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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

DRC Ebola Outbreak Grows To 32 Suspected, Confirmed Cases; WHO, Congo Health Ministry Agree To Ship Ebola Vaccines For Use In Outbreak

Associated Press: WHO chief says Ebola vaccines to be shipped to Congo
“Ebola vaccines will be shipped ‘as quickly as possible’ to Congo as the number of suspected cases in the latest outbreak grows, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday. WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus in a Twitter post said the agreement was made in a phone call with Congo’s health minister on Thursday. WHO still needs Congo’s final authorization, which is expected in the coming days, Dr. Peter Salama, the agency’s emergencies chief, told reporters in Geneva…” (Keaten, 5/11).

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola outbreak climbs to 32 cases, gets U.K. funding boost
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said [Thursday] that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ebola virus outbreak has grown to 32 [suspected, probable, or confirmed] cases, three of them in health workers, as more responders arrive on the scene and as funding help comes from the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, in the United States, news [Wednesday] of the exit of one of the country’s top global health officials, coming on the heels of President Trump’s proposed rescission of earlier Ebola response funds, has deepened concerns about the nation’s preparedness for an epidemic such as Ebola…” (Schnirring, 5/10).

CNN: 11 additional cases of hemorrhagic fever in Congo including 1 death
“Eleven new cases of hemorrhagic fever, including one death, have been reported since Tuesday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minister of Health Dr. Oly Ilunga said Thursday in Kinshasa. Two of those cases are confirmed to be Ebola. Lab results are pending on the other nine cases which are suspected to be Ebola…” (Scutti, 5/11).

Reuters: Health charity Wellcome pledges funds, calls for rapid response to Ebola in Congo
“Britain’s Wellcome Trust global health charity called for a rapid response to an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and has pledged two million pounds ($2.7 mln) to support Kinshasa’s efforts to fight it…” (Kelland, 5/11).

Additional coverage of this story is available from ABC News, Associated Press, BloombergDeutsche Welle, and Reuters.

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U.S. House Committee Approves Bipartisan BUILD Act With Some Amendments, Senate Committee Discusses Legislation

Devex: Development finance bill moves forward in legislative process
“The BUILD Act, the bill that would create a new United States development finance corporation, moved closer to passage this week, with the House Foreign Affairs Committee approving the bill with some changes, and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holding a hearing to discuss the legislation…” (Saldinger, 5/11).

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Elimination Of NSC Global Health Security Office Part Of National Security Adviser Bolton's Plans To Streamline Council

Washington Post: Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly
“The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded under a reorganization by National Security Adviser John Bolton. The abrupt departure of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer from the National Security Council means no senior administration official is now focused solely on global health security. Ziemer’s departure, along with the breakup of his team, comes at a time when many experts say the country is already underprepared for the increasing risks of a pandemic or bioterrorism attack. Ziemer’s last day was Tuesday, the same day a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo. He is not being replaced. … The personnel changes, which [experts] characterize as a downgrading of global health security, are part of Bolton’s previously announced plans to streamline the NSC…” (Sun/DeYoung, 5/10).

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U.K. PM May Considers Increasing Aid To Syria's White Helmets After Trump Administration Freezes Funding

The Guardian: U.K. may increase aid to Syrian White Helmets after Trump pulls funding
“Britain could increase its funding to the Syrian volunteer rescue group the White Helmets following reports that Donald Trump is [freezing] U.S. support. Theresa May said she would consider plugging the gap, acknowledging the important work done by the organization in ‘horrendous’ conditions. The U.S. government previously contributed about a third of the overall funding for the group…” (McVeigh, 5/10).

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Former President Bush Calls U.S. Foreign Aid 'Moral, Practical,' Urges Continued Funding Of Global HIV/AIDS Programs

The Hill: George W. Bush urges ‘moral, practical’ spending on global interests
“Former President George W. Bush on Thursday called for ‘moral’ and ‘practical’ spending on global interests, emphasizing the capacity for the U.S. to save lives around the world. … ‘I believe that spending less than two-tenths of one percent of our federal budget to save millions of lives is the moral, the practical, and in the national security interests of the United States,’ he said. Bush, who was recognized by the [Atlantic Council] with its Distinguished International Leadership Award, used his remarks to urge the international community to continue fighting against HIV and AIDS…” (Delk, 5/10).

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More News In Global Health

Foreign Policy: China Enlists U.N. to Promote Its Belt and Road Project (Lynch, 5/10).

The Guardian: Canada sued over years of alleged experimentation on indigenous people (Kassam, 5/11).

