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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

2nd Ebola Death In Uganda After Disease Spreads From DRC; WHO Committee To Meet To Discuss Whether To Declare International Emergency

Associated Press: 2nd Ebola death in Uganda after outbreak crosses border
“A second person infected with the Ebola virus has died in Uganda, the health ministry said Thursday, after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from Congo. … The family’s case shows the challenges in tracking those infected in an outbreak where an alarmingly high percentage of cases aren’t discovered until it is too late. … Authorities in both countries now vow to step up border security. Five family members who did not cross into Uganda have tested positive for Ebola, Congo’s health ministry said…” (Muhumuza, 6/13).

NPR: WHO Weighs Debating Global Health Emergency As Ebola Spreads In Africa
“The World Health Organization is considering whether to declare the current Ebola outbreak in central Africa a global health crisis after new cases spread to Uganda from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the disease has already killed nearly 1,400 people. … A WHO expert committee on the outbreak was scheduled to meet for a third time on Friday in Geneva, where it will discuss whether to declare a global health emergency…” (Neuman, 6/13).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak in DRC and Uganda is available from BBC News, Bloomberg, CIDRAP News, Deutsche Welle, New Humanitarian, New York Times, Quartz Africa, Reuters, Science Speaks, U.N. Dispatch, and Vox.

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False Rumors About Ebola In U.S., DRC, Elsewhere Make Ending Outbreak In Congo More Difficult

The Hill: Ebola outbreak in Africa spreads fake news in America
“An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in two African nations is reviving false claims among right-wing conspiracists that the virus is present in the United States, highlighting the emerging threat that rumors spread through social media play in combating real diseases. … The rumors can make the work of fighting a virus all the more difficult; in both the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago and the current outbreak, some communities have come to believe that [governments] or outside health workers have brought the virus with them as a way to commit ethnic cleansing or genocide…” (Wilson, 6/12).

PolitiFact: Are migrants with diseases like Ebola being dumped in San Antonio? No
“…[T]he flurry of social media attention to Ebola-infected migrants drove the City of San Antonio to hold a news conference to debunk those rumors on June 12. … While there is an Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo and while a number of Congolese immigrants have been showing up on the U.S.-Mexico border before being routed through San Antonio, government officials agree that none of these migrants have Ebola…” (Jacobson, 6/12).

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Some Wealthy Nations Provide Little, No Government-Supported Family Leave, UNICEF Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Richest countries skimp on parental leave: UNICEF
“Some of the wealthiest nations in the world provide little or no government-supported maternity or paternity leave for new parents, a United Nations report said on Thursday. Using 2016 data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Eurostat, and research articles, the study ranked 41 high- and middle-income countries across the OECD and European Union on family-friendly practices. … Of the 41 countries surveyed, about half offered six months or more paid leave for mothers, the minimum length UNICEF advocated for in the report…” (Ryan, 6/12).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Deutsche Welle, Financial Times, Japan Times, Quartz, and The Telegraph.

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Study Results Released At South African AIDS Conference Discuss Contraceptive Use, HIV Risk Among Women, Community-Based HIV/TB Project

Devex: ‘Reassuring’ contraceptives and HIV trial also a wake-up call, experts say
“There is no substantial difference in HIV risk among three highly effective methods of contraception, the results of a randomized clinical trial conducted in four African nations show. But the findings reveal high rates of HIV contracted among each group of women studied, prompting calls for deeper integration of HIV prevention with family planning services. The results of the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes, or ECHO, study … were announced today at the South African AIDS Conference in Durban…” (Rogers, 6/13).

New York Times: Depo-Provera, an Injectable Contraceptive, Does Not Raise HIV Risk
“…[I]n recent years, women have been terrified — and family planning officials frustrated — as studies suggested that women using injectables were far more likely to get infected with HIV. On Thursday, a major new study found that women who [used the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera] were not at a much greater risk than they were from other contraceptive methods, including a hormone implant or a copper intrauterine device. The World Health Organization will view the study next month as it debates whether to give back the injectable its top safety rating. Two years ago, the WHO lowered its rating one notch, but said the benefits still outweighed the risks. … The study, which involved more than 7,800 women in four African countries and was published in The Lancet, pleased advocates for women’s health…” (McNeil, 6/13).

