KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Launches First World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Releases Survey Showing Widespread Public Misunderstanding Of Issue

News outlets discuss the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week and a new survey from the WHO showing widespread public misunderstanding of antimicrobial resistance.

International Business Times: First World Antibiotic Awareness Week: WHO Launches A Campaign For Better Use Of Antibiotics
“…To stress the global need to use antibiotics wisely, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the World Antibiotic Awareness Week [Monday]. The objective of the first World Antibiotics Awareness Week (16 Nov. to 22 Nov. 2015) is to promote and encourage best practices among health workers, physicians, general public, agriculture sector, and policymakers so that the further spread of antibiotic resistance is kept in check…” (Bhatia, 11/16).

Reuters: WHO warns of widespread misunderstanding of superbug threat
“…Ramping up its fight against antibiotic resistance with a survey of public awareness, the United Nations health agency said 64 percent of those asked believed wrongly that penicillin-based drugs and other antibiotics can treat colds and flu, despite the fact such medicines have no impact on viruses. Around a third of people surveyed also wrongly believed they should stop taking antibiotics when they feel better, rather than completing the prescribed treatment course, the WHO said…” (Kelland, 11/16).

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U.N.'s World Toilet Day Campaign Calls For Safe, Clean Sanitation Facilities

Reuters: On World Toilet Day, one billion people have nowhere to go
“Some 2.4 billion people around the world don’t have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations. Launching its World Toilet Day campaign for Nov. 19, the U.N. said poor sanitation increases the risk of illness and malnutrition, especially for children, and called for women and girls in particular to be offered safe, clean facilities…” (Kelland, 11/16).

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Unhealthy Habits, Urbanization Driving Up Global Diabetes Incidence; U.N. Calls For Steps Toward Healthy Living On World Day

Financial Times: Rapid rise in diabetes linked to spread of urbanization
“What has caused global incidence of diabetes to more than double since 2000? The obvious answer is unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and the resulting obesity — one of the main risk factors behind the disease. But researchers say something else is also fueling the epidemic: urbanization…” (Ward, 11/14).

U.N. News Centre: On World Diabetes Day, U.N. calls for greater action to turn tide of growing global epidemic
“With the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is emphasizing that people must take steps towards leading healthy lives while governments create conditions to stem the global epidemic…” (11/13).

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U.N.'s Ban Calls On Governments To Enforce Road Safety Laws That Save Lives On World Day Of Remembrance

U.N. News Centre: Despite improvements in road safety, world still facing ‘shocking’ fatality figures — Ban
“On the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is highlighting that despite improvements in road safety, the world still faces some shocking injury and fatality figures. ‘I call on governments to tighten enforcement of laws on speeding, drinking and driving, and to mandate and enforce the use of seat-belts, motorcycle helmets, and child restraints — all of which have been shown to save lives,’ Mr. Ban said in a message…” (11/15).

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Donor Government Family Planning Funding Up, More Women Using Contraceptives, Reports Show

VOA News: Aid Rises for Family Planning in Poor Nations
“…International government funding for family planning in developing countries climbed to $1.4 billion last year, up $100 million or nine percent from the previous year, the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found in its report released Thursday. … [Family Planning 2020] released its own report Thursday, showing just over 290 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries voluntarily use modern contraceptives. That’s up from 266 million in 2012. ‘Some of the [government] donors are close to fulfilling their commitments, or their commitment periods are coming to an end,’ said Adam Wexler, a director of KFF’s Global Health Budget Project and a co-author of its report. ‘It will be interesting to see whether they’ll increase funding’…” (Guensburg, 11/13).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Family Planning In Africa In Interview With Mail & Guardian Africa

Mail & Guardian Africa: Interview: Melinda Gates on family planning, overcoming obstacles, and clever African approaches
“…In an exclusive interview with Mail & Guardian Africa, almost five years from the 120 million goal post, we take stock of the progress that Africa has made with Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a key figure in this movement. She holds family planning and women and girls health as one of her top priorities. ‘Family planning is vital,’ said Melinda…” (Spooner, 11/13).

