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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

11M Children In Africa Vulnerable To Effects From El Niño Weather Phenomenon, UNICEF Warns

News outlets discuss the findings of a new UNICEF report, titled “A Wake Up Call: El Niño’s Impact on Children.”

Quartz: As El Niño hits Africa, 11 million children are the most vulnerable
“…UNICEF worries El Niño could undo years of improved public health, nutrition, and education, which have increased life expectancy on the continent, as well as contributed to optimism over Africa’s prospects for economic growth and stability…” (Kuo, 11/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: El Niño threatens 11 million children in Africa with hunger, disease: U.N.
“Some 11 million children in eastern and southern Africa face hunger, disease, and water shortages as a result of the strongest El Niño weather phenomenon in decades, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. Food and water shortages caused by drought and floods are causing malnutrition, which increases children’s vulnerability to killer diseases like malaria, diarrhea, cholera, and dengue fever, it said…” (Migiro, 11/10).

U.N. News Centre: Millions of children’s lives at stake as El Niño strengthens, UNICEF ‘wake-up call’ report warns
“… ‘Children and their communities need our help to recover from the impact of El Niño and to prepare for the further damage it could unleash,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake a press release. … Mr. Lake underscored that the intensity and potential destructiveness of El Niño ‘should be a wake-up call’ as world leaders gather in Paris. ‘As they debate an agreement on limiting global warming, they should recall that the future of today’s children and of planet they will inherit is at stake’…” (11/10).

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Routine Meningitis A Immunizations Required In Africa To Prevent Future Epidemic, WHO Says

News outlets continue to report on a collection of articles and studies published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases noting progress in efforts by the Meningitis Vaccine Project to eliminate meningitis A in Africa.

Agence France-Presse: WHO urges routine meningitis vaccine to avoid resurgence in Africa
“Meningitis A has almost been eradicated in Africa but could stage a ‘catastrophic’ comeback if countries fail to include a groundbreaking vaccine in routine immunization, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Tuesday…” (11/10).

CIDRAP News: Reports show meningitis vaccine’s huge impact in Africa
“…Reports that document the impact of the vaccine, introduced to African countries in 2010, and those that sort out further clinical questions and policy issues, were published yesterday in a Clinical Infectious Diseases supplement supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the group that provided the $70 million in seed money in 2001 that got vaccine development started…” (Schnirring, 11/10).

Nature: New meningitis strains could thrive following vaccine success
“…The successful elimination of meningitis A, which is documented in a series of articles published on 10 November in Clinical Infectious Diseases, might already be allowing other deadly varieties to become more dominant, adds Brian Greenwood, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…” (Callaway, 11/10).

NPR: They’re Calling This Vaccine A ‘Stunning Success’
“… ‘We’re seeing a game-changer in global health with a new vaccine that has the potential to move toward elimination of this disease,’ says Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, an international nonprofit organization that, with partners including the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and African government officials, worked to research, develop, and deliver a meningitis A vaccine…” (Brink, 11/10).

U.N. News Centre: Affordable vaccine brings Africa near elimination of meningitis A — U.N. health agency
“…WHO said in 2013, only four laboratory-confirmed cases of meningitis A were reported by the 26 countries in the belt. ‘We have nearly eliminated meningitis A epidemics from Africa, but the fact is the job is not yet done,’ said Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, WHO’s director of immunization, vaccines, and biologicals…” (11/10).

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West African Nations Must Work To Build Resilience To Natural Disasters, Humanitarian Crises, IFRC Head Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Boost resilience to save lives in West Africa: Red Cross head
“Humanitarian groups in West Africa must focus more on helping vulnerable communities boost their resilience to cope with disasters and crises, the head of the Red Cross said on Tuesday, amid rising food insecurity in the Sahel and relentless Boko Haram violence. Building resilience would save lives and reduce the cost of disaster recovery and aid efforts in a region where floods, droughts, and irregular rains destroy livelihoods and hamper development, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Secretary General Elhadj As Sy…” (Guilbert, 11/11).

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Ethiopia Appeals For $55M For Food Assistance; USAID Announces Additional $97M In Emergency Food Aid For Nation

Associated Press/U.S. News & World Report: Ethiopia appeals for international help to feed thousands of refugees
“An Ethiopian official says the country’s more than 730,000 refugees could go hungry if $55 million in food aid is not raised by the end of the year. Ayalew Awoke, deputy director of refugee affairs, said Monday that a $20 million donation by the U.S. will be used up by the end of December and he warned of ‘a major crisis’ unless aid comes in…” (11/9).

