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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

White House Plans To Request More Funding To Develop Antibiotics, 'Address Global Threat Of Infectious Disease'

CQ HealthBeat: Obama to Seek Funding Boost for Antibiotic Development
“The health care portion of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was mostly focused on a call for more research dollars for ‘precision medicine.’ But the new plan will also fund efforts to fight antibiotic resistance — an area that’s getting renewed attention in Congress … According to background documents, the president’s plan will include a provision to ‘help address the global threat of infectious disease created by rampant spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria’ by doubling federal investment in antibiotic discovery…” (Gustin, 1/26).

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USAID Ramps Up Efforts To Inform, Educate Liberian Public About Ebola

Devex: USAID broadens effort to correct Ebola misinformation in Liberia
“In the scramble to reach the most remote residents of Ebola-hit Liberia, the U.S. Agency for International Development has signed on Mercy Corps as lead in a consortium of more than 70 other organizations to spread information about the disease to the country’s farthest-flung areas, and to correct misinformation along the way…” (Anders, 1/26).

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As New Ebola Cases Drop, Focus Turns To Recovery Of Health Systems, Economies In West Africa

IRIN: After Ebola: What next for West Africa’s health systems
“As rates of Ebola infection fall in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, planning has begun on how to rebuild public health systems and learn lessons from the outbreak…” (Anyadike, 1/26).

Reuters: Post-Ebola plan needed to avert ‘double disaster’ in West Africa: Oxfam
“The three West African countries worst hit by Ebola risk a ‘double disaster’ unless a multi-million dollar plan is put in place to help their economies recover, Oxfam said on Tuesday. In Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, people were struggling to make ends meet having seen their incomes plummet, the aid agency said…” (Mis, 1/26).

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Vigilance Must Remain High, Gaps Filled In West African Ebola Response, MSF Says

The Hill: Groups warn ‘critical gaps remain’ in Ebola response
“One of the largest groups fighting Ebola in West Africa is warning the world not to slow down its response to the disease even as the number of cases continues to plummet across the region…” (Ferris, 1/26).

Reuters: Single new case can reignite Ebola outbreak if vigilance lost, says MSF
“…The downward trend of new cases in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone should be used as an opportunity to focus efforts on addressing weaknesses in the response, otherwise progress made in stemming the deadly virus would be jeopardized, [Médecins Sans Frontières] said. … MSF said that there was almost no information sharing between the three worst-affected countries about tracing people who might have been in contact with Ebola patients…” (Mis, 1/26).

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Scientists Question Whether Ebola Immunity Contributing To Decline In Case Numbers

Reuters: Scientists ask if Ebola immunizes as well as kills
“…So-called ‘asymptomatic’ Ebola cases — in which someone is exposed to the virus, develops antibodies, but doesn’t get sick or suffer symptoms — are hotly disputed among scientists, with some saying their existence is little more than a pipe dream. Yet if, as some studies suggest, such cases do occur in epidemics of the deadly disease, they may be a key factor in ending outbreaks more swiftly by giving secret protection to those lucky enough to be able to bat the infection away…” (Kelland/Farge, 1/27).

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Pfizer Announces 6% Pneumococcal Vaccine Price Cut At Gavi Pledging Conference; Critics Say Reduction Not Enough

The Guardian: Vaccine price cut pledge not enough, critics tell Pfizer
“…At a donor conference in Berlin hosted by Angela Merkel to raise funds for the global vaccines alliance Gavi, Pfizer offered to cut the price [of its pneumococcal vaccine] from $3.30 a dose to $3.10. Each child needs three doses. The other company making the vaccine, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, said it would freeze the price for 10 years for middle-income countries that lose Gavi funding because of their increasing wealth…” (Boseley, 1/26).

Reuters: Pfizer cuts vaccine price for poor as Gavi group seeks $7.5 bln
“…Pfizer’s move comes as Gavi holds a major funding conference in Berlin at which it hopes to raise $7.5 billion from donors to pay for increased deployment of vaccines in the developing world between 2016 and 2020. The final amounted raised will be decided at the end of talks on Tuesday, although Gavi Chief Executive Seth Berkley said he was confident there would be enough money to immunize another 300 million children as planned…” (Hirschler, 1/26).

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In Landmark Ruling, Egyptian Doctor Convicted Of Manslaughter In Death Of Girl Following FGM

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Egypt doctor convicted over girl’s death in landmark FGM case
“An Egyptian doctor has been convicted of manslaughter after a 13-year-old girl died in a botched female genital mutilation procedure, campaigners said on Monday following the country’s first FGM trial. Equality Now called the ruling a ‘monumental victory’ for women and girls in a country which has one of the world’s highest prevalence rates of FGM…” (Batha, 1/26).

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Lack Of Sanitation, Clean Water Access Responsible For More Deaths In Nigeria Than Terrorism, WaterAid Says

Bloomberg News: Know What’s Killing More People in Nigeria Than Boko Haram? Lack of Drinking Water
“The lack of running water killed more people in Nigeria last year than Boko Haram. While the terror campaign claimed more than 4,000 lives, the shortage of potable water and poor sanitation led to about 73,000 deaths, according to WaterAid, a London-based nonprofit…” (Ibukun/Kay, 1/26).

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Awareness, Treatment Of Obstetric Fistula Gaining Ground In Nepal

The Guardian: Nepal’s ‘poor woman’s problem’: how obstetric fistula blights lives
“…Though exact numbers are hard to come by, it is estimated that hundreds of women in Nepal’s rural hinterlands are afflicted with this condition because of inadequate maternal care, underage pregnancy, or prolonged or obstructed labor. … Last year, the Nepalese government finally allocated funds for the eradication of fistula, after almost four years’ campaigning by international organizations such as the U.N. population fund, UNFPA, to make it a national priority…” (Rafiqui, 1/26).

