KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N.'s Ban Encourages Governments To Increase Efforts To End TB By 2035

U.N. News Centre: U.N. chief urges governments intensify efforts to end tuberculosis by 2035
“With some 37 million lives saved between 2000 and 2013 through the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, it is possible to end the epidemic by 2035, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on World Tuberculosis Day, urging leaders to recommit to ending one of humanity’s top killers. ‘Victory is not guaranteed,’ Mr. Ban said in his message for the day, observed each year on 24 March…” (3/24).

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Experts Disagree Over Feasibility Of WHO's 'End TB' Strategy

Deutsche Welle: A world without tuberculosis?
“If it’s up to the WHO, the number of tuberculosis (TB) deaths is to decrease by 95 percent over the next twenty years, the number of those contracting the disease by 90 percent. These are without doubt lofty targets. Serious efforts will have to be taken to get the infectious disease that’s triggered by bacteria under control. The World Health Organization’s ‘End TB’ strategy has already failed to convince all the experts…” (Heise, 3/24).

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News Outlets Examine Efforts To Treat TB In Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, India

The Guardian: Ethiopia: new TB treatment means patients will no longer need a miracle
“…A scheme will see two new drugs introduced in 17 high-risk countries, including Ethiopia, with the aim of halving treatment times, eliminating the need for injections, and improving patients’ chances of a cure from 48 percent to 70 percent. Funded by UNITAID, … the $60m end-TB project will bring two drugs to the market in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières, Interactive Research and Development, and Partners in Health…” (Kweifio-Okai, 3/24).

Inter Press Service: Multi-Drug Resistance Adds to Tuberculosis Epidemic in Papua New Guinea
“Rising multi-drug resistance in patients suffering from tuberculosis, a debilitating infectious lung disease which mainly impacts the developing world, has led to a public health emergency in the southwest Pacific Island state of Papua New Guinea, according to state officials…” (Wilson, 3/23).

Reuters: Indian doctors find success in tackling the ‘invisible burden’ of tuberculosis
“… ‘One of the things overlooked when it comes to curbing tuberculosis is the mental health problems of patients,’ said Joyce Vaghela, deputy director at St. Stephen’s Hospital’s Community Health Department. … Vaghela said the hospital’s home care mental health program has treated over 400 patients with impressive preliminary success rates, proving that psychological support is crucial…” (Bhalla, 3/24).

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Liberia's New Ebola Case Causing Concerns, As Large Number Of People Possibly Exposed

New York Times: Exposure Concerns Grow in Liberia After Diagnosis of First Ebola Case in Weeks
“Worries have widened in recent days over the number of people in Liberia who may have been exposed to the country’s first Ebola case in more than two weeks, a street vendor who lived in a one-bathroom house shared with 52 others in a Monrovia suburb and who had sold food at a school where more than 1,900 students are enrolled…” (Fink, 3/24).

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Monsanto Requests Meeting With WHO Senior Officials Regarding Claim Of Herbicide's Probable Carcinogenicity

Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Bites Back at Glyphosate Findings
“Monsanto Co. escalated its criticism of a World Health Organization agency’s finding last week that a commonly used herbicide probably has the potential to cause cancer in humans. The St. Louis-based agribusiness giant — a major seller of the weed killer — sought a meeting with senior WHO officials on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s finding, while a WHO agency official defended what he called an ‘exhaustive’ review of eligible data…” (Bunge, 3/23).

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China Facing Growing Elderly Population, Shrinking Workforce As Result Of One-Child Policy

Bloomberg News: The Place Where China Began Its One-Child Policy Is Dying
“…It was [in Rudong, a rural county on the east coast], half a century ago, that China began its one-child policy, a political drive to curb overpopulation that may end up sapping the country’s workforce and leaving millions of old people with no one to look after them…” (Xin, 3/24).

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Syrian Aid Delivery Proves Difficult As Islamic State Group, Syrian Government Slow Humanitarian Efforts, U.N. Says

Associated Press: Both Islamic State group, Syria government slow down aid: U.N.
“A new U.N. report says the delivery of aid to millions inside Syria is becoming even more difficult as the Islamic State group closes down humanitarian efforts and Syria’s government puts more obstacles in the way…” (3/24).

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More Than 2.5M Face Hunger In South Sudan Because Of Violence, Poor Harvests, Aid Groups Warn

Agence France-Presse: South Sudan’s hungry see little hope for peace
“…Across South Sudan, frustration and anger is growing over the humanitarian toll from the 15-month-old feud between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, his former deputy and now the main rebel leader. … For the displaced in and around Ganyiel, life consists of waiting in flooded, makeshift shelters — but reserves of food, and hope, are dwindling fast…” (Wadu, 3/25).

