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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Outbreak Simulation Highlights Strengths, Weaknesses Of U.S., Global Pandemic Response

New Yorker: The Terrifying Lessons of a Pandemic Simulation
“…This is the third major pandemic exercise that the [Johns Hopkins] Center for Health Security has run. … ‘I would say there has been enormous progress in our preparedness since [2001],’ Tom Inglesby, the center’s director, who played the national security adviser in [the Clade X simulation, said]. These advances include new preparedness programs and offices at the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services; national stockpiling of vaccines and medications; and, at the international level, investments in emergency financing and infectious disease infrastructure. … ‘In a way, it’s sad that we’re still having these conversations,’ [former CDC director Julie] Gerberding told me, during a pause in the proceedings. Back in 2001, she helped lead the CDC’s response to the anthrax attacks of that year. ‘We have a Department of Defense, we fund it pretty well, and it’s pretty stellar,’ she said. ‘We still don’t have that for this kind of defense'” (Twilley, 6/1).

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CSIS Symposium, Commission On Strengthening America's Health Security Focus On Pandemic Preparedness

Homeland Preparedness News: CSIS symposium focuses on lessons learned from Ebola, putting global health policy into practice
“A recent Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) symposium focused on the global response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and strategies since to put health security policies into practice. The symposium was part of the Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security, a two-year effort launched by CSIS in April to focus on global disorder, countermeasures, and changes in biotechnology. J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, said pandemic preparedness will be one of the commission’s highest priorities…” (Martin, 6/1).

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6 Young Women Leaders Join With G7 Development Ministers In Historic Meeting

Devex: G7 development ministers hold historic meeting with young women activists
“G7 development ministers Thursday listened while six young women leaders from around the world made a case for why the global aid community must do more for women and girls, in order to improve the standard of life for half the world’s population and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This is the first time such a dialogue has been part of the official program of G7…” (Welsh, 6/1).

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Experts Remain Cautious Over Possible Containment Of Ebola Outbreak In DRC

Al Jazeera: How West Africa’s Ebola outbreak shapes response in DRC
“Countries know the risks — and they know they have to act fast. This is the biggest lesson learned since an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus struck three countries in West Africa, leaving more than 11,300 people dead in its wake, said [infectious disease epidemiologist] Chikwe Ihekweazu. … Now, as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) grapples with its own Ebola outbreak — the ninth since the virus was first discovered there in 1976 — health experts say what happened in West Africa can help shape the response to the disease…” (Kestler-D’Amours, 6/2).

New York Times: As Aid Workers Move to the Heart of Congo’s Ebola Outbreak, ‘Everything Gets More Complicated’
“Aiming to squelch an Ebola outbreak that has [likely infected more than 50] people, killing almost half of them, aid workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have begun giving an experimental vaccine to people in the rural region at the epicenter of the outbreak. Epidemiologists working in the remote forests have not yet identified the first case, nor many of the villagers who may have been exposed. Investigators will need to overcome extreme logistical hurdles to reconstruct how the virus was transmitted, vaccinate contacts, and halt the spread…” (Baumgaertner, 6/1).

Washington Post: With Ebola at a ‘critical point’ in Congo, aid groups scramble to limit the outbreak
“…A sense of foreboding hangs over conversations among [the WHO, aid groups, and West African governments], even as their work appears to have stemmed the outbreak’s growth for the time being. The last confirmed case in Mbandaka was reported on May 22, but the horror of the past is still raw — more than 11,000 died in the West Africa epidemic, and cases spread as far as Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, and Dallas in the United States. ‘We must make sure we leave not even one stone unturned,’ said Pierre Rollin, an Ebola expert for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is now in Congo. ‘Signs point to a diminishing number of cases, but there are no guarantees until we have gone weeks without any’…” (Bearak, 6/2).

