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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S., U.K.-Led Public-Private Partnership To Invest In Antibiotic Research, Development

Financial Times: U.S.-U.K. partnership to tackle antibiotic resistance
“A U.S.-U.K. public-private partnership will spend hundreds of millions of dollars over five years to tackle antibiotic resistance, a threat to public health worldwide. The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator or CARB-X brings together partners including the U.S. government’s Department of Health and Human Services, Wellcome Trust in London, AMR Centre in Alderley Park, Cheshire, and Boston University…” (Cookson, 7/28).

National Geographic: Millions Injected Into Push for New Antibiotics
“A new federal-private partnership will devote more than $350 million over the next five years to one of the trickiest aspects of the problem of drug resistance: encouraging pharmaceutical companies to make new antibiotics…” (McKenna, 7/28).

Reuters: U.S. and U.K. form global partnership to speed new antibiotics
“…The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday it would provide $30 million in the first year and up to $250 million during the five-year project. Britain’s AMR Centre, a public-private initiative, will contribute $14 million initially and up to $100 million over five years, while the London-based Wellcome Trust will supply further unspecified funding…” (Hirschler, 7/28).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. to Form International Partnership to Fight ‘Superbugs’
“…The venture, which has grown out of a 2015 Obama administration initiative, will focus on providing monetary help to small companies and laboratories that are in the earliest stages of developing new drugs, vaccines, or medical devices to combat such microbes…” (Burton, 7/28).

Washington Post: Major global partnership to speed antibiotic development launched
“…Biomedical innovations often take place in small companies and academic labs that don’t have the resources and expertise to move products to clinical development. CARB-X aims to provide necessary funding for research and development and technical assistance to move products from proof of concept through preclinical development…” (Sun, 7/28).

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Progress In Research Made, Funding Shortfalls Persist 6 Months Into Zika Epidemic

The Lancet: The Zika virus public health emergency: 6 months on
“…Feb. 1 was a landmark day in the history of the current Zika epidemic. … Since the [WHO’s Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)] declaration, scientists have made several unexpected discoveries about the Zika virus. … Many knowledge gaps, however, remain. … Another initiative is crying out for financial investment. In February, WHO, together with 23 partner organizations, launched a response strategy aimed mainly at preventing and managing the socioeconomic and medical problems caused by the epidemic and at coordinating research on these problems. … The next six months’ work [on the strategy] will require an estimated $122 million. So far only $3 million has been received…” (Maurice, 7/30).

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More Than Half Of Infants Not Breastfed Within First Hour Of Life, Increasing Risks Of Disease, Death, UNICEF Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: More than half of newborns not breastfed in first hour raising health risks — UNICEF
“More than half of newborn babies are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at heightened risk of disease and death, the United Nations’ children’s agency said on Friday, highlighting sub-Saharan Africa as an area of concern…” (Wulfhorst, 7/29).

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Regional Inter-Agency Standing Committee Appeals For $1.2B In Aid For 7 Drought-Hit Southern African Nations

Agence France-Presse: Aid agencies seek $1.2 billion to fight Southern Africa drought
“Humanitarian agencies said Thursday that they need $1.2 billion in critical aid for seven drought-stricken countries in Southern Africa, as the El Niño weather phenomenon continues to devastate crops across the region. An estimated 12.3 people million are at risk, Southern Africa’s Regional Inter-Agency Standing Committee said, as their food stocks are exhausted and their access to safe drinking water becomes limited…” (7/27).

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Malaria Treatment, Prevention Innovations Provide Hope Of Disease Elimination, African Leaders Malaria Alliance Head Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Interview — Innovations give African leaders hope malaria can be beaten by 2030
“African governments are confident malaria can be wiped out within 15 years as research innovations, including a vaccine against the disease, are developed and tested, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) said. … ALMA’s executive secretary, Joy Phumaphi, said African leaders were ‘relatively comfortable’ the target could be reached as a number of new anti-malaria products were expected to be marketed in the next five to 10 years…” (Bacchi, 7/28).

