevention in Nigeria. But as Bill Brieger of Johns Hopkins University wrote in his blog Malaria Matters: ‘Having nets “in place” and having nets “used” are two different indicators of success. A major weakness of past public health programming has been providing people with technologically sound and useful interventions without taking into full account the social, cultural, and behavioral factors that influence acceptance and use of the interventions’…” (1/17).

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'Time Is Now' To Create 'Grand Convergence' In Global Health

Huffington Post: Achieving Global Health Equality Within a Generation
Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University and chair of the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health, GlobalHealth2035.org, and Gavin Yamey, associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health

“…A new report published in The Lancet, called Global Health 2035, which we co-authored along with 23 renowned economists and health experts, shows that if we make the right investments in the health sector today, we could achieve universally low rates of infectious, maternal and child deaths by 2035. … Our report will not be the last report ever written on global health. There will be challenges for as long as anyone can foresee. But there’s only one time in history when we will have the prospect of a grand convergence in health. That time is now. We can afford it. We know how to do it. Now let’s get the job done” (1/21).

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'High-Quality Aid' Can 'Save Lives And Promote Development'

Foreign Policy: The Case for Aid
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…As experience demonstrates, it is possible to use our reason, management know-how, technology, and learning by doing to design highly effective aid programs that save lives and promote development. This should be done in global collaboration with national and local communities, taking local circumstances into account. The evidence bears out this approach. … Aid is needed, and can be highly successful. The issue is how to deliver high-quality aid to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people” (1/21).

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India Should Tackle Malnutrition Through Investments In Education, Researchers Say

The Guardian: Tackling malnutrition in India: the role of higher education
Tanusree Paul, research associate at Public Health Foundation of India, and Shweta Khandelwal, research scientist at the Public Health Foundation of India

“…One of the biggest, but broadly overlooked factors contributing to India’s nutrition problem is that people are not encouraged to study nutrition, so there is a lack of institutional knowledge and training available to promote understanding…” Preliminary research done at the Public Health Foundation of India “revealed a lack of attention to research, policy, or social determinants and an overemphasis on food science, clinical, and therapeutic nutrition…” Paul and Khandelwal suggest that “[t]o see meaningful and positive changes in the country’s health profile, academic training and human resource generation needs to be complemented with political will, committed funds, equity, and multi-sectoral health promotion programs” (1/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Bill And Melinda Gates Dispel Three Myths That 'Block Progress For The Poor'

In Bill and Melinda Gates’s 2014 Annual Letter, they discuss three myths that block progress for the poor: “poor countries are doomed to stay poor”; “foreign aid is a big waste”; and “saving lives leads to overpopulation.” They write, “The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same” (January 2014). The Wall Street Journal also published a version of the letter (1/17).

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Humanosphere Offers Annual Letter To Bill And Melinda Gates

Writing in Humanosphere, development blogger Tom Paulson offers an annual letter in response to Bill and Melinda Gates’s recently published annual letter. “…By all means, let’s celebrate progress. But let’s not forget all those millions, if not billions, of people out there who don’t yet see cause to celebrate” (1/21).

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World Bank's Kim Advocates For Universal Health Coverage

The Center for Global Health Policy “Science Speaks” blog summarizes a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) event in which World Bank President Jim Kim advocated for universal health coverage, saying increased access to HIV treatments has helped show it is possible to achieve. “The successes and lessons from the global AIDS movement, he said … can be used to realize the ambition of affordable and equitable health care for the world’s poorest…” (1/17).

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Path To Water Sustainability Will Require Billions Of Dollars In Infrastructure Investment

LiveMint: Scaling up water sustainability
Giulio Boccaletti, managing director for Global Water at the Nature Conservancy

“…As the United Nations prepares to adopt so-called sustainable development goals (SDGs) as the post-2015 successor to the MDGs, the high-stakes business of large-scale water infrastructure should be placed front and center. … While small-scale solutions, such as dug wells, will remain an important part of efforts to ensure water security, a truly sustainable water-management path — particularly in the fast-developing countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa — will require hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. The process of formulating the SDGs offers an ideal opportunity to begin describing such a path” (1/19).

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Midwives In Indonesia Help Improve Access To Family Planning

Gabrielle Fitzgerald, director of global program advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog the critical role of midwives in delivering family planning in Indonesia. Fitzgerald writes, “On January 1, Indonesia introduced a universal health insurance plan for all citizens, which will be phased in over the next five years. A key part of the government’s plan to improve health care is to strengthen midwives to provide family planning services…” (1/16).

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