KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Little Global Progress On Cataracts, Leading Cause Of Blindness, Report Shows; Innovative Financing Mechanisms Aim To Improve Eye Care Worldwide

Devex: Progress on ending leading cause of blindness at near standstill, report says
“The past 30 years have seen little to no reduction in the leading cause of blindness among people aged 50 and over in developing regions, data published Thursday in The Lancet reveals. The research, conducted by the Vision Loss Expert Group, shows that the global level of blindness caused by cataracts in adults over age 50 has remained almost unchanged, declining only slightly from 36.7 percent in 1990 to 35.1 percent in 2015, with a further decline to 34.7 percent predicted by 2020. While it is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in developing countries, the disease is both preventable and curable…” (Anders, 10/12).

Devex: New innovative finance tools aim to boost eye health care
“…Two new mechanisms, one launched last week, and the other a few months ago, are aiming to test whether development impact bonds and a private investor funded holding company can help bring an injection of capital and new partners to address the dearth of eye care in many places around the world…” (Saldinger, 10/12).

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Slow, Unequal Pace Of Progress On Hunger Puts 2030 Zero Hunger Goal Out Of Reach, 2017 Global Index Shows

Devex: 2017 Hunger Index shows SDG zero hunger goal under threat
“Global hunger levels have decreased over the past two decades, but the slow and unequal pace of progress still puts the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger out of reach, according to the annual Global Hunger Index, released Wednesday. While 14 countries have improved their hunger scores by 50 percent from 2000 to 2017, 52 countries still suffer from alarming, or extreme, levels of hunger, according to the index, which measures data in 119 countries…” (Lieberman, 10/11).

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Study Examines Africa's Susceptibility To Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreaks; West Africa Presents Highest Regional Risk

Thomson Reuters Foundation: After Ebola, West Africa must brace for more deadly fevers: study
“West Africa is most at risk of fatal hemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives. A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses — Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, and Crimean-Congo — spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic…” (Guilbert, 10/11).

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Experimental Ebola Vaccines Provide Year-Long Antibody Responses In Liberia Trial

CIDRAP News: Liberia trial finds Ebola vaccines yield year-long immune response
“A trial at the end of Liberia’s Ebola outbreak of two candidate vaccines that were furthest along in development at the time showed both posed no major safety concerns and triggered immune responses that lasted at least a year, researchers from a U.S.-Liberian clinical research partnership reported [Wednesday]…” (Schnirring, 10/11).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Vaccines Show Promise in New Study
“…Five hundred participants received a vaccine developed by Merck & Co., 500 got one from GlaxoSmithKline PLC, which was based on work by the National Institutes of Health, and 500 received a placebo. With the Merck vaccine, at one month, 83.7 percent of patients had developed antibodies to Ebola virus, versus 70.8 percent with the Glaxo vaccine, and a negligible number, 2.8 percent, in the placebo group. The relationship of antibody responses was similar after 12 months, with 79.5 percent, 63.5 percent, and 6.8 percent of patients, respectively, showing antibody response…” (Burton, 10/11).

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Indian Court Rules Sex With Minor Wife Constitutes Rape; Ruling Closes Legal Loophole For Women Under Age 18

Al Jazeera: Indian court rules sex with minor wife is rape
“The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that sexual intercourse with a wife between the age of 15 and 18 years is a crime…” (Aziz, 10/11).

Deutsche Welle: India’s top court says sex with child bride is rape
“…The landmark ruling closes a legal loophole that had protected men from legal punishment if their wife was under 18 years old…” (10/11).

The Guardian: Sex with underage wife is rape, Indian supreme court rules
“…But the court stopped short of revoking an exception in the country’s criminal law that permits rape in marriage, currently the subject of separate legal proceedings…” (Safi, 10/11).

International Business Times: Sex With Minor Wife Amounts To Rape, India’s Top Court Rules
“…While hearing the petition, the court ruled, ‘If a man has sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18 years, it is an offense. The minor wife can complain against the husband within one year’…” (Agnihotri, 10/11).

New York Times: India Court Says Sex With Girls Under 18 Is Rape, Even in Marriage
“…Jagmati Sangwan, a women’s rights advocate, hailed the decision, saying it would cut down on the number of young girls who are essentially trafficked. She acknowledged that the decision might be difficult to enforce because child marriage is widespread across large parts of India…” (Gettleman/Kumar, 10/11).

