KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Fund To Begin Year-Long Process To Develop Strategy Through 2021

Devex: Global Fund: Back in gear or spinning wheels?
“The past five years have not been kind to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … But the Global Fund is optimistic of brighter prospects in the coming years. … This month, the Global Fund will begin a yearlong process to set its 2017-2021 strategy. As part of this process, it will look at how to continue its mandate to support fragile states, key populations and harm-reduction services, and to support domestic financing for health and country transitions away from Global Fund financing…” (Esmail, 3/25).

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Malawi Shifts Global Fund HIV/AIDS Money Away From National AIDS Council

Reuters: Global Fund redirects $574 million from Malawi AIDS council
“The Global Fund [as well as the Malawi Country Coordinating Mechanism,] has redirected $574 million in HIV/AIDS funding away from Malawi’s National AIDS Council (NAC) after allegations of financial mismanagement, including the purchase of vehicles that were not budgeted for, [the Global Fund] said on Wednesday…” (Banda, 3/25).

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WHO Reports Lowest Weekly Total Of New Ebola Cases This Year; West Africa Must Maintain Vigilance, Agency Says

New York Times: Health Agency Reports Lowest Weekly Total of New Ebola Cases
“The World Health Organization on Wednesday reported the lowest weekly total of new Ebola cases so far this year in the three nations of West Africa that have been afflicted by the deadly virus…” (Gladstone, 3/26).

Reuters: New Ebola infections continue to drop, Guinea still a concern
“…The figures are a further indication that the outbreak, which has killed more than 10,300 people across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, is waning. But there are still worrying signs that the disease is not yet under control in Guinea, the U.N. health agency said in its weekly report…” (Bavier, 3/25).

U.N. News Centre: Lowest weekly total of Ebola cases in 2015 reported, U.N. health agency says
“… ‘Investigations into the origin of the newly reported case in Liberia are ongoing,’ the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update. ‘Heightened vigilance is being maintained throughout the country’ along with efforts to reinforce surveillance networks and cross-border controls…” (3/25).

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Guinea Begins Ebola 'Ring Vaccination' Trial; Chinese Researchers Report Results From Another Vaccine Trial

CIDRAP News: Ebola vaccine trial launches in Guinea; Chinese vaccine test detailed
“In an effort to see if a vaccine might be used to drown out Ebola flare-ups, a new trial launched in an area of Guinea where cases have occurred recently, while Chinese researchers reported the first human trial results for a different type of vector vaccine. … [T]he Chinese study has been quickly adapted, with several research questions still to be settled before it proceeds to the next testing phase…” (Schnirring, 3/25).

International Business Times: Ebola crisis: First tests as ring vaccination starts in Guinea
“The Guinean government has on Wednesday (25 March) initiated the very first efficacy trial of an Ebola vaccine this week in Basse-Guinée, one of the country’s virus hotspots. Along with the World Health Organization (WHO), the authorities are rolling out ring vaccination tests of VSV-EBOV, an Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada…” (Buchanan, 3/25).

TIME: Ebola Vaccine Trial Starts in Guinea
“…The trial is using what’s called a ‘ring vaccination’ strategy, which means that when a person is infected with Ebola, a group, or ring, of their contacts will be vaccinated. Some of the contacts will be vaccinated immediately, and some will be vaccinated three weeks later…” (Sifferlin, 3/25).

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U.K. Parliamentary Group, Pharmaceutical Leaders Call For Investment In Health Systems To Prevent MDR TB

Devex: Pharmaceutical leaders call for greater investment in health systems
“Aid agencies must invest more in strengthening health systems and infrastructure to avoid many millions of people losing their lives to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis by 2050, a group of U.K. members of Parliament said on World Tuberculosis Day. Their call to action is backed by senior figures in the pharmaceutical sector, who told Devex preventing a resurgent TB pandemic was not only dependent on drug development … [because] without better health infrastructure, investment in research and development is wasted as treatments are administered inadequately…” (Jóźwiak, 3/25).

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Ugandan Government Paid U.S. Firm To Neutralize Negative Publicity From Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Ugandan Newspaper Reports

Agence France-Presse: Uganda paid U.S. PR firm ‘to clean up image’ after anti-gay bill
“A row over a law banning homosexuality in Uganda has been reignited after it emerged that the government paid a U.S. public relations firm to offset negative publicity, a report said Monday. Uganda’s Observer newspaper said the government had spent 614 million shillings ($206,000) … ‘to prop up Uganda’s image’ after it was ‘tarnished by the Anti-Homosexuality Act’…” (3/24).

