KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report Shows Progress, Calls For Doubling Of People On Treatment Over Next 5 Years

News outlets discuss findings from a new UNAIDS report, titled Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030 and released ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.

Agence France-Presse: Doubling numbers on HIV drugs could ‘break’ epidemic: U.N.
“The U.N. on Tuesday urged countries to ‘break the AIDS epidemic’ by doubling the number of people receiving HIV treatment within the next five years. In a new report, UNAIDS hailed ‘extraordinary’ progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS over the past 15 years, insisting the world had a chance of meeting the U.N. goal of eliminating AIDS as a global health threat by 2030…” (11/24).

The Economist: The latest report from UNAIDS shows great progress against the disease
“…Crucially, viral-load suppression [through effective treatment] not only stops the life-threatening symptoms of AIDS appearing, but also makes it much less likely that an infected individual will pass the virus on. This, plus other transmission-breaking techniques — male circumcision (which is 60 percent protective), the use of condoms and even prophylactic drug treatment for those at particular risk — is expected to continue bringing the new-infection rate down sharply over the next five years…” (11/24).

The Guardian: More than 15m people on life-saving HIV drugs, report says
“…A new report from UNAIDS shows that the numbers on life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) medication have doubled in five years from 7.5 million in 2010 to 15.8 million. ‘Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment,’ said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS. ‘We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding’…” (Boseley, 11/24).

Reuters: Almost 16 million on HIV treatment as AIDS pandemic tide turns
“…By the end of 2014, 36.9 million people were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, and more than half of them do not have access to treatment. The World Health Organization says all people diagnosed as HIV-positive should have immediate access to antiretroviral AIDS drugs, which hold the virus in check and give patients a good chance of a long and relatively healthy life…” (Kelland/Nebehay, 11/24).

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Hillary Clinton Says U.S. Should Review Helms Amendment To Allow Assistance For Abortion As Result Of Rape In Conflict Zones

CNN: Clinton on rape, abortion in war zones
“Hillary Clinton said Sunday she believes that because rape is increasingly being used as a weapon of war, the United States should help the victims by finding a way to get around a law that bars U.S. foreign assistance funds for abortion. Clinton was asked at a Clinton, Iowa, town hall about the 1973 Helms Amendment … ‘I do think we have to take a look at this for conflict zones,’ Clinton said in response to a question from a woman in the audience. ‘And if the United States government, because of very strong feelings against it, maintains our prohibition, then we are going to have to work through non-profit groups and work with other countries to…provide the support and medical care that a lot of these women need’…” (Merica, 11/23).

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Mozambique Establishes Plan To Align With New PEPFAR Strategy, Devex Reports

Devex: PEPFAR strategy shift aims to get ahead of Mozambique’s epidemic
“…Based on an extensive analysis of public health data, the PEPFAR team in Mozambique prioritized 77 of the country’s 148 districts they expect to generate the most new HIV patients. The goal, officials said, is to dramatically curb transmissions in those districts in a bid to bring the country’s larger epidemic — one of the worst in the world — under control. The strategy offers the best opportunity, within current international funding constraints, to finally get ahead of Mozambique’s epidemic, according to officials. PEPFAR partners and civil society organizers express concern that the new approach will leave some of the country’s communities behind…” (Green, 11/23).

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Global Health Community Cautiously Optimistic On Polio Eradication By 2019 After Elimination Of Type 3 Wild Virus

Devex: Time for cautious optimism on a polio-free future
“A quarter of a century ago, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization set out on a quest to stamp out polio throughout the world. … The global health community is optimistic about achieving full, worldwide eradication by 2019, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative…” (Santamaria, 11/24).

New York Times: A Step Closer to the Defeat of Polio
“Three years have passed since a case of Type 3 wild polio virus has been detected in the world, which means that particular viral subtype has most likely disappeared forever, the World Health Organization announced this month. Its demise could speed up the drive to eliminate polio, which has gone on for 27 years and now costs more than $1 billion a year…” (McNeil, 11/23).

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More Than 600K Deaths Linked To Extreme Weather Over Past 20 Years, U.N. Report Shows Ahead Of Paris Climate Talks

New York Times: Extreme Weather Tied to Over 600,000 Deaths Over 2 Decades
“Weather-related disasters in the past two decades have killed more than 600,000 people and inflicted economic losses estimated at trillions of dollars, the United Nations said on Monday, warning that the frequency and impact of such events was set to rise. The figures were released before a United Nations-backed climate meeting, starting next Monday in Paris, at which more than 120 national leaders will try to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and slow the rise in global temperatures…” (Cumming-Bruce, 11/23).

