KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Progress Being Made To Close Gap In Contraceptives Access Among Women But More Effort Needed To Reach Goals, FP2020 Report Shows

News outlets highlight findings from a Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) report released on Thursday, titled “Commitment to Action 2014-2015.”

BBC News: Push to meet ‘shortfall’ in global contraceptives target
“Plans to get contraceptives to millions more women in the world’s poorest countries are behind track, a report by campaigners and donors warns. The goal is for 120 million extra women to have access to contraceptives by 2020. But so far around 25 million more women are using pills or devices such as implants…” (Dreaper, 11/12).

The Guardian: 2020 contraception target for women and girls may be missed, report warns
“…[The FP2020 report] said increases in contraceptive access in the past year had helped prevent 80 million unintended pregnancies and 111,000 maternal deaths in the FP2020 partnership’s 69 focus countries. Despite this progress, the partnership said it was not on track to meet its target of providing 120 million additional women and girls with access to contraception by 2020, a pledge made at the London family planning summit in 2012…” (Kweifio-Okai, 11/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Millions more using contraception, especially in South Asia, Africa — report
“A record 290.6 million women and girls in the world’s poorest nations are using modern methods of contraception, averting millions of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, a global family planning rights group said on Thursday. The biggest jumps in contraceptive usage since 2012 showed up in South Asia, up 47 percent, and eastern and southern Africa, up 22 percent, 2012, the global partnership FP2020 said in a report…” (Wulfhorst, 11/12).

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Women's Health Advocates Say Slow Progress In Reducing Maternal Mortality Shows More Efforts Needed To End Preventable Deaths

The Guardian: Calls for action over maternal deaths as U.N. figures show slow recent progress
“The number of women dying in childbirth has dropped by almost 44 percent over the past 25 years, according to the latest U.N. figures. But women’s rights activists said the figures were disappointing…” (Ford, 11/12).

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17M Lives Saved From Measles Since 2000; More Effort Needed To Broaden Vaccination Coverage, Reports Say

News outlets report on new data on measles immunizations released by WHO for the Measles & Rubella Initiative, and published in the WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Report and the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Agence France-Presse: Measles vaccines save 17 mn lives since 2000, but progress stalled: WHO
“Measles vaccines have saved more than 17 million lives in the past 15 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday, warning though that immunization coverage had marked time since 2010. The number of measles-related deaths have plunged nearly 80 percent since the turn of the century, falling from 546,800 in 2000 to 114,900 last year, the U.N.’s health agency said in a statement…” (11/12).

Newsweek: We’re Close to Eliminating Measles Worldwide, but Not Close Enough
“…In the reporting countries, there were approximately 20.6 million infants who did not receive vaccines to prevent the measles virus. About 11.6 million of those lived in six countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan…” (Firger, 11/12).

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2.3M People In Central America Will Need Food Aid Due To El Niño Weather Pattern Extending Drought, U.N. Estimates

U.N. News Centre: El Niño: 2.3 million Central Americans will need food aid, U.N. warns in latest alert
“Some 2.3 million people in Central America will need food aid as the current El Niño weather pattern, one of the strongest on record, exacerbates a prolonged drought, the United Nations warned [Thursday] in the latest alert on the impact of the phenomenon which causes floods in parts of the world and drought in others…” (11/12).

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Social Mobilization Critical To Ending Polio, UNICEF Director Says

Devex: Ending polio one community at a time
“Social mobilization was the backbone of polio eradication efforts with health workers, combating polio ‘community by community by community,’ UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake told Devex Impact associate editor Adva Saldinger in an exclusive interview. Understanding the community structure was crucial to reach traditional and religious leaders, the UNICEF chief said…” (Jimeno, 11/12).

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Price Of Pfizer's Childhood Pneumonia Vaccine Too High, MSF Says In Protest

Al Jazeera America: MSF protests price of Pfizer pneumonia vaccine
“Children in poor countries are going without pneumonia vaccine because of the high price of the shots, manufactured by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, members of humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said at a rally Thursday outside Pfizer’s headquarters in Manhattan…” (Dizard, 11/12).

