KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Administration Announces Plan To Address Antibiotic Drug Resistance

The Hill: Obama unveils $1.2B plan to tackle drug-resistant bacteria
“President Obama on Friday announced a long-awaited national plan to combat the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which he called one of the world’s ‘most pressing’ public health crises. It is the first White House plan to specifically address antibiotic resistance, which causes 2 million illnesses a year in the United States and 23,000 deaths…” (Ferris, 3/27).

New York Times: Obama Seeks to Double Funding to Fight Antibiotic Resistance
“…The plan calls for improved surveillance of outbreaks, better diagnostic tests, and new research on alternative drugs. It also urges government agencies to bolster systems to track the consumption of antibiotics and to reduce inappropriate use in people and animals…” (Tavernese/Shear, 3/27).

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Britain Reaches Agreement With GSK, Announces It Will Provide Routine Meningitis B Vaccinations

Associated Press: Britain to offer all infants meningitis B vaccine
“Britain says it will become the first country to offer all babies a vaccine for potentially fatal meningitis B after it reached a price deal with GlaxoSmithKline PLC…” (3/29).

Financial Times: Medics welcome GSK deal to provide meningitis B vaccine
“Patient groups and medics have welcomed an agreement between the government and GlaxoSmithKline to make Britain the first country in the world to provide routine vaccination against meningitis B…” (Ward, 3/29).

Reuters: GSK agrees UK deal for meningitis shot after Novartis stand-off
“GlaxoSmithKline has reached a deal with the British government to supply a new meningitis B vaccine, following a lengthy stand-off over price with the product’s previous owner Novartis…” (Hirschler, 3/29).

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Yemen On Verge Of Humanitarian Crisis As Food Supplies, Access To Health Care Dwindle, UNICEF Warns

The Guardian: Yemen on brink of humanitarian crisis amid rising food shortages, says UNICEF
“Yemen could suffer a ‘major humanitarian crisis’ within months if the international community does not urgently step up efforts to help the disintegrating Gulf state feed and vaccinate its children, UNICEF has warned…” (Jones, 3/27).

PBS NewsHour: UNICEF warns of a looming humanitarian crisis in Yemen
“…According to Julien Harneis, UNICEF’s spokesperson for the country, major progress in ensuring food security and access to health care risk being turned back as sources of international aid, including the World Bank and Saudi Arabian donors, are suspending their local activity…” (Nabi, 3/27).

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West African Countries Increase Efforts To End Ebola; Liberia Calls For Survivors To Practice Protected Sex Or Extended Abstinence

Associated Press: 3 West African countries increase fight to end Ebola
“The West African countries hit hardest by Ebola are ramping up efforts to eradicate the deadly disease using lockdowns, restrictions on burials, and a warning to survivors about the potential dangers of unprotected sex…” (Diallo/Paye-Layleh, 3/29).

New York Times: Liberia Recommends Ebola Survivors Practice Safe Sex Indefinitely
“The Liberian government recommended on Saturday that survivors of Ebola practice safe sex indefinitely, until more information can be collected on the length of time the virus might remain present in body fluids including semen…” (Fink, 3/28).

PBS NewsHour: Liberian officials urge abstinence for Ebola survivors
“Liberian officials on Sunday urged Ebola survivors to observe a period of strict sexual abstinence after they recover from the deadly virus. The recommendation comes amid fears that Liberia’s latest case of Ebola was the result of sexual transmission. That patient, 44-year-old Ruth Tugbah, died Friday…” (Costa-Roberts, 3/29).

Reuters: Liberia urges sexual caution to beat Ebola outbreak
“Liberia called upon Ebola survivors on Sunday to extend a period of sexual abstinence or protected sex beyond an already advised three months following their recovery, amid fears the country’s latest case may have resulted from sexual transmission…” (Toweh, 3/29).

VOA News: Liberia Urges Ebola Survivors to Abstain from Sex Beyond Recommended Period
“…The World Health Organization recommends that Ebola survivors refrain from sex for 90 days. But Liberian officials urge former patients to at least use condoms beyond that time, until more information is known…” (3/29).

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U.N. Official Warns Against Complacency; Guinea President Announces New Emergency Measures For Ebola

Agence France-Presse: U.N. Ebola head warns against complacency as fight enters last lap
“The head of the U.N.’s Ebola fighting force on Sunday warned against complacency as the battle against the disease entered its final lap while also hailing Guinea for tightening surveillance…” (3/29).

Reuters: Guinea president announces new emergency measures in Ebola fight
“Guinea’s President Alpha Conde announced on Saturday new emergency measures enabling authorities to restrict movements in Western Guinea where Ebola transmission continues a year after the epidemic was declared…” (Samb/Farge, 3/28).

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British Nurse Cured Of Ebola After Receiving New Experimental Drug

Agence France-Presse: U.K. nurse cured of Ebola after receiving new treatment
“A British army reservist who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone has fully recovered after becoming the first patient in the world to receive an experimental new treatment…” (3/27).

