KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines New Funding Models For Global Tuberculosis Response

Devex: Looking for new funding models to address an ancient problem
“The global tuberculosis response has consistently suffered funding shortages, which contributed to the disease surpassing AIDS in 2014 as the world’s leading infectious killer. Now — in a bid to end the pandemic by 2035 — a new strategy is looking to alternative funding sources and new spending models that will help officials better take advantage of the available resources…” (Green, 1/7).

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NEJM Studies Show Promise In Malaria Regimen For Ebola Treatment, Failure Of Survivors' Blood To Help Patients, Differences In Survival Rates Between Sexes

News outlets report on several articles looking at various Ebola treatment outcomes that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Agence France-Presse: Shortage of malaria drug points to better tool vs Ebola
“…The results of a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine show that Ebola patients given an anti-malarial drug called artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) had a 31 percent lower risk of dying than those given the standard treatment for the mosquito-borne disease…” (Sheridan, 1/6).

Associated Press: Study: Ebola survivors’ blood didn’t help patients in Guinea
“…At a clinic in the capital Conakry, scientists found no difference in survival between 84 patients who got survivor blood compared to about 400 patients treated some five months earlier, according to the study published in New England Journal of Medicine…” (Cheng, 1/6).

CIDRAP News: Ebola studies pan convalescent plasma, find hope for malaria regimen
“…Both studies were published today in the latest online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), alongside a shorter report on gender differences during the Ebola outbreak, such as higher survival rates in female patients…” (Schnirring, 1/6).

The Guardian: Search for Ebola cure goes on as remedy based on survivors’ blood underwhelms (O’Carroll, 1/6).

New York Times: Ebola Treatment Using Plasma From Survivors Is Not Effective, Study Says (Fink, 1/6).

Reuters Health: Blood plasma from Ebola survivors fails to prevent deaths in field study (Emery, 1/6).

Science: Plasma transfusions can’t combat Ebola (Enserink, 1/6).

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NIH To Discuss New Independent Assessment Of Potentially Risky Viral Research

NPR: Debate Over Bird Flu Research Moratorium Flares Up Again
“…[W]hen [Rocco] Casagrande saw the government wanted someone to do an independent assessment of the benefits and risks [of some types of viral research], his company Gryphon Scientific applied for the job. … His team’s report is over 1,000 pages long, and will be discussed Thursday and Friday at the National Institutes of Health, which is holding a meeting of a government advisory committee called the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity…” (Greenfieldboyce, 1/7).

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Drought, Conflict Exacerbating Food Shortages, Hunger In Ethiopia, South Sudan

Los Angeles Times: People are starving in East Africa — again — as the world looks away
“Humanitarian groups are growing increasingly concerned about two hunger emergencies unfolding in East Africa — one caused by drought, the other by war. Millions of people in Ethiopia and South Sudan are short on food, international agencies say, and in South Sudan, conflict has made it difficult for outside groups to help…” (Dixon, 1/6).

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Gavi CEO Berkley, India PM Modi Meet To Discuss 5-Year Strategic Partnership

PTI/Economic Times: Gavi CEO meets PM, discusses strategic partnership in vaccine
“Gavi, a global vaccine alliance, proposes to have a new strategic partnership with India for 2016-2021, which will see further fund support of up to $500 million to accelerate the introduction of modern vaccines for all children in the country. The issue was discussed when Chief Executive Officer of Gavi Seth Berkley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. They discussed innovation in vaccines and implementation of childhood immunization in India…” (1/6).

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Philippines Legislature Removes Contraceptive Funding From National Budget, Health Secretary Says

Agence France-Presse/The Guardian: Philippines axes contraceptive budget
“The legislature in the mainly Catholic Philippines has axed the government’s budget for contraceptives, despite a law mandating that the state should provide them to the poor. The health secretary, Janette Garin, confirmed on Wednesday that the department’s 2016 budget for contraceptives had been scrapped when it passed through congress. … She said the department would seek private donors to provide funds for contraceptives…” (1/6).

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Brazil Lowers Number Of HPV, Pneumonia Vaccine Doses Available Through Public Health Service To Reduce Costs

Reuters: Brazil cuts vaccine doses as health system under pressure
“Brazil has cut the number of doses for vaccinations given by the public health service to counter human papillomavirus (HPV) and pneumonia, as Latin America’s largest economy looks to reduce health costs in the midst of a deep recession. In a statement late Tuesday, the Health Ministry said the changes were ‘routine’ and would not alter the efficacy of the vaccinations but also noted the cost of the national program had risen 140 percent over the past five years…” (Eisenhammer, 1/6).