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Family Planning Program Educates Syrian Refugees In Lebanon, Provides Access To Contraceptives

Agence France-Presse: Futures unclear, Syrian refugees in Lebanon start family planning
“In a tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Sanaa al-Absi extracts a condom from its wrapper in front of a group of giggling Syrian refugee women and begins explaining its use. It is the first time some of the women have seen the contraceptive, which they are learning about as part of a rare program teaching Syrian refugees family planning in Lebanon. The subject is a sensitive one, strewn with cultural, religious, and even political landmines…” (11/15).

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25K Syrians Wounded Each Month, Many At Risk Of Illness As Winter Sets In, WHO Warns

Reuters: Wounded toll at 25,000 a month in Syria, medicines lacking, cholera feared: WHO
“About 25,000 people are wounded each month in escalating warfare in Syria and it is getting harder to deliver medical supplies for civilians trapped in areas held by Islamic State insurgents, the World Health Organization said on Friday…” (Nebehay, 11/13).

VOA News: WHO: Winter Puts Many Syrians at Risk of Life-Threatening Illness
“…Before the war, Syria had a well-functioning health system that kept illnesses in check. But, now, five years into the conflict, Syria’s health care system is in shambles. The World Health Organization reports nearly 60 percent of the country’s public hospitals are either partially functioning or closed. And the same situation is true for half of all primary health care centers…” (Schlein, 11/13).

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UNAIDS Director Commends Cuba For Eliminating Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission

Prensa Latina: UNAIDS: Cuba To Have New Generations Without HIV
“Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said here [Friday] that Cuba is an example of how a country can have new generations without HIV. Cuba has proved it and will achieve it, as its fundamental premise is to place the human being at the center and that is the driving force to transform the people’s health, said Sidibe in a meeting with journalists. On a three-day visit in Cuba as of Wednesday, the UNAIDS chief reviewed the current global AIDS epidemic from its inception…” (11/13).

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Guinea Hopeful For End Of Ebola Epidemic, As Last 68 People Released From Quarantine

Reuters: Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine
“The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases…” (Samb/Brice, 11/14).

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Debate Surrounding Deworming Practices Continues, NPR Reports

NPR: The Debate Is On: To Deworm Or Not To Deworm?
“…[A] report published by the Cochrane Review in July on deworming sparked some controversy. The report concluded that routine deworming of all children in areas with high rates of infection — whether they’re shown to have intestinal worms or not — is not, on average, beneficial to the kids. The finding contradicts the current recommendation by the World Health Organization to periodically treat all children and women of childbearing age with deworming drugs in areas where large numbers of people are affected, including parts of sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, East Asia, and the Americas…” (Brink, 11/15).

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Drug-Resistant TB Case In U.S. Child Highlights Difficulties In Diagnosing, Treating Disease

Associated Press: Rare TB case shows difficulty diagnosing, treating children
“…Drug-resistant tuberculosis is a global health threat, and it’s particularly challenging for young children who are harder even to diagnose, much less treat. Doctors at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are reporting how they successfully treated one of the few tots ever diagnosed in the United States with the worst kind — extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR-TB, which is impervious to a list of medicines…” (Neergaard, 11/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investments In Global Public Health Are 'Smart Foreign Policy'

Forbes: Our Opportunity Where Health and National Security Converge
Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands

“[Last] week, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and I released a report recommending a policy of strategic health diplomacy, inspired and informed by the success of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). … [L]eading on global threats to public health is not just the moral thing to do, it is smart foreign policy. Through strategic health diplomacy, we stand to benefit by fostering international good will and strengthening nation-partners. … Going forward, instead of slashing our foreign affairs budget as some have advocated, we should invest in global public health as a strategic tool to improve well-being while potentially bolstering our own national security interests. With the presidential campaign in full swing, we want to urge candidates from both parties to pledge to do more to fight diseases around the world. Despite recent partisanship, Senator Daschle and I strongly believe that bipartisan consensus can happen again to build on PEPFAR’s successes” (11/13).

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Global Action, Investment Needed Now To End TB

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Tuberculosis reaches new milestones, good and bad
Editorial Board

“…[T]uberculosis now ranks alongside HIV among the leading infectious causes of death, with the deaths of 1.5 million people being attributable to the disease … [T]he unenviable elevation of status gained by tuberculosis to rank alongside HIV strongly illustrates the need for action and investment and undermines concerns about cost that have so far hampered progress. It is not even the case that action needs to be, as for malaria, motivated by altruistic self-interest of western donors. Tuberculosis is already — and has long been — a major problem within high-income countries. Simply put, it’s time to end impotent calls for action; the demand now is for nothing less than success” (December 2015).

