KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Draft Guidelines Call For Reduced Intake Of Saturated Fats To Prevent Cardiovascular Disease; Organization Opens Public Consultation Period For Guidelines

Associated Press: WHO: Saturated fat should be less than 10 percent of diet
“The World Health Organization is taking on the battle of the bulge, saying that saturated fats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of a person’s diet…” (5/4).

Reuters: Eat less saturated, trans fats to curb heart disease: WHO
“…The draft recommendations, the first since 2002, are aimed at reducing non-communicable diseases, led by cardiovascular diseases, blamed for 72 percent of the 54.7 million estimated deaths worldwide every year, many before the age of 70…” (Nebehay, 5/4).

U.N. News: ‘Bad’ fats targeted in new global health guidelines
“… ‘If we really want to get rid of the dangers of the excess trans-fat then there must be a very strong, energetic action from governments to ensure that manufactured products do not use hydrogenated vegetable oil,’ said Dr. Francesco Branca, WHO’s nutrition director. … Before WHO publishes its draft guidelines officially later this year, it intends to hold public consultations around the world to ensure that they best meet regional needs…” (5/4).

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Civil Society Efforts Aim To Raise Policymakers' Awareness Of TRIPS Flexibility Options

Intellectual Property Watch: Civil Society Key In TRIPS Flexibility Implementation
“When the agreement on intellectual property was adopted by the World Trade Organization, a number of flexibilities were included in the text, mainly to give developing countries policy space to implement the agreement with development considerations. However, some countries through lack of awareness or economic pressure have not used those flexibilities fully, and found themselves facing difficulties addressing their public health needs, which some associate with this failure to use the flexibilities. Civil society has engaged in notable efforts to counter pressure and raise policymakers’ awareness for a wider access to medicines…” (Saez, 5/4).

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Access To Eye Exams, Eyeglasses Overlooked Public Health Issue

New York Times: A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses
“…More than a billion people around the world need eyeglasses but don’t have them, researchers say, an affliction long overlooked on lists of public health priorities. Some estimates put that figure closer to 2.5 billion people. … Then there are the tens of millions of children … across the world whose families cannot afford an eye exam or the prescription eyeglasses that would help them excel in school. … The World Health Organization has estimated the problem costs the global economy more than $200 billion annually in lost productivity…” (Jacobs, 5/5).

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HIV Spreading Among Venezuela's Isolated Indigenous Communities Who Have Little Access To Treatment, Prevention

New York Times: AIDS Runs Rampant in Venezuela, Putting an Ancient Culture at Risk
“…In recent years, amid profound shortages of medicine coupled with widespread ignorance, HIV has spread rapidly throughout the Orinoco Delta and is believed to have killed hundreds of the Warao indigenous people who live in settlements like Jobure de Guayo along the serpentine channels winding through this swampy, forested landscape. Even under the best of circumstances, it might be difficult to control the disease’s spread in such an isolated and deprived area. But the government has ignored the issue, medical specialists and Warao community leaders say, leaving the population to face a profound existential threat alone. Already, deaths and the flight of survivors have gutted at least one village…” (Semple/Herrera, 5/7).

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TIME Examines Nigeria's Immunization, Surveillance Efforts To Eradicate Polio

TIME: How Nigeria’s Start-Stop Immunization Battle Is Winning the War to Eradicate Polio in Africa
“…[T]he start-stop way polio surveillance and immunization works … has allowed Nigeria to go a full 20 months without a single case of paralytic polio. If the country can make it to three years, plus a few extra months as an epidemiological cushion, it will be certified polio-free, which will also mean that the entire continent of Africa is clear of the disease. That will leave Afghanistan and Pakistan as the only nations on Earth where polio is endemic…” (Kluger, 5/5).

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Nigeria's Ban On Codeine Cough Syrups Could Spur Black Market If Demand Not Addressed

Washington Post: Nigeria bans codeine cough syrup to stop an addiction epidemic. But something worse could take its place
“…Nigerian lawmakers estimate that the residents of just two states in the country’s north consume more than three million bottles of [codeine cough syrup] each day. … Now the country’s health ministry has banned the import and production of the painkilling medicine-turned-street-drug. … But the ban might not do much to end Nigeria’s pharmaceutical-addiction problem. ‘The cough syrup challenge is just a symptom of a faulty system,’ said Adeolu Ogunrombi, a project coordinator at Youth RISE Nigeria, an organization that researches drug-policy reform. … ‘There is still a huge demand, and a criminal market is going to spring up to meet the needs of the users who are in need of the substances,’ he said…” (O’Grady, 5/4).

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Rohingya Refugees Face Ongoing Food Insecurity, Threat From Monsoon Rains

VOA News: Rohingya Refugees Face Malnutrition
“…More than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims arrived in Bangladesh last year from neighboring Myanmar, escaping what the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s army, an allegation Myanmar denies. Upon arrival in Bangladesh, many of the refugees were destitute, starving after fleeing army attacks on their villages. But nearly nine months later, hunger persists for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, even though aid groups hold regular food distributions…” (Patinkin, 5/4).

