KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

NIH Still Feeling Budgetary Pinch, As Emergency Ebola Funding Excluded From Federal Spending Limits

The Lancet: NIH budget shrinks despite Ebola emergency funds
“…Congress narrowly approved the US$5.4 billion emergency Ebola funding contained in the $1.1 trillion spending bill that kept the U.S. government running. But so far, it has done little to loosen the budget constraints on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — even as a global health crisis such as Ebola reminded many lawmakers of its value. … Because the Ebola funding was designated for emergency purposes, it is excluded from federal spending limits, Adam Wexler, director of the Global Health Budget Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research organization, told The Lancet…” (Jaffe, 1/31).

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In Second Phase, 'Saving Lives At Birth' Grand Challenge To Focus On Transitioning Innovations To Scale

Devex: The next phase of Saving Lives at Birth
“A new call under the pioneering grand challenge seeking solutions that could save the lives of mothers and newborns could be out very soon, Devex has learned. … Under the relaunched, $50 million phase, Saving Lives at Birth will focus more on helping innovators transition to scale…” (Villarino, 1/29).

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Governments, International Organizations To Work On Plan To Rebuild Ebola-Hit West Africa At March Meeting

Reuters: March meeting to plan rebuilding of Ebola-hit states
“… ‘The plans at the moment are for a conference to look at the needs of reconstruction organized by the countries themselves, by the United Nations, by the African Union, and by the European Union,’ said David Nabarro, the U.N. special envoy on Ebola. He told Reuters on the sidelines of an African Union summit meeting in Addis Ababa the gathering was expected to be on March 3 in Brussels…” (Blair, 1/30).

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Underused Ebola Clinics In West Africa Could Be Used For Future Outbreaks

Foreign Policy: An Empty, Underused Medical Outpost Could Be the Future of the Ebola Fight
“…U.S.-built [Ebola] treatment centers are sitting mostly empty around [Liberia], prompting criticism that the large international response was too slow to be of any real use in the fight. The facilities could still be of value, though, because they increase the Liberian government’s capacity to deal with future cases on its own, and provide an opportunity to snuff out the disease locally before it has time to spread…” (Castner, 1/28).

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Shortage Of Sufficiently Trained Personnel Remains Challenge In Ebola-Hit West Africa

Devex: Training health workers yet another challenge in battling Ebola
“While the World Health Organization declared this week that the Ebola epidemic has finally reached a ‘turning point,’ international organizations working on the ground are struggling to cope with staffing challenges, including how to train the best foreign and local specialists to treat patients and — even more importantly — how to find time to do so…” (Jones, 1/29).

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Examining Cultural Beliefs, Providing Information Crucial To Successful Anti-Ebola Campaigns

IRIN: Ebola — is culture the real killer?
“…What is the value of ‘traditional beliefs’ when they are harmful: why can’t people just act more rationally? The simple answer is: ask the communities. The growing number of researchers that do, find that people are acting as responsibly as they can in desperate circumstances. The lack of a properly functioning Ebola response and weak health care services has forced communities into rough and ready self-reliance. Faced with hotlines going unanswered, overcrowded Ebola Treatment Units (ETU), militarized quarantine areas, communities are actually looking for more information, not less…” (Anyadike, 1/29).

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Despite Improvements In Somalia's Hunger Levels, 730K Face Acute Food Insecurity, U.N. Says

Agence France-Presse: Over 38,000 Somali children facing starvation: U.N.
“Over 38,000 Somali children are at ‘high risk’ from dying from starvation despite hunger levels improving by almost a third across the war-torn nation, U.N. experts said Thursday…” (1/29).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. forecasts ‘worrisome’ 2015 outlook on humanitarian front for Somalia
“…The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, said in a statement issued in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that about 730,000 Somalis face acute food insecurity, the vast majority internally displaced people (IDPs), while another 2.3 million people are at risk of sliding into the same situation…” (1/29).

VOA News: U.N.: Somalia Food Situation Improving, But Still at Risk
“…New figures released by the FAO on Wednesday show … that the number of people facing a food crisis has declined over the past six months by around 30 percent. But these improvements may be temporary. Nina Dodd, who works with the U.N. Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, pointed out that other key indicators, such as child malnutrition, have not been improving. In some places, she said, they have actually been getting worse…” (Heuler, 1/29).