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Typhoid Fever Outbreak Infects Hundreds In Uganda's Capital, Health Official Says

Associated Press: Ugandan official: Typhoid sickens hundreds in capital
“An outbreak of typhoid fever has infected hundreds of people in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and looks likely to spread as the rainy season gets under way, a senior health official said on Wednesday…” (Muhumuza, 3/25).

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Access To Clean Water, Sanitation Indispensable To Stop Cholera In Haiti, PAHO Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Cholera will plague Haiti until water, sanitation crisis solved: experts
“Cholera will continue to kill and infect Haitians as long as they lack access to clean water and sanitation, with a thousand new cases reported each week, health experts say. … ‘We cannot be complacent. We can’t take our eyes off the ball,’ PAHO Deputy Director Isabella Danel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview…” (Moloney, 3/25).

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Zimbabwe Alert As Cholera Spreads From Neighboring Mozambique To Border Towns

IRIN: Zimbabwe on alert over cholera threat
“…[W]ith the emergence of a cholera outbreak in neighboring Mozambique, which has already infected 14 people in Zimbabwe’s border towns, the question is whether the authorities are ready and better able to cope should cholera spread to Harare…” (3/25).

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With Biodegradable Toilet Powder, Indian WASH Advocates Hope To Speed Waste Breakdown In Safer Way

Wall Street Journal: This Poo Powder Aims to Help India’s Diarrhea Problem
“…As part of a ‘Stop Diarrhea’ program run by the non-profit Save the Children, a biodegradable toilet powder that speeds up the breakdown of excrement has been developed by Reckitt Benckiser — makers of toilet cleaning products such as Harpic and Dettol. … [I]t is part of a broader plan laid out by United Nations body UNICEF and the World Health Organization to reduce child mortality including promoting breast feeding, washing hands, and other better hygiene practices…” (Bhattacharya, 3/26).

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The Guardian Examines Progress On Gender Equality Under MDG3

The Guardian: What is the Millennium Development Goal on gender equality all about?
This fact sheet discusses MDG3 on gender equality, progress toward the targets, shortcomings of the goal, and how MDG3 will be represented in the Sustainable Development Goals (Ford, 3/26).

The Guardian: Have the Millennium Development Goals empowered women?
“…Six of the eight goals mention women and girls as priority targets. Goal three seeks to promote gender equality and empower women. As the deadline for achieving the MDGs looms, how successful have the goals been in empowering women?…” (Ford, 3/26).

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U.K., Scottish Ministers Apologize To Those Infected With HCV, HIV Through Contaminated Blood Over 30 Years Ago

The Guardian: Cameron apologizes to those infected with hepatitis C and HIV 30 years ago
“Ministers from the U.K. and Scottish governments have apologized and pledged extra funding after it emerged that more than 3,000 people were infected by hepatitis C and HIV via contaminated blood more than 30 years ago. David Cameron formally apologized during prime minister’s questions after an independent inquiry recommended that ministers launch a mass screening exercise for everyone in Scotland who was given blood before September 1991 to test for hepatitis C…” (Carrell/Perraudin, 3/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Lessons Learned From Ebola Epidemic, Next Steps For Disease Preparedness

Huffington Post: Why Ebola Won This Round…And If We’re Smart, Why We Will Win The Next
Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and CEO of AmeriCares

“…To exact its toll of 10,000 lives, Ebola took advantage of weak health systems in West Africa — hospitals with empty shelves, remote clinics without running water, and at the start of the epidemic, just 51 doctors for 4.4 million people in Liberia. If we are serious about global health, we need to extend our emergency response into a long-term recovery. West African nations need stronger health systems with supply chains, infrastructure such as roads and ambulances, investments in doctors, and infection control skills among all levels of medical staff…” (3/25).

PLOS Medicine: Strengthening the Detection of and Early Response to Public Health Emergencies: Lessons from the West African Ebola Epidemic
Mark Siedner and Hilarie Cranmer of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health, and Lawrence Gostin and John Kraemer of the O’Neill Institute

“…While current efforts to bring the [Ebola virus disease (EVD)] epidemic under control should be widely applauded, the delayed response during the early stages of the EVD epidemic in West Africa exemplifies not only the danger posed by disease outbreaks in states with weak health systems but also their widespread impact in an increasingly globalized world. The international public health community — WHO, states, and stakeholders — can learn from missteps during the first stages of the epidemic. If instead we accept the status quo by relying on overwhelmed and undersupported domestic health systems and international charity to respond to threats after they have become emergencies, history will repeat itself…” (3/24).

