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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Guinea Worm Infections Among Dogs Could Foil Eradication Efforts, Researchers Say

Nature: Dogs Thwart Effort to Eradicate Guinea Worm
“…Researchers and officials strongly suspect that dogs are spreading [Guinea worm] to humans; now the race is on to understand how this might happen, as well as how dogs acquire the infection in the first place. The World Health Organization is unlikely to declare Guinea worm eradicated until the parasite has stopped spreading in dogs, says [David Molyneaux, a parasitologist at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine], who is part of the commission that will make that decision…” (Callaway, 1/5).

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Chinese Couples Will Not Need Approval For Second Child Under Further Relaxation Of Reproductive Policy

Reuters: China says couples will not need approval to have two children
“China will not require prospective parents to obtain approval to have two children under the new ‘two-child policy,’ in what appears to be a further relaxation of reproductive controls in the world’s most populous country. … The two-child policy is itself a relaxation of the ‘one-child policy’ that led to forced abortions and infanticides for decades…” (Rose, 1/5)

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Drug Resistance Poses Obstacle To Malaria Elimination Goal

Slate: The World Can Eliminate Malaria
“…The eradication of malaria is theoretically possible, but the last mile of this race is likely to be the toughest, in large part because of the speed of drug resistance. … Despite the looming challenges, there’s still optimism on the ground…” (Keating, 1/5).

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Health Officials Raise Alarms Over Zika, Dengue Outbreaks In Brazil

Wall Street Journal: Brazil Grapples With Spread of Zika Virus and Dengue Fever
“…International health officials say Brazil’s Zika outbreak is the largest so far in the world, although exact figures aren’t available because not everyone who contracts Zika obtains medical care. … Meanwhile, Brazil’s dengue outbreak has reached epidemic proportions…” (Johnson/Jelmayer, 1/5).

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Needle-Sharing Among Drug Users Spreading HIV In Philippines' Cebu City

The Atlantic: The City at the Heart of the Philippines’s HIV Epidemic
“…In 2014, the Cebu HIV/AIDS Registry reported that 74 percent of the city’s 1,366 recorded HIV infections were due to needle-sharing. The [Department of Health] estimates that more than 50 percent of the roughly 6,000 intravenous-drug users in Cebu and its neighboring cities are positive for HIV. Needle disposal has become a public health problem: In some areas, used syringes dot the streets…” (Santos, 1/5).

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Access To Mental Health Services Limited In Congo

IRIN: Grappling with mental health challenges in Congo
“…Despite the high needs, provision of mental health services is limited [in Congo]. Less than one percent of the government’s health budget goes towards it. There are six mental health hospitals in the entire country and only one mental health outpatient facility, in the capital, Kinshasa…” (Moloo, 1/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Israel Should Engage In R&D Efforts To Address Infectious Disease Threats Likely To Emerge From Conflict-Ridden Regions

Jerusalem Post: Israel’s special role in global health science and diplomacy
Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and U.S. State Department science envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, and Zvi Bentwich, head of the Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS (CEMTA) at Ben Gurion University

“…One reason Israeli science should take note of [the shortcomings in global response capabilities to public health emergencies] is the vulnerability of the Middle East and North African region to lethal epidemics of neglected tropical diseases. Although we designate such infections as ‘tropical’ the truth is that diseases such as Ebola emerge primarily in the setting of extreme poverty together with breakdowns of public health infrastructure linked to conflict or post-conflict. … Israel boasts the highest-ranked research universities and institutes in the Middle East, so we could look to them for taking leadership in global health vaccines. However, they may not have the product development infrastructure to do this alone. Instead Israel has the opportunity to collaborate with more than a dozen so-called product development partnerships — PDPs — which are international non-profit organizations that use industry practices to make neglected disease drugs and vaccines. … Israel now has [an] opportunity to engage in producing biotechnologies to combat infectious disease threats that will almost surely emerge in conflict-ridden Syria, Iraq, and Libya and ultimately advance to threaten Israel and the entire region” (1/5).

