KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Major Drug Trial Fails To Control TB In South African Gold Mines

News sources report on the results of a study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine evaluating tuberculosis (TB) control in South African gold mines.

Agence France-Presse: Tuberculosis trial fails to aid S. African miners
“What researchers described as a ‘radical’ bid to cut down on tuberculosis among South African gold miners has failed to prevent infections or deaths, said a study out Wednesday…” (1/22).

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine: Major South African trial did not improve tuberculosis control in gold mines
“A major trial aiming to cut the rate of tuberculosis (TB) among South Africa’s gold miners did not reduce the number of cases or deaths from the disease, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Steels, 1/22).

MedIndia: Drug Therapy Used to Handle Tuberculosis in South African Gold Miners Fails
“A new study found how the radical bid, as described by the researchers, to cut down tuberculosis in South African gold miners has supposedly failed to prevent deaths and infections…” (Vakil, 1/23).

NEJM’s “Now @NEJM” blog: Tuberculosis Control in the Gold Mines of South Africa
Commenting on the results of the South African trial, NEJM reports, “‘Although negative, these results don’t signify failure,’ says infectious diseases specialist and NEJM Deputy Editor Dr. Lindsey R. Baden, ‘rather we learn that in an environment with a high TB transmission force additional TB prevention strategies are required’…” (Staples, 1/22).

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U.N., Humanitarian Groups Ask International Community To Step Up Aid Efforts In Syria

News outlets report on calls from the U.N. and humanitarian groups for stepped up efforts in Syria and refugee camps resulting from the conflict.

The Guardian: Humanitarian groups demand action to alleviate suffering of Syrians
“The heads of seven of the world’s largest humanitarian and human rights organization who are working on the crisis in Syria have called on the international community to step up efforts to provide humanitarian aid…” (1/22).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. agency calls for urgent aid delivery to besieged Palestinian refugee camp
“As world leaders meet in Montreux, Switzerland, seeking a political solution to the crisis in Syria, the United Nations is calling on all parties in the strife-torn nation to facilitate the urgent provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians trapped in the Yarmouk refugee camp…” (1/22).

U.N. News Centre: U.N., humanitarian community urge protection, access to aid for Syrian children
“Against the backdrop of peace talks on Syria which opened today in Switzerland, senior United Nations humanitarian officials have joined international aid organizations calling for the protection of Syrian children, 11,000 of whom have been killed and 4 million forced to flee their homes over the past three years…” (1/22).

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Bill Gates On Three Myths That 'Block Progress For The Poor'

Major news outlets speak with Bill Gates about foreign aid and the three myths that he says “block progress for the poor.”

TIME: Bill Gates Talks to TIME About the Three Myths of Global Aid
“…In their 2014 annual letter, both Bill and Melinda Gates take on what they call the three great global aid myths: that poor countries will always be poor; that foreign aid is a waste, with money inevitably vanishing into the pockets of corrupt officials or being misspent by inept bureaucracies; and that saving lives in the developing world will only lead to overpopulation. … Gates elaborated on these and other ideas in a conversation with TIME. … As his answers show, he remains both optimist and realist…” (Kluger, 1/21).

Washington Post: Bill Gates: ‘Capitalism did not eradicate smallpox’
In an interview with the Washington Post, Bill Gates comments on what he writes in his foundation’s 2014 annual letter about the three myths that block progress for the poor. He says, “I’m not saying fulfilling the development agenda makes the world all good. But in terms of injustice and equity, doubling down to finish the development agenda should be the top priority” (Klein, 1/21).

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Devex Reports Congress Divided Over Issue Of Aid 'Localization' For USAID

Devex: U.S. Congress sending mixed messages on aid ‘localization’
“If the U.S. Agency for International Development is looking for clear signals from Congress on whether or not lawmakers support the agency’s efforts to direct more of its funding to local organizations, the spending bill approved on Thursday by the Senate is sure to cause some headaches…” (Igoe, 1/17).

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Private Sector Leaders Say Business Must Engage In SDG Development

The Guardian: Sustainable development goals could be at risk by political squabbling
“The corporate sector is at risk of betraying both people and planet if it fails to engage in the political process behind the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the hidden message behind a clarion call from the B Team, including Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Sir Richard Branson and Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault, ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos. In an exclusive article for Guardian Sustainable Business, the B Team says business must engage in the development of the U.N.’s SDGs and show that the sector can be a force for good…” (Confino, 1/20).

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U.N., Partners Launch Program In Malawi To Prevent Childhood Stunting

U.N. News Centre: U.N. and partners launch new project to prevent stunting among children in Malawi
“A new United Nations-backed project is being launched today in Malawi to tackle stunting, which affects nearly one million children under the age of five in the southern African nation. The stunting prevention project is supported by the Government, as well as the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and other members of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative, and funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) at a cost of $10 million…” (1/22).

