KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Validates Cuba As First Nation To Eliminate Mother-To-Child HIV, Syphilis Transmission

News outlets report on the WHO’s validation of Cuba as the first nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV and syphilis transmission.

Agence France-Presse: Cuba becomes first nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV
“Cuba on Tuesday became the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, the World Health Organization said…” (6/30).

The Guardian: Cuba first to ​eliminate mother-to-baby HIV transmission
“…The WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, said it was ‘one of the greatest public health achievements possible’ and an important step towards an AIDS-free generation…” (O’Carroll, 6/30).

Inter Press Service: Cuba: Blazing a Trail in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
“…Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé said in a press release [Tuesday], ‘This is a celebration for Cuba and a celebration for children and families everywhere. It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children’…” (D’Almeida, 6/30).

New York Times: Cuba Wins WHO Certification It Ended Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
“…[T]he WHO allows countries that achieve only 95 percent of elimination targets to be certified; in 2013, five Cuban babies were born with HIV or syphilis. Cuba was the first country to request the certification, according to a spokeswoman for the Pan American Health Organization, the WHO’s Western Hemisphere branch. More than 20 others have since asked, she added, and those next in line are Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Thailand…” (McNeil, 6/30).

Reuters: Cuba named first country to end mother-to-child HIV transmission
“…The PAHO and WHO credited Cuba with offering women early access to prenatal care, HIV and syphilis testing, and treatment for mothers who test positive. The two organizations began an effort to end congenital transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba and other countries in the Americas in 2010” (Hamre, 6/30).

ScienceInsider: Cuba nearly eliminates mother-to-child HIV infections
“…Although Cuba is a relatively small country with an extremely low prevalence of HIV — it has fewer than 4,000 HIV-infected women — Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne called this ‘a truly historic accomplishment.’ Etienne said Cuba’s elimination of MTCT of HIV and syphilis ‘provides inspiration for other countries’…” (Cohen, 6/30).

U.N. News Centre: Cuba becomes first country to halt mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis — U.N. health agency
“…[A]t present, an estimated 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant every year, and untreated, they have a 15-45 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding, according to WHO…” (6/30).

Washington Post: An important victory against AIDS: Cuba first to ​end mother-to-child transmission of HIV
“…The milestone is a key step toward eradicating the virus even without a cure, an idea that was once considered a pipe dream but that in recent years has been considered a realistic goal by world leaders…” (Cha, 6/30).

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2nd Ebola Case Confirmed In Previously Disease-Free Liberia; At Least 33 People Under Quarantine

Agence France-Presse: Liberia announces return of Ebola
“Liberia announced the return of Ebola on Tuesday following the death of a 17-year-old boy, dealing a worrying blow to the country’s recovery three months after its last known case…” (Dosso, 6/30).

The Hill: Ebola returns to virus-free Liberia
“…The fresh case, which officials warned could happen, demonstrates the difficulty in eradicating a highly contagious disease like Ebola from a region as densely populated as West Africa…” (Ferris, 6/30).

New York Times: New Cases of Ebola Put an End to Liberia’s Status as Virus-Free
“…Late Tuesday, a person connected to [the new case] tested positive for Ebola, and tests of two other people were inconclusive, [Dr. Moses Massaquoi, case management team leader for Liberia’s Ebola task force,] said. Thirty-three people who had contact with the teenager were isolated in their homes and were being monitored, he said. Three people will be sent to a treatment unit here Wednesday, he said…” (MacDougall, 6/30).

NPR: Ebola Returns To Liberia With A Mysterious Case Near Monrovia
“…[T]here are a few reasons why the case is worrisome. First, it’s not known where or how the teenager caught Ebola. … Second, health officials didn’t know the teenager had Ebola until after he died. So he could have unwittingly spread the disease to his family and caretakers. Finally, many international aid groups have left Liberia since cases plummeted to zero back in March. The case will test Liberia’s ability to stop an outbreak largely on its own…” (Doucleff, 6/30).

Reuters: Liberia registers second confirmed Ebola case: health official
“…A message from the Twitter account of the Liberian information ministry said that two people from the teenager’s home had been confirmed as Ebola positive. It was not immediately possible to verify that information, nor was it clear if that included the case cited by Massaquoi…” (Toweh/Farge, 7/1).

