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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Drug Prices In U.S. Average 3 Times Higher Than In Other Countries, Reuters Reports

Reuters: Exclusive — Transatlantic divide: how U.S. pays three times more for drugs
“U.S. prices for the world’s 20 top-selling medicines are, on average, three times higher than in Britain, according to an analysis carried out for Reuters. The finding underscores a transatlantic gulf between the price of treatments for a range of diseases and follows demands for lower drug costs in America from industry critics such as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton…” (Hirschler, 10/12).

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Social Protection Schemes Vital To Eradicating Hunger, FAO Report Says

U.N. News Centre: Expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger — U.N. report
“A new report published [Tuesday] by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds that social protection is emerging as a critical tool in the drive to eradicate hunger, yet the vast majority of the world’s rural poor are yet to be covered. … The State of Food and Agriculture 2015 shows that in poor countries, social protection schemes — such as cash transfers, school feeding, and public works — offer an economical way to provide vulnerable people with opportunities to move out of extreme poverty and hunger and to improve their children’s health, education, and life chances…” (10/13).

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Amnesty International, Haitian Activists Call On U.N. To More Thoroughly Address Cholera In Haiti

Associated Press: Groups: U.N. must provide ‘justice’ for Haiti cholera victims
“Five years after cholera started a deadly march across this poor Caribbean country, international and Haitian human rights activists asserted Tuesday that the U.N. is failing to provide justice for the many Haitians who have died or been sickened. … Amnesty International said Tuesday that the U.N. should properly investigate the ongoing epidemic’s impact and provide a plan to help victims who lost loved ones or who fell ill themselves after the disease raged through the country’s waterways and rapidly spread to all 10 administrative departments…” (McFadden, 10/13).

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Chinese Biotech Company To Mass Produce Ebola Vaccine Being Developed By Country's Military

Reuters: Chinese firm says plans to ‘mass produce’ Ebola vaccine
“A Chinese firm plans to mass produce a military-developed vaccine against Ebola, even as the epidemic which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa beings to fade…” (Jourdan, 10/14).

Xinhua News: China to mass produce Ebola vaccine
“…Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology Inc. has started construction of an industry base to produce the vaccine in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area, sources with the company said on Wednesday. Investment into the base totals two billion yuan (about 317 million U.S. dollars) and construction will be complete in September, 2018. The base also produces other vaccines against pneumonia, meningitis, and tuberculosis. Annual production is around 200 million vaccines…” (10/14).

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GE Sustainable Healthcare Solutions Executive Speaks With Devex About Company's Efforts To Align Strategies With SDGs

Devex: GE’s blueprint for big business and the SDGs
“Global industrial conglomerate General Electric is no stranger to innovation — the company has pioneered many of the transformative technologies of the past 100 years. So it may be well-suited for a new shift that is underway, one in which businesses will align their operations with the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. … Devex sat down with GE Sustainable Healthcare Solutions chief executive Terri Bresenham to understand how they are planning for and approaching this new task…” (Mendoza, 10/13).

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Swiss Newspaper Interviews UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

Le News: From bare-foot football to leading AIDS fight. Sidibé knows how to convince.
“This week [journalist] Renu Chahil-Graf interviewed Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, the U.N. agency combating HIV and AIDS. Michel knows about discrimination. The son of a mixed-race marriage in Mali in the 1950s, he is well qualified to fight the discrimination faced by those with HIV. He also knows how to persuade. Once, given only three minutes to convince the president of Zaire to vaccinate for polio, he succeeded…” (Chahil-Graf, 10/13).

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Insecurity, Violence Contributing To Hunger, Malnutrition In Northern Mali, U.N. Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Hunger crisis hits northern Mali amid insecurity, violence — U.N.
“Violence against aid groups and general insecurity have plunged the Timbuktu region in northern Mali into a hunger crisis, with tens of thousands of children at increasing risk of dying from malnutrition, according to the United Nations. Around one in six people in the region are suffering from acute malnutrition, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said…” (Guilbert, 10/13).

