KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Panel Declares End To Zika As International Public Health Emergency; Agency Will Shift To Long-Term Strategy

CNN: WHO ends Zika public health emergency
“The Zika virus outbreak and related clusters of microcephaly are no longer a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization said Friday…” (Goldschmidt, 11/18).

Deutsche Welle: WHO ends Zika global health emergency, moves to long-term response
“…But the United Nations health agency said the virus remained a serious problem which required a long-term approach…” (11/18).

Los Angeles Times: WHO lifts Zika emergency, but prepares for a long-term fight
“…That means the United Nations health agency will establish a long-term program to fight the virus responsible for thousands of cases of microcephaly and other neurological ailments…” (Kaplan, 11/18).

New York Times: Zika Is No Longer a Global Emergency, WHO Says
“…An agency advisory committee said it ended the emergency — formally known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — because Zika is now shown to be a dangerous mosquito-borne disease, like malaria or yellow fever, and should be viewed as an ongoing threat met as other diseases are, sometimes with WHO help…” (McNeil, 11/18).

NPR: Zika No Longer Global ‘Health Emergency,’ WHO Declares
“…One thing is clear: Zika is still spreading. And microcephaly cases are still growing. Argentina reported its first potential case this week. And Florida continues to find people who caught Zika inside the state…” (Doucleff, 11/18).

Reuters: WHO declares end of Zika emergency but says virus remains a threat
“…But some public health experts worried that losing the ‘international emergency’ label could slow research into the virus, which continues to cause infections in the United States and elsewhere…” (Nebehay/Steenhuysen, 11/19).

U.N. News Centre: Zika no longer an international public health emergency, but sustained response needed — U.N. health agency
“…WHO first declared Zika an international public health emergency in February. Since it was detected in Brazil late last year, the virus has spread through the Americas and the Caribbean to other regions, including Africa, Oceania, and Asia…” (11/19).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Emergency Lifted as World Health Organization Shifts to Long-Term Approach
“…The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Zika will remain at the agency’s highest emergency level. The agency activated its emergency response in January. It is leading the response to Zika across U.S. states and Puerto Rico, which has been hard hit by the virus. It’s also working with researchers in several countries to learn more about Zika’s effects…” (McKay, 11/18).

Washington Post: WHO no longer considers Zika a global health emergency
“…The CDC said there is also urgent need to develop improved diagnostics and vaccines that can prevent infection and spread of the disease. Public health experts and clinicians need to better understand the risk of neurological complications in affected infants, children, and adults, the risks of mosquito-borne and sexual transmission of Zika and how best to prevent Zika infection, the agency said…” (Sun, 11/18).

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More Action Needed To Protect Young African Women From HIV; 18M People On HIV Treatment, UNAIDS Report Says

The Guardian: U.N. calls for urgent action to protect young women from HIV/AIDS in Africa
“Urgent action is needed to help and protect girls and young women from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of whom are still being infected with HIV every week, the U.N. says. Many adolescent girls do not know they have the virus and do not seek help or get treatment because they cannot tell their families they have had a sexual relationship with an older man. The death rates among adolescents are high…” (Boseley, 11/21).

Reuters: More than 18 million on HIV treatment, a million more than 2015: UNAIDS
“More than 18 million people now have access to life-saving AIDS treatment, 1.2 million more than at the end of last year, the United Nations said on Monday. In a report on the AIDS pandemic, which has infected 78 million people and killed 35 million since it began in the 1980s, UNAIDS said the consistently strong scale-up of treatment has seen annual AIDS-related deaths drop by 45 percent to 1.1 million in 2015 from a peak of about two million in 2005…” (Kelland, 11/21).

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News Outlets Examine Relationships Among U.N., Western World Leaders On Various Issues

New York Times: Donald Trump and the U.N.: Signs of Clashing Views on Many Issues
“In the genteel, carpeted halls of the United Nations headquarters, a 20-minute walk from Trump Tower, diplomats from the world over are holding their breath about the American president-elect. The optimists among them are expressing relief that Donald J. Trump said nothing during the campaign about dismantling the United Nations altogether … Those who represent the United States’ closest allies are trying to learn who Mr. Trump will appoint to crucial foreign policy jobs and how he will actually approach the pressing crises that are sure to come up before the Security Council: Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, and the widening chasm between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Not least, many are trying to persuade his transition team to respect the international deals the United States has accepted under the auspices of the United Nations…” (Sengupta/Gladstone, 11/19).

