KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Efforts To Detect, Treat, Prevent TB Falling Short, Report Shows; 'Massive Scale-Up' Needed To Reach 2030 Goals, WHO DG Chan Says

Deutsche Welle: WHO: World needs to fight harder against tuberculosis
“On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented its annual tuberculosis report in Washington, D.C. The main message: the world isn’t doing enough to stop the dangerous infectious disease…” (Bleiker, 10/13).

The Guardian: Tuberculosis kills three people a minute as case numbers rise
“Tuberculosis is killing more people than thought, yet governments are not doing enough to bring the debilitating infectious disease under control, the World Health Organization has said. … The disease claims the lives of 1.8 million people worldwide each year, not the 1.5 million it was previously thought…” (Boseley, 10/13).

HealthDay: Global Efforts to Combat TB Epidemic Falling Short
“…Lack of testing and the under-reporting of new TB cases remain an ongoing issue in the fight against the disease, according to the report. Of the estimated 10.4 million new cases in 2015, only six million were detected and officially notified…” (Dallas, 10/13).

Huffington Post: An Entirely Curable Disease Is A Top 10 Killer Around The World
“…For the second year in a row, TB was the world’s top killer among infectious diseases, surpassing HIV/AIDS. Last year, 1.1 million people died from HIV/AIDS — and 400,000 of those deaths involved coinfections of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS…” (Weber, 10/13).

NPR: World Health Organization Warns Tuberculosis Is Not Under Control
“…At the World Health Assembly in 2014, leaders from around the world agreed to the twin goals of reducing deaths from the respiratory infection by 90 percent and cases by 80 percent by 2030, compared to 2015 levels. But in a report released Thursday, the WHO announced the number of reported cases actually grew between 2013 and 2015…” (Hersher, 10/13).

Science: New global tuberculosis numbers paint troubling picture
“…Six nations — India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa — account for 60 percent of the total TB cases in the world. ‘The rate of progress in these countries will have a major influence on whether or not’ public health experts reach 2020 goals for fighting the disease, the report states. Those milestones include reducing the number of new cases and deaths in 2015 by 20 percent and 35 percent, respectively…” (Cohen, 10/13).

Science Speaks: WHO Global TB Report: New data raises estimates of illness, death
“…The new data with raised estimates came from improved tuberculosis surveillance methods in India, including through household survey information, private health sector sales of anti-tuberculosis medicines, and new analysis of death records. Of the six countries that are home to 60 percent of the world’s TB burden, India is at the top, in terms of absolute numbers and rates, and depends the most on international funding. And international funding continues to be inadequate, the report says…” (Aziz, 10/13).

U.N. News Centre: ‘Massive scale-up’ needed if global targets on tuberculosis are to be met — top U.N. health official
“Highlighting ‘considerable’ inequalities among countries when it comes to enabling people with tuberculosis to access cost-effective diagnosis and treatment, a new United Nations health report has called for political commitment and increased funding to prevent, detect, and treat the disease if global targets are to be met. … ‘There must be a massive scale-up of efforts, or countries will continue to run behind this deadly epidemic and these ambitious goals will be missed,’ [WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said]…” (10/13).

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With 2.8M TB Cases, India Accounts For More Than One Quarter Of World's Cases, Will Overhaul National Treatment Program

New York Times: ‘True Scale’ of India’s Tuberculosis Problem: 2.8 Million New Cases
“Finally coming to terms with the enormity of its tuberculosis problem, India is preparing a radical overhaul and expansion of its national treatment program to fight an affliction that kills more adults worldwide than any other infectious disease. The severity of the matter was underscored on Thursday when the World Health Organization substantially increased its estimate of the number of new patients with TB in India, to 2.8 million in 2015, compared with 2.2 million in 2014 — more than in any other country in the world and more than a quarter of the world total…” (Anand, 10/13).

