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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

As British Nurse Recovers From Post-Ebola Complications, Physicians Learning More About Long-Term Impacts Of Infection

Agence France-Presse: Sick British Ebola nurse ‘much better’
“There has been a ‘significant improvement’ in the health of a British nurse who suffered a relapse after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone, medics treating her in London said Wednesday…” (10/21).

New York Times: New Clues Into Ebola as Ill Nurse Improves
“…One question is why the virus persisted so long in Ms. Cafferkey, who became infected in Sierra Leone, where she had gone as a volunteer, and what it was doing in that time. Clues may come from studies of Ebola in nature. Ebola is thought to persist in bats without causing disease…” (Fink, 10/21).

Reuters: U.K. Ebola nurse has meningitis caused by persisting virus: doctors
“… ‘The virus re-emerged around the brain and around the spinal column to cause meningitis,’ said Michael Jacobs, an infectious diseases consultant who has been treating Cafferkey in London. … Jacobs said Cafferkey had been critically ill and at one stage last week was at high risk of dying, but had now made a significant improvement and looked likely to be able to recover…” (Shirbon/Kelland, 10/21).

Reuters: Mystery deaths in Sierra Leone spread fear of Ebola relapses
“…Doctors and health officials in Sierra Leone told Reuters that a handful of mystery deaths among discharged patients may also be types of Ebola relapses, stirring fear that the deadly virus may last far longer than previously thought in the body, causing other potentially lethal complications…” (Cham et al., 10/21).

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Cutting Climate Pollutant Emissions Can Save Lives, WHO Report Says

VOA News: WHO: Reducing Short-lived Climate Pollutants Can Save Lives
“The World Health Organization says millions of premature deaths can be prevented each year by reducing short lived climate pollutants. A WHO report recommends cutting emissions of black carbon, ozone, and methane…” (Schlein, 10/22).

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Health Systems In Asia Overwhelmed By Dengue Outbreaks

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Dengue fever sweeps Asia, hospitals struggle to cope
“…The Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam are among countries that have seen significant spikes in the mosquito-borne disease, while India’s capital New Delhi is in the grip of its worst dengue outbreak in almost 20 years. Hospitals are overwhelmed as thousands of people with symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, and joint pains seek treatment, health experts said…” (Zweynert, 10/21).

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Gates, Slim Foundations To Launch Second Phase Of MCH Program Salud Mesoamerica

Reuters: Gates, Slim target maternal, newborn health in Central America
“…The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together with the Carlos Slim Foundation are preparing to launch next year a second phase of Salud Mesoamerica, a program hailed by experts as a success story. The $170 million program, also backed by Spain, the Inter-American Development Bank, and local governments, is part of a trend in aid financing that uses independently collected data to measure results achieved by government programs and conditions financing on meeting targets…” (O’Boyle, 10/21).

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U.S. Consul General To South Africa Discusses PEPFAR, DREAMS Initiative

Health24: The latest U.S. initiative on HIV in South Africa
“The U.S. Consul General Frances Chisholm recently discussed the latest United States initiatives on HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The dialogue encompassed PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), strategies and programs, including the DREAMS initiative for girls and young women, which will significantly assist the KwaZulu-Natal region, and subsequently, the country and the world’s efforts, to create an AIDS-free future…” (10/22).

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Funding Shortage Hampering WFP Efforts In Mauritania, Where Women, Children, Malian Refugees Most Affected By Food Insecurity

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Women, children, refugees bear brunt of Mauritania food crisis
“…Droughts have reduced the availability of nutritious food, and widespread poverty — one in four Mauritanians live on less than $1.25 per day — means many cannot afford to eat healthily, according to WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. … Cousin spoke to the Thomson Reuters Foundation after visiting Malian refugees in Mauritania’s Mbera camp, where a shortage of donor funding this year has forced the WFP to cut food aid, halving or cancelling rice rations in some months…” (Guilbert, 10/21).

VOA News: U.N. Agency: Hundreds of Thousands Need Food in Mauritania
“…The agency says it urgently needs $11 million to assist the country. … Unfortunately, WFP coffers are almost empty. Spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told VOA the agency has only enough money to provide school lunches to impoverished children for two months…” (Schlein, 10/20).