ScienceInsider: Liberia’s puzzle: How did the new Ebola patient become infected?
“…The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a team to investigate the case and trace all contacts in collaboration with the Liberian health ministry…” (Kupferschmidt, 6/30).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Death in Liberia Sparks Fears of New Outbreak
“…The new infection could be a major setback to the Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is struggling to make up for what the World Bank says could be a $240 million blow to her country’s poor economy from the epidemic…” (McGroarty/Salvaterra, 6/30).

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Global Progress Made On Drinking Water Access But Billions Lack Access To Sanitation Facilities, U.N. Report Says

News outlets discuss findings from a joint report by the WHO and UNICEF examining the world’s progress on access to sanitation and drinking water.

Associated Press: One-third of world’s people still have no proper toilets
“Toilets are taken for granted in the industrialized West, but still are a luxury for a third of the world’s people who have no access to them, according to a report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF…” (Daigle, 6/30).

The Guardian: Access to clean water and sanitation around the world — mapped
“Around the world, 946 million people still go to the toilet outside. … A huge global effort has been focused on reducing these numbers and new data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, which has measured the progress made on access to drinking water and sanitation since 1990, shows that there have been improvements in certain areas…” (Purvis, 7/1).

Inter Press Service: Toilets with Piped Music for Rich, Open Defecation on Rail Tracks for Poor
“…The Joint Monitoring Program report, ‘Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment,’ authored by the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), says one in three people, or 2.4 billion worldwide, are still without sanitation facilities — including 946 million people who defecate in the open…” (Deen, 6/30).

New York Times: Dirty Water and Open Defecation Threaten Gains in Child Health
“Dirty drinking water and open defecation, particularly in rural areas of many developing countries, are threatening to subvert gains in child survival rates and other health measurements, two major United Nations agencies said Tuesday in a joint report on global progress in sanitation…” (Gladstone, 6/30).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World’s poorest gain access to water, but not toilets
“… ‘Until everyone has access to adequate sanitation facilities, the quality of water supplies will be undermined and too many people will continue to die from waterborne and water-related diseases,’ said Maria Neira, head of public health at WHO…” (Mis, 6/30).

TIME: 1 in 3 People Worldwide Don’t Have Proper Toilets, Report Says
“…The study warns that progress on sanitation is falling short of the targets outlined in the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, even though significant improvements have been made in related areas including access to safe drinking water. Today, only 68 percent of the world’s population has access to proper sanitation facilities, a handful of percentage points short of the goal of 77 percent…” (Linshi, 6/30).

U.N. News Centre: Despite gains, 2.4 billion people worldwide still lack basic sanitation — U.N. report
“…Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, said what the data really show is the need to focus on inequalities as the only way to achieve sustainable progress. In other words, ‘the global model so far has been that the wealthiest move ahead first, and only when they have access do the poorest start catching up. If we are to reach universal access to sanitation by 2030, we need to ensure the poorest start making progress right away,’ Mr. Wijesekera said…” (6/30).

UPI News: Lack of toilets for 2.4 billion people undermining health efforts
“…A more robust focus and investment will need to be made to improve hygiene and habits, as well as more innovative technologies and approaches to helping poor, often rural, areas get access to clean water, the organizations said” (Feller, 6/30).

Wall Street Journal: Millions Have Gained Access to Safe Drinking Water in Last 25 Years
“…Clean water, better sanitation, and improved hygiene are crucial for the prevention of various tropical diseases and play a big role in child survival rates. The MDG target for drinking water was met in 2010, ahead of schedule. … The sanitation picture is mixed, however…” (Naik, 6/30).

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POLITICO Examines Leaked Draft Copy Of TPP's Intellectual Property Chapter, Pharmaceutical Implications

POLITICO: Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal
“A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law. POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to change significantly as the talks enter their final stages…” (Grunwald, 6/30).

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ILO, World Bank Heads Call For Universal Social Protection To Reach Development Goals

U.N. News Centre: World must prioritize social protection as primary development tool, urge U.N. and World Bank
“Now it is time for universal social protection to ensure no one is left behind, the heads of the International Labour Organization and the World Bank declared today, noting that universal primary education became a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in 2000, and 12 years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing universal health coverage…” (6/30).