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Achieving SDGs, Paris Agreement Requires Ongoing Commitment From International Community

Huffington Post: A New Year for Sustainable Development and Public Health
Linda P. Fried, dean and DeLamar professor of public health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

“2016 begins with two historic global agreements shaping sustainable development as never before. … The challenge of public health in the 21st century is to maximize population health, and the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] and the Paris Agreement offer a roadmap to health and security for all nations. … The test now is in the implementation of these agreements and fulfillment of their extraordinary potential — it’s crucial that the global community’s engagement in the adoption process translates to an ongoing commitment to achieve them. These two global agreements underscore the magnitude of the challenge of maximizing and protecting population health. That’s a challenge that the field of public health recognizes well — and one that requires the commitment of the entire world” (1/5).

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Children In Conflict Settings 'Should Not Be Forgotten,' New UNICEF U.K. President Says

Huffington Post: In My New Role, Children Across the World Who Face Violence, Disease, Hunger, and the Chaos of War Are at the Front of My Mind
Kirsty Young, president of UNICEF U.K.

“…This year, in my new role for UNICEF U.K., children across the world who face violence, disease, hunger, and the chaos of war are at the front of my mind. … I’m so proud to become the president of UNICEF U.K., which works tirelessly to ensure more of the world’s children are fed, vaccinated, educated, and protected than any other organization. … Over six and a half million children in Syria and across the region are in urgent need of aid. … Up to a million children are trapped by fighting inside the country, cut off from lifesaving supplies. In countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, more than one and a half million child refugees are struggling to cope in terrible conditions. The personal stories of these children should not be forgotten … As I settle into my new role, I look forward to working on projects that will help shine a light on children … and the danger they face” (1/6).

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'meHealth' Interventions Require Customized Designs To Help Reach AIDS-Free Generation

Devex: ‘meHealth’ for HIV in Africa
Jesse Coleman, mHealth program manager at Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute and researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand

“What in the world is ‘meHealth’? It’s the combination of mHealth and e-health technologies and services to give personalized health support to anyone in the health system … In the simplest terms, meHealth is about communicating information within a health care system to improve desirable health outcomes. … There is much about meHealth that we do not yet understand — from knowing what is the right ‘dosage’ of information via SMS to gauging how we can best support key populations with meHealth. If we are serious about reaching an AIDS-free generation, we should scale up interventions when we know they work, and continue to relentlessly pursue a deeper understanding of the different human contexts around interventions for which we still do not have answers” (1/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Gerson, Shah Write About Evidence-Based Foreign Assistance Efforts In New Book Chapter

ONE Blog: Michael Gerson on transforming foreign assistance with evidence
Michael Gerson, a nationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, senior adviser to the ONE Campaign, and senior fellow with Results for America, discusses a chapter he authored with former USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah for the second edition of the book Moneyball for Government. “Our chapter, titled ‘Foreign Assistance and the Revolution of Rigor,’ provides a bipartisan roadmap for result-oriented foreign assistance,” Gerson writes, adding, “In our Moneyball chapter, Raj and I call for data and evidence to drive U.S. foreign aid and we highlight seven best practices in foreign assistance for policymakers to follow…” (1/5).

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World Bank Health Specialist, Consultants Discusses Lessons From Nigeria's Responses To Polio, Ebola

World Bank’s “Investing in Health”: Nigeria’s seven lessons from polio and Ebola response
Ayodeji Oluwole Odutolu, senior health specialist in the Africa region at the World Bank, and Ritgak Dimka and Mayowa Oluwatosin Alade, both health, nutrition, and population consultants at the World Bank, discuss lessons from Nigeria’s experience with and responses to the polio and Ebola epidemics (1/5).

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Efforts To Eliminate Ebola Continue In West Africa

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: As Ebola transmission in Guinea ends, Liberia counts down again, and a Public Health Emergency of International Concern continues
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses Ebola elimination efforts in West African nations, including the WHO’s most recent report on the outbreak (1/5).

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