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Asia's Largest Vaccine Maker Developing Low-Cost HPV, Diarrheal, Pneumococcal Vaccines

Bloomberg Businessweek: Top-Selling Vaccine Made Cheap Shows Challenge to Merck: Health
“…Serum Institute of India Ltd., which makes vaccines injected in 65 percent of the world’s children, is targeting newer vaccines, including one for the human papillomavirus that could be available in late 2018 and sell at a third of the price of Merck & Co.’s blockbuster Gardasil. Also in development are vaccines for types of severe diarrhea and pneumonia…” (Gokhale, 1/26).

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Whole Plant Artemisia Better Malaria Treatment In Mice Than Refined Active Ingredient, Study Shows

New York Times: Hold the Drug, Go Straight to the Source
“Ground-up artemisia plants, from which the anti-malaria drug artemisinin is derived, appear to work much better than the refined drug does by itself, according to research at the University of Massachusetts…” (McNeil, 1/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Asia-Pacific Region Can Improve Investments To Help End AIDS Epidemic

Jakarta Globe: Asia-Pacific Can Lead World to End AIDS Epidemic
Shamshad Akhtar, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director

“…Ending the AIDS epidemic in Asia and the Pacific is possible, as long as countries have the courage and wisdom to take the right kinds of action. Governments must invest significantly more in the AIDS response. They must increase the impact of their investments by refocusing their efforts on the people at higher risk of HIV infection. Finally, they must promote scientific innovation and affordable access to life-saving medicine. Such bold actions will not only accelerate the progress made in Asia and the Pacific in responding to HIV in the new millennium; they will also help propel the world to end the AIDS epidemic, once and for all” (1/26).

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Increased Resources, Political Will To Bolster Small-Scale Agriculture Can Prevent Food Insecurity In Post-Ebola West Africa

Huffington Post: After Ebola: Why Rural Development Matters in a Time of Crisis
Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development

“…A food crisis seems increasingly likely to follow in the wake of the [Ebola] epidemic, which has devastated small-scale farmers. Without investment in their long-term development, farming households — and West Africa’s future food security — will remain at risk. … Investing in rural men, women, and children is what institutions like IFAD do every day. But there must be a significant increase in both resources and political will. Governments, development agencies, the private sector, and others all have roles to play. With long-term rural investment, we can shift from a crisis-to-crisis approach by taking measures that sustainably reduce poverty, ensure food security, and promote social development in vulnerable communities…” (1/26).

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10 Advances In Global Health, Vaccinations For 2015

Huffington Post: 2015: Full Speed Ahead
Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…I compiled a quick list of the 10 advances in global health and vaccinations I would like to see in 2015: 1. A fully-funded Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; 2. An end to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa; 3. An overhaul of cold chain equipment around the world; 4. Better immunization data; 5. Pentavalent vaccine for developing countries at less than $1.00 per dose; 6. An end to transmission of Poliovirus in Africa; 7. Expanded use of HPV vaccines as part of comprehensive cervical cancer prevention programs; 8. Better use of vital registration and unique identifiers; 9. Improved protection against epidemic-prone diseases; 10. Greater focus on coverage equity and new vaccine introduction in big countries…” (1/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, President's Malaria Initiative Discuss NYT Article On Malaria Bednet Misuse

Malaria Matters: Insecticide treated nets, a fishy subject
In his blog, Bill Brieger of Johns Hopkins University discusses the New York Times article and writes insecticide-treated net misuse “will persist until national malaria control programs focus less on the total numbers of nets distributed and more on the actual factors that influence net use” (1/26).

New York Times “Times Insider”: African Mosquitoes, Toxic Nets
“The Times’s East Africa bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, wrote on Sunday about one of the continent’s biggest recent public health campaigns — and its surprising unintended consequences. He explains his personal experience with mosquito nets and provides insight, and empathy, into inadvertent trouble that results from mosquito nets intended to defend against malaria…” (1/26).

President’s Malaria Initiative: PMI Statement on Misuse of Bednets
Referencing the New York Times article, the statement notes, “The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has a shared concern about the use of any long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito net (LLIN) for anything other than their intended purpose of protection from malaria. … While the extent of LLIN misuse for fishing is unknown, the examples of misuse outlined in the article are of real concern and clearly driven by economics and food security concerns within these communities near bodies of water” (1/24).

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Data-Driven Approach Critical To Refocusing HIV/AIDS Response In Malawi

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: 2014: A pivotal year for the HIV response in Malawi
Beth A. Tippett Barr, chief of health services at CDC Malawi, discusses efforts by CDC, PEPFAR, the Malawi government, and other stakeholders to revise their 2014 annual plan with a focus on how data can inform their HIV/AIDS response. “…The data are complex and the road ahead still difficult, but for the first time in more than three decades, a clear end to the HIV epidemic is in sight” (1/26).

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India Setting Targets, Taking Actions To Reduce NCD Burden In Country

World Health Organization: India: first to adapt the Global Monitoring Framework on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
This feature discusses the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India and the country’s response. According to the piece, “…[T]he Government of India is taking immediate action and targeting the greatest risk factors contributing to NCDs — unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, and air pollution. … In line with WHO’s Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020, India is the first country to develop specific national targets and indicators aimed at reducing the number of global premature deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by 2025…” (January 2015).

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