VOA News: India Rules Sex With Underage Wife Constitutes Rape
“…Though child marriage is illegal in India, the non-governmental organization Independent Thought petitioned the top court to rule on the issue of sex with minor brides, saying New Delhi must face the reality that it is widespread throughout the country…” (10/11).

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U.N. Agencies, Partners Launch HIV Prevention Road Map To Reduce New Infections 75% By 2020

U.N. News Centre: U.N. launches innovative plan to significantly cut new HIV infections
“Despite a 50 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths since the peak of the epidemic, new HIV infection declines among adults are lagging, prompting the United Nations to launch a 10-point plan that lays out immediate, concrete steps countries can take to accelerate progress. As part of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat, the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), and other partners launched on Tuesday the HIV prevention 2020 road map at the first meeting of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent by 2020…” (10/11).

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Disagreements Over Severity Of Drug-Resistant Malaria In Southeast Asia Could Hamper Efforts To Eliminate Disease, Experts Warn

Science: Drug-resistant malaria is spreading, but experts clash over its global risk
“In what scientists call a ‘sinister development,’ a malaria parasite resistant to a widely used drug combination is on the march in Southeast Asia. … The critics don’t question the group’s genetic studies of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, but they dispute the interpretation that they spell disaster. … [Arjen Dondorp of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit] fears the constant bickering and conflicting statements will confuse participating countries and lower the sense of urgency. ‘The landscape is very politically charged,’ agrees [Philippe Guérin, director of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network]. ‘We need more attention to the data and less attention to the politics’…” (Roberts, 10/11).

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Venezuela's Failing Economy Contributing To Increase In Malaria Cases

The Economist: Why malaria is spreading in Venezuela
“…In 2015 the country had 30 percent of all the cases of malaria reported in the Americas — more than Brazil, which has over six times as many people. According to the Venezuelan government 240,000 cases of the disease were reported in 2016, a rise of 76 percent on the previous year. … Venezuela’s recent regress owes much to its ailing economy…” (J.R.A., 10/12).

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CGD's William Savedoff Discusses Tobacco Taxes As Smoking Prevention Tool In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: The World Bank’s quiet evolution on tobacco taxes
“On Wednesday, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a group of finance ministers, and a handful of policy experts [were scheduled to] meet behind closed doors to discuss a tax measure that has the potential to save millions of lives. Tobacco taxes — when they are implemented with the express purpose of reducing the number of people who smoke — offer national governments an extremely effective policy tool for tackling negative health outcomes, William Savedoff, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who [was to attend] Wednesday’s meeting, told Devex…” (Igoe, 10/11).

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U.N. Expert Discusses Health Security Pandemic Preparedness, Response At WIRED Security Conference

WIRED: Health security is a crisis. And you can’t negotiate with a disease
“…Dr. Alaa Murabit wants the world to get ready for the inevitable [next disease outbreak]. … According to data from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Britons are more concerned about the spread of infectious disease than they are about war. ‘We don’t have a blueprint on how to react appropriately,’ says Murabit, who was among the speakers at WIRED Security in London in September. ‘The U.K. is one of the 10 global political leaders and so has an onus on itself to respond better’…” (Bradley, 10/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Fully Fund, Implement Strategy To Empower Adolescent Girls

The Hill: Empower girls, change the world
Gayatri Patel, senior policy advocate for gender and empowerment at CARE USA; Helena Minchew, program officer for U.S. foreign policy and advocacy at International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC); Lyric Thompson, director of policy and advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW); and Rachel Clement, policy associate at the ICRW; all co-chairs of Girls Not Brides USA

“…Congress showing support is critical to ensuring that girls are not forgotten in U.S. foreign assistance. Programs and policies that support adolescent girls give them the opportunity to lead empowered lives and successfully transition into healthy, safe, and successful adulthoods. Additionally, evidence shows that investments in girls return yields in areas such as economic growth and health for families and communities. … Attention from Congress and the [U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls] have proven that empowering adolescent girls can and should be a bipartisan effort. The strategy builds on and incorporates efforts from both the Bush and Obama administrations by including PEPFAR programming, such as the DREAMS initiative and Let Girls Learn. This strategy, and the cross-cutting initiatives it includes, must be fully funded and implemented by the Trump administration in order to meet girls’ needs and ensure their rights. This is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do” (10/11).