Xinhua News: S. Africa’s community-based HIV/TB project achieves UNAIDS targets: MSF
“A South African community-based HIV/TB project has met the UNAIDS targets of 90-90-90 one year ahead of the 2020 deadline, it was announced on Thursday. … MSF released its findings at the on-going 9th South African AIDS Conference which kicked off on Wednesday at the Durban International Conference Center. The organization said the results support MSF’s view that interventions at community levels can successfully reach and directly support more people living with HIV who do not access conventional health services, which is key to getting ahead of the HIV epidemic…” (6/12).

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Government Policies To Reduce Antibiotic Use Need More Evaluation, Researchers Say

CIDRAP News: Experts: Policies to cut antibiotic use need more scrutiny
“Government policies designed to reduce the use of antimicrobial drugs need more rigorous evaluation so that the lessons they offer can be better understood and used, say researchers who reviewed studies on a wide range of policies tried out in many countries around the world. The researchers found 69 studies that described 17 different kinds of policies used by governments to limit antimicrobial use in the name of preserving the drugs’ effectiveness, according to their report, published [Tuesday] in PLOS Medicine. But few of the studies used rigorous enough methods to confidently assess the policies’ effectiveness, the authors said…” (Roos, 6/12).

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NIH Director Francis Collins Will No Longer Participate In All-Male Panels At Conferences, Challenges Other Science Leaders To Do Same

Washington Post: NIH director will no longer speak on all-male science panels
“The head of the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that he would no longer appear on all-male panels at public scientific meetings, saying the effort to include women and other underrepresented people ‘must begin at the top.’ In a statement released by the NIH, the nation’s premier biomedical institution, Director Francis S. Collins said ‘it is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels, sometimes wryly referred to as “manels.”‘ … Collins speaks about 125 times annually, according to the NIH, often as a keynote speaker but sometimes as part of a panel…” (Bernstein, 6/12).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: At U.N. disability rights conference, experts question U.N. inclusivity (Lieberman, 6/13).

Inside Philanthropy: To Bolster Access to Water and Sanitation, These Funders Are Betting on a Systems Approach (Naracott/Barnett, 6/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Indian factories found endangering seamstresses’ health with illegal pills (Nagaraj, 6/12).

Xinhua News: Flooding in Yemen may escalate spread of cholera: U.N. (6/13).

Xinhua News: Pakistani doctors blame quacks for alarming rise in HIV cases (6/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Pregnant, Lactating Women Should Be Able To Receive Experimental Ebola Vaccine

STAT: Ebola vaccine for pregnant women: one step closer but still more to go
Sonja A. Rasmussen, pediatrician and epidemiologist at the University of Florida College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Denise J. Jamieson, obstetrician-gynecologist at Emory University School of Medicine

“…The [experimental Ebola] vaccine should be offered not only to pregnant and lactating women who are contacts of those diagnosed with Ebola, but also to pregnant and lactating health care workers, and to pregnant and lactating women who are the contacts of contacts. To guide future vaccination efforts, data should be collected on pregnancy outcomes. We also believe that pregnant women should be offered the vaccine regardless of trimester. … [P]regnancy shouldn’t automatically exclude women from receiving lifesaving therapies. Pregnant women and their fetuses deserve the opportunity to be protected from severe disease and death. As with the general population, the focus needs to remain on the benefits of the intervention and whether those outweigh the potential risks. Based on what is known about the severe effects of Ebola virus on a woman and her fetus and preliminary data on the effectiveness of the Ebola vaccine, the benefits of Ebola vaccine outweigh the potential risks, even during the first trimester when the fetus’s organs are forming. The way forward should be clear: The Ebola vaccine should be offered to lactating and pregnant women regardless of pregnancy trimester to protect women and their fetuses from severe illness and death” (6/13).