BBC News: Aid needed as severe drought hits Ethiopia
“The United Nations (U.N.) has warned that more than 15 million people in Ethiopia will not have enough food to survive by the beginning of 2016. It’s because of a severe drought in the region. At the moment around eight million people are in need of emergency food aid and the number is rising as rains continue not to fall…” (11/11).

BBC News: Drought takes terrible toll in Ethiopia
“…A lack of rain has meant that crop yields in the worst-affected areas are down by 90 percent this year. The Ethiopian government has set aside nearly £130m to deal with the crisis but the U.N. says a further £330m is needed. Clive Myrie reports from Kobo in northern Ethiopia…” (11/9).

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Announces $97 Million in Additional Emergency Food Assistance for Ethiopia
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is providing nearly $97 million in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, including those severely affected by the impacts of the El Niño weather phenomenon…” (11/10).

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In Journal Review, Experts Discuss Successes, Challenges In Controlling Liberian Ebola Epidemic

CIDRAP News: Experts say leadership, engagement were key to Ebola control in Liberia
“A review … of Liberia’s Ebola outbreak and the public health response to the event said no single factor explains the country’s control of the virus, but experts singled out six issues, including government leadership and community engagement. They also noted some shortcomings, including a lack of streamlining efforts. The international team, which includes officials from Liberia’s health ministry, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published its findings in an early online edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases…” (Schnirring, 11/9).

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India Promotes Clean Cooking Technologies To Save Lives, Ensure Social Justice, AP Reports

Associated Press: India sees clean cooking as climate action that saves lives
“…India, the world’s third-largest climate polluting nation, has spent decades encouraging cleaner cooking technologies, with limited success. Such a shift would have little impact on India’s emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases, and many of the alternatives pollute as well. But countries like India — far behind the industrialized world in economic and infrastructure development — argue that it’s a crucial step in saving lives and ensuring energy justice for the poor…” (Daigle, 11/11).

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Guardian Podcast Examines Role Of Data In Reaching SDG Targets

The Guardian: Measuring up: how open data could spur drive to meet the global goals — podcast transcript
“…When the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, were adopted in 2001 technology was not so advanced and this has meant huge gaps in the way they’ve been monitored. As we move into the Sustainable Developments Goals, or SDGs, we now have an opportunity to strengthen data for accountability and decision-making purposes. I’m Mark Anderson and in this month’s podcast I look at how innovative ways of collecting and using data can support developing countries in both implementing and monitoring the SDGs…” (11/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Obama Administration Should Make TB Top Priority

New York Times: Why Tuberculosis Is Back
Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS

“…[T]he biggest problem we face with tuberculosis is not scientific. It’s political. TB has climbed up the list of major killers worldwide, but it’s stuck at the bottom of the list of political priorities. We need look no further than the Obama administration, which can and must do much more on TB. The president’s budget request has proposed slashing international funding for TB in each of the last four years … Earlier this year, it looked as though the administration might be getting on the right track in its TB response … by committing to developing a new action plan on drug-resistant TB. … According to promises, the interagency plan should have gone to the president by September. That deadline has come and gone … As White House officials weigh next year’s budget request this fall, and decide what to do with the delayed drug-resistant TB plan, the Obama administration must grasp the chance to make the fight against this killer disease a top priority” (11/10).

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Bipartisan Bill Would Help Solidify U.S. Strategy To End Preventable Maternal, Child Mortality

The Hill: Maternal mortality is a problem we can solve
Diana Ohlbaum, independent consultant, co-chair of the Accountability Working Group of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, and principal of Turner4D

“…The reasons why progress [toward ending preventable maternal and child deaths] has been lagging are technically simple but politically complex. … Behind the failure to solve these problems lies one stark fact: Women’s needs are not being met because women’s rights are not valued. … One bright spot is bipartisan legislation introduced in the House … and in the Senate … to require a ‘coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive’ strategy for combating the leading causes of maternal, newborn, and child deaths globally. The bill would improve alignment with country-driven plans and designate a single official within the administration to lead a whole-of-government response. No piece of legislation can remove all the obstacles that prevent the world’s women and girls from receiving the care they need. But smart legislation can remove some of the bureaucratic impediments and inefficiencies that prevent U.S. foreign assistance from achieving maximum impact…” (11/10).