Washington Post: Rohingya refugees who fled massacres in Burma face another lethal force: The monsoon
“…Now the Rohingya face another threat. The Bangladeshi camps — carved out of jungle — have become overcrowded slums of flimsy shelters teetering on steep, unstable slopes. Aid groups warn that the approaching storm seasons could prove deadly. Last year, before the latest influx of refugees, a cyclone damaged 70 percent of the shelters in the camps…” (Patinkin, 5/4).

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Rainy Season Arrives In Yemen As Concerns Over Larger Cholera Outbreak Increase; WHO, Partners Begin Cholera Vaccination Campaign

CIDRAP News: Yemen enters rainy season facing even more cholera
“Yemen will enter its rainy season this month with an ongoing cholera epidemic, and a new study based on the country’s national cholera surveillance system describes how rain, along with multiple confounding factors, helped create the largest cholera outbreak in history and could well trigger another wave of the deadly disease…” (Soucheray, 5/4).

Devex: Cholera in Yemen declining since peak last year, but outbreak still a risk, UNICEF says
“The rainy season has arrived in Yemen, but has not yet brought an uptick of cholera cases with it, according to a top in-country official with the United Nations Children’s Fund. Still, UNICEF and other aid agencies remain concerned that there could be another serious outbreak in the coming months, as the rainy season progresses and health, water, and sanitation systems continue to deteriorate…” (Lieberman, 5/7).

Xinhua News: Anti-cholera campaign kicks off in Yemen amid fears of new outbreak
“The World Health Organization (WHO), in cooperation with Yemeni local health authorities, has launched a wide-scale anti-cholera vaccination campaign in south Yemen, WHO said in a statement Sunday. It said the campaign will last until May 10, and targeted, in its first phase, four districts in Aden city…” (5/7).

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More News In Global Health

CNN: Doctors raise alarm about ancient virus: ‘Prevalence is off the charts’ in Australia (Howard, 5/7).

New York Times: Laced With Two Insecticides, New Nets Protect Children From Malaria (McNeil, 5/4).

Press Trust of India/Business Standard: India’s public health is a ‘mixed story,’ says Microsoft founder Bill Gates (5/5).

SciDev.Net: Global actions against antimicrobial resistance created (Ogada, 5/4).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Health on wheels: mobile clinic brings vital care to displaced Yazidis in Iraq (Niles, 5/4).

VOA News: Women in India Fighting Tough Cancer Battle (Joshi, 5/6).

U.N. News: Midwives ‘lead the way with quality care,’ as world marks International Day (5/4).

Xinhua News: Top legislature to inspect on implementation of infectious diseases prevention law (5/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must Continue To Invest In Global Health Security, Disease Preparedness To Prevent Overseas, Domestic Disease Threats

Washington Post: Are we ready for an epidemic this summer?
Ronald A. Klain, Washington Post contributing columnist and former White House Ebola response coordinator

“…Why the surge [in U.S. cases of infectious diseases spread by insects]? Global travel is a major cause … Scientists also identify more infections, thanks to new research tools. But there’s another factor slipped into [a recent] CDC report: Certain mosquitoes and ticks are ‘moving into new areas.’ … Thus, we face another risk posed by the threat that Trump administration officials dare not speak aloud: climate change. … But the biggest challenge is Trump himself. … Trump attacked science-based responses to [the West African Ebola outbreak] … has ‘energized’ the anti-vaccine movement … [and] has proposed … reduction[s] in programs designed to stop dangerous diseases overseas before they come to the United States. … The solutions are well known: Empowered leadership at the White House. A public health emergency fund that a president can quickly deploy before Congress acts. More investments in research, epidemic prevention, and well-equipped and trained teams at regional hospitals. Increased support for state and local public health departments, our front-line defense. More research on vaccines and therapeutics, and clearer policies on their rapid approval and deployment. And most important: robust investment in global health security to help other countries identify, isolate, and respond to outbreaks before they become global epidemics. These ideas all have bipartisan origins and have had (at least until recent years) bipartisan support. But they require investing more money overseas in the face of a powerful isolationist headwind…” (5/4).

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New York Times Editorial Addresses Trump Administration's Promotion Of Abstinence-Only Education

New York Times: The New Era of Abstinence
Editorial Board

“The administration of Donald Trump … is promoting abstinence with a zeal perhaps never before seen from the federal government. … The administration’s approach defies all common sense. There is no good evidence that abstinence-only education prevents or delays young people from having sex, leads them to have fewer sexual partners, or reduces rates of teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. … Disinformation is at the center of this agenda. It makes it more difficult for women to acquire the knowledge they need to control if and when they become pregnant — a problem that is exacerbated by the administration’s hostility toward abortion rights. Beyond that, abstinence-only education keeps all people who are subjected to it in the dark about critical aspects of their health, and treats a normal part of life — sexuality, and women’s sexuality in particular — as aberrant and shameful” (5/5).