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Health Care Services, Clean Water Access Declining In ISIS-Controlled Areas Of Iraq, Country's Health Ministry Confirms

SciDev.Net: ISIS-held Iraq plagued by health problems
“Residents of Iraqi areas under Islamic State (ISIS) control are suffering from health problems due to a breakdown in local health services, shortages of medicines, and contaminated drinking water. Iraq’s Ministry of Health has confirmed that health care is declining in areas held by the militant Islamic group…” (Fakhir, 1/30).

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Relaxation Of One-Child Policy In Shanghai Prompting Few Women To Have Second Child

New York Times: In Shanghai, Easing of One-Child Rule Isn’t Seen as Cure for Challenges Ahead
“…With one of the lowest fertility rates in China and the country’s fastest-aging population, the city is growing anxious about the demographic and social welfare challenges ahead, researchers say. Under relaxed family planning rules put in place in Shanghai in early 2014, 90 percent of the city’s women of childbearing age are eligible to have a second child. But so far, only five percent have applied for permission to do so, said Fan Hua of the city’s Commission of Health and Family Planning…” (Piao, 1/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must Recognize Investment In Biomedical Research Now Will Pay Off In Future Outbreaks

The Hill: Will support for biomedical research be dead on arrival?
Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

“…The investments that the NIH and other U.S. funders made in the 1990s are paying off today … But I worry about the future. If it takes 15-to-25 years for fundamental discoveries to turn into clinical cures, where will the cures come from 15-to-25 years from now? Obama has asked Congress to support proposals to increase funding for biomedical research, a move that he argues will usher in a ‘new era in medicine’ … Will this proposal too be D.O.A.? Or will legislators see the folly in chasing diseases like AIDS and Ebola from behind and recommit to adequate and predictable funding of the full spectrum of biomedical research?” (1/29).

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Upcoming Delhi Conference Presents Opportunity To Review, Strengthen Global Strategy For Women, Children, Adolescents

The Lancet: Women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health: who will lead?
Editorial Board

“…In less than a month in Delhi, India (Feb. 26–27), a consultation will take place on transitioning the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (2010-15) into a post-2015 environment. … Although these changes should ensure a much stronger post-2015 environment for women and children, some issues still need to be addressed. First, the incorporation of existing child health initiatives into the global strategy. … The second issue … is global governance. A contest exists between the major players, and who is leading and coordinating is unclear. … The upcoming Delhi meeting presents an opportunity to review progress and, more importantly, fix the existing global leadership vacuum for women, children, and adolescents…” (1/31).

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International Community Should Place Elimination Of Hunger, Malnutrition At Center Of SDGs

Huffington Post: Developing New Strategies for Nourishing the World
Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute

“…The need for a healthy and inclusive global food system that can sustainably meet the world’s growing demand was central to many of the discussions I had at Davos. To be more specific, we must reshape agriculture for improved nutrition and health and environmental sustainability. … [C]ountries must lead the way. But one way the international community can support country-led initiatives is by placing the elimination of hunger and malnutrition at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals. Doing so will help achieve dignity for all, grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy, and ensure healthy lives…” (1/29).

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Improved Education, Alternative Prevention Methods Can Reduce Malaria Bed Net Misuse

Huffington Post: Education, Follow-up Helps Prevent Bed Net Misuse
Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications

“Bed nets intended to prevent malaria are used in fishing communities in Zambia to fish for food, which is sold in the local market, according to a report in the New York Times. … The root of the problem is food self-sufficiency and a healthy local economy. It’s compounded by lack of awareness of the harm done to fish stocks. The story also points to the need for alternatives to nets where practical and for more education. … Disease, poverty, education, food sufficiency, and environmental stewardship are interrelated, complex human concerns. We are challenged by them to find life-enhancing solutions…” (1/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Tsetse Fly Impacts Development In Africa, Working Paper Shows

Humanosphere: This insect is causing a lot of problems in Africa (and it’s not the mosquito)
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy highlights the tsetse fly’s impact in Africa, as discussed in a working paper by Marcella Alsan. “…By taking a historical look at progress in Africa, economist [and physician] Marcella Alsan discovered that there is a significant difference between areas where the tsetse fly were found and areas where they were not. Areas of pre-colonial Africa with greater tsetse fly density saw lower populations and fewer livestock. The impacts continue in the regions until present day…” (1/29).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash discusses closing the treatment gap for children with HIV, the role of midwives in efforts to eliminate malaria in Myanmar, and the Fund’s 2015 strategic review (1/29).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 259 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features several news articles, including two pieces discussing services targeting the Roma population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a commentary on the new funding model and key populations in Africa, among other articles (1/29).

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