KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Should Streamline Response To Disease Outbreaks, Germany's Merkel Says, Pledges Disease Preparedness Support For Developing Nations

Reuters: Merkel urges tighter WHO management after ‘Ebola catastrophe’
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday the World Health Organization must streamline its management to respond quickly to crises like West Africa’s ‘Ebola catastrophe’ that has killed more than 11,000 people. … Merkel said Germany would contribute 200 million euros to help developing countries boost their defenses against infectious diseases, including 70 million euros for West Africa…” (Nebehay, 5/18).

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Leaders Meet At U.N. To Discuss MCH Ahead Of September's SDG Summit

Inter Press Service: Saving a Generation, Within a Generation
“Leaders from over 30 countries [came] together for a two-day retreat May 14 and 15 at U.N. headquarters to reinforce their commitments to improve the health of women, children, and adolescents around the world. Government delegates, CEOs, civil society leaders, private sector partners, global advocates, and U.N. agencies are meeting to respond to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for action for the U.N. Every Woman Every Child global movement, ahead of the U.N. Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda held in September…” (Ieri, 5/15).

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Unsafe Funeral Practices Cause Guinea's Ebola Cases To Rise, Health Official Says

Reuters: Guinea Ebola cases climb due to transmissions at funerals
“Guinea has seen a spate of new Ebola cases due to transmissions at funerals, a worrying sign for the African nation as it seeks to stamp out a year-long epidemic that has killed over 11,000 people across the region, a health official said on Friday…” (Samb, 5/15).

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Case Numbers Triple In 'Unprecedented' Meningitis Outbreak In Niger; Vaccines In Short Supply, WHO Says

Reuters: Meningitis cases triple in two weeks in Niger, more than 400 dead — WHO
“An outbreak of meningitis with ‘unprecedented features’ is spreading rapidly in Niger, with a tripling of cases in the past two weeks, hundreds of deaths so far this year, and vaccines in short supply, the World Health Organization said on Friday…” (Miles, 5/16).

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Humanitarian Ceasefire Ends In Yemen; Aid Groups Delivered Food, Medicine, Supplies During Pause

Wall Street Journal: Yemen Cease-Fire Expires
“A five-day cease-fire between a Saudi-led military coalition and Yemen’s Houthi rebels expired Sunday night, despite a plea for an extension from the United Nations’ envoy to Yemen. … The pause started on Tuesday, giving humanitarian aid groups their first major opportunity to address shortages of food, fuel, and medicine…” (Omran/Fitch, 5/17).

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U.N.'s Ban Urges Continued Support Of Earthquake-Hit Nepal, Beyond Short-Term Humanitarian Aid

U.N. News Centre: ‘Emergency relief is never enough,’ says Ban, urging U.N. to help Nepal build back better
“Over the past three weeks, the lives of eight million Nepalese people have been ‘changed beyond recognition,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the United Nations General Assembly [Friday], as he called on the international community to rally in support of the country and invest for the long haul so that it can sustain itself as it recovers and rebuilds from a devastating earthquake…” (5/15).

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FP Examines Nepal's National Program To Increase Institutional Deliveries, Access To Misoprostol

Foreign Policy: Nepal’s Renegade Strategy to Save Mothers
“…When Nepal launched its own pilot misoprostol program in 2005, home births accounted for more than 80 percent of all deliveries. … When the program started, fewer than 18 percent of births were institutional deliveries. Now, a decade on, an estimated 55 percent of births take place in a facility. And where postpartum hemorrhage was once the leading cause of maternal deaths in Nepal, it has fallen to number two…” (Adams, 5/15).

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TB Described As 'National Emergency' In PNG Due To Poor Access To Health Care, Rising Multidrug-Resistant Cases

Al Jazeera America: Taming one of world’s oldest diseases in fast-growing Papua New Guinea
“…Papua New Guinea has the highest rate of tuberculosis in the Pacific region, where 60 percent of new cases originate, according to the World Health Organization. The epidemic there is being described as a national emergency. In many parts of the country, including vast swaths outside of the capital, health services are scarce, the result of chronic underdevelopment, along with years of government neglect and mismanagement…” (Moran, 5/17).

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Coordinated Efforts, Political Will Help MSF Successfully Treat More Than 13K For Kala-Azar In India's Bihar State

Devex: In India, a concerted push to eliminate kala-azar
“After treating more than 13,000 people afflicted with kala-azar, Médecins Sans Frontières looks toward closing shop by the end of August and passing the ropes to the government of Bihar, India’s poorest state. … [W]hile India has 50 percent of the world’s cases of kala-azar, 70 percent of those are in Bihar alone…” (Cousins, 5/15).

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Colombia To End Herbicide Spraying In Coca Fields, Recognizing Health Concerns

NPR: Colombia Will End Coca Crop-Dusting, Citing Health Concerns
“…Over the years, Colombian police planes have sprayed [coca] fields with a powerful weed killer. It’s part of a government program to destroy coca leaves, which are used to make cocaine. Since it began in 1994, the program has received more than $2 billion in U.S. funding. Now, due to health concerns, the Colombian government has decided to ground the spray planes…” (Otis, 5/15).