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UNICEF Highlights Impacts Of Conflict On Children In War-Torn Regions

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF: One in ten children endure conflict
“The UNICEF report entitled ‘Children between the Frontlines’ and unveiled in Berlin on Tuesday said that 230 million children were subjected last year to severe human rights violations in 23 conflict regions around the world. The trauma was especially severe in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, it said…” (6/30).

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF 2015 report: Millions of children caught in the middle of conflict
“… ‘Children caught in the middle’ is also the title of the 2015 UNICEF report, which was just presented in Berlin. With its 270-page report, the children’s aid organization seeks to draw attention to the ways that uncertainty, hate, and violence destroy the lives of millions of children…” (Kinkartz, 6/30).

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Amid Ongoing War, Children In Yemen Face Increasing Risk Of Disease, Malnutrition, UNICEF Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Millions of children face disease, malnutrition in war-torn Yemen: U.N.
“Escalating violence in Yemen has devastated the country’s health system and exposed millions of children to the threat of preventable diseases including measles, pneumonia, and diarrhea, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday…” (Guilbert, 6/30).

U.N. News Centre: As Yemen crisis deteriorates, UNICEF says children at increasing risk of disease, hunger
“…Addressing a press briefing in Geneva [on Tuesday], UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that millions of children in the war-torn Gulf state are at risk of disease amid widespread interruptions in vaccination services…” (6/30).

VOA News: UNICEF: Millions of Yemeni Children Face Disease, Malnutrition
“…Boulierac said UNICEF and its partners are doing their best to vaccinate children and provide life-saving therapeutic feeding to acutely malnourished children. But he said providing the care needed is an uphill battle, given that provisions of safe water, hygiene, and improved sanitation are critical for preventing a public health crisis” (Schlein, 6/30).

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Children Bear Brunt Of Violence In Iraq; Millions Need Assistance, UNICEF Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Year of sustained violence across Iraq has hit children hardest, U.N. says
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) [Tuesday] said that over the past year in Iraq, it has seen a 75 percent increase in grave violations against children that include killing and maiming, abduction, recruitment as soldiers, sexual violence, attacks against schools, and denial of humanitarian access…” (6/30).

VOA News: Millions of Iraqi Children in Dire Straits
“…U.N. humanitarian agencies estimate more than eight million Iraqis are in need of life-saving assistance, a number that could reach 10 million by the end of the year. Acting U.N. Children’s Fund Representative in Iraq, Colin MacIness, calls the speed and scope of this crisis breathtaking…” (Schlein, 6/30).

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Greater WASH Investments Needed To Eradicate Cholera In Haiti, Outgoing U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Cholera eradication in Haiti will take ‘some years,’ says outgoing U.N. coordinator
“While some 16,000 new cases of cholera have been reported in Haiti so far this year, the disease is now under control but it will not be eradicated unless improving water and sanitation conditions are given a higher priority by both the government and donors, says the outgoing United Nations official tasked with leading the response to the outbreak…” (6/30).

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Many Women Report Mistreatment During Childbirth In Health Facilities Worldwide, Data Review Shows

New York Times: Report Shows Widespread Mistreatment by Health Workers During Childbirth
“…A new report based on information from 34 countries, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, finds that ‘many women globally experience poor treatment during childbirth, including abusive, neglectful, or disrespectful care’…” (Grady, 6/30).

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International Community Must Work To Reduce Threat Of Animal Diseases Used As Biological Weapons, Experts Warn

Reuters: Beware of animal diseases as biological weapons, health experts say
“The World Health Organization, animal health, and national defense officers called on Tuesday for wider international cooperation to avoid the spread of animal diseases that could be used as biological weapons…” (de La Hamaide, 6/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Trade Can Play Critical Role In Ending Extreme Poverty

The Guardian: Making international trade work for the world’s poorest
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, and Robert Azevêdo, director general of the World Trade Organization

“…[T]he World Bank and the World Trade Organization — the world’s largest multilateral development and trade organizations — believe a series of policies can help countries deliver the benefits of trade to all their citizens, including the poorest. Our latest joint report, The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty, recommends five policy areas that governments and the international community should consider to make trade more pro-poor. First, lowering trade costs will help to deepen producers’ and consumers’ connectivity to the global marketplace. … Second, governments and multilateral institutions must help finance local programs that connect entrepreneurs to markets. … Third, governmental support for a range of complementary policies to improve health, education, and infrastructure will create the conditions necessary for more widespread participation in the trading system. … Fourth, governments and organizations must improve systems for managing and mitigating risks faced by the poor. … And finally, governments need better data…” (6/30).

