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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Handwashing Cheap, Effective Health Intervention, UNICEF Says On Global Day

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Proper hand washing essential to cut high child death rate — UNICEF
“The failure of many people in many countries to wash their hands with soap — one of the cheapest and most effective health interventions — could hinder global development, the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) said on Thursday…” (Mis, 10/15).

U.N. News Centre: On Handwashing Day, UNICEF warns inadequate hygiene endangers key development goal
“More than 40 percent of health facilities have no water resources within 500 meters in sub-Saharan Africa where the practice of handwashing with soap is dangerously low even though it is ‘one of the cheapest, simplest, most effective health interventions,’ the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Thursday]”… (10/15).

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Unilever Working Through Business, With Partners To Improve Handwashing, WASH

Devex: How Unilever is harnessing its brand and consumer know-how to tackle hygiene
“It’s one of the most cost effective public health interventions and it could prevent disease, death, and also improve education outcomes, but the challenge for handwashing is convincing people to actually do it. Unilever, a powerful global brand, is working both through its business and with partners to leverage the company’s skills to help tackle the issue, both because it will grow markets but also because there’s a clear moral case for doing so…” (Saldinger, 10/15).

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Women Farmers Recognized On World Food Day As Vital To Food Security, Ending Poverty

International Business Times: World Food Day 2015: Female farmers hold the key to food security and ending poverty
“… ‘Women farmers play a crucial part in ending hunger,’ says Bettina Luescher, a communications officer for the World Food Programme in Geneva. ‘If women farmers had the same access to loans, land, seed, and selling their harvests on the markets, we think we could lift some 100 to 150 million people out of hunger. Isn’t that an amazing number?’…” (Smith, 10/16).

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Women 'Backbone Of Sustainable Livelihoods,' U.N.'s Ban Says On International Day Of Rural Women

U.N. News Centre: ‘Rural women are the backbone of sustainable livelihoods,’ Ban declares on International Day
“Marking the International Day of Rural Women, the United Nations today affirmed the role of women as significant and crucial for the progress of rural households, local, and national economies. … [U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] urged global leaders to seize the opportunity offered by the new [sustainable development] framework to transform rural women’s lives…” (10/15).

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FAO Head Lauds Commitment By 100 Cities Worldwide To Improve Urban Food Systems

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency hails pledge by more than 100 cities to fight hunger and improve nutrition
“Cities have a key role to play in ending hunger and improving nutrition, the head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said [Thursday], welcoming a commitment by more than 100 cities from around the world to make food systems in urban areas more equitable and sustainable…” (10/15).

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Guinea Reports 2 New Ebola Cases After 2 Weeks With None, WHO Says

Reuters: Two new Ebola cases in Guinea, WHO says
“Two people have fallen ill with Ebola in Guinea after two weeks with no new confirmed cases of the disease in West Africa, the World Health Organization said on Friday. WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. briefing in Geneva that one case was in Forecariah, western Guinea, and appeared to be linked to a previously known chain of infection, while the other was in the capital Conakry…” (Miles, 10/16).

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Study Examines Possible Ebola Immunity Among Some Women In Guinea

The Guardian: Ebola study finds women in Guinea who appear immune to the virus
“A study of Ebola survivors in West Africa has found a group of women who appear to be immune to the deadly virus. The discovery was made by a team of British and European scientists who are studying Ebola survivors in Guinea…” (O’Carroll, 10/15).

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Matching Local Needs For Contraceptives, Training Health Workers Can Broaden Reach Of Family Planning, Research Shows

SciDev.Net: Fit contraception to local needs, health workers urged
“…Research presented at the [Wilson Center event last week], which was organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), showed that training health workers to advise on family planning and offering contraception that matches local needs broadens the reach of pregnancy prevention efforts…” (10/15).

