KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Proposed House Bill Would Prohibit U.S. Visas For People From Countries Hit Hardest By Ebola

The Hill: Bill would prohibit visas for foreigners from Ebola-stricken countries
“Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation to prevent visas for people from countries afflicted by the Ebola virus. Kelly argued that the U.S. should take any means possible to limit spread of the disease…” (Marcos, 11/25).

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Moves By Some U.S. States To Isolate HCWs Returning From Ebola Zones Hurting Volunteer Recruiting Efforts, Experts Say

Reuters: U.S. quarantine moves hurting Ebola response in Africa: Harvard
“Moves by some U.S. states to isolate medical workers returning from fighting Ebola in West Africa could worsen the global health crisis by discouraging badly needed new volunteers, according to health experts at Harvard University…” (Valdmanis, 11/25).

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Growing Global Vaccine Market Helping Spur Drug Companies To Pursue Ebola Vaccine

The New Yorker: The Race for an Ebola Vaccine
“…So why this race to create an Ebola vaccine among Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson — three of the world’s biggest drug manufacturers? … [O]ver the past several years, companies have realized that the difficulties of making vaccines could be an asset, because they can make it more difficult for generic drug companies to create copycat versions than for prescription drugs. The vaccine market has also been growing more quickly than the prescription drug market…” (Vara, 11/25).

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Investment In Child Nutrition Could Provide Future Economic Benefits, Study Shows

Wall Street Journal: Study Ties Children’s Nutrition to Indonesia’s Future
“…In a paper released [Tuesday], a team of economists commissioned by a think tank called the Copenhagen Consensus Center looks at where money can be invested in development to ensure the biggest impact. It finds that every dollar invested in better nutrition in Indonesia could yield benefits of $166. In the Philippines it is $153, followed by India at $134. To determine the cost-benefit ratio, the economists compared how much it would cost to improve nutrition against the benefits healthy children could provide to a country’s economy in the future, in the form of higher wages, for example…” (Schonhardt, 11/25).

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WHO Nutrition For Health Director Discusses ICN2 Outcomes In Devex Interview

Devex: What’s next for global nutrition efforts after ICN2
“…[A]side from the official items on the agenda [of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)], what buzz topics took center stage at the conference, what do experts now view as the main nutrition challenges, and how must we reform food systems to feed a growing world population more efficiently? In an exclusive interview, we asked Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization…” (Pasquini, 11/25).

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Pakistan Prime Minister Condemns Militant Attack On Polio Workers That Left Four Dead

News outlets report on an attack on polio workers in Pakistan, which left four people dead.

Agence France-Presse: Four polio vaccinators shot dead in SW Pakistan
“Gunmen opened fire on a team of polio vaccinators in Pakistan’s restive southwest on Wednesday, killing four of them and forcing authorities to halt an immunization drive, officials said…” (11/26).

Pakistan Today: Four anti-polio campaigners shot dead near Quetta
“…The attack on the health workers took place in the southwestern city of Quetta. Those killed in the attack on the outskirts of Quetta included three women, said a police spokesman Shahzada Farhat…” (11/26).

Reuters: Militants kill four polio workers in Pakistan
“…Teams in Pakistan working to immunize children against polio are often targeted by Taliban militants, who say the campaign is a cover for Western spies, or accuse workers of distributing vaccines designed to sterilize children…” (Yousafzai, 11/26).

VOA News: Polio Vaccination Team Attacked in SW Pakistan
“…Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the killing of polio workers. An official statement has quoted him as saying that ‘those targeting polio vaccinators are enemies of Pakistan’…” (Gul, 11/26).

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Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Can Be Controlled In 2015, WHO Official Says

The Guardian: Pakistan polio outbreak ‘will probably be fixed next year,’ says WHO official
“…So far this year, 262 cases have been detected in the country, including in Swat, an area that had been free of polio for five years. … But Elias Durry, one of the World Health Organization’s top officials in Pakistan, said the disease would ‘most probably be fixed in the first half of 2015.’ He said there was new hope for the program after the army launched operations this summer in North Waziristan, wresting control of a tribal area bordering Afghanistan that had long been controlled by militants, who banned all vaccinations…” (Boone, 11/25).

