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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New WHO HIV Guidelines Call For Treatment For All, PrEP For Those At Risk Of Infection

News outlets continue to report on the WHO’s new guidelines on when to begin antiretroviral therapy for HIV patients and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those at risk of infection.

New York Times: Millions More Need HIV Treatment, WHO Says
“…HIV patients should be put on an antiretroviral therapy of three drugs immediately after diagnosis, the agency said, and everyone at risk of becoming infected should be offered protective doses of similar drugs…” (McNeil, 9/30).

PBS NewsHour: WHO says everyone with HIV should be treated
“…The new guidelines are based on recent studies that indicate treating patients as soon as possible can have substantial positive health outcomes, including the prevention of death, with relatively few drawbacks…” (Frazee, 9/30).

ScienceInsider: Treat all HIV-infected people, says new WHO guideline
“…WHO dubbed the new recommendations an ‘early release guideline’ and plans to release more complete revisions in 2016. WHO began releasing HIV treatment guidelines in 2002, at which point ARVs were recommended only for people who had fewer than 200 CD4s…” (Cohen, 9/30).

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. treatment guidelines say all people with HIV should get antiretrovirals
“…The new guideline stresses that, in order to effectively implement the recommendations, countries will need to ensure that testing and treatment for HIV infection are readily available and that those undergoing treatment are supported to adhere to recommended regimens and are retained in care…” (9/30).

Wall Street Journal: World Health Organization Pushes Earlier Use of HIV Treatment
“…Deborah Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator, said in an interview that the WHO’s new guidelines ‘are the key to the ability to put a halt to the epidemic as we know it.’ For example, putting more adult men on treatment will help reduce infections in girls and young women, she said…” (McKay, 9/30).

Washington Post: Groundbreaking guidelines expand population on HIV drugs by millions. But who will pay?
“…The new recommendations raise many questions about how the drugs will be made more widely available, one of the most important of which may be who will pay for them…” (Cha, 9/30).

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Health Systems Must Adapt To Accommodate Increasing Number Of Aging People Worldwide, WHO Says

News outlets highlight findings from a new WHO report on aging and health.

Deutsche Welle: Aging health: WHO call to action as world population over 60 set to double by 2050
“People worldwide are living longer, says the World Health Organization in its World Report on Aging and Health. This is both good and bad. It gives us the chance to ‘pursue new activities’ as we get older, such as in education and family life. But it all depends on our health. And for that the WHO says world governments need to act now to make sure our societies worldwide are ready…” (Abbany/Heise, 9/30).

U.N. News Centre: People over 60 will double by 2050 but little evidence they will be healthier — U.N. report
“… In advance of the International Day of Older Persons, which falls on 1 October, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said ‘most people, even in the poorest countries, are living longer lives, but this is not enough. We need to ensure these extra years are healthy, meaningful, and dignified,’ Dr. Chan said…” (9/30).

VOA News: WHO: Health Systems for Aging Need Urgent Revamp
“…The WHO report indicates existing health care systems are not designed to respond to [a range of chronic diseases and multiple ailments at one time] and that there must be a fundamental shift in the way society thinks about aging and older people, and that the environment is a crucial factor in determining whether people experience healthy aging…” (Schlein, 9/30).

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Scientists Identify Gene Variations Responsible For Lowering Risk Of Severe Malaria Among Some African Children

News outlets report on findings published in the journal Nature identifying genes among some African children that could lower their risk of developing severe malaria.

The Guardian: Scientists identify genes reducing risk of severe malaria by 40%
“Genes have been identified in African children that reduce their risk of contracting severe malaria by up to 40 percent. The locus, or position of the resistant genes on the genome, was found near a cluster of genes called glycophorins, which are involved in the malaria parasite’s invasion of red blood cells…” (Siddique, 9/30).

Reuters: Scientists find genes that protect African children from malaria
“…In the largest study of its kind, the researchers said identifying the variations in DNA at a specific location, or locus, on the genome helps explain why some children develop severe malaria and others don’t in communities where people are constantly exposed to the mosquito-borne disease. In some cases, they said, having a specific genetic variation almost halves a child’s risk of developing a life-threatening case of the disease…” (Kelland, 9/30).

Washington Post: The genes behind malaria resistance may reveal an intriguing evolutionary history
“…The research was done by MalariaGEN, an international network of scientists and clinicians spread across Africa, Asia, and other malaria-endemic regions of the world, which is funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust. The study is one of the largest ever of its kind, using over 20,000 samples from eight different African populations…” (Feltman, 9/30).

