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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PEPFAR, Elton John AIDS Foundation Launch New Partnership To End Stigma Of, Improve Access To HIV/AIDS Treatment For LGBT Communities

CNBC: Elton John to petition world leaders on HIV, AIDS treatment
“…On Thursday [Elton] John and his husband, David Furnish, [unveiled] a new partnership with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR each contributing $5 million to a fund to increase access to medication for people with HIV and AIDS in countries that are prejudiced toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The fund’s early focus will be on sub-Saharan Africa…” (Bryer/Seib, 11/4).

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The Lancet Examines Potential Funding Sources For Global Financing Facility

The Lancet: Global Financing Facility: where will the funds come from?
“A World Bank trust fund for maternal and child health — the Global Financing Facility (GFF) — which aims to raise US$2.6 billion, has so far collected almost $1 billion from donors. The bank is toying with various means of using these grants to leverage billions more dollars for improving health, and has announced that as much as $12 billion has so far been mobilized in four pilot countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. It remains to be seen where these extra billions will come from…” (Usher, 11/7).

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MSF Releases Internal Review Of U.S. Airstrike On Kunduz Hospital That Killed At Least 30 People

News outlets report on a Médecins Sans Frontières internal review of the allegedly mistaken U.S. military airstrike on the organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

The Atlantic: What Happened in Kunduz?
“…At a news conference in Kabul on Thursday, Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director, said it’s ‘quite hard to understand and believe’ the hospital was mistakenly hit. The group released an initial internal review of the strike that pointed out that U.S. and allied militaries were given the GPS coordinates of the hospital, and though Taliban members were treated at the facility, there were no weapons inside — in keeping with the organization’s rules…” (Calamur, 11/5).

Reuters: MSF says planes may have attacked staff fleeing Kunduz hospital
“…The report said many staff described ‘seeing people being shot, most likely from the plane’ as they tried to flee the main hospital building, which was under attack by U.S. military aircraft. At least 30 people were killed when the hospital in Kunduz was hit by a powerful U.S. attack aircraft on Oct. 3 while Afghan government forces were battling to regain control of the northern city from Taliban forces who had seized it days earlier…” (Martina et al., 11/5).

Washington Post: ‘I’m praying for you all.’ Doctors Without Borders releases messages with U.S. military on night of bombing
“…[MSF] continued to push for an independent investigation into one of the deadliest civilian casualty incidents stemming from a coalition action in the Afghan conflict. The U.S. military and others are currently conducting parallel reviews into the chain of events leading to the more than hour-long attack. [Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan,] told the Washington Post in an interview in Kabul on Friday that he will not submit to an international investigation, but expects to have the initial results of the military’s own investigation soon. He declined to be more specific with a time table…” (Lamothe, 11/5).

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Sierra Leone Expected To Be Declared Ebola-Free On Saturday, While Guinea Continues To Report Cases, Implement Widespread Prevention Efforts

Agence France-Presse: Sierra Leone emerges from Ebola nightmare
“The Ebola epidemic is expected to be declared over in Sierra Leone on Saturday, when the West African nation will have gone 42 days without any new infections. But jubilation over ending the outbreak in the impoverished nation, where almost 4,000 deaths have been reported, has been tempered by caution, with neighboring Guinea still battling the virus…” (Johnson, 11/5).

New York Times: The Last Place on Earth With Ebola: Getting Guinea to Zero
“…[Guinea] is the last known place on Earth with Ebola. After nearly 22 months and more than 11,300 deaths worldwide, the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history has come down to a handful of cases in a cluster of villages in rural Guinea, the country where the outbreak began…” (Searcey, 11/6).

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ODI Report Examines Systemic Causes Of Ebola Outbreak

Devex: Ebola’s footprint on health system strengthening
“…[A] recent report released by the Overseas Development Institute offers a look at the systemic causes behind one of the deadliest disease outbreaks of the century, and why Ebola will be a wake-up call for the global health community. Marc DuBois, former executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières, now an independent consultant and a co-author of the report, spoke with Devex about its findings and how the crisis should shape the world’s approach to disaster risk reduction and building health systems…” (Anders, 11/5).

