KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K., U.S. Update Travel Advice For Tanzania After WHO Statement Regarding Suspected Ebola Case

Bloomberg: U.K. Issues Tanzania Travel Warning Over Probable Ebola Death
“The U.K. advised travelers to Tanzania to be aware of a ‘probable’ Ebola-related death in the East African nation, its Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Tuesday in a statement on its website. About 75,000 British nationals visit Tanzania every year, it said…” (Ombok, 10/1).

The Telegraph: U.K. holidaymakers warned of possible Ebola threat in Tanzania
“…The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also updated travel advice for those visiting the East African nation. The move follows an unusual statement from the WHO last weekend, which rebuked the Tanzanian government amid suspicion that cases of the devastating hemorrhagic disease were being covered up…” (Newey, 10/1).

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USAID Announces $7.5M In Additional Humanitarian Assistance For Hurricane-Hit Bahamas

Miami Herald: Bahamas getting additional funds from USAID to help Hurricane Dorian recovery
“The U.S. Agency for International Development is providing an additional $7.5 million in humanitarian assistance to the Bahamas to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco last month. The additional aid, announced by USAID Administrator Mark Green, who is currently touring the island nation, brings the total U.S. government response to more than $33 million, the agency said…” (Charles/Wilner, 10/1).

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Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces $120M Reinvestment In Programs To Establish Verbal Autopsy Programs, Cancer Registries In 25 Countries

Associated Press: Verbal autopsies used in push to better track global deaths
“…About 50 countries have attempted verbal autopsy projects, and the list is growing. On Tuesday, Bloomberg Philanthropies — a major funder of international health data initiatives — announced it will devote another $120 million over the next four years to continue projects in 20 previously funded countries, and add five more. That includes money for verbal autopsies, as well as cancer registries and other programs intended to help developing countries gather accurate data about the health of their citizens…” (Larson/Stobbe, 10/1).

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Experts Urge India PM Modi To Continue Focus On Sanitation Mission, Raise Doubts Over Claims Of Initiative's Success

The Telegraph: Experts cast doubt on Modi’s claims over success of sanitation mission
“Experts have urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue his focus on improving access to toilets as he prepares to make a speech claiming that the practice of open defecation has ended in India. On October 2, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Modi is due to make a speech in his home province of Gujarat claiming that his Swachh Bharat — or Clean India Mission — has brought toilets to all Indian households. … Experts have commended Mr. Modi for bringing discussion about toilets into the open but have cast doubt on his claim that his mission is over…” (Gulland, 10/1).

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Number Of South African Teens Receiving Treatment For HIV Increases 10-Fold Since 2010, Study Shows

AFP: 10-fold surge in S.Africa teens treated for HIV: study
“The number of young people in South Africa receiving treatment for HIV has increased 10-fold within a decade, a major new study has found. … Researchers studied more than 700,000 young people receiving treatment for the infection and found 10 times the number of adolescents aged between 15-19 being treated compared with 2010. Authors of the study, published in The Lancet HIV journal attributed the rise partly due to the success of AIDS prevention programs that result in better detection and treatment rates…” (10/2).

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Leishmaniasis: Tropical skin disease afflicts Kenyan communities (Juma et al., 10/2).

DW: The 77 Percent — The need to tackle Nigeria’s population boom (Krippahl, 10/1).

The Lancet HIV: Populism threatens Brazil’s HIV/AIDS response (Daniels, October 2019).

New Humanitarian: Ten reports from U.N. General Assembly week worth noting (Parker, 10/1).

U.N. News: WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera (10/1).

U.N. News: Strict alcohol laws which cut intake more than 40 per cent in Russia, linked to historically high life expectancy (10/1).