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Universal Health Coverage Important To Helping Prevent Next Outbreak, Health, Political Leaders Say

GlobalPost: At UNGA, preventing the next outbreak by supporting right to health
“…As heads of state have descended upon Manhattan to participate in this year’s U.N. General Assembly and adopt ambitious goals for the world to achieve in the next 15 years, a corps of health and political leaders including [Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf] are publicly stressing the importance of adopting universal health coverage to help stem the next outbreak of infectious disease…” (Calma et al., 9/30).

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New Global Partnership Aims To Bolster Data Collection To Measure Progress On, Achieve SDGs

The Guardian: Partnership promises to tackle the crisis of bad data at the heart of development
“A global partnership to improve the collection of data needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was launched with much fanfare in New York this week. In the plush surroundings of Manhattan’s Waldorf hotel, ministers, business leaders, U.N. agencies, research groups, and civil society committed themselves to mobilize money and find innovative ways to overcome the significant data challenge…” (Ford/Anderson, 10/1).

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Guinea Records 4 New Ebola Cases; WHO Releases Roadmap For Emergency Response Reforms

CIDRAP News: Guinea reports 4 Ebola cases; WHO details response reforms
“Ebola cases in West Africa’s outbreak region stayed in the single digits last week, with four cases reported, all from a known transmission chain in Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its weekly update [Wednesday]. In related developments, the WHO released a roadmap detailing its emergency response reforms that have taken shape in the epidemic’s wake, and the U.S. government announced more funding support for a rapid test for the disease…” (Schnirring, 9/30).

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The Atlantic Profiles Liberian Health Workers Who Conducted Body Removal During Ebola Epidemic

The Atlantic: Ebola’s Body Collectors
“For the Liberian health workers tasked with safely removing the bodies of Ebola victims at the height of the epidemic, avoiding infection was only part of the challenge…” (Chhabra, 9/30).

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Report, U.N. Human Rights Experts Cite Dangers Of Pesticides, Other Toxic Chemicals To Human Health

Reuters: Human reproduction, health broadly damaged by toxic chemicals: report
“…Among the poor health outcomes linked to pesticides, air pollutants, plastics, and other chemicals, according to the report from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), an organization representing obstetrical and gynecological associations from 125 countries, are miscarriage and still births, an increase in cancer, attention problems, and hyperactivity…” (Gillam, 10/1).

U.N. News Centre: Warning of dangers to health, environment, U.N. experts urge phase-out of hazardous pesticides
“Two independent United Nations human rights experts [Monday] called for an immediate worldwide phase-out on use of highly hazardous pesticides that are inflicting significant damage on human health and the environment…” (9/28).

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El Niño Weather Pattern Will Cause Hunger Among Millions Of World's Poorest People, Oxfam Report Says

News outlets highlight findings from an Oxfam report discussing the potential impact of El Niño on food security among the world’s poor people.

The Guardian: Record El Niño set to cause hunger for 10 million poorest, Oxfam warns
“At least 10 million of the world’s poorest people are set to go hungry this year because of failing crops caused by one of the strongest El Niño climatic events on record, Oxfam has warned…” (Milman, 9/30).

Reuters: Millions face hunger due to climate change, ‘super El Niño’: Oxfam
“…As world leaders prepare for a U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December, increasing climatic disruption, driven by rising temperatures, threatens to increase the likelihood of humanitarian emergencies at a time when the aid system is already under enormous strain, Oxfam said…” (D’Urso, 10/1).

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Carlos Slim Foundation Grants $2.6M To Baylor To Develop Therapeutic Vaccine For Chagas Disease

Houston Public Media: Mexico’s Carlos Slim Gives $2.6 Million To Baylor To Fight Parasite That Causes Chagas Disease
“…On Wednesday, the Carlos Slim Foundation in Mexico announced a $2.6 million grant to scientists at Baylor who are working on a therapeutic vaccine for Chagas. Although a therapeutic vaccine won’t stop someone from getting the parasite, it could slow down the damage to the heart…” (Feibel, 9/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Liberia, International Community Must Prioritize WASH To Achieve SDGs

Foreign Policy: Want to Fight Ebola? Help Liberia Invest in Toilets.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia

“…Measuring progress toward clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in homes, schools, and hospitals will be an important component of achieving the new Global Goals, both in Liberia and around the world. … The responsibility of implementing these Global Goals, making sure foreign aid commitments are met, and ensuring that both developed and developing countries prioritize water, sanitation, and hygiene falls on all governments. … With sufficient political will and financing, we can build on [the momentum of the U.N. General Assembly] and ensure that everyone … has the right to good health, water, sanitation, and dignity” (9/29).