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Registered Malaria Cases Down In Mozambique But Numbers Remain 'High And Worrying,' Health Official Says

Xinhua News: Malaria cases fall in Mozambique but still main killer
“…Speaking at a press conference in Maputo, the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, said that the country registered 4.27 million malaria cases between January and August, falling from the 4.35 million cases for the same period last year. Among them, about 1,800 people died. ‘Although there is a reduction in 81,000 cases this year, compared to the same period of last year, the rate continues high and worrying,’ she said…” (10/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Proposed House Bill Would Help Strengthen Developing Countries' Health Workforces, Improve Resiliency, Global Health Security

The Hill: Bill would strengthen frontline defense against disease
Eileen Natuzzi, medical education coordinator at the Solomon Island Living Memorial Project of San Diego State University’s School of Public Health

“…[HR 419] proposes the U.S. government support strengthening the frontline health workforce in developing countries where 80 percent of the world’s diseases occur. HR 419 is forward thinking, sustainable, cost effective, and righteous. … Building an adequate health work force … is a form of prevention, not just in preventing diseases and in saving lives in countries where people die from measles and appendicitis, it prevents these diseases from crossing borders by providing an adequate health system within communities staffed by local residents. … By passing and implementing HR 419 the global health threats we fear can be contained, controlled, and perhaps even prevented. But we need local doctors, nurses, and health technicians to do that” (10/13).

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More Action, Attention Needed For Efforts Addressing NCDs

The Hill: Silent killers: pandemic of the 21st century
Christine Ngaruiya, faculty member in global health and international emergency medicine at Yale and a Public Voices fellow with the OpEd Project

“…Finally, this time around, [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)] were brought up in this round of [global development] goals, including promoting mental health, addressing substance abuse, and deaths due to injury. This is an encouraging start but we have a long way to go given the burden of disease that has already accumulated, lacking attention for the last two decades. The reality of the burden of NCDs cannot be ignored, and deserves the attention that is being allotted to other diseases. Policies need to be constructed that provide resources for treatment centers, guidelines, and ensure appropriate access to medications for treating these diseases. … Early action is paramount for these types of illnesses, we know what to do, and the tools for solutions are readily available. The time for action is now” (10/13).

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Knowledge, Resources From Polio Eradication Programs Should Be Applied To Measles Efforts

Devex: A no-brainer: How to transition from polio eradication to measles eradication
Steve Cochi, senior adviser to the director of the CDC’s Global Immunization Division

“…[T]ransitioning from eradicating polio to measles is a no-brainer. It is both an opportunity and an obligation that should be taken for compelling reasons, including the close relationship between these two initiatives. … Even though it is hard work to transition, disease elimination programs are not a zero-sum game — successfully repurposing resources and knowledge from polio eradication to measles eradication is a win-win, especially for the world’s children. In short, the end of polio will not be only an incredible achievement in itself, but will open the door to protect the vulnerable from numerous diseases such as measles that kill and injure children. So what are we waiting for? If we do not thoroughly plan and implement actions now to ensure that the legacy of polio eradication is optimized, the only losers will be the world’s children…” (10/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining Global Polio Eradication Efforts, U.S. Response

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Polio Efforts
This updated fact sheet examines global polio eradication efforts and the U.S. government’s role in addressing polio worldwide, including current programs, funding, and challenges (10/13).

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Learning From Failure Provides Critical Lessons For Maternal Health Interventions

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Learning from Failure to Reduce Maternal Deaths
In the context of lowering maternal mortality, Priya Agrawal, executive director of Merck for Mothers, writes about the value of “how studying failure and understanding why a seemingly good idea doesn’t work helps us design a better intervention the next time around” (10/12).

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Family Planning Efforts Important To Achieve All SDGs; Third FP Indicator Would Help Track Progress

Knowledge for Health Blog: Let’s Not Lose the Trees for the Forest: A Conversation about the SDGs and Family Planning
Angela Puckett BenDor, technical adviser for human resources for health (HRH) and knowledge management, and Roy Jacobstein, senior medical adviser, both at IntraHealth International, examine the role of family planning in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and suggest including “the percent of family planning demand satisfied by modern contraception” as a third indicator along with the current indicators of modern contraceptive prevalence rate (MCPR) and unmet need (10/13).

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Humanosphere Examines Nobel Laureate's Views, Work On Foreign Aid, Development Economics

Humanosphere: International development economist and aid critic wins Nobel
Noting Princeton University professor Angus Deaton won this year’s Nobel Prize for economics, Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses Deaton’s views on foreign aid and contributions to the development sector, particularly pertaining to poverty and inequality (10/13).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent Global Health-Related Pieces

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Inclusion of civil society in PEPFAR planning lags, sex workers call for engagement in global treatment access, WHO’s Ebola Emergency Committee issues update, and more . . . we’re reading about delayed works in progress
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights several recently released global health-related pieces, including a blog post from the Global Forum on MSM & HIV about civil society involvement with PEPFAR; an article in the current issue of Sex Work Digest advocating more recognition of key populations in the WHO’s new HIV treatment guidelines; a blog post from 76 Crimes on terminology used in Human Rights Watch’s latest report on violence against sexual minorities in Kenya; and the WHO’s statement on the 7th Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding Ebola in West Africa (10/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.