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WFP Running Out Of Food Aid, Urging Access For Humanitarian Shipments In CAR

News outlets report on the World Food Programme’s statement that food aid supplies for Central African Republic (CAR) are dwindling.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. says running out of food for Central Africa
“The United Nations said Monday it was running out of food for a growing number of homeless people in Central African Republic, with spreading unrest hobbling distribution efforts…” (1/20).

VOA News: WFP: Emergency Food Running Out in CAR
“The World Food Program warns it is running out of emergency food aid in Central African Republic. The U.N. agency says supply routes are blocked as fighting and insecurity worsen. WFP spokesperson Frances Kennedy says as the number of people in need has risen the amount of available food aid has declined…” (DeCapua, 1/20).

World Food Programme: WFP Running Out Of Food In Central African Republic Amid Widespread Bloodletting
“…WFP continues to urges all parties to the conflict to allow the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need. WFP is neutral and delivers assistance only on the basis of need…” (1/20).

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FAO Official Calls For Healthy, Sustainable Food Systems To Fight Hunger Worldwide

U.N. News Centre: Healthy and sustainable food systems key to fighting hunger, U.N. agency says
“Healthy people need healthy and sustainable food systems, the United Nations said today said calling for agricultural research and development to become more focused on nutrition, as well as local biodiversity and diversified farming systems…” (1/17).

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Antibiotic Resistance Poses Real Threat, Experts Say

Agence France-Presse: A world without antibiotics? The risk is real: experts
“Humans face the very real risk of a future without antibiotics, a world of plummeting life expectancy where people die from diseases easily treatable today, scientists say. Experts tracking the rise of drug resistance say years of health gains could be rolled back by mutating microbes that make illnesses more difficult and expensive to cure and carry a higher risk of death…” (Le Roux, 1/18).

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Stanford Team Travels To North Korea To Assess TB Situation

GlobalPost: Just how bad is tuberculosis in North Korea?
“…[I]t’s significant that since 2008, a team from Stanford University has been allowed to visit [North Korea] several times each year to help address the country’s soaring tuberculosis problem. They have even been allowed to set up a laboratory to test patients…” (Borowiec, 1/19).

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Zhejiang Province Is First In China To Relax Family Planning Policy

Wall Street Journal: China’s Zhejiang Becomes First Province to Loosen Family Planning Policy
“Eastern China’s Zhejiang province announced a loosening of its family planning policy on Friday, becoming the first province to make good on the Communist Party’s pledge to relax the country’s controversial one-child rule…” (Chin, 1/17).

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IPS Examines Challenges Of Providing Family Planning Services To Migratory Ethiopian Populations

Inter Press Service: Seasonal Migration Frustrates Ethiopia’s Family Planning
“…[B]ecause of the nomadic life of the community [in some parts of Ethiopia] it has been difficult for the government and community-based NGOs to provide family planning services…” (Gathigah, 1/20).

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Somali National AIDS Commission Participates In International AIDS Meeting

VOA News: Somalia Showcases Achievements in HIV/AIDS Awareness
“For the first time ever, the Somali National AIDS Commission participated in the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Cape Town, South Africa, last month. With over 7,000 leading scientists, policymakers, government leaders, and people living with HIV/AID in attendance, Somalia was able to showcase their achievements in HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment…” (Lewis, 1/17).

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AIDS-Related Stigma In Cameroon Proves To Be Public Health Problem

IRIN: Enduring HIV stigma in Cameroon
“People living with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon, which has the highest prevalence of the disease in West and Central Africa, endure widespread stigma, with some facing difficulties obtaining bank loans or suffering mistreatment at hospitals, patients and observers say…” (1/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Do More To Tackle Smoking Worldwide

Los Angeles Times: The global grip of cigarette smoking
Thomas Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics and development at the Council on Foreign Relations

“… [The] 1964 surgeon general’s report on smoking and health spurred profound and lasting changes in tobacco use and policies in the United States, but its call to action has gone unfulfilled internationally. In the intervening decades, smoking has expanded in developing countries and has had devastating consequences for the world’s poor. … [T]obacco use, which annually kills more people worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, is not even a line item in the $8 billion U.S. global health budget. … We can do better, at little cost. The mandate and resources of federal agencies should be increased to help developing countries build their own programs to tax and regulate tobacco, and to warn against smoking. Modest aid would go a long way; ultimately, those programs would generate sufficient revenues to be self-supporting…” (1/21).

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More Can Be Done To Help Children In Afghanistan

New York Times: Child Hunger in Afghanistan
Werner Schultink, chief of nutrition at UNICEF

Referring to a January 5 New York Times article on child nutrition in Afghanistan, Schultink writes, “Under the leadership of the Afghan government, last year UNICEF and partners treated some 185,000 children under five with acute malnutrition, of whom more than 61,000 were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, at more than 500 sites across Afghanistan. … There is also important work being undertaken to prevent malnutrition: promoting breast-feeding, the use of Vitamin A and micronutrient supplementation, and expanding access to health and nutrition services and education for the most vulnerable. … We all agree that more can and must be done to help the children of Afghanistan” (1/22).