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More Than 4M Indians Underwent Sterilization In Past Year, Reuters Analysis Reports

Reuters: Indian sterilization targets remain in all but name, critics say
“India officially abandoned targets for its mass sterilization program in the 1990s, accepting they had put undue pressure on people to undergo surgery and failed to curb population growth sufficiently. Twenty years on and targets remain in all but name, say doctors, health care workers, and family planning experts, meaning that, although below peak numbers, more than four million people underwent surgery in 2013-14…” (Dash et al., 11/25).

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Lassa Fever Kills 9 In Benin; No Ebola Detected, Country, WHO Officials Say

Associated Press: Benin says Lassa fever kills 9, no Ebola found
“Nine people have died in Benin from Lassa fever, a viral disease common in West Africa with symptoms similar to Ebola, the country’s health minister said. … But so far no Ebola cases have been confirmed in Benin, Health Minister Dorothee Kinde Gazard told reporters late Tuesday. Authorities will double-check those results with more tests, said Youssouf Gamatie, the representative for the World Health Organization in the country…” (11/26).

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Progress Made In Delivering Aid To Syria, But Global Community Must Do More To Alleviate Humanitarian Suffering, End Violence, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Syria: humanitarian efforts falling short, U.N. relief chief warns, calling for end to violence
“While humanitarians have made some progress in delivering much-needed supplies to the growing numbers of people in conflict-riven Syria, efforts by the United Nations and its partners are still falling short, a top U.N. relief official has said [Tuesday], calling on the Security Council to push for an end to the violence that is destroying the country and destabilizing the region…” (11/25).

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Facing Higher Costs From Chronic Diseases, China Proposes Draft Legislation To Ban Tobacco Advertising, Smoking In Public

Wall Street Journal: China Considers Tobacco Advertising Limits, Public-Smoking Ban
“China is considering a ban on tobacco advertising and smoking in public places as the world’s largest nation of smokers faces a mounting and costly toll from treating chronic diseases. Measures under consideration include a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, according to draft legislation published Monday on the website of the State Council, China’s cabinet…” (Burkitt, 11/24).

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Overweight, Obesity Responsible For Nearly 0.5M Cancer Cases In 2012, WHO Reports

Reuters: Fat to blame for half a million cancers a year, WHO agency says
“…In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said high body mass index (BMI) has now become a major cancer risk factor, responsible for some 3.6 percent, or 481,000, of new cancer cases in 2012. … [T]he findings underlined the importance of helping people maintain a healthy weight to reduce their risk of developing a wide range of cancers, and of helping developing countries avoid the problems currently faced by wealthier ones…” (Kelland, 11/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Urge Continued Short-, Long-Term Efforts To Contain Ebola, Strengthen Health Systems

New York Times: New Frontier for Ebola
Editorial Board

“…This is clearly no time for international agencies and national donors to let their guards down [against Ebola in West Africa]. The United States has led the international response so far by contributing the most money, equipment, and manpower and prodding other nations to increase their aid. The Obama administration has requested some $6 billion to make further progress in West Africa and prepare American hospitals to cope with cases brought into this country. Congress ought to provide every penny” (11/25).

Devex: How the E.U. is working together with partners to fight Ebola
Neven Mimica, E.U. commissioner for international cooperation and development

“…The European Union is working hard to help tackle the [Ebola] epidemic, under the able coordination of my colleague, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. We have put in place a response package of over one billion euros ($1.24 billion) to support our partner countries in their efforts to contain this terrible disease. … This emergency response is, of course, vital. But the epidemic’s impact will be felt for years — which is why our development cooperation with partner countries in the region must go well beyond immediate measures and cover long-term planning. … We will continue to work with partner countries and partner organizations to keep health issues at the forefront of development cooperation worldwide…” (11/25).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss HIV Prevention Goals In Recognition Of World AIDS Day

Huffington Post: Looking to a New Era for Women’s HIV Prevention
Zeda Rosenberg, chief executive officer of the International Partnership for Microbicides

“This World AIDS Day, global resolve to end the AIDS epidemic has never been stronger. With its new Fast-Track strategy, UNAIDS has set ambitious goals for accelerated action in the fight against HIV. … Preventing HIV among women must be central to this effort. … Existing prevention methods such as male and female condoms are not always realistic options for women. They need tools they can use easily and discreetly. Promising new products such as microbicides could soon transform how women protect themselves. These products are vaginal gels, rings, films, and tablets that deliver the same types of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs used to successfully treat those already infected with HIV. … Together, let’s make this the start of a new era for women’s HIV prevention” (11/25).