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Mining Companies' Malaria Control Programs Helping Reduce Malaria Incidence, Burden In Ghana

The Guardian: Ghana’s unlikely marriage of mining and malaria control draws envious glances
“…Ghana has the world’s fifth worst malaria burden. It is the number one reason outpatients go to hospital. But from 2004, this rural community [of Obuasi] began a turnaround that others now want to emulate. Key to the change was a partnership between a mining company, the local community, and the government that led to a 75 percent drop in malaria cases in the Obuasi mine area in just eight years. Such was the impact that the program has been extended to the north of the country, where malaria is most problematic…” (Lamble, 6/4).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Save the Children: Gaza children on brink of mental health crisis (6/4).

Devex: Long Story Short #16: Inside the World Health Assembly (6/1).

Devex: Long Story Short #17: 15 years of PEPFAR (6/1).

Foreign Policy: Rohingyas Were Shot, Hacked With Machetes, and Then They Made for the Border (6/1).

The Guardian: Sugary drinks: panel advising WHO stops short of recommending tax (Campbell, 6/1).

The Guardian: Survivors of Yahya Jammeh’s bogus AIDS cure sue former Gambian leader (Jammeh/Maclean, 6/1).

New York Times: Nipah Virus, Dangerous and Little Known, Spreads in India (Baumgaertner, 6/4).

VOA News: WHO Vows to Intensify Fight Against Snakebite (Shryock/Guensberg, 6/3).

Wired: Did Science Miss Its Best Shot at an AIDS Vaccine? (Rogers, 6/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Dallas's Experience With Ebola Shows U.S. Should Make Long-Term Investments In Health Systems

Dallas News: Dallas knows best the importance of continued funding for Ebola
Laura Hallas, editorial intern at the Dallas Morning News

“…In the U.S., Dallas is ground zero for Ebola. Thomas Eric Duncan flew to Dallas from Liberia in 2014 to marry his fiancée who lived here, and he became the first person in America to [die of] the virus. … Diseases don’t respect borders, and pulling up the drawbridge only puts more Americans at risk for Ebola in the long run. But even more worrisome is how easily we as a country can retreat from pressing global health needs. … [The] Ebola response still has a long way to go. Widespread poverty and weak health systems remain underlying causes of most neglected tropical diseases, including Ebola. These systemic problems sound daunting, but strong public will and U.S. leadership can make a world of difference. … ‘All health is global health’; it’s a public health mantra that succinctly highlights the lessons of Ebola. Americans must continue to fight the deadly virus, but also commit to long-term investments in health systems. If we don’t, then we have forgotten our city’s past…” (6/1).

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Family Planning Policies To Raise, Lower Birthrates Could Have 'Unanticipated Consequences' On Population

The Guardian: The Guardian view on family planning policies: two kids or too many?
Editorial Board

“…Reports emerged last month that China is considering scrapping all limits on family size — after a more modest shift from the ‘one-child’ policy to a universal two-child rule three years ago failed to produce the baby boom officials had sought. … Meanwhile, Egypt has declared ‘two is enough’ as it struggles to hold back a rising birthrate. … Population matters, but panics about both low and high levels tend to be exaggerated. The former might be better addressed through measures such as immigration and increased productivity than telling people to make more babies. In the latter case, the education and empowerment of women, improved access to contraception and family planning advice … and social support … are all part of the solution. Still, Egypt might want to proceed with care. As China and Singapore have found, an apparently desirable fall in the birthrate can have unanticipated consequences. Governments are able, in the last resort and at great human cost, to enforce maximal limits. Making people have more children is trickier” (6/3).

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Humanitarian System Overhaul Vital To Better Responses To Current Crises

IRIN: Imagine a humanitarian system based on humans
Christina Bennett, head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute

“…[W]hat would it take to really overhaul the humanitarian system so it can better respond to the scale and needs of current crises? … Begin with a back-to-basics approach to humanitarian work. … Second, operate through the networks that people already use to connect, communicate, and self-organize. … Finally, move away from an extractive, charity-based form of humanitarian action to a humanitarian social economy — one where affected people form part of the means of production, and humanitarian organizations support business cooperatives to advance economic opportunity, skills development, and entrepreneurship. In recent years, we’ve heard countless calls to change the way we work. But what does this mean in practice? We must think differently … We must operate differently … We must fund differently … We must collaborate differently … Finally, we must behave differently … Now is the time to change our approach, our work, our behavior and compel the system to adjust and adapt so it not only survives, but it thrives” (6/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

