KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

South Korean MERS Outbreak Subsiding, But Control Efforts Must Be Sustained, Health Officials Say

Agence France-Presse: MERS outbreak shows old habits die hard in South Korea
“…Since the first case was diagnosed on May 20, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has spread at an alarmingly rapid pace in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, infecting 166 people and killing 24 of them in less than a month. Experts blame a combination of bureaucratic inefficiency and poor crisis management and training, creating mistrust and public anxiety and shaking public confidence in the very foundations of the country’s ‘miracle’ development model…” (Ha-Won, 6/18).

Agence France-Presse: S. Korea says MERS outbreak shows signs of subsiding
“South Korea said Friday that the MERS outbreak that has killed 24 people appears to have begun subsiding, as it reported one new case — the lowest rate of new infections in two weeks…” (Chan-Kyong, 6/18).

Associated Press: WHO chief reassures South Korea as its MERS deaths reach 24
“The head of the World Health Organization has praised beleaguered South Korean officials and exhausted health workers, saying their efforts to contain a deadly MERS virus outbreak have put the country on good footing and lowered the public risk…” (Tong-Hyung, 6/18).

New York Times: South Korean Official Says MERS Outbreak Seems to Be Easing
“…In recent days, South Korean officials have expressed increasing confidence that the outbreak was coming under control. But they have also cautioned that new cases would continue to emerge in the coming weeks, saying that enforcement of quarantine and disease-control measures needed to continue…” (Sang-Hun, 6/19).

Reuters: South Korea MERS outbreak has ‘leveled off’; one new case
“… ‘Given the current developments, we have judged that it has leveled off, but we need to watch further spread, further cases from so-called intensive control hospitals,’ the South Korean health ministry’s chief policy official, Kwon Deok-cheol, told a briefing…” (Park/Munroe, 6/18).

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Thailand Confirms Country's First MERS Case

Agence France-Presse: Thailand confirms first MERS case as virus spreads in Asia
“Thailand on Thursday said a 75-year-old man from Oman was confirmed to have MERS in Southeast Asia’s first case of the virus since an outbreak in South Korea that has killed 23 people…” (Apilaporn, 6/18).

Agence France-Presse: Omani MERS patient’s relatives tested for virus in Thailand
“Thai authorities on Friday said two relatives of an Omani man found to have MERS were being tested for the deadly virus in the kingdom…” (6/19).

Al Jazeera: Thailand confirms first case of deadly MERS virus
“…Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday two laboratories had confirmed the results…” (6/18).

New York Times: Thailand: First MERS Case Confirmed
“…The man has been quarantined and is in stable condition, the minister said…” (6/18).

Reuters: Thailand confirms first MERS case: health ministry
“…The health minister said 59 others were being monitored for the virus, including three of the man’s relatives who traveled with him to Bangkok…” (Hariraksapitak/Lefevre, 6/18).

Reuters: MERS spreads to Thailand
“One of Thailand’s leading hospitals, known for treating medical tourists, said on Friday it had received the country’s first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as authorities said it had taken nearly four days to confirm the illness…” (Lefevre, 6/19).

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NPR Interviews Lead Author Of IHME Global Health Financing Report

NPR: And The Total Spent On Health In Impoverished Countries Last Year…
“It’s a lot of money. A big chunk of it comes from the U.S. And it’s not enough. Those are three things you’ll learn from the sixth annual report on how much money has been spent to improve health in developing countries. … The report comes from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Dr. Joseph Dieleman, assistant professor and lead author of the study, spoke with Goats and Soda to provide context…” (Yang, 6/18).

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Experts Stress Need For Improvements In Aid Delivery After Ebola

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Ebola showed aid delivery desperately needs an overhaul
“The Ebola epidemic exposed long-standing holes in aid delivery, which desperately needs an overhaul before the next international emergency hits, aid experts said on Thursday. Many of the shortcomings seen during the Haiti earthquake of slow responses and uncoordinated relief efforts were repeated during the Ebola crisis that erupted in West Africa a year ago, they said…” (Dawson, 6/18).

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Governments Should Prioritize Collecting Quality Data To Make Development Aid More Efficient, ODI, ONE Campaign Say

SciDev.Net: Pressure builds on poor nations to gather quality data
“International aid observers are ramping up pressure on developing world governments to generate and distribute quality data to make development assistance more efficient. U.K. think-tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and ONE, a lobby group against extreme poverty, said during an event in London, United Kingdom, last week (11 June) that developing countries should be encouraged to spend more on collecting quality data…” (Vesper, 6/19).

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Donor Conference Set To Address Economic Losses In Nepal

Inter Press Service: Donor Conference to Tackle Nepal Reconstruction
“The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal in April, and the numerous aftershocks that followed, left the country with losses amounting to a third of its economy. As this South Asian nation of 27 million people struggles to get back on its feet, a major donor conference scheduled for Jun. 25 promises to bring some relief, but the extent of the disaster means that Nepal will be dealing with the fallout from the quake for a long time to come…” (Tan, 6/17).