VOA: Botswana to Offer Free HIV Medicine to Foreign Sex Workers (Dube, 10/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Community Holds Shared Responsibility To Bring New TB Treatment, Other Care, Prevention Methods, To Those In Need, U.N. Special Envoy Writes

The Hill: The FDA approves a breakthrough treatment for the world’s deadliest infectious disease — now what?
Eric P. Goosby, the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on TB and the MacArthur Foundation Chair in Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco

“…[T]he U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a new drug to tackle treatment-resistant TB has been hailed as a monumental breakthrough. … The question now becomes: How do we make sure that the people who need this new treatment — and other TB prevention and treatment efforts — have access to them? From my experience as the former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and, currently, as the U.N. Special Envoy on TB, the answer is for all parties is to work together to increase financing and strengthen coordination targeted where the need is the greatest. This shared responsibility model means that impacted countries must step up their game and provide more financial resources to tackle TB. … [I]t will take a shared responsibility from all in the global health community, as well as significant movement on UHC, to ensure treatments get to those who need them most” (9/23).

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Governments, Science Agencies Must Educate People On How To Avoid Air Pollution Risks, Opinion Piece Urges

Nature: Face masks could raise pollution risks
Wei Huang, professor in the Faculty of Environmental Health at Peking University School of Public Health, and Lidia Morawska, professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Queensland University of Technology

“…Hardly any clinical studies have tested how effective medical masks are against air pollution, or how people use them. It is hard to predict individual risks because people’s exposures and health statuses vary widely. We worry that wearing masks could even make the problem worse. They have the potential to lull people into a false sense of security, encouraging them to spend more time outside in dirty air. … Governments and scientists need to educate the public and health workers about the correct ways to avoid risks from polluted air. Researchers need to establish what protections might be valuable in some circumstances. But the only long-term solution is to clean the air. Until then, the message is the same: stay indoors as much as possible when pollution levels are high…” (10/1).

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Investment In Human Capital, Woman-Focused Health Services Will Help Sahel Nations Close Opportunity Gap, World Bank Officials Say

Project Syndicate: Closing the Opportunity Gap in the Sahel
Annette Dixon, vice president of Human Development at the World Bank Group, and Hafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for Africa

“…The countries of the Sahel rank among the world’s lowest on the Human Capital Index, which quantifies the contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers. … To ensure that all people — not just those lucky enough to be born into relative geographic, gender, or socioeconomic privilege — can fulfill their potential, governments must invest more in human-capital formation. This means strengthening education systems, so that residents can acquire the skills they need to thrive economically. And it means ensuring access to quality health and nutrition services. … But making the most of such investments demands not only generalized efforts, but also delivery of services tailored for girls and women, from family planning through childhood and adulthood. … [W]oman-focused health services ultimately help to raise living standards and break the cycle of poverty, while spurring broader economic development…” (10/1).

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International, Domestic Investment To Support Health Care Transportation, Emergency Care Needed In LMICs, Medical Student Writes

Global Health NOW: When You Live Close to the Hospital, But Can’t Reach It in Time
Anudari Zorigtbaatar, medical student at McGill University

“…In fact, 5.8 million people die each year as a result of injuries — more than the fatalities associated with malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined. Not to mention those who can’t even seek help and go uncounted. A country may have the best-trained doctors in the world, the most equipped facilities possible, but it is meaningless if patients can’t get to the hospital in time — which happens all too frequently in many developing countries. … [H]ealth systems should provide support at every point of access to health services, including prehospital care. Otherwise, LMICs will continue to lose 24 million lives annually due to conditions sensitive to emergency care. … The global community needs to support nations committed to establishing such frontline care. It is the foundation for an accessible health system that all other sectors can build upon…” (9/30).