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Guatemalan Congress Passes Law Raising Girls' Legal Marriage Age In Effort To Prevent Early Pregnancies, Other Risks

Agence France-Presse: Guatemala raises legal age of marriage from 14 to 18
“Guatemalan lawmakers on Thursday passed a law raising the minimum age for marriage after human rights groups cited alarming figures for early pregnancies and other risks for wedded girls. The congress passed the measure raising the age from 14 to 18 in an urgent, expedited vote that bypasses the usual requirement of presidential approval…” (11/6).

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BBC News Examines Factors Leading To Drop In Ethiopia's Fertility Rate

BBC News: Why Ethiopian women are having fewer children than their mothers
“Ethiopia has seen a massive cut in its fertility rate, from an average of seven children per woman in the 1990s to 4.6 currently. But how has it managed this? … ‘Women stay longer in school, the standard of living is increasing so people don’t want to have too many children, and more importantly, family planning is becoming more popular,’ explains Faustin Yao, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) representative to Ethiopia…” (11/6).

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Cholera Outbreak Spreads From Iraq To Neighboring Nations, Threatens To Become Regional Epidemic, UNICEF Official Warns

Reuters: Cholera spreads from Iraq to Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain: UNICEF
“A cholera outbreak in Iraq has spread to neighboring Syria, Kuwait, and Bahrain, and risks turning into a region-wide epidemic as millions of pilgrims prepare to visit the country, UNICEF’s Iraq director said. … Millions of Shi’ite Muslims are due to visit Iraq in December for Arbaeen, a religious ritual…” (Coles, 11/6).

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Indian HIV Prevention Program's Condom Supplies Running Low, Government Data Show

Reuters: Condom shortage hampers India’s AIDS fight
“…India provides free condoms under its community-based AIDS prevention program that targets high-risk groups like sex workers. That strategy, the World Bank estimates, helped avert three million HIV infections between 1995 and 2015. But government data released last week showed about two-thirds of India’s 31 state AIDS units had less than a month’s supply of condoms. Some states only have enough for a few days…” (Kalra, 11/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

GHIT Fund Could Be Model For Global Health R&D Financing, Governance

Devex: How innovative financing and partnerships are transforming the infectious disease product pipeline
BT Slingsby, CEO and executive director of the GHIT Fund

“…In response to the lack of investment in products for infectious disease, Japan has created a pioneering model for global health R&D financing and governance. The first fund of its kind globally, the [Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT)] Fund is an international nonprofit funded jointly by the Japanese government, Japanese pharmaceutical companies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and United Nations Development Program. GHIT promotes the development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics as part of the fight against infectious disease primarily prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. … Partnership and funding are the tools, but they don’t mean much without concrete measures of success. For us, success means effective, accessible products. It also means rigorously measuring progress along the way so that we can shift our investment if key milestones aren’t met. … More governments and life science companies need to invest — and, more specifically, partner [in global health R&D]…” (11/5).

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Food Fortification 'Powerful Proven Tool' To Fight 'Hidden Hunger,' Achieve SDGs

Devex: Fortifying a sustainable future
Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…We will not be able to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] if we do not address the hidden hunger that is an underlying cause of nearly half of child deaths each year: malnutrition, including undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. … Fighting this hidden hunger may seem daunting, but we already have one powerful proven tool: food fortification. … Last month, I joined leaders at the Global Summit on Food Fortification in Arusha, Tanzania, which mapped out an action plan for fortification’s contribution to the SDGs. The evidence shows three keys to expanding food fortification and reaching those most vulnerable to malnutrition: 1. Countries with the highest burden of micronutrient deficiencies need to establish clear regulatory frameworks for food fortification. … 2. Food producers must be part of the conversation about standards. … 3. Development partners need to increase support for countries developing food fortification programs to help ensure that programs benefit everyone, including the poor…” (11/5).

