KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- 2 House Democrats Criticize U.S. Position Supporting Stricter Pharmaceutical Patent Protections Under TPP
The Hill: House Dems: White House pushing Big Pharma agenda in trade deal
“A pair of House Democrats are attacking the Obama administration for secretly shaping a trade deal that they say boosts profits for American pharmaceutical giants at the expense of patients worldwide. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) argued Friday that the U.S. is the only country pushing the ‘Big Pharma’ agenda in the ongoing talks for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal…” (Ferris, 7/17).
- At IAS 2015 Conference, HIV/AIDS Experts Endorse Vancouver Consensus Calling For Access To Early Treatment, PrEP
News outlets report on the Vancouver Consensus Statement endorsed by HIV/AIDS experts at the International AIDS Society conference taking place this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Agence France-Presse: Experts urge shift in HIV treatment at global meet in Canada
“AIDS researchers released a call to action Sunday for a worldwide shift in HIV treatment, to providing medication immediately after diagnosis instead of first watching for signs of illness to appear…” (7/19).
aidsmap: Vancouver Consensus statement calls for early access to treatment and PrEP worldwide
“…The Vancouver Consensus Statement has been endorsed by leaders of major agencies including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and UNAIDS, and is intended to place pressure on donors and governments to support expanded treatment and prevention…” (Alcorn, 7/20).
International Business Times: Fighting AIDS: Experts Urge Immediate Treatment For People Living With HIV
“…The experts signed a statement, dubbed the ‘Vancouver Consensus,’ which said that immediate treatment ‘can effectively protect people at risk of infection through prophylactic use.’ All people with HIV must have access to medication immediately after diagnosis, while legal barriers and bias must be dismantled, according to the statement…” (Bora, 7/20).
- British Columbia's Success In Reducing HIV Incidence Serves As Model Of 'Treatment As Prevention' Strategy
Vancouver Sun: B.C.’s success halting AIDS epidemic seen as a model for others
“…[British Columbia’s] success in halting the HIV/AIDS epidemic is viewed as a model for other jurisdictions. It came about through a dedicated B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CFE) based at St. Paul’s Hospital. … Dr. Julio Montaner, the world renowned director of the BC-CFE, said in an interview that B.C. is the only [Canadian] province to fund the full array of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which, on average, costs about $15,000 per year per patient. He credits the Treatment as Prevention strategy for profoundly reducing HIV transmission…” (Fayerman, 7/18).
- War-Torn Eastern Ukraine Will Exhaust HIV Medicine Supplies If Blockade Not Lifted, U.N. Envoy Says
Agence France-Presse: 8,000 HIV patients at risk in Eastern Ukraine: U.N. envoy
“Some 8,000 people with HIV in war-torn eastern Ukraine face a critical shortage of medicine and their supply will run out in mid-August unless a blockade is lifted, a U.N. AIDS envoy has warned. Speaking to AFP ahead of the International AIDS Society (IAS) conference, which opened Sunday, Michel Kazatchkine called on key nations to intervene as soon as possible…” (7/19).
- Some Aid Agencies Praise FFD3 Outcomes, While Others Lament Lack Of New Aid Pledges
Reuters: Did the U.N. financing for development conference deliver?
“A major United Nations summit to finance ambitious global development goals, from giving free education to all to dealing with climate change, fell short of developing countries’ expectations with few aid pledges. But a strong focus on tax reforms, the universal right to free basic services and welfare, and support for the poorest were among the significant breakthroughs, aid agencies said…” (Migiro, 7/17).
- Large Disparity Between Wealthy, Poor Nations' Access To Mental Health Care, WHO Report Shows
The Guardian: Mental health care 50 times more accessible in wealthy countries
“Nearly one in every 10 people has a mental health disorder, but just one percent of the global health workforce are working as psychiatrists, occupational therapists, or social workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed in a report that highlights deepening inequality in access to mental health treatment…” (Anderson/Galatsidas, 7/20).
- Country Ownership Important For Successful Health, Development Programs, According To NTD Report
The Guardian: Lessons in global health: let poor countries run their own program
“…In the wake of the Ebola crisis and in preparation for the Sustainable Development Goals, these success stories [discussed in the third progress report of the London declaration on NTDs] are important best practice examples for the global health community as it rethinks how to effectively deliver sustainable programs. … Country ownership doesn’t just encourage policymakers to come up with strategies to reach their entire populations with health interventions but it also enables them to practice good resource management…” (Filou, 7/20).
