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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Director Frieden Calls For Emergency Fund For Disease Outbreak Response

Financial Times: Zika sparks U.S. call for future emergencies fund
“…Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is arguing for a reserve of money akin to the disaster relief fund that officials can rely on in the event of a catastrophe such as an earthquake or terrorist attack. … He said the vehicle could be modeled on the relief fund available to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is responsible for coordinating the response to disasters. … Frieden said he was cognizant of the fact that federal budgets were tight but insisted even a small amount would provide a foundation to build on…” (Crow, 10/20).

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U.S. Health Officials To Travel To Cuba To Attend Regional Zika Conference, Discuss Health-Related Research

CQ HealthBeat: Burwell to Visit Cuba to Discuss Zika, Health Research
“Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services, will travel to Cuba on Thursday for a regional conference on the Zika virus, HHS announced on Wednesday. She will be joined by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. The visit comes a week after the administration announced that it would try to advance cooperation with Cuba on health research. Last week’s presidential policy directive specifically mentioned that HHS would work with its Cuban counterparts on development of vaccines, cancer treatments, and infectious disease control…” (Siddons, 10/19).

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WHO, Partners Developing New Vaccine Supply System For People In Humanitarian Crises

Reuters: WHO seeks new mechanism for crisis vaccine supplies at low cost
“The World Health Organization, drugmakers, and humanitarian groups are hammering out details of a new vaccine supply system aimed at getting vital shots to vulnerable people in crises such as wars or natural disasters. The mechanism, which so far has British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline signed up to provide its pneumonia vaccine at the lowest possible price, will ask other major pharmaceutical firms including Pfizer and Merck to make similar cut-price agreements for emergencies only…” (Kelland, 10/19).

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NPR Outlines Positions Of WHO Director-General Nominees

NPR: Who Will Be The Next Leader Of WHO?
“Who will be the World Health Organization’s next director general? In September, the U.N. agency announced the six nominees, four men and two women, ranging from a cardiologist from Pakistan to a former punk rocker from Hungary. … For the most part, they’re on the same page … But they definitely bring different skills and experience to the table. Here’s a brief look at each contender…” (Gharib, 10/19).

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Human, Financial Costs Of Air Pollution In Africa Greater Than Those From Malnutrition, Lack Of Access To WASH, Study Shows

The Guardian: Air pollution more deadly in Africa than malnutrition or dirty water, study warns
“Africa’s air pollution is causing more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition, and could develop into a health and climate crisis reminiscent of those seen in China and India, a study by a global policy forum has found. The first major attempt to calculate both the human and financial cost of the continent’s pollution suggests dirty air could be killing 712,000 people a year prematurely, compared with approximately 542,000 from unsafe water, 275,000 from malnutrition, and 391,000 from unsafe sanitation…” (Vidal, 10/20).

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Wall Street Journal Examines Worldwide Abuse Of Largely Unregulated Pain Killer Tramadol

Wall Street Journal: Tramadol: The Opioid Crisis for the Rest of the World
“…Fueled by cut-rate Indian exports and inaction by world narcotics regulators, tramadol dependency extends across Africa, the Middle East, and into parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. … For some poor countries, it is an opioid crisis that may be as pervasive as America’s, and more complicated to combat…” (Scheck, 10/19).

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National Geographic Looks At El Salvador's Strict Abortion Laws

National Geographic: Where Women with Zika Fear Prison
“…El Salvador is one of six countries with the most extreme abortion laws in the world. Abortion is criminalized in all circumstances, regardless of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, or whether the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life. This law went into effect in 1998, changing from a partial to an absolute ban, due in large part to lobbying by the country’s archbishop. The next year Congress reinforced the law by adding a clause to the constitution defining life as beginning at conception. … In July, a conservative party submitted a proposal to the legislature that would raise the minimum sentence for abortion to 30 years…” (Strochlic, 10/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Innovation Can Accelerate Progress Toward Improving Health Of Women, Children Globally

Huffington Post: The Power of Innovation to Save Moms and Babies
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID

“…We will need new tools and new ways of doing things to achieve our goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, no matter where they live. While innovative financing and new systems approaches will help achieve this goal, we cannot bridge the resource gap and truly accelerate our progress without innovation. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to fostering innovation to reach this goal. … [PATH’s] Harnessing the Power of Innovation to Save Mothers and Children report demonstrates the importance of innovation and the great potential contribution it can make to our efforts. Because USAID is committed to saving lives and improving health for women and children around the world, innovation will be a core component of our efforts in the years to come. We look forward to working with partners to advance innovations like the ones highlighted in PATH’s report, and ensuring we have the systems and financing mechanisms in place to make sure they reach the women and children who need them, no matter where they live” (10/19).

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Humanitarian Settings Must Include Essential Services For Maternal, Newborn Health

Devex: The importance of newborn health in humanitarian situations
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health at USAID, and Robert Clay, vice president for global health at Save the Children

“…To reach the ambitious [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] for health, including reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, we must make humanitarian settings a high priority, because populations in these contexts shoulder a high burden of need and vulnerability. … Health services implemented in humanitarian settings usually include prepackaged kits for reproductive, maternal, and child health. However, we need to redouble efforts to ensure that essential supplies for newborn care are included in these kits — with appropriate doses of certain medicines, supplies, and newborn-sized devices. … Organizations working in complex humanitarian situations should review their ongoing and planned activities to ensure that every program and package includes essential newborn care messages and best-practices (such as support for early and exclusive breastfeeding), that trainings cover maternal newborn health issues, and that supply kits include newborn-specific equipment and medicines appropriate to the setting” (10/19).

