KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K. Panel On Antibiotic Resistance Suggests Creation Of Research Fund For Pharmaceutical Companies In 3rd Report

News outlets discuss the third report from the U.K. government’s Antimicrobial Review (AMR) Committee.

Financial Times: Big pharma risks public backlash on antibiotics, says Jim O’Neill
“Pharmaceuticals companies risk a backlash similar to the one experienced by banks after the financial crisis if they fail to invest more in new antibiotics, according to the head of a [U.K.] government-backed commission looking into the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said drug companies would be blamed for the rising number of deaths from drug-resistant superbugs if they refused to contribute to global efforts to develop a new generation of anti-infective medicines…” (Ward, 5/14).

The Guardian: Pay big pharma to solve antibiotics crisis, says U.K. government review
“Pharmaceutical companies should be given cash incentives of up to $3bn to find and develop new antibiotics desperately needed to keep infections at bay, according to a U.K. government review. Jim O’Neill, the economist and former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, asked to find solutions to the global antibiotic crisis, said at the launch of his report that a fund worth between $16bn and $37bn per decade would be enough to incentivize drug companies to turn their attentions to antibiotics…” (Boseley, 5/13).

Press Association: Subsidy call for new antibiotics
“…Mr. O’Neill said: ‘No new classes of antibiotics have been created for decades and our current drugs are becoming less effective as resistance increases. We need to kick-start drug development to make sure the world has the drugs it needs, to treat infections and to enable modern medicine and surgery to continue as we know it. My review on AMR (anti-microbial resistance) has today published clear proposals to supercharge antibiotics discovery, potentially saving millions of lives for a fraction of the 100 trillion USD (U.S. dollars) cost of inaction’…” (5/13).

Wall Street Journal: Multibillion-Dollar Investment Needed to Fight Drug-Resistant ‘Superbugs’
“…Mr. O’Neill said extra investment was needed at every stage of the antibiotic development process to ‘radically overhaul’ the antibiotics pipeline over the next 20 years. He proposed giving companies that already have the ‘highest priority antibiotics’ in their pipelines a ‘lump-sum’ payment. This would ‘delink’ profitability from sales volumes, lowering the risk of developing a novel antibiotic as well as reducing the incentive to oversell the drug once it is on the market…” (Roland, 5/13).

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China, U.S. Discuss Ways To Address Emerging Infectious Diseases

Xinhua News: China, U.S. eye cooperation in fighting global epidemic diseases
“Around 400 scholars, officials, and business leaders from China and the United States gathered at a conference Tuesday to discuss how the two countries could work together to fight global infectious diseases. With the theme of ‘Global Infectious Diseases: Prevention, Preparedness and Response,’ the 2015 China-U.S. Relations Conference aims to figure out ways how both countries can cooperate in tackling emerging infectious diseases and pandemics not only on their own soil, but also in other countries, especially in the developing world…” (5/12).

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Progress Toward MDGs Shows Mixed Results, U.N. Report Suggests

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. report shows mixed results for reaching MDG health targets by end of 2015
“The United Nations health agency [Wednesday] reported that by the end of 2015, the world will have met the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for turning around the epidemics of HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, and boosting access to drinking water, but will likely fall short of reaching other health-related goals in areas such as child and maternal deaths and basic sanitation…” (5/13).

VOA News: WHO: Progress in Millennium Development Goals Still Not Sufficient
“…The report says the West Asian and Pacific region has made the biggest progress in meeting the goals. It says huge progress has been made in the Americas and European region, which stretches to Central Asia. It says Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and the African region have made the slowest progress….” (Schlein, 5/13).

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Global Hearings Gather Recommendations On MCH For U.N., World Health Assembly

The Guardian: ‘My mother did everything but she was left to bleed to death after giving birth’
“…Last week’s citizens’ hearing [in Kampala, Uganda,] was one of several that have been organized around the globe in recent months to garner support for reproductive health and childcare. … On Thursday, the recommendations from the hearings will be presented to the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, by a Ugandan maternal health advocate, Faridah Mwanje Luyiga. Next week, activists will attend the World Health Assembly — the world’s highest health policy-setting body — to advocate for decent health care for women, children, and adolescents…” (Mwesigwa, 5/14).

