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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

European Regulators Provide Positive Scientific Opinion Of World's First Malaria Vaccine; WHO To Make Policy Decisions On Use In African Countries

Agence France-Presse: Malaria vaccine gets go-ahead from European regulators
“European regulators on Friday gave the go-ahead for the world’s most advanced malaria candidate vaccine, despite mixed results from a years-long trial on nearly 15,500 children in seven African countries…” (7/24).

Financial Times: World’s first malaria vaccine gets green light from Europe
“…GSK, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, announced on Friday that it had received a ‘positive scientific opinion’ from the European Medicines Agency for its Mosquirix vaccine…” (Ward, 7/24).

The Guardian: First malaria vaccine given green light by European regulators
“…The shot has been developed by U.K. drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken 30 years to develop it, at a cost of more than $565m (£364m) to date…” (Kollewe, 7/24).

Quartz: A malaria vaccine nearly 30 years in the making just got a green light from E.U. regulators
“…[The vaccine] won the scientific approval of the European Medicines Agency, which was needed before the World Health Organization would consider supporting its use. A decision from the WHO is due in November. If it also gives the go-ahead, that would spur African nations to also approve the vaccine, which is not being considered for use in Europe…” (Mollman, 7/24).

Reuters: World’s first malaria vaccine gets regulatory go-ahead, faces WHO review
“…[The WHO] said on Friday it would begin a review in October on when and where [the vaccine] could be used. The [agency] aims to make a recommendation by November…” (Kelland et al., 7/24).

TIME: The First-Ever Malaria Vaccine Just Got a Big Break
“…Because the vaccine is not intended for countries outside of Africa, the European regulatory agency is not ‘approving’ the vaccine, but offering a positive opinion that the World Health Organization (WHO) will use to create its own recommendation for the vaccine’s use. Countries in Africa will then approve the vaccine through their own regulatory agencies…” (Sifferlin, 7/24).

Wall Street Journal: GlaxoSmithKline’s Malaria Vaccine Clears Final Scientific Hurdle
“…Once the WHO has made a policy decision, which could take several months, GAVI will consider its strategy for the vaccine. While GAVI has not yet explicitly committed to funding the jab, it is widely expected to do so…” (Roland, 7/24).

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Obama Voices Support For Gay Rights In Africa Before Arriving In Kenya, Ethiopia

Agence France-Presse: Kenya lockdown as Obama comes to talk security, trade
“U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in his ancestral homeland Kenya late Friday, with a massive security operation under way to protect him from Al-Qaeda-linked Somali militants…” (McConnell/Smith, 7/24).

Associated Press: On eve of visit, Obama voices support for Africa gay rights
“President Barack Obama voiced strong support for gay rights in Africa on Thursday as he began a trip to the continent, bucking calls from some African leaders to keep his views on such controversial issues to himself…” (Superville, 7/23).

POLITICO: Obama faces gay rights challenge in Kenya
“…Some African leaders have warned Obama not to raise the issue of gay rights during his trip. That puts Obama in a tough spot: His administration has made promoting LGBT tolerance a key goal of his foreign policy, but pushing too hard could backfire in countries where anti-gay rhetoric is a surefire way for leaders to get attention and votes…” (Wheaton, 7/23).

Wall Street Journal: Antigay Sentiment Poses Dilemma for Kenya Ahead of Obama Visit
“…While most of Kenya is overjoyed at the visit, the country’s vocal antigay movement is protesting and issuing condemnations. The uproar threatens to upset the government’s delicate balancing act in a country where homosexuality is illegal but starting to become more accepted…” (Vogt, 7/23).

Wall Street Journal: History, Policy to Shape Obama’s Africa Trip
“…Obama plans to showcase initiatives he hopes will define his Africa legacy, such as steps to increase access to electricity…” (Lee/Vogt, 7/24).

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Nigeria Marks Polio-Free Year; WHO To Confirm Status, Remove Country From Endemic List

Bloomberg Business: Nigeria Marks Gates-Backed Polio Feat as Survivors Neglected
“For the first time, Nigeria is set to eradicate polio as it marks one year with no new cases after billions of dollars spent by a global campaign backed by Bill and Melinda Gates and the United Nations…” (Ibukun, 7/23).

Houston Chronicle: Rotary clubs played major part in Nigeria’s polio-free milestone
“…Rotary’s decades-long campaign to defeat polio consists … of a massive international infrastructure that can raise money and take immunization campaigns to the farthest corners of the earth. Since taking on the polio challenge in the 1980s, Rotary has raised more than $1.3 billion to eradicate polio and contributed countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries…” (Hawryluk, 7/23).