Reuters: Rich world angst about foreigners threatens refugee aid: U.N. refugee chief
“The rise of nationalism in rich countries poses a worrying challenge to the tide of migrants fleeing wars, the U.N. refugee chief said on Sunday, urging international cooperation to manage the flows pragmatically ‘rather than building walls.’ U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said he was talking to northern countries about how to rebuild respect for the principle of asylum, put under pressure by politicians’ misleading portrayal of refugees as a threat…” (Maclean, 11/20).

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All Hospitals In East Aleppo Close Following Intensified Airstrikes; U.S. Urges Russia To Take Measures To Stop Violence

New York Times: Aleppo Bombs Leave Quarter Million ‘Living in Hell’ and Without Hospital Care
“The remaining hospitals on the rebel-held side of Aleppo, Syria, have been badly damaged and forced to stop providing care amid an intensifying bombardment, according to the World Health Organization…” (Rubin/Saad, 11/20).

Reuters: All hospitals in East Aleppo out of action — health directorate
“…White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the United States condemned ‘in the strongest terms’ the latest air strikes against hospitals and urged Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to take steps to halt the violence…” (McDowell, 11/19).

Wall Street Journal: Aleppo’s Hospitals Close Down After Heavy Bombardment
“… ‘This destruction to the vital infrastructure has left the besieged and resilient people … without any medical facilities to provide treatment and a chance to save their lives,’ according to a statement released by the directorate, which is based in the east. ‘And [it] has left them to die, which is what the regime is trying to achieve’…” (Abdulrahim/Alakraa, 11/19).

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News Outlets Recognize World Toilet Day, Discuss Various Aspects Of WASH, Related Diseases

Devex: Why the Gates Foundation wants you to talk about poop
“…The big question [Bill Gates] poses in his recent blog post ‘A perfume that smells like poop?’ is whether this technology will make a difference for the one in three people who lack access to improved sanitation. Firmenich, a partner of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is launching pilots in communities across India and Africa to understand whether the fragrances — whether in spray or powder form — will make toilets and pit latrines more inviting for users…” (Cheney, 11/18).

NPR: Diarrhea 101: Time To Talk About Something We Don’t Usually Talk About
“Diarrhea isn’t something we usually discuss in public. But as the second leading cause of death for children younger than five, it’s a topic global health advocates want more people to talk openly about…” (Poon, 11/18).

U.N. News Centre: On World Toilet Day, U.N. spotlights impact of sanitation on peoples’ livelihoods
“To mark the 2016 edition of World Toilet Day, along with urging action to tackle the oft-neglected global sanitation crisis, the United Nations is also spotlighting the impact of sanitation — or lack of it — on livelihoods and work environments…” (11/18).

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IRIN Examines U.N.'s Recent Efforts To Provide $400M Cholera Package In Haiti, Effects Of Epidemic On SG Ban's Legacy

IRIN: Ban Ki-moon’s U.N. legacy clouded by cholera
“Nearly a month after U.N. officials announced the idea of a special $400 million package to deal with cholera in Haiti, almost no donors have agreed to fund assistance for its victims. … The idea of a package of ‘material assistance’ for victims and survivors was floated by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after the publication of a searing report on the crisis by a human rights adviser. … Ban is losing time to make amends before he leaves the job at the end of the year…” (Oakford, 11/18).

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Scientists Trace Genetic Origins Of Current-Day Cholera Strains

Science: How today’s cholera pandemic was born
“The world is in the grip of its seventh cholera pandemic, but that’s not exactly news. Today’s pandemic has been around since the 1960s, burning through developing countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. Now, scientists have used DNA from historical samples to figure out how the modern strain — responsible for 1,304 deaths last year alone — morphed from a harmless microbe centuries ago into a deadly pathogen today…” (Shultz, 11/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO's Removal Of Zika From Emergency Status Without Reliable Diagnostic Tools Represents 'Win' For Microbes

Scientific American: The Microbes Have Won Again
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…The WHO decision to downgrade Zika from emergency status is not good news … T[he] declaration reflects defeat. … As has too often been the case in epidemics we have no point-of-care diagnostic tool for Zika that can swiftly and accurately answer [some] vital questions … So what is our take-home message from the Zika normalization? Microbes win. And they will continue to do so until we … develop the proper tools for rapid identification and response to outbreaks, when, and where, they begin. Waiting until a newly emerging microbe is at your doorstep guarantees failure. And only investing in treatments and vaccines ties the hands of disease responders, leaving them without the tools to rapidly assess the scope and transmission of the unfolding nightmare” (11/21).