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Following 2 Major Earthquakes, Nepal Begins To Rebuild; U.N. Praises Emergency Preparedness, Says Relief Workers Must Listen To Local Populations

Devex: Disaster responders must listen to Nepalese — Valerie Amos
“…After returning from a visit to the disaster zone, where 8.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, Valerie Amos — speaking to Devex before a second 7.3-magnitude quake hit the country May 12 — said that communicating with affected districts was ‘critical’ during the crisis…” (Jóźwiak, 5/13).

Reuters: Mental health worry for Nepalis traumatized by aftershocks
“The powerful 7.3 magnitude tremor that struck Nepal this week left an already traumatized population gripped by even deeper fear, underlining concerns that the country is ill-prepared to cope with the mental side effects…” (Macaskill/Mahr, 5/13).

U.N. News Centre: Nepal’s emergency preparedness saved lives in earthquake aftermath — U.N. health agency
“The emergency preparedness efforts implemented by the Government of Nepal over the past 15 years have ensured that key elements of the health sector remained ready and able to function during the recent earthquake that devastated large swathes of the mountainous country, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said [Wednesday]…” (5/13).

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Yemen's Tenuous Temporary Ceasefire Allows For Delivery Of Humanitarian Aid To Civilians

Agence France-Presse: Situation in Yemen ‘catastrophic,’ warns U.N. food agency
“The U.N.’s food agency warned Wednesday that the situation in Yemen was ‘catastrophic,’ as aid agencies rushed to take advantage of a temporary ceasefire to help desperate civilians…” (5/13).

U.N. News Centre: Yemen: U.N. welcomes ceasefire as ‘lifesaving’ humanitarian relief begins to arrive
“The top United Nations humanitarian official has welcomed the commencement of a ceasefire in Yemen aimed at allowing the delivery of ‘lifesaving’ relief and aid to the country’s civilian populations…” (5/13).

Washington Post: Yemen’s humanitarian truce barely holds as violence resumes
“Yemen’s humanitarian cease-fire came under significant strain in its first 24 hours Wednesday, disrupted by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike, fighting in a strategic province, and shelling by coalition warships west of the port city of Aden…” (al-Haj, 5/13).

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China Faces Food, Nutrition Security Pressures Warranting Government Action, Report Says

Xinhua News: China’s food, nutrition security faces challenges: report
“The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said in a report Wednesday that China’s food security faces pressure that warrants government action. … China increasingly suffers from a ‘triple burden of malnutrition’ (undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies, and obesity), according to the Washington-based institute…” (5/13).

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Child Malnutrition Strains Malawi's Development Efforts, Study Says

News outlets report on a study commissioned by the African Union and supported by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa and the World Food Programme describing the effects of malnutrition on Malawi’s development.

Agence France-Presse: Malawi pays high price for child hunger
“Child malnutrition costs Malawi about $600 million a year, with more than half of children aged between 18 and 23 months suffering from stunted growth, according to a new report released on Wednesday…” (5/13).

The Guardian: Malawi study reveals devastating cost of child undernutrition
“Malawi’s development is being thwarted by child undernutrition, the effects of which continue to blight the lives of 60 percent of the impoverished country’s adults and costing its economy hundreds of millions a year, according to a new study…” (Jones, 5/13).

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As Ebola Epidemic Retreats From Guinea, Residents Left With Mixed Feelings Of Heartbreak, Hope

IRIN: The pain of the new normal: Guinea after Ebola
“…West Africa’s Ebola outbreak is believed to have started here, in the Gueckedou forest region, in December 2013. More than 3,500 Guineans have since contracted the virus and 2,391 of them have died. New cases continue to be reported in and around the capital Conakry, but the Gueckedou region, including [this] village, Bellessa, has been Ebola-free since early January. While this is a point of pride for many in the region, it is also nothing to celebrate…” (Lazuta, 5/13).