VOA News: Hunger Stalks S. Sudan; Desperate Turn to Leaves
“…More than 2.5 million people face food insecurity in war-torn South Sudan, humanitarian agencies warn. Poor harvests, violence, and constraints on trade have pushed this area into what those agencies have classified as a level-three food crisis — two steps below famine…” (Joselow, 3/24).

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War-Torn Somalia Continues To Face Food Insecurity; U.S. Remittance Bans May Exacerbate Hunger Problems, Aid Groups Say

VOA News: Somalis, After 2 Famines, Still Face Food Insecurity
“After decades of conflict, experts say that the humanitarian crisis in Somalia remains among the worst in the world. Three million people need aid, says Philippe Lazzarini, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the country. Of these, ‘740,000 Somalis still face acute insecurity, while an additional 2.3 million are at risk of sliding back into the same situation’…” (Billow, 3/24).

VOA News: Remittance Cuts a Threat to Somalia’s Food Security
“Aid groups say remittances from abroad are key to food security in Somalia, and that an American bank’s recent decision to bar money transfers into the country could have disastrous effects. The move, apparently required by U.S. anti-terrorism measures, could contribute to making Somalia’s hunger problems even worse…” (Heuler, 3/24).

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Signs Of Malnourishment In Kenya Include Different Health Conditions, From Stunting To Obesity

VOA News: Malnutrition in Africa Wears Two Faces
“In a health clinic in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s roughest slums, families fill the waiting room. Here, the charity German Doctors runs a feeding program for malnourished children. … But in the slums, obesity can be a sign not of overeating but of malnutrition, says Elizabeth Kimani, who works with Nairobi’s African Population and Health Research Center…” (Heuler, 3/24).

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In North Korea, Food Security Problem Is More Nutritional- Than Supply-Based, WFP Official Suggests

Devex: In North Korea, people are ‘still malnourished, but better fed’
“…[T]he main problem in North Korea isn’t that people aren’t getting enough food. ‘The food security problem of North Korea is more a qualitative one — lack of enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins at (the) right time in children’s life phases, leading to stunting,’ Leo van der Velden, former deputy director of the World Food Programme in North Korea, told Devex…” (Megaloudi, 3/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

More U.S. Support For Domestic, Foreign Universities Would Help Produce Agricultural Leaders, Improve Food Security

The Hill: Achieve global food security by investing in universities
Former Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), president of the Lugar Center; Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and Dan Glickman, co-chair of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

“…As Congress considers authorizing a global food security strategy, with the Obama administration’s ambitious whole-of-government Feed the Future as its centerpiece, building capacity must be at the forefront of the debate. One of the most essential ways to do this is to strengthen a country’s higher education system … Without restructured higher education institutions to produce well-trained in-country agricultural specialists, U.S. development assistance to the same countries will be required in perpetuity. … Congress should play a leading role in authorizing U.S. food security programs in a way that better integrates the role of U.S. and foreign universities…” (3/24).

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Opinion Pieces Mark World TB Day

Devex: New approaches needed to end TB
Anna Nakanwagi-Mukwaya, director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease’s Uganda office; Paula Fujiwara, the Union’s scientific director; and Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership

“…Innovative projects like [Slum Partnerships to Actively Respond to Tuberculosis in Kampala (SPARK-TB)], which build up local capacity and rely on community participation to deliver quality-assured health services, will ensure that communities are properly equipped and able to provide care and support for their own people — helping us make the necessary strides toward the elimination of TB within the next generation” (3/24).

Fox News: World Tuberculosis Day 2015: 9 million new cases a year is too many. Here’s how to change TB’s future
Tom Kenyon, director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health

“…At CDC, we work closely with many international partners to build the evidence base for better ways to prevent, find, and cure TB, including MDR-TB. … By pairing global efforts to improve public health response capabilities with proven interventions to strengthen TB control, we can come closer to this reality and stop the suffering and cost associated with this deadly disease” (3/24).

Huffington Post: Partnering Across Public and Private Sectors to Beat TB in India
Gopi Gopalakrishnan, founder and president of World Health Partners

“…In 2014, our organization, World Health Partners (WHP), launched the Universal Access to TB Care (UATBC) to save lives and reduce diagnostic delay for TB by expanding the TB care ecosystem to include private sector health care providers. This initiative, a public-private partnership with the State Government of Bihar, leverages India’s vast private sector to reduce diagnostic delay and increase the number of TB notifications in Patna…” (3/23).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: The urgent quest for new TB drugs: it’s not rocket science
Mel Spigelman, president and chief executive of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance)

“…As is true for all bacterial infections, the tuberculous bacillus will evolve and develop resistance to new drugs. With judicious use, the process of generating resistance can be slowed down, but we need to continue to expand research efforts to protect future generations of TB patients…” (3/24).