Reuters: Nigeria marks polio-free year, raising global eradication hopes
“…It means the country could come off the list of countries where polio is endemic in a few weeks, once the World Health Organization (WHO) can confirm that the last few samples taken from people in previously affected areas are free of the virus. This achievement turns up the pressure on Pakistan, where most of the few polio cases in the world remain, to follow suit…” (Kelland, 7/23).

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World Bank Survey Examines Public Opinion On Global Health Security, Outbreak Preparedness

News outlets report on a World Bank survey published Thursday examining public opinion on global infectious diseases and health security.

Devex: Public opinion — a game changer for health systems financing?
“…Public opinion has a big role to play in focusing attention. Strengthening health systems and preventing future epidemics are goals more likely to rise on the political agenda when citizens in donor countries think they are important. A new poll commissioned by the World Bank suggests that’s exactly what people think…” (Tyson, 7/23).

Newsweek: U.S., U.K. Public Do Not Think World Is Ready for Another Global Health Crisis
“…A survey conducted by the World Bank last month and published Thursday found that 40 percent of people in France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and U.S. think another epidemic like Ebola will happen in the next 10 years, while 19 percent don’t think the world will experience another epidemic over the same period…” (Westcott, 7/23).

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WHO-, IKEA Foundation-Sponsored Global Injection Safety Initiative Aims To Curb Hepatitis Infections

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency to mark World Hepatitis Day with pilot initiative to curb unsafe injections
“The World Health Organization (WHO) announced [Thursday] that it will commemorate the fifth World Hepatitis Day next week with a global injection safety initiative campaign in three pilot countries together with the foundation arm of IKEA to combat the ‘silent epidemic’ that kills more than 1.4 million each year…” (7/23).

VOA News: WHO: Unsafe Injections Major Cause of Hepatitis Death
“…WHO notes hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death. It estimates 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and up to 150 million are infected with the hepatitis C virus. Together, hepatitis B and C account for about 1.5 million deaths every year…” (Schlein, 7/23).

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Lancet Special Report Looks At Jim Yong Kim's Leadership Of World Bank, Global Health Activities

The Lancet: The World Bank under Jim Kim
“How have Jim Kim’s efforts to reform the World Bank and have it tackle new and existing global health challenges been received by staff and development experts? … When Jim Yong Kim took over the helm of the World Bank Group in July, 2012, many in the global health community had high hopes…” (Loewenberg, 7/25).

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HIV Co-Discoverer Francoise Barre-Sinoussi Discusses Disease's Treatment, Cure Research With CNN

CNN: HIV discoverer: ‘To develop a cure is almost impossible’
“She’s the woman who co-discovered HIV in 1983, and won a Nobel Prize for her work. But next month, French scientist Francoise Barre-Sinoussi will retire from her lab. She spoke with CNN at this week’s International AIDS Society Conference, in Vancouver, about activism, the future of HIV and why there’s still no cure — as well as answering questions submitted by our readers on Twitter…” (Senthilingam, 7/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Obama's Africa Visit Provides Opportunities To Promote Health Diplomacy, Local R&D Entrepreneurialism

The Hill: As Obama heads to Africa, an entrepreneurial approach to fighting disease takes root
Daniel Ochiel, immunologist and director of African Laboratory Programs for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

“…The spirit of locally generated health R&D entrepreneurialism is rooted in the idea that Africans themselves must become more involved in finding solutions to the diseases that are devastating their communities. … The entrepreneurialism of African scientists and researchers is an essential element of our continent’s overall future success, and we urge Obama and the upcoming Global Entrepreneurial Summit to help us create and sustain an environment in which innovation will thrive” (7/23).

Global Health NOW: Obama’s Ethiopia Visit: An Opportunity for Health Diplomacy
Donna A. Patterson, author

“U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Ethiopia and Kenya this week presents an opportune platform to not only acknowledge Ethiopia’s successes in public health, but also to address lingering health inequities in the country. In particular, he should speak to the importance of women’s health. … Obama’s visit to Ethiopia gives him the opportunity to go beyond the usual political discussions and bring health diplomacy into conversation in new ways” (6/23).

