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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Use Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine To Begin Soon In DRC Following Government Approval, WHO Says

Associated Press: Congo approves use of experimental Ebola vaccine, WHO says
“Congo has agreed to allow the World Health Organization to use an experimental Ebola vaccine to combat an outbreak announced last week, the WHO director general said Monday. The aim is for health officials to start using the vaccine, once it’s shipped, by the end of the week, or next week if there are difficulties, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus…” (Mwanamilongo/Keaten, 5/14).

CIDRAP News: New Ebola cases reported as WHO head visits DRC
“Over the weekend, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported seven more suspected cases of Ebola, raising the totals from Apr 4 through May 13 to 39 confirmed, suspected, and probable cases, including 19 deaths, for a case-fatality rate of 49 percent. Only two cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing, and 25 are probable. The remaining 12 cases are suspected…” (Soucheray, 5/14).

Additional coverage of this story is available from ABC News, Bloomberg, CNN, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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Scientific American Highlights U.S. Efforts To Develop Universal Flu Vaccine

Scientific American: A New Push for a Universal Flu Vaccine
“If all goes according to plan, the annual flu shot protects about 60 percent of vaccinated people. This year’s inoculation, of course, fell far short of such expectations, safeguarding only one in four vaccinated people who encountered the dominant H3N2 strain. This shortfall injected further momentum into the push to create a universal vaccine that protects against many flu types over time. … Yet the road ahead is littered with obstacles. … Earlier this month the National Institutes of Health announced one experimental vaccine, M-001, is headed into phase II clinical trials…” (Maron, 5/14).

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Devex, Global Health NOW Examine Efforts To Better Use Data In Humanitarian, Public Health Responses

Devex: Can the U.N.’s Centre for Humanitarian Data stand out?
“As the United Nations’ Centre for Humanitarian Data took shape last year, its founders had to think hard about what it would not be doing. It would not be the place where all humanitarian information, from cash transfer volumes to vaccination rates to rainfall, is analyzed. It would not handle big data, and it would not collect data itself. Instead, after consultations, the goal set was to increase the use and impact of data across the aid sector. The overarching aim of the center, which is part of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is that ‘everyone involved in a humanitarian response has access to the data they need, when and how they need it, to make responsible and informed decisions’…” (Chadwick, 5/15).

Global Health NOW: A Vital Boost for Policy
“Birth certificates are a ticket to ride … they unlock a host of social services, as Philip Setel, a Vital Strategies vice president and director of the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics improvement program explained at a Data for Health convening last week. Yet all too often — up to 40 percent of the time, in fact — a birth certificate is never provided. And it isn’t just about having the piece of paper; governments need data to make a host of decisions about health. To that end, Vital Strategies’ Data Impact Program collaborates with governments to expand the use of data to enhance public health planning and policymaking…” (Myers, 5/14).

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Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of WHO's Plan To Eliminate Trans Fats From Global Food Supply By 2023

CNN: WHO calls for elimination of trans fat in foods by 2023 (Howard, 5/14).

Fortune: The WHO Now Wants Every Country to Eliminate Trans Fats. Here’s How That Will Change the Way You Eat (Detrick, 5/14).

The Guardian: Industrial trans fats must be removed from food supply, WHO says (Boseley, 5/14).

Los Angeles Times: Health officials launch ambitious plan to rid the world of trans fats (Healy, 5/14).

New York Times: Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says (Jacobs, 5/14).

Quartz: How trans fat fell from grace to become a foodie villain (Purdy, 5/14).

U.N. News: U.N. health agency aims to save millions of lives by ‘elimination’ of trans-fatty acids from global food chain (5/14).

USA TODAY: Trans fats should be banned, World Health Organization says (Bomey, 5/14).

Vox: The new global plan to eliminate the most harmful fat in food, explained (Belluz/Collins, 5/14).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: In Rohingya camps, monsoon threatens hard-won WASH progress (Rogers, 5/15).

Devex: Questions raised over private sector accountability on safeguarding (Anders, 5/15).

The Guardian: Sudan urged to pardon teenager facing death for killing husband who raped her (Beaumont, 5/14).