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Global, Sustained Commitment Vital To Ending Polio, Improving Future Global Health Security

Project Syndicate: Why Can’t We End Polio?
Ilona Kickbusch, director and adjunct professor, Stephen Matlin, senior fellow, and Michaela Told, executive director, all at the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

“…Politicians and policymakers should be reminded that a polio-free world would be a global public good, that eradication is by far the best bargain, and that sustained financing and political support is necessary to ensure the [Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI)] success. But it is also important to ensure that valuable assets and practices built up by the GPEI over time are not squandered once polio is gone. … [C]ountries will be able to absorb GPEI assets into their health systems only if they are supported financially, logistically, and politically. … Doing so would not only boost global health security and resilience for the next outbreak; it would also help us reach the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for universal health care coverage. … World Polio Day is thus an occasion to urge politicians to renew their commitments to polio eradication, and to apply lessons from the GPEI to improve health everywhere…” (10/20).

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Integrated, Planned Approach Critical To Achieving Health-Related SDGs

The Conversation: Only a bottom-up approach will deliver global health development targets
Karen Daniels, specialist scientist in the Health Systems Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council; Aku Kwamie, health systems researcher at the University of Ghana; and Fadi El-Jardali, professor of health policy and systems at the American University of Beirut

“There is an urgent need to put together a coherent goal-readiness plan to drive the Sustainable Development Goals related to health. To succeed it needs to address three critical elements: how the goals will be financed, what health systems need to be established, and how new skills, new thinking, and new ways of working together across systems can be developed. … The old system of control through vertical program targets needs to be relinquished. … Unlike in the past, governments, frontline workers and communities should not be expected to deliver on targets that are unrealistic because of constraints outside their control. This includes financial, material, human resource, and time constraints as well as a constrained way of thinking. Instead, the success of the Sustainable Development Goals requires a vision for integration that includes a clear plan, and contingencies for the plan. This will ensure ownership and accountability to the people — not only within health systems but within all global systems” (10/19).

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More Research Examining Gender Inequality In Public Health Emergencies Needed To Prevent Further Inequalities

The Conversation: Zika and Ebola had a much worse effect on women: we need more research to address this in future
Sara Davies, fellow at Griffith University, and Belinda Bennett, professor of health law in the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at Queensland University of Technology

“Outbreaks of the Ebola virus … and, more recently, Zika, had a disproportionate impact on women. In issuing emergency advice, international agencies acknowledged the different experiences of men and women during both crises. But … the advice they offered did not take into account women’s limited capacity to protect themselves from infection. … The social and economic conditions affecting women’s options and ability to control their risk of infection has received comparatively little attention to that of the overall consequences of [the Zika and Ebola] outbreaks. Even if women adequately protect themselves from infection and survive Zika and Ebola, they are still unlikely to have improved equitable health opportunities after these emergencies. Indeed, they face the risk of worse health and inequality. More research examining the effect of gendered inequality of public health emergencies must be conducted to inform future international advice and responses, so those affected can survive the crisis without compounding existing inequalities” (10/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CDC, Other U.S. Agencies, Partners Assisting Post-Hurricane Haiti; Clean Water, Sanitation Priorities In Light Of Cholera

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Hurricane Matthew and Haiti: Putting CDC Expertise to Work
Jordan Tappero, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP), discusses the mobilization of the CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team, along with other U.S. agencies and private partners. Tappero writes, “All of these groups are focused on bringing humanitarian assistance to people in desperate need, including those affected by cholera, those who may have lost their homes, or those looking for lost family members. Others are working to provide clean water and shelter and to repair roads and infrastructure so that supplies and relief can be delivered. … The CDC team in Haiti is working especially hard on providing clean water and adequate sanitation, as well as monitoring for the disease…” (10/19).

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Global Financing Facility Helping Ensure Healthy Mothers, Proper Newborn, Infant Nutrition

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Ministers of Finance champion investment in Early Years — through the Global Finance Facility
Shawn K. Baker, director of nutrition at the Gates Foundation; Mariam Claeson, director of the Global Financing Facility; and Julie McLaughlin, adviser to the vice president for human development at the World Bank Group, discuss the Human Capital Summit, held earlier this month during the IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings. They write, “We have learnt that early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development, affecting learning, health, behavior, and adult income. … Investing in healthy mothers, exclusive breastfeeding, and proper infant and young child feeding are three important places to start. The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is ensuring that pregnant women, mothers, newborn, children, and adolescents access high-quality health, nutrition, and reproductive services that enable a healthy, safe and planned pregnancy, delivery, and post-natal care, and well-child care…” (10/19).

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World Bank Report Examines Children's Access To Essential Services In Latin America, Says More Progress Needed

Humanosphere: World Bank: Improve water and sanitation access for Latin American kids
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses data from a new World Bank report measuring children’s access to essential services like education, water and sanitation, and electricity. Nikolau writes, “The report had some good news about Latin America’s progress on fighting poverty: the percentage of people living in extreme poverty dropped dramatically between 2000 and 2014 … The region also now boasts over 90 percent coverage in access to electricity and school enrollment. But the analysis also found that the poverty rate has been declining at a much slower pace since 2012 as a result of the economic slowdown, and some countries in Latin America are still lacking access to internet, safe drinking water, and sanitation” (10/19).

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