Reuters: British Ebola patient cured after experimental treatment
“A 25-year-old British military nurse who was the first person in the world to be treated for Ebola with the experimental drug MIL 77 was discharged from hospital on Friday, London’s Royal Free Hospital said…” (3/27).

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Sierra Leone Imposes Three-Day Lockdown To Prevent Ebola Spread

Agence France-Presse: S. Leone in new anti-Ebola lockdown
“Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus…” (Johnson, 3/27).

Agence France-Presse: Sierra Leone ends anti-Ebola lockdown after three days
“Sierra Leoneans were once again allowed to leave their homes Sunday evening after the government announced the end of a three-day nationwide lockdown aimed at preventing a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus…” (3/29).

BBC News: Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone in lockdown
“The authorities in Sierra Leone are enforcing a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of Ebola, with the entire population ordered to stay at home…” (Mundasad, 3/27).

New York Times/Associated Press: Sierra Leone: Citizens Told to Stay Home to Halt Ebola
“Sierra Leone’s six million people were told on Friday to stay home for three days, except to attend religious services, as the West African nation attempted a final push to rid itself of Ebola…” (3/27).

Reuters: Sierra Leone capital ‘eerily quiet’ amid Ebola lockdown
“The capital of Sierra Leone was ‘eerily quiet’ on Friday at the start of a three-day national lockdown aimed at accelerating the end of an Ebola epidemic in the worst affected country. Hundreds of health volunteers fanned out across the capital on Friday — one of the last remaining hotspots — looking for hidden Ebola patients and raising awareness about the epidemic in the country’s second lockdown…” (Fofana, 3/27).

Reuters: Police fire tear gas on crowd during Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown
“Police fired tear gas at an angry crowd fighting over food supplies in Sierra Leone on Saturday, while other residents defied a three-day national lockdown that the government hopes will accelerate the end of the Ebola epidemic…” (Olu-Mammah/Fofana, 3/29).

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Increased Funding Needed To Address Humanitarian, Health Challenges In Syria, WHO Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. health agency ‘unable to sustain’ operations without significant funding increase
“Ahead of next week’s third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, the United Nations health agency’s top official in the country said [Friday] that more than 16 million Syrians and Syrian refugees are in need of health support, but that she had so far received no new funding to meet the $124 million needed to finance humanitarian operations in the country this year…” (3/27).

VOA News: Millions Face Health Crisis in Syria
“The World Health Organization warns that millions of people in Syria are facing a health crisis. It says deaths and casualties are mounting in the war-torn country as medical care and treatment diminish…” (Schlein, 3/27).

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Humanitarian Aid Continues After Cyclone Pam Hits Vanuatu

Radio New Zealand International: Vanuatu govt defends aid delivery
“The Vanuatu government is defending its efforts in distributing Cyclone Pam aid, after some communities have complained of not receiving any relief two weeks after the storm hit. A spokesperson, Kiery Manassah, says aid has been delivered to all the islands but has not reached every village due to logistical issues…” (3/27).

U.N. News Centre: Cyclone Pam: UN agency reports all 22 Vanuatu islands reached with relief supplies
“Two weeks after Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, the United Nations says it has reached all 22 storm-affected islands of the country, with food for more than 160,000 people…” (3/27).

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Mass Displacement, Food Insecurity, Rainy Season Threaten South Sudan

VOA News: Waiting for Food, Hoping for Peace in South Sudan
“…Humanitarian agencies and the United Nations have been warning since last year that mass displacement, [food] insecurity, and the disruption to farming that have all been caused by the fighting could result in famine in South Sudan. … WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin warned during a visit to South Sudan last week that an entire generation of South Sudanese could be lost to violence and hunger if the fighting does not stop soon…” (Wudu, 3/27).

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Activists Object To Restrictions On Condoms In Africa

Inter Press Service: Activists Protest Denial of Condoms to Africa’s High-Risk Groups
“…With restrictions blocking the distribution of condoms in schools and prisons in Africa, health experts say [Africa’s] opportunity to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS in line with the U.N. Millennium Development Goals may be squandered…” (Moyo, 3/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Children Affected By Ebola In Liberia Need Protection, Support Services

Huffington Post: In Liberia, Children Affected by Ebola Need Our Support
George Kordahi, national director of SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia

“…The [Ebola] outbreak has been a tragedy for all of us, but especially for Liberia’s most vulnerable children. Children and youth were and continue to be in desperate need of protection. While visiting poverty-stricken communities in Monrovia, I have met with children who have lost their parents and are in need of care. To help address the needs of these children, we worked with the Ministry of Health and other nongovernmental organizations to establish Interim Care Centers to provide them with temporary care and psychosocial support. These interventions are a much-needed first step on the road to ensuring that all the affected children receive the services and support they need to overcome this trauma. … As we work together to eradicate Ebola, it is critical that we continue to provide these children with the protection they need to survive and thrive in their communities” (3/27).