NPR: What’s Behind The Alarming Spike In HIV Infections In Panama? (McCleland, 5/14).

Reuters: Kenyan doctors angered by move to hire Cuban doctors (Ndiso, 5/14).

SciDev.Net: Listeriosis in South Africa could impact HIV control (Chopera, 5/14).

Scientific American: How Climate Change Is Making It Harder to Predict Outbreaks (Parshley, May 2018).

Scientific American: Is Malaria’s Peculiar Odor the Key to Its Conquest? (Conniff, 5/14).

The Telegraph: Is this the face of Disease X? The deadly pathogens which could cause the next global pandemic (Crilly, 5/14).

U.N. News: ‘Never forget children,’ UNICEF warns of escalating violence in Central African Republic (5/14).

U.N. News: Preventive action could save billions of dollars in food assistance costs — U.N. agency (5/14).

U.N. News: Step up humanitarian support to 7.1 million people and invest in Sudan’s development: U.N. relief chief (5/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Take Leadership Role In Prioritizing Global WASH Access

The Hill: Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting
Ted Poe (R-Texas), chair of the Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee

“…Water scarcity not only affects individuals and communities — it is directly tied to global stability and even U.S. national security. … By addressing this one fundamental requirement for human life, we can save lives and improve the world. As the wealthiest and most innovative nation on Earth, solutions are within our reach. The United States must act as a global leader, setting an example by prioritizing water, sanitation, and hygiene access. We can do this by prioritizing assistance to countries in the greatest need and ensuring that the legally mandated water office that already exists in USAID is appropriately funded and preserved during the agency’s redesign. Today, 1.4 billion more people have access to clean water than they did in 2000. This means … 1.4 billion lives have been saved or fundamentally improved. With our God-given resources, it is our moral duty to see that no one must suffer because of lack of water…” (5/14).

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White House, Congress Need To Do More To Address Disease Threats

Capital Times: Bill Berry: White House missing in action in pandemics fight
Bill Berry, columnist for the Capital Times

“…Just last week came word that health officials with the World Health Organization fear a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus may spiral out of control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. This, almost unbelievably, came in the exact week when the Trump White House announced Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer was leaving his post as senior director for global health security and bio-threats. Further, the office doesn’t exist anymore. Further still, the administration announced plans to ask Congress to cut $252 million in unused funding for Ebola that was allocated in 2014. Maybe Congress will ignore this nonsense. Oh, and four years after the U.S. pledged to help the world fight infectious disease epidemics such as Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it is dramatically downsizing its epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries because money is running out. … Meanwhile, no one knows who at the White House would be in charge of a pandemic now…” (5/14).

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Global Support, Well-Coordinated Response Critical To Containing Ebola

BBC News: Why Ebola keeps coming back
Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust

“…While we can identify high-risk [Ebola] areas, it is unrealistic to expect that we could ever eradicate this disease and impossible to know when or where the next outbreak will occur. … We can, however, stop outbreaks becoming epidemics and we can better protect people. … Global support and an early, well-coordinated response is essential to ensuring outbreaks are effectively contained. This outbreak will be a challenge for local teams on the ground. But it is also a challenge and an opportunity for the global community to prove it has learned lessons from the West African epidemic. We cannot hope that Ebola will simply disappear, but we can hope to make tackling it so routine that it can be quickly stopped in its tracks” (5/14).

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Sugar Taxes Can Help Fight Global Obesity

Bloomberg: Tax Soda to Help Fight Obesity
Editorial Board

“…Eating too much added sugar has become one of the riskiest health behaviors in the modern world. … Governments everywhere should tax sugar to persuade people to cut back. … Though it’s too early to be sure that the taxes will save lives, they’re likely to, because they clearly steer people — especially lower-income people — away from added sugar. … Sugar taxes should be smarter as well as higher. Most are applied per unit of liquid; it would be better to set them per unit of sugar, thus encouraging beverage makers to minimize sugar content per can or bottle. … As more governments introduce or raise soda taxes, they also need to keep careful track of their effects. The evidence so far confirms that they change behavior, which suggests they should be applied as well to added sugar in foods. Taxes on sugar won’t solve the world’s obesity problem. But they’re helping, and can be made to help more” (5/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Blog Post Examines Possible Financing Mechanisms Available To Address Ebola Outbreak