The Guardian: Hundreds of thousands of children close to dying of hunger in Congo, U.N. warns (McVeigh, 5/11).

IRIN: Afghanistan battles polio: Rumors, mistrust, and negotiating with the Taliban (Liuhto, 5/10).

The Lancet: EMRO Regional Director to be elected to head office (Zarocostas, 5/12).

The Lancet: Concern over reported number of measles cases in Yemen (Yuan, 5/12).

News Deeply: India Is Confronting a Cash Transfer Failure (Byatnal, 5/10).

U.N. News: UNICEF urges wealthy countries to encourage more breastfeeding (5/10).

WIRED: The Catch-22 of Mass-Prescribing Antibiotics (McKenna, 5/10).

Xinhua News: Liberia declares health emergency over Lassa fever deaths (5/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lancet Editor-In-Chief Reflects On Fogarty International Center's Contribution To Global Health On 50th Anniversary

The Lancet: Offline: John E. Fogarty and the defeat of Donald J. Trump
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“If President Trump had had his way, the Fogarty International Center would now be a footnote in history. Targeted for elimination in 2017, the Trump administration viewed the Fogarty mission — to support and facilitate global health research — as contrary to the spirit of America First. Yet last week, the Fogarty Center celebrated its 50th birthday in a stronger and more stable position than at any time in its short existence. … It is no exaggeration to say that the foundations of modern global health have been built on the response to the international threat of the AIDS pandemic. … But beyond disease-specific programs, Fogarty’s unique contribution lies in nothing less than nation building. … [John Edward Fogarty] had written that the Center should stand for ‘the visible and tangible embodiment of this nation’s devotion to the use of science for peaceful purposes and the good of mankind.’ His vision has been brilliantly realized. And, thanks to the impassioned support of a global community, the Center is now planning for a prosperous future. But one must ask: where are the Fogartys of today?” (5/12).

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HTLV-1 Task Force Publishes Open Letter To WHO Proposing More Action To Prevent Virus

The Lancet: Time to eradicate HTLV-1: an open letter to WHO
Fabiola Martin, Yutaka Tagaya, Robert Gallo, all members of the Global Virus Network’s HTLV-1 Task Force

“Human T-cell leukemia virus 1 (HTLV-1) is the most potent carcinogenic oncovirus and potentially the most oncogenic risk factor including chemical carcinogens. … HTLV-1 remains a strong threat to individual and community health, and even more so to global health because of the accelerated rate of human migration in recent times. … We feel strongly that research on the pathogenesis and treatment of this virus needs to be encouraged not only for the sake of HTLV-1 positive patients but also as a model for other human diseases including virus-related cancer. … We have published an open letter to WHO, proposing a WHO HTLV-1 vision for the prevention of HTLV-1 transmission, signed by more than 50 individuals and organizations. The letter states, ‘[I]t is time to do more for HTLV-1, including five intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of HTLV-1 infection,’ and we encourage you to read it online” (5/12).

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International Community Must Protect Pregnant Rohingya Refugees

Bloomberg: Pregnant Rohingya Refugees Are in Desperate Need
Andrew Gilmour, assistant secretary general for human rights at the U.N., and Pramila Patten, special representative of the U.N. secretary general on sexual violence in conflict

“…The estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees driven into Bangladesh by Burmese security forces last fall, in what the United Nations and others have said appears to be a textbook case of ethnic cleansing, have suffered a host of traumas. … We believe that there are at least 40,000 pregnancies among Rohingya refugee women and children; the Bangladesh Health Ministry estimated double that number in December 2017. Rape is the likely cause of many of those pregnancies. … Partly due to limited funding and burdensome administrative requirements, victims have little to no access to health care services in the camps. … Certainly, the long-term challenges facing Rohingya rape victims are daunting. … But the first priority must be to save lives, which means moving these expectant mothers to sites less vulnerable to the oncoming rains. They cannot be cared for where they are. And the international community cannot allow them to be victimized a second time” (5/9).

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Public, Private Sector Must Work In Partnership To Ensure Healthy Food Available, Affordable, Accessible

News Deeply: Harnessing Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Diets
Sir John Beddington, senior adviser to the Oxford Martin School, professor at Oxford University, and co-chair of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition

“Public-sector actions alone will not be enough to effect the level of change necessary to address the systemic flaws within the food system that make healthy diets unavailable, unaffordable, or inaccessible for too many people around the world. … [T]he food industry needs to do more to support public health goals by facilitating the supply, marketing, processing, and retail of a diversity of nutrient-rich foods at accessible prices. … With the right mix of incentives to promote confidence in companies to take the necessary risks in investing in safer and more nutritious foods, and with policy that regulates the production and consumption of ultra-processed foods, the private sector can profit from healthier diets. … The considerable collective expertise of Global Panel members is calling on the public and private sectors to move forward together, in partnership, to shift the balance in favor of food and food products that are more nutritious, affordable, and accessible. This dialogue must be free from subjective bias, serving both social and economic needs. Together we can get the ‘win-win’ we all so desire” (5/10).