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Rice Fortification Can Help Deliver Micronutrients To Many People Worldwide But Not 'Silver Bullet,' Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Why fortified rice is a game changer
Judith Smit, global lead for rice fortification at DSM

“…Rice, as the number one staple in the world, offers indeed a promising vehicle to contribute to filling the nutrient gap. … With extrusion technology, multiple vitamins and minerals — as well as other key nutrients lacking in the diet such as lysine and fiber — can be added to rice. Therefore, specific nutritional needs can be met, as the composition of the fortified rice is customized to meet specific public health needs. … However, it is not a silver bullet; a successful rice fortification program alone will not eliminate all micronutrient deficiencies. … DSM is working with partners, governments, research institutes, and key stakeholders to enable rice fortification to improve nutrition…” (10/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Leadership Needed To Help End DRC Ebola Outbreak, Expert Writes

Health Affairs Blog: The Ebola Outbreak: The Need For U.S. Action
Ashish K. Jha, the K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard University, and dean for global strategy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discusses the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), suspected cases in Tanzania, and the role of the international community in helping end the outbreak. Jha writes, “It will take American leadership, working with our allies in Europe and Africa, to bring this disease to a close. One year and 2,000 deaths later, the time for more robust action is well overdue” (10/2).

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WHO Publishes Regional Ebola Preparedness Overview For DRC, 9 Neighboring Countries

WHO: Regional Ebola Preparedness Overview of Needs and Requirements
“The DRC shares its borders with nine countries and there is regular cross-border movement of people, goods, and services in the region. Combined with weaknesses in national health systems, the nine neighboring countries are at very high risk for an Ebola outbreak. … This document presents a consolidated summary of urgent activities required to advance preparedness, as elaborated in each country’s national plan, with a particular focus on Priority 1 countries. It presents the estimated requirements, needs, and gaps for each of the Priority 1 countries, and a summary for Priority 2 countries, as aligned for the period of July to December 2019” (October 2019).

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PAHO Region Ministers Of Health Agree To Collective Approach To Eliminating More Than 30 Diseases, Conditions By 2030

PAHO/WHO: Countries of the Americas commit to a collective approach to eliminating more than 30 diseases
“Ministers of health participating in the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) [Tuesday] agreed on a collective approach to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean by the year 2030. The PAHO Disease Elimination Initiative: A Policy for an Integrated Sustainable Approach to Communicable Diseases in the Americas targets a list of diseases considered to be prime candidates for elimination, including HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, schistosomiasis, trachoma, Chagas disease, malaria, cholera, human rabies, and others…” (10/1).

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U.K. To Step Up Efforts To End Preventable Deaths Of Mothers, Infants, Children In Developing World By 2020

GOV.UK: U.K. will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030
“A commitment has been made to prioritize ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies, and children in the developing world by 2030. To achieve this, U.K. aid will invest in more vaccines for deadly diseases, prioritize access to healthcare for women and girls around the world, and invest in research to diagnose and treat diseases more quickly and effectively. … This follows the announcement of a £600 million aid package to give millions more women and girls living in the world’s poorest countries access to family planning…” (10/2).

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WHO DG Tedros Visits Areas Of Bahamas Struck By Hurricane Dorian, Assesses Health Impacts, Meets With Officials

WHO: WHO Director-General visits devastated sites in the Bahamas to assess health impacts of Hurricane Dorian
“The world must rally around the Bahamas in the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Dorian which has not only cost many lives and livelihoods but caused severe damage to essential infrastructure, depriving communities of vital services at a critical time, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, upon completion of a visit to the Bahamas. … During his visit, Dr. Tedros met with the Governor-General, Minister of Health, and other government officials and commended their preparedness, readiness, and efforts to mitigate the damage caused by the hurricane…” (10/1).

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From the U.S. Government

Researchers From Brazil, NIH Publish Findings On Leishmaniasis-Like Parasitic Disease Unresponsive To Standard Drugs

NIH: Emerging parasitic disease mimics the symptoms of visceral leishmaniasis in people
“A new study published this week online in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that transmission of a protozoan parasite from insects may also cause leishmaniasis-like symptoms in people. The parasite, however, does not respond to treatment with standard leishmaniasis drugs. The research was conducted by scientists at the Federal Universities of Sergipe and São Carlos, the University of São Paulo, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, all in Brazil, along with investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health…” (10/1).

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