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Indonesian Fires Spreading Toxic Fumes Harmful To Human, Plant Health, Experts Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Scientists warn of health damage from Indonesia’s haze fires
“Toxic fumes from the Indonesian fires that have spread a choking haze across Southeast Asia may be doing more harm to human and plant health than officials have indicated, scientists measuring the pollution say…” (Tang, 11/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investing In Family Planning Essential To Achieving SDGs, Ending Poverty

Devex: Family planning: It’s time to invest
Megan Elliott, vice president for strategy and development at Marie Stopes International

“…If the world is serious about ending poverty by 2030, access to contraception cannot be allowed to fall off the agenda, or left unfunded. As health issues move increasingly towards domestic financing, the priority developing economies give to contraception is a foot poised above the pedals of their own development. … We must get better at talking about this, basing our arguments on agreed indicators, on evidence, on verifiable data, and to speak more convincingly of the wider benefits of contraception — to governments, to major funding partners, to each other, and to those who are not yet convinced…” (11/12).

Huffington Post: Empowering Women and Girls Through Family Planning: A Promise Worth Keeping
Beth Schlachter, executive director of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020)

“…[T]he benefits of family planning extend beyond individuals to communities and countries. They are essential to sustainable development — with implications for access to education, protection from violence, and the ability to work and generate income. Simply put, FP2020’s goal [to bring family planning services to an additional 120 million women and girls by 2020] is a critical milestone on the journey to realizing the Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to family planning by 2030. The right of women and girls to autonomy over their bodies, and all that this right implies, is fundamental to the success of the entire global enterprise to eradicate poverty…” (11/12).

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New Innovations Could Play Role In Reducing Childhood Pneumonia Deaths

Devex: Could smartphones, thermal images, or ultrasound save children from pneumonia?
Keith Klugman, director for pneumonia at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…One of the key challenges the global health community faces is quickly and accurately diagnosing children who are at risk for pneumonia death and then rapidly starting them on the appropriate treatment. … To help address some of these issues, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation requested applications through our Grand Challenges Explorations initiative [from] anyone, from any discipline, anywhere in the world, with an innovative idea to reduce childhood pneumonia deaths. … On this World Pneumonia Day, I am proud to announce new grants to 10 scientists working on nine projects in seven countries to test out-of-the-box ideas to improve pneumonia detection. Through novel ideas, smart science, and diligence, we hope that all of these ideas will someday mature into tools that health care providers across the world can use to rapidly diagnose pneumonia and prevent death…” (11/12).

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Women Deliver Conference Offers Opportunity To 'Integrate Gender Equality Into Mainstream Of Health'

The Lancet: Offline: Gender equality — the neglected SDG for health
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…[Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] 5 — the goal committing countries to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls — is the neglected SDG for health. … [W]hat more can be done, both to accelerate progress across a large group of lagging countries and to integrate gender equality into the mainstream of health, where it will increasingly belong? One opportunity is Women Deliver, … a global advocacy organization dedicated to gender equity and women’s empowerment. The next meeting of Women Deliver is in Copenhagen (May 16-19, 2016). It will come just before the World Health Assembly and will be the first important international development conference of the SDG era. The health community must lift its eyes above SDG 3. … Copenhagen in May, 2016, will be the place to begin” (11/14).

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World Leaders Must Respond To, Prioritize TB, Diabetes Co-Epidemic

Project Syndicate: The Deadly Axis of TB and Diabetes
Anthony Harries, senior adviser and director of the Department of Research at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

“…On November 2, public health stakeholders, including representatives of business, civil society, and international aid organizations, gathered in Bali, Indonesia, to lay the groundwork for a global campaign to tackle the looming co-epidemic of TB and diabetes — the first-ever health summit specifically focused on a response to the twin scourge. … Attendees were asked to sign ‘The Bali Declaration,’ a pledge to implement specific health care policies proven to help bring down TB and diabetes rates. … The Bali summit highlighted the indispensable opportunity we have to take preemptive action against a looming health care crisis. But it must be followed by urgent action and commitment of resources. World leaders must be made to recognize the dual threat of TB and diabetes — and make it a high policy-making priority — before it is too late” (11/12).

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Partnership, Cooperation Improve Donor Impact, Effectiveness, AidData Survey Shows

The Guardian: Which are the best aid donors? Governments have their say
Duncan Green, senior strategic adviser at Oxfam Great Britain

“…For years I’ve been moaning about how no one ever asks developing country governments to assess aid donors (rather than the other way around), and how no one publishes a league table of the good, the bad and the seriously ugly. But now AidData has released ‘Listening to Leaders: which development partners do they prefer and why?,’ based on an online survey of 6,750 development policy makers and practitioners in 126 low and middle-income countries. … A big data crunch found that aligning with partner country priorities correlates positively with the extent to which development partners influence government reforms. Listening more to developing countries gets better results than force-feeding them through ‘technical assistance’ programs. … The good news is that AidData is planning similar exercises in 2016 and 2018…” (11/12).