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Fully Funded Phase 4 Trials Necessary To Fill Knowledge Gaps On Malaria Vaccine Effectiveness

BBC News: Malaria vaccine: How good is good enough?
Seth Berkely, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“How effective does a vaccine have to be before it should be made available? … Such is the question World Health Organization (WHO) experts will now be preparing to ask themselves as they consider whether or not to recommend the world’s first malaria vaccine for use in affected countries in Africa. … The best way to get any clarity on these issues is to see how the vaccine performs in a real-life setting, in high and low transmission areas, with and without high coverage of other interventions. … Currently, several phase four trials have been proposed for Mosquirix, some of which aim to shed more light on its effectiveness … yet none of these studies are fully-funded. That has to change. … Given the vast scale of the number of people affected, we have a duty to fill these gaps in our knowledge” (7/23).

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International Community Must Make Better Case For Global Health Investment

The Lancet: Financing global health: the poverty of nations
Editorial Board

“…Although social protection, malnutrition, infrastructure, industrialization, employment, ecosystems, and the importance of peaceful and inclusive societies are discussed in the [Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA)], it ignored the symbiotic relationship between health and human development. Of 134 paragraphs, only one (paragraph 77) was dedicated to health. … [B]y contrast with Monterrey and Doha, health is no longer a priority. A golden age for health seems to have passed. In December, Japan will host replenishment preparatory negotiations for the Global Fund. With just months to go, it is imperative that the global health community unites behind a better case for investment in health than it did in Addis…” (7/25).

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Political Leadership, Full Financing Critical To Achieving AIDS-Free Generation

Huffington Post: This Is the Way to Beat AIDS
Julio Montaner, director of B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

“…The world has now come to agreement that we need to provide treatment as early as possible (regardless of CD4 cell count level) to those living with HIV. … Meeting the [U.N.’s] 90-90-90 target by 2020 will ensure that AIDS incidence, premature mortality, and new HIV infections will decrease by 90 percent by 2030 (from 2010 levels). Doing so would put us on a path to ending AIDS as a pandemic disease by 2030. … To reach an AIDS-free generation, we will need political leadership, which should translate into full financing of the 90-90-90 target…” (7/23).

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South Sudanese Women, Girls Disproportionately Affected By Starvation As Result Of War, Conflict

New York Times: Starvation as a Product of War
Nicholas Kristoff, columnist for the New York Times

“…You might think that what’s needed to end a famine is food. Actually, what’s essential above all is an international push of intensive diplomacy and targeted sanctions to reach a compromise peace deal and end the civil war [in South Sudan]. … [A]s long as the war continues, South Sudanese will face starvation — especially women and girls. … [H]unger is still war-related, for the conflict is keeping food and supplies out. …The only certainty is that it will get worse in the coming months, and the women and girls who die will be war casualties…” (7/23).

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Tougher Sanctions On North Korea Might Encourage More Responsible Domestic Food Policies

Wall Street Journal: North Korea’s Political Famines
Robert A. Manning, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and James Przystup, senior fellow at the U.S. National Defense University Institute for National Strategic Studies

“…Less than five percent of North Korea’s military budget could easily fill its food gap. Perhaps if [Kim Jong Un] spent less on biowarfare and more on drought-resistant crops, the situation would be different. Pyongyang’s behavior has created serious donor fatigue. … While private-sector humanitarian aid (if adequately monitored) and cultural exchanges should be encouraged, it’s time to get serious about sanctions that could sharpen Pyongyang’s policy choices. … Bipartisan legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate would toughen sanctions against financial institutions that facilitate North Korean luxury-goods imports, arms sales, cyberterrorism, and other nefarious acts…” (7/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

amfAR Announces Beta Launch Of PEPFAR Country/Regional Operational Plan Database

amfAR: amfAR Launches PEPFAR Country/Regional Operational Plan Database
“amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, [Wednesday] announced the beta launch of its PEPFAR Country/Regional Operational Plan database, a comprehensive, navigable database of PEPFAR’s planned funding of HIV/AIDS activities from 2007 to 2014. … The database enables users to analyze planned funding data extracted from PEPFAR’s publicly released Country and Regional Operational Plan (COP/ROP) documents…” (7/22).

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Malaria Rapid Testing Can Reduce Treatment Over-Prescription, Study Shows

Humanosphere: When offered, many will take malaria rapid test, cutting misuse of drugs, study finds
“A study published [Wednesday] in PLOS ONE says testing people for malaria helps reduce the over-prescription of anti-malarial drugs by 73 percent. Knowing whether a person actually has malaria means people get the medicine they need…,” Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy writes (7/23).

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Lack Of Sanitation Access In Nigeria Contributes To Poor Health, Impacts Economy

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Africa In Transition”: The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria
In a guest post, Anna Bezruki, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health Program, discusses the impacts of poor sanitation on Nigerians’ health and the nation’s economy (Campbell, 7/23).

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