KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Antibiotic Resistance Poses 'Global Threat' To Public Health, WHO Report Warns

Media outlets highlight the WHO’s first-ever global report on the serious public health threats posed by antibiotic resistance.

Associated Press: Drug resistance found worldwide, new drugs needed
“Bacteria resistant to antibiotics have now spread to every part of the world and might lead to a future where minor infections could kill, according to a report published Wednesday by the World Health Organization…” (Cheng, 4/30).

The Atlantic: World Health Organization: No, Seriously, Stop Abusing Antibiotics
“…The analysis of 114 countries is the most comprehensive global look at antimicrobial-drug resistance to date, and it found ‘very high’ rates of resistant infections across all regions, including ‘alarming’ rates in many parts of the world…” (Hamblin, 4/30).

BBC News: Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat,’ WHO warns
“…The report focused on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and blood infections…” (Stephens, 4/30).

Bloomberg Businessweek: Bacteria Are Adapting to Drugs Faster than We Can Develop New Ones
“…The WHO report is the latest urgent alarm that our medical arsenal may be running out of ammunition against potentially deadly bugs. The last new class of antibiotic drugs was developed in the 1980s. The drought since then, the organization says, is ‘a discovery void’…” (Tozzi, 4/30).

Financial Times: Antibiotic resistance threatens modern medicine, WHO warns
“Antibiotic resistance is ‘a threat so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine,’ the World Health Organization has warned…” (Cookson, 4/30).

The Guardian: Antibiotics are losing effectiveness in every country, says WHO
“…’Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,’ said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director general for health security…” (Boseley, 4/30).

Nature: WHO warns against ‘post-antibiotic’ era
“…There is nothing hopeful in the WHO’s report, which pulls together data from 129 member states to show extensive resistance to antimicrobial agents in every region of the world. Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture — to promote livestock growth — and in hospitals quickly leads to proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria, which then spread via human travel and poor sanitation practices…” (Reardon, 4/30).

Reuters/Globe and Mail: WHO warns medicine-resistant superbugs entrenched all over world
“The World Health Organization is warning that superbugs are now a major health threat across the globe, and experts say Canada could be doing more to track them and slow their spread in this country…” (Grant, 4/30).

Reuters: ‘Superbugs’ that can overpower antibiotics are spreading: WHO
“…Only a handful of new antibiotics have been developed and brought to market in the past few decades, and it is a race against time to find more as bacterial infections increasingly evolve into ‘superbugs’ resistant to even the most powerful last-resort medicines reserved for extreme cases…” (Kelland, 5/1).

ScienceInsider: First Global Drug Resistance Overview Paints Grim Picture
“…For gonorrhea, which infects more than one million people every day, third-generation cephalosporins are the last resort. But treatment failure has already been confirmed in Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom…” (Kupferschmidt, 4/30).

Scientific American: Antibiotic Resistance Is Now Rife across the Entire Globe
“…WHO warns that the situation could have sweeping effects on global medicine, economics and societies unless global actions are taken swiftly. A dearth of effective antibiotics will mean that infected patients will need more extensive care, require longer hospital stays and die in greater numbers…” (Maron, 4/30).

U.N. News Centre: First U.N. report on antibiotic resistance reveals ‘serious threat’ to global public health
“…The report, which is kick-starting a global effort led by WHO to address drug resistance, reveals that key tools to tackle antibiotic resistance, such as basic systems to track and monitor the problem, show gaps or do not exist in many countries. While some countries have taken important steps in addressing the problem, every country and individual needs to do more…” (4/30).

VOA News: Resistance to Antibiotics Spreading Worldwide
“…Health officials cite the misuse and inappropriate use of drugs and the practice of adding antibiotics to agricultural feed to fatten animals as some of the factors leading to growing antibiotic resistance…” (Schlein, 4/30).

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Devex Interviews UNFPA Director On Development Challenges, Gender Equality

Devex: UNFPA chief: What is gender parity, when you can’t exercise your rights?
“How can parliamentarians push population issues more prominently in the international development agenda?” Devex interviews U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin about the challenges of development cooperation and including gender equality in the post-2015 framework as a stand-alone goal (Jones, 4/30).

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Global Health Research Initiative To Fund MCH Research In Africa

SciDev.Net: Fund to improve African maternal, child health launched
“The Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI) plans to fund leading African and Canadian researchers to find solutions aimed at improving health systems for mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa…” (Achia, 4/30).

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Antibiotic Treatment For Malnutrition Difficult To Deliver In Remote Areas Of Africa

PRI: Malnourished children in sub-Saharan Africa are not getting the life-saving drugs they need
“…[T]he World Health Organization last November issued new guidelines for the treatment of severe malnutrition. The WHO said children should be given amoxicillin or a similar antibiotic, along with therapeutic food, as soon as they are diagnosed with severe malnutrition. But putting those recommendations into practice is not so easy…” (Kelto, 4/30).

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2014 Kenya Economic Survey Marks Malaria As Country's Leading Cause Of Death

Standard Media: Malaria cited as top killer disease in Kenya
“Malaria, followed by pneumonia were the leading killer diseases in [Kenya] last year. Having claimed more than 46,000 lives, the ailments have proved to be serious threats to the economy. For the first time, cancer has surpassed AIDS as the third largest killer, having claimed 13,720 lives compared to 11,448 deaths caused by HIV…” (Gathura/Kibet, 4/29).

