Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 376M New Cases Of 4 Sexually Transmitted Infections Diagnosed Annually, WHO Estimates Show

BBC News: One million new STIs every day, says WHO
“One million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur every single day, the World Health Organization has estimated. That means more than 376 million new cases annually of four infections — chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis…” (6/6).

The Guardian: STIs spreading at rate of more than 1m a day, says WHO
“…The WHO says too little attention is paid to STIs, the data is inadequate and there is a risk that some will spiral out of control as the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. … Dr. Teodora Wi, the WHO’s medical officer for sexually transmitted infections, said STIs were more common than generally believed and did not get enough attention, and people who got infections were stigmatized and neglected…” (Boseley, 6/6).

The Telegraph: A ‘silent epidemic’: one in every 25 people globally are carrying an STI, warns new study
“…The study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, highlights how STIs have a serious impact on the health of adults and children and, if untreated, can lead to infertility, stillbirths, increased risk of HIV, and even cardiovascular and neurological complications. Syphilis is a particular problem for pregnant women with around 200,000 stillbirths and deaths of newborn babies every year linked to the infection…” (Gulland, 6/6).

USA TODAY: ‘A wake-up call’: 1 million new sexually transmitted infections every day, WHO reports
“… ‘We’re seeing a concerning lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections worldwide,’ Peter Salama, executive director for universal health coverage, said in a news release. ‘This is a wake-up call for a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases’…” (Ravikumar, 6/6).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Axios, CNN, Deutsche Welle, Devex, HuffPost, U.N. News, and VOA News.

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About 25% Of DRC Ebola Cases Go Undetected, WHO Estimates; U.S. Experts, Lawmakers Call For More Effort To End Outbreak

Associated Press: U.N. says about 25% of Ebola cases could be going undetected
“The World Health Organization says it may be missing a quarter of all Ebola cases in eastern Congo as violent unrest complicates detection. That estimate by WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan on Thursday comes after aid groups expressed concern this week that the rate of new cases has been picking up speed…” (6/6).

CIDRAP News: No ‘reset’ with Ebola outbreak, WHO official says
“…Ryan said the outbreak’s reproduction rate is 1.04, meaning that every Ebola case begets one additional case. That means transmission is flat, not increasing, but also not decreasing significantly. Throughout the press conference, Ryan called the outbreak complex. In addition to the security challenges in the region, he said certain health-seeking behavior and community death practices have contributed to the outbreak’s longevity…” (Soucheray, 6/6).

Homeland Preparedness News: Experts call on U.S. government for additional Ebola response
“…USAID is working with the new United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator to bolster security for non-militarized humanitarian approaches. They are also coordinating with the CDC to implement operational improvements in public health response, including a forward-leaning vaccine strategy. The CDC is cooperating with WHO to support vaccination. … However, government policy may stifle CDC and other humanitarian efforts. … [U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.)] on June 4 introduced the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019, H.R. 3085, to authorize USAID to assist with the Ebola efforts in the DRC. The same-named Senate bill, S. 1340, was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on May 7…” (Adrien, 6/6).

STAT: WHO sees progress in Ebola response, but others see a grimmer reality
“…Ryan pushed back against the call for a total reset, saying that’s not an option available to the response. ‘Adapt, yes. Learn, yes. Change things, yes,’ Ryan said. ‘I’ve been through a lot of Ebola and other outbreaks. There are no magic bullets. There are no unicorns. It’s just hard work and learning from what we do’…” (Branswell, 6/6).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Axios, BBC News, CNN, and Reuters.

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FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Approval For TB Alliance's Experimental Treatment For Drug-Resistant TB

Reuters: FDA advisory panel recommends approval of TB Alliance’s tuberculosis treatment
“Independent experts of an FDA advisory panel voted in favor of the not-for-profit TB Alliance’s treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis, as a part of a three-drug combination regimen. The panel on Tuesday voted 14-4 when asked to assess the treatment, pretomanid, in combination with Johnson & Johnson’s bedaquiline and linezolid for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). Although the U.S. health regulator is not bound to follow the advice of its advisory panels, it usually does so…” (Maddipatla/Mathias, 6/6).

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115M Young Men Worldwide Married As Children, UNICEF Analysis Shows, Calls For End Of Child Marriage

U.N. News: Around 23 million boys have married before reaching 15; ‘we can end this violation’ says UNICEF chief
“An estimated 115 million boys and men around the world were married as children, 23 million of them before the age of 15, according to the first-ever analysis on child grooms, launched on Friday by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Using data from 82 countries, the in-depth study brings the overall number estimated child marriages to 765 million, UNICEF revealed. ‘Marriage steals childhood,’ said Executive Director Henrietta Fore. ‘Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready.’ The study discovered that child marriage among boys spans sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific…” (6/7).