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With Low Percentage Of R&D Funding Going Toward NTDs, Some Pharmaceutical Companies Focus On Partnerships, Collaboration

The Guardian: Is it fair to accuse the pharma industry of neglecting tropical diseases?
“…Currently the biggest impetus for dealing with NTDs seems to come from partnerships. … There is some evidence to suggest the pharma industry uses partnerships to absolve itself of responsibility. Major companies are closing down their NTD R&D operations while opening up their compound libraries to partnerships, such as Novartis to the TB Alliance. … The solution for NTD drug R&D may not be partnerships alone, but must include cross-sector collaboration…” (Smedley, 10/15).

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Gates Foundation, Sanofi Pasteur, Nonprofit IDRI Establish Global Health Vaccine Center Of Innovation

Puget Sound Business Journal: Gates Foundation, Seattle research institute team to give vaccines a shot in the arm
“Three powerhouses in the global health sector have teamed to open a new vaccine center in Seattle. The new center, called the Global Health Vaccine Center of Innovation, is the result of a partnership between Seattle global heath nonprofit Infectious Disease Research Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi’s vaccine development arm…” (Zak, 10/15).

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Hundreds In Haitian Capital Demand U.N. Apology, Compensation For Cholera Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: Haitian cholera victims call for U.N. accountability
“Hundreds of activists and victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic staged a demonstration Thursday in Port-au-Prince to demand an apology and compensation from the United Nations, whose peacekeepers are accused of accidentally introducing the disease five years ago…” (10/15).

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Ethiopian Government Asks For International Food Aid For 8.2M People After Poor Harvest

Associated Press: Ethiopia appeals for food aid following poor crop yields
“Ethiopia’s government is calling for international assistance to help feed 8.2 million people after erratic rains devastated crop yields. Climate shocks are common in Ethiopia and often cause poor or failed harvests that lead to acute food shortages…” (Meseret, 10/14).

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The Lancet Examines Global Polio Eradication Efforts

The Lancet: And then there were two…polio-endemic countries
“On Sept 25, … WHO announced that Nigeria, which had reported no cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus over the past 12 months, was no longer a polio-endemic country. … The main focus of the eradication effort is now on the two remaining polio-endemic countries in the world: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ridding them of the poliovirus will put the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region on the same footing as Africa and bring global eradication within reach…” (Maurice, 10/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

MSF Hospital Bombing 'Wake-Up Call' To Examine Humanitarian Protections Under Geneva Conventions

The Lancet: What are the Geneva Conventions for?
Editorial Board

“…Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s apology for the bombing [of a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan,] and promise of a full investigation, MSF demands a full transparent and independent international investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission — a commission established in the Additional Protocols of the Geneva Conventions specifically to investigate violations of international humanitarian law. The Lancet supports MSF’s call. … This tragedy in Kunduz is our wake-up call to examine what immunity granted under international law to medical units, personnel on the front line, and patients, really means” (10/17).

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Congress Should Support U.S. Efforts To End Child Marriage Worldwide

The Hill: Ending the cycle of child marriage: The U.S. can and should act now
Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women, and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.)

“…Recognizing that child marriage is a barrier to global development, Congress passed and the president signed into law core components of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Thanks to this law, for the first time in history, child marriage is a priority concern of U.S. foreign policy. … The United States government can be a strong ally to these communities and countries [trying to end child marriage]. As directed by Congress, the U.S. Department of State is leading an interagency process to develop an Adolescent Girl Strategy. … Once the strategy is released, Congress must fund it and ensure USAID has the resources they need to invest in programs that empower young women and their families…” (10/15).

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New Public-Private Partnerships To Train Health Workers Key To Achieving UHC

Devex: New partnerships essential for global health success
Ben Simms, chief executive of the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET)

“…Without a major effort to recruit and educate health workers, how can the commitment to achieve universal health coverage be realized? Greater emphasis needs to be placed on supporting and training health workers, building preventative capacity — as highlighted by the devastation of the recent Ebola outbreak — and ensuring that countries have a health workforce that is fit for purpose. One way to do this is to effectively harness the medical and managerial expertise available in high-resource settings. … The adoption of the new [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] is a turning point in the history of how we live together on this planet. … We must seize this moment to direct the energy and dynamism of health professional volunteers toward the even greater challenge of building health systems fit to deliver universal health coverage to every citizen in this world” (10/15).