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USAID Announces Additional $12M In Haiti Hurricane Recovery Assistance; Aid Agencies Work To Prevent Cholera Resurgence

The Guardian: Haiti faces fresh cholera outbreak after Hurricane Matthew, aid agencies fear
“…Less than two weeks after the earthquake, at least 200 suspected new cases of cholera have been detected in the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is sending one million cholera vaccines to Haiti at the end of this week. Aid agencies fear that without a major effort by the international community, survivors of the storm will face a fresh outbreak of the disease…” (Holpuch, 10/14).

Los Angeles Times: ‘Getting it right is absolutely fundamental,’ U.S. official says of aid to Haiti
“With more than 1,000 deaths in hurricane-ravaged Haiti and the growing threat of a cholera epidemic, the United States Agency for International Development announced Thursday that it was sending an additional $12 million in assistance. We talked with David Harden, an assistant administrator with the agency, about the scope of damage in Haiti, the distrust around aid work there, and the long road ahead…” (Linthicum, 10/13).

U.N. News Centre: Haiti: U.N. health teams to respond to cholera outbreaks, prevent possible epidemic
“…According to a news release issued [Thursday] by the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), WHO and Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) disaster, health, and logistic experts have been deployed to support the government’s efforts against cholera outbreaks from the agencies’ offices in Washington, D.C., Haiti, and a number of other locations. ‘We are seriously concerned about an epidemic of cholera, and that’s why the Ministry of Health, with our assistance, is taking all measures possible to avoid that happening,’ said Jean Luc Poncelet, PAHO/WHO representative in Haiti…” (10/13).

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NIH Researchers Examining Possibilities For HIV, NCD Care Integration In Resource-Poor Settings

The Lancet: NIH project focuses on integration of HIV and NCD care
“…NCDs are already on the rise in countries most affected by HIV, which means patients with HIV are more likely to develop them as they live longer. Scientists suspect, though, there could also be a link specifically between HIV infection and treatment and the onset of NCDs and are calling for further research. … NIH [researchers] are looking to the existing HIV response system to explore whether services for the additional chronic diseases might be integrated into these already robust, well-financed initiatives…” (Green, 10/15).

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Partnerships, U.S. Funding Helping Efforts To Eliminate 2 Neglected Diseases By 2020

VOA News: Two Tropical Diseases on Track for Eradication in 4 Years
“By the year 2020, two neglected tropical diseases, lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, and trachoma, a blinding illness, may be eliminated in the world’s poorest countries, thanks to a partnership of governments, charitable foundations, and pharmaceutical companies. The U.S. provides the most funding for elimination of neglected tropical diseases, through the U.S. Agency for International Development…” (Berman, 10/13).

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5 Of 6 Children Under 2 Do Not Receive Adequate Nutrition, Risk Mental, Physical Damage, UNICEF Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Five in six infants undernourished, risk irreversible mental and physical damage — U.N.
“Five in six children under two years old in developing countries are not getting enough of the right kinds of food, putting them at risk of irreversible mental and physical damage, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Friday. … Even in well-off families in developing countries, ‘far too many’ infants and young children are missing out, the agency said in a report published ahead of World Food Day on Oct 16…” (Whiting, 10/14).

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Midwives Need Better Working Conditions To Provide Quality Care To Mothers, Newborns, WHO, Partners Say

U.N. News Centre: Pivotal role midwives play in keeping mothers and newborns alive must be recognized — U.N.
“The first global survey of midwifery personnel has revealed that too often, midwives face cultural isolation, unsafe accommodation, and low salaries, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said [Thursday], calling for an end to the discrimination and lack of respect that hinder their ability to provide quality care to women and newborns…” (10/13).

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U.N. General Assembly Approves António Guterres As Next Secretary General; Guterres Pledges To Promote Peace Through Dialogue

Associated Press: Peace is top priority for next U.N. chief Antonio Guterres
“António Guterres pledged Thursday to make the pursuit of peace in a conflict-torn world his ‘over-arching priority’ after being elected the next secretary-general of the United Nations. The former Portuguese prime minister and U.N. refugee chief told the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly who elected him by acclamation that the United Nations has ‘the moral duty and the universal right’ to ensure peace — and he will be promoting a new ‘diplomacy for peace’ advocating dialogue to settle disputes…” (10/13).