Additional coverage of the UNICEF report is available from Deutsche Welle, The Independent, New York Times, and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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U.N. Recognizes First-Ever World Food Safety Day To Raise Awareness Of Impact On Food Security, Health

U.N. News: ‘From farm to plate,’ first-ever World Food Safety Day demonstrates the need to take unsafe food off the menu
“Unsafe food kills an estimated 420,000 people every year, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, just ahead of the first-ever U.N. World Food Safety Day. Children under-five are the most at risk, carrying 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden, amounting to 125,000 deaths every year…” (6/6).

Xinhua News: No food security without food safety: U.N. official
“…Vincent Martin, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) representative in China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said the first-ever World Food Safety Day, which falls on June 7, had been launched by the United Nations to enhance the importance of food safety issues. ‘Globally, about 600 million people fall sick due to foodborne illness and 420,000 people die every year,’ Martin said. ‘There is no food security without food safety’…” (6/7).

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Mass Administration Of Azithromycin Associated With Continued Reduced Childhood Mortality In Niger Study; Concerns Remain Over Drug Resistance

CIDRAP News: Follow-up study: Mass azithromycin still tied to fewer child deaths
“New follow-up data [Thursday] in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) provide additional evidence that mass distribution of azithromycin could be a strategy for reducing childhood mortality in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But concerns about antibiotic resistance remain. In fact, a separate analysis published [Thursday] as a letter in the NEJM notes rising drug resistance among children from the original 2018 study…” (Dall, 6/6).

Healio: MORDOR 2: Azithromycin MDA remains effective at 3 years in Niger
“…In a related editorial, Naor Bar-Zeev, PhD, MBBS(Hons), MPH, an associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues said the findings in these studies raised more questions than they answered. ‘What mechanism explains these observations?’ they wrote. ‘Which groups would it be best to target with azithromycin? And what of the thorny issue of antimicrobial resistance? Even if benefits are confirmed for some, will antimicrobial resistance cause harm to others? Perhaps our hopes for azithromycin should be more modest’…” (Gramigna, 6/5).

Additional coverage of the study is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, and NPR.

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More News In Global Health

Atlanta Business Chronicle: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donates record $180M grant to Emory (Mandel, 6/6).

The BMJ: Maternity services: women want respect and dignity above all else, finds global survey (Kmietowicz, 6/7).

Devex: How to address the midwife challenges threatening maternal care (Root, 6/7).

Devex: How to better integrate gender equality and nutrition (Root, 6/6).

Devex: Q&A: Nurse leadership and tackling health workforce shortages (6/6).

The Economist: Eastern Congo has the world’s largest quinine plantations (6/8).

Global Health NOW: Delivering on Innovation for Women’s Health (Myers, 6/6).

Global Health NOW: Elderly Mothers Bear the Emotional Burden of the Drug War (Santos, 6/6).

The Guardian: Fight the fakes: how to beat the $200bn medicine counterfeiters (Lock, 6/5).

Homeland Preparedness News: New research tackles underutilized concept of disease vulnerability (Galford, 6/6).

The Lancet: U.K., Germany, dissociate from WHO drug pricing resolution (Zarocostas, 6/8).

PRI: A raging TB epidemic in Papua New Guinea threatens to destabilize the entire Asia Pacific (Sherriff, 6/6).

Quartz Africa: Africa is home to some of the world’s most polluted cities — here’s why the air quality is not improving (Kazeem, 6/6).

The Telegraph: ‘Old men’ must stop telling women what to do with their bodies (Newey, 6/6).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Swipe right for testing: gay dating app helps fight rising HIV in Bulgaria (Elks, 6/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zimbabwe’s economic crisis driving homeless boys into illegal gay sex trade (Ndhlovu, 6/5).

Xinhua News: Libya hostilities result in six deaths among health workers: U.N. (6/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

New State Department Commission On Unalienable Rights' Approach To 'Rights' Language Reflects Its Own Agenda, Opinion Piece Says

Washington Post: Why Trump’s new Commission on Unalienable Rights is likely to upset the human rights community
Clifford Bob, professor and chair of political science at Duquesne University

“…[L]ate last week, the Trump State Department announced a new Commission on Unalienable Rights to provide advice and recommendations regarding international human rights policy. … As its anachronistic title suggests, the Commission on Unalienable Rights will focus on how current ‘human rights discourse’ has ‘departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.’ … [A]ny group with any ideology can use the resonant language of rights to push its own agenda. … As one of its first official acts, the Trump administration reimposed the ‘Mexico City policy,’ also known as the global gag rule, banning [U.S. global health] support for international [nongovernmental organizations] … that perform, promote, or offer information about abortion. The United States has sought to purge all references to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ at the United Nations since 2017. … The conservative goals [the new Commission] portrays in rights language will appeal to an important segment of world opinion. But they will leave mainstream NGOs and their left-leaning audiences unmoved and still committed to defending their own vision of society. The battle over the political content of ‘human rights’ will continue” (6/6).