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All Countries Should Be Included In Efforts To Reach SDGs

The Hill: New Sustainable Development Goals, but what of nations left behind?
David Vanderpool, trauma surgeon and founder of LiveBeyond

“…The success [the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] achieved through the concerted efforts of the U.N., world governments, and large and small non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was stunning. … However, not all of the poor countries of the world achieved these admirable results and some actually saw a worsening of these vital indicators. While the world’s poorest celebrated significant reductions in extreme poverty and hunger, for example, Haiti saw no change in the percent of people suffering from either of these two scourges. … While we are excited about working toward the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] these next few years, let’s be sure we include every country in reaching these significant goals” (10/15).

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Ukraine Must Immediately Launch Comprehensive Nationwide Polio Vaccination Campaign

The Guardian: Polio in Ukraine: nationwide vaccination campaign needs to start straight away
Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF’s representative in Ukraine

“Next week a nationwide polio vaccination campaign should start in Ukraine. I say should because we’ve been here before. The campaign should have actually started weeks ago. … [A] number of factors have led to the low levels of children immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases in the country. Local and vocal anti-vaccine groups, insufficient vaccine supply, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine all complicate the situation. … It’s critical to make sure that this campaign doesn’t just happen but that it’s effective and reaches every child possible across the country. Only then can we ensure that this debilitating disease is contained and the health and well-being of Ukraine’s children, and those further afield, is protected for the benefit of all” (10/16).

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Improved Data Needed To Bolster Food Systems, Reach Zero Hunger

The Guardian: To end malnutrition, we must step up to the plate with data on what people eat
Lawrence Haddad, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Patrick Webb, professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

“…[A]ttempts to modify or influence food systems in ways that are more supportive of good nutrition have been stymied by a lack of relevant data. … U.N. member states and agencies that support nutrition have a responsibility to ensure the [Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)] framework for action, and the Sustainable Development Goals, are supported by a set of indicators that support specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound targets for action. … Without the data, the world is flying blind. Current and future generations deserve more than wishful thinking about healthy food systems; they deserve purposeful investments aimed at good nutrition. Anything less is not compatible with sustainable development” (10/16).

Financial Times: World Food Day: a data revolution for agriculture would reap huge returns
Eloise Todd, global policy director for the ONE Campaign

“…To get to zero [hunger] we need to start with more data, robust accountability, and increased investments. … We need more and better data and must find innovative ways of collecting it. One method is the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data, launched in New York on September 28. … We have joined forces to invest in, produce, open up, and use accurate data, which will inform decision making and enable citizenry to hold decision makers to account, tackle the data gaps that hinder us from making faster progress, and encourage investment into under-resourced national statistics offices in developing countries…” (10/16).

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Better Data, Implementation Of WHO Infant Bacterial Infection Treatment Guidelines Can Help Reduce Maternal, Child Mortality

The Lancet: Maternal, newborn, and child health and the Sustainable Development Goals — a call for sustained and improved measurement
John Grove and Mariam Claeson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and colleagues on behalf of the Kirkland Group

“…A more robust data system to measure the coverage of interventions known to be effective in reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality — similar to those that currently exist for vaccines and malaria — will be essential to enhance services, improve health, and achieve long-term goals in mortality reduction. Building on, extending, and refining this system for measuring maternal, newborn, and child health is an urgent task for the global community, as well as national and local governments. … We call on governments, partners, and technical experts to join in the movement for improved measurement for maternal, newborn, and child health, building on what is known and endorsing an urgent, evidence-based agenda for action and development to do better in the immediate future” (10/17).

Devex: A new option for saving newborn lives
Bina Valsangkar, newborn technical adviser for the Saving Newborn Lives program at Save the Children

“…Earlier this month, the World Health Organization released groundbreaking guidelines [on managing possible serious bacterial infection in young infants when referral is not feasible], based on rigorous research trials published in The Lancet. … The studies found that newborns with possible serious bacterial infection, whose caregivers could not accept hospital referral, could be safely treated with a combination of oral and injectable antibiotics closer to home, as an outpatient. Although hospital care remains the standard of care, we now have a safe, effective alternative for when a trip to the hospital is not possible … Most deaths from newborn infections are preventable, and these guidelines, if adopted and effectively implemented, could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of newborns every year” (10/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Listing USG Global Health Positions, Officials

Kaiser Family Foundation: Key U.S. Government Agency Positions and Officials in Global Health Policy & Related Areas
This updated fact sheet lists U.S. government positions and officials related to global health efforts, including links to agencies and officials’ profiles, when available (10/14).