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Ending Corruption In Angola Would Help More Children Survive

New York Times: An Unsettling Complicity
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“There are parasites of all kinds in poor countries. One variety is intestinal, the worms that afflict countless children. … The other kind of parasite afflicting Angolan children is the crooked official, often working with Western executives. It’s not a coincidence that Angola is a center for both kinds of parasites. … When officials pocket health care funds, [investigative journalist Rafael] Marques de Morais noted, children suffer. … The way to help … the 150,000 [children] who die each year in Angola, is not just to hand out medicines. It’s to hold Angola’s leaders accountable so that they use oil money to buy deworming medicine and not $2,000-a-bottle Dom Pérignon. It’s to support those brave Angolans like Marques de Morais who are trying to improve governance…” (3/26).

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2015, 2016 AIDS Conferences Could Be Revolutionary In Efforts Against Epidemic

Huffington Post: HIV Prevention on the Line: Time to Mobilize — Again
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC

“…The 1996 and 2000 [AIDS] conferences [in Vancouver and Durban respectively] are by many accounts the two most significant global AIDS meetings that have ever taken place. And it is possible, if the right steps are taken, the right funds committed, the right programs implemented, and the right partners engaged that the 2015 and 2016 meetings could prove to be watershed moments in the field. … Today the AIDS response is poised at another moment that could be a revolution, providing that it does not dissipate into rhetoric or dissolve into underfunded documents and plans. … Let’s use the memories of those who did not live to return to Vancouver and Durban — as well as our own memories and histories — to fuel the continued fight for lasting change” (3/25).

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Gates Foundation Should Take Official Stance Supporting Universal Health Care

Al Jazeera America: Don’t reduce the global poor to potential consumers
Nicole Aschoff, an Editor at Jacobin magazine and a lecturer at Boston University

“…There is a growing global consensus on the importance of providing universal health care … The [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], however, do[es] not agree. The foundation’s official stance is that it has no position on universal health care. The foundation’s post-2015 development report states that universal health coverage has ‘limitations as a global development goal’ and that evidence for its positive effects on health outcomes is ‘mixed.’ … The Gates’ position that health care works best as a commodity, despite overwhelming evidence that countries with universal health care have the best health outcomes, is deeply problematic and closes the door to systems that consider the underlying causes of global health disparities” (3/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CDC To Play Role In Partnership To Improve Global Public Health Data Collection

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC partners with Bloomberg Philanthropies to strengthen public health data collection in developing countries
Samira Asma, chief of global non-communicable diseases at CDC, writes, “With the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, CDC, in partnership with the CDC Foundation and other partners, plans to significantly improve public health data collection and use through the launch of the Data for Health initiative.” She discusses CDC’s role in the partnership (3/22).

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Blog Post Examines CGD Papers On Maximizing Gavi's Impact

Development Policy Centre’s “DevPolicy Blog”: Maximizing effectiveness of Gavi aid: when less can mean more
Camilla Burkot, a research officer at the Development Policy Centre, discusses “a blog, working paper, and policy brief recently published by the Center for Global Development (CGD) … [on] identifying opportunities for maximizing Gavi’s impact, particularly in lower middle income countries (LMICs)” (3/26).

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GSK-Sponsored Series Highlights Innovative Health Partnerships, Perspectives Of Frontline HCWs

The Guardian: GSK: To challenge. To change
This series, sponsored by GSK, includes articles on how partnerships between scientific research and development organizations can “tackle some of the most challenging health care issues,” perspectives of frontline health care workers, and live online Q&As on health care challenges like malaria and health workforce capacity (3/25).

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TB Survivors Recount Disease's Impact On Their Lives At World TB Day Event

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: TB survivors from Indonesia, Tajikistan, South Africa tell stories of unique challenges, common ordeals, and continued toll
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the stories of “three survivors [who] came to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to commemorate the 133nd anniversary of the day the bacteria that causes tuberculosis was discovered, and to bear witness to the failures, disparities, prejudices, and neglect that have allowed a disease once considered nearly conquered to take sweeping tolls on their countries, and on their lives…” (3/25).

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