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South Sudan Faces Famine Without Immediate Humanitarian Assistance, Report Says

News outlets report on an assessment by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) calling for immediate humanitarian assistance for South Sudan to prevent famine.

The Guardian: South Sudan faces ‘concrete’ famine risk and needs urgent help, warn experts
“Famine in parts of South Sudan could be just weeks away unless urgent action is taken to address humanitarian needs…” (Ford, 10/22).

Reuters: Food security body IPC warns of famine in South Sudan
“South Sudan faces the ‘concrete risk’ of famine by the end of 2015 and 30,000 people are already classified as being in a food security catastrophe, a statement from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) said on Thursday…” (Miles, 10/22).

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3.3M People In Southern Yemeni City Need Critical Humanitarian Aid, WHO Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Yemen: 3.3 million people in need of critical aid in besieged Taiz, warns U.N. health agency
“The top United Nations health official in Yemen is appealing for unrestricted access to Taiz, where ‘innocent lives are at risk’ in the besieged highland city where more than 3.3 million people are in critical need of health assistance, safe drinking water, food, and fuel…” (10/21).

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Malaria Parasite Genotype Contained In Experimental Vaccine Could Impact Efficacy, Study Shows

News outlets report on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the relationship between an experimental malaria vaccine’s efficacy and the parasite genotypes it uses.

Nature: Parasite mismatch explains mediocre performance of leading malaria vaccine
“A malaria vaccine that has disappointed in clinical trials stumbled in part because it mimics a strain of parasite that is not commonly found in Africa, according to a study published on 21 October in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The finding appears in the week that an advisory committee for the World Health Organization (WHO) will say whether they recommend the malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S, for use, despite its modest performance…” (Maxmen, 10/21).

Reuters: Genetics help explain poor showing for GSK malaria vaccine
“…Now scientists have discovered that genetic variability in a protein found on the surface of malaria parasites may help explain the patchy response because, while the protein comes in different forms, GSK’s vaccine incorporates only one variant. The new study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, looked at blood from 5,000 youngsters and found that the vaccine gave less protection when toddlers were infected with parasites with a different protein variant to the vaccine. GSK said the research was interesting but early-stage…” (Hirschler, 10/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Must Allocate More Emergency Funds To Ethiopia, As El Niño Hits Country

New York Times: El Niño Strikes Ethiopia
Editorial Board

“…The crisis in Ethiopia could be a harbinger of more weather-related disasters if climate change makes El Niño more frequent. … Since July, Ethiopia’s government has released $192 million for emergency food aid and other assistance. That is not nearly enough: Ethiopia’s government says it needs an additional $596 million in international assistance to cope with the current emergency. But the wars in Syria and Iraq have shifted scant humanitarian aid resources to the Middle East. … International donors need to allocate additional emergency funds for Ethiopia, and they must step up with more support for the World Food Programme so it can get more food to those in dire need” (10/21).

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Diverting Aid From Public Health To Climate-Related Issues 'Immoral' In Developing Countries

Wall Street Journal: This Child Doesn’t Need a Solar Panel
Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…[A]id is being diverted to climate-related matters at the expense of improved public health, education, and economic development. … In a world in which malnourishment continues to claim at least 1.4 million children’s lives each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.6 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral. Not surprisingly, in an online U.N. survey of more than eight million people from around the globe, respondents from the world’s poorest countries rank ‘action taken on climate change’ dead last out of 16 categories when asked ‘What matters most to you?’ … Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. … [T]he truth is that climate aid isn’t where rich countries can help the most, and it isn’t what the world’s poorest want or need” (10/21).

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Breastfeeding Critical To Children's Health, Development

New York Times: The Miracle Breast Milk Elixir
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“What if there were a remedy that could save more children’s lives in the developing world than are claimed by malaria and AIDS combined? A miracle substance that reduces ear infections while seeming to raise scores on I.Q. tests by several points? Available even in the most remote villages, requiring no electricity or refrigeration? Oh, and as long as we’re dreaming, let’s make it free. This miracle substance already exists. It’s breast milk. Current estimates backed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF are that optimal breastfeeding would save 800,000 children’s lives a year in developing countries. That would amount to a 12 percent drop in child mortality, a huge gain. … Sometimes the solutions [to global problems] are dazzlingly high-tech, but almost nothing could save as many children’s lives each year as nature’s own miracle: breast milk” (10/22).