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Vaccine Against Tropical Disease Leishmaniasis Ready For Human Trials

Science: Taking a Shot at a Tropical Killer
“A vaccine against the disease leishmaniasis could save tens of thousands of lives every year. Now, scientists report that they have used snippets of DNA to spur mice to fight back against the parasites responsible for the illness, an approach they hope to soon begin testing in people…” (Leslie, 4/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

NTD Control Should 'Remain A Priority' In Conflict Countries

Huffington Post: Central African Republic and Its Neglected Tropical Diseases
Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, and Ellen Agler, CEO of The END Fund

“…The Central African Republic (CAR) could emerge as one of the newest ‘perfect storms’ of poverty, conflict, and NTDs. … NTD control often falls off the priority list when conflict arises as agencies and governments focus on providing food, shelter, and security to affected populations. To ensure that these diseases that devastate the lives of millions of people are not further neglected during times of crisis, engagement from health agencies with expertise in complex emergencies and a willingness to ensure NTD control efforts remain a priority…” (4/30).

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Cases, Deaths Of Cholera In Haiti Falling, But More Should Be Done

New York Times: Fighting Cholera in Haiti
Jon Andrus and John Oldfield of the Coalition to Eliminate Cholera from Hispaniola

In response to an earlier New York Times editorial about the cholera epidemic in Haiti, Andrus and Oldfield discuss ending the epidemic, noting “[c]ases and deaths are falling. But you [the New York Times editorial board] are right: Haiti still needs our help. A full realization of the 10-year national plan would eliminate cholera from Haiti and reduce other waterborne diseases there. … We appeal to our coalition members and other donors to provide the resources that are needed to save lives in Haiti” (4/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Committed To Meeting Needs Of Women, Girls Affected By Syrian Conflict

Carla Koppell, chief strategy officer, and Allison Salyer, gender adviser with the USAID Task Force on Syria, write in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” about the agency’s efforts to meet the needs of women and girls affected by ongoing conflict in Syria. “…USAID has stepped up commitments to meet the needs of women and girls, not only through our Implementation Plan for the [U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP)], but also in realizing the U.S. Government Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence Globally; the joint State-USAID Safe from the Start initiative; and through our shared leadership in 2014 of the Call to Action to Protect Women and Girls in Emergencies. We strive daily to live up to those commitments and eagerly look to the broader international community for collaboration…” (4/30).

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NGOs React To U.S. House-Passed Provision That Would Affect Food Aid Shipping

Organizations are reacting to a provision contained in Section 318 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 and passed by the House of Representatives, which, if approved by Congress, would mandate an increase in the percentage of food aid shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels. Michael Helms, a government affairs adviser at Oxfam America, writes in the group’s “Politics of Poverty” blog, “This increase will cost USAID and USDA millions of dollars in extra shipping costs — money that would otherwise be spent getting food to those in need. … [O]ur U.S. interests — and perhaps more importantly — our U.S. values are best served when people around the world don’t go hungry” (4/30). In a press release, Catholic Relief Services states it “has joined 15 other humanitarian and advocacy organizations in opposing [the] provision…” The text of their joint statement is available online (.pdf) (4/29).

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Blog Examines Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief On U.S. Government, Global LGBT Health

A post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog discusses a new issue brief, titled “The U.S. Government and Global LGBT Health: Opportunities and Challenges in the Current Era,” released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The blog notes the “brief includes a summary of U.S. responses so far to criminalization, discrimination, neglect, and violence against sexual minorities, including gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals” and provides “breakdowns by country and by donor dollars given to places where laws criminalizing homosexuality stand next to global health programs,” among other topics (Barton, 4/30).

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Blog Post Discusses Challenges Of Malaria Control Program Evaluation

Writing in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at CGD, Kate McQueston, a program coordinator to the global health policy team, and Miriam Temin, coordinating editor for the new edition of “Millions Saved,” “a book of case studies that document global health successes at scale,” discuss the book. The authors note “it’s been challenging to find a malaria case that meets our selection criteria to the same standard as case candidates that address other diseases and health system issues.” They examine the challenges of evaluating malaria control programs and their ability to scale-up (4/30).

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Global Health Product Development Forum Shows 'Tremendous Progress' In Field

In the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the foundation, shares his reflections on the 2014 Global Health Product Development Forum, which took place last week in Seattle. Mundel notes, “This year’s forum — and the many productive meetings that took place around it — give me confidence that we are making tremendous progress toward the goal of building an integrated global health product development network that is nimble, dynamic, and capable of leveraging the comparative strengths of each of its members. … Our shared passion to develop and deliver life-saving products, our passion to develop new tools that can expand access to health and opportunity, is what unites us in a common vision and creates an environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and a willingness to take risks. My hope is that we can mobilize this harmony of purpose to make incredible breakthroughs for global health in the decade ahead” (4/30).

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Sabin Vaccine Institute Event Marks 20 Years Of Scientific Advancements

In a guest post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog, Ambassador Michael Marine, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, writes about the institute’s 20th Anniversary Scientific Symposium event. “In a fitting way to kick off World Immunization Week, several hundred people gathered Friday, April 25th to celebrate significant achievements in vaccinology over the past two decades and to examine solutions for overcoming remaining hurdles at the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s (Sabin) 20th Anniversary Scientific Symposium,” he writes, summarizing speeches made at the event and concluding, “With 20 years of achievements behind us, Sabin looks forward to many years ahead filled with more success in reducing needless human suffering” (4/30).

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