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Partnerships, Accountability Essential To Achieve Global Strategy For Women's, Children's, Adolescents' Health

Devex: Forging new partnerships for the future of women, children, and adolescents
Flavia Bustreo, assistant director-general for family, women’s, and children’s health at the WHO, and vice chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and Jane Thomason, chief executive officer of Abt JTA, senior adviser for international social policy at Abt Associates, and member of the Devex Impact Strategic Advisory Council

“…[W]ith competition for resources greater than ever and at a time when there are more displaced people on the planet than ever before, the [Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health] aims to reach the most isolated and vulnerable and address inequity. … Moving forward in the new, broad [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] era, we need to keep our focus and resolve to ensure that women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health remain at the center of the health and development agenda. … [A]s we prepare to face the challenges, there are a number of emerging priorities: resource mobilization … building coalitions and partnerships … innovation, social networks, and entrepreneurship … [and] accountability to the people… ” (11/13).

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Political Will, Sustained Investments Needed To Address Antibiotic Resistance In Africa, World

The Conversation: Africa has a long way to go to close the gap on antibiotic resistance
Sabiha Essack, South African research chair in antibiotic resistance and professor in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal

“…The burden of antibiotic resistance [in Africa] is … under-estimated. African countries don’t have comprehensive national surveillance systems that quantify the problem in human health. There is also little or no surveillance in animal health. … It will take strong political will to address the challenge of antibiotic resistance. It also needs sustained investment to understand the nature and extent of resistance. This in turn will inform treatment guidelines, antibiotic stewardship and infection prevention, and control measures in humans and animals. Everybody must get involved in the fight against antibiotic resistance: the public and private sectors, governments, and the multinational pharmaceutical industry. … It is time to suspend sectoral interests for the public good” (11/15).

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Sustainable Models For Improved Sanitation Vital To Achieving SDG To End Open Defecation

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Addressing the sanitation crisis one toilet at a time
Nitin Paranjpe, president of home care at Unilever

“…Improving sanitation is a vital part of [the Sustainable Development Goals] and will only be achieved with sustained commitment and collaboration. … We know that to really make a difference you have to offer long-term, sustainable models. The Domestos Toilet Academy aims to do just this — helping local micro-entrepreneurs to establish businesses to install and maintain hygienic toilets in their communities. … The Toilet Academies program is a market-based solution that provides jobs, improves health and well-being, and in the long term, helps to stimulate the local economy. Once established, it becomes a self-sustaining model with minimal further investment required. Getting to scale with these kinds of models will go a long way to achieving the Global Goal of ending open defecation by 2030…” (11/16).

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Inclusion Of NTDs In Post-2015 Development Agenda 'True Demonstration Of Our Solidarity With The Poor'

Project Syndicate: Marginalized People’s Neglected Diseases
Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Michael W. Marine, CEO of the Sabin Vaccine Institute

“…The reason for the international community’s failure to solve [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] is as simple as it is ugly: for the most part, NTDs afflict only the poorest and most overlooked people. … It is critical that the U.S. continue its strong leadership on NTDs by maintaining funding for treatment programs in the federal budget, this year and in the years to come. … On the international level, we are encouraged that U.N. members were inspired to assign high priority to the fight against NTDs in the post-2015 development agenda. … One of the most basic steps we can take to overcome what [Pope] Francis calls ‘the globalization of indifference’ is to come together in support of decisive, measurable action against NTDs. Introducing a global metric to mark our progress on the path to controlling and eliminating them for good is a true demonstration of our solidarity with the poor…” (11/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kerry Discusses Global Impact Of, U.S. Response To Climate Change

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Climate Change: A Threat to Security and Stability Everywhere
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discusses the global impact of climate change and U.S. action to address it, including an announcement he will be “convening a task force of senior government officials to determine how best to integrate climate and security analysis into overall foreign policy planning and priorities” (11/12).

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Humanosphere Highlights Presidential Candidate Sen. Rubio's Foreign Aid Record

Humanosphere: Did you know this presidential hopeful is a foreign aid supporter?
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy says “foreign aid isn’t figuring into the U.S. presidential election,” and highlights the record of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the “one candidate who has a strong record of supporting U.S. foreign aid and actively supports initiatives to improve it” (11/13).

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