New York Times: António Guterres, Known for Nerve and Deal Making, Will Need Both at U.N.
“…Many raw-nerve reckonings are sure to confront Mr. Guterres when he takes over as the United Nations secretary general in January for a five-year term. The 15-member Security Council picked him last week, and the General Assembly unanimously approved the choice on Thursday. Mr. Guterres’s predecessor, Ban Ki-moon, who spoke to the General Assembly after the vote, called him ‘perhaps best known where it counts most: on the front lines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering’…” (Sengupta, 10/13).

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Policymakers Need Better Understanding Of Diarrhea To Stop One Of Leading Causes Of Death Among Children, Experts Say

Devex: On diarrhea and importance of changing perceptions in global health
“Governments and decision-makers will have to change their perception — and understanding — of diarrhea if they want to address (and even end) one of the leading causes of death among children all over the world, according to Rotavirus Organization of Technical Allies chair Mathuram Santosham. … A major barrier to controlling the condition is the lack of understanding among policymakers about the causes of diarrhea…” (Santos, 10/12).

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Liberia's Health Facilities Struggle To Operate Without Adequate Water, Sanitation, WaterAid Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Lack of water, broken toilets plague health facilities in Liberia: charity
“More than two years after the world’s worst Ebola outbreak began in West Africa, health facilities in Liberia are struggling to operate due to a lack of running water and functioning toilets, sanitation charity WaterAid said on Friday…” (Guilbert, 10/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Call For High-Level Meeting On TB, Additional Resources For Research Into Treatments, Vaccines, Diagnostics

Huffington Post: We Cannot Deny It Anymore. TB Is The New Global Health Emergency
Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary at the Stop TB Partnership

“…TB is the new global health emergency. … [I]n order to end TB, we need to fight a full-fledged war. And to win this, there are four things we must do: 1. Know Your Enemy … The TB programs and the partners should collect data, not ‘to report’ to global-level institutions, but to use the data for planning and monitoring their own interventions and work using real time data and new technology. 2. Prepare our weapons and strategies … We need a point of care test, a shorter non-toxic treatment for all forms of TB, and an effective vaccine. … 3. Create a strong and united army … It is time for all stakeholders from governments to grassroots organizations and people affected by TB to come together and be united to end TB. … 4. Have the commander lead the battle … We must all push to have a United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in September 2017. Let’s all align ourselves to make this happen and win this battle” (10/13).

Huffington Post: 1.8 Million People Died From TB — It’s Time To Turn The Tide
Eric Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“…To effectively turn the tide [against TB] we must focus our efforts on strengthening detection, improving diagnostics, and bringing more tolerable drugs to market. Most of all, we need the resources to take these steps. … Now more than ever, the world needs a concerted TB effort. We must reengage donors and donor nations and demonstrate how an investment in TB is an investment worth making. We must encourage countries plagued by TB to own and fund taking care of their own people. … We have made great progress in defeating AIDS and malaria, but our commitment to fighting TB has fallen far short. It is ironic that of the three major infectious diseases, the one that has a cure is the one left behind. Drug sensitive TB is curable almost 90 percent of the time with current treatments. We must turn the tide. We must break down barriers to accessing care. And we must fund efforts that will make our goals achievable…” (10/13).

Huffington Post: Why Is Multidrug-Resistant TB A Health Security Threat?
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health at USAID; Mario Raviglione, director of the Global Tuberculosis Programme at WHO; and Eric Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“…Global investments in TB research are critical to find better diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines. A necessary first step in combating [multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)] is strengthening the overall TB response, thus preventing the creation and spread of resistant TB. Current actions and investments are falling far short of those needed to end the TB epidemic. … TB kills more people than HIV and malaria. Yet, the response remains severely underfunded by most high-burden countries. … The United States has committed to bold objectives in the December 2015 release of the National Action Plan to Combat MDR-TB. … Leaders in … high-burden TB countries need to acknowledge the global risks of MDR-TB and take responsibility for collective tackling [of] it. … High-level attention to TB by the United Nations General Assembly is needed to ensure reaching global targets…” (10/13).

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Setting National Standards Of Care Critical To Reducing Maternal Mortality In U.S.