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Ending Hunger By 2030 Possible With Political, Moral Will, Strategic Action

Inter Press Service: Ending Hunger by 2030? This is Possible
Rod Brooks, CEO of Rise Against Hunger

“…[Y]es — ending hunger is possible. … We are on such a trajectory to end hunger that the United Nations established Sustainable Development Goal #2 — to achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture in our lifetime — by the year 2030. … Complacency and business as usual will not get the job done. To be successful, we must not perceive an end to hunger as one large and daunting task. Hunger should be examined as a group of problems that — when viewed as separate, smaller issues — can be tackled through multiple, obtainable goals. The journey out of poverty and hunger for millions of people can come to a long-awaited end if we create the political and moral will to do so and we act strategically by nourishing lives, empowering communities, providing emergency relief during crisis, and growing the movement to end hunger. … As October 16 — World Food Day — approaches, let us be reminded of what we can achieve through working together, by becoming educated, participatory advocates for the world’s hungry…” (10/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Using Data On Where Patients Receive Care Can Help Find Missing Cases Of TB

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Can bringing TB services to patients find cases?
Reporting from the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Mexico, Christine Lubinski, executive director of the Center for Global Health Policy and vice president for global health at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, discusses highlights from the WHO TB symposium and remarks from Christy Hanson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on using data to help find missing cases of TB. Lubinski writes, “Hanson noted they found a mismatch between where the patients are and where the diagnostics can be found … Patient-centered care relies on understanding where patients prefer to get their care, and bringing services to those places, Hanson concluded” (10/11).

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Findings On Drug-Resistant HIV In Philippines Could Have Global Implications, Researcher Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: IDWeek presenter highlights global implications of HIV treatment resistance in Philippines
Reporting from IDWeek, Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a poster presentation by Dr. Edsel Salvaña on drug-resistant HIV in the Philippines, following the spread of a new subtype of the virus there, and its potential global implications (10/10).

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DDT Still Useful For Malaria, Other Insect-Borne Disease Control But In Short Supply

AEI: DDT is still useful
Roger Bate, visiting scholar at AEI, discusses findings from a recent study that shows DDT is still being used in some countries’ malaria and leishmaniasis control programs. Bates writes, “DDT is still useful for poor nations suffering from insect-borne diseases. … But with pressure on nations to stop making [DDT], and with only China and India making it in any exportable quantities, nations that don’t require it today may find that they need it in the future, and it may no longer be available” (10/10).

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From the U.S. Government

CRS Releases New Report On U.S. Global Health Assistance From FY01-FY18 Request

Congressional Research Service: U.S. Global Health Assistance: FY2001-FY2018 Request
In this CRS report, Tiaji Salaam-Blyther, specialist in Global Health, discusses U.S. global health assistance from FY 2001 to the FY 2018 request. The report provides a summary of appropriations for U.S. global health programs, implementing agencies and presidential initiatives in global health, and issues for the 115th Congress (10/6).

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USAID Statement Recognizes International Day Of The Girl

USAID: USAID Celebrates International Day of the Girl
In a statement, Clayton M. McCleskey, acting spokesperson at USAID, says, “USAID celebrates the International Day of the Girl, and reaffirms the commitment of the United States to breaking down barriers that keep girls from learning and leading. … From advancing entrepreneurship and innovation, to promoting peace and reconciliation, to preventing sexual violence and the spread of HIV, USAID is committed to empowering girls, and unlocking their potential to change their communities and the world” (10/11).

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Malawi Population-Based Impact Assessment Data Enable Health Workers To Identify, Fill HIV Prevention, Care Gaps

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Precision Public Health: Using Malawi Population-Based Impact Assessment (MPHIA) Data to Reach HIV Epidemic Control in Malawi
Nellie Wadonda-Kabondo of the CDC and Danielle Payne, monitoring and evaluation fellow at Global Health Corps, discuss results from the Malawi Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA), “Malawi’s first nationally representative HIV survey that measures national HIV incidence, pediatric HIV prevalence, and viral load suppression.” The authors note, “MPHIA data have been used to identify program gaps in specific geographic areas and subpopulations and has also served to triangulate existing data and estimates. … As Malawi moves toward HIV epidemic control, MPHIA and subsequent analyses have allowed Malawi to practice precision public health to reach those individuals most in need of HIV testing and clinical care” (10/11).

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