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Localized 'Pop-Up' Vaccine Factories Could Help Stem Global Threat Of Disease Outbreaks

HuffPost: Why The World Needs Pop-up Vaccine Factories
Harris Makatsoris, professor of manufacturing operations in the Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre at Cranfield University

“…[T]he global threat from pandemics is growing. … But the core problem remains: how to manufacture vaccines quickly enough, and on a large enough scale, to save more people’s lives. A new £10 million U.K.-funded project, the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub, is finding a new model. This will include a faster process for finding and testing vaccines alongside localized ‘pop-up’ factories that can get large supplies of vaccines to people within weeks of the threat having been identified. … Ultimately, the work of the Hub is about independence — enabling more countries, and particularly those in the developing world, to access a cost-effective way of meeting their needs for vaccines as they arise rather than being dependent on systems of global business. … Inter-dependencies continue to grow and become more complex, meaning, in many cases including health, we can’t afford to think solely in terms of national interests” (5/10).

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Bringing Male Contraceptives To Market Could 'Revolutionize Global Contraception Paradigm'

STAT: Getting contraceptives for men to the market will take pharma’s help
Régine Sitruk-Ware, distinguished scientist at the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research and co-founder of the International Consortium of Male Contraception

“…At a time when more governments are restricting access to female contraception, expanding male contraceptive options could help to make family planning more of a shared responsibility between women and men. … Bringing safe and effective male contraception options to market could revolutionize the global contraception paradigm, attract millions more customers, and prevent untold numbers of unintended pregnancies, helping couples decide whether and when to have children, and how many. … Having clear guidance and policies from the FDA and the European Medicines Agency around the regulatory process for male contraception, which exists for female contraception, will be transformational. It’s past time for industry and regulators to catch up to the science. The potential for male contraception is huge. But as researchers gathered this week [at the Second International Congress on Male Contraception in Paris], the question on everyone’s lips was, ‘When will these products ever come to market?'” (5/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Examines 'Growing Disconnect' Between U.S. Government Global Health Priorities, On-The-Ground Realities

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: White House rescission proposal, House resolution highlight disconnect between federal priorities, global realities
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses “a growing disconnect between shifting federal spending goals and ongoing global realities.” Barton notes a White House proposal to rescind $252 million in emergency Ebola funding originally appropriated in 2015, and the WHO announcement confirming another Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Barton writes, “The savings that would be derived from the cuts proposed this week have been noted to be negligible. The enormity of the costs of failures to stop infectious diseases where they originate, remains to be seen” (5/10).

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Hopkins Center For Humanitarian Health, The Lancet Publish Inaugural Issue Of Humanitarian Health Digest

Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health: Humanitarian Health Digest
The Center for Humanitarian Health announces the publication of the inaugural issue of the Humanitarian Health Digest, a quarterly bibliography of published peer-reviewed journal articles on humanitarian health, compiled by the Center for Humanitarian Health and The Lancet. Articles will be divided into three broad categories: 1. Conflict and Forced Displacement; 2. Natural Disasters; and 3. Technological Disasters. The digest also includes new commentaries on peer-reviewed articles cited in the digest (First Quarter 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Discusses Progress Toward Global Polio Eradication

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, January 2016-March 2018
Farrah Khan of the Global Immunization Division at the CDC’s Center for Global Health and colleagues discuss global progress toward polio eradication, including routine vaccination coverage, supplementary immunization activities, surveillance, and reported cases (5/11).

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CDC's MMWR Describes Field Notes On Various Health Indicators Among Rohingya Refugees In Cox's Bazar

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Notes from the Field: Diarrhea and Acute Respiratory Infection, Oral Cholera Vaccination Coverage, and Care-Seeking Behaviors of Rohingya Refugees — Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, October-November 2017
Aimee Summers, epidemiologist at the Division of Global Health at the CDC’s Center for Global Health, and colleagues discuss field notes from a mass oral cholera vaccination campaign and surveys that assessed diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and care-seeking behaviors among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar (5/11).

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