Center for Global Development: Ebola Again: Preparedness Is Still Underfinanced, but New Opportunities Are in Play
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and Board secretary at CGD; Liesl Schnabel, institutional advancement associate for strategic partnerships at CGD; and Rebecca Forman, a CGD research assistant, write, “While new tools [to address disease outbreaks] are in place, it’s past time to recognize the need to adequately finance preparedness at home and abroad, and to act on existing opportunities to deploy funding and link tightly to progress on preparedness metrics.” The authors note there are “three new funding mechanisms that might be deployed for preparedness, but they require adjustments — their total amounts, their incentives, and their allocation and focus on results need further attention…” (5/14).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Several Pieces Responding To Trump Administration's Analysis Of Medicine Cost-Drivers

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: Drug prices and global free-loading? Or pharmaceutical free-loading?
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights several pieces discussing the Trump administration’s plan to bring down the price of medicines in the U.S. Barton notes, “Among its analyses of medicine cost-drivers, according to President Trump, the plan took issue with the impact of ‘free-loading’ countries around the world where life-saving drugs, while remaining out of reach for significant portions of their populations, are not as expensive as they are in the U.S. … We’re reading fact-checkers and front-line responders, who say that’s not how it works” (5/14).

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Co-Directors Of Global Health 50/50 Discuss Role Of Gender Dynamics In NCDs, Overall Health Outcomes

PLOS Blogs’ “Global Health”: Gender and NCDs: Benign neglect in the face of a gaping window of opportunity
Kent Buse, chief of strategic policy directions at UNAIDS, and Sarah Hawkes, professor of global health at the University College London (UCL) and founding director of the Centre for Gender and Global Health at UCL, both co-founders and co-directors of Global Health 50/50, discuss how gender impacts noncommunicable disease (NCD) rates and call on the High-Level Commission on NCDs, which will meet in September, to “bring gender centrally into approaches to address the NCD epidemic” (5/14).

BMJ Opinion: Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes: Gender — global health’s dirty little secret
Buse and Hawkes discuss the impact of gender dynamics on health outcomes and argue that global health organizations need to understand these impacts, writing, “What we are calling for is all global health organizations to understand how gender dynamics impact on their strategy, objectives, target populations, and interventions (as well as on their staffing). This seems to us the only route to achieve the ambitious health-related targets established in Agenda 2030 — which also seeks to leave no one behind” (5/15).

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Brookings Expert Examines Potential Impact Of Capital Increase On World Bank's Development Role

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Will a capital increase mean a greater global role for the World Bank?
Johannes F. Linn, nonresident senior fellow for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, discusses the role of the World Bank Group in addressing global challenges and how a proposed capital increase would impact World Bank financing (5/14).

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Grand Challenges Initiative Continues To Inspire Global Health, Development Innovation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Grand Challenges: Fueling Innovation in Global Health and Development
Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of Discovery & Translational Sciences in the Global Health Program of the Gates Foundation, discusses various successes of the Grand Challenges initiative, concluding, “I feel confident that the initiative’s smart approach of combining scientific innovation with the social science context will continue to prove hugely beneficial in the collective effort to tackle our greatest global health and development challenges” (5/14).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Report Examines Status Of Zika Supplemental Funding Used By HHS Agencies In 2015 Outbreak Response

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Zika Supplemental Funding: Status of HHS Agencies’ Obligations, Disbursements, and the Activities Funded
This GAO report examines how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies have used the Zika supplemental funding appropriated by Congress to address the 2015 Zika outbreak. The report notes, “We found that they attacked the problem on a variety of fronts, including researching the virus, controlling mosquito populations, and raising public awareness about Zika and its prevention” (5/14).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Fact Sheet Provides Overview Of WHO, U.S. Engagement With Organization

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and the World Health Organization
This updated fact sheet provides information about the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. government’s engagement with the organization (5/14).

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