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The Guardian Examines Uganda President Museveni's Track Record On Family Planning Funding

The Guardian: Has Yoweri Museveni walked the talk on funding family planning in Uganda?
“…[T]he London Family Planning Summit in 2012 appeared to mark a turning point. There, [Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni not only articulated the benefits of family planning but also committed money to it, increasing government funding from $3.3m (£250m) to $5m annually for five years. He also announced plans to mobilize $10m from donors and streamline Uganda’s medical supply systems to improve delivery of family planning commodities. … Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, the director general of the National Population Council, believes Uganda is on the right track. … Yet, when it comes to funding, the picture is blurred…” (Kavuma, 7/28).

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China Pledges To Work With UNAIDS, WHO To Help Improve Health Care Standards In Developing Nations

Xinhua News: China to work with WHO, UNAIDS to help developing countries
“China will work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS to improve health care standards in developing countries, Vice Premier Liu Yandong said on Thursday. Liu made the remarks when meeting with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and U.N. Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe…” (7/28).

Xinhua News: UNAIDS chief hails China’s progress in AIDS fight
“…China has made ‘a lot of progress,’ said Michel Sidibe, … citing the reduced rate of HIV-related deaths and the increasing number of people on treatment. … During the visit, Sidibe presented the UNAIDS Leaders and Innovators Award to Cai Mingzhao, president of Xinhua, in recognition of Cai’s personal contribution to the vision of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 through exemplary leadership or a novel approach…” (7/28).

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UNICEF Suspends Aid Delivery To Northern Nigeria After Convoy Attacked, 2 Aid Workers Injured

Bloomberg News: UNICEF Suspends Aid in Northern Nigeria After Convoy Attack
“The United Nations Children’s Fund has temporarily suspended humanitarian operations in northern Nigeria, where as many as half a million people need assistance, after gunmen attacked a convoy and wounded two aid workers…” (Muhammad/Olukayode, 7/28).

Reuters: U.N. suspends aid deliveries in Nigeria after UNICEF convoy attacked
“…Nearly a quarter of a million children in Borno suffer from life-threatening malnourishment and around one in five will die if they do not receive treatment, UNICEF said earlier this month. Médecins Sans Frontières said on Wednesday that severely malnourished children were dying in large numbers in north-east Nigeria, where food supplies are close to running out…” (Nichols/Ola, 7/29).

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Inter Press Service Examines Food Security Challenges In India

Inter Press Service: Chronic Hunger Lingers in the Midst of Plenty
“In a fraught global economic environment, exacerbated by climate change and shrinking resources, ensuring food and nutrition security is a daunting challenge for many nations. India, Asia’s third largest economy and the world’s second most populous nation after China with 1.3 billion people, is no exception. … Despite its self-sufficiency in food availability, and being one of the world’s largest grain producers, about 25 percent of Indians go to bed without food…” (Lal, 7/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Improved Detection, Access To Medicines, Research Critical To Eliminating Viral Hepatitis As Public Health Threat

The Hill: Elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat possible
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)

“…As we commemorate World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2016, we can commit to taking these three steps: First, make sure that people get tested for viral hepatitis so that we can detect it in our communities. Second, increase access to vaccines and treatments, and make them affordable for people of all incomes. Third, expand research to develop new cures. Currently, there is no cure for hepatitis B. Put simply — better detection, more vaccines and treatments, and new cures will save millions of lives. Like the Guinea worm, which once threatened millions of people in thousands of communities around the world, viral hepatitis can be eliminated as a public health threat. The only question is: do we have the will and determination to succeed?” (7/28).

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WHO R&D Blueprint Could Help Create Coherent Global Response To Disease Threats

The Lancet: The need for global R&D coordination for infectious diseases with epidemic potential
Marie Paule Kieny, assitant director general of Health Systems and Innovation at the WHO; John-Arne Rottingen, director of the Division of Infectious Disease Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; and Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust

“…In an increasingly globalized world, a coherent global response [to infectious diseases] is needed, not only in the immediate care of patients and countermeasures to transmission but also in the prompt initiation of research efforts. The timely establishment of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) network … of research funding organizations in 2013 is an exciting development and fits neatly with the research and development (R&D) Blueprint Initiative of WHO. … The R&D Blueprint aims to reduce the time between the declaration of an international public health emergency and the availability of effective tests, vaccines, antivirals, and other treatments that can save lives and avert a public health crisis. … Although WHO is not a funding agency nor in general a major implementer of research activities, it has a global mandate to set evidence-based priorities and standards for research, ensuring that all voices are heard and avoiding conflicts of interests. Success of the R&D Blueprint will certainly depend on the concerted efforts of all stakeholders” (7/30).