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Canada's Announcement To Invest $14B Over 10 Years To Improve Women's, Girls' Health Could Yield Better Economic, Health Outcomes For Entire Communities

Globe and Mail: When we improve the lives of women and girls, we all benefit
Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights

“[Canadian] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week that Canada would invest $14 billion over 10 years — C$1.4 billion a year — to improve global health for women and girls. Couched in that announcement: a commitment of $700 million for sexual and reproductive health rights. The funding puts Canada in a leadership position on women’s and girls’ health outcomes globally. … [I]nvesting in women’s health and emphasizing sexual and reproductive health can help catalyze greater economic self-sufficiency for a developing country within a couple of generations. … By prioritizing the health and welfare of the half being left out, Canada will bring up to 18 million women and girls back into the game over the next 10 years. More women in the game means better economic and health outcomes for entire communities. That’s why investing $14 billion in health care for them is the right thing to do” (6/6).

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New Iteration of International Classification Of Diseases Represents 'Step Forward For Health Worldwide'

The Lancet: ICD-11
Editorial Board

“The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a health statistics coding tool that aims to describe an entity that is challenging to quantify and even more problematic to standardize — the human condition. … 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases, and causes of death are included … ICD-11 has an improved ability to code for the quality and safety of health care and highlights the role of external factors that directly and indirectly contribute to people’s health, such as insufficient social welfare support. Overall, this revision is a huge step forward for health worldwide. The fully electronic nature of ICD-11 will assist implementation, reduce errors in diagnosis, and make it more adaptable for local country contexts. The common language of health and medicine is now more fit-for purpose than it has ever been” (6/8).

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Political Will, Action Necessary To Addressing Planetary Health

The Lancet: Planetary health in the Anthropocene
Editorial Board

“In May, 29 of 34 members of the Anthropocene Working Group voted to recognize the Anthropocene as the geological epoch entered in the 20th century, characterized by human activity rapidly shaping our planet. … Our 2015 Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health recommended an urgent expansion of the interdisciplinary scope of research and capacity. Departments of planetary health and academic initiatives and alliances are now taking shape in universities around the world … We applaud the convergence of disciplines and global academic leadership that is bringing this new community to life, but there is more to do. There remain gaps in securing political will to address the multiple human-caused challenges that threaten all life on Earth. This is visible in relation to global progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); such as SDG 2 — zero hunger, and SDG 3 — good health and wellbeing. That we still read news headlines of 60 million children suffering hunger in Africa illustrates such disconnect. Governments now need to be held to account to take political action that supports the evidence emerging around planetary health. The new wave of academia could set its next sights on that goal” (6/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Chicago Council Fellow Discusses Impact Of Food Waste On Nutrition, Energy, Water

Chicago Council’s “Global Food for Thought”: A Huge Amount of Food is Wasted — And With It, Water, Energy, and Nutrition
Michael Tiboris, global water fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and public fellow for the American Council of Learned Societies, discusses how food loss and waste could impact global opportunities to reduce hunger, carbon emissions, and stress on water resources, writing, “Reducing food loss and waste would go a long distance toward achieving food and nutrition security, and could be enough to prevent the need for agriculture to consume new sources of water and by extension the energy resources and greenhouse gas emissions that come with expanded water use. This is a clear case in which the solution to scarcity is not producing more, but seeking a tighter fit between what is produced and what is consumed” (6/5).

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U.N. Dispatch Provides Update On Food Security Situation In Somalia

U.N. Dispatch: Why the United Nations is Suddenly Warning About Drought and Famine in Somalia
Mark Leon Goldberg, executive editor of U.N. Dispatch, discusses food security in Somalia, writing, “[M]oving from crisis level to emergency level means food security has gotten considerably worse, in many cases forcing people to completely liquidate whatever assets they have to survive. … There is no famine in Somalia … yet. But if this crisis continues and if [the U.N. appeal for] $700 million is not raised from international donors, famine could strike Somalia later this year” (6/5).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's Tim Ziemer Provides Testimony Before Congress On U.S. Ebola Response Efforts In DRC

USAID: Written Statement of Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, before the Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations
This written statement provides the testimony of Tim Ziemer, assistant administrator of the agency’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, to a U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee regarding the U.S. response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (6/4).

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