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SDGs Must Do More To Reach Most Vulnerable Children

The Conversation: How the Millennium Development Goals failed the world’s poorest children
Anna Childs, deputy director for International Development at The Open University

“…There has been a massive leap in learning since the Millennium Development Goals were established, not least in how to define, collect, and analyze data. [UNICEF’s Progress for Children] report makes strong recommendations for exploiting improvements in the way data is collected and used in order to determine precisely who and where are the most vulnerable and excluded children. Measuring progress in achieving the 2030 goals, says [UNICEF Executive Director Anthony] Lake, should be done ‘not only by statistical averages, but also by the degree to which the most disadvantaged children benefit.’ Anthony Lake is clear that on balance the goals have ‘absolutely not’ failed the world’s children, but he is also blunt about the need for the 2015 UNICEF report to serve as a wake-up call. … Taking all evidence into account, there are appreciable marks for effort but the recommendation can only be that the world must try significantly harder in the upcoming term of the Sustainable Development Goals” (7/1).

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People With Disabilities Must Be Included In SDG Monitoring Framework

Devex: U.N. SDG process indicates exclusion is set to continue
Dominic Haslam, director of program and policy strategy at Sightsavers

“…The SDGs are a huge opportunity to address some of the most urgent questions of inequality, to take a step forward in progressive realization of human rights, and to protect our shared global environment. At Sightsavers we’re committed to continuing our global action toward the full and meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in the SDGs. We look forward to working alongside [the U.N. Statistical Commission’s Inter-Agency Expert Group (IAEG)] and U.N. Statistical Commission members to ensure this happens throughout the monitoring framework. The mantra of leave no one behind is a powerful and unifying one. It is imperative that the discussions on indicators lead to a far more inclusive review and follow-up mechanism than currently looks like being the case. If not, yet again, the mantra will need to be followed by a caveat — except people with disabilities” (7/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Welcomes Declaration Of International Day For The Elimination Of Sexual Violence In Conflict

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: A Day to Galvanize Action On Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
Stephenie Foster, a senior adviser to the U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, and Blake Peterson, policy adviser on women, peace, and security in the Office of Global Women’s Issues, discuss the recently declared International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict and U.S. efforts to protect and promote women’s rights worldwide (6/30).

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USAID Innovation Specialist Discusses Data Flow, Technology In Ebola Response

USAID’s “Impact”: Q&A: How technology is transforming Ebola response efforts
Clara Wagner, a former intern for USAID’s Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs, interviews “Eric King, an innovation specialist with the Digital Development Team in the Global Development Lab, [who] worked on USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Liberia for two months in 2015 … to coordinate the flow of critical data” (6/30).

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CFR Blog Posts Highlight Gender Equality, Health Systems Strengthening In Development Agenda

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Development Channel”: Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals
Rachel Vogelstein, director and senior fellow for women and foreign policy at CFR, discusses targets for the equality of women and girls in the SDG framework. “…The comprehensive gender equality targets included in the SDG zero draft are a positive step forward for the post-2015 development agenda. The promise of this framework, however, will only be realized if member states and development practitioners are held accountable for financing and implementing progress toward the equality of women and girls” (6/30).

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Development Channel”: Beyond the Millennium Development Goals: Strengthening Health Systems for Sustainability
In a guest post, Amit Chandra, an emergency physician and global health consultant based in Washington, D.C., discusses the importance of health systems strengthening and writes, “National governments should be encouraged to provide basic health services to their populations. The global health community can support this effort by financing health management training and an expanded health provider workforce” (6/29).

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WHO-Approved Circumcision Device Cleared For Use In Adolescents

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: ShangRing: WHO approval of second nonsurgical circumcision device sets stage for accelerated access to HIV prevention measure
Antigone Bartone, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the WHO’s approval of a new circumcision device called ShangRing, the first of its kind to be cleared for use among adolescent males (6/30).

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