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Foreign Aid To Outbreak-Prone Countries Must Focus On Regional Health Infrastructures, Not Specific Diseases

NOVA Next: Why Billions in Foreign Aid Failed to Prevent Ebola Outbreak
Sophie Harman, associate professor in international relations at Queen Mary University of London

“…Over the last year, aid from some of the world’s wealthiest donors has poured into the poor, hard-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. But people should be asking another question — what money was offered to these countries before, not after, the [Ebola] outbreak? And with those dollars, might this epidemic have been prevented in the first place? … The Ebola outbreak should be a wake-up call to redirect our priorities to commit to invest money and expertise in regional health infrastructure rather than isolated systems [or diseases]. It’s a change that needs to happen, but it’s one that will requires a drastic shift in the way we approach global health and development.” This opinion piece is part of the “Next Outbreak” series, a collaboration between NOVA Next and the GroundTruth Project in association with WGBH Boston (10/21).

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Civil Society Plays Crucial Role In Child Health, Immunization In India

Huffington Post: Every Indian Child Deserves Complete Vaccination: Is The Government Doing Enough?
Sridhar Venkatapuram, lecturer in global health and philosophy at King’s College London

“…No matter how much better the situation [of child mortality in India] is than in years before, the present state [of] child health and mortality should be a national embarrassment and urgent policy issue, as most under-five deaths are entirely preventable. … Much of this could be avoided by providing all children with the necessary health care, including [a] complete set of vaccinations. … But as we have learned from so many government programs, a lot needs to be done to translate policy into reality on the ground. … [Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)] have a crucial role in bridging the reality of households and state and national level policymakers. It is CSOs who are able to accurately identify all the barriers to individual children getting access to health care, to identify the constraints on the right of children to be capable of being healthy” (10/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses Power Africa's Achievements, Impacts On Development Indicators

USAID’s “Impact”: On World Energy Day and every day, USAID is investing in a brighter planet
Rudy Gharib, head of communications for Power Africa, and Pooja Singhi, an intern with USAID’s Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, discuss an interview with Power Africa coordinator Andrew M. Herscowitz on the accomplishments of the Power Africa initiative and its role in development (10/22).

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CSIS Paper Summarizes Experts' Recommendations For Planning Of Global Fund's Next Multi-Year Strategy

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Data for Decisionmaking and the Global Fund
“…On July 28, CSIS hosted a discussion among a small group of data experts to develop specific recommendations to the U.S. representatives on the Global Fund board of directors as they participate in the development of the next multi-year strategy. The discussion focused on opportunities to strengthen country capacities to obtain and use data more effectively to drive smart programming of health resources…” In this paper, Todd Summers, senior adviser, and Cathryn Streifel, program manager and research associate, both at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, summarize the discussion (10/21).

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Humanitarian Response Organizations Play Critical Role In Addressing Menstrual-Related Issues In Emergency Situations

Ms. Magazine Blog: The Syrian Refugee Struggle No One’s Talking About
Marni Sommer, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a Public Voices fellow with The OpEd Project, discusses the challenges surrounding and importance of addressing menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian emergencies (10/20).

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Joint Briefing Paper Highlights Needs, Rights Of Sex Workers Who Use Drugs

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Risks and challenges of people who inject drugs, earn income through sex work recognized, but seldom addressed in adequate, joined responses
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses a joint briefing paper by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs, titled “Sex Workers Who Use Drugs: Experiences, Perspectives, Needs, and Rights: Ensuring a Joint Approach” (10/21).

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Despite Challenges From Ebola Epidemic, Sierra Leone's NTD Program Sees Progress

Global Network of Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: Celebrating NTD Success Stories: Sierra Leone’s Inspiring Progress in the Face of Ebola
Emily Conron, the Global Network’s resource development associate, discusses “Sierra Leone’s progress against NTDs despite the challenges posed by the Ebola epidemic” (10/21).

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