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More Aid Needed For Displaced Nigerians

Washington Post: Aid for hundreds of thousands of displaced Nigerians is running out
Margee Ensign, president of the American University of Nigeria and chairwoman of the Adamawa Peace Initiative

“…We are the Adamawa Peace Initiative, an effort started by the American University of Nigeria three years ago. … When we began, our goal was to protect the thousands of vulnerable children in our city, the capital of Adamawa state, from extreme ideologies. … A year ago, we began receiving people fleeing the horrors of Boko Haram. … We have sought help from the Nigerian government and the outside world, largely in vain. Except for a small amount of financial support we received from the U.S. government at the beginning of the crisis, we have had to raise the funds ourselves… We are feeding 276,000 people. We are nearly out of money. … [O]ne year into a major humanitarian crisis that has forced hundreds of thousands of Nigerians to flee the horrors of Boko Haram, we are still not receiving national or international assistance. Where will we get the food we need?” (3/27).

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Ending Hunger, Malnutrition Requires Sustained Momentum, Strong Partnerships

Huffington Post: U.S. Leadership on Global Food and Nutrition Security: We are Making Serious Progress
Katie Lee, policy manager at InterAction

“…The United States government is a crucial partner to the broad coalition of organizations supporting food and nutrition security. … ‘We can be proud of the progress we have made together in reducing hunger. But continued progress is not guaranteed,’ said [InterAction’s Acting CEO Lindsay] Coates at [a] March 24 event [on Capitol Hill around food and nutrition security]. ‘Sustained momentum will require strong partnerships, broad support, and steady leadership.’ That call for partnership was evident looking around the room on March 24, as Members of Congress, leaders of civil society, and an abundance of dedicated individuals all agreed to work together to encourage self-reliance and put an end to hunger and malnutrition…” (3/27).

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Setting SDGs Important For Progress

Project Syndicate: Why the Sustainable Development Goals Matter
Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the Millennium Development Goals

“Following the progress made under the Millennium Development Goals, which guided global development efforts in the years 2000-2015, the world’s governments are currently negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the period 2016-2030. … Setting goals is important for many reasons. First, they are essential for social mobilization. … A second function of goals is to create peer pressure. With the adoption of the MDGs, political leaders were publicly and privately questioned on the steps they were taking to end extreme poverty. A third way that goals matter is to spur epistemic communities — networks of expertise, knowledge, and practice — into action around sustainable-development challenges. … Finally, goals mobilize stakeholder networks. … Just as the world has made tremendous progress with the MDGs, we can find our way to achieving the SDGs…” (3/30).

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Grassroots Efforts To Terminate Pregnancies Need Support

RH Reality Check: How Women Took Their Reproductive Rights Into Their Own Hands
Leila Hessini, chair of the Global Fund for Women board

“…Although pregnancy termination is one of the most common experiences people have across the globe, reproductive rights are often ignored by local health, community, or legal systems. In response, women have advanced incredibly innovative strategies for challenging the system and meeting their own needs. … The use of misoprostol — a pill available over-the-counter in many countries — as a safe, low-cost, and easy-to-use method to terminate early pregnancies is a shining example, to me, of women ‘doing it for themselves’ … Around the world, women have continued to promote this and other reproductive health information in a variety of ways … Because safe abortions are restricted, criminalized, or non-accessible for so many people, these grassroots efforts are both lifesaving and life-affirming. … Since last year’s Women’s History Month, thousands of women have died and millions of others have experienced injuries, stigma, and discrimination because their most basic rights to life, to good health, and to self-determination are being undermined. That too, unfortunately, is history. Isn’t it time that we build the global political will to really uphold all people’s reproductive rights?” (3/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Lancet Article Examines Interactions Between SDGs

The Lancet: Governing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals: interactions, infrastructures, and institutions
This Lancet article discusses “potential conflicts and synergies between [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], and how their interactions might be governed” (Waage et al., 3/29).

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Berlin Meeting Brings Together Maternal Immunization Stakeholders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Maternal Immunization: Partners Convene to Align on Way Forward
Ajoke Sobanjo-ter Meulen, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the outcomes of a recent stakeholder meeting in Berlin, Germany to discuss the “challenges, knowledge gaps, and potential impact of maternal immunization” (3/27).

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Administration Releases Strategy To Prevent Spread Of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria prompts ‘National Action Plan,’ with global strategies targeting pathogens that include multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, outlines the Obama administration’s recently-released plan to fight the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (3/27).

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U.S., WFP Work To Support Humanitarian, Food Assistance Efforts In South Sudan

U.S. State Department’s “DipNote”: On the Ground in South Sudan: Delivering Humanitarian and Food Assistance Against The Odds
David Lane, United States Representative to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, discusses his recent trip to “South Sudan to see how the world’s largest humanitarian food agency is addressing one of its most complex and pressing challenges” (3/28).

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India Marks One Year Since Country Officially Certified Polio-Free

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: India’s Polio Eradication Campaign: Behind the Scenes
Gillian Leitch and Mary Robbins, both senior associates with Global Health Strategies, and Leah Sandals and Rachel Sam, both managers with Global Health Strategies, discuss India’s successful efforts to eradicate polio as well as keep the country polio-free (3/23).

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