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Global Community Must Implement 'Roadmap For Childhood TB'

Huffington Post: Creating a Global Roadmap to End Childhood TB
Stephan Rabimov, business development and marketing manager, International Management Development Program

“…As per international guidelines, young or HIV-infected children in contact with an adult with TB should be offered preventive treatment that can reduce the risk of their developing TB disease. However, in many limited-resource settings, this protocol is not followed and … [t]his is precisely why the burden of TB in children must be addressed. To build public awareness and offer a plan of action, in 2013 a group of seven partner organizations worked together to produce a new ‘Roadmap for Childhood Tuberculosis’ with leadership from the Stop TB Partnership’s Childhood TB Subgroup, the global umbrella that advocates for all TB-related topics. … The next challenge will be to see that the 10 steps for addressing childhood TB outlined in the roadmap are implemented…” (1/17).

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Pediatrician Examines Polio Outbreak In Syria

New York Review of Books: Syria’s Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth
Annie Sparrow, a critical-care pediatrician and public health professional, is assistant professor of global health and deputy director of the human rights program at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York

“One way to measure the horrific suffering of Syria’s increasingly violent war is through the experience of Syrian children. … In the midst of all this violence, it is easy to miss the health catastrophe that has also struck Syrian children, who must cope with war trauma, malnutrition, and stunted growth alongside collapsing sanitation and living conditions. Syria has become a cauldron of once-rare infectious diseases, with hundreds of cases of measles each month and outbreaks of typhoid, hepatitis, and dysentery. … And now polio is back…” (2/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Commits $175M To GAVI Alliance

In a press release, the GAVI Alliance announced the U.S. “has committed an additional $175 million toward funding global vaccine programs through the GAVI Alliance, the largest amount that the U.S. has ever appropriated to GAVI. The funds, part of the fiscal year 2014 U.S. budget, will be used to purchase and deliver life-saving vaccines in the world’s poorest countries…” (1/17).

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Gates Foundation, South Africa Partnership Will Maximize Research Capacity

“…Today’s announcement of two multi-year partnerships involving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — with the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and with the University of Cape Town — is further proof of the ambitious research agenda staked out by local scientists. This alliance, led by South African scientists and co-funded by the South African government, will focus on some of the most important research needed to tackle the continent’s biggest health challenges,” Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog (1/22).

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Blog, Feature Examine Role Of Aid In Haiti Since 2010 Earthquake

“…Looking at the four years that have elapsed since a violent earthquake shook Haiti to its core in 2010, the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Jake Johnston shows in painstaking detail how American corruption played a huge role in Haiti’s faltering reconstruction process,” journalist Ansel Herz writes in Humanosphere. He interviews Johnston in a Humanosphere podcast (Herz, 1/17). Johnston’s feature was published in the Boston Review. “…While bad governance, corruption, incompetent bureaucracy, power struggles, and waste contributed to the ineffective use of aid, what happened in Haiti has more to do with the damage caused by putting political priorities before the needs of those on the ground…” (Johnston, 1/16).

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Debunking Newborn Myths

In a post for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Gary Darmstadt, senior fellow for the foundation’s Global Development Program, makes a case for debunking newborn myths. He writes, “We now have the opportunity to build on the extraordinary advances made in maternal and child health, and more recently in newborn health. Just as in child health, so much can be done that is simple. We have successfully busted the myth that it is inherently hard, and too difficult and expensive to do. We are armed with the knowledge to make significant improvements in the lives of newborns and families around the world. It’s time to get on with scaling up these interventions to save newborn lives around the world” (1/22).

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Blog Examines Success Of Public-Private Partnerships

In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Wayne Madden, a member of Lions Clubs International, discusses the success of the GAVI Alliance and the importance of public-private partnerships. Madden advocates for these partnerships and writes, “[W]e know that we can serve many more people and impact countless more lives when we work together with exceptional partners like the GAVI Alliance” (1/20).

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'Science Speaks' Blog Examines Proposal Against South Africa's Draft IP Policy

The Center for Global Health Policy’s blog “Science Speaks” reports on a proposal prepared by U.S.-based PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and the South Africa-based IPASA (Innovative Pharmaceutical Association South Africa) in response to the South African government’s Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property (IP). The “proposal says a central message in the campaign against [South Africa’s IP] should stress the danger of rushing into a new policy, and the need to ‘slow down’…” (1/17).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 235 of its “Global Fund Observer.” The issue includes a commentary on country ownership, an analysis on grant renewals, and a news story on the health care worker shortage in Malawi, among others (1/21).

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