Slate: The Most Neglected Disease
Jens Erik Gould, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Knife of Aristotle

“…If [reporters and editors] gave readers and viewers more opportunities to learn about important issues such as tuberculosis, the public might become accustomed to learning about them and, in the long term, actually seek out such news. That, in turn, could influence policymakers and donors to remember, when it comes time to write checks, those dying needlessly of TB” (3/24).

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Replicating Successes For Women, Girls Can Help World Make Progress Toward Gender Equality

CNN: Melinda Gates’ advice to girls: ‘Use your voice and you can affect change’
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“The most rewarding part of my job is meeting women and girls from all over the world who are striving for the same goal: a good life for themselves and their families. … By studying the areas where women and girls have made the most progress in the past 20 years, we can learn to replicate those successes in other areas. And because the [No Ceilings] report identifies where the biggest gaps are, we have what amounts to a blueprint for action. … Even though we’ve made great strides, there’s still work to do. … It is up to all of us … to commit to the work of full participation and ensure a promising future for us all” (4/24).

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Global Community Must Provide Knowledge Of, Access To Contraceptives For Women In Developing Countries

The Guardian: Westerners don’t appreciate how amazing contraception is
Faustina Fynn-Nyame, Kenya country director for Marie Stopes International

“…Women in Africa want contraception. While the West waffles on about providing aid for family planning, Africans are asking for it. … As someone who has lived and worked in clinics from Brixton to Accra, the main difference I see is that women in the U.K. are empowered. They can take control of what happens to their body and what they want from their futures. In countries such as Ghana and Kenya that agency is not there. But the women in Kenya and Ghana are brave because they are challenging the status quo. … We need to make sure that girls the world over have the same opportunities” (3/23).

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Holistic Approaches Will Lead To Sustainable, Long-Term Changes In Health Systems Strengthening

The Guardian: Innovation in health financing doesn’t mean forgetting the basics
Jo Kemp, practice lead for governance and state building at Crown Agents

“…It would be folly to consider any new innovation as the silver bullet to strengthening health systems. Instead we must continue to be guided by the principles of health financing and then consider new approaches. Undoubtedly taking a holistic view — technical, institutional, and political — may be more onerous to measure, but without doing so we are less likely to see sustainable, long-term change” (3/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Updated Fact Sheet On U.S. Government And Global TB

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Tuberculosis
This updated fact sheet discusses U.S. government global TB efforts and funding, global statistics related to the disease, and international goals to control and treat TB (3/20).

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Obama Discusses Foreign Aid, Military Efforts, Diplomacy In Vox Interview

Humanosphere: Obama on erasing the military-foreign aid divide
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses President Obama’s comments made recently in a Vox interview “about domestic and foreign policy and their challenges.” “‘[O]ne of the things I’d like to do over the next couple of years: to try to erase this very sharp line between our military efforts in national security and our diplomatic and foreign assistance efforts,’ said Obama to Matthew Yglesias of Vox,” Murphy notes, adding, “The conversation allows Obama to trot out the stat that most Americans think one-quarter of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid when it reality it is about one percent…” (3/24).

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Equitable Access To Vaccines Critical To Children's Health

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Be Bold: How Gavi Will Immunize Another 300 Million Children
Dagfinn Høybråten, chair of the Board of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers, discusses the challenges of immunizing children around the globe and the importance of establishing “equitable, sustainable vaccine programs” (3/24).

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Blog Posts Discuss World TB Day

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Reach, Cure, Prevent to End TB
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID, writes about the agency’s efforts to support “national programs to diagnose and treat TB in the countries hardest hit by TB, MDR-TB, and HIV-associated TB. … We stand with our partners, united in our efforts to save lives and develop healthier societies in vulnerable countries. We have the ability to rid the world of TB. And — with continued global action, investment, and innovation — we will do so” (3/24).

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: The Collective Effort to Turn the Tide on the War Against TB
Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, discusses global efforts to reach the goals of the WHO’s End TB strategy, writing, “Change is not always easy, but with strong partners we will succeed…” (3/23).

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Australia Makes Important Commitment to Tuberculosis and Malaria
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes, “We congratulate Australia and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for their announcement of $30 million Australian dollars over three years aid package to develop lifesaving tools for TB and malaria … The new funding will bolster the development of key tools to address the burden of the two diseases globally and in the Asia-Pacific region…” (3/23).

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Controlling, Eliminating NTDs Makes Way For Poverty Alleviation, WHO Report Shows

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: A New WHO Report Brings Fresh Data and Ideas on Ending NTDs
Mirta Roses Periago, former director of the Pan American Health Organization, writes, “The WHO report [‘Investing to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases,’] endorses the fact that controlling and eliminating NTDs paves the way for poverty alleviation and shared prosperity for all. As I’ve said before, targets to control and eliminate NTDs must be included in global efforts to address poverty and inequality, including the post-2015 development agenda and the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals” (3/24).

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