Forbes: Our Abysmal Maternal Health Statistics And How To Improve Them
Bill Frist, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and chair of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Saketh R. Guntupalli, assistant professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

“This past year, the United States received the dubious distinction of being one of only seven countries in the world … which have seen an increase in maternal mortality. … This begs the question: How can we lead the world in cutting-edge health innovation and medical discoveries, yet fall behind in this telling public health metric? … In Europe, countries … have adopted national hospital guidelines for high-risk pregnancies — an area where the U.S. lags behind. … National standards for hospitals should be adopted to ensure that women around the country with similar problems receive a baseline of care that is validated by experts. Additionally, a national database of maternal deaths should be implemented to best observe trends and adopt needed changes. … Setting the above standards, in addition to establishing a new approach to women’s health that focuses on the social determinants prior to pregnancy, will be vital to reducing maternal mortality. The U.S. should be the safest place in the world to have a child, but we have work to do to make that goal a reality” (10/12).

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Addressing Threats To Contraceptive Security Critical To Achieving SDGs, Universal Access To Family Planning Methods By 2030

Devex: Big questions remain about global contraceptive access
Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020, and John Skibiak, director of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

“…[I]t will take much more than funding alone to meet the growing global need for contraceptives. The supply chain that moves family planning products into the hands of the women who want and need them is a lifeline that must be protected and strengthened. … Information is vital — stronger data collection and analysis allows countries and stakeholders to better isolate and analyze trends … Cultural and religious taboos must also be addressed in certain communities … As we embark on the final four years of the FP2020 initiative, and look toward the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and universal access to contraceptives by 2030, the threats to contraceptive security must be addressed and overcome. The family planning community must reflect urgently on what works well, where course corrections are needed for greater impact, how we can make active interventions to accelerate progress, and ultimately, how we can deliver on the big promise we have made to millions of women and girls” (10/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Updated Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief Examines Status Of U.S. Funding For Zika

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Status of Funding for Zika: The President’s Request, Congressional Proposals, & Final Funding
This updated issue brief discusses the current status of U.S. funding for Zika research, treatment, and prevention. The brief compares Congress’s recently approved $1.1 billion in Zika funding to President Obama’s February 22 request for emergency funding, as well as several iterations of funding proposals previously offered in both the U.S. House and Senate (Wexler/Oum/Kates, 10/14).

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Organizations Call For Next U.S. President, Congress To Exhibit 'Bold Leadership' Against TB

RESULTS: The Next U.S. President Should Confront the TB Epidemic Head On
In response to the WHO’s release of the 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report, “showing that the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic is worse than previously known, … eight leading U.S. organizations released the following statement: … ‘The next U.S. president must confront the TB epidemic head on, devoting much greater funding and attention to this epidemic and taking advantage of the latest technological innovations. We need bold leadership from the U.S., not unfunded action plans.’ … A response to global TB from the next administration and Congress should include: Funding to implement the White House National Action Plan for Combatting MDR-TB, including doubling bilateral funding to fight TB; Ensuring drug resistant TB is central to the response to antimicrobial resistance (AMR); Providing technical assistance and mentoring to help countries prevent and treat all forms of TB; Boosting TB research and development to develop new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics; Increasing the U.S. domestic response to TB, to fully support the currently unfunded prevention and treatment of latent TB infection…” (10/13).

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WASH Critical To Global Health Efforts

IntraHealth International: WASH Works, So What Are We Waiting For?
Carol Bales, communications officer at IntraHealth International, discusses the role of WASH interventions in delivering health services and preventing infections, suggesting ways in which WASH efforts can be strengthened in global health (10/13).

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El Salvador Considers Proposal To Allow Abortion In Certain Cases

Humanosphere: El Salvador’s Congress considers relaxing controversial abortion law
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses a proposal presented to El Salvador’s Congress that would allow abortion in cases of rape or high-risk pregnancy. Currently, El Salvador’s law bans all abortion. Nikolau notes, “The law has been hotly contested for years, but debate escalated after the rapid spread of the Zika virus in early 2016” (10/13).

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