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Ending Global Extreme Poverty, Inequality Possible

New York Times: The Most Important Thing, and It’s Almost a Secret
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“…The world’s best-kept secret is that we live at a historic inflection point when extreme poverty is retreating. United Nations members have just adopted 17 new Global Goals, of which the centerpiece is the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. … I write often about inequality, a huge challenge in the U.S. But globally, inequality is diminishing, because of the rise of poor countries. … The challenge now is to ensure that rich donor nations are generous in supporting the Global Goals — but also that developing countries do their part, rather than succumbing to corruption and inefficiency. … So let’s get down to work and, on our watch, defeat extreme poverty worldwide. We know that the challenges are surmountable — because we’ve already turned the tide of history” (10/1).

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Improving Global Human Health Will Require Collaboration Across Sectors

The Conversation: How the new global goals can help drive systems to address health challenges better
Sara Bennett, associate professor and associate director of the Health Systems Program at Johns Hopkins University, and Kabir Sheikh, senior scientist and director of the Health Governance Hub at the Public Health Foundation of India

“…We believe that the Sustainable Development Goals promise a significant improvement for global health over what went before. … Too frequently those working within the health sector place artificial boundaries around the scope and mandate of the sector. … The Sustainable Development Goals are a timely reminder of the complexity of human health and the systems that support it. … Attainment of these goals will require us to learn collaboratively about how to strengthen health systems and break down artificial boundaries across systems. As we do this we should sustain the inclusive spirit in which the goals were developed, and the collective quest to build healthier societies” (10/1).

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International Community Must Address Ineffective Governance In Fragile States To Eradicate Extreme Poverty

The Hill: Focusing the U.N.’s new poverty goals
Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps

“…While commendable in their ambition and scope, [the Sustainable Development Goals] overlook a crucial reality: Far too many people around the world live in conditions so fragile and dangerous that these targets are premature and unrealistic. … To eradicate extreme poverty and suffering in the world, as the SDGs aim to do, the international community must address ineffective governance in the most fragile places; otherwise, economic success and resilient communities will remain a distant dream. Specifically, these goals must focus our development interventions to address the sense of injustice and anger that drives young people toward extremism and war. … Why spread our resources so thinly across so many countries, as the new SDGs would have us do? Better to put the money where it’s needed most…” (9/30).

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New WHO Report Highlights Importance Of Health Systems To Healthy Aging

Huffington Post: Bravo, World Health Organization!
Michael Hodin, CEO of Global Coalition on Aging

“…[The] new WHO report will prove to be monumental not only for how it redefines healthy aging, but also for how it connects health and aging to questions of personal freedom, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth. … This WHO report marks a revolution because it forces us to recognize that aging isn’t just about the old. It’s about all of us. And aging is not just about diseases — but also health and activity, work and financial planning. It marks health policy as an essential milestone to better lives, individually and for society. … The WHO Report on Aging and Health gives us for the first time the pathway to 21st century healthy aging. Now it’s up to us — governments, partner global institutions across disciplines, and all of us to act” (9/30).

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Access To Legal Abortion Services, Contraception Vital To Women's Health

Huffington Post: Abortion and Maternal Health: The Global Health Crisis No One Is Talking About
Christine Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands

“…Providing contraception to the 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy in the developing world would decrease the need for abortion services; however, even when quality contraceptive services are widely available, there will always be a need for abortion. Through our Global Programs, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands is working to increase access to contraception, provide sexual and reproductive health education, and advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights. … We as a society, from Seattle to Dubai, must eliminate restrictions on a woman’s ability to decide when and if she has children, because no woman should die from an unsafe abortion” (9/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Releases Roadmap For Action In Responding To Outbreaks, Emergencies

WHO: Follow up to the World Health Assembly decision on the Ebola virus disease outbreak and the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola: Roadmap for Action
This WHO Roadmap for Action is a follow-up to the World Health Assembly’s Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola that occurred in May, and “is structured around a results-based framework of outcomes, outputs, and deliverables, to ensure that WHO maintains appropriate levels of organizational readiness, supports country-level capacity building and preparedness, deploys efficiently and effectively to respond to outbreaks and emergencies at national and subnational levels, and engages effectively with partners and stakeholders throughout…” (September 2015).

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October 2015 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The October 2015 WHO Bulletin includes news, research, and policy articles on various topics, as well as an editorial on improving mental health in humanitarian emergencies (October 2015).

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