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Pregnant Women In Nepal At Risk Of Hepatitis E; Experts Recommend Prevention Strategies

The Guardian: Doctors call for hepatitis E vaccine in Nepal to save hundreds of women
“A group of eminent doctors have called for urgent measures to introduce a vaccine against hepatitis E infection into Nepal, where they say the lives of hundreds of women are at risk…” (Boseley, 6/17).

The Lancet: Nepali earthquakes and the risk of an epidemic of hepatitis E
“…To minimize risk to human health, we recommend: first, deploy an active surveillance mechanism to identify cases of hepatitis E using point-of-care testing; second, the Ministry of Health of Nepal should initiate a request for HEV239 vaccine, and pre-emptively build a local reserve of vaccine doses; third, development of targeted deployment strategies and guidelines for the use of HEV239 on the basis of identification of high-risk populations and the available organizational capacity for safe implementation and monitoring of outcomes…” (Basnyat et al., 6/16).

Reuters: Hepatitis E outbreak looms in quake-hit Nepal, deadly for pregnant women
“…Tens of thousands of survivors of the South Asian country’s worst disaster on record are at ‘very high’ risk of facing an outbreak of the liver disease, which spreads through water contaminated with feces, researchers said in the Lancet medical journal…” (Caspani, 6/18).

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Global Burden Of Disease Study Maps Causes Of Disability By Country

The Economist: Global disability
“In 2013 the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in Seattle, carried out a survey of the world’s disease burden. The latest results of this study, focusing on disability, have just been published in the Lancet…” (6/20).

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News Outlets Report On Dengue Outbreak, Food Security In Yemen; U.N. Launches New Aid Appeal

Associated Press/U.S. News & World Report: War-torn Yemen sees outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, thousands infected
“Thousands of people have been diagnosed with dengue fever in southern Yemen, where fighting has raged for months between Shiite rebels and their opponents, international organizations and health officials said Thursday. The top health ministry official in the southern port city of Aden, al-Khadr Al-Aswar, told The Associated Press that at least 5,000 people have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus. He said mountains of uncollected garbage, along with untreated sewage and heat, have contributed to the spread of the disease…” (Al-Haj, 6/18).

The Guardian: U.N. launches fresh Yemen aid appeal as WHO confirms dengue fever outbreak
“The United Nations has launched a renewed appeal for $1.6bn in funds to help civilians in Yemen, as the World Health Organisation confirmed an outbreak of dengue fever in the Arab world’s poorest country, where a growing humanitarian crisis is spiraling out of control and a massive aid pledge by Saudi Arabia has failed to materialize…” (Shaheen, 6/19).

U.N. News Centre: Yemen facing serious food insecurity as conflict deteriorates, new U.N. study finds
“Six million people in Yemen are slipping towards severe hunger and now need emergency food and life-saving assistance, ‘a sharp increase’ from the last quarter of 2014, according to a new joint study by two United Nations organizations…” (6/18).

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News Outlets Examine Violence Against Children In South Sudan Conflict

International Business Times: South Sudan Violence: 129 Children Killed In May; Girls Raped And Boys Castrated, Says U.N.
“A South Sudanese military spokesperson reportedly questioned the credibility of a statement issued Wednesday by [UNICEF], in which it alleged that at least 129 children were killed during clashes between government and rebel forces in May…” (Pandey, 6/19).

VOA News: U.N. Accuses S. Sudan of Unspeakable Violence Against Children
“…UNICEF’s executive director, Anthony Lake, said survivors reported that boys were castrated and left to bleed while girls as young as 8 were gang raped and killed. … UNICEF estimates some 13,000 children have been forced to participate in the conflict…” (6/18).

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WHO Works To Address Cholera Outbreak In Tanzania

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency ramps up efforts against Tanzania cholera outbreak
“The cholera outbreak in Tanzania continues to spread among the populations in the country’s western Kigoma region amid an influx of refugees from neighboring Burundi, the United Nations health agency warned [Thursday] as it detailed its ongoing response aimed at stemming the epidemic…” (6/18).

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China Rejects Patent Application For Gilead's Hepatitis C Drug

Reuters: China rejects patent linked to Gilead hepatitis C drug
“China has rejected a Gilead Sciences Inc. patent application related to its costly hepatitis C drug, a U.S. advocacy group said, adding the move may lead to other countries to consider rejecting patents for the controversial treatment…”

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Food For Peace Critical For Addressing Hunger In Yemen

Huffington Post: Food for Peace: A Lifeline for Yemen
William Lambers, author and journalist

“…The United States Food for Peace program must lead in building the international coalition to save Yemen from famine. A peace plan cannot succeed without this vital ingredient of food. A generation of Yemeni children can be saved from malnutrition, if the world acts” (6/18).