Huffington Post: We Can’t Wait Five Years to See if the AIDS Response Is on Track
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC

“…We just can’t wait five years to see if the AIDS response is on track. We need ambitious, yet feasible, short-term targets and strategies to be just as well-defined, and just as rigorous, as the longer-term goals that UNAIDS has worked to advance. … In a new AVAC briefing paper issued today, Prevention on the Line, we describe what’s needed to ensure that a comprehensive response is driven by smart planning, sufficient resources and accountability. We argue that there are three critical elements of a more coordinated, effective and accountable AIDS response between now and 2020. First, prevention programs need to respect human rights and the realities that communities face. … Second, we need to invest in global scale-up of oral PrEP. … Third, we need to keep driving ahead with research into additional new prevention and treatment options…” (11/25).

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Focusing On Successes Of Development Will Help Foster 'Real Change'

Foreign Policy: It’s Time to Rethink How We Do Development
Matt Andrews, associate professor at the Harvard Kennedy School; Leni Wild, research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute; and Marta Foresti, director of politics and governance at ODI

“…Last month, a group of experts tried to set a different tone. Coming together in a workshop entitled Doing Development Differently, we tried, rather unusually, to focus on what the development community has been doing right — to share stories about projects, policies, and reforms that fostered real change by not doing development in the usual way. Rather than getting stuck on what doesn’t work, the workshop participants set out to examine recent development successes, and attempted to understand precisely why they worked. … It’s time to build on development’s positives, rather than singing an old and sad song about its failure. We are committed to becoming builders, by identifying agents and organizations doing great work, often at the margins and at great risk…” (11/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Global Women's Ambassador Recognizes U.S., Global Efforts To End Gender-Based Violence

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Being a Woman Should Not Have To Be a Courageous Act
Ambassador Catherine Russell, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, writes, “This week we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. … I’m thankful for all the women and men, girls and boys, governments and international organizations, and civil society and private sector organizations joining in to end gender-based violence once and for all. I’m also especially pleased that so many governments — including the United States — are working to ensure that ending GBV is part of the next generation of international development goals” (11/25).

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Close Gaps In HIV Treatment, Prevention To End Epidemic, UNAIDS Head Says In World AIDS Day Message

UNAIDS: UNAIDS Executive Director delivers his World AIDS Day 2014 message
In a statement, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel SidibĂ© said, “…On World AIDS Day 2014, it is time to redouble our efforts, to fast-track our actions, and close the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services and people who are being left behind…” (11/25).

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UNAIDS Report Sets 'Ambitious Targets,' Focuses On Reducing New HIV Infections

Center for Global Development’s “Views from the Center”: World AIDS Day 2014: UNAIDS Shifts Its Emphasis toward Reducing New Infections
CGD Senior Fellow Mead Over discusses an annual report by UNAIDS that “for the first time focus[es] more on the need to reduce new [HIV] infections than on treatment expansion. … Instead of hoping only for constant coverage, or perhaps failing to sustain even that modest goal, UNAIDS is proposing instead that the world adopt ‘ambitious targets’ by aiming for ‘zero,’ which they define as reducing new HIV infections and AIDS deaths by at least 90 percent by 2030…” (11/25).

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Lessons From HIV/AIDS Response Can Help HIV Patients In Ebola-Hit Nations

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: The Right Knowledge Can Stop Ebola from Widening the Gap in HIV Care
Amanda Puckett, a technical adviser with IntraHealth International, and Corinne Mahoney, a senior manager with IntraHealth, discuss efforts being undertaken to ensure HIV patients in Ebola-hit nations receive continuous care. “…Before it’s over, Ebola will disrupt the health of many HIV-positive individuals. But HIV taught us a few things about how to contain outbreaks, even if it is a challenge. Today we know how to spread accurate information. We know how to reduce stigma. And we know how to put people first and empower everyone to be part of the solution to end both Ebola and HIV…” (11/25).

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Blog Post Examines Global Burden Of Mental Illness

Humanosphere: Visualizing the most neglected disease: Mental illness
In a guest post, Amy VanderZanden, a communications data specialist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses the global burden of mental health disorders, which “made up virtually the same proportion of disability in the population in 2010 (just under 23 percent). … While mental illness remains perhaps one of the most neglected of diseases … we are starting to see momentum in the movement to make mental illness a higher global health priority” (11/25).

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