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Global Community Must Commit To Protecting Health, Rights Of Migrants, All People

Inter Press Service: Protecting the Health & Rights of People on the Move
Natalia Kanem, U.N. under secretary general and executive director of UNFPA

“…We all have an interest — and obligation — to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people — women and men, girls and boys. This must include migrant and mobile populations during their journeys and on arrival. Governments, international development partners, civil society, and individuals all have roles to play in eliminating negative drivers of migration and building more resilient societies. Fundamental to this are investments in education, health, and employment opportunities for young people, especially adolescent girls … Protecting the rights of migrants, especially women and girls, is essential. … UNFPA remains committed to being at the forefront of efforts to protect the rights of migrants, and all people, and to ensure that they have access to the sexual and reproductive health services they need and can live in dignity and safety, free from violence and discrimination” (5/4).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Essential Role Of WASH In Health Care Settings

Devex: Opinion: Clean water is health
Toyin Ojora-Saraki, founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa

“…Every person and organization dedicated to better, safer, and more humanitarian health care needs to consider the health workers and their patients whose access to safe health care is deeply diminished by inadequate WASH services. … By introducing adequate WASH services in health care settings, we can thwart preventable deaths and achieve universal health coverage. … This fundamental issue is one that is solvable, but it will not be solved by any single sector. Health, development, finance, and government must commit. … As we join the international community on May 5 in observing World Hand Hygiene Day and the International Day of the Midwife, it’s clear the themes of both days are deeply interconnected. We in the global health and development communities can no longer stand by in silence while mothers and newborns die from preventable and unnecessary complications, simply because the most basic of WASH services are not available” (5/4).

The Hill: Clean water is essential to health care around the globe
William Reilly, chair emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund and co-chair of the Global Water Challenge

“…The U.S. government, multi-laterals, NGOs, private sector, donors, and local governments need to plan and finance policies and programs that prioritize and maintain sustainable WASH in all health care settings. In the U.S., we have an opportunity to further elevate the federal government’s significant, recent focus on the importance of water. … As USAID goes through a redesign proposed by Administrator Mark Green, it is essential to keep the priority for clean water and sanitation for their obvious tie to health, nutrition, economic opportunity, empowering women, and so much more. … Let us not forget that disease and pandemics know no borders; prevention is the key. … The effort to shore up health care facilities is wise and urgent. Absent this prioritization, conditions are going to further decline — with even more broken pumps and dry faucets, dirty hands, and medical staff struggling daily to prevent the spread of illness and disease in facilities meant to cure” (5/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies Should Address Data Gaps In Gender Programming, Investments, Roundtable Says

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: A leap in gender equality begins with better data
George Ingram, senior fellow in global economy and development with Brookings, and Nora O’Connell, associate vice president of public policy and advocacy with Save the Children, write, “While the movement for global gender equality is growing — including prominent placement at the recent World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings — major gaps remain. If addressed, this could unleash significant progress. One of the first gaps that U.S. foreign assistance agencies should tackle is the lack of uniformity on the gender equality data that they collect and use.” The authors discuss three actions resulting from a recent roundtable “to examine the data gaps in gender programming and investments” (5/4).

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Head Of Global Operations At RCPCH Examines Meaning Of 'Global Health'

BMJ Global Health: ‘Global health’: meaning what?
Sebastian Taylor, head of global operations at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), examines the meaning of the term “global health,” writing, “[Global health] is described as a metaphor, a conceptual framing, a set of legal norms, and as a distinct field of practice; as an emerging science, an area of policy and research, and as a formative disciplinary field of study. But the precise dimensions of the idea remain unclear. … In the absence of a single global actor authorized to mediate global health, ‘global health’ may be shaped to whatever the most powerful global actors determine it to be” (4/29).

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Friends Of The Global Fight Co-Hosts 2 Events Highlighting PBS Documentary Series Episode On Global Health

Friends of the Global Fight: Video and Panel Discussion: Effective Leadership and Partnership are Key to Global Health Progress
“As the global community celebrates the 15th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), PBS’s Great Decisions documentary series asks, ‘Is the golden age of global health coming to an end, or just getting started?’ To help address that issue, Friends of the Global Fight recently co-hosted two events to screen the Great Decisions episode, ‘Global Health: Preventing Pandemic,’ in Washington, D.C., and New York. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) co-hosted the Washington screening. After the film, panelists discussed challenges and opportunities in global health — particularly preparedness to prevent future outbreaks — and how to foster new and continued health resources. … On World Malaria Day, Friends co-hosted the New York premiere of the video with Rabin Martin and the Foreign Policy Association. The panel discussion following the screening focused on the importance of partnerships in global health…” (5/4).

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Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Continue To Support Global Health Progress In India

Nature India: A strong foundation for progress — Supporting and enabling groundbreaking projects from inception to results on the ground.
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses India’s commitment to innovation in global health and highlights the work of Grand Challenges India, including achievements in sanitation, malnutrition, routine immunization, and tuberculosis. This article also appears on the Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog (4/30).

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FT Health Discusses Debate Over Personal Health Data, Features Interview With Gates Foundation's President Of Global Health

FT Health: New fronts in the war over data
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the debate surrounding data ownership and privacy and the “stewardship of personal medical information,” as well as features an interview with Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who addresses malaria, pandemics, and the Gates Foundation’s Medical Research Institute in Boston. The newsletter also provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 5/4).

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