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WHO Hosts High-Level Meeting To Develop Common Health Care Strategy For Refugees, Migrants In Europe

U.N. News Centre: U.N. seeks common European strategy on health care for refugee and migrant influx
“As the unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants into Europe strains host countries’ medical resources, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) opened a high-level meeting in Rome [Monday] to draft a common strategy on health care for the newcomers, ranging from prompt vaccination against measles and polio to dealing with childbirth complications…” (11/23).

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In Deal With Medicines Patent Pool, Bristol-Myers Squibb Agrees To Allow Generic Versions Of HCV Treatment To Be Sold In LMICs

Reuters: Bristol-Myers signs deal with U.N. group for generic hep C drug
“A United Nations-backed organization working to cut the price of HIV drugs said it had signed a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to allow generic versions of the company’s hepatitis C drug to be sold in 112 low- and middle-income countries. … The Medicines Patent Pool said on Monday that Daklinza would now be available to nearly two-thirds of people affected by the disease in low- and middle-income countries…” (Nathan, 11/23).

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U.K. Fund To Address Malaria, Other Infectious Diseases Part Of British Aid Budget Restructuring

The Guardian: U.K. sets up £1bn fund to combat malaria and other infectious diseases
“Britain will create a £1bn fund ($1.5bn) to combat malaria and other infectious diseases in a move the U.K. chancellor described as a ‘fundamental restructuring of Britain’s aid budget’ to focus on prosperity and security. … ‘I have always believed that our commitment to overseas aid is important to promote our national security and interests around the world,’ the chancellor, George Osborne, said in a statement released on Sunday…” (Chonghaile, 11/23).

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Forbes Profiles Melinda Gates's Work To Improve Women's, Girls' Health, Rights Worldwide

Forbes: The First Woman Of Women: How Melinda Gates Became The World’s Most Powerful Advocate For Women And Girls
“…Prime ministers have parliaments; CEOs have boards; Melinda Gates has a $41.3 billion endowment, and she can deploy it in pretty much any manner that she and husband Bill, the world’s richest person, see fit. … [O]ver the past few years Melinda Gates has embraced having her name on the letterhead of the largest-ever charitable foundation, along with the influence that comes with that. She has become the most powerful person on the planet whose singular focus is women and girls…” (Howard, 11/23).

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Liberian Boy Dies Of Ebola; Father, Brother Continue Treatment For Disease

Reuters: Boy dies of Ebola in Liberia, first such fatality in months
“A 15-year-old boy has died of Ebola in Liberia, the first such fatality for months in a country declared free of the disease in September, Chief Medical Officer Francis Kateh said on Tuesday. Nathan Gbotoe tested positive last week and died late on Monday in hospital in Paynesville near the capital, where his father and brother are also being treated for Ebola, officials said…” (Giahyue/Brice, 11/24).

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News Outlets Examine SDGs, Steps To Achieve Targets

The Guardian: Six steps to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals
“After the launch of the SDGs to set the development agenda until 2030, our expert panel [members] discuss how the goals can be achieved…” (Clarke, 11/23).

IRIN: Unsustainable Development Goals: Are 222 indicators too many?
“…As statisticians race to compile a very long list of indicators for the 17 goals and 159 targets by March next year, critics argue that the rush to get it all in place could be a costly mistake. They also worry that countries daunted by the logistical challenge of implementing and measuring the wide-ranging agenda will ‘cherry pick’ goals or even sideline the whole agenda…” (Garson, 11/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Implications Of USAID's 30% Local Spending Goal Must Be Examined

Devex: Achieving USAID’s 30 percent local spending goal
Patrick Fine, chief executive officer of FHI 360

“…An alternative to [USAID’s] current metric that focuses on measuring funding to local organizations would be one that targets program design. For example, a metric requiring that 30 percent of USAID’s financing must be designed to be implemented by local organizations would achieve the goal of increasing local implementation, but in a way that recognizes the key variable is not who does the work, but what kind of work is being done. This approach would allow USAID to align risk with organizational capacity and so would likely encounter less resistance from USAID program managers. … We are five years into USAID Forward. Now would be a good time to look at the trade-off between greater use of local organizations to build long-term capacity and the generation of near-term results that respond to the strategic priorities of least-developed countries and donor governments. Good starting points would be to look at what kind of metric will best incentivize greater use of local organizations and for USAID to discuss with bilateral partners the implications this policy has for program strategies and design” (11/23).