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Engaging Religious Leaders In NTD Control, Elimination Efforts Could Help Reduce Poverty

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The World’s Great Religions and Their Neglected Tropical Diseases
Peter J. Hotez, co-editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“New information based on data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that practically everyone infected with a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) lives in a Christian-, Muslim-, or Hindu-majority nation. The finding has implications for engaging religious leaders in NTD control and elimination activities. … Linking NTDs to religion has potential importance because it invites prominent international religious leaders to have a greater role in advocating for and supporting NTD control. … At the local level, religious leaders in churches, mosques, and temples could have important roles in raising awareness about NTDs and their health impact and could even promote indigenous control and elimination efforts. Finally, there remains the interfaith opportunity to bring these three great religions together in order to cooperate on reducing the global burden of NTDs. NTD control and elimination represents one of the most effective and cost-efficient means to reduce poverty and relieve global suffering” (7/28).

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Investments In WASH Would Help Improve Child Nutrition, Lower Incidence Of Stunting

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why a lack of toilets are stunting children’s heights and hopes
Dan Jones, advocacy coordinator at WaterAid

“…A new report released by WaterAid this week reveals that India has the greatest number of children in the world suffering from stunted growth … It’s no coincidence that India also has the greatest number of people in the world practicing open defecation. … Children are at constant risk of diarrhea when they drink dirty water, often polluted by people going to the toilet in the open. … The issue isn’t just confined to India. African nations are among the worst for high rates of stunting in children under five … The U.N. Global Goals for Sustainable Development seeks to end malnutrition by 2030, giving an opportunity for governments, donors, and international agencies to invest in solutions that will improve the lives of children … But as this report highlights malnutrition is not just about food, which has for too long been the focus of most nutrition programs. Good food will only get us halfway to the finishing line in addressing this crisis. Governments must make ambitious investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene in order to end malnutrition altogether…” (7/28).

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Increased Political Will, Investment In Harm Reduction Needed To Ensure Drug Users Not 'Left Behind' In Global HIV Response

Huffington Post: Left Behind: Why the Global HIV Response Is Failing People Who Use Drugs
Rick Lines, executive director of Harm Reduction International in London

“…[D]espite the high visibility that the [AIDS 2016] conference generates, those working on HIV and injecting drug use were sorely disappointed by the lack of attention given to drug use issues, including harm reduction. More worryingly, this omission from the AIDS conference program reflects the increasing invisibility of drug use issues within the wider global HIV response. People who inject drugs are considered a ‘key population’ in the global HIV response — meaning that ending AIDS among them is vital to ending AIDS everywhere. Harm reduction, which includes interventions such as needle and syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy, is the most cost effective way to achieve this. … But harm reduction remains grossly underfunded. … Donor governments and institutions have already withdrawn support for harm reduction and now UNAIDS’ political leadership on drug related issues is dwindling. People who use drugs are being left behind and only a major injection of political courage, backed up by a redirection of the necessary resources away from drug control and into harm reduction, will change this” (7/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Deaths From Viral Hepatitis Increasing, Data Show

Humanosphere: Hepatitis is on the rise as a global killer
Kayla Albrecht, media relations officer at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, discusses results from a new analysis of viral hepatitis deaths published by The Lancet. Albrecht writes, “More people are dying from viral liver disease than ever before, scientists have found. … Overall, more deaths were caused by hepatitis in upper-, middle-, and high-income countries than in lower-, middle-, and low-income countries, using regions defined by the World Bank. Some hepatitis viruses afflict certain regions more than others, the study also discovered. … This finding underscores the notion that there is no one-size-fits-all prevention strategy for addressing viral hepatitis, especially when considering the different manners of transmission. … [P]revention and treatment strategies must be tailored to each country’s unique epidemic in order to truly impact hepatitis on a global scale” (7/28).

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Health Extension Workers Improve Care Access For Ethiopia's Rural Communities

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash contains an article and video on Ethiopian health extension workers who provide services to those in rural communities. The article notes, “Great systems for health are pivotal in improving the health outcomes in any country. The health extension workers are a critical [part] of Ethiopia’s health infrastructure. The country is a leader in building resilient and sustainable systems for health in countries with fewer resources…” (7/28).

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