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Italian Nurse Tests Positive For Ebola Virus After Returning From Sierra Leone

Agence France-Presse: Nurse becomes Italy’s second Ebola case
“An Italian nurse who had recently been working in Sierra Leone with [the Italian] medical charity Emergency tested positive for Ebola on Tuesday in the country’s second case of the virus…” (5/12).

New York Times: Italian Nurse Who Worked in Sierra Leone Tests Positive for Ebola
“The nurse, the second person with Ebola to be treated in Italy, had worked with an Italian aid group in Sierra Leone, one of the West African countries hit by the outbreak last year. … Last year, an Italian doctor with the same aid group, Emergency, was successfully treated in the Spallanzani hospital in Rome and was released after a month…” (Pianigiani, 5/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Media, Western Nations Must Learn Lessons From Ebola Epidemic, Prepare For Next Outbreak

Vox: Reporters got a lot wrong covering Ebola. We should do better next time.
Julia Belluz, Vox reporter

“We journalists often rush from one story to the next with whiplash-inducing speed — and sometimes without time to reflect. On Monday, however, a few of us paused. Just as Liberia was finally declared Ebola-free, I appeared on a panel organized by the ONE Campaign alongside colleagues from NPR, the Washington Post, Ebola Deeply, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, we looked back at how the media dealt with the epidemic. … The challenge of being respectful, compassionate, and not exploitative while reporting was one we all felt…” (5/12).

The New Yorker: Sharing the Blame for the Ebola Crisis
Michael Specter, New Yorker staff writer

“…We in the West deserve a heavy share of the blame for the intensity of the Ebola epidemic. We managed to express hysteria at home while paying little attention to the people who were truly affected. During America’s infection with Ebola Fear, which had a more powerful impact in this country than the actual virus, the press and political leaders managed to denigrate the people who sacrificed the most to fight the epidemic in Africa. The WHO has acknowledged acting too slowly. But it is hard to argue with the conclusion of the new report: ‘”Business as usual” or “more of the same” is not an option.’ That verdict should, clearly, also apply to the world’s richest countries…” (5/13).

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Women, Girls 'Central To Achieving' Sustainable Development Goals, Including Ending Extreme Poverty

EurActiv: Why women and girls must be at the heart of the E.U. development agenda
Linda McAvan, British Labour Party Member of the European Parliament

“…[A] mounting body of evidence has also shown that if we invest in girls and women, it helps their families, communities, and whole economies too. … This is why girls and women are central to achieving the new global goals — the Sustainable Development Goals — which will be set out by world leaders this year. If we are serious about ending extreme poverty by 2030, as the goals aim to, it is imperative to focus on those who are worst off and hardest to reach — which very often means girls and women. … In this year of change, 2015, we must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to refocus the development agenda and unleash the human, social, political, and economic potential of women everywhere…” (5/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Report Examines Global Response To Antimicrobial Resistance

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: WHO report reveals awareness of antimicrobial resistance low, risks are high worldwide
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” reports on the WHO’s 2015 “Worldwide country situation analysis: response to antimicrobial resistance.” “The report follows WHO’s first look at the worldwide extent of antimicrobial resistance, which found that a ‘substantial number of countries’ lacked capacities to assess the spread of resistant bacteria…” (5/13).

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'Active Community Participation' Key To Developing Disease Outbreak Interventions

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Discussing Community-Level Challenges in the Ebola Response
Cathryn Streifel, a program manager and research associate for the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses the recent the Ebola Innovation Summit in San Francisco, at which she participated in a social mobilization challenge break-out group. “…Active community participation is a key ingredient to developing tools and interventions that will more effectively impact the response and outcome of future outbreaks” (5/13).

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Digital Health Platforms Play Important Role In Supporting Ebola Response Efforts

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: The mHero Story
Amanda Puckett, technical adviser at IntraHealth International, discusses how digital health platforms have been used to respond to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (5/13).

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Tracking, Delivering Aid For Nepal Earthquake Relief Proves Challenging

Humanosphere: The struggle to get aid to quake survivors in Nepal
Melody Schreiber, program manager at the International Reporting Project, discusses the challenges of providing disaster assistance and ensuring funds reach the appropriate sources in Nepal (5/13).

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