World Bank Issues Bond To Raise Funds For Sustainable Development Activities, Including Improving Health, Nutrition Of Women, Children

World Bank: World Bank launches Sustainable Development Bond to Focus Attention on Improving the Health and Nutrition of Women, Children and Adolescents
“The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) has issued a CAD 60 million 10-year Eurobond that raises funds for its sustainable development activities around the world. … The World Bank issues around USDeq. 40 billion in Sustainable Development Bonds in the global capital markets every year, and proceeds of all its bond support development programs that are aligned with its mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity and the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes, for example, projects that are improving the health and nutrition of pregnant women and children under the age of two in Indonesia, and improving the chronic malnutrition of indigenous people with an emphasis on infants and small children in Guatemala…” (6/1).

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ODI Senior Research Fellow Discusses Recent News On Women's Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights

Overseas Development Institute: Giving back choice: the Irish Referendum, the Gag Rule and the future for women’s and girls’ rights
Fiona Samuels, senior research fellow at ODI, discusses the outcome of the Irish referendum on abortion and a recent roundtable discussion with ODI Distinguished Fellow and SheDecides founder Lilianne Ploumen. Samuels also discusses achieving sustainable funding for and increasing awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights, as well as empowering women and girls “by giving them voice, agency, self-confidence, and self-efficacy” (6/1).

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U.N. Foundation Senior Fellow Discusses 'New Vibe' At World Health Organization

U.N. Foundation’s “Global Connections”: The 71st World Health Assembly: A New Vibe in Global Health
Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.), the U.N. Foundation’s senior fellow for global health diplomacy, discusses the recent World Health Assembly, writing, “WHA 71 may prove to be pivotal in the history of the World Health Organization … After approval of the [13th General Programme of Work] and progress on a wide range of public health issues, it’s clear that the World Health Organization under new leadership is off to a great start” (6/1).

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FT Health Highlights Newspaper's Special Report On Cancer

FT Health: Cancer optimism tempered by ‘financial toxicity’
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights the newspaper’s recent special report on cancer; features an interview with Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva and member of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs); and provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 6/1).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID, White House Releases Discuss U.S. Government Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak

USAID: Fact Sheet: USAID Response to the Ebola Outbreak
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed $8 million dollars to support the joint Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Response Plan to the outbreak (currently budgeted at $56.7 million). In addition to this funding, USAID has provided personal protective equipment, laboratory supplies, the mobilization of two existing mobile labs, and a robust presence on the ground…” (6/1).

White House: Trump Administration Supports Response to Ebola Outbreak in Congo
In a statement, Andrea Hall and Dr. Luciana Borio, who are overseeing U.S. response efforts for the National Security Council, discuss the U.S. government response to the DRC Ebola outbreak. They write, “The National Security Council staff — in close collaboration with the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others — is coordinating our response. The National Security Council staff is regularly convening departments and agencies to prioritize actions; to share the latest information on the situation on the ground; and to ensure efforts are timely, coordinated, and responsive to the needs of the DRC people and the many others at risk…” (6/1).

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HHS Deputy Secretary Issues Statement On WHO Independent Commission On NCDs Report

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: U.S. Government Statement on Launch of Final Report by the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases
“Upon the release of the final report of the World Health Organization Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases, called ‘Time to Deliver,’ Commissioner Eric Hargan, HHS Deputy Secretary, released the following statement: ‘…The report reflects a new spirit of partnership and collaboration with the private sector, which will improve the health and productivity of all. … We look forward, with the international health community, to partnering appropriately with the private sector as part of the solution to achieve our goals of reducing the prevalence of NCDs…” (6/4).

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U.S. Ambassador To Malawi Discusses PEPFAR's Contributions Toward Ending AIDS In Country

U.S. Embassy in Malawi: We are closer than ever to ending AIDS, thanks to PEPFAR
U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer writes, “Malawi, with PEPFAR as a key partner, is on its way to achieving control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic by the end of 2020. … But our work is far from done. Through transparency, accountability, and the power of partnership, we can accelerate progress toward reaching our shared goals” (5/29).

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