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Sustained Research, Development Of Ebola Vaccine Critical To Ending Epidemic, Future Disease Outbreaks

The Guardian: Ebola will always return unless we develop the tools to end it
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and professor of global health, and Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer and worldwide chair of Johnson & Johnson

“…The biggest lesson we have learned with Ebola is that it will return, and we have to be prepared for — and prevent — the next epidemic. That’s why [the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Johnson & Johnson] have just launched an important new Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone, and it’s why we strongly support the many other vaccine trials that are under way in West Africa. … Every potential vaccine candidate and prevention tool needs to be tested, but we also need to guarantee a market for new life-saving technologies. … [T]he world needs to create a fund to help pay for the development and distribution of vaccines for [Ebola] and many other emerging epidemics and infectious diseases. … The priorities now are to strengthen local capacities to detect and promptly contain epidemics, and to intensify research and development for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics…” (11/24).

New York Times: Amid Failure and Chaos, an Ebola Vaccine
Tina Rosenberg, author and Pulitzer Prize winner

“…The Ebola vaccine is a double achievement. Researchers proved the effectiveness not just of a novel vaccine, but also of a novel method of testing it rapidly, in chaotic conditions, and without traditional clinical trials. Even as it was being tested, the vaccine was helping to contain Ebola. Today, hopes are high that it will administer the coup de grace to the epidemic. How was this achieved? And what can the world learn that will save lives and money in fighting future outbreaks of Ebola or other pathogens? … Before being used in an outbreak, vaccine candidates must have already completed animal tests and Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, so we know they are safe and can provoke an immune system response. They then must be manufactured to the highest standards and stockpiled in a large enough quantity for emergency use. Regulators in developed countries and countries likely to be hit must grant clearance to use the vaccine. And for all of this, there must be sustained money and attention — ‘in peacetime,’ as [Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general of the WHO for health systems and innovation,] puts it…” (11/24).

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International Community Must Take 'Ambitious' Action To Stop Climate Change, End Extreme Poverty

The Guardian: Historic opportunity to end poverty will be lost if we don’t tackle climate change
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group

“…December’s global climate change conference in Paris presents a critical opportunity to stop climate change from reversing global gains against poverty. An ambitious agreement backed by strong political will can accelerate our transition to inclusive growth that reduces greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy, efficiency upgrades, and other steps. This would limit the future effects of climate change, create jobs, and raise incomes. … International action on climate change must reflect our new understanding of what is at stake: the fate of hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty today and the well-being of more than 100 million more who could be pushed into it. By doing the right thing, we will also push forward the cause of justice — we can preserve the planet for future generations and end extreme poverty. The two together will be humankind’s greatest achievement” (11/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Agencies, UNAIDS Recognize World AIDS Day 2015

AIDS.gov: Live White House Webcast for World AIDS Day — December 1st
In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, the White House will webcast its World AIDS Day event live. “The event will focus on this year’s federal theme, The Time to Act is Now…” (11/23).

AIDS.gov: Ambassador Birx: World AIDS Day Message and More
Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov and senior communications adviser at the Office of HIV and Infectious Disease Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), writes, “In preparation for World AIDS Day 2015, AIDS.gov spoke with Ambassador-at-Large Deborah L. Birx, M.D., the U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy.” The blog post features video interviews with Ambassador Birx, where she discusses World AIDS Day and the U.S. response to the epidemic, including PEPFAR’s new HIV prevention and treatment targets. The blog post also contains a video message from Ronald Valdiserri, deputy assistant secretary for health and infectious diseases and director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at HHS (11/23).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS Executive Director delivers his World AIDS Day 2015 message
In his 2015 World AIDS Day message, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé discusses the world’s commitment “to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals” (12/1).

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Becker's Hospital Review Outlines Facts In Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief On U.S. Ebola Spending

Becker’s Hospital Review: The U.S. Ebola price tag: 5 things to know
This industry publication summarizes the Kaiser Family Foundation’s recently released issue brief on the U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic, including U.S. Ebola funding (Rappleye, 11/23).

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State Department Taking Steps Against Microbial Resistance

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Raising Awareness About #AntibioticResistance
Judith Garber, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), discusses antibiotic resistance, steps individuals can take to help prevent drug resistance, and actions the State Department is taking to work with international partners on a Global Action Plan on Microbial Resistance (11/23).

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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 276 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including an analysis on the participation of key populations in the Global Fund’s application process and a commentary discussing the need for strategies for countries transitioning away from the Global Fund (11/24).

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