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Nearly 1 In 7 People At Risk Of Malaria In India, WHO Report Shows

TNN/Times of India: 1 in 7 Indians is at risk of malaria, says WHO report
“The World Health Organization says close to one in seven people in India are at risk of contracting malaria. … The report, based on the data collated by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), says of the 138 million people who doctors suspected to have malaria in the country, 1.102 million were confirmed cases…” (John, 1/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Action Against Climate Change Can Result In Health, Economic Benefits

Huffington Post: Action on Climate Change Creates a Circle for Health and Economic Growth
Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general for family, women’s, and children’s health, and vice chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, incoming chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[C]ountries that take the most assertive action to reduce climate pollutants of all sorts — short and long-lived — may also benefit the most health-wise, socially, very immediately, and in terms of their economic growth. … The savings in health and health care costs enjoyed by shifting to low-carbon and renewable energy sources have been estimated in the trillions of dollars by the International Monetary Fund, offsetting by far the costs of new investments. And a healthier population can help spur healthy economic growth — growth delinked from carbon emissions. … [B]y cutting carbon emissions, countries can save lives and free up huge sums to help finance action against climate change. These are compelling reasons to make health a cornerstone of the work that begins in the new reality introduced by the COP21 Paris Agreement” (12/31).

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BRICS Nations Can Prove Important Allies In Ending NTDs By 2020

Devex: BRICS champion the fight to end neglected tropical diseases
Mirta Roses Periago, special envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases and former director of the Pan American Health Organization

“…The BRICS deserve credit for the progress they have made in fighting NTDs at home, and I am confident they will continue to lead by example. They can also help knock out diseases in other countries with quick action to transform their knowledge and resources into policy and implementation. One key mechanism could be the formation of an NTD Working Group, which would be tasked with developing a concrete action plan for cooperation against NTDs. Here are a few more ways that the BRICS can take action: 1. Replicate successful south-south cooperation models. … 2. Explore innovative financing mechanisms. … 3. Maximize impact through cross-sectoral approaches. … The year 2016 is a critical time in moving forward the NTD agenda to see the end of these diseases by 2020. With new allies like the BRICS coming on board, I am optimistic that this renewed sense of energy and commitment can help us bring one step closer to that goal” (1/6).

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International Community Must Reverse Decline In Aid To LDCs To Eradicate Extreme Poverty By 2030

The Guardian: The aid pie is growing, but the poorest countries get a smaller slice
Adrian Lovett, Europe executive director at ONE

“…It is especially dangerous to be cutting aid to [least developed countries (LDCs)] just as the new global goals for sustainable development kick off. This is supposed to be the year when the fight against extreme poverty gets a turbo boost, to set us on track to eradicate it by 2030. World leaders committed to this at the U.N. last year … [and] also recognized the need to focus international aid, pledging to reverse the decline in aid to LDCs. Instead, they appear to be doing the opposite. They should start by pledging half of aid to LDCs. These countries have the fewest resources to lift themselves out of poverty, and the greatest need, and will require significant external support for some time to come. Donor countries must target their aid to the world’s poorest. Only then will we stand a chance of reaching the lofty goals leaders agreed to last year, goals that billions of people are counting on” (1/7).

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Middle East Can Play 'Critical Role' In Global Health Care Research

Project Syndicate: A Middle East Health Care Revolution
Bryan Spielman, executive vice president of Medidata

“…With the right policy mix and enough political will, the Middle East could become an important part of the world for health care research. In particular, it has a critical role to play regarding pharmaceutical clinical trials designed to investigate the influence of patients’ region of ancestry on the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of treatments. … Establishing [these efforts] in the Middle East will require collaboration among pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, governments, and health care providers. … [B]y developing its ability to make medical advances, the region could become a world leader in deepening our understanding of the role of genetics in the safety and efficacy of medical treatments” (12/29).

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Myanmar Should Commit To Improving Its Biosecurity

Bangkok Post: Bolstering Myanmar’s biosecurity
Kyaw San Wai, senior analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

“…While [ratifying the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)] is an important step in improving [Myanmar’s] biosecurity, more must be done. … Myanmar’s public health challenges, geography, and increasing interconnectivity all contribute to the need for robust biosecurity capacities. … There are a number of platforms that Myanmar can use to bolster its biosecurity capacities. The newly launched Global Health Security Agenda, which focuses on preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats and includes many of Myanmar’s neighbors, is one. … [I]mproving the country’s biosecurity capacities will go a long way and have multiple benefits, contributing to public health, scientific innovation, and national security” (1/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Shares 15 Highlights From Agency's 2015 Global Health Efforts

USAID: A Year in Review: 2015
USAID shares 15 “key global health events, milestones, and highlights from the past 12 months [describing the agency’s efforts] to end preventable child and maternal deaths, create an AIDS-free generation, and protect communities from infectious diseases, all in support of a world free of extreme poverty…” (December 2015).

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'Science Speaks' Examines 2 Articles On Public Health, Economic Impacts Of HIV Efforts

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Modeling does the math to add up impacts of HIV answers in the works
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” examines two recently released papers that discuss the public health and economic impacts of HIV efforts. The first paper “examines not only the value of a future vaccine, but also how many moving parts of existing interventions … affect outcomes of efforts now.” The second paper discusses the potential value of long-acting PrEP for women who are at high risk of HIV infection in South Africa (1/6).

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Nations Respond To Antibiotic Resistance Arising From Use Among Livestock

National Geographic’s “Germination”: Last-Ditch Drug Resistance: China and Europe Respond
Maryn McKenna, journalist and author, discusses antibiotic use among agricultural animals, focusing on colistin, “the only antibiotic that works against a growing category of serious infections,” and several nations’ responses to antibiotic resistance arising from use among livestock (1/6).

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