- Liberia Says All Recent Ebola Patients Recovered, No Active Cases In Country
Associated Press: Liberia says 4 remaining Ebola patients have recovered
“The four remaining patients infected during Liberia’s recent string of Ebola cases have recovered, meaning there are currently no confirmed cases in the country though more than 100 people are still under surveillance, a health official said Friday…” (Paye-Layleh, 7/17).
- Sanofi Hopes To Improve Public Health, Profits With New Dengue Vaccine
Financial Times: Sanofi confident dengue drug will benefit patients and investors
“…[D]rugs group Sanofi has produced the world’s first vaccine for the mosquito-borne viral disease [dengue], which it expects to launch by the end of this year. While Sanofi is championing the potential public health benefits of the vaccine, the French drugmaker is also open about its commercial ambitions. … ‘The dengue vaccine will be in the high end of profitability among our vaccines,’ says Olivier Charmeil, chief executive of Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi’s vaccines division…” (Webber et al., 7/20).
- Researchers Work To Discover New Antibiotic Compounds, Extend Effectiveness Of Existing Drugs
The Guardian: Resistance isn’t futile — how to tackle drug-resistant superbugs
“…Speak with any antibiotics researcher for long enough about finding a new antibiotic class and they will definitely use the words ‘holy grail’; it’s a nod to how wondrous such an event would be, but it’s also a concession that, even at the most optimistic timelines, it is beyond the reach of today’s jobbing doctors, who need it most. A more immediate solution is to try to eke out the life of existing antibiotics…” (Mohammadi, 7/19).
- Circulating Petition Asks Journal Science To Be More Sensitive To Gender, Cultural Issues
Washington Post: Hundreds of scientists ask Science to stop publishing a smorgasbord of stereotypes
“More than 300 scientists and counting have signed an open letter to the journal Science, according to scientific publishing watchdog Retraction Watch. The letter, which has been circulated among scientists on social media sites such as Facebook, takes the prestigious journal to task for promoting harmful stereotypes against women and other marginalized groups…” (Feltman, 7/17).
Editorials and Opinions
- PEPFAR Using Data To Effectively Target Resources, Help Achieve AIDS-Free Generation For Women, Children
Huffington Post: Preventing New HIV Infections, Saving Lives
Deborah L. Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy
“…PEPFAR is proud of its contributions to reducing new HIV infections among children, expanding access to [antiretroviral treatment (ART)] for adults and children, and preventing new infections among adolescent girls and young women. … To achieve epidemic control, and ultimately an AIDS-free generation, PEPFAR is using data to target our resources to the highest burden geographic areas and populations, bringing more HIV/AIDS services, including for PMTCT, to where they are needed most. … To reach the day when no child acquires HIV, when every adolescent girl and young woman can reach adulthood HIV-free, and when all children living with HIV/AIDS have access to lifesaving ART — we must follow the data, and use it to focus, refine, and accelerate our efforts. We can get there, but it will take all of us, pulling together, to make it happen” (7/17).
- U.S., Global Community Must Continue Efforts To End West African Ebola Epidemic
Washington Post: Ebola still poses a serious threat
Kent Brantly, doctor at Samaritan’s Purse and Ebola survivor
“…Even if this [Ebola] epidemic continues, it is unlikely to return to the magnitude it reached last summer, with hundreds of new cases appearing each week. But what is probable is the destabilization of the region. A constantly present, endemic threat such as Ebola can prevent the rebuilding of resilient health systems in affected countries. And without well-functioning health systems, society becomes like a stool with a missing leg. It may appear to stand, but under the slightest pressure it will topple. And so we in the United States have a decision to make. We must decide what our response will be to this ongoing tragedy on the other side of the world. … As we as a global community seek to learn the lessons of this epidemic, let us not fail to recognize and extinguish the ongoing threat. Let us choose compassion over fear or apathy” (7/17).
- Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss FFD3 Outcomes, SDG Discussions
The Guardian: The Guardian view on global development goals: heed the good news, but more needs to be done
“…[S]ome of the overarching lessons that can be drawn from the [recent U.N. report on development goals] … point to the merit of mobilizing governments and public opinion in making sure that progress not only continues but also benefits the largest possible number of people. … Fighting inequality worldwide will require more focus, not less. The world’s top one percent is set to hold more than half of global wealth by 2016. When U.N. member states meet to set those Sustainable Development Goals for the next decades, politics and ideology will undoubtedly weigh heavily: it is easy to find consensus on the notion of eliminating poverty — who could possibly disagree? — but it is much harder to jointly define inequality and how to reduce it. … [M]ore must be achieved. That will only come if minds meet in the U.N. and if, crucially, any agreement is backed by money. Grand statements are all well and good. But they must be followed by action” (7/19).
The Guardian: Addis delegates failed to put money where mouth was on gender equality
Ana Ines Abelenda, economic justice coordinator, and Nerea Craviotto, resourcing women’s rights lead advocacy coordinator, both for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development
“…The Addis agenda may pay lip service to women’s rights and gender equality, but in reality it seeks to make the contribution of women to the global economy predominantly about growth and productivity. … As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing platform, with critical areas still lagging, it is unacceptable that developed countries are not committing to scale up their share of overseas development assistance for achieving gender equality. … We welcome the commitment in the Addis accord to track and report resource allocation for gender equality and women’s empowerment, but the funds are still insufficient. … Whether the Addis agenda represents another missed opportunity for building a better global framework for development finance — one that works towards the achievement of women’s rights and gender equality — will become clear only with time…” (7/17).
- Lessons Learned From Nigeria's Polio Eradication Efforts Can Help Other Nations Eliminate Ebola
The Lancet: Lessons from polio to Ebola
“…[T]o conclusively achieve the goal [of disease elimination] it is crucial to confront and overcome people’s fears and build their trust. Furthermore, improvements in public health and infrastructure are probably more important than novel interventions themselves. … Polio eradication in Nigeria is a clear example of how leadership, persistence, and innovation can help to stop the spread of a virus. Sharing experiences and knowledge through the health systems has proved to be the key in bringing Ebola virus under control. Culturally tailored solutions aiming to improve communication and local trust to combat misplaced beliefs and fear will be necessary to finally end both polio and the present Ebola outbreak” (August 2015).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- PEPFAR Invests In Data Improvement To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation
State Department’s “DipNote”: Using Data To Deliver an AIDS-Free Generation
Deborah L. Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy, discusses PEPFAR’s efforts to improve data sources. “…As we advance our commitment to do the right things in the right places, PEPFAR will continue to put data at the center of decision-making to achieve the greatest impact on our investment, as we work with our partner countries to sustainably control the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The people we serve deserve nothing less” (7/17).
- 'Science Speaks' Reports From IAS 2015 Conference
Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Live from Vancouver: Breaking news and in-depth coverage of IAS 2015
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” is reporting from the 2015 International AIDS Society conference taking place this week in Vancouver. So far, she has filed blog posts on WHO HIV testing guidelines, WHO HIV treatment guidelines, and the Vancouver Consensus Statement (7/17).
- Clear Guidance, Strategy Needed To Effectively Deliver HIV Drugs
PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Simple but elusive — why are we still talking about HIV drug delivery?
Ahead of the 2015 International AIDS Society (IAS) conference, Helen Bygrave, general practitioner at Médecins Sans Frontières, “discusses her frustrations with the lack of implementation of simple, programmatic strategies for improving HIV care” (7/19).
- Greater Investment In Health Systems, Workforce, Compassionate Role Models Necessary To Prevent Mistreatment During Childbirth
Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Stronger Health Systems Could End Abuse during Childbirth
Rebeccah Bartlett, a nurse and UNC-IntraHealth summer fellow, discusses volunteering in a maternity ward in 2013 in the Philippines, where “[w]hat troubled me most was the way the women were treated.” She recounts verbal and physical mistreatment of patients, as well as unsanitary medical conditions and practices. She states, “…In addition to greater support and investment in the health system and workforce, health workers need strong role models. They need colleagues who not only demonstrate compassionate care in their own work but who demand accountability when women are mistreated under their watch. Respectful maternity care is everyone’s responsibility…” (7/17).
- E-Book Examines Lack Of Compensation For West African Frontline Ebola Workers
Newsweek Insights: Ebola’s unpaid heroes
In a new e-book published by Newsweek Insights, freelance journalist Amy Maxmen discusses “how billions in aid skipped those at the frontline” during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (July 2015).