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Investing In Nutrition Programs, Fortifying Foods Could Help Address Childhood Stunting, Malnutrition Globally

New York Times: The World’s Malnourished Kids Don’t Need a $295 Burger
Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at the New York Times

“…[O]ne-quarter of all children worldwide … are stunted from malnutrition. … [I]n Guatemala, almost half of children are stunted. … The big problem with stunting from malnutrition isn’t that people are short but that they often have impaired brain development. … The implication is that billions of I.Q. points are lost to malnutrition, and that the world’s greatest unexploited resource is not oil or gold but the minds of hungry children. … Nutrition programs are extremely cheap. Often among the most cost-effective ways to fight global poverty. … Fortifying foods with iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamin A is transformative. Ensuring that children are screened for malnutrition and promptly helped with supplements that are similar to peanut butter is fairly straightforward. Yet malnourished children aren’t a priority, so kids are stunted in ways that will hold back our world for many decades to come…” (6/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 358 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features several articles, including a piece on the rollout of a Global Fund donation to Venezuela to address the country’s worsening humanitarian crisis, a commentary outlining Latin America and Caribbean constituency concerns following the Global Fund’s 41st Board meeting, and an analysis and commentary on the Inspector General’s advisory review on Western and Central Africa’s “challenging operating environment” policy (6/12).

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UNAIDS Welcomes Constitutional Court Of Colombia's Decision To Decriminalize HIV Transmission

UNAIDS: UNAIDS welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia to strike down the section of the criminal code criminalizing HIV transmission
“UNAIDS welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia to remove the section of the criminal code that criminalizes HIV and Hepatitis B transmission. Overly broad criminalization of HIV transmission is ineffective, discriminatory, and does not support efforts to prevent new HIV infections. … The Constitutional Court of Colombia established that the law violated the principles of equality and non-discrimination, as it singled out people living with HIV, stigmatizing them and limiting their rights. The Court established that the law created a differential treatment that is not reasonable — and therefore constituted discrimination. The Court further established that such law violated the sexual rights of people living with HIV and it was ineffective to meet any public health objectives…” (6/13).

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UNICEF Executive Director Highlights Results From Agency's Annual Report For 2018

UNICEF: UNICEF Executive Board: Taking stock of progress for children in 2018
This post provides an overview of the UNICEF Executive Board’s 2019 annual session at the U.N. during which UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore presented and highlighted results from the agency’s annual report for 2018 (6/12).

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UNICEF Report Discusses Challenges To Maternal, Child Health In Yemen

UNICEF: Yemen: Parenting in a War Zone
This report discusses the challenges pregnant women face in Yemen, noting, “Today, Yemen’s brutal conflict continues to rob children of their right to life and, for the survivors, to the best health care possible. This includes prenatal and postnatal care for their mothers … In a country profoundly affected by the humanitarian crisis, delivery of routine primary health care services has also been overshadowed by the urgency of responding to the cholera epidemic and starvation. This leaves pregnant women and newborns with limited access to a broader range of maternal and child health services, including antenatal and emergency obstetric and neonatal care…” (June 2019).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Mark Green To Travel To Eastern DRC Amid Spread Of Ebola To Uganda

USAID: Statement by USAID Spokesperson Tom Babington on Monitoring Ebola in Uganda
“Three cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Uganda, resulting in one death. This marks the first cases of the deadly disease outside of neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the ongoing outbreak began in August 2018. … In light of this alarming public health crisis, USAID Administrator Mark Green will travel to Eastern DRC next week, where he will visit with USAID partners, community and local leaders, and health care workers responding to Ebola…” (6/12).

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NIH Director Calls For Diversity, Equality On Science Conference Speaking Panels

NIH: Time to End the Manel Tradition
In a statement, NIH Director Francis S. Collins says, “I want to send a clear message of concern: it is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels, sometimes wryly referred to as ‘manels.’ Too often, women and members of other groups underrepresented in science are conspicuously missing in the marquee speaking slots at scientific meetings and other high-level conferences. Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities. … Breaking up the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) bias that is preventing women and other groups underrepresented in science from achieving their rightful place in scientific leadership must begin at the top” (June 2019).

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