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'Political Opportunity' For Meaningful Global Health Security Reforms 'Rapidly Closing'

JAMA: 3 Critical Challenges for Global Health Security
Lawrence O. Gostin, professor at Georgetown University, director of the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law, and director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights

“International institutions are poised to make one of the most momentous decisions about the future of global health security since the formation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. … By the end of this year, five global commissions will have published major critiques of global health preparedness, all spurred by the Ebola epidemic, which exposed deep flaws in the international system. … All the reports will feed into the January meeting of the WHO executive board, with the final decisions taken by the World Health Assembly in May 2016. … I have little doubt that each [commission] will expose major gaps in global health security and offer radical solutions. But the window of political opportunity following the West African Ebola epidemic is rapidly closing … The question remains whether the entrenched interests of powerful states will block meaningful reforms. If this historic moment passes with only tepid reforms, we ought to hold our political leaders fully accountable” (11/10).

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Increased Access To Pneumonia Vaccines, Integrated Health Systems Critical To Childhood Health

Devex: Tackling the world’s deadliest childhood disease
Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Increasing access to vaccines against childhood killers like pneumonia will increase protection rates in the world’s poorest countries and will, in turn, avert billions of dollars in treatment costs and productivity losses. … Immunization often acts as a powerful platform to offer an integrated bouquet of primary health care services, in particular for women and children. … This idea of bringing together critical health services and interventions to create the healthiest possible environments for children is not new, but it is urgently needed in many parts of the world. … The benefits of integrated health systems and pneumonia immunization are clear: healthier children and families, better education outcomes for vaccinated children, lower health care costs, increased productivity, stronger economies, and thriving communities…” (11/11).

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Ending AIDS Epidemic By 2030 Will Require Innovation, Technology, Partnerships

CNN: Alicia Keys: Don’t fail the children in Africa
Alicia Keys, singer, HIV/AIDS activist, and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive

“…At Keep a Child Alive, we not only strive to get more people tested and stay on treatment, we also look to address the issues that drive the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including poverty, gender inequality, and especially stigma. … With youth-specific programs, we can deliver high-quality treatment and bring young people together through education and peer-support groups within their communities, across Africa and beyond. New technology has made this work possible. … These young people grow in strength in their determination to overcome this epidemic. They’re also stepping up to help others in their communities by becoming advocates and activists. They will play a critical role in ending AIDS. … If we’re going to [end the AIDS epidemic by 2030], we will have to dramatically expand access to treatment, especially for vulnerable groups such as children and youth. That’s going to take resources. That’s going to demand innovative and creative new ideas — with the application of technology at the center. And that’s going to take partnership…” (11/10).

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China's Two-Child Policy Still Impedes Women's Reproductive Rights

New York Times: Still No Dignity for Chinese Women
Sheng Keyi, Chinese novelist

“…[D]ropping the one-child policy will not end the [Chinese] government’s control of women’s bodies. We still will not have the final say when it comes to our reproductive rights. … [A] two-child policy means the state can and will still interfere in the decisions women make about their bodies and their families. … The policy shift is merely a nod to China’s troubling gender imbalance and the rapidly aging population. The nature of the system will remain the same: It still tramples people’s dignity and still places the interests of the state ahead of ordinary citizens. The two-child policy is too little, too late” (11/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Explores 'Tobacco Carve-Out' In TPP, Public Health Implications

Health Affairs Blog: Trade, Health, And Tobacco Exceptionalism: The TPP Tobacco Carve-Out
Wendy E. Parmet, an associate dean and professor at Northeastern University School of Law and director of the school’s Program on Health Policy and Law, discusses “the so-called tobacco carve-out” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and its implications on public health and the future of the pact (11/10).

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Global Network Calls For More Effort To Ensure Inclusion Of NTD Indicator In SDGs

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: Measuring Success: Your Guide to the New Global NTD Indicator
Liz Powell, communications associate for the Global Network and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, discusses the inclusion of an indicator on neglected tropical diseases in the Sustainable Development Goals. She notes, “The indicator, ‘number of people requiring interventions against NTDs,’ got the green light at a meeting of the [Inter-agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs)] in October. … More unified advocacy from the NTD community will be needed to ensure that the final document is adopted in March 2016 without change” (11/10).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Communication Guides About TB, Sex Work

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: “Case?” “Suspect?” “Trafficking?” “Industry?” We’re reading guides on how to talk about TB, write about sex work
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the Stop TB Partnership’s release of a “guide to language and usage for tuberculosis communications … intended to both inform and stimulate discussion around how the disease is discussed, responded to, lived with, and survived.” Barton also discusses the release of a “guide for journalists and writers produced by Sonke Gender Justice, Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Sisonke Sex Workers Movement, and Women’s Legal Centre … [which] offers facts, perspectives, responsible wording, and tips for ethical and insightful ways to … communicating with, as well as about, people who earn income through sex” (11/10).

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