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Scientific Journals, R&D Community Must Address Barriers To Sharing Data During Public Health Emergencies

Nature: Sharing data to save lives
Editorial

“…[M]any data producers worry that if they publicly release their data prior to submitting a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, the editors of the journal may consider the released data no longer novel and reject their manuscript for that reason. In addition, especially when data producers are on the ground working to stem an outbreak and are thus occupied with tasks more important than writing manuscripts, other scientists may analyze the released data, submit the resulting manuscript, and ultimately ‘scoop’ the data-producing lab. Allaying the first concern is the responsibility of scientific journals. … [W]hen we feel that the data in a submitted manuscript may be useful more broadly to agencies working to stem a public health emergency, we will encourage authors to publicly release the data immediately. … But these steps address just one part of the problem. Scientists, funders, and governments must work to solve the rest. … Communities of data producers and users must agree on guidelines for the etiquette of data sharing and data use. … Once data producers and users coalesce around a set of guidelines, funders can create policies to ensure that they are followed as often as possible, and that data producers remain incentivized to quickly share their results…” (11/5).

The Lancet: Providing incentives to share data early in health emergencies: the role of journal editors
Christopher J.M. Whitty, professor in the Clinical Research Department at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues

“…During the recent Ebola outbreak the main reasons given for not sharing data or giving early notification of results to responders were the perceived disincentives to share data, the lack of a mechanism to enable data sharing, and the absence of positive incentives to share data. Three disincentives were frequently mentioned: data sharing would jeopardize subsequent publication; it would allow preemptive use of data by others for their own publications; and it would breach confidentiality agreements. … This unwillingness to share data threatened the lives of both communities and health care workers … Individual journal editors have already made clear that putting data or results into the hands of responders, or indeed public databases, will not threaten subsequent publication. … Journal editors can, however, go further and provide incentives for those wishing to publish data to share these before publication with responders and public health authorities. Journals could state that they will only publish data-driven research arising from a public health emergency if it is accompanied by an explicit statement from authors that they had shared data and results with authorities and legitimate bodies responding to the emergency at the earliest possible opportunity. Such a recommendation would provide a strong but not an onerous positive incentive” (11/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining PEPFAR's Role, Efforts, Including New Targets

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its role in addressing global HIV/AIDS, including new treatment and prevention targets, results, funding, and challenges (11/5).

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Feed The Future Releases 2015 Progress Report On U.S. Efforts To Address Global Hunger, Poverty

USAID: Feed the Future Announces Progress in Fight Against Global Hunger and Poverty
At a Capitol Hill event co-hosted by InterAction on Thursday, Feed the Future released its 2015 progress report, which includes “stories of those benefiting from Feed the Future activities throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.” At the event, representatives of the initiative “announced that developing countries are making substantial progress against global hunger, poverty, and malnutrition, thanks in part to U.S. government support,” and several U.S. government and civil society leaders discussed efforts to address global hunger and poverty (11/5).

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Ethiopia Launches Grand Challenges Program Focused On MCH, Pastoralist Health, Early Childhood Development

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Welcome Grand Challenges Ethiopia
Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery & translational sciences in the Global Health Program of the Gates Foundation, and Kedest Tesfagiorgis, a program officer with the same section, write about the launch of Grand Challenges Ethiopia, which will first focus on maternal and child health, health among pastoralist communities, and early childhood development (11/5).

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'Be Healthy' Campaign Aims To Improve Awareness Of, Access To HIV Viral Load Testing

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Campaign highlights patients’ right: “Be Healthy — Know your viral load”
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses a campaign aimed at improving knowledge of and access to viral load tests for people living with HIV/AIDS. The campaign, launched last week in Lusaka, Zambia, “calls on national policy makers to follow 2013 World Health Organization recommendations that viral loads of people living with HIV be monitored once or twice a year to better detect and more quickly respond to failing treatment…” (11/5).

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