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Global Health Leaders Should Use Zika Epidemic As Opportunity To Invest In Women's Health Infrastructure

The Guardian: Zika: Let’s give women the contraception they so desperately want
Grace Tillyard, director of communications and outreach for Innovating Health International in Haiti, and Vincent DeGennaro Jr., president of Innovating Health International in Haiti and assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine

“…Declaring contraception as the cheapest and most effective way to deal with the [Zika epidemic] would be a bold step towards lobbying all governments in the [Latin America] region to expand these much-needed services. In addition, contraception in low- and middle-income countries results in better birth-spacing, reduced maternal mortality and infant mortality, and advances in the socioeconomic status of women. The Zika crisis, like abstinence-based teachings for HIV prevention, is a missed opportunity to invest in women’s health infrastructure, where ideology trumps public health and financial logic in Latin America and the Caribbean. Transnational public health authorities, like the CDC and WHO, are allowing politics with antipathy to women’s reproductive health to pollute public health logic, forcing countries to commit ineffective funds and set a standard that leaves women behind. Will we let yet another crisis go by without addressing reproductive health services for half our population?” (11/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Report Tracks Progress On Global Health Commitments, Finds Most Funders Met Or Exceeded Targets

Humanosphere: Report: Global health funders (mostly) following through on their promises
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses findings from Global Citizen’s recently released Global Citizen Health Accountability report, which “tracks the progress of 43 separate commitments, from efforts to eradicate polio to vaccinating against malaria. Thirty-four of the commitments have met or exceeded their target … while four commitments are progressing but with risk of falling behind.” Nikolau adds, “While global health pledges have seen follow-through overall, the authors [of the report] raise concerns about the shifting trend in funding. Donor funding for global health is declining relative to domestic funding, the report stated, which means the world’s poorest countries are better able to invest in improving their own health systems. At the same time, the authors said, such success must not detract from the need for donors” (11/18).

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CDC Continues To Support Global Efforts To Prevent Road Traffic Injuries

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Choose the Road to Zero Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths
Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, lead of the Transportation Safety Team in the CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, recognizes the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and highlights the CDC’s support of the U.N. and WHO’s efforts “to build better systems to collect and analyze data on road traffic injuries, and use data to plan and evaluate programs. CDC’s global road safety projects focus on surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, mentorship, and training” (11/20).

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Global Leaders Make 2 Landmark Commitments To Promote Health, Eradicate Poverty At 9th Global Conference On Health Promotion

WHO: 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion: Global leaders agree to promote health in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals
“Leaders from governments and United Nations organizations, city chiefs, and health experts from around the world [on Monday] made two landmark commitments to promote public health and eradicate poverty. The 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion, co-organized by WHO and the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China in Shanghai on 21-24 November, has agreed [to] the Shanghai Declaration on Health Promotion, which commits to make bold political choices for health, stressing the links between health and wellbeing and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals [and] the Shanghai Healthy Cities Mayors’ Consensus, which contains a commitment by more than 100 mayors to advance health through improved management of urban environments…” (11/21).

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PLOS Recognizes World Toilet Day, Announces New Collection Focused On WASH

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: U.N. World Toilet Day 2016
Peter Hotez and Serap Aksoy, co-editors in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; Thomas McBride, associate editor for PLOS Medicine; and Larry Peiperl, chief editor of PLOS Medicine, reflect on 15 years of recognizing U.N. World Toilet Day and announce the WASH Collection. They write, “PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), PLOS Medicine, Speaking of Medicine, and the PLOS family of journals are committed to highlighting the impact of WASH and allied measures on reducing the global burden of neglected diseases. … At PLOS we salute global WASH efforts and hope to continue highlighting its important public health and economic benefits” (11/18).

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Global Fund Board Launches Search For New Executive Director

Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund Launches Search for Next Executive Director
“The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has launched a search process to find an executive director to begin work in 2017. At a Board meeting held on 16 and 17 November, the Board approved a nomination committee and invited all partners to encourage highly qualified leaders who can provide visionary direction in the mission of ending epidemics…” (11/17).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 300 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including decisions that were made at last week’s Board meeting; a report by the Global Fund’s executive director on the progress and challenges of ending HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria; and the approval of the fund’s operating budget and workplan for 2017 (11/18).

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