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Smartphone App, Incentives Could Improve Effectiveness Of Pakistan's Polio Vaccination Campaign

The Conversation: Could a smartphone app help stop the next polio outbreak in Pakistan?
Michael Callen, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University

“…The reason Pakistan was having so much trouble [eliminating polio through vaccination efforts] didn’t come down to having enough doses of the vaccines or health workers to administer them — the country did. A key problem was that information about who was getting vaccinated wasn’t getting collected, and that the incentives health workers got didn’t actually motivate them to perform more vaccinations. … In a pilot project funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, our group has been working with Lahore’s municipal government to develop a tool to help track information better and to find out what incentives provide the best motivation for health workers. … These tools are simple — just smartphones and apps — and could be used in any developing country to collect better data and target workers’ efforts more effectively” (11/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Reports Released, Campaign Launched On World Pneumonia Day Highlight Progress, Challenges To Ending Preventable Child Deaths

The following summaries discuss news, data, and campaigns related to World Pneumonia Day, recognized annually on November 12.

International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: New Report Highlights Gains In Child Survival, But There’s Still Work To Be Done To Address Leading Killers
“The 2015 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report: Sustainable Progress in the Post-2015 Era … documents the progress of the 15 countries experiencing the greatest burden of pneumonia and diarrhea. … Vaccine introductions and scale ups, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life, increasing access to appropriate pneumonia treatment, and ensuring sustainability for the post-2015 agenda are all required to put an end to these preventable diseases…” (11/12).

U.N. Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children: World Pneumonia Day — November 12
“…The U.N. Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is supporting ‘Every Breath Counts,’ a new global pneumonia advocacy campaign spearheaded by UNICEF in partnership with Speak Up Africa. The campaign is being launched on World Pneumonia Day 2015 and aims to galvanize donor interest in pneumonia, raise popular awareness of pneumonia, and to increase appropriate care seeking by families…” (11/12).

Humanosphere: Progress against pneumonia lags behind other childhood killers
Nancy Fullman, a policy translation specialist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses data on pneumonia among children worldwide, concluding, “In order to [end preventable child deaths by 2030], policymakers, program leaders, and development partners will need to hone in on what’s hindering further progress against pneumonia and substantially push the pace in tackling this deadly disease” (11/12).

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Global Fund Publishes Piece On Women, Girls In Global Health

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Confronting the Challenge: Women and Girls in Global Health
In an email alert, Seth Faison, head of communications at the Global Fund, writes, “We have published a short piece, Women and Girls, to highlight a growing challenge in global health. Gender inequalities, sexual violence, and discrimination fuel a devastating and disproportionate number of new HIV infections in women and adolescent girls, and increase their overall health risks. … In Women and Girls, and in other pieces in our Focus On series, we offer a summary of an issue critical to the mission of the Global Fund partnership, and how we are responding…” (11/12).

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Foreign Policy Podcast Explores Ebola Outbreak, Potential Future Global Health Crises

Foreign Policy’s “Global Thinkers Podcast”: Epidemics on the Move
“In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, epidemiologist Caroline Buckee and global health expert Laurie Garrett discuss Ebola and the world’s next health crises. FP Story Editor Amanda Silverman hosts…” (11/10).

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Rise Of Antimicrobial Resistance Spurred By Substandard Medicines, AEI Scholar Warns

American Enterprise Institute: A ‘perfect storm’ for the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria
Roger Bate, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author, discusses “new global substandard medicines — caused by inferior ingredients or inadequate production techniques — that are driving a new wave of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). … It is time for the international medical community and global regulatory bodies to agree on a more effective way to identify substandard antibiotics and remove them from the supply chain…” (11/12).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses Remarks Made At CGD Event On LGBT Rights In Developing World

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: On sexual minorities, development, and Uganda and more, Barney Frank notes: “You didn’t tell me to mind my own business when I was pushing for a billion dollars in debt relief…”
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses remarks made by former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) at an event hosted by the Center for Global Development examining LGBT rights in developing countries and the potential U.S. response (11/12).

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