PBS NewsHour: Colombia to end anti-drug crop dusting amid health concerns
“…There is a research arm of the World Health Organization which said that it could possibly cause cancer in humans. So that caused quite a controversy here in Colombia, although there had been criticism about fumigation for many, many years…” (Sreenivasan/Forero, 5/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Organizations, Drug Industry Should Improve Oversight Of Medicines To Prevent Sale Of Fraudulent Drugs

New York Times: Stemming the Tide of Fake Medicines
Editorial Board

“A flood of fraudulent medicines sold mostly in the developing world is threatening the health of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in those nations and consumers in more advanced nations as well. International organizations, national drug regulators, and the drug industry itself have been struggling for years to curb sales of phony or poorly prepared medicines. But articles in a special issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, published online last month, show that efforts to control this problem have had only modest success over the past decade. … Congress is considering ways to modernize drug regulation at the Food and Drug Administration to speed clinical trials and get drugs to market faster. It should also look at how the agency, acting on its own or through international organizations, might help rein in bogus drugs in an increasingly global market that can affect all consumers” (5/18).

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Pharmaceutical Companies Should Play Primary Role In Developing New Antibiotics

Financial Times: Big Pharma must lose its resistance to antibiotic research
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator

“…[T]he [U.K.’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance] report’s unwritten message: that the curtain must come down on pure profiteering. The industry is being prompted to remember what corporate social responsibility stands for: a duty to shareholders accompanied by an obligation to serve the wider public good. This consideration has transformed the outlook for malaria and tuberculosis, once shunned as diseases of the poor but now at the heart of some vibrant, productive public-private partnerships. Profit cannot be the sole motive of an industry founded on making people better…” (5/17).

Wired: How Big Pharma Can Save Antibiotics From Superbugs
Jim O’Neill, chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“…My hope is that China will seize the opportunity to lead the world against this global threat when it hosts the G20 in 2016 for the first time. … First we need to ensure there is a sustainable commercial market for antibiotics once they have come out of clinical trial. … A global AMR Innovation Fund of around $2 billion over five years would help boost funding for blue-sky research into drugs and diagnostics, and get more good ideas off the ground. In my view, big pharma should pay for this innovation fund … However, new drugs are not the whole solution: we shouldn’t fill up the bath without fixing the holes in it. We must balance the demand as well as the supply of drugs. … These are all important issues which my Review will consider and for which international agreement is required to achieve a lasting solution. The bottom line is: we can fix this” (5/15).

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UHC Targets Must Address Challenges Of Reaching LGBTI People, Other Key Populations

Huffington Post U.K.: Leave No-one Behind in the Post-2015 Health Agenda
Alvaro Bermejo, executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

“…We need to acknowledge that the current UHC target and indicators under the post-2015 goals are falling short of truly addressing the specific challenges and rights of LGBTI people and other key populations. A comprehensive approach to equity is key to the success of UHC, which goes beyond addressing inequalities related to income, expenditure or wealth, place of residence, and sex, and takes into account all factors of marginalization in UHC indicators and measurement. … UHC is one of the biggest promises to realize access to health care for all and an end to AIDS. We have a window of opportunity to ensure that every one of us receives the health care we need, wherever we are, whoever we are…” (5/18).

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Governments, Community Leaders Must Break Silence On Menstruation To Promote Women's Rights

Inter Press Service: Opinion: Let’s Talk Menstruation. Period.
Chris W. Williams, executive director of the U.N. Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, and Kersti Strandqvist, senior vice president of group sustainability for Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

“…In every country, the veil of silence around menstruation contributes to discrimination that can hold women back in their personal lives and professional careers. It is time for the global community to break its silence on menstruation so that women and girls can discuss the topic without shame, and reap the rewards for their health, education, and quality of life. … Practical, sustainable change for women and girls can be achieved through research, innovation, and education. Governments, community leaders, opinion leaders, and global citizens must speak out to change attitudes, upend customs that restrain menstruating women and girls, and promote basic education about periods…” (5/14).

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Kenya's HIV Efforts Hindered By Discrimination; Country Must Protect LGBTI Rights

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Homophobic violence hinders HIV response in Kenya
Patrick Mutisya, member of the Key Correspondents network supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

“…In Kenya, as in many countries, men who have sex with men are cursed, rejected, and even criminalized. Living in such a society prevents many from accessing HIV prevention services and health care. … If Kenya is serious about attaining zero new HIV infections it must make stronger laws and policies that help combat stigma and discrimination, and ensure the constitution is upheld, protecting the human rights of all. Inevitably Kenya isn’t the only country facing such challenges and around the world at least 78 countries have homophobic laws. … It will take a concerted effort from civil society if LGBTI people’s human rights are to be upheld around the world…” (5/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

President's Global Development Council Releases 2nd Report Providing Recommendations To Further U.S. Development Goals

White House: FACT SHEET: The President’s Global Development Council’s Second Report
“…[Friday], the [President’s Global Development Council (GDC)] released its second report outlining five sets of recommendations on how to further advance our new approach to development, including by: 1) further galvanizing the private sector; 2) promoting sustainable growth while building resilience to climate change; 3) driving innovation for development results; 4) increasing collaborative resource mobilization for development; and 5) further catalyzing economic opportunities for women and youth, especially in megacities…” (5/15).

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U.S. Government Commemorates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, And Biphobia

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
Randy Berry, special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons at the State Department, recognizes the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia and discusses U.S. policies to advance human rights (5/17).

White House: FACT SHEET: Promoting and Protecting the Human Rights of LGBT Persons: A United States Government Priority
This fact sheet recognizes the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia and describes the United States’s “steps to promote respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons both at home and around the world” (5/16).

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Recent Scientific Advances Bring Hope To Search For HIV Vaccine, UNAIDS Head Says

UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls for sustained commitment to develop an effective HIV vaccine
“On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, UNAIDS is calling for a renewed global commitment to finding an effective HIV vaccine. ‘A vaccine would be a major step towards ending the AIDS epidemic,’ said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. ‘There have been encouraging recent scientific advances that give us hope for the future development of an HIV vaccine’…” (5/18).

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