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G7 Leaders Must Follow Global Health Commitments With Actions

The Lancet: The G7 and global health: inaction or incisive leadership?
Editorial Board

“…This latest G7 Summit seems to have attracted more criticism than usual. We believe this condemnation is unfair. What was shown in Germany is that G7 leaders can agree on the importance of crucial universal issues — such as protecting health and climate. Although these commitments are welcome proof of political will, actions (not advocacy) must now follow” (6/20).

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Devex Opinion Piece Outlines Strategies To Attain 'Right To Health For All'

Devex: 5 ways to achieve the right to health for all by 2030
Dearbhla Crosse, communications officer at Action for Global Health

“…Action for Global Health, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Stop AIDS Alliance and partners held a high-level panel at this year’s European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium. They called for a paradigm shift toward equity in health care. Participants discussed ways to realize the right to health and how to strengthen health systems, focusing on sustainability and universal health coverage. Here are five takeaways on how to turn theory into practice on delivering the right to health for all by 2030: 1. International duty bearers need to continue working with countries that transition from low- to middle-income status to ensure access to good quality health care. … 2. New methods for financing and regulating health care systems are needed to ensure there are no financial barriers to access. … 3. Greater investment in health facilities is required in rural areas to increase access and to train more health workers. … 4. The right to health care for all means including marginalized and vulnerable populations. … 5. CSOs are integral to monitoring and implementing public health care and must be involved at all stages… (6/19).

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Streamlining Health Data Collection Important, But More Effort Needed To Monitor NCDs

The Lancet: Global health metrics and NCDs: are our perceptions years behind the data?
Editorial Board

“Data collection is an inherent part of health care and is crucial for evaluating disease trends, planning health services, and monitoring progress. Good quality data shines a light on areas of need, success, and failure; in turn, this leads to learning, progress, and—of course—donor funding. Unfortunately, a high burden of disease comes with a high burden of data collection. This double burden is heaviest in countries that struggle both to provide health care and collect data. The requirements from each individual donor for countries to collect data specific to their programme needs only amplifies the problem. … The initiative to reduce the burden of data collection on countries is certainly to be celebrated. However, it will fail without strong leadership to resolve the tension between local and global needs, and without investment in infrastructure to aid collection of data, particularly in low-income settings. Even with this help, the relative lack of health indicators to monitor NCDs is a glaring omission that potentially makes a mockery of the process…” (6/18).

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Addressing Childhood Obesity Critical, Requires Societal, Systems Change

The Lancet: Managing the tide of childhood obesity
Editorial Board

“In less than one generation, the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has risen in most high-income countries … Obesity is also on the rise in low-income and middle-income countries, with undernutrition-related stunting and obesity creating a double burden of disease for populations. … With an estimated 2·1 billion people overweight globally, tackling childhood obesity is one of the most serious challenges of our generation, requiring a societal and systems change in our approach to food, lifestyle, and the environments children grow up in” (6/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Post Discusses USAID Administrator Nominee Gayle Smith's Hearing Before Senate Committee

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Nominated USAID Administrator Prioritizes Ongoing Initiatives, Promises No New Ones
Casey Dunning, senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, discusses the recent hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the nomination of Gayle Smith to lead USAID. Dunning outlines “three main takeaways [from the hearing] for USAID if Ms. Smith is confirmed as its next Administrator” (6/18).

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USAID To Continue Ebola Efforts In West Africa

USAID’s “Impact”: Ebola doesn’t disappear at zero and neither will we
Denise Rollins, senior coordinator of the Africa Ebola Unit at USAID, discusses the status of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and USAID’s continued efforts in the region (6/18).

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Obama Should Link U.S. Africa Policy To Health Of Women, Girls

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Obama’s Kenya Trip Should Elevate Focus on Women and Girls
Janet Fleischman, senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa and writes, “the President could cement a lasting legacy by explicitly linking U.S. Africa policy to the health and empowerment of women and girls, arguably the continent’s most dynamic and underdeveloped resource and an indispensable component of any successful economic and security program…” (6/18).

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Lancet Article Examines International Trade, Drug Prices

The Lancet: Trans-Pacific trade pact triggers fears over drug prices
This Lancet article examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “A new trade agreement being negotiated between 12 countries has come under fire from health campaigners who say it will push up drug prices and weaken health services” (McCall, 6/20).

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International Community Must Invest In Infrastructure, Improved Food Production To Target Global Hunger

Project Syndicate: Wasting Food in a Hungry World
Bjørn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, discusses global food security and writes, “We can achieve three times the economic benefits, and even larger reductions in the number of people at risk of hunger, if we focus on improving food production rather than just on preventing food losses…” (6/18).

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