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USDA Describes Efforts To Promote Global Food Security

U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Invests in Global Food Security
This news release discusses USDA’s activities to promote global food security, including its efforts through Feed the Future, Food for Progress, and its annual Food Security Assessment (10/15).

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CDC Officials Describe Agency's Response To Ebola Epidemic, Discuss Lessons For Future

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases”: Ebola in West Africa — CDC’s Role in Epidemic Detection, Control, and Prevention
In this paper released ahead of publication, CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Inger Damon, the CDC’s Ebola Response Team incident commander, examine the agency’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, “the most intensive response” to date, and write, “The Ebola virus disease epidemic highlights the need to strengthen national and international systems to detect, respond to, and prevent the spread of future health threats” (November 2015).

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Blog Posts Recognize World Food Day

ONE Blog: This World Food Day, support female farmers
Noting “[Thursday] marks the International Day of Rural Women, and on Friday, October 16, the world will celebrate World Food Day,” Kedar Mankad, ‎a policy officer for agriculture and inclusive growth at the ONE Campaign, discusses how investment in rural women and smallholder farmers can promote food security and “end hunger and malnutrition once and for all” (10/15).

ONE Blog: World Food Day: Prioritizing agriculture, food security, and nutrition to fight hunger
Samantha Urban, content manager at the ONE Campaign, writes, “October 16 is World Food Day — the first chance since the adoption of the Global Goals to really hold world leaders to account to meet the goal of zero hunger. … This is a moment to highlight why prioritizing agriculture, food security, and nutrition is the key to ending extreme poverty once and for all…” (10/16).

PLOS Blogs’ “Translational Global Health”: 10 Principles for a Better Food Future — World Food Day
Recognizing World Food Day, Alessandro Demaio, a principal at kløver, co-founder of NCDFREE and festival21, and a global health fellow in non-communicable diseases at Harvard Medical School, highlights a new publication, titled “EAT in Sustainia.” He writes, “[A] collaboration with the Danish-based think tank Sustainia, the report aims to outline the major challenges, opportunities, and solutions for food and food systems globally…” (10/16).

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Blog Post, Website Describe Efforts To Improve Handwashing On Global Day

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: The Intersections of Poverty, Handwashing and Neglected Tropical Diseases
“…This year’s Global Handwashing Day is a particularly important one for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Just two months ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global strategy to better integrate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services — including handwashing education and access to handwashing facilities — with other public health interventions to eliminate and eradicate NTDs by 2020…” (10/15).

USAID: Promoting Hygiene
“…To help change behaviors at the community and household level, USAID works with local governments, the private sector, and communities to foster institutional and policy support, develop targeted messages, increase demand, and strengthen the production and marketing of hygiene products and services. USAID has also adopted community-based approaches to behavior change, such as working through health and agriculture extension services, to support communities transitioning from open defecation…” The site describes specific programs (10/14).

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PLOS Blog Features Series Discussing Drug Pricing, Access

PLOS Blogs’ “Your Say” this week began a six-part series, titled “Talking about Drug Prices & Access to Medicines.” Featured bloggers will discuss issues surrounding drug pricing and access, including “misaligned incentives around drug R&D efforts and the related unavailability of necessary medicines to people around the world.”

Your Say”: Only a radical overhaul can reclaim medicines for the public interest
In the first piece, Els Torreele, director of Access to Medicines at the Open Society Foundations, discusses how “the way the world finances and rewards medical innovation is more problematic than ever…” (10/13).

Your Say”: This Blog Post Will Cost You
In the second piece, freelance science journalist Jessica Wapner